Why hello dear friends and fellow travelers of earth!
My technological situation took a turn for the worse about a month ago when Bertha, my computer, became stubborn and decided she'd rather hang out in Lao than perform her functions. It's okay, I know the feeling. I think this forced Luddite lifestyle has been beneficial; the day I stopped writing lesson-plan novels on my computer and started scrawling a few stone-age sentences for each day, my teaching improved. I've gone from Dickensian lesson plans with rising action and denouements to "teach factors" which although seems alarming, gives me a lot more mental space and actual time outside of teaching.
For those of you wondering, yes, I do still exist in a "THIS IS SPARTA! situation although relations have improved slightly. I've implemented various forms of bribery and manipulation which has lessened the anarchy to a certain degree. I love my kids: they are loud, lively, social, and brilliant at maths. They employ brilliant and diverse mutinous tactics never before seen by 9 year old children to drive their teacher batshit nuts. My favorite tactic is what I like to call "counterattack hugging." This occurs when the student, instead of listening and ceasing obnoxious or obscene behavior, will fly suddenly at me and bowl me over in a maniacal and painful hug that has the effect of jolting me into a state of confusion, pain, and sullen affection. I've got to hand it to them.
Other than wrangling fourth graders, I've had a lot of other things goin on, including a veritable pile-up of weird stories (and lovely photos!) which I look forward to regaling you with once I find a replacement for bertha (or she finds her sealegs). I have touched an elephant, been stranded on a mountainside, visited a village tribe, gone to Thailand, participated in an alms ceremony, set birds free atop an ancient temple, and eaten a lot of pad thai.
Love and Luddites,