Tuesday, 29 December 2015

December Favourites


Hey, everyone!

So I always love watching these 'monthly favourites' videos on Youtube and since I've gotten quite a few new bits in December that I am loving, I thought I would make one too, just for fun :) I possibly overdid it on the phrases 'love it' and 'it's amazing' but what you gonna do...

I guess there's always next month :)

Anyway, let me know if you like this and if you'd like to see me do more of these!


Lots of love 'n' stuff

Cola





Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas in Thailand


Christmas in Thailand is not observed the same as it is in the west, obviously because of the fact that Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist country. It's not a public holiday in Thailand and people generally go about their day as normal (which I found so weird on my first year living here!). However, Christmas IS still celebrated in Thailand. My partner always makes jokes about that fact that Buddhists are tolerant to all religions so there's always a reason to party! it's so true! And Christmas is exactly the same.

Most places in Thailand will have a Christmas/New Years Party! They usually do a Secret Santa style gift giving too. And whilst most homes aren't decorated, shopping malls and schools usually are as you can see in the video I've made below.

If you're teaching in Thailand, most schools will have a Christmas show where students will put on a little play and perform dances (jingle bells etc..) you may well be asked to dress for the occasion too!

Here I am at our Christmas show day at school!



 Although many of the older generations in Thailand may not know much about Christmas, I think it is getting bigger here, all of my younger students seemed to know exactly who Santa was!

Anyway, here is a little video I made. I hope you like it :)
And Merry Christmas, wherever you are in the world!!

Check out my little video :)



Lots of love 'n' stuff,

Cola



Friday, 18 December 2015

Thailand Travel Favourites!

Hello, everyone! Today I've made a little video about my Thailand travel favourites!
As a teacher in Thailand, there are a lot of long weekends where I usually take trips to local islands/towns and here are some of items I always remember to take with me!
So if you are coming to Thailand to teach or to travel I hope you find this helpful :)




I didn't want to make this video too long so didn't include everything, but, if you'd like to see a part two then please do let me know in the comments and also let me know your travel favourites too!

Lots of love 'n' stuff
Cola

Friday, 11 December 2015

Watch me teach!

Here is a little snippet of a class I taught on the topic of Shapes to my Kindergarten class in Thailand. In the video, I show a little warm up we do at the start of each lesson, I think its always good to start with something fun to get the students excited and ready to learn English.  I find the topics of ‘body/actions’ are great for warm ups as they’re really simple and fun! During the lesson I try to keep as much energy in the room as possible, I remember when I was in school, I'd always pay attention more if the teacher was more energetic! :)

I hope you like the video!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!



Sunday, 6 December 2015

My First Christmas in Thailand


So today's post is going back to my first Christmas in Thailand.

Myself and my friend Laura were wondering what to do for Christmas, we were both feeling a little homesick and wanted to do something that would cheer us up. We were thinking about all of the fun things we could do, go for cake, get a massage, find somewhere serving Christmas dinner, but nothing seemed to be quite enough, we wanted to do something really special. After a long thought process and some research we decided we would head to an Orphanage just outside of town on Christmas morning and bring with us a lot of sweets and paper to make snowflakes with the kids :)

And looking back, it's probably one of my most favourite Christmas's to date.
Both myself, my friend and the children had such a wonderful day.


If this is your first Christmas away from home, or even your fifth, and you're struggling for something to do, try giving something back to the community where you live. I feel like it's almost impossible to feel low on Christmas when you're doing something so worthy. Instead of a Christmas missing our friends and family we had a beautiful Christmas surrounded by wonderful children who were so happy that we had arrived, we spent the day making snowflakes, eating sweets and just generally smiling.

Here are some photos of our day!










And we still managed to fit in a Christmas dinner afterwards :)


Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas whatever you get up to this year, being an expat around the time can be very hard, but doing amazing things like this certainly makes it  better.

_________________________________________________________

Follow me on Instagram and follow Laura Here

Also please check out  My Youtube Channel and subscribe :)

Lots of love 'n' stuff

Cola

Monday, 30 November 2015

Thailand to Tokyo!

