Monday, May 30, 2005

Uber Rant

OK, time for an UBER rant I think.

Where do I start? It’s been too long since the last real rant I don’t know where to begin, so lets split it up.

Fellow staff.

We have one teacher that is so fucking annoying to talk to. Why? Basically any time you do, when he has something in his hand he bangs it on the table every few seconds or so. Even in meetings he does it. For me that is so distracting its unreal, I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned it to hi or not. I am really tempted to but I know its quite petty so will bite my tongue for the moment until I can stand it no more J

Another teacher in my group is habitually late to collect his class. Like my old school we have been told to collect the kids from their homerooms, take them to our classrooms and return them afterwards. Apparently this is beneath him and he is almost always late coming to pick them up meaning I and the other teachers are delaying our classes to make sure his kids are not left on his own. When he does come, he just ambles up and lets the kids in the classroom run up to him not matter if anyone else if trying to collect their class. Result? Chaos and kids just milling around in one big huddle. Then once outside the class he doesn’t bother keeping his class in order and they run ahead “It doesn’t matter. They know where to go!” Yeh, fine but in the meantime I am trying to control my lot and they are being mixed up with your lot.

I started off having quite a good schedule and for once here having under the normal allotted hours. I was told that I would have to do cover classes to make up the time. Sometimes I would win and not have to do any and sometimes I would. OK, not too bad! But then another teacher finds out he can’t take / handle 14 kids. So what happens? His class gets split and I have to take over 7 kids. Another 4 friggin hours which admittedly brings me up to the requirement but it leaves me working 5 lessons in a row on one day and 4 lessons in a row on 2 others. It also means my “best” day is a Monday with 3 lessons. Unfortunately this means I can and have been lumbered with doing cover lessons on Monday as more people tend to be off on that day than any other day surprise surprise. Compared to others I have a light day and therefore I am more likely to be free. FUCK!!!! In other words I could consistently be working more hours than other teachers.

Cover lessons

This brings up another point. Although every teacher has an allocation of 20 contact hours per week, we have to do 2 cover lessons for free before we get paid for the third one and up. Bastards!!! They didn’t mention this one.

Oh yes, doing a cover isn’t by asking for volunteers, it’s done by the boss who sees who is free and then tells the person they are doing a cover. It doesn’t matter if you had something planned, you are doing it. I got landed with 2 covers when I was sick as a dog and it was tough luck, just do them.

Paperwork, Tax & Withholding

Well, so much for an easy transfer of work permit and teachers licence from one school to another. It’s the same old stupid story. Lets just apply for everything right from the beginning and get everybody to kill 3 trees in the process with all the photocopying that has to be done. Dear lord. It took me about 25 minutes to sign all the photocopies. Yup that’s right, don’t forget you have to sign any photocopy you make to make it an “official” copy. Then we have to get 2 new medical certificates – but not at the same time. We have to wait until we are told to go get one. Then we will be told to go get the other one. And on top of that, we have to use one particular hospital. I was always told that the medical certs were valid for 3 months. Based on what they were saying, all the permits and licences will be issued by then. What’s the problem? It’s not like we are some small fly by night school. We are one of Thailand’s’ best. Copyright all the schools in Thailand who want to charge more for the same thing.

My take on the matter has been (through reading ajarn and thaivisa ) that officially tax is not due to be paid until the work permit is being processed and issued. We have found out today that the school is taking it straight off from the get go. But typically for Thailand, they have been taking different amounts from different people even though we are paid the same. Yeesh.

Also our immediate joy at finding out that they had taken tax instead of the withholding money ( 20,000B over 5 months ) was soon short lived. We found out in the afternoon that it was a “welcome” to the school arrangement and the withholding would start next month. So a double whammy for 5 months - tax and withholding! The best part of 7k a month gone and no money for less than 3 covers a week. Jesus, this pay raise isn’t turning out to be a raise at all.


We have actually got a reasonable amount of pcs to work with for the amount of teachers and so far it had been going reasonably well with people using them for work and email and moving off when others wanted to work. But now it’s gone up in big bold letters above each pc that they are only to be used to work only and the message was repeated in a meeting today. If we want to look at emails etc we have to use 1 pc between 30 of us. HUH!?! That’s about 2 minutes per day then before we start work, lunch hours and breaks. There goes another perk. It’s not as though anyone was on them all day looking at the news and so on preventing anyone from using them for work. So the result is they are going to have 6 pcs sitting there unused 90% of the day. Another case of looks over substance?

