Saturday, August 27, 2011

But where has all the summer gone?

What I see every night on my way home from school :)
The past few months of summer have been absolute chaos. In a good way, of course - just full of all sorts of shenanigans. We started teaching summer intensives in mid-July, and just now completed them. I taught a Science class and two speaking "boot camps".

I had a lot of fun teaching the Science class - we did all manner of projects, ranging from paper airplanes races to making mayonnaise to testing foods for acids and bases. Preparing for the classes was pretty easy - most of the topics were things we learned all through school, so explaining things was a breeze. Halfway through the course, I realized that I like science a lot more than I thought. Shouldn't have been that much of a surprise!

The speaking classes, on the other hand, were torture. The books were dry and poorly written - I had to poke and prod and beg the students into participating during class. There were a few exceptions, of course. All the boys in my upper-level class loved to make speeches about "Zombie Teacher" (or as most students  say, "첨   비   Teacher"). It was a little annoying, especially when they said that one of the other teachers was Zombie Teacher, or that all the teachers at our school "kill Zombie Teacher", etc. etc., but I just kept telling myself that at least they were participating!

All in all, it's been a good semester - full of growth and learning, to be sure, but for my first semester teaching EVER? I'd have to say I've done pretty well!

As far as my school goes, I really do love it. My branch manager is incredibly competent (being a teacher himself really gave him an appreciation for us, I think) and the branch owner is so sweet! She's always bringing us coffee or snacks. She makes sure we have a staff meal at least once a month. AND she gave both me and my coworker $75 to spend in Thailand when we went on summer vacation. Not to mention the two VIP movie tickets that she gave me for teaching an open class last Saturday. How awesome is she?!

Oh yeah! I went to Thailand! I almost forgot about that. The food was amazing, the people were amazing, the views were amazing. Everything? Pretty much amazing. I wish I could be more descriptive, but after the debacle that was my return trip back to South Korea, I've blocked out almost all the good parts. Seriously, it was that bad. I've decided that Shanghai must be a gateway to hell, or at least another dimension, because I haven't seen incompetence that bad in my LIFE. And I like to think I've traveled a fair bit. 

Anyways, instead of trying to dig up words about Thailand, here are some pictures:

The view of Bangkok from the airport rail

Rush hour in the train station

The ocean on the way to Koh Chang - 7 AM and rainy, after 28 hours of traveling :(

My bungalow - for $7 a night!

The beach bar we hit up around noon

I wish I knew what this statue was protecting!

These topiaries were EVERYWHERE

Yes, parents travel like this with their children. All the time.

I don't know either. :D

Close encounter!

Pimped-out tuk-tuk (spelling?)

I wonder where they're going?


Yes, this was my sunset every night for 4 days.

This lovely little swimming hole inland on the island

The waterfall we hiked to on Koh Chang

Clear skies, beautiful beaches, perfect water -- the day we left. :(

Back in Bangkok - the view outside my hostel

Traffic all day, every day