Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Wishful Wednesday

Well, more of the same from the kids today. Very well behaved outside class.

Inside, same old story. I have got one kid that I have now had for 3 years and he is just as unteachable as he was when I first met him. Unfortunately, as he has got older, he has got cheekier and is really starting to answer back the little sod. I have tried every technique I have learned and quite a few that I have stolen from other teachers to get him to consistently behave. All have had limited or no success and unfortunately, I have now decided just to give in and write him off. He has been taking so much of my time away from the other kids, maybe about 15% of the lesson was telling him what to do, paying more attention to him, being nearer him to check what he is doing and so on.

Another cock up by the ever so efficient project manager, he has managed to copy the wrong tests for one group, so yet again they will be testing on things they have not yet taught ( unless he gets his finger out and gets new copies ordered quickish )

And talking of which, here's the latest character assassination.

The Project Manager.
In some ways, he is more Thai than a Thai. He doesn't like confrontation, arguments or anything that might make a fuss. Unfortunately ( that must be my word of the day today ) that includes doing things like hmmm, lets think now, I know! His job. He just cannot make decisions just in case he upsets anyone which actually makes more people upset as he just prevaricates on his arse all day.

The thing that makes it more fantastic - as in unbelievable - is that he is actually quite paranoid. Well, wouldn't you be if you have a history of sleeping round like he does. Last year, he claimed he slipped in the bathroom but it turns out he had been caught cheating by his girlfriend who had slashed him with a knife. One nice little scar on his cheek later and here we are again.

He also considers himself a bit of an intellectual, he actual wrote a book. But having read it, it comes over as an effort from some 6th year kid putting in as many big pretentious words as possible in some sort of order to sound deep.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Tedious Tuesday

Well, for some reason all the P2s behaved far better today for some reason.

I suspect they got a bollocking from their teachers as walking the kids up the stairs to the classroom yesterday the head of year encountered the group and they were their usual noisy self not walking in any semblance of order. Now before you say, well that's your job, we do try and keep them in order but you can have them lined up in a perfect 2 line order and walk them 15 yards and they will be spread out over the whole 15 yards area in lines of 1,2,3,4 or not having noticed the line moved at all. Anyhoo, she barked a single word at them and suddenly they all shut up instantly and got back into lines.

This morning we got a request from our project manager to keep them in order. Huh? Well, of course we don't try we just let them loose to run around however they want. And today, as I said, they were far better behaved than before. At the end of the lesson I tried to tell my P2s they were good during the lesson and they should do this every lesson, unfortunately, they were too busy reverting back to type and not listening to do any good.

Also we are no longer supposed to keep them back after school if the last lesson of the day is bad. That means, we are not supposed to keep them late during the afternoon break, for lunch or after school and we cant keep them late inbetween as they have other classes to go to. The methods of punishment available are dwindling to almost zero.

We have a Thai "consultant" who comes in and talks to the kids if we feel they are bad. But this is worse than useless as one teachers had him in and it turns out, he told them if they were good they would get sweets! That's a typical Thai solution, don't get them to change their basic behaviour or show us any more respect. Just bribe the little shots! Call me stupid, but why should we reward them for doing something they should be doing in the first place? Reward for extra effort or improvement but not for doing what you are supposed to be doing.

Having a huge hole 10.35 - 2.50 in my timetable on Tuesdays is a bit of a bind in some ways but it does let me go and do stuff during the day when its a bit less busy and catch up on the internet.

Mournfull Monday

Well, Monday is always a good bad day. Its good because I have 4 P3s to teach and only 1 P2. Its bad because its a Monday and I have to teach 5 periods out of 6 ( there is a 7th but it actually cuts across everybodys lunch hour so if you are unlucky enough to get that its reduced lunchtime time ).

Its a bit of a struggle this week with the 3s though as I am introducing Time and how to tell it. Time itself is in some cases an almost impossible concept for Thais. When was the last time someone turned up on time for example?

