OK, it's been a while since I have posted but as there is very little going on I haven’t really had a reason to post anything!
But to help fill the gap here is a warts and all analysis of the school I worked at.
The rooms we worked in were ours ( with a couple of exceptions ), so we could kit them out really how we wanted. We could put work up on the walls, change the seating arrangements whenever we wanted and so on without someone coming along the next period and changing it back.
The rooms were all air con. A big plus come well actually all year round but especially in the crucial hot and steamy months of June – August ish.
The rooms did have a tape player, tv and video recorder. So I could, if I wanted, play videos for the kids but also play tapes from the books to save my voice and also reinforce the idea that people can speak English slightly differently from the teacher.
The school was actually near my flat so I didn’t need to bother about traffic jams and the like.
We did have the option of having the free school lunch or buying something out the pay canteen or buying something outside. Sometimes the free lunch was actually pretty nice.
We eventually got 4 pcs that we could use for the internet or typing lesson plans or .. actually mostly just using the internet. Which meant I could download a whole load of programs and stuff for free and more importantly quickly onto my flash drive and then take them home.
Most of the buildings were pretty modern so it wasn’t some Dickensian atmosphere with dark damp dungeons and coal cellars.
The rooms did have a tape player, tv and video recorder. This sometimes meant that if other teachers were playing videos all the time, my kids would get to know abput it and every time they went into the class they would chant “tv” “tv” tv” and sometimes even start moving all the desks and sitting on the floor in front of the tv.
The pcs were behind the school firewall so sometimes programs like yahoo went down. It also meant peer to peer programs didn’t work so no kazaa, grokster and so on.
The staffroom was a bit cramped so it was sometimes difficult to move around if somebody had moved their chair to talk with someone else.
The staffroom was tucked away in a little corner in the school grounds so there was very little interactivity between us and the thai teachers. As a general rule we didn’t go into their staffroom and they didn’t go into ours. Which was good in a way, as it gave us space but overall probably harmed us more by not breaking down the barriers between us. It will be interesting to see what happens this coming year when the teachers are all together.
Although the buildings were modern they did share a common problem with other thai buildings and architecture. Sound. Everything was bare stone or wood. The concept of sound baffling definitely seems to have escaped thais. Every room, every corridor, every stairwell reflected, increased sound. It didn’t take many kids talking to raise the noise level to what in the uk could be called legally deafening and requiring ear protectors.
Every so often like every other Thai school we would turn up at the classes and find out that there was no one there. They had been called away for a meeting or activity of some sort. This was sometimes 5 minutes or all lesson but usually we had no idea and just had to wing it.
The Thai teachers. This was a bit funny as it depended on the individuals on both sides. As I said before, the location of our staffroom was not the best as it was in a corner away from all the other staffrooms and I think many people walked by the door without realising that we were actually inside. Some of the teachers wouldn’t return smiles, some would totally blank you every day, some would return smiles and nothing else, some would gradually start to talk to you and so on.