Wednesday, 9 March 2011

I-to-I day 19: International Men's Day

Wednesday 9th March 2011

MP3 track of the day: Men in tights – Robin Hood (Men in tights)

Weather: Hot and very humid

I was pretty pleased with myself. Last night I had successfully managed to evict Albert from my room. It had only taken me seventeen days but it was done. Albert may have won many battles but I had won the war!


As yesterday was 'international women's day' my fellow male Cambodian teacher, and I, decided that today, Wednesday the 9th March, would be 'international men's day'. This would be the day that us men acted like men and did … errr … men things. As I got ready for the day I wasn't sure what things I would be doing differently for 'international men's day'. In fact I decided that I would continue to work without stopping because that's what us men do.

The above may sound a little bitter towards 'international women's day' and you would be right. As I boarded my tuk-tuk I decided that I wasn't against 'international women's day' in the slightest, however I thought the whole point was to achieve equal rights, and opportunities, for both sexes. So if there's an 'international women's day' then why not an 'international men's day'? It's not all chocolate cake being a man you know; for example the child custody laws within the UK are bent towards the female. At clubs and bar's it's always 'ladies night' or 'girls night' where the women get the free drinks. To add insult to injury if a bloke ever tries to pull a bird he's supposed to buy her a drink. Sure women at work aren't well represented in high powered jobs, and that's just wrong, but let's make sure that we get a balance and not tip the see-saw the other way. I sometimes think that being a 'white male' gives me less rights, and opportunities, than all other groups.

As you many have noticed, from the long rant above, that I didn't have much to do on my tuk-tuk ride. I had finished my book yesterday and Sandy was still reading hers. I decided to look out into the view, which had good and bad points. On the good side I was seeing more of 'everyday' life within Cambodia's capital. I also got to see some very strange vehicles and some bizarre driving. The bad side was that the 'bizarre' driving almost got me killed three times and I wondered if reading a book was the way to go. I held onto the handrail.

We made it down the bumpy road to the school. Most of the students were out at break and so they wished Sandy and I a good morning. We both wished the students the same. Once in my classroom I got down to business. I revised yesterdays lesson by drawing the school and asking students 'where was teacher?'. They were getting quite good at guessing which room I was in and I thought that there was no problems there.

After a short while I moved onto today's lesson. Today we were going to concentrate on 'where is ____?' and '(He is / She is) in the _______'. I drew one of my pupils within each of the eight rooms and I then asked the class where one of them was, they would all reply the answer (for example: '...Where is Narok?..' the reply '… He is in the music room...'). I would then drill individually to make sure that they all got it before adding another line to the sentence. Next I drew an activity within each room (for example: washing his hands in the Boy's room). I drilled the activity before asking, for example,: “... When is Sery Phea?..”

The class replied: “She is in the classroom watching TV”

Once this was done I then split the sentences up into student (1) and student (2). I choose who was student (1) and who was student (2) and I nominated a student in question, a room and an activity. Off we went again. Once all the students had been given a go I got a student to play teacher. That student would decided who was student (1), who as student (2), the student in question, the room and the activity (sounds a bit like cludeo). This meant that my students had drilled the above sentences three times, however each time it had been a little different.

As you can appreciate this had taken quite a bit of the class time, much more than I was expecting. I then gave my students adequate time to write the information, on the board, into their books. At this point the female Cambodian teacher came into my classroom; she chatted to me as my students wrote. She said that some students had told her that 'let's go – book three' was very difficult. I agreed that it was a big step up, however I still felt that it was manageable. Its a difficult situation; like I said before the academic levels, between my students, is quite broad. Most of the class can deal with the work, however some will struggle. Do I hold back for the ones that will struggle? I think not. Instead I'll spend more of my time with the strugglers and make sure that they get the chance to answer questions.

The morning class was over; I got my food out and began to eat my 'international men's day' snacks. I then filled out my class report books. Sandy had purchased three puzzles for the children; I hadn't completed a puzzle in ages and so I decided to give one a whirl. I completed the first one in half an hour and so I had time to complete one more before the afternoon lesson started.

The afternoon lessons began and I followed the same format as the morning. The female Cambodian teacher came into my lesson again; I think she was checking the level of content. After a shaky start my students, I think, came through. They were guessing 'where's teacher' pretty quickly and I was pleased with their ability. The teacher left the room but didn't comment; not sure if that was a good sign or not.

The afternoon class covered as much ground as the morning and soon it was time for me to go. I boarded my tuk-tuk in a 'manley' way (as it was 'international men's day') and I sat down to enjoy the ride … well try to enjoy it. Due to road works we got diverted; we drove down a street which had the most beautiful houses, within Phnom Penh, on the left-handside,. It also had shacks on the right-handside. Sandy and I both agreed that, the left hand-side at least, was probably the richest area within Phnom Penh. These houses were bigger than North American ones! Once back at my guesthouse I went straight out to purchase my snacks for tomorrow and to withdraw money.

With only three days left within Cambodia I looked into my wallet to see $29.00. Considering that my bus to Ho Chi Minh City will cost me $10.00 (and realistically I needed another $10.00 to cover any border issues) I only had $9.00 left. I had to withdraw money which was extremely annoying. I went to the local bank and withdrew $50.00 which should easily see me through the next three days. To withdraw that $50.00 (£31.00) it cost me £2.50 from the ATM and probably another £1 from my own bank. I could have withdrawn more money however, once in Vietnam, I would have to exchange any dollars I have for 'dong' … therefore I would loose some money within the transaction. Either way I looked at it I was going to loose money and so I decided to carry as less money as possible.

Once back at the guesthouse I as pretty hot and sweaty. I sat down under a sealing fan and began to surf the world-wide-web before lesson planning (my final lesson plan). I decided to visit KFC for tea. To eat KFC chicken you have to use your hands; what could be more 'manley' than tearing meat from bones with your own bare hands.

Happy 'international men's day!'

Toodle Pip!


  1. International Men's Day:


  2. Well,

    That's the worlds best kept secret :)