They keep on getting mixed up with "to" and "from" I have used a model clock, drawn one on the board with "past" and "to" got them to write 60 minutes = 1 hr, 30 minutes = half an hour and still after 3 lessons and 95% of them stil think everything is quarter past or to and getting mixed up. The couple of worksheets I have given out to help the book are producing results like "6 o'clock past 30" or "6 past quarter". Dont know how else to do it though.
Just need to keep on plugging away.

When I was walking into school, I noticed a big platform on the assembly area. Hmmm, another presentation? Yup. This time it was "Happy Feast Day My Director" or at least that was what was up on the board behind the platform. Turns out the Head honcho is named after a saint and it was the Saints day. So speeches and free ice creams for the kids ( yes, at 9am! ).

So anyway, suddenly 5 minutes before it all starts the project manager here suddenly bursts in and says we have to go and attend the thing. No one had bothered to tell us in advance or just as likely, he forgot to tell us last week. Either way, surprise surprise.

So, more of the usual boring speeches and being stuck in the corner and nowhere near the important people.

Unfortunately, it meant that the first period was cancelled which was my only free period of the entire fecking day. I still had to teach all 5 lessons, some lucky so and sos got away with teaching only 3.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Thursdays' Terrors & Thai Shoelaces

One of the good things so far about this little blog thats read byt oohh maybe a least 1 prson a week is that I am managing to do it more or less straight after work which really lets me vent the old spleen and I type exactly what I feel rather than doing it the day after and refelcting and calming down.

Thusday is really not a good day for me, I have 3 P2s and only 1 P3 class. The trouble is in my worst class I have one very good kid, well behaved, he tries hard, he is enthusiastic and he gets lost in the chaos. I try my best and make sure I let him know I know he is trying but its difficult. He is always the first to finish his work and 90% of the time its correct. If this happens I try to give him a choice of what he can do next ( fort he next 10-15 minutes ) before the class ends. Normally he likes ot do some sort of puzzle which I am more than happy to give him but if he chooses some colouring sheet he can do that with my blessing. Now some of the others little brats will get more work.

As you can tell, I am more a reward for what you have done rather than a reward first then hope they do it person. This is both through nature and experience, I have found very few times that they do the work after they have accepted the reward. Even baiting the end of the work with the reward ie saying "if you finish we will do colouring in / show a video" etc doesnt work.

The classes today were horrible, kids not listening, doing what they want, ignoring me, horrible. A typical conversation goes like this

Teacher "where is your book?"
Student "no"
"where is your book?" he says shrugging his shoulders and raising his palms in where is it sort of gesture.
"no" looking at anywhere else rather than the teacher
"where is your book?" he says again pointing at someone elses book and shrugging his shoulders and raising his palms in where is it sort of way.
"no" talking to his friend next to him
"where is your book?" he says again pointing at someone elses book and shrugging his shoulders and raising his palms in where is it sort of way and trying to suggest places "Homeroom?".
"where is your book? At home"
at this point if not before I would dearly love to pick the little darling up by his round little ears and shake him until I was physically exhausted before belting him with some blunt object. Of course I dont do that. and the last resort comes into play. Thaiglish.
"book, yoo ti ni?
Sometimes I get some sort of response at this point, some sort of guttural "home"

Of course by this time I have wasted umpteen minutes and the rest of the class is getting restless. But I feel it is important to reinforce the class rules as in BRING ALL THE STUFF I TOLD YOU TO! and its written permanently on the whiteboard and they wrote it in their notebooks as well. Otherwise they will just take the Michael out of you every time they come to the class.

On that point, one of the kids was overheard saying he was going to "play English" not to learn English but he used the Thai word "play" With that attitude, how can we win and be even semi serious teachers.

Ok, onto the shoelaces. Why cant kids keep their shoelaces doen up? It seems that I always have at least one kid per lesson not doing their work because they are tying up their shoelaces again, they do it in the line up in the playground, outside the homeroom and outside our rooms. I mean for fecks sake. How come I never see them doing it in their break time? Umm, ok, I know why, its just another excuse to goof off in class.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Wicked Wednesday

OK, I missed a day, so shoot me.

