Sunday, June 1, 2008

Teaching at Soppoengwithaya School

Every morning at 7:30 am Pa, Ong (an 8th grader at my school), and I drive to Soppoengwithaya school. As we drive into the school students from 5- to 17-years-old wai us. The first day I came the kids wai-ed casually until they saw me and then they stared intently at me before running of to tell their friends about the farong (foreigner).

Before school everyday, all four hundred students line up in the courtyard according to grade and gender and sing the national anthem, salute (wai) the flag, and have announcements. The first day I came Pa spoke to the students and introduced Jessica and I as the new English teachers. Jessica and I were celebrities after that. Students would watch us wherever we went.

We teach all the students in 17 classes throughout the week which means we only see each student once a week. Its nice because we only need to organize one lesson plan per week, but it stinks because our teaching is more ornamental and fun; we won’t be responsible for any huge strides in their English speaking skills.

The kids can read and write English, but they can’t speak it worth beans. We are trying to focus our lessons on teaching the students to speak English. I love teaching the primary classes because the kids love us. The secondary classes aren’t too bad, but they definitely don’t adore us. I’m pretty sure they think we’re dorks and they would be well justified in that conclusion. Actually no, Jessica’s not a dork because I found out that she wore spikes on her hands when she was in high school…cool.