Friday, December 23, 2011

Tomorrow, I'm meeting my mom, dad and Rebecca in Bangkok for like 10 days, should be sweet! Maybe Rebecca can guest entry while I'm there. In the mean time, here's a little of what I've been up to lately:

Friday, December 9, 2011

I had a birthday party! At the restaurant I eat at like thrice a week:
My kindle screen broke and momentarily: IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD! But my family is visiting in two weeks and the replacement is free; I can study Thai and read a book of travel poetry in the meantime. I love the device but sturdiness isn't its selling point, this is the second I've killed in 6 months.

A few weeks ago I had the rare situation  of teaching all 17 classes in a single week, but things have come up and I suspect it will be like Mewtwo: seen only once. Classes, especially with my older students, have been going really well. I got each class to write a rap song, and some students were pretty hesitant about it but one class got as far as "yo, yo, he is a good man/I want him in my hand/you and I in Wonderland." The following week I made up a lesson about the RZA's "Grits," which I chose in part because it's a great song and in part because it's about family, growing up poor and food, and I was hoping the kids could relate to it. They got that it was about food, but the connection between the great meal your mom cooked you as a kid and saying no to a life of crime was a bit more difficult to illustrate.

This week, I've been surprised at how difficult it is for them to describe an item of food (and then guess the item based on classmates' descriptions); they don't have English vocabulary like sweet, salty, sour, soup, noodles, etc. But I must have tapped something, because I had some seriously full attention. I read this book called "Not-For-Profit," reviewed here, by Martha Nussbaum about how the socratic method, hands on learning, the liberal arts and the arts themselves prepare us for democratic and cosmopolitan citizenship, and I've been thinking ever since about how to develop lessons that encourage creativity. One of the best things about teaching, as a job, is that it engages the creative mind, and like Dewey said:"The difference between play and what is regarded as serious employment should be not a difference between the presence and absence of imagination, but a difference in the materials with which imagination is occupied."

 We had a big Thanksgiving feast at my house for PiA Southern Thailand and friends! How lovely. Some of us went to Kuala Lumpur and had late nights for a good long weekend. Before that, I went to a wedding my co-teacher took pictures:
Because we're in Asia

bride and groom.

Tomorrow I'm going to bike out so Similan and go snorkeling. Lastly, this is how I feel about Occupy Wall Street.