Wednesday, July 06, 2005

If I Ruled The World

I suppose I shouldn’t have asked the question.

What have we done to deserve this – for lack of a better word – system? What could we do, what should we do?

In practical terms we as teachers have very little input. In some schools we come in, get told what to teach, what book – if we are lucky and there is your pay, now get out. In others it’s a bit better, they ask questions and listen and then do it the same old way of not failing students etc etc. It is exceptionally rare for a normal school to actually think properly and logically about what needs to be done - from the schools perspective, from the parents and from the pupils. Even the big “International Schools” can be fucked up when the franchise owners decide to maximise profits and forget about education. Look at Dulwich in Phuket. It is now the International British Curriculum School. Hmmm.

So enough of the moaning, if I ruled the world what would I do?

An unlimited supply of Cider and Viagra / Alka Seltzers depending on the circumstances! Peer to peer programs to be made legal……

But seriously, in no particular order here are some random thoughts

Visa / Work Permit / Teachers Licence

Make the Teachers Licence transferable. I mean EASILY transferable. Make the form a little book like the work permit where all you need to do is take it to your school. Get them to go with you to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry stamp it after recording the change of school.

Make the Work Permit EASILY transferable and make the visa for teachers last 13 months, not just to the end of the contract. Why that extra time? Well because a lot of schools give 11 month contracts so that the holidays in April are unpaid. This means teachers have to go out of Thailand to get new visas. Even if the contract is 12 months, a lot of teachers start new schools just after the 12 month period. That means again a lot of unnecessary travel and expense.

Can anyone tell me the sense in the huge rush all the various agencies and schools have to go through in may / Jun because so many have to reapply for documents and permits they had the previous year. It’s all work for works sake.

If anyone is suspected of producing duff documents, the Ministry and or the school should contact the University to check the authenticity. If the degree is proved to be duff i.e. a Khao San copy, the degree should be seized and used for comparison on other suspects. The teacher should not be forced to pay for letters from the embassy or extra letters from the university or whoever.

If the Ministry says it will accept documents one year for a Licence it should have a damm good reason for turning round the next year and declining one.

Even these small changes would make a great impact I suspect on reducing the fear factor for schools, the stress level for teachers and would help to make a lot more teachers legal.

The school should give a clear list of documents that are needed at the contract signing stage to give the teacher enough time to get it ready to be processed.

The teacher should have original documents! It’s a bit of a no brainer but its strange the number who arrive without their original certificates and have to wait for them to be sent over here.

If the school think they have a got a bit of an anally retentive twat who insists that John Robert William Lewis is not the same person John R W Lewis then they should tell the person to fuck off and process the damm thing or go to someone else for a second opinion without fear of it being rejected just because the first anal twat did.


Listen to the teachers. Have a discussion, listen. Some of the ideas may be good, some may be bad but actually listen. Then take the good ones on board and actually do something.

Give the teachers’ real worthwhile training. Help them to improve.

Tell the parents NO! Revolutionary this but what the hell. Tell the parents some kids are not going to cope in the particular English program and bump them down to the next level. Tell the parents kids will fail. Don’t allow cheating. Tell the Thai teachers to ditch the microphones and get out from behind their desk.

Try and start making the kids think for themselves instead of the ritual of copying from the board and from each other in exams.

Back up the teachers ( where appropriate ) on parent v teacher arguments.

Make schools places of learning not just where you meet future business partners of the future and network.


It’s a job so treat like one. Its not a holiday, you didn’t go out on the piss every night back home and came in stinking of booze, did you? ( If you did then you really should look at yourself ) Don’t do it here. Chuck the 3 month holiday / working for beer money folks back out onto the street or into organised low salary / volunteer programs. This would help attract more teachers, who quite frankly would never consider working here because of the joke image it has.

When I went back home and told people what I was doing they thought I was wasting my time and basically my time here was just one long holiday. It’s that sort of perception that has to be changed and the only way it will is if the bigwigs here get the heads out there arses and look ahead, not 6 months, not 1 year but 5 years, 10 years ahead.

The fearless leader is all for making this place a regional hub of this that and that other. I tell you. If Cambodia, Laos or Burma ever decide ( or get enough help ) to overcome their past and get seriously developed, Thailand will be a dot in the rear view mirror. And that’s not forgetting about Singapore, Malaysia and of course the big giant in the north who could swallow all of Asia if things go their way.

Oh yes, I heard that another person resigned today. Another one bits the dust and another one gone, another one gone, another one bites the dust!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I came upon your blog and I read about your plight with great pity. I just don't understand why people do such monkey work. To be constructive regarding something you said though, wait till Viet Nam gets into the WTO etc. Thailand won't stand a chance competing with the Vietnamese, due to the intelligence factor, the drive, and the roman alphabet already in use here. This is coming from someone who managed to stick it out two months in Thailand before becoming a "runner". I am now a lecturer in a university in Ho Chi Minh City.