Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feeling Proud of my 11th graders.

I was so proud of my 11th graders today.  Today’s lesson was on weights and measures, comparing metric to non-metric values.  It was kind of a dry lesson, and I was pulling out all the stops including playing “Guess how much Teacher Joko weighs?”

I set up the following word problem on the board and told them I did not know the correct answer, but I bet them I could figure it out faster than they could.  I’m pretty good at math and I had a head start in that I was the one who came up with the problem.

In the USA, 1 gallon gasoline = $5.00
In Bangkok, 1 litre of gas = Bt 43
$1.00 = Bt 30
(I didn’t have to tell them that 1 gallon = 4.5 litres, that was on their worksheet)

The question was: Where is gas less expensive?

Simple enough… One gallon gas is 150 Baht, multiply 43 by 4.5 and you get…

Boom.  One student put his paper on my desk before I had finished carrying the zero.  They (well, he) won! 

I didn’t think they’d beat me at my own game.  It gave me a chance to tell the kid, “not only is your English really good, you’re a math wiz!”  My favorite teachers have always been very complimentary, and so I believe creative praise is very important.  

(Incidentally, I know that a gallon of gas isn’t $5 yet. I set up the problem to make it more likely for Thailand to ‘win’.  It ended up being a lot closer than I thought, which made me think gas is actually kind of expensive here.  Tonight, I learned that the conversion rate I was using wasn’t even the gallon I knew of… one UK gallon is 4.5 litres.  A United States gallon is 3.76 liters, even liter is spelled differently… at $4/US gallon, that makes 120 Baht, 43*3.76= 161 Baht… yeah, it’s cheaper in the US).

I got my visa changed today to a working visa, which won’t require me to make border runs any more.  As long as I stay employed, I can renew this visa indefinitely.

I had an audition tonight for a role in a play.  Yes, you read that right.  I auditioned for a play.  If you happened to have read my previous blog, or know me personally, then you know that community theatre was one of my passions in the years leading up to me coming to Thailand.  I was in three plays in two years, and enjoyed every part of it. 

The name of the play is “The Natives” and was written by a couple of expats here in Bangkok who have been longtime English teachers.  It is about a group of English teachers here in Bangkok at a rather strange private school. I got to read the entire script tonight, and it is quite funny.

I did my best at the audition, and there are very limited roles left to be cast, so if it happens, it happens. If not, at least I got to meet some new people.

We finish this blog with Part Three of last weekend’s trip to Cambodia.  I tell you, never have I felt as foreign in a place as I did last weekend when I decided I would hike through the slums of a Cambodian border town looking for the place where all the illegal immigration into Thailand occurs.  Not your typical tourist destination.

The background music isn’t typical either: It’s the latest dance hit here in BKK.


  1. Love it when the students figure it out faster than the teacher - means they are being taught well. Good luck with the audition.

  2. Speaking of employment, What happens when the contract you are on now as part of your course runs out? Doe the schools close for a few months like they do in the US every summer? Teachers here do not get paid during the summer. I assume it is the same there, so how would you support yourself, and live up to your work visa, during the Holiday months?

    I'm glad you are getting to know some of the English Teachers who are beyond this first training period. They should be able to answer these questions.

    I hope you get a part in the play, but if you don't is there other involvement you can have, like props, lights, understudy, etc. etc.

    I had a dream about you the other night. You were doing 2 minute spots on the local Bangkok TV news as an Expat about town.

  3. I found your blog thru your mom's blog. I enjoy yours so much. I have always wanted to travel . . . but have fears about being in a place where I don't know the language. It's instructional for me to see you get along in that situation. Maybe, someday, I too will travel. Until then I will watch you travel! LG

  4. Sounds like things are going good...I give you lots of credit for following your dream!


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