Monday, March 29, 2010
On the other hand, I am ecstatic! I finally found out which classes I'm teaching for the 2010-2011 school year, and it is exactly what I had been hoping for!
This year I teach:
2-level 1 classes
1-level 2 class
1-level 3 class
(The former full-time Spanish teacher (who is now the Bible teacher) teaches 1-level 2 class).
Next year I'll teach:
2-level 1 classes
2-level 2 classes
I'm ecstatic because:
a)I have one less prep (now 3 different classes, instead of 4), which means less stress for me (this has been a busy, stressful year for me).
b)there will be consistency between the lower level classes (they all get taught the same thing, at about the same speed, and more-or-less in the same way)
c)I get to continue teaching AP-- something that I enjoy because it challenges me in different ways
d) I only have to learn two new textbooks... we're getting new curriculum for levels 1-3 for next year, so it will be like starting all over again. I have mixed feelings about this... I'm super excited about my new curriculum, but not excited about feeling like a first-year teacher again in many ways.
Did I ever mention that the language department also get a language lab next year? SUUUUUPER UBER excited!! The foreign language & ESL departments bugged the administration so much about it this year, so it's a go for next year! 25-30 computers for exclusively the use of the FL and ESL departments. YIPEE-SKIPEY! Now... to work on expanding the FL program to the middle school and possibly the elementary school...
Changes are a'comin!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
I know that God is sovereign. I know that He is loving. I know that He gives us what we need (though not always what we ask for). I know that He desires good for us. I know that He is just. I know that He is able to do far greater things than I could ever think or imagine… so why do I sometimes doubt Him?
Sometimes I pray a prayer for myself… to change my heart, to change my attitude, to give me opportunities to develop a specific fruit of the spirit, etc., yet I pray it with a hard heart, thinking “Sure, I ‘did my deed,’ I prayed to God about this so I can check it off my to-do list… like He’s ever going to be able to change me though… this is the way I am.” (Okay, maybe not those exact words, but you get what I mean). And then sure enough… God changes me.
I’m always amazed at how God can change hearts so quickly, and suddenly we’re passionate about what God is passionate about. Suddenly we’re obediently praying for, and loving and desiring things that only He could make us love and desire. Suddenly His plan for us (that we previously fought) is perfect.
I’ve been experiencing that wonder and amazement lately...amazed that God could change a heart like mine. Amazed that I’m no longer kicking and screaming, but loving…heck, embracing what God is asking of me. Amazed at how GOOD His plan is for me. Amazed at how blind I was to it before (and how ridiculously hard my heart was). Amazed at how He knew that one day I would submit to His sovereign plan after my major temper-tantrums. Amazed at how patient, loving, kind and merciful He is to give me more than I could ever want or need. Amazed at how He blesses me time and time again… simply amazed.
“You are God in Heaven
And here am I on earth
So I’ll let my words be few
Jesus, I am so in love with you
And I’ll stand in awe of you
Yes I’ll stand in awe of you
And I’ll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with you
The simplest of all loves songs
I long to bring to you
So Ill let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with you”
YES! We're coming home for a 5-week visit and are excited to see you and gorge on American food that we can't get here. :)
We'll be home from June 8-July 9, with a 5-day trip to the BWCA somewhere in the mix in mid-June.
We'd love to get together with you...
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Student: Mrs. Karly, ¿quieres ir al banquete conmigo? (Do you want to go to the banquet with me? [the banquet is like the ICS version of prom])... oh, wait, are you going with your husband?
Me: Well, if I did go, a) I wouldn't go with a student and b) yes, I would go with my husband.
Student: [sigh]...Okay, I guess I'll just go ask a different Spanish girl.
Me: I'm really not Spanish, you know.
Student: Okay, whatever.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Student: Hola Mrs. Karly
Me: ¡Hola! [while smiling at both girls]
Friend: Sawatdee ka [wai's me]
Me: Sawatdee ka [smile, stifle a small laugh since she thinks I'm Thai and keep walking...]
Student: She's Spanish, you know.
Friend: She's Spanish?
Student: Well, no... she's from America but she's the Spanish teacher, but she looks Thai.
Friend: Oh, okay.
#2: During one of my Spanish 1 classes [we're doing a food unit right now]
Me: [in Spanish] What ingredients do you need to make a fruit salad?
Student A: [in Spanish] To make a fruit salad, I need an apple, some grapes, a grapefruit and some cheese.
