In the past few months I've spent a lot of time at several schools in my community in an attempt to start developing some youth. Although I haven’t really accomplished any ‘development’ yet, I've been able to meet and get to know a lot of the kids in my community. They’re cute, fun, smart (contrary to what some of the teachers tell me), and on the particularly tough days they remind me why I want to be here. They become more confident saying ‘good morning’ to me every time I see them and I’m quick to praise their efforts and return their smiles. They laugh at me a lot and have picked up my frequent use of the word 'okay' and use it themselves, always laughing at the same time. They laugh at my language mistakes and (at my request) now correct my grammar when I say things incorrectly. I teach them English words they don’t learn in the classroom and they teach me the local ways to say some of the Thai words I already know. In short, they're awesome.
This week kicked off a three week span of competitions, tests and evaluations leading up to a three week break from school in October. This week is competition week and includes contests in various areas like math, art, singing, aerobics, paper airplane throwing, and spelling. I was unknowingly designated part of the ‘English committee’ and given the responsibility of administering the spelling contest. Although happy to help, considering the fact that I was pronouncing words for them that they’d never heard me speak before and then had to write down correctly, I felt bad for them (they’re used to hearing it a specific way from their teachers, which often includes incorrect pronunciation). This also unfortunately caused me to miss most of the paper airplane throwing competition, but I managed to catch the last few contestants (this contest explained why I had seen so many little boys making and throwing paper airplanes all day long in the past several weeks, all throughout the school day).
Next week is test week, which I'm sure won't be nearly as exciting...but it's Thailand, so who knows.
Some pictures from two days of competitions: