Days Like This…

…make it all worthwhile. A short little ditty about what makes a PCV’s heart go a fluttering. Sorry about the photo quality, I only had my Itouch, but I had to capture this moment.

Today, I stepped out of the normal lesson plan and showed a youtube video (there are six parts, watch the first part here) about the flooding in Thailand that another Volunteer sent around. The audio is in Thai and has English subtitles. Since we are in one of the affected provinces, I thought this would be worthwhile for my students to watch as a bit of environmental awareness and some critical thinking. I had watched the youtube videos previously, written down some notes, and hoped my coteacher would lead a discussion. She took it up a notch and we had an idea for a project in five minutes.

Splitting our students up into three groups each handling one part of the videos we showed, we gave them questions in English that they had to translate, then answer in Thai, and then try to make up some English sentences. (Honestly, when they get a subject, a verb, or a place thrown together, I’m a happy camper.) Then they were going to do a ‘mapping’ project using large poster sheet paper (which totally brought me back to the constant ‘debriefs’ we had in PST). Next class, they’re presenting their work.

I almost scrapped the whole idea when my coteacher told me fifteen minutes before class that all but two of the girls (and my best students) would be going to the temple to serve food. (This isn’t new and it infuriates me that they take them out of class to essentially waitress for random ‘important’ people in the community, deep breath Erin.) There are some good male specimens in my sixth grade class, but if I’m realistic, most of them are gangsters as my grandmother would say. They, however, blew me away. And I got photographic evidence.

Bringing technology in the classroom, we huddled around my macbook, but they were on their knees craning over each other to watch the clip, this alone was pretty jaw-dropping to me

Getting this group of boys to hit the books was something I never thought I would witness

Working together instead of beating each other up or giving me grief... is this an alternate universe?

The boy looking at the camera is particularly prickily when it comes to English, but he was at least quiet and feigned interest (that's a win)

Finished project and a big smile

They told me they were the most handsome looking group so they were going to have the prettiest poster, do you agree?

I had to hide my face more than once from them so they didn’t see the tears of happiness in my eyes. I have to be the tough guy with them to keep their respect. Instead I made them run laps when they were sloppy and scolded them when they spoke impolitely. But with a smirk on my face.

I know it doesn’t seem like much, but to me, it’s motivation to keep going, to keep trying, to not give up on the boys that have already given up on themselves or the sometimes crazy Thai education system. I only have about another sixteen months here. Better make it count.


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