M.A. Van Wey Travel & Photo

Summer School Shenanigans
April 8, 2010, 6:56 am
Filed under: Teaching | Tags: , , ,

Jennifer and I are currently in the midst of teaching a month-long summer session at school.  Jennifer’s teaching social studies to grades 1, 2, and 3, and violin to grades 4, 5, and 6.  I’m teaching grades 4 through 8 science.  I’m not a big fan of these older grades.  Grade 4 is alright, I had most of them as 3’rd graders last semester, and grade 5 is new to me but cooperative.  Teaching grades 6, 7, and 8 is much more challenging.  Older kids have attitude, are snarky and generally much more difficult to engage for me.  Last semester I was teaching grades 1-3 which consisted mostly of playing games and coloring pictures, a more difficult proposition for the older kids.

It’s all a learning process I guess.  Little by little I’m figuring out how to hold their attention.  This past week I decided to throw out the normal curriculum (which was a joke anyways), and took all my classes on nature walks around campus.  Despite the 106 degree heat they all seemed to be much more attentive than in the classroom.  I had each student find 10 animals and write about them, filling out a little data sheet as they found them.  Mostly they came up with ants, pigeons, geckos, dogs, and tadpoles.  In every single class I had at least one student yell “buffalo!”, pointing at another student.  Calling someone a buffalo in Thailand is basically calling them fat, stupid, and lazy.  A few called me monkey, so I obliged and made some monkey noises.

Hopefully soon I’ll bring a camera to school to capture some of the shenanigans.  Until then just use your imagination…Teacher Matt struggling valiantly in 106 degree heat to herd a group of crazy Thai kids around school looking for animals 🙂


Hot hot heat
April 7, 2010, 7:24 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

I noticed that today the hottest place in the world is Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma).  Kanchanaburi is the hottest province in Thailand and quite close to Myanmar:

Yesterday was 106 and it looks like it’ll hit that again today.  The rest of the week is supposed to get up to 108.  I’m finding that this heat is turning our concrete bungalow into an oven, and it even holds the heat through the night.  Hope I don’t return to the States a shriveled little raisin.

Puppies on my porch
April 5, 2010, 2:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

…and muddy paw prints everywhere.  A little over a month ago our porch dog had a litter of puppies.  We’ve been watching them grow since they fell out of the womb.  Along the way I took some photos of the cuteness.  Although it has been cute-overload having them around, it’s a bit tiring cleaning up piddle and paw prints every day and puppy proofing our outdoor living room.  Most of my cords have been perforated with puppy teeth.

For a long time the mother, Mo Mam, was fat as a pig and ready to pop.  We knew she was going to give birth soon but we didn’t know where.  One day after work she didn’t greet us at the driveway as usual, so I started poking around to see where on the property she made her den.  After a bit I found her hiding spot, a little cave she made deep in a pile of elephant grass.  Still no puppies but apparently she knew to hide out.  The next morning we found the her and the puppies in a new den closer to our bungalow.   Out of curiosity I walked over to her old den and found a puppy had been left behind.  It got stuck under a pile of bamboo poles and we could hear it yelping.  After 30 minutes of hacking through the grass and bamboo I pulled out the forgotten little black puppy and brought it over to it’s mother, now with 6 in her litter.

I knew I would get attached to the little rodents, and sure enough I’ve ended up fussing and worrying over them the whole time.  One of them, the only boy, dissappeared at 4 weeks.  My best guess was someone took him since he was the only boy, and probably good for the mother to have fewer hungry nipple-biters.  About a week ago 3 more puppies were given away to various people, just two left on our porch now.  Still they manage to run amok and get into trouble, but at least we’re down to mopping once a week instead of once a day.