Class: [groans] Gross! Who puts cheese in their fruit salad?
Me: [in Spanish] Cheese? You need cheese to make a fruit salad?
Student A: Yep, I'm a vegetarian.
#3: Forgetting that I'm Thailand, I wave excitedly at our friend, the fruit dude, after not having seen him for a while. He grins his toothy grin, and slightly shakes his head at me for forgetting to wai instead of wave excitedly. I could just hear him saying behind that oh-so-gentle smile of his, "Silly American!"
Please come quickly... I NEED you!
In the midst of accreditation, lesson planning, dealing with delinquent seniors who have senioritis, cell phone and cheating problems among the student population, SALT trip planning, trip to US this summer organizing and other random stuff/responsibilities, I would really just like spring break to be here... and PRONTO!
Seriously, whoever invents holidays and makes school schedules needs to put a few more days off in the schedule between January and April because that's the long haul and that's when I feel like I don't want to be a teacher anymore. [sigh] Work with me, Hallmark... create some made-up holiday, such as "Teacher sanity day."
Please come quickly spring break, and if you don't come fast enough, I think I might be the delinquent one who has teacheritis or somethin'! :)
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
As I mentioned in my last post, Mike is quite the sports and game fanatic, so as of 11 PM tonight (Thailand time), I will have officially lost him to:
Like I said in my last post, I love sports too, but just for a different reason than everyone else or for a different reason than most people think: all the snuggling I want as Mike is absorbed in the games! So...let the games & snuggling begin! :)
Click HERE if you want your own snuggle time with your March Madness fanatic.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Mike loves sports… any kind of sport interests him. He will read about sports, participate in any kind of sport, and watch whatever sports games he can get on the internet over here. Additionally, he is highly competitive when it comes to sports. I like sports a lot too… but not for the reason that he does or the reason that most people might think! I love sports because Mike loves them; because it means snuggle time as he is totally absorbed in watching a game or reading about them on-line. :) I don’t like playing them though because if it’s a team sport, how I play or what I do affects others, so it really stresses me out. However, I do enjoy individual sports like running.
Games are a whole different beast. I think Mike would play board games all day if he could. Whenever he gets a new game, he wants to learn how to play it in order to understand the rules and be able to tell others how to play the game. So you can often find him playing by himself or “playing against himself” (because I will refuse to play). I often tease him asking, “Who’s winning? Mike or Mike?”
I have never had the same adoration of board games as my husband. In fact, I really don’t like board games at all! And when we do play a game together, I have “game selection rules”
a. Preferably a card game
b. The games needs to be 30 minutes or less (otherwise I lose interest)
c. It can’t be an hyper-strategy game (chess)
d. It can’t be a war game (risk)
One of the main reasons I don’t like to play board games with him though is because I basically have NO chance at winning! He is so good at playing games, he is good at thinking through moves in advance, he is good at strategy…he is just good at practically everything he does. So it’s annoying and frustrating to play when I know I’m doomed to lose and just get totally spanked by his mad skills. Basically, I have no motivation to play what-so-ever!
Mike doesn’t like my disinterest towards games and thinks it would be good “bonding” time if we played games together frequently. I told him that I would need a reward or motivation of some sort to play if that was the case since I knew I was bound to lose. So today over lunch, we hashed out the details of our deal: For every 5 hours of board game playing I do, he will take me to Akiyoshi, my favorite [and pricey by Thai standards] Japanese restaurant in downtown Bangkok.
I think we both got a good deal out of it all. :)
Challenge: Can anyone guess all six games in the pictures?
Me llamo Karly
Soy profe de español
Yo soy muy baja
English translation for you non-Spanish speakers:
My name is Karly
I'm a Spanish teacher
I am very short
I think I might turn this into a project for my Spanish classes now!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Due to the uncertainty of the political demonstrations and the chance that these may spread beyond the current protest sites, ICS decided to cancel all classes for Monday.
Please be praying for Thailand...
Saturday, March 13, 2010
We don't know what the solution is to bring peace to this political unrest (who should be leader and why etc.), but we know that we can pray to a God that hears us, and that He is in control. So please join us in praying for Thailand.
Below are some pictures of the current situation as people flock to Bangkok, as well as an article taken from BBC News that helps to explain the reason for the political unrest.
Article taken from BBC News:
For more than three years Thailand has been gripped by a paralysing political crisis centred on former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Mr Thaksin was ousted from office in a military coup in September 2006, and the tug-of-war between his supporters and opponents has continued ever since.
