Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kindergarten flop?

I thought I knew a lot. Not everything, but a lot. Now I'm wiser.

Teaching Kindergarten has forced me to throw all my plans out of the window. When I first came to Thailand, I was trained to teach adults. I then got a job teaching big classes of teenagers and I slowly learned to adapt, big time. Now all that experience counts for nothing as once again, I'm back to square one.

KG kids don't listen. Not because they are rude but because their concentration spans are so short. They don't respond to verbal lashings because they don't really understand what you're mad about. They do stuff - stuff like calling you over to check the answer to every question on a worksheet - one at a time - because they need the security of you saying "yes, well done" every minute. And of course, they don't sit down when you tell them to, they have energy and they need to burn it.

I've fallen back on a few tried and tested bribes. I give out stickers to good kids, I play hangman, all that stuff. It's hard though, my school has made me a math teacher and the mathematics department has no resources, and my own self-produced worksheets have to be sent to the head office department to be approved. It makes for a rough ride right now.

Dylan is also on full throttle right now. Inside three weeks he has begun to walk , point, and speak "Da, da". His brain is so stimulated that he wakes and sleeps all kinds of crazy hours. I'm not complaining though, it's a joy to watch him on the move.

After my mistake of buying a fake Chinese mp4 player last week, I've invested in a Samsung YP2. The reason for this being that it supports ogg vorbis. A lot of people don't realise just how poor quality mp3 and wma (the former, especially) can be. To any music fan, I strongly recommend ogg vorbis . It matches aac (the imusic, ipod and mp4 format) and it's non proprietary meaning it doesn't use the evil drm and it doesn't make money for greedy corporations. You can use ogg vorbis on your favourite media player and encode CDs just like you do with mp3 or aac, just check here.

The same group also make a lossless codec for those who want to back up or copy their CDs onto their pc. You could do this with mp3 or aac but the sound quality is a lot lower because these formats actually discard a lot of the information from a music CD, it makes for a smaller file but much lower quality, the sound is ok on a portable but can be gruesome when played on a powerful set of speakers.

I had plans to write more - about the illusion of Thailand as paradise, an illusion that befalls many newcomers , and how that can change to manic depression for some over time - but it will have to wait. Dylan calls, or rather, he wails.

I'm thinking of strarting a seperate blog to unleash all my political urges. I'll make it separate as it will no doubt be controversial to many, and I don't want to lose friends. I've been planning to wrie a piece on PETA for some time.

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