Thursday, June 15, 2006

Even in orange, these little boys are still little boys!

Teaching at ... you ready for the name of the school where I'm teaching this year?

Here it is.... Balisatitsuksar Mahachulalongornracha Vittayalai School!

These little novices are a kick! Enthusiastic, excited, eager to learn, out of control some of the time... all of the above! But what can I expect with a class of 45 teenagers late in the afternoon!

For the last three weeks, I have been teaching four periods per week of conversational English to the equavalent of squirrely little 9th graders. They are a handfull to keep busy and engaged for 50 minutes! Especially when I get them end of the day on Monday and Friday. Just what every kid wants to do at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday... go to study a foreign language! Starting next week, for the next three weeks, I'll be teaching 10th graders and will have 6 classes per week.

The novices begin their day early with a wake up call long before 5 a.m. so they can go to the temple for chanting before they head off on their food alms walk long about 5:30 a.m. They walk bare foot through the community with their bowl, collecting the food they will eat for a 7 a.m. breakfast and 11:00 a.m. lunch. From noon onwards, they are not to eat anything until the next day.

Arriving back at their temple from the alms walk, they usually spend about an hour sweeping the grounds before having breakfast. Between breakfast and lunch, the novice spend their time studying, cleaning their rooms, washing their clothes, bathing ... all the normal day-to-day life activities. Oh, forgot... watching T.V. too! Walked into one of the monk's rooms the other day, and there a whole group of novices sat on the floor watching Buddha cartoons!

School starts for them at 12:30 p.m. with a type of home room general assembly before starting class at 1:00 p.m. Their six periods of classes then continue throughout the afternoon, finishing about 6:30 p.m. when they head back to their temple. B

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