Neither side can accept the other's view of who should run the country, and each has staged long-running protests to push their cause.
When Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva was chosen as prime minister in December 2008, some Thais hoped the protests had finally come to an end. But it appears the crisis is far from over.
Who are the pro-Thaksin protesters?
Mr Thaksin still retains widespread support among the rural poor, who benefited from the populist policies he framed during his five years in power.
Mr Thaksin is out of the country but speaks to supporters via video link
His supporters call themselves the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), and are known for wearing distinctive red shirts.
The UDD says Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva came to power illegitimately and is a puppet of the military. It wants Mr Abhisit to resign and call fresh elections.
The protesters' tactics, though less dramatic, are similar to those used by anti-Thaksin protesters last year, which eventually led to the change of government.
How effective are their protests?
Since March 2009, the protesters have held sit-in protests outside government offices, and have occasionally prevented the cabinet from meeting.
They also forced the cancellation of a summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) in April. They stormed the venue in the seaside resort of Pattaya, causing huge embarrassment to the government.
A day later, tens of thousands of protesters broke into the interior ministry, blocked busy roads in Bangkok and camped around Government House.
Occasional large, and largely peaceful, demonstrations by the red-shirts continued throughout 2009, usually featuring a video-link address by Mr Thaksin - who is in self-exile, mostly in Dubai.
Mr Thaksin has called on his supporters to keep fighting for the fall of the Abhisit government and for his own return to the country.
Who are the anti-Thaksin protesters?
The opponents of Mr Thaksin call themselves the Peoples' Alliance for Democracy (PAD), and wear yellow shirts to proclaim their allegedly more pro-monarchist stance.
People in Thailand often wear yellow to show their allegiance to the king, and one of the protesters' key claims is that Mr Thaksin is not as loyal to the king as they are.
The PAD protesters helped bring down two PPP governments
The PAD is a loose grouping of royalists, businessmen and the urban middle class, led by media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul and Chamlong Srimuang, a former general with close ties to the king's most senior adviser, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda.
The PAD accuses Mr Thaksin of corruption and nepotism during his time in power.
PAD protests were instrumental in setting the scene for a military coup which removed Mr Thaksin from office in 2006.
They repeated these rallies in 2008, to protest against the party in power at the time - the People Power Party (PPP), which was widely seen as a reincarnation of Mr Thaksin's banned Thai Rak Thai party.
The protesters took over Government House for three months, and engineered a week-long siege of Bangkok's main airports in December 2008, crippling the country's vital tourism industry.
Together with several court rulings against the PPP, they are credited with bringing down two of its governments - firstly the administration of Samak Sundaravej and then that of Mr Thaksin's brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat.
Now that a pro-Thaksin government is no longer in power, the PAD is keeping a close watch on the rising anger inside the UDD camp.
How did Mr Abhisit become prime minister?
Amid the turmoil of the airport blockade in December 2008, a Constitutional Court ruled that the PPP was guilty of electoral fraud and barred its leaders from politics for five years.
The red-shirted protesters want Mr Abhisit to resign from office
There seemed to be no way forward, but then a few Thaksin loyalists changed sides to join the other main party, the Democrats.
This enabled Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to form a new government and become the next prime minister without calling elections.
The Democrats are not openly allied to one group of protesters or the other, but in the past the party has been closely associated with elements of the PAD.
Mr Abhisit has been criticised for his choice of foreign minister, Kasit Piromya - an open supporter of the PAD movement and its airport blockade.
Where is Mr Thaksin now?
Mr Thaksin describes himself as a citizen of the world, and he is often in Dubai, China, the UK or Hong Kong.
If he did come back to Thailand, he would face two years in jail after being found guilty in a conflict of interest case.
His long-term aims are unclear. In the past he has said he will not re-enter politics, but he has also said he is needed to lead Thailand out of the economic crisis.
He created tensions in November 2009 by accepting a position as an economic adviser to the Cambodian government, angering the authorities in Thailand.
He remains actively involved in politics, through the rallies of his red-shirted supporters. These rallies have prompted a vague offer of talks from the Abhisit government, which he has so far rebuffed.
