The time Santa rode a tuk tuk

Twas the day before Christmas

When all through the school

Not a creature was stirring

Not even the school ghoul

But come Christmas dawning

All my students bid me good morning

With the cheer of wee elves

Up to merriment themselves

Singing in thai twang jingles

To a gaggle of giggles

Then came some Santas in a tuk tuk

Which gave everyone a spook

One hand carrying bags of candy fun

The other toy guns?

I will stop this rhyme now

Because how now brown cow

I realize I may have carried that rhyme on a bit longer than competency called for. But I wasn’t ahead to begin with, so why quit right? The week preceding Christmas was one that came with a huge bag of emotions for me. I always spent Christmas with my mother since it’s her birthday, so I guess I mean I always spent my mother’s birthday with my mother. So being away from the family and not really feeling the Christmas cheer in Mahasarakham, I was a little down. Christmas is a build-up of cheesy movie fests, advent calendars and cosy hot chocolate times all through December, which then bursts into many an eating spree on Christmas day for me. But none of the usual build-up techniques were working on me and so I decided to up my holiday lesson plan in school from teaching the students Christmas vocabulary and jingles, to having them watch a video of Mr Bean and his hilarious Christmas antiques. I debated showing them Home Alone but decided against it when I couldn’t find one with Thai subtitles and considered the length of the movie compared to 30 minutes of watching Rowan Atkinson’s face make the most comical, on-point contortions known to me.

The students were so happy to be able to watch something they could understand and laugh at, that trepidation slackened and tongues came untied enough to have a chat about what they had seen, felt and anticipated about Mr Bean. They came away really enjoying the class and I had the most STT (student talking time) that I’ve had in a class ever. I decided then to make this a monthly lesson plan. My students are in the age range of 12-17 and so it is quite difficult to get them to open up and experiment with conversational English but I’m finding it a lot easier now with songs and videos to get them to loosen up.

The English department put on a Christmas show for 2 hours just after the usual morning assembly. Some classes performed on stage, singing and dancing to jingles and Thai songs from the movie ‘I’m Fine Thank You Love You’ (thank you Thai Cinema for having all my students say this to me every time I ask them how they’re doing today – awkward days at school).  The show was a lot of fun and slightly shocking as the students dancing wasn’t what I would call ‘appropriate’ for school but definitely what I’d expect to see on a club dance floor. But then again, my conservative school background self shouldn’t be so shocked after the sports parade Fabulousness. I do consider myself incredibly lucky to get so up close and personal with the Thai method of doing things and comparing it to my own experiences of the Indian and Swedish system, all of which had their own strange but wonderful set of traditions.

Now, about the Santas in tuk tuks carrying toy guns … you can’t make this shit up. The older students got dressed as Santas and arrived in a tuk tuk to distribute the goodies in the bag to the students. But then they had the same toy guns they used when they dressed up as soldiers for the sports parade. Confusion peaked and energy considerably low from all the selfies and photo sessions with teachers and students, I retired to the staffroom to message the mum for her birthday. I even got my colleagues to sing to her, a surprise she says she enjoyed!

Time for the photos? I think so.

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