Super Math Teacher

The thoughts of a middle school math teacher

Week Without Walls 2017

on November 17, 2017

One of the things I have come to enjoy about teaching internationally is the Week Without Walls trip.  This week was my 3rd trip in 4 years (last year, the grade 8 trip did not happen).  As the lone female teacher in the 8th grade, it was a given that i would go.  Three other teachers came, plus 2 Vietnamese staff, the nurse and one other staff member.  In addition, there were 44 students.  We also had 3 staff members from teh company that organized everything.

I enjoy these trips.  Yes, it means I am basically in teacher mode 24/7 for the duration of the trip.  However, seeing students trying new things and getting out of their comfort zones is always a treat.

This year, we went to Phan Thiet and Mui Ne, beach towns that are a 4 hour bus drive from Ho Chi Minh City.  Prior to this trip, I had not visited Mui Ne yet.  The beach here is relatively clean (for a Vietnamese beach).  WIth the recent typhoon, there seemed to be less trash than one normally finds on a beach here in Vietnam.

The kids had the opportunity to spend all morning nat a sailing center.  They went sailing in small sailboats, got to experience stand up paddle boarding, and try to steer a traditional Vietnamese fishing boat, called a coracle (which is a round boat).  Teachers have the option to participate as much or as little as they want.  I spent most of the morning on shore, taking pictures, but I did go out in the small coracle.

For the middle of November, it was nice to be at the beach and getting sun.  The water was nice and warm.  Of course, the warm water had its drawbacks…..jellyfish.  We actually had a couple of students get stung by the jellyfish.

After lunch, students went to an organic farm.  These are rare here, so students learned what it means to be organic.  They also got to help out and plant some lemongrass.  Then the Students Council members presented the owner with some seeds as a thank you.

One aspect of this trip is the opportunity to do some service.  Planting the lemongrass was one way.  Earlier, at the beach, students picked up trash on the beach.  There were few complainers about participating.

The trip always has a bonfire the last night.  What better setting than on the beach?  As the fire slowly died down, there are marshmallows to roast.  Many have never done this except on these types of trips.  Students get to relax and just have fun.

Although this was a short trip (just 3 days), there was a great deal packed into it.  It is also my last one in Vietnam.


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