They play every Saturday morning from 9-12. Sunday afternoons were once reserved for soccer, but it has now morphed into basketball playing. This weekend was the big kahuna or something because they had basketball on Thursday after school, on Friday (which was PD day so there was no school), Saturday morning and probably tomorrow as well. :)
These pictures are actually taken from a student vs. faculty game sometime back in February. To make it a little bit more fair and challenging for the teachers since they would otherwise dominate the students (these kids are soccer players, not basketball players), they decided to change the point value system. The kids still got their regular points (3 for a 3-pointer, 2 for other shots and 1 for free-throws), but the teachers had to work a bit harder to win since 3-pointers were worth 2 points and every other shot was worth 1.
Despite the change in scoring value, the teachers still won 52-46, though it did make it an intense and awfully close game. I think everyone had a lot of fun playing... though I wouldn't doubt that the teachers had more fun since having a student vs. teacher faculty game is really just another excuse for them to play more ball... since they just can't seem to get enough of it. :)
Thursday, March 11, 2010
My students were eager to give me the answer "Necesita afeitarse" or "Se necesita afeitar." Albeit being correct, the sentence could technically be even better if they stuck the subject pronoun "he" beforehand. So consequently, I asked them what they could do to make the sentence even better, to which someone said "Add the word he!" I applauded them, but was interrupted by one of my students asking, "Mrs. Karly? Why do we need to put the subject pronoun 'he' beforehand? We already know that it's a he; a girl doesn't shave so it would never be 'she'!"
I held back my giggles and calmly told my little freshman boy that many women do shave their legs and their armpits. In the midst of corrupting their innocent minds, I received a lot of groans and "You shave your armpits and legs, Mrs. Karly?" Apparently I gave them a little too much information. One of my students then piped in saying, "Hey guys, at least she's being honest with us!" This started a ripple effect of "Yeah, Mrs. Karly is always honest with us, isn't she?" "Thanks for being honest with us, Mrs. Karly."
They never cease to make me laugh.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I just wanted to take a moment to honor Mike on his 28th birthday.
I often have other teachers or parents come to me and say something along the lines of: "That Mr. Mike is just a great teacher! He gets those kids involved and seems to just love what he does." It's true. My husband is man of many talents and does indeed love his job.
Mike wakes up every morning around 5:00 (or 6:00 on the weekends)and spends about an hour reading his Bible and another devotional book or two to jump-start his mornings. He is intentional about trying to start his day off on the right foot.
Kids adore Mike. When we see kids after school or at school functions, they gravitate towards him and constantly want to touch him, say hello to him, jump on him, hug him, or just smile at him. At the end of the day, kids tell him that they will miss him, and he got even got a rose from one of his students on Valentine's Day.
My high schoolers love Mike even though they don't really know him very well; they just know that he's my husband and that he loves sports/is good at sports (and that's enough to make them adore him). Sometimes they will just start talking to me about Mike and say things like, "He is so good at basketball!" "I've never seen someone so fast." "He's good at everything he does!" "Is there even a sport he isn't good at?"
Yes sirree, I have a talented hubby. I will admit, sometimes it can be downright annoying that he is good at almost everything that he does, but I praise God for how he is gifted and particularly for how his athletic talents help students to love, adore, and respect him... thus he develops these relationships with students where he can speak truth in their life and share the gospel with them.
Mike not only speaks truth into the lives of his students (and mine), but he speaks truth to me as well. He is good at pointing me back to the gospel when I need it most, praying with me through situations, and unconditionally loving and serving me. Needless to say, his students (and mine) aren't the only ones that adore, love and respect him.
Happy birthday, Mikey. You are a blessing to all of those around you and I thank God for you every day. May Jesus continue to work in your life and overwhelm you with his goodness and grace.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Is it possible to have reverse spring fever where you crave
Itchin' for spring break
Itchin' for a little break from school and my kiddos
Itchin' to go hiking in Nepal and experience 70-80 degree weather and get away from 90-100 degree weather for a week
Thursday, March 4, 2010
The "transition year" is always hard. I came in with different expectations, different rules, different ideas, and different teaching methods than the previous teacher, which resulted in a) my students getting frustrated because of the changes I was trying to implement and b) me getting frustrated because I expected more from them than what I was getting. I started out being perhaps a little too gentle and accommodating to my level 2, 3, and AP students in this year of transition, trying to keep my expectations more or less the same as the previous teacher, but that's impossible when we are different people/teachers; it's hard to be someone you're not!