Tuesday. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz nothing much happened so probably just as well I didnt post anything.

Wednesday, well I think its about time I started introducing sorry I mean slagging off some of the teachers here. Some of tehm are real PRATS and need to be taken out and shot or at least sent to teach English in Iraq - which lets face it, means about the same thing these days.

OK, whos first. Lets have elderly repressed gay (or bi) yank. Lets see, this guy is left of centre and anti Bush and then he flips into full nazi mode. He cant decide what he is, left or right wing. Even mention politics and you get a rant about how his country screwed him and now he cant get a job because he is white over 40 not disabled and all the jobs are going to Hispanics and women and .... you get the picture. The funny thing is that he has been spotted putting his profile on dating sites here looking for boys with " submissive bottoms" and being in a gay bar with his arm round a thai guy but he still puts a face on that hes just a normal straight guy.

Hmm. Anyway, he always walks like hes just been shafted all night the previous night. If he just came out he would be much better off but now its just a bit of a joke round the office about him and his boys.

As a teacher, he just basically yells at the boys "you will respect your teacher!' or "shut up" fat chance. He did this with Prathom 1 boys last year, as if they would understand any of it.

Now, you may think given my rant last week at some of my lot I am a bit hypocrictical, and I suppose to certain extent I am, but I still am nowhere near as bad as him. He walks to class banging his metal rulers against his hardback folder or against his thigh in an effort to look tough and strict but in the end all that happens is that the boys know its only a little noise and laugh at him.

Just now he is annoying a lot of other teachers as he is gettign the kids running around and screaming in the line ups when everyone else is trying to calm the kids down. Also he "forgot" about 2 classes he had - not extra ones, the normal regular ones that have been his since the beginning of term and are on the cover of his folder that eh carries everywhere. He is really bugging me at the moment as he keeps on going through the stuff on my desk, taking materials I have prepared and photocopying them to use in his own class. I wouldnt mind if he asked or told me but he doesnt and that just makes me see him as a little weasel.

Anyway, offwork now. I have to laugh at the various ministerial decrees and pronouncments that are made from time to time. One of the latest being that "we have to protect the public from pornogrpahy on public display" Ok, fair enough I say, its right that adult material shoudl be kept away from kids etc. But remember this is Thailand where pictures of dead bodies are regularly on the front page of newspapers and on tv. A few weeks ago, two policemen in the South approached a motorike with a bomb in it. Unfortunately, the bomb explded killing the two men. And guess what, the tv cameras were there and the entire clip was shown on the news with graphic pictures the next day.

Also, just across from the school is a video shop, the last few weeks they have been doing a big in store promotion for Kill Bill vol 1. This meant showing the video constantly all day. If you have seen it, you know Kill Bill is really violent, really violent. And they are quiet happy to show all of it all day opposite a school but pictures of naked people DANGER, DANGER!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2004

Manic Monday

Well, survived another Monday and the five period hell that it is. Imagine, 5 periods on the trot with only a lunch hour to rest up with.

I know some teachers out there have more but too me they are just plain overworked or exploited or too stupid to see they are doing no one any favours. They cant be giving good lessons if they do more.

Ho hum, mid term testing is in a few weeks. In theory, it should be very easy to organise. I mean its only the first test from the back of the teachers book we are talking about, but the usual story, they ( the management ) try and make it as complex as possible. Mind you, last year they did manage to photocopy the wrong test, the result being we tested the kids on stuff we hadnt taught them yet, so maybe it is quite difficult !!!!

Anyway, instead of just making quick copies of the tests and giving them out to everyone, instead we have to individually troop into the office take the ( ONE ! ) copy of the teachers book make a photocopy and return it.


Friday, June 18, 2004

Fabulous Friday And The Rainy Season

Why was it fabulous, well ITS FRIDAY INIT?

