It was actually the tri-annual report that cemented my decision to "drop" one of my schools. I had been thinking about it for several weeks prior to that point but counter-arguments of why I shouldn't presented themselves more frequently. The catalyst to my thought of dropping one school was simple: there was absolutely no fluidity nor progressive development of language along grade levels at either of my schools. There was nothing to speak of in terms of teacher collaboration or communication between levels: the Mathayome teacher had absolutely no idea what theBratome 4, 5, and 6 teachers would be teaching, nor she any clue of the curriculum of Bratome 1, 2, and 3. Talk about a lack of informed teacing! It just didn't make sense for me, after that point, to only work with one teacher who was limited to a small section of a student's progress in language development. I wanted to work with all teachers and attempt to unite all levels - a task that seemed incredibly daunting to tackle at two schools. There was no way I could'nt drop a school, I needed to do it; it not only sounded like the most effective thing to do but I also found myself really excited by its prospects. My ubiquious internal counter-arguments? I would feel bad. I got over the possibility of feeling bad, though, when I was painfully unable to report many successes on my tri-annuat report. On paper it was obvious that I wasn't being entirely effective (at least in that aspect) but more importantly, I felt I could be doing a much better job. I reasoned that it just didn't make much sense to protect "feeling bad" to such extremes when I knew of another method that could be more effective. I followed through with my latter thoughts and ultimately, it was by no means an easy process. And I did feel bad. Sitting face to face to tell my favorite of my two counterparts that I would no longer be working with her was a pretty painful experience but 2 months after the fact, I am happy that I did follow through. I find myself with such a deeper understanding of the school itself and my students. For me, dropping my school was a quetion of how I could be most effective. For you reader, however, I can't just give out that adivce. I know that our individualized siuations don't really allow for such simplicity. What I can tell you is this: if you are contemplating re-structuring your work siuation remember that there is no such thing as a bad or wrong decision....especially if you follow through. I've learned more than I think I would ever have had I stayed at both of my schools - a fact that has been an extremely fortunate outcome of my decision. On the otherhand, had the decision been a bust, re-treating would have been 100% acceptable.
I'm actually submitting that today without giving the rest of the story and here it is: I've been a teacher in Thailand for a year now. I have had some great success as a teacher, some as a trainer for my co-teacher, but most of my success come out of my reading club. I've discovered that, at least in Thailand, I don't make a very good teacher. It requires too much structuring off of nothing. What do I make, is a very good tutor. I am going to entirely restructure the way I work next year and very little of it will be actual teaching. I'm super super excited about it. There is still about a month or so left of school and then I will be on vacation!!! I will still have to hold some very unfortunate english camps on Bangkok order but other than that.....
The past couple of months, like I said, have been fantastic. Last month I successfully completed my first ever marathon! I was surpised and very thankful for the amount of energy I had that day. Thankful because I needed it especially for the last miles when my legs started hurting so bad I couldn't stop to take drink break because it hurt to bad to start running up again. I finished in 5 hours and 20 minutes which I'm pretty pleased about :) The picture at the top is some traditional Thai dancing during a Thai Holiday last week. The picture to the left is 3 of the best people here: Anton, Meghan, and Peter. Meghan and Peter both ran and finished the marathon as well. This is a top the largest buddah statue - well, at least that I've ever seen ;)
So, I've got about 20 spiders living with me at any point in the week. They themselves aren't much of a bother - they are kind of like the "just there" Daddy Long Legs in the States - but their webs, well, that's quite a different story. My house is made of wood and what should be innocuous, simple, dust-collecting nooks and crannies become havens for web-spinning. On any given cleaning day it takes me about 10- 15 minutes to clear all of those places of webs. The slightly scary part is getting the webs above my head. The slightly gross part is removing the webs from my broom. As a collective sum, there is enough spider-web that if I balled it all together, I could play ping-pong with it. The fascinating part is that the spiders, despite the fact that their homes are destroyed on a regular basis, keep rebuilding. The one on the top-left corner of my mirror, for example, is rebuilt everyday. I can't help but think: "stupid spiders" as I remove, for what seems like the hundredth time, his temporary home. But they need a home don't they? I realize as I'm here in Thailand, how much a place is attached to ourselves as home. Thai people ask me all too often what the difference between home and house it. The only way I see it is a house is a simple structure, even a more general term. A home is a house after all. A home is the place you love. I've always loved Colorado but good god, after Thailand, I KNOW there is no other place that I can call home. I hope you all are doing well wherever you call home! :)