I leave the kids until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The New Term & Paperwork

It seems that for various reasons that I am not yet back to the prolific rants of last year. Part of it is down to the same shit different school syndrome, some is down to lazyness, some down to being busy, some down to the fact that I have been doing other things and some down to the access of the internet.

I think that if I dont do this straight after school I lose some of the creative impetus and calm down a bit thus losing some of the desire to let off steam.

Anyway. back to the good stuff. Last week was quite mixed with all going fairly averagely until Friday when the kids just decided to go berserk. I mean the best behaved were just talking amongst themselves. Others were deliberately putting their hands over their ears so they couldnt hear me or the book tape talking, playing with their bags or just hitting each other. In the end I just had to totally bollock out 1 class, lights off, air con off, 0/10 of the class behaviour scorecard. It was a full rant on mode I was in. I didnt quite get the culprits in tears but one was starting to bubble when I pointed him out saying he was a bad boy, not good, not polite etc etc

2nd class of the day and I thought, oh god. Friday syndrome, all of them are going to be nuts Then somehow, it all turned round and the last two classes were great. In fact, almost best of the week. So I ended up the holiday weekend feeling quite good about it.

In order to get the work permit and teachers licence, it seems that the school are going to apply from scratch again despite me having all the gubbins last year. This means, 23 photos ( of 2 different sizes, 6 copies of all the used pages of my passport and 4 copies of everything else ( transcript, certificates etc). Then we have to get 2 medical certificates. But not yet. The school will tell us when we have to go. And we have to go at two seperate times, we cant get the two copies at once. Why this is I have no idea because as far as I am aware, the certificates are good for 3 months and the paperwork should be finished by then. Oh yes, we have to use a certain hospital as well. Not just anyone, but probably the most expensive one for this sort of thing. Last year they apparently were charging between 150 -200 Baht depending on who was making up ( and I use that term advisedly) the bill.

Hey ho. As I said, same shit different school.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


So far this week its just been a case of getting to know you with the students and basically playing games with them. The actual teaching starts next week.

Having had a look at the book, I am a bit worried about content as to say the least the book is very thin. Its called Superworld 2. I dont like the layout of it at all, it is very very thin considering we are going to be using it all year. Each chapter is about 6 pages and half of them are photographs and we need to make each chapter last 4 weeks. Even with the activity book and cassette that means a lot of revision and dead time even with supplementary material.

The chapters dont really make a lot of sense in what they cover, there seems to be no logical theme to each chapter. There is even a a full section on Xmas and one on carnival. Yup that makes a lot of sense to kids in Thailand. If its possible, the book is even more western orientated than the Get Set Go Books I used last year. I mean to say, who has heard of an asian called Rupert or Sadie? At least there are a few Sallys about. There are bits of things all over the place - a bit like this blog I know but I am not paid money to produce this. Whats makes it surprising is that it is from Macmillan Heineman. So its not just a small company that produced it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Episode 4 A New Hope

Well, its been another while since the old blog has been updated but here we are again in the start of the new term and so far here are a few first impressions.

It is as disorganised and chaotic as the last place. Mostly. The overall impression is that it is more professional that the last place in terms of expectations from the school. They seem to definately care about what you do and dont do. We have to swipe in and out using an electronic card before and after a certain time or have the possibility of getting pay docked, we are not supposed to leave school premises during school hours etc etc. Most of these are ok and not much to put up with ( at least at the moment ).

We got a school calendar for the school year which again is much more than we got in the last place, so we already know about when Xmas holidays and mid term tests are. Of course the dates could change but... at least we have an idea. The calendar also lists a whole load of school activities like church services, school sports days, outings, camps and so on. At the moment, its not clear just how many we need to attend or do anything for. But so far we have been to two church services with long christian sermons ( in Thai ) zzzzzzzzzzz and they were compulsory and we needed to sign an attendence sheet. Ah well.

So far, the majority of teachers seem a decent bunch and theres only a couple that I have taken an instant dislike to. It will be funny to see if the instant feeling of like and dislike lasts and is confirmed or is changed one way or the other.

Dont worry more will come and the sarchasm will return!! :) Like wondering which school directors' family owns a drinking water factory and supplies the school with its own branded bottles.