So about two years ago, my best friend who worked as an English Teacher in the south of Japan randomly said,  "Hey, why don't you come to Japan next month, I get a week off and I'm going to Tokyo! Join me!' During that time, it was also going to be the holidays in Thailand. This is possible I thought! I checked flights with Air Asia, £250 return! Wow! The only other time I'd looked at going to Japan was when I was in England and instead I would have been looking at a steep £1000 return. At least. 

It didn't take me long to decide that I wanted to go since I love travelling and seeing new places! Also,  Japan is somewhere me and my best friend had been talking about going since the high school days of playing SSX tricky at the Tokyo Megaplex! (such a cool game). I didn't think we'd actually go together one day! How truly amazing. The only thing that was putting me off is that I would be travelling alone and I'd have to spend my first night in Tokyo alone ( because I'd be arriving late at night). 

 I think I just thought to myself, you can't just live your life in fear and it will be a great learning experience travelling alone, if you do this trip, you can do any trip! You need to do it. And I just reminded myself about how amazing it would be to go to Japan, and with my best friend!

 ....And you know what? It's the best thing I ever did.

Travelling alone was so great for me, it showed me that that I can do things by myself,  and I won't mess it up. It has given me so much confidence to do other things by myself and being alone allowed me the chance to fully experience where I was. I still remember that first night in Tokyo, feeling the cold weather, and believing I was in Studio Ghibli cartoon, it was immense.

Say Yes To New Adventures


That's the great think about living and teaching abroad, there are holidays, and you suddenly realise how close you are to all of these amazing places, places you've never been before, places that are so far from your hometown, but so close to your new home.  Also, there is a fair chance one of your friends you've met teaching abroad now lives there, you might even be able to stay with them and they can show you around, show you the real country and now just the 'touristy' side.

Here are some photographs of my trip!
Let me know in the comments where you have been whilst teaching abroad! :)



Palette town! Geek moment. 
Did anyone else play all of the Pokemon games?


The cute little bus stop outside the Studio Ghibli Museum!



Whilst in Tokyo, play SAGA.


Why don't all beds play music?!


My little travel cat on Tokyo Tower (JiJi).


Tokyo Tower!

:)

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Lots of love 'n' stuff

Cola





Thursday, 26 November 2015

Tips for a Novice English Language Teacher


  Firstly,

Plan!

I personally think teaching is really easy if you plan. I can definitely see the difference in a lesson that I have planned out well and one that I haven't. In a well planned out lesson both me, and the students come out smiling at the end of it, in contrast, if I've not given enough time to planning a lesson, I find it doesn't run as smoothly and it general it is just not as enjoyable! So try and plan something fun and engaging! I've found that breaking up the lesson into small parts keeps students the most interested. 

Secondly,

Communicate clearly!

I think it is important to remember that when you’re teaching a language you must speak slowly and clearly so that you are more easily understood by your students. As well as this, try and use actions and visual aids to further clarification. I’ve found when I speak slower or use actions to describe things, my students will definitely click more with what saying and amazingly they will also respond with questions using actions or visual aids too!

Thirdly,

Get to know your students!

I think it is really important to get to know a little bit about your students. In my experience if you know students names and can remember them and what they're interested in, then they're a lot more attentive in class because they feel valued. I believe that if you as the teacher are putting in the effort of getting to know your students, then they're going to put a lot more effort into your class! Knowing the names of students is also really helpful when it comes to selecting students in the class and marking work or giving grades!

Fourthly,

Allow your students to speak!

Even though you're the teacher, make sure you are not doing all of the talking, allow your students to speak too! After all, it is a language lesson! With this, try not to be too critical when your students are speaking. From my experience, I have found that it’s important to let students speak from understanding first and then evaluate their speech afterwards. Try not to correct students whilst they’re speaking, doing so may hinder their confidence with speaking, exactly the opposite of what you’re trying to gain!

Lastly,

Reflect on your teaching!