Another week survived so the whole pattern of going out on a Friday to the pub or staying in with a pizza to watch Aussie Rules or going down Nana or whatever and walk up with a hangover to do it again on Saturday to recover on Sunday and to turn up on Monday having done nothing except go get drunk, eat, sleep and recover from a hangover starts again.

Teaching wise, relatively calm except for 3.10 who were a bit rowdy. I moved the most talkative one from the desk the furthest away to the nearest one to control him and sat back to let the others finish off the assigned work. I caught one kid trying to steal a worksheet from the cupboards to one side of me and as usual he couldn't / wouldn't give a reason why he did it, just stood there like a tree swaying in the wind.

I don't know why, but it seems like Thai kids are absolutely incapable of actually standing straight on their own two feet. At the end of every day, the rooms broadcast prayers over the loudspeakers in the room and the kids are supposed to stand and say them. Getting themt o do that is a nightmare, they are packing up, moving their chairs, swaying, having one knee on a chair, elbows on the desks as though their body weight is so great that the legs cant physically support them. This happens even during the Kings song which is played on Friday after the prayer. If the Thai teachers, parents, head honchos etc saw that, I am sure they would batter the kids into next week for showing that level of disrespect. Or they could just blame the farang for not controlling the kids.

Anyway, it defiantly seems like the wet season is here with rain coming almost every day now for the last 10 days or so. Its brought a nice coolness to the weather but then its also brought out all the colds an flu viruses the kids love to pick up and pass on. As I speak, its battering it down outside so that's why I am here still in the school even though it finished almost an hour ago. Whets the sense in paying for the crappy internet connection at home when I can use this one for free?

Ok, hope you are enjoying some of this and chin chin or whatever it is and see you down the pub!

I also had the enjoyment of going down to the old immigration to extend my visa stamp so at least I managed to miss a P2 class that way.

Wai Kru Thursday

Well, it was Wai Kru day yesterday or as its commonly known Why Kru? Officially its the day when students pay respect to their teachers and probably every school in Thailand has some sort of ceremony and we were no different.

There we were bright (HA HA!) and early (ish) at 8am for the national anthem and morning assembly and straight into the Wai Kru formalities. At the start it looked like the usual arrangement of the important Thai teachers up on a stage and us poor farang standing in the corner like a starving waif with a window pressed against the restaurant wanting to be let in and fed. Then whats this? Wow! We are invited (told) to sit in actual plastic chairs in front of the stage. Still not worthy enough for inclusion in the actual ceremony but at least visible. Then again thats all we are sometimes, a visible white presense to show to the parents. No doubt the school photographers and video takers were making sure they got plenty of shots of the big wigs and the white faces.

Now the thing is, at this school there are actually 3 grades of English tuition the kids can get.
1) Thai English teachers only - obviously the cheapest option
2) Thai and native English teachers - more expensive. We are employed by an agency who have a contract with the school.
3) the English Program where they get English, mat's and PE in English by a native speaker and a Thai assistant. These folk are employed directly by the school. This is the top of the range option that supposedly is filled only with B.Eds, M.Eds, PCGEs or have at least 15 credits of education in their normal degree.

Yeh right, its the same story as everywhere else. You get to know someone in the program and little bit of photoshop later and you suddenly meet the requirements for the Ministry of Education.

Its a bit like Go Inter, a branch of Chulalongkorn Uni that says in its adverts only native speakers need apply. Hmm, right, thats why they have 2 Polish girls there working full time. Black is always black unless you need to change it to white.

Anyway, back to Wai Kru. Although us lowly English teachers aren't allowed on stage, the EP teachers are. But even they are only allowed onto the back row.

About 60 minutes of droning on and little automaton robots coming on stage bowing to HM the king and then to the invited speaker and then to the head honcho and walking off stage, it was all over and classes started again.

Did it make any difference in the kids behaviour the rest of the day? Dream on.

