Thursday, July 14, 2011


There is no school tomorrow. It’s Buddhist Lent Friday and Saturday, and as a ‘makeup’ holiday, our school also has Monday off. Four-day weekend, for the win! There will be no alcohol sales Friday or Saturday. Unlike the Brits that thought I’d be their ticket to booze on the dry election weekend (getting hit on for alcohol, how lovely, I’m flattered), I shall weather the storm just fine.

My M3 students turned in their essays today. Or rather, 17/64 of them did, with stragglers turning in partial essays and many more that forgot to print. I consider this percentage a great victory. And as my students are quite capable, and their parents are invested in their learning, I’m going to keep pushing within the limits of what I know they are capable of. Oh don’t be so serious na, is Thai school! No, I’m not playing that way. Thailand isn’t going to pull up from 47th in international education rankings that way. I’m no savior, but I’m no pushover either.

I rather like my South African colleague’s assessment of my decision to be a bit of a drill sergeant. “American style, respect!” I’ve learned, to some extent, which battles to fight and which to give in to. And my students are getting adjusted to how I run things. At another school, my efforts would likely be unwarranted. But I’m not at a typical Thai school, exactly. I’d have probably thrown in the towel if I were from the stories I’ve heard. I care too much to teach where English isn’t taken at least semi-seriously. That doesn’t mean it can’t be sanuk (fun).

Tomorrow morning I’m embarking on a trip. My bag isn’t packed, my laundry isn’t dry, and I’ve really only got a vague notion of what I’ll do when I get to my destination. I’ve got a round trip ticket by bus and boat, for less than 20USD and that’s as much of a plan as I’ve got. But quite frankly, I like it that way. Yes, I’m going alone and yes, I’ll be fine.

I may hit the beach. I may climb a mountain. Elephants and waterfalls are possibilities. I might sit around and do a whole lot of nothing. I’m admittedly taking essays to grade and of course, the grad school reading must continue. Rather on the beach than stuck in a mediocre, lack of wifi coffee shop. Especially since I don’t drink coffee.

But I’ll get out of the city, out of my apartment and maybe, if I’m lucky, out of my own head for awhile.

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