Chelsea’s first week at Banneansa-ad .Sakeao 2018

Chelsea’s first week

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On 3th June, I arrived at Thailand and from then on, my volunteer journey here began. I come from China. I’m a junior student in college who is studying accounting and I am taking my gap year. To be a volunteer teacher is the best choice I made for my gap year by no means. Because nothing is more meaningful than it for me and nothing is more cheerful than it for my students.
Our school is located at a rural village near the border of Cambodia in Sakeao province. The principal and teachers drove more than three hours to pick me up at the airport. Then they took me to have some Thai food. Firstly the lunch, then ice cream and lastly the Thai hot pot. You can never imagine how generous they are even on the first day we meet !

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The first morning here, I was woke up by the sky light on 5:30am ( so early compared to China) and the sounds made by chicken, birds and dogs from the temple. After that I heard a cute voice coming downstairs. They are calling: Teacher! And that’s how it began. The whole next month, I will be surrounded by the calling of Teacher! everyday.
The first time we met, many students were very curious about me. They all came over to see me and greeted me. After we got to know each other , you will find that they are so polite and welcome. They greet you every time they see you even though you just come back from the toilet after three minutes. When you walk in the hallway, every student runs out of the classroom and hugs you tightly while shouting “Teacher! Teacher!” As you can picture, a group of students gathered around me so that I could not move at all. I feel like I am a super star with a bunch of fans, and they stuck me at the airport. Some students see you from a distance, and then they shout at you happily while they are running to you and giving you a big hug after that.
Anyway, I was truly surprised how outgoing and dynamic these students are. Besides, they love taking photos. Every time I take out my phone to take a photo, they will give me the best pose! They are all great models !

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These kids are unbelievably adorable when you are playing with them, they love to be close to you, to play games with you and to have fun with you. In addition, when I am giving the class, they are extremely supportive! Although sometimes they can’t understand you clearly, they still try to cooperate with you and react to your lessons.

As for the teaching, I hold the view that what I can teach them is very limited due to the barrier of language. Therefore, I would rather play games with them and leave a happy memory to them.
So I looked up plenty of songs , dance and games online. I taught them how to draw a rat with 7+2=9, and how to fold a rocket with paper.

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I taught them to sing and dance “If you are happy ”. First, clap your hands. Second, stomp your feet. Last, say Hurray! And students they love it so much that they asked me to sing and dance this song every class.
I also taught they some Chinese song, like the most famous on “两只老虎”. They are very curious about Chinese so we had a great time learning this song.
What’s more, I played different interesting outside games with them. Such as “the eagle catches chickens”, “Hug together when I speak a specific number ” and “贴膏药” which is a famous Chinese game. Among all these, their favorite is the cup dance. Cup dance has been very popular online in China, so I learned it myself first then taught them. After they learned how to play it, I can hear the sounds of cup dance coming from the classroom everyday!
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Day by day, you will find out how amazing these students are! They will give you candy and snacks, plug the Burmese gardenia (a kind of flower)into your hair, then laugh and say:” Teacher beautiful!” They will make a circle on the lawn to let you take pictures. They will take you around the muddy road to see their newly planted little tree on rainy days. They will wind you with cardboard, and will help you braid your hair.

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My first week here was extraordinarily good ! No matter teachers or students here, they are all very nice, caring and welcome. I am having a great time here and I know the great time will keep going!!!

 

The first weekend, Teacher P’noi took me to his home after three hours driving. And that’s where I was flooded again with the hospitality of Thai people. His family, they all can’t speak English, so it’s difficult to have a smooth conversation. However, it didn’t matter at all.

They took me out to visit a temple nearby, a huge Buddha and a splendid building in Cambodian style. In the evening, they treat me to delicious Thai hot pot and barbecue at home. I love Thai food, they are spicy or sour, both my favorite flavor. Besides, they have fresh vegetables!
Week 2: What the colorful school life!

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The first weekend, Teacher P’noi took me to his home after three hours driving. And that’s where I was flooded again with the hospitality of Thai people. His family, they all can’t speak English, so it’s difficult to have a smooth conversation. However, it didn’t matter at all.