I think when you're a beginner teacher it's really important to reflect on each lesson you teach so you can see what worked and what didn't and most importantly and how you think you would change it next time. If you have an assistant in the room you can ask for their feedback too! When I first started teaching I remember asking my assistant for some feedback and she said that maybe I spoke too quietly, something I had never even considered, but I took her advice and in the next class I spoke a lot louder and it was amazing how much more focussed the students were.
.
Watch the video here:



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Friday, 13 November 2015

5 Things I Would Tell My Pregnant Self


Hello, everyone! I currently have a 1-year-old little boy, named 'Asher' and he brings me so much joy that myself and my partner have been discussing having another baby, it won't be right away, but hopefully in the not too distance future :) Anyway, it got me thinking, if I was pregnant again, what advice would I give myself? So here it is!



Firstly:

Don't over think things! 

I know it's a mother's instinct to worry and I definitely think it's a good thing to be worried about certain things, it shows you care and helps you behave responsibly during pregnancy too. Having said that, I think worrying or over thinking too extremely taints the whole experience of being pregnant. It is hard, obviously because you can't see your little one (unless you go for a scan - which could be a pricey process if you do it often enough!). But I kinda wish I hadn't worried as much and tried to enjoy it more, after all, being pregnant is such an amazing feeling!

Secondly

Don't eat too much!

But what are you talking about? You can eat for two!! Right? Wrong.
Myself and probably most others have heard this old tale. And that's exactly what is, a tale.
Whilst you definitely feel hungrier when pregnant, you shouldn't overdo it.  Like me. Until I realised you're actually only supposed to have about 300-500 calories extra per day... which is about half a sandwich, not an extra pizza. I think this is an important one because eating too much can be bad for your baby and it makes it harder for you to return back to your original size post pregnancy!

Thirdly

Read up on how to breastfeed!

I definitely wish I'd researched more about breastfeeding!
I didn't research much about it because I think I just thought it would be a walk in the park.
It looked so simple, just this beautiful, natural connection between mother and baby... which it is, but not at first. It's actually really hard until you and your gorgeous little newborn get the hang of it. When I was pregnant I wish I'd researched more about it;  if I'd read more I think I'd of definitely been more ready for the challenges I faced within the first few months of breastfeeding!

Fourthly 

Make a detailed birth plan!

Now I'm giving myself some points here because I actually did make a birth plan for my first pregnancy. But I would definitely do it again! Probably in even more detail.
 Having this wonderful piece of paper made my delivery so comfortable and exactly how I wanted it. It was amazing how much the midwives took note on what I had written, I was seriously impressed. I think I even got given the private room for our family after birth because of the fact I'd written that I would like one if possible. Amazing.

Lastly

Don't wait, do it now!

Whatever you want to do, do it now! It is true that once your little one comes along, things are going to get hectic! I think it's hard to comprehend how much when someone tells you, but you really will not have much time for yourself or anyone really (except your baby). So use this time to do things you want to do, read a book, go out, get a pedicure, reply to those emails....

Do it, do it now!


__________________________________________________________


WATCH THE VIDEO!



www.youtube.com/teachercola

Lots of love 'n' stuff

Cola



Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My Favourite Things About Living in Thailand

Hey everyone so today I thought I'd give you five reasons why I love living in Thailand. Don't get me wrong, it's not all positive here, but everywhere has pros and cons and these are the pros I've found in my last four years living here.  It's always nice to have a reminder of why I do love living here on those days when I feel a little homesick too! So let's get started.

Reason one
The sunshine. Now don't get this confused with the heat because sometimes the blazing hot sun (I'm not rubbing it in) gets a little too hot (believe it or not). What I'm talking about is waking up most days to the sun shining, it makes me feel happy and more ready for the day I guess. I definitely do not miss having to get up for work on those cold winter mornings in England (you know the ones when you wake up to it still being dark outside and climbing out of the bed covers is so cold that you rush to put on the warmest clothes you can find). Yeah, I don't miss that.

Reason Two
I feel like I'm much healthier in Thailand. You can buy fruit and vegetables everywhere here, there are hundreds of stalls and it's so inexpensive. I think the temperature forces you to make healthy choices like drinking a lot of water for example. When it's super hot outside what would you reach for a chocolate bar or a slice of melon? Exactly.

