First Days of Class

I have just finished my second day of class here in Thailand this summer and things have been very busy, but are going well.  My experiences from last year are certainly helping me out this year as I teach.  For example, I knew to expect that class would not start on time.  Class was supposed to start at 10:30am, but no students were in class at that time and only 8 of the 17 students were there at 10:45am.  I started class at 10:50am and by 11:00am, all of the students had arrived.  Even though I knew to expect this delay, it was still tough on me because I really like to start “on time”.  The first thing I had the class do is agree to a “daily” class schedule.  The students and I agreed that I will start class at 10:45am (no exceptions) and we will break for lunch at 12:00pm – 1:00pm.  There will also be a 15 minute break at 2:15pm and class will end at 3:30pm, if not finished before then.  I have also worked on getting more students involved in class by calling more on them to give answers, and now that they have selected teams, I can just call on “team 1” (for example) to give a response.  One thing that is different is that last year I taught an executive MBA class and an evening class, so I was teaching to students that were working full-time.  Almost all of my 17 students this year have no previous work experience.  That is making things a little difficult because I cannot depend on them to give “real-world” examples from their work to discuss in class, but I think things will still be fine.  One problem that I am sure will be an issue is me speaking too quickly for them.  At the end of my first class yesterday (Monday), I had one student state that I did speak too quickly.  I try consciously to slow down, but sometimes it is hard to see when students are not able to follow me during class.

Sup met up with me after class downstairs in the shopping mall, where I briefly met his sister for the first time who is in college now.  Sup helped me out by walking with me to the place where I got my SIM card for my cell phone because I wasn’t able to make any phone calls.  I have only spoken a couple of times with Jet on the phone and for about 1 minute with Kristin on Mother’s day when I would keep getting messages that said (in Thai) that I had no credit left on my phone.  Jet had thought that she put about $20 on the card (enough for my two months in Thailand), but it turned out that only $1 was put on the card when it was set up.  That was fixed.  Sup and I then talked about our meeting that we have scheduled tomorrow at the undergraduate or “Bang Na” campus (with another person from JSU, Sonny, who is visiting his sister living in Bangkok this week), picked up some food on the street, and ate dinner at my condo.  Sup was very jealous of the accommodations I was given this year compared to last year.

I had cancelled my second class because of my meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) and had the “make-up” class today instead.  That was a very strange thing for me to do, to cancel a class and have a “make-up” class is something I have never done in the US – but this is a common thing to do in Thailand.  I thought that many students might not show up today, but almost all did.  I guess I should not have been surprised as almost all do not work.  With two classes so close together, and since there is only 1 month to teach the class, there has been a lot of preparation work involved.  When I arrived in my classroom today, one of the secretaries at the office desk here had told me that the condo I was staying at had requested that I let them know when they could “clean my room” during the week.  Last year at the “Hua Mak” campus, I had a cleaning person come during the morning once a week (I think it was on either Tuesday or Wednesday) and they changed the bed sheets, swept up the room, scrubbed the bathroom clean, and took out any garbage I had.  The secretary told me that the condo had preferred to clean my room each time I had class during the week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).  Three times a week?  I just said, “sure”.  I guess they cleaned the room while I was in class today, so once I leave my classroom and return back to my room in a few minutes, I will see what changes have been made.

I will head back to my room today and use the workout facilities there.  On Sunday evening I stopped by there and used the treadmill that they had, which was the first time I had ever used a treadmill.  I am now a big fan.  Last year at the “Hua Mak” campus, across the street from the university (about a quarter mile away) was a soccer stadium that I could run around the outside of and not worry about the hectic traffic of Bangkok interferring.  I would have to run at 6:00am in the morning because if I went any later, I would be cooked by the sun.  Of course I could only run if it was not raining out too.  On Sunday, I had no worries at all.  I ran at a very good, consistent pace, which is something that I have a hard time doing when I normally run (either in Thailand or the US), had no traffic, no smog of traffic, no heat of the day (still able to work up a good sweat, though), and was very comfortable.  I had no idea what “speed” or “incline” to set the treadmill at (I did everything “manually” instead of using a set course), but I wanted to run for 1 hour as it was the first time that I had done any exercise since the Nashville Marathon about two weeks earlier.  I was able to keep up my pace at speed “9.0” and an incline that started out at “3.0”, but I dropped down to “1.5” for the last 15 minutes.  I was shocked that I was able to run 8.33 miles in the 1 hour time, which is a 7 minute, 12 second pace.  When I normally run outdoors, I usually run at a 9 minute pace.  Absolutely shocking that I was running that much quicker on the treadmill.  We’ll just see how that goes today.

Speaking with Jet, she has said that Ben has just been a handful.  She had him taken for a haircut yesterday – I expected that it would be cut real short, but Jet said that it was not.  Jet said that it was “much shorter” than before, but that the hair stylist said the short hair would not look good on him because of Ben’s hair type.  I don’t know what that means, but I suspect Jet just could not bring herself to have Ben with very short hair.  Hopefully Ben will be a bit more comfortable now with shorter hair – I can’t wait to see him again.

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One Response to “First Days of Class”

  1. seattle99 Says:

    Excellent blogs, and I’m looking forward to reading more; hopefully soon.

    khup khun krup,
    jon

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