 

They took me out to visit a temple nearby, a huge Buddha and a splendid building in Cambodian style. In the evening, they treat me to delicious Thai hot pot and barbecue at home. I love Thai food, they are spicy or sour, both my favorite flavor. Besides, they have fresh vegetables!

 

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Wai kru day (Respect teacher day), This festival is held in the second week of June every year , and all school in Thailand will hold certain activities for it. I am so lucky to have a precious experience of this festival.

Respect teacher day was held on Thursday. Nevertheless, teachers in school had already organized a rehearsal for students to familiarize them with the process of the activities on Tuesday. You can see how much importance they attached to this event! And Students, they started to pick different flowers and accumulate them after they was off school. Then one day before “Respect teacher day ”, students started to make Pan Wai Kru ( flower plate)and a small bunch of flowers by themselves. They split the big flowers in to small ones and inserted them one by one into the mud on the delicate plate. It’s a time consuming job and it needs much patience. But the students were making it so carefully with their whole hearts.

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The event went by the following steps: Firstly, they sang songs for teachers. Secondly, they holding the Pan Wai Kru kneed down before a Buddha firstly then kneed down before the teachers and meanwhile, they gave the Pan Wa Kru to teachers. Thirdly, they repeated the second step, but this time they gave teachers  the smart bunches of flowers.

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When they put their palms together and kneed down before you, you suddenly realized that teacher is such a divine profession!

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In addition to this event, School will also hold other activities for students. For instance, every Thursday they would invite a Buddhist monk from a temple nearby to give a speech to all students. And they organized students to plant trees on the backyard of school as well. I can only say what a colorful school life they have !

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Week3

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On Sunday, Nang took Halo ( the new volunteer) and me to attend an Ordination in the temple. In Thailand, Buddhist male will become a monk at his 20 years old. I thought it will be very serious like in China. But it was totally different! it was very crowded, noisy and busy. Thai music was loud, Thai people were abandoned in dancing with Whiskey in their hands. And they even handed us the Whiskey to let us  have a drink although we were completely strangers.

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The man who was ready to become a monk sat in a car wearing traditional Thai white suit. The car drove slowly around the temple. We and people from this town walk and dance behind the car waiting for the man to throw candies and coin in a pretty flower cloth. Every time he spread candies and coins, people around screamed loudly in happiness and excitement and crouched down to grab them. After one circle, he got off the car, kowtowed before the temple. Then he was walked into the temple by the crowd.

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On Monday, we cooked Chinese hot pot for teachers. Cooking is a hard work that you can never understand if you are the kind of person who just wait for your food to be cooked and just leave after you finish your food. We picked cooking materials in the supermarket yesterday. And I already asked Halo to bring the Chinese hot pot sauce from China. But before starting to cook, there were still many preparations need to be made. Such as washing the vegetables and chopping up the photos. So it took a long time. But I was so happy that teachers love it and finish it all !

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On Wednesday, we are told that today is teacher Opor’s birthday and tomorrow is teacher Emmy’s birthday, we had no ideas at all before! So Halo (the new volunteer) and I begin to think about what gifts should we give to them. After discussion, I searched some teaching videos about paper flowers online and we began to prepare the flowers gifts! The time is so limited, so I thought about asking our students to help ours. In this way, they can learn how to fold the paper flowers on one hand,  and on another hand, they also can show their wishes to Emmy and Opor’s birthday! So that day is a long long day, we kept folding and folding from the morning to the afternoon and we are also tired of doing the boring job over and over again. However, we didn’t give up. We try to make every flower at its best and we sang and made jokes to pass time.Finally, we made it! Two beautiful paper flower balls horned to this world. One is in Green which is Emmy’s favorite color and another is in Pink which is Opor’s favorite color.

 

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Back to the students, we not only have good time on the class together, but also off the class. They are so creative! This week I saw they were playing some cloth. When I began to take a photo, they dressed the cloth on their body and walked like an international model in front of me. I laughed so loudly, they were so funny!

 

Besides, they were curious about Chinese too, they ask me how to write their name in Chinese. I wrote it down for them, then they learned to write it on the billboard.

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I have been here for three weeks, only one week left. Happy time always goes fast!