10.29.2005

For as sexist as this culture is, the women control the money in the typical Cambodian family. The man is expected to come home immediately after he gets his salary and give all of it to his wife, then the wife will dole out a few bucks so he can go to a beer garden and drink some beer and maybe play cards.

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You'll find when you become a teacher that there are really two phases, entirely different, to the job.

1. In class time. You have to put on your teacher face and always stay one step ahead of the students. To stay one step ahead you have to prepare, which brings us to phase two.

2. Prep. time / correcting tests, homework, essays.
This is out of class work that you can do in your underwear. It's time-consuming and boring, and requires a different skill set: Patience and rote. Correcting tests is just about the most boring shit in the world. Preparing for class requires some creativity and discipline, you have to have everything you need and all angles covered because when you're teaching it, it's like showtime.

In phase one it's all about social control and eliciting responses from the students. In phase two it's all about discipline, promptness and fairness.

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A Cambodian joke one of my students told me:

The husband always gives the wife all of his salary. She gives him back one dollar, exactly enough money to buy breakfast and lunch for the day.

One day he comes home with a winning lottery ticket and says "honey honey I won the lottery, we're RICH!"
At first she's happy, then she gets angry and says,
"How did you get the money to buy the lottery ticket?"

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