Well, camp, but that does sound interesting...
In the past week I have been tried and tested as a teacher and trainer, facilitator and friend. There is a lot to juggle when planning trainings here in Thailand, I have learned. Mainly, I've learned that you're lucky if you have time to plan and even luckier if you are able to carry out your plans as...planned...as it were.
Rome wasn't built in a day, of course, and I realize that a curriculum of training District Office employees, school principals, or teachers on the different skills that they might find useful in English isn't exactly rocket science, but a week's notice would be lovely. So, now I know that it can be done without that planning time, and now my dear counterparts know that I would prefer more time to think things through.
Here are some of the priceless moments in time of the past three camps I've had the challenge and privilege of co-facilitating:
*The Thai equivalent to James Earl Jones (in voice only) performing a skit based on a Thai folk tale. Epic.
*Introducing 50 tipsy Thais to the ancient art of the electric slide while a fellow volunteer sang from the stage.
*Watching a grown man do an interpretive dance as a turtle while his friends sung a song in Engl...ish
*Hearing principals ask one another if they were going to the White House after class
*Teaching the importance of pronouncing the L in clock, the R (as opposed to an L sound) in rice, the TH (as opposed to a TS sound) in teeth, and the EE (as opposed to an I sound) in sheet.
*Introducing the concept of shaking hands after several strange attempts and encounters
The people attending the trainings seem to be learning a lot, and definitely having fun. I feel like the novelty of being an American woman has not worn off, yet, and there is a lot of boundary testing going on. The trainees (mostly male) have asked intriguing questions, when given the chance, some inappropriate by U.S. standards, but they end up being opportunities for cultural exchange that I have grown accustomed to braving. I'm afraid I'm still at the stage where I'm still learning far more than anyone else at any given time, but I am enjoying the challenge, and the sudden rush of work that has fallen into my lap.
I am most grateful for the friendship of Barbara and Christine who have trooped through these past three camps with me. Without them, I'm sure there would have been far less opportunities to see the humor and share the pains that have kept me both sane and smiling.
Until next time...