Reason Three
Thai people are so friendly, kind and helpful. They really are.
I've lost count of how many times a Thai has helped me out or just given me something for free just because. It's definitely a pro being surrounded by such lovely people.

Reason Four
Being able to go out often. Yep going to a restaurant for dinner or making your way to a nice coffee shop is something you can do here, on a daily basis, because it's not expensive. At all. Instagram lovers eat your heart out! I definitely socialise and get out of the house a lot more. I don't just sit in front of the T.V watching soap after soap (after soap after soap).

Reason Five
Being able to go to places like this for a long weekend and not breaking the bank.
It would only cost me £50 to spend the weekend here on 'Koh Lipe'


Need I say more?

If you have some reasons why YOU love living in Thailand, please leave a comment below :)
Let's keep the positivity about Thailand going :)

Watch the video here:


Lots of love 'n' stuff

Cola

x

Friday, 30 October 2015

Halloween Kindergarten Lesson in Thailand

So tomorrow is Halloween *squeals* and tonight there will also be a full moon, which is apparently the first one on Halloween night for several years, spooky! I love Halloween and will sure be settling down with some popcorn to watch 'Hocus Pocus' later. Something I do ever year. Yep. Living in Thailand won't stop me celebrating! There are no 'Trick or Treaters' unfortunately, but luckily for me I have a bunch of giddy Kindergarten that love sweets and a bit of a scare.


Told you.

I thought I would show you my Halloween lesson for my kindergarten students in Thailand.
It's a really simple lesson as I only had half an hour to teach!

I found trying to explain the story of Halloween to my Kindergarten (4-5-year-olds) quite tricky (my Thai is not THAT good). I nevertheless managed to summon the words for 'ghost, witch, wizard and haunted house' and a few other things in Thai! Go me! Being able to translate certainly helped and added to the fun!

If you're interested here is what they are...

GHOST:  [Pee]
Witch: [Mer Moss]
Wizard: [Par Moss]
Haunted House: [Ban Pee Sing]
Scared: [Glua]

The flashcards I used were from here:


Sparkle box is such a fantastic resource for flashcards.

For the game I simply used some tack to stick the flashcards to the whiteboard and these:

(Bought from Central Department Store)



The students basically had to run, pick up the spider and hit the right flashcard then put the spider back in its' web :)

There was of course candy for the winning team.


Lots of love 'n' stuff 

Cola

x



Saturday, 24 October 2015

Thailand Has Changed Me.

I know living in Thailand has changed me, I've been living here for four years, it must have! I guess I just wasn't sure how exactly. That is, until recently. My mum came to visit me in Thailand and this highlighted a few ways in which my actions were different. Also, some of the things that she was saying and doing were echos of my own words and actions; of what I would have said and done before.

I realised when my mum was here that I was being very generous, offering to pay, buying things I thought she would like and just generally not being too concerned over who was paying for what. Before I came to Thailand I don't think I would have been as quick as to offer to pay for a meal, a drink or just buy something for someone just because. But now it seems I would and I think it's because I've been shown the same generosity in Thailand. There have been a significant number of times I've been given something for free here, be it food, drink or a helping hand. And I think it's rubbed off on me. I've become kinder.

Another way Thailand has seemed to rub off on me is the fact that they go with the flow a lot more. Before I think I would of gotten a little angry if someone was five minutes late (I probably wouldn't have said anything to their face being oh so English and oh so polite) but now I'm more flexible. I used to be more on a schedule and had everything planned out. Now I'm more relaxed.
What's the big rush anyway?

Finally, I think I'm far less fussy and more adaptable. I find myself thinking 'Mai pen rai' i.e 'no worries' to things that would have bothered me before, such as squatting toilets and broken lamps in hotels. Obviously, I'd still prefer a nice toilet and a working room but I just don't think that stuff bothers me as much as it would before. Now I've learnt to adapt, get on with it and enjoy the rest of my day.