I even had one kid wet himself - I think. I say, I think because there was a puddle under the desk but his chair was bone dry and his shorts seemed to be as well ( not that I ever even contemplated feeling them! ) So I have no idea what happened as he definitely didn't have any sort of liquid container with him but he appeared to be totally unfazed and amused by the whole situation. Did he just undo his zip and piss on the floor? Who knows? I heard of a tale where exactly that happened at BCC - Bangkok Christian College - ( and that's another of the "one of the best schools in Bangkok" )

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Wonderful Wednesday

Ok, another lie. It wasnt that wonderful but in fact it was actually not bad. All the classes sort of behaved which is a step up considering I had 2 P2 classes today. I think maybe my going berserk at them last week worked.

One of the tools we have to try and control the kids is a mark sheet. Basically, for every class they are given a mark out of 10 and the best homeroom gets to put a pennant outside, WHOOO HOOO! Sometimes, the kids pay attention to a decreasing score sometimes they dont, there is no hard and fast rule on it. But today I saw for the first time ever ( I think ) a thai teacher had given a class a score of 0, ZERO. Go Teacher!

One of the problems we have is that sometimes our scores are either not included at all and ignored - seems to be especially when they are low, funny that. Sometimes they have been altered by the thai teachers to increase the score and obviously their face ie from a 3 to a 8, a 1 to a 7 and so on. Sometimes, if one of us forgets the sheet, the score is made up by the thai teacher.

This may sound a bit strange "if one of us..." but what happens is that between 5 teachers we split 2 home rooms. One home room = 50 kids, 2 home rooms = 100 divide by 5 teachers and tadaah! We arrive at our class sizes of 20 kids each.

Well, tomorrow is Wai Kru day so I will get the old digi camera out and take a few pictures and shove them on my web site. I may be a bit paranoid but I dont really want to show them here, yet. ( I will wait until I leave or am fired or just want revenge or am in a foul mood or something )

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Super Tuesday

Really? Well, hummm, no. Just another zzzzzzzz. Today is usally a quiet day for me anyway with only 3 periods to teach but with the practice for Wai Kru, I am teaching from 8.40 - 9.30am then 2.50 til 3.40pm. Which left me the chance to do lots.

Well, what did I do? umm, checked wound a few conspiracy theorists up - aparently the World Trade Centre was demolished with controlled explosions and had nothing to do with the 2 planes full of fuel and hundreds of people inside them and then I jaunted way down Sukhimwit to the end of the line and beyond to get my electric shaver sorted.

My reliable old Braun has seen service for probably 10 years plus and not really given me any real problems but it as starting to sound like a lawnmower on a cold morning and teh battery wasnt holding any charge so, time for a service. Typically, the service centre is not open during the weekend. Which meant that depending on my timetable I possibly would never get it fixed there. But becaue of the long break I jaunted down there and in 30 minutes had a new battery installed which seems to have solved the problem. ( I will wait until I use it properly though for final judgement).

Anyway, teaching wise it all went relatively smoothly, but then with two classes in one day, it really should, shouldnt it.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Another Start To Another Week


Well, today I am suppose to have 5 periods and through the week a total of 21. But today, because they are practising for Wai Kru day ( a day where they supposedly show respect and thanks to their teachers for putting up with their brattish behaviour I only have 4.

According to the timetable this means I am supposed to have my first lesson at 10.35. Ah, what to do. Lesson plans? Nah, did them last week, internet? Maybe log onto the old and see how I should be getting intouch with my kids feelings and discuss their problems with them and come to a mutual understanding of how each other feels? Nah, just wind up those who advocate it. It may be fine with people who can speak english but Prathom 2? Nah, doesnt work mate. So, anyway, did that for 30 min or so and hopefully wound a few people up. Then 8.20 comes along and WheeHee! Cover time for those sick, absent or too hung over to come in.

