Friday, June 18, 2004

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" )

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