I think overall I've learnt to live in the present moment a lot more.
And let's be honest, what more is there really?

So thank you Thailand :)

Thursday, 1 October 2015

My top 5 Tips For Teaching in Thailand



Hello, everyone! I've been teaching in Thailand for over four years now. Crazy I know! I really love it here now but when I first arrived I found it quite hard to understand completely what was expected of me and I had a few problems understanding the culture and settling into my school. And that's why I'm writing this! I wanted to make this blog in case it would help any teachers who are just about to come and teach in Thailand.

Tip 1: Be punctual


Whilst "Thai time" is definitely a thing, it does not apply to working hours, so remember to be on time! The other teachers will not appreciate it if you are late. Also, remember if you're coming to Thailand to teach because you mainly want to travel Thailand, keep the travelling outside of the teaching hours, again, in Thailand they won't appreciate if you're off sick a lot because you've been off galavanting (or island hopping).

Tip 2: Dress politely


Teachers are very highly respected in Thailand so it is of the utmost importance that you dress polite conservative 'teacher' clothing! Girls, they like it if you wear skirts, make sure it's on your knees or below your knees, failing that wear some tailored trousers (if you can stand them in the heat!). Boys, you have no choice unless you can rock a skirt.  Everyone will need to wear shirts which cover their shoulders and that are in no way see-through too (students will pick up on that bit of bra showing, trust me.) Finally, you will need to wear closed-toe shoes.
Oh and if you have any tattoos on show, try and cover them up.

Tip 3: Smile


Thailand is known as the land of smiles as you probably will already know and they really like it when you smile! From my experience, I've learnt that Thai people tend to like teachers who smile a lot and try and communicate. Students will love it if you're smiley and happy too!

Tip 4: Have fun


Have fun whilst teaching! Students love to play games and just laugh! 
Don't try and make the teaching too serious, that will probably just scare the students and make them not want to learn English. A lot of students in Thailand are fine at things like grammar and writing, as they learn this a lot from the teachers - they're just not confident in speaking English. So yeah! Make your lessons fun and try to give the students a chance to speak and hopefully, this will build up their confidence with English!

Tip 5: Don't stress


Thailand can be a bit disorganised sometimes. Not in a really bad way, they just aren't as planned out as we are in the West.  Try not to stress about it and just go with the flow because one thing I have learnt is that things in Thailand thing just have a funny way of working out!
 I have no idea how but they just do!

:)

Lots of love 'n' stuff

Cola

Watch the video here:


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

What I ate Wednesday: Thailand

When I first came to Thailand I found it quite hard with ordering food, I think I just ate fried rice for this first month! So I wanted to make these little 'What I ate Wednesday: Thailand' blogs and videos to help people with what they can eat in Thailand and how to order food in Thailand.



So for breakfast I had some Greek Style Yogurt and Melon or "cantaloupe".  I really like starting the day with fruit, I just feel like it makes me feel really fresh and sets my mind to eating healthier throughout the rest of the day! I absolutely love putting yoghurt with any kind of fruit and cantaloupe is actually my favourite fruit to eat in Thailand (besides Mango, obviously). 



Which brings me to the next thing I had, a lovely jar of squeezed mango juice, delicious, delicious DELICIOUS (I told you I loved mango).



For lunch, I had something really simple because it was raining (heavily, I'm not wimping when it comes to a drop of rain like a lot of Thai people *cough*) and I didn't have much food in the house! So it was whole grain toast with almond paste. Oh and some pitted olives which I'm kind of obsessed with if I'm honest. I wish they were cheaper here, imported foods are always way too expensive *sigh*

Finally for dinner I had some mixed vegetables and plain rice. Or as they say in Thailand:



"Pak pak ruam rad kaow'

Pak meaning vegetables
Ruam meaning mixed.
Rad meaning with.
Kaow meaning rice.
(I'm a Thai pro, clearly).

Finally I had an iced cappuccino! 'Cappuccino yen'. 

Yen meaning cold.


Also, obsessed..... Ah well, that's life.

Lots of love 'n' stuff

Nicola ♡