Teaching in Ubon: Part II

It wasn't possible to get to know all 300+ of my kids at Ubon Witiya Khom but a couple of cheeky faces stood out to me during my time there. In class 3/9, there was Lord and his gang. Lord is a little Filipino boy whose parents are actually both teachers at Ubon Wit. As a result, his English is pretty spot on and the other kids in the class can often be found gathered around his desk copying off his worksheet. He's sitting right behind the teacher in the photo below. I only found out his parents worked at the school after I pointed him out to another teacher and asked how this kid managed to become so proficient at English.

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There was Beem and her posse - a group of cute little girls who kept trying to hug me while I was teaching. They could be super angelic when they chose to be but there were times when they were downright terrifying, roaring at the other kids to shut up. And god were they persistent - on the last day they wouldn't let me leave the room until I'd given them my Facebook name.

There were kids whose faces I recognised because they were either incredibly naughty or had done something unintentionally hilarious. I had a kid in one class who I nicknamed "Gropy Kid". Enough said.

And of course, there was Music (yes, his official nickname was actually Music). The best way to describe Music is to imagine a firecracker disguised as a tiny little nine-year-old kid. He was probably the smallest kid in his grade but holy crap was he active. I think he was allergic to his chair or something because I never once saw him sit down in it. You'd be trying to teach the class and from the corner of your eye, you'd see this kid sidling up to his friend, poke him in the face and then run to the back of the classroom. He had this little owl-shaped side bag which he wore every minute of the day and when he ran, it looked like a little bird flapping alongside him. And he liked to dance on the desks when he thought you weren't watching. I think that's how he got his name. I wanted to bring him back with me. Pretty sure he was small enough to fit in my suitcase.

On the last week of teaching, my team and I ran English camp for the school. So instead of being in the regular classroom setting, we had a station rotating system with each of us teaching a specific area such as numbers, conversation, phonics, etc. I did numbers and it was basically a chance for me to play heaps of outdoor games whilst trying to familiarise the kids with English numbers. Not gonna lie, it was exhausting work - being out in the sun for 7 hours every day for the entire week, talking into a microphone for the majority of the time. But it was also so much fun, especially when you split the girls and boys up and pit them against one another.

Oh and before I forget, we made fairy bread for 900 kids on Australia Day. We did it the night before in the hotel's conference room and almost ran out of hundreds and thousands so had to resort to sprinkles. It wasn't the same but the kids still loved it. Or maybe they were just being polite.

Our last day at Ubon Wit was one of the most memorable days of the trip. We gave a short speech at morning assembly (which probably only the foreign teachers understood), publicly embarrassed ourselves by singing the "We Are One" song to the entire school without any backing and presented the teachers with gifts. Afterwards, we visited the music room and the students taught us how to play on Thai instruments. Then we had an spontaneous jam sesh and dance party.

Afterwards, the school gave us a farewell ceremony which all the senior teachers attended. There was a massive lunch and traditional ceremony where the school brought in a holy man to bless some white string bracelets for us. I'm not entirely sure but I think the intention behind this is to wish us well for the future and ensure we stay safe for the rest of the trip.

Then there were more performances and the School Director gave us an impromptu karaoke performance. That's him in the background holding yellow flowers. What a cutie.

We said goodbye to the kids, distributed koala bears to the teachers and took lots of photos. The kids were so sweet and kept seeking us out to give us flowers and stickers. Even now, I can't bear to remove any of them from my green polo shirt (even though the shirt stanks and needs a thorough washing)

Photo credit: A random little girl who took it perfectly on the first go
I miss them all. 

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