Sports Week, Loi Krathong and Other Happenings

Where has the time gone? I can’t believe that I have been teaching for one month already!

Two weeks ago was sports week at Anuban Chaiyaphum. The kids were split up into different teams and all competed against each other during events like volleyball, soccer, and handball. We didn’t have class all week so I was able to get a ton of lesson planning finished and it was really wonderful to hang out with the kids outside of class. I loved watching them smiling, running around and having fun. You really get to know their personalities when you’re just able to sit around and play. I was able to take some amazing photos of them, also. Here are a few of my favorites:

Sports week concluded with a parade! We walked through the streets of Chaiyaphum, where people came out of their stores to watch us walk by, and ended up at the stadium. The “cheerleaders” of the teams looked beautiful and about 3 times their age – they really know how to apply makeup.

A couple of other highlights from last week:

  • Getting a lot better at riding my bike! I’m slowly starting not to drive like a grandma any longer
  • Had amazing som tam and chicken at the night market
  • Saw some super cute puppies at the night market, also!

This past week, I got my own classroom finally! Although I was told by P-Toom (head P3 teacher) that I wasn’t allowed to sit in the chair or use the computer because “everything is hers.” Quite strange, since she already has her own classroom, but she found me a spare shelf so that’s good. My room has air con too, which is such a luxury 🙂

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Since I have my own classroom now, I was able to implement my rewards program with the students! I split the class into 5 teams and give/take away points for good/bad behavior. Whichever team has the most points by the end of class gets rewarded with candy. It actually has seemed to work! They have incentive to be cooperative and participate and they have started policing each other, which is amazing. I’m really happy with the way it has worked so far!

Wednesday was a beautiful Thai holiday known as Loi Krathong. Loi Krathong could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. At night, everybody gathers and floats their krathongs on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so. The festival originates from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits. We made our krathongs at school with our students and then a few of the teachers and I walked to the lake close to our apartment to float them later that night. Chaiyaphum had a huge festival and it seemed everybody from town came to celebrate. It was really beautiful to see families setting their krathongs in the water and making wishes together. I set mine in the water and made a wish, watching it float away with the others. What an experience.

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We walked around the festival afterward and then went to set our lanterns into the night. It was amazing to see all of the lanterns floating in the sky together. So incredibly beautiful.

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All in all, had an amazing past couple of weeks and looking forward to having a long weekend in Ayutthaya next weekend for the King’s birthday!

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