Volunteering in Kalasin

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Last week a few of us teachers were asked to visit some classes being taught on a volunteer basis by our Business English major students out in Kalasin. We went out without much info and assumed these were classes being taught at a school. As it turned out, one of our student’s family had created an ad hoc classroom outside their house and was hosting free lessons for two weeks since schools are mostly on holiday during October. Children from their village as well as neighboring villages attended, with younger kids coming in the morning and older ones in the afternoon, perhaps 30 kids per session.
The classes were being taught by a few of our students who stayed at the house for the duration of the project.
We went and basically had a lot of fun thinking up activities on the spot… I sweat a lot as it was a really hot day, so I can honestly say that I contributed a lot of salt to my polo shirt.
Our student’s house/farm has a shrimp pond out back, so our reward for lunch was huge platters of steamed prawns, raw prawns with garlic, and epic tom yum goong with shrimp the size of mini-lobsters in it.
We also helped out with the afternoon class and took a quick trip to a popular “beach” up the road just a couple kilos, at the Lampao Dam reservoir.
All in all it was a great day, and the dedication of our students really impressed us. When asked why they were doing it, they said they didn’t want to just waste their holidays away. Well done!

2 Replies to “Volunteering in Kalasin”

  1. What are you teaching? From the word “buffalo” and random letters under it, I’m guessing a game of Hangman.
    But what are you teaching regarding to the number 7? I see multiplication, but why do you have 7 added to multiples of 10?
    And why are you pointing to an inverted OK sign?
    Are you co-teaching a lesson or were there not enough seats for the dude in the background who does not look happy?
    Why is that student wearing a sweatshirt if it is so hot?

  2. > What are you teaching?
    The name of the game is buffalo and hangman is just used as the introduction to the name. It’s a great icebreaker in Thailand because all Thais think the mere utterance of the word “buffalo” is hilarious (calling someone a buffalo is like calling them a dumb cow).
    > But what are you teaching regarding the number 7?
    I tell you what, I’ll write up the rules to the game in a future post – you’ll just have to believe me when I say it kicks ass.
    > And why are you pointing to an inverted OK sign?
    I’m exaggerating counting off on my fingers.
    > Are you co-teaching a lesson…
    Yeah, that’s my colleague Bruce. He adapted the game from an existing one and I’ve been trying different variations of it ever since he taught it to me a year ago. We’ve done it with many students in a multitude of classes. Apparently, he sometimes sees students years later who come up to him and say, “do you remember me? I was the buffalo champion in my class!” So obviously, he created something great. Actually, I already think of it as his legacy.
    Oh, also, there were no empty seats. It was a packed classroom in both the morning and afternoon, insofar as a roofed area with a whiteboard can be called a room.

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