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".

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