I’m currently staying in a place called Phanom which is an hour away from Surat Thani and 2 hours away from Phuket. There is not much to do here though, it is just one long main road in what seems like the middle of nowhere. I am surrounded by mountain and jungle but at least the mornings are cool and there is always a breeze. The people are so kind and helpful and go out of their way to make sure I am comfortable. I live in a little bungalow not far from the school where I teach and the lady who owns the bunglalows makes the meanest omelette and tuna salad. The only thing that I wish this little place had was public transport. There are no tuk-tuks or song-taews and not even a place to rent a scooter or car which means my movements are pretty limited.
So I started this week and was extremely apprehensive. I mean me, teaching high school kids. What is the world coming to? Thai kids are naughty, friendly and very respectful of teachers. They will wai and lower/make themselves smaller when they walk past a teacher. I was shocked though at the level of English but I suppose living in a more rural and not touristy area the need for speaking English is not as great. I am enjoying it more than I thought I would even though at the end of the school day I am exhausted. I get to school at 7.30 and wait for the school assembly and everyone has to stand up when they sing the national anthem whilst raising the flag. I currently only have 2 classes a day which leaves me with plenty of time to prepare lessons. I’m done at about 15.30 and school finishes at 16.00 with another assembly. I am also nowrunning the English club with a small group of students who want to improve their conversational skills.
Here are some pictures of my students. I asked some of them what they wanted to be when they grow up. The one boy told me he is going to be a woman when he grows up. The acceptance and tolerance of such statements is astounding.