School and diving update
And I’m back. Hey everyone, it’s been a while but I have lots of news for you all.
Having just past midway through the semester, we recently held exams at our school. Now for me this was a very exciting as it was the first time that I was on the “teachers’ side” of an exam paper and let me tell you, it’s way easier than the student side! hahah. But it also made me realise the amount of effort that goes into setting an exam paper- you have to make sure all the work is covered equally and that the difficulty of the paper is at an even level. Believe it or not this is actually harder than it sounds, as in some of my classes the range of ability varies greatly. Never the less it all seemed to go off without a hitch; the kids- including some of their home class teachers- were quite nervous for the test, but after some revision and reassurance, they all managed the exam successfully.
Then the tough part started for me – marking time. At the end of our three day test period I had approx.. 220 papers to mark. The school then made our lives harder by giving us only three days to complete our marking. Other school exams, where they test math, history science, etc. were still happening. Luckily though, we were given this exam time off, and although we had to go to school, we didn’t have to teach, so this left us many hours in which to mark. I was very impressed with how my kids faired in the exam, with many of them scoring above 75%. In my best class (P5\1) I even had about 20 kids who got 100%. It is quite a confidence and morale booster for us teachers when we see our kids actually doing well; it lets us know we really are making a difference. Now begins the road to finals, and with the semester ending on 30 September we don’t have much time to get the kids ready. However after these past exams I am feeling quite optimistic.
But now for some other news… I have a scuba diving update for you all. The last time we chatted I had just completed my advanced open water certificate which I totally enjoyed. Since then I have gone on to complete two speciality courses. The first began on a long weekend. I travelled just 2 hours from Bangkok to coastal town called Payattaya. Now this area isn’t primarily known for diving, but research had shown that the diving was still quite good and the advantage for me was that it is close to Bangkok and easy to get to. After some research and chatting to a couple of dive schools in the area, I decided to do my drift diving speciality here. The theory of this course involves learning about the different ocean currents, why they exist and the different kinds of lines, floats and safety procedures used when diving at a site with currents. I actually found this theory quite interesting. I have spent a lot of time in the ocean throughout my life but have only recently started studying it and must say, it is rather interesting. Back to the course – the practical part of the course consisted of 2 dives, during which we focused on body position and flowing with the current while keeping a correct heading. Now this is a lot harder than one would imagine as the current doesn’t easily allow for you to turn or change direction at will haha. Also during this course I was taught how to lift/inflate a DSMB and manage a reel attached to a surface marker. Again this is harder than it sounds as 16 meters underwater the current goes at one pace but on the surface it’s a whole different story. The wind, waves and current are all different up there and so the marker is being dragged, pulled and blown in all sorts of directions and really makes holding onto the line a workout haha. But all in all, this course was really cool and exciting and filled with a lot of learning.
There was quite a sad element to this dive as well. The ocean there was filled with a significant amount of pollution – trash and debris. This was my first dive in such conditions and really upset me. Although the skill part of the dive was fun, the actually diving and site conditions were poor, there were plastic bottles and glass all over the sea bed and shore line as well as fishing line across the coral. The coral itself looked lifeless and bland; the amount of fish and marine life in the area was also significantly lower than I had experienced in my other diving.
Although this was shocking and disappointing, I will not let this pollution put me off diving. In fact it made me want to continue my diving in the hopes that I could make a difference by educating people about the importance of ocean environment conservation. I am doing some research into any projects currently setup that promote this. Also I definitely want to do my divemaster course as I think this will help me to spread the importance of this conservation. It is something I really want to do, it is in fact something that I HAVE to do.
But for now that is all! Thank you for reading. To hear about the next speciality course I did – the DPV (aka James Bond/Navy Seal underwater scooter course) please stay tuned.