The way its scheduled, Prathom 1 are practising for Wai Kru until 9.00 - the first period needs a cover for 8.40 - 9.30. Sounds good, I eagerly put my hand up and pretend I am interested in helping out the agency. HAHA! Its the 350B I want for the cover, just helps as well that I will only be teaching probably for half the period as well!! Everyone else who covers during the rest of the day has to do the full 50 minutes. HA HA! I may look stupid sometimes but :)

Teaching wise, it actually went ok today apart from about 5 or 6 of one of the Prathom 3 classes during the "good afternoon teacher, how are you?" "I'm fine thank you and You" litany decided on the "you" to howl it like wolves. About 20 minutes later they had finally stopped talking, During the entire time I was standing at the front saying nothing, pointedly looking at my watch. If I had just bawled them out, it would have been finished and done in 5 minutes and the class would have gone on. Because I did the psychological approach it took 20 minutes. Thats far too subtle for Thais, far better just yelling at them. Short, sharp and over and done with.

We should come in at 7.50 before the national anthem and leave at the end of the day at 3.40 and not come in late or go home early if we have holes in our timetables and in fact this was written into the new terms and conditions for this year. In reality folk are still coming in late(ish) and just leaving when they are finished and not a word is being said.

This could mostly be for the following reason. On Friday, both the Prject Manager and Assistant Project Manager ( who are both totally ineffectual ) werent in. Today we found out why! They had bogged off to Hua Hin at lunchtime. Feckers!! The reason one of them gave, was that this would be his last chance for a holiday until August!!! Unfecking real guys, you are in a SCHOOL with a SCHOOL TIMETABLE, that means you have holidays when the school is on holiday. I would like to see their reaction if I asked them to take a Friday afternoon this week off because my next holiday will be October. Aye right pal.

Friday, June 11, 2004

The last week -

The last week has been an interesting one in some ways and absolutely fecking frustrating in another.

If kids are stupid but try, I don't mind that, I actually usually give them higher praise than the clever ones because they have had to work like buggery just to get close. It is the clever ones who cant be arsed or the stupid ones that don't even bother trying that get on my tits.

On Monday I was still suffering the effects of some virus so was off ill. Because I had only 3 periods to teach on Tuesday I came in and surfed my way through the day. My Prathom 3 classes were ok but the Prathom 2 still are a nightmare.

I am now keeping a track of exactly how much time is lost for every class. In some cases last week it was actually the entire class! I made the little feckers stand in silence for the entire class once I got them to shut up and actually look in my general direction.

Wednesday - because of the bad behaviour of the P2s, I decided to basically scrap the lessons planned for this week and change them. I would now get them to draw posters of the class rules ie no talking when teaching is talking, raise your hand to answer a question, be polite, no playing in class...

I started off by showing them the paper, drawing a very quick poster on the whiteboard and then waited. No response, only an increasing level of talking between the members of the various groups. I went round the tables and explained again and waited. 1 or 2 groups got the idea even if they only copied exactly what was on the whiteboard. But at least it was a start. 50 minutes later not 1 group out of the 3 P2 classes had finished it. A couple had got close but no cigar, OK onto the next lesson then.

Thursday. Again the P3s were ok with only minor infractions that aren't really worth complaining about. The P2s continued the poster and surprise a couple actually finished, even if they ended up adding in things like robots and trains and various other unidentifiable things. What got me were two particular groups ( one in 2.2 and one in 2.6 ) that just refused to listen and or do anything. One of them just ended up drawing anything they felt like on the paper despite umpteen explanations and showing them other more finished posters from other groups.

