Thursday, December 24, 2009

Class Photos:

The group above with me and below with Wan Li are the oldest students I have--and also the most challenging. These 15 year old boys are--as Wan Li warned me in no uncertain terms before we walked into the class--undisciplined. They like to wear their shirts untucked and really don't see much advantage in learning English (or much else, at this point).

I have really been enjoying them nonetheless. They are lively and opinionated. One boy told me today that he will bring me pictures of his family's prize fighting bulls. We see men walking their bulls everyday on the way to school. They are exercising them and/or taking them to pasture. On weekends, they pit the bulls against each other in well-attended bull fights.

All the boys really seem to be interested in is bull fights and sports. Wan Li said that one of the brightest in the class has no ambition other than to cut grass to feed the fighting bulls. This is how he sees his life's work.

I started out tough with them (for me), telling them that they must show the teacher (me) respect or the teacher--who had come so far to teach them--would refuse to tell them anything at all about her country.

This took them back a bit. So good.

This is my 8th grade class. They love games and competitions of any kind, so I include one each day. Then we go to the American English textbook that to me seems way over their heads. It just has nothing to do with their everyday lives and is much too difficult besides. Today, I drilled them on making simple sentences but used vocabulary from the textbook.

This is my largest class of over 40 students. They are 7th graders. Hard to play games with such a large group, but they, too, love playing games. So I try to come up with a good 20 minutes or so of a game, then move onto more serious work.

Wan Li wrote her own book about Trang and we are using it instead of an American textbook. Like the group above, the kids know a lot of vocabulary words but can't put them into sentences yet. They are extremely shy about speaking in English and afraid of making mistakes.


We are one day ahead. Tomorrow is Christmas here. So no school. But we do have a Thai cooking class tomorrow. Then on Saturday, the four of us volunteers who are still here are going to take a couple hour bus ride to Krabi and a resort there where we will spend the night and maybe do some snorkeling.

We also were just told today that we will be moving from this home base into another house that's a bit smaller. Not enough volunteers these days. There have been as many as 23 here at one time. Right now there are 5, with one going home Saturday and two more at the end of next week.

But we have 10 coming in Mid-January.

Doesn't feel like Christmas but MERRY CHRISTMAS anyway!!

And thanks for your comments. Makes my day to read them. If I had more time, I'd reply to each one.


  1. Stay tough Jacob! Show em who's boss! :)

    Love ya!


  2. Hi Mom/Aunt Pam!

    Thinking about you on Christmas! We made buckeyes yesterday. Today we are making snowball cookies and a couple other things. There's 2 feet of snow outside. Brrr! It's chilly! We have not stop 24 hrs of Christmas music and the Christmas Story & White Christmas movies playing.

    We miss ya! Merry Christmas


    Kiki and Kristin

  3. Good idea to get your bluff in early on those 15 year old boys! Hopefully, they won't figure out what a softie you are until it is time for you to leave. By then, they will have learned something from you. You are doing a great job. Keep up the good work.

    Eddie and Sara

  4. Hi: Don't know if you fooled those boys with the big "meanie" act. That may be the only thing that you can't pull off !! Think they could see right through you ... you little softie; bet they love you already. Merry Christmas back ... jan

  5. Aloha Pam:
    Sounds like you are adjusting your teachings to fit these young peoples needs and making it meaningfull for them. What a GREAT gift you are imparting them!
    Love Patty Day :)

  6. i agree with keeks, show 'em who's boss! it looks like you are doing great, aunt pammy! you certainly have your work cut out, but i believe you will definately make a mark with these kids and i applaud you:) EVERYONE needs someone like you in their life!

    Love and Hugs!

  7. I love this blog!

    Love Michael