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พฤศจิกายน 2550
29 พฤศจิกายน 2550
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Last English Class

It was my last English class last night. Not really my last class, as I've agreed to cover a couple more before I leave Bangkok next week, but my last class with 'my' students, the one's I've taught every week and got to know over the last 10 months or so.

In the end it was a bit wierd. One of the other teachers was absent so my usual class of 10 students got combined with another. There were 21 people sat in the room in total, the students plus another English girl. For some strange reason, Cat, a new volunteer, had wanted to watch my lesson to get an idea of how and what to teach.

I know my students well but the other guys... I had no idea about names or their actual level of English. It was a beginner class, but the word 'beginner' is often a misomer... Sometimes people have excellent speaking skills but can barely read or write, and end up slumped at the back of a 'beginners' class for months, or, (more often in Thailand) vice versa. They can read and write OK but, go beyond 'hello','whats your name' and 'where are you from' and you receieve a blank stare or an 'อะไรว่า' 'whaat!!!!' in reply.

The class went OK I guess. We abandoned the textbook. There was no point even trying to use it when 1/2 the class either didn't have a copy or wouldn't be able to follow it. I chose to go with a couple of speaking and discussion exercises about superstitions and good/bad luck instead.

Thankfully, my 'real' students seemed to be eager to get to know the other class. They were the more confident speakers, and happy to show it. The class survey went quite well. As the class came to a close we played a couple of rounds of charades, to review the 'action' verbs I'd taught my class the week before. Then, it was time for the moment I'd been dreading. Saying goodbye to them.

It turned out to be bit of an anticlimax. I stood in front of the room full of people, wanting to tell them that I was really going to miss them all and wanting to wish them good luck. But, it seemed a really strange thing to be doing. Half the students were people that I had never met before, and there were some who'se names I couldn't even remember. As I was speaking, I could feel my face going redder and redder, and was feeling more and more stupid and embarrassed by my 'I'm soooooooo gonna miss you guys' spiel.

After class, B, the office manager asked me to sign her book. When they leave, she likes all the volunteer teachers to write her a message, about the experience of teaching for Goodwill and about their students and the other memebers of staff. She told me off for reading the other comments. No copying! I needed to think of, and write my own.

I couldn't help by read what the other volunteer had written. Most of their messages were really sweet, talking about how fantastic B and her team are (they are - they all do an excellent job and are all totally devoted to the organisation that they work for and to the students that they help...) and how much B and the students will be missed by the leaving teachers.

Afterwards, B came over to give me a hug. Hugs are kind of normal at home but here, unless you know someone really well, or, they're quite western, they're a definite no-no. If there's one thing I really, really miss from home (after my friends and family) it's probably getting big fat bear hugs from people every once in a while. As soon as she started to hug me, I could feel my already red face becoming redder and tears running down my cheeks.

'Ya rong hy na! My dee na' "Don't Cry ! It's not good" her friend said.
But I couldn't help it... I'm so going to miss everyone there... Staff and students.

I'll still see them again. I'm covering a class this weekend, and, on Sunday, it's their annual Christmas party. I've never been to one before, as I usually like to go upcountry at the weekend but, this time, I've promised my old class that I'll go. It's probably the last time I'm going to see them again. I have to.

I took my camera with me yesterday too. I'd planned to take photos of my students but, by the time the class ended, I didn't really feel in the mood. It would have been a bit wierd telling half the class that I didn't want to take their pictures, I only wanted 'my' students, and even wierder, asking them to pose and smile whilst I was stood there feeling very stupid, and fighting back tears.

2 students, Jeab and Kot waited for me. We usually walk up to the BTS station together. In class I teach them, and speak English, but, when we walk up the road together, they normally listen to and try and help me speak Thai. They invited me to go shopping with them. They need to find something yellow or pink (yep, even Goodwill's been bitten by the recent pink craze...) for Sunday's party.

Normally I hate shopping. But, it was the last class, and, since I normally need to change buses around Siam anyway, I decided to go along.

The World Trade Centre was packed. Thai people don't really celebrate Christmas but all the big malls in Bangkok do. They spend serious money tarting up shop fronts and ceilings with trees and trimmings, and the Christmas deccies in Bangkok are usually much, much more extravagant than their counterparts back home. They become an attaction in themselves, as young Thai's gather to take photos of friends and family, posing in front of silver and gold coloured trees and festive placards.

Jaeb and Kot stood in front of the tree, a giant handbag, and an equally large, holly covered shoe whilst I took some pics. Jeab's hoping to get a new job so she wanted to 'wai phra' , pay her respects at one the shrines towards the back of the Mall too. Paying respect to various Hindu Gods and shrines is one way Thai people try and generate good luck for themselves, and make their wishes and dreams come true.

There are two shrines tucked away at the back of the Central World complex. We went to the first. The two of them told me that I should 'wai phra' as well, and at both of the shrines too. "It will help you stay in Thailand for a long time." they said. So, what were the 2 shrines for ? What were the 2 things that they thought would make me stay here for more than just a few months. The first, was for a new boyfriend and the second, for a new job...

Create Date : 29 พฤศจิกายน 2550
Last Update : 30 พฤศจิกายน 2550 16:02:42 น. 2 comments
Counter : 187 Pageviews.

Oh what a blow! about your last class...sorry that it had to be that way...You became attached, didn't you? to students...I could feel that too at the end of my TESOL course even if we had them for only 4 weeks. I am still in contact with my profile student, Spanish. I'll see her again I am sure, next time she's in Brighton.
Have a nice weekend and ya rong hai

โดย: Ta (ta/'o-o/' ) วันที่: 1 ธันวาคม 2550 เวลา:3:41:15 น.  

Yeah - if you ever do a TEFL / TESOL course people always say that you shouldnn't become attached to your students but, if they're nice students, and you like talking to them etc... it's really, really hard not to.

My class were great. A couple of months ago some of them took me to Karn. I've been there lots of times already, (it's probably the easiest weekend escape from BKK from where I live) but that trip was really special. 2 of them had never been on the train before, and very very giggley and excited by the whole thing.

I'll see most of them tomorrow - as I'm going to their Christmas party... but it won't be the same... And I'm sure they'll still call / e-mail occasionally...

Hope you have a nice weekend too, whatever you're up to :)

โดย: K IP: วันที่: 1 ธันวาคม 2550 เวลา:10:28:08 น.  

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