So I took a stand today to rid my classroom of their former ways and I decided to start giving them a grade each class as to how much Spanish they speak in class. Needless to say, they stared at me with wide eyes, complained, and thought I was being Mrs. Mean because, heaven forbid, I was making them actually speak in Spanish 99% of the time. But it's almost 4th quarter and it's time to for them to spread their wings and give it go. Besides, how can you possibly learn a language without consistently hearing it and speaking it? Additionally, Bangkok isn't quite the happenin' place to find people who speak Spanish, so really class time is the only time where they will consistently speak/listen/read/write in the target language.
So how did the class go? Well, after they got over their initial shock and being completely terrified of me, it was stinkin' awesome. I heard SO much Spanish... to be honest, I don't think I even heard one word of English the entire time. They were actually readily volunteering answers instead of me taking "victims" because they wanted their points so badly. They were thinking so hard and putting forth so much effort; it was amazing! And even better, at the end of the class they didn't think it was that hard to get their full points, so we all walked away happy.
I'm disappointed that it takes receiving a grade to motivate them to consistently speak in Spanish, but if that is what it takes to turn my classroom into what I hope for it to be, then I will gladly do it. Unfortunately, kids don't seem to want to learn for the sake of learning... I guess that's something that just comes with age?! I'm also disappointed that I didn't implement this grade earlier in the year... I let it go on waaaay too long in the hopes that it would improve by itself, but they definitely needed extra motivation to change their ways.
Fortunately, my AP kids got this talk early in the year since I expect a lot from them simply because they are AP students. But they also are really motivated to take in and produce as much as they can because they have an exam to pass. My level 1 kids are also very good... they consistently speak in Spanish because that's what I expected from them from the start and they don't know anything different... granted, there is often some Spanglish as they have limited vocabulary, but they definitely use what they know. My level 2 kids unfortunately might need the same talking to that I gave my level 3 kids today... hopefully I will get the same response/result.
Whenever I have done teacher evaluations, one of the most common things that students say about my teaching is that I always speak in Spanish no matter what the level. [I don't, because I do a lot of difficult grammar explanations in English, but it seems like I do to the kids]. Sometimes it is very frustrating to my students because they just want immediate comprehension/instant gratification... I completely understand that because I have been there before. But I know that I wouldn't be where I am now, doing what I'm doing if it hadn't been for my Spanish teachers doing the same thing to me... not to mention having a complete immersion experience in Spain.
So sure, my students call me Mrs. Mean because I make them speak in Spanish 99% of the time because I can take it [as long as they say it in Spanish]. :)
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Little dude was sadly (and accidentally) maimed by a blow to the head and arm with an avocado. Little dude loved to hide behind kites and in garbage cans, scare his people friends by jumping out of random places, and eat his fair share of creepy crawly bugs and mosquitoes. He is survived by his people friends. Flushing ceremonies occurred around 7 pm on March 2.
Wanted: New little dude to eat the creepy crawly bugs and mosquitoes. New little dude needs to NOT use the garbage can as a hiding place. Not having such a strong aversion to avocados would be helpful too.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
On February 26, ousted former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was accused of abusing his power as prime minister, causing damage to the state and favoring Shin Corp (the firm controlled by his family before it was sold to Temasek Holdings of Singapore) by implementing policies which benefited it through five measures when he was the government leader.
The Supreme Court thus made the decision to seize 46 billion baht ($1.4 billion) in assets from him on the belief that he and his wife owned the Shin Corp shares up until they were sold to Temasek. The court found his personal holdings amounted to about 30 billion baht before he gained ''unusual wealth'' while in office, so the court left him with 30 billion baht in assets.
In response to the Supreme Court verdict regarding the disposition of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's frozen assets, small explosive devices were discovered and/or detonated outside five separate banks in metropolitan Bangkok. In the lead up to the expected March 12-14 demonstrations and rallies, it is anticipated that more of these small explosive devices may be planted.
How do we feel about this?
Well, no matter where you live, there are always dangers and problems of different sorts: tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, lack of food, drug trafficking, kidnapping, people trafficking, robbing, gangs, mafias, nuclear bombs, murder, domestic violence, school shootings, international terrorism, prostitution, war etc. So really, no one is ever safe at any point in time.
We live in a fallen world, friends. So all we can do is just put our hope and trust in God and pray that He would keep us safe in this life that we live here on earth. Obviously we need to be cautious, careful and aware of the world around us too, but Christ is our rock and our salvation and so we will fear no evil, for nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
Note to self:
1. Don't hide in garbage cans... it can be hazardous to one's health.
2. Throwing things into the garbage can with too much force might take an eye out.