Monday, October 11, 2004

Teacher Training Part 2

As the original version was lost when I was trying to back it up this one is going to be a bit more vitriolic just as payback for the 15 minutes lost typing.

Anyway, so there we are on Friday with some of us having received an email – sent the same day – saying that the training would take place next week between 9 and 4. The mornings were supposedly training and group sessions with the afternoon’s preparation and group work for the next day. F@ck that for life on the ocean wave. However, after talking to the FUD he unsurprisingly shifted blame to the Training and Curriculum manager who we shall call Gander and it was all his fault yaddaa yaddaa yaa. I have no idea if it was or not but it would suit his character as it comes over as a typical corporate type who will brown nose those above and crap on those below.

So, this morning comes around and at 9 am there are still folk coming in, so around 20 minutes later everybody is still talking but I am suddenly aware that there are an awful lot less people than there had been a few minutes before. A quick check revealed that the FUD had come in and told people to move out to the room. I had not heard him at all, the person I was speaking to had heard him talking but didn’t make out the words. Obviously he had not got everyone’s attention first to make sure we could hear him and waited to see if we had heard and understood the situation. No problem we thought, the assistant FUD was there and we could go with him. Err, no, he didn’t know where we were supposed to go exactly.

OK then, lets just wander round the building until we stumble on them. No one was in sight as they had all disappeared so we set off looking in various classrooms until a cleaner saw us looking round and pointed to a room and indeed that’s where everyone was and we trooped in a few minutes late.

Now let’s distil the facts and consider them
1) an instruction was given to leave the staffroom and go to a previously unknown location and it wasn’t checked whether it was heard by everyone and acted on
2) the assistant FUD didn’t know where the training room was
3) we were told by a cleaner where the others were!
4) We turned up late delaying the training

Very professional. NOT!

Anyway, we go in and Gander is there looking typically geeky and he decides to do a “warmer” and mixes everyone up so we aren’t sitting in the original position and then spends the next 10 minutes explaining why he did it and trying to get us to participate. Unfortunately he waffles on and misses really one of the most important points – authority reinforcement – as well as other minor ones. Most of us agreed that after going to the students classroom to collect them, get them all lined up and walking to our classrooms, what we needed to do was to cool them down not warm them up. Yep, that’s what we need, someone who has never taught here telling us how to teach.

Could the slightly modified old saying could be true. Those who do, do. Those who can’t teach and those who can’t teach, train?

And at that he said the rest of the days training would be by the FUD. Ah ok, we have a curriculum and training manager who apparently doesn’t do either. Oi vey!

The FUD comes up and the transformation is remarkable. It was like the visit of someone from head office to a little branch where the eccentric staff do things in their own way and pretend during the visit that they do things normally and don’t use the office pcs to run an internet cafĂ© on the sidelines for locals and so on. Then when the boss is gone everyone is relived and gets back to doing things their own way.

And he begins to waffle on and umm errr yes ummm quite right yes umm maybe umm errr and I begin to tune out and suddenly realise that people were leaving again – a quick translation from the person beside me informed me that we had in fact stopped for a coffee break. Great 9.50ish. On entering the staffroom we all sort of looked at each other with a “what the hell was that all about?” look. Another waste of time and effort.

Around 20 minutes later we go back up and find out the schedule for the week. The morning is supposed to be training and in the afternoon free study and preparation for the next day. The study can take place just about anywhere we are told. In other words we can go home or stay or do what we want. See what I mean about eccentric local ways?
We are also told that we are going to have to prepare a syllabus for the next session to give to the parents. Er, don’t we have one already? Isnt that why we have a curriculum manager and project manager and assistant project manager. Apparently not. The answer is, the one we have will not be accurate and they want to produce one with dates and topics and that sort of junk. In other words, its just for show to give to the school and isn’t of any real importance at all.

After that gem, we are given a questionnaire about the semester so far – how it went, how relevant were the books and so on and so forth. After filling them in we go into groups to discuss them and then into different groups to get further ideas. Not a bad idea if the conversations had been focused but of course since we ranged from Mathayom to Prathom not all the ideas could be used across the range.

One idea from Cleric was to introduce a teaching assistant to Prathom 1 classes as he could only teach about 10 minutes out of the 50 minute period. Unfortunately the way he put it, only revealed that he couldn’t control his classes and the more he spoke the deeper and deeper his hole became. I noticed quite a few heads shaking on this. Sorry, been there taught that level and got the buggers under control and taught them a damm site longer on average than 10 minutes. Did I lose control of the class sometimes? Yes. Often? No. Its called technique and combined lots of patience, some intelligence and with a dash humour you can teach and sometimes the best reward is the one worked most hard to achieve which most definitely is the description of what you have to do in Prathom 1 – WORK. And that is one thing he doesn’t like to do. He openly admits to showing videos as rewards. Ok that’s fine every now and again but he does it in the majority of his classes and that makes it routine, not a reward. I would much rather give out a worksheet for the kids who have finished than show a video. At least with a colouring in sheet you can still use it to teach while they are enjoying colouring in – what colour is this? What is this? How many…? Etc With a video they are gone and not learning.

Oops went on about him quite a lot so will draw the line there and call it a day. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

No comments: