Thursday 30th December by Sian
(31 December 2010)
The longer we spend teaching in Nam Ngao, the more apparent the cultural differences between here and England become. This is particularly so with regard to teaching at the school, where the attitude and behaviour of both the students and the teachers is completely different to what we are used to at home. Lessons are far more relaxed and timetables seem to frequently change due to various activities taking place - it takes a little getting used to and certainly keeps us on our toes but has given us the opportunity to do and see so much during our stay here.
This Thursday was another one of those interesting days at Nam Ngao School with plans changing and our schedule going out the window. In the morning, Joe, Duncan and I were supposed to be teaching twenty four 7 to 9 year olds for one hour, something we'd been a little apprehensive about as Yim had warned us they were her least favourite class and could be a bit of a handful. We were informed first thing that instead we'd be teaching for two hours instead of one so we planned extensively and prepared for the worst! The result was still a rather chaotic and noisy couple of hours of drawing, singing and writing with some very excitable youngsters and although we breathed a sigh of relief when it was over, it was still good fun. Something we have all noticed is that Thai children are not used to discipline as we know it and asking the class to be quiet usually gets little in the way of a response. One of the young boys picked up on the fact we were having difficulties maintaining control and brought me a ruler half way through the lesson, suggesting that we give the noisiest students a smack on the back of the hand, a technique we chose not to employ!
In the afternoon, our lessons were called off and instead we were taught how to make sticky rice in bamboo by some of the older students, Yim and a few other teachers. We made a variety of flavours and cooked them on an open fire behind the school. The result was actually really tasty, or 'Aroy' as the Thai would say, and it was lovely to spend some time with the students in a more relaxed environment.
We left the village in the late afternoon in preparation for our New Year visit to Chiang Mai and Tip kindly let us stay at her house for the evening. She cooked us an amazing meal which we ate with her, Mr. Tuk and some of their friends and family before we headed out to their school reunion where we were further supplied with food and drink and were entertained throughout the evening by singers and dancers. Tip and Tuk's friends are great fun so always guarantee a good time! However, we decided to call it a night pretty early due to the early start we faced the following day so headed back to the house to get some sleep.