The other group just decided to play dumb and do nothing all period. Their timetable was something like this. 0 lesson starts, 5 minutes still getting students out of home room, 10 minutes arrive at English room, 15 minutes get students quiet and into room, 20 minutes explain again what is needed and show poster from other class - nods of understanding all round, 30 minutes explain to group again what is needed-nods of understanding all round but nothing done, 35 minutes explain again what is needed and show poster again-nods of understanding all round but nothing done,40 minutes - explain again what is needed and actually start some of the work myself -nods of understanding all round but nothing done, 45 minutes explain to them again and go to another group 1 minute later I turn round and they have done feck all. At this point I march over to the table and just go ballistic at them, I have explained heaven knows how many times over 2 days and the best part of 90 minutes what they have to do and they are sitting there talking away to themselves with no intention of doing anything. I rant away at them for a couple of minutes and end up taking back the 20% completed poster and ripping it in half and putting it in the rubbish bin. What is even more galling is that they then said "teacher, not finish!" I know you didn't finish, that's because you are a bunch of lazy feckers who have less intelligence than a mosquito larva!! At least that's what I wanted to say.

I sometime think when I am venting my spleen at these kids it must be like a Gary Larsson Far Side cartoon where a master is yelling at his dog for eating the couch again and all the dog hears is " BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, ROVER, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, ROVER!" Ah well, it usually makes me feel better anyway and that's the main point. I think they only freak out when they pick up the pitch of my voice or the edge in it. The actual content could be the receipe for Lemon Meringue Pie for all they care.

Well, a relatively smooth day. After freaking out at my P2s yesterday, they were actually relatively well behaved today. Maybe I should do it more often. :)

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Current Situation

Well, I am entering my 3rd year teaching in Thailand and for the last 2 1/2, I have been teaching at one the "best" schools in Bangkok. I put that in inverted commas as basically there are quite a few that claim to be the best.

The reality is of course somewhat different.

I work for an elite agency that has won a 3 year contract to provide EFL teachers to the school - no assumptions should be made to the name of the school or the agency ;)

In theory, this means the agency takes cares of all our problems and worries and gets the WP on our behalf and speaks to the school if we have problems and so on and so on. Bollocks.

In reality, the agency doesn't give a toss. It just goes through the motions. Any sense of professionalism has been totally lost with the firing of the first DOS 6 months into the project. Since then it has all become a job and this includes the view of the current DOS / Project Director.

At the end of last term the agency got a new Director of curriculum or curriculum development Manager or some such stupid title. A step forward? Sort of. The trouble is, he has never taught in Thailand, came straight here for the job and is now 6 months later married to a Thai girl he met on KS road he got pregnant. And this is the man who judgement we have to trust. Hmmmmmm.

He has just introduced a Personal development Plan for all the teachers and its full of lovely buzz words like "feedback" "formulate and present personal plans" "mentoring" and so on. But the reality is that its just a big con.

Instead of the representative - note, not teacher - of the agency consulting with his boss, getting outside viewpoints on strengths and weaknesses, agreeing a plan, allocation resources as it is now done in all the touchy feely companies in the west. It is done as follows
The employee decides what he is good and bad at
The employee decides what to develop
The employee decides how to do it
The employee finds out how to do it
The employee gets the books, training courses etc ( which the company may provide - no promises there )

Do you see a pattern developing here? The company is leaving it all up to the teachers - oops, sorry, representatives to do it all themselves and then they can claim it was self improvement / development.

This year, I am teaching Prathom 2 & 3 kids which is a move upwards. Prathom 1 are nice but the first 3 months of school is murder, colour the ball RED !

For some reason, the Prathom 2 kids which I have this year are far worse than last years crop. I suspect, but cannot prove, that the reason is last years batch of P1 teachers. Three out of five didnt give a toss about the job they were doing and showed the kids movies rather than go through the bother of teaching them. This unfortunately got to the point where our corridor was renamed SFX row or Major Cinemex row. So far, most of the trouble makers I have indentified have been taught by these 3 "professionals".

The First Post

Why this Blog?

Good question, I have a web site which I maintain on a failrly regular basis with thoughts about the state of working as an English teacher in Bangkok but I feel in some ways its a more general web site and most of the people who read it arent teachers so get very bored with stuff only teachers in Bangkok are interested in. So this may be the answer. Also I am quite polite about things and people there whereas this is going to be me VENTING MY SPLEEN about anything that happens throught the week.