Tuesday, July 05, 2005

More Paperwork Groans

Another week another batch of moans and groans in the office. Much of it is the usual stuff with paperwork for licences and permits and the lack of transparency in the processes.

As well as the usual rubbish that we have to put up with from the actual officials, there does seem to be extra nonsense going on in the school office, which in theory is on our side. Getting any sort of information is difficult, we aren’t being kept informed of any sort of progress. Where is my application? Er, not absolutely sure. I think I have the Teachers Licence but I haven’t seen any confirmation of that yet. Where is the Work Permit? Haven’t a clue. Every time I ask its “its being processed” Others are having even more of a problem with the old middle name problem with the old this is ok, no this is not ok two step. There are a few folk that are starting to wonder if this place is worth all the agro and by that I mean both the country and the school.

I haven’t really moaned about the kids in a while so here we go, part of the problem is that we have basically rich or semi rich parents who pay a bag of money to the school and therefore expect their kid to be fluent in English after the first week. In one of my classes I have a kid that is trouble with a T. At the start of the term he sat with the others, did nothing and fought and had to be sat on his own, then he has repeatedly then refused to sit with the others again, choosing to sit on his own. Since then he has done about 2% of the work of everyone else. He invents new ways of sitting or using the combination of desk and chair. One leg on the chair, one through the chair, one arm through the chair, banging the desk against the wall etc etc. As well as that he talks to the rest of the class, gets up and walks around, makes various noises, shouts random words and generally makes a nuisance of himself. Even the other kids in the class are aware of his problems and think he is crazy. Apparently he also has an older brother who has just as many behavioural problems. What happens? Nothing. The school continues to ignore the problem, continues to accept the parents money, the parent continues to waste money thinking he is learning English and the poor teachers get left with the mess to clear up.

In another class that is comparatively small, I have them split up so that there is no one sitting next to each other. Of course the obvious then happens, they talk to each other across the room almost completely oblivious of me trying to teach them. Today I was trying to teach them weather. I ask what’s this and amongst the answers I get back are pizza, woman and 7-11. Its not just the case that they don’t know, its that they are willfully being little shits. The really really annoying thing is that when they want to work – which isn’t that often - they can do the stuff, they can speaka da engleesh. The only time when they are semi quiet is when they are copying stuff down from the whiteboard or doing worksheets. But that isn’t why I am supposed to be here, why any of us are supposed to be here. Christ, if all the school wanted was people to teach them writing or worksheets they would just hire Fillipinas or following Fearless Leaders’ idea, getting them from India at quarter of the cost. And yet, they still want us. They want us and don’t want us.

You can see the same sort of attitude from Prathom right up to the highest levels. The refusal to listen, to think logically, think or act independently. That’s why so many people have problems getting work permits if the slightest thing is wrong. The folk in the Ministry are shit scared of actually making a decision that possibly James Robert William Smith that’s shown on the passport is the same person who is on the degree certificate as James R W Smith. As it is, the various embassies are making a lot of money from people who have to turn up to get a letter confirming that they are the same person.

How will this change? I don’t know, there are too many important people who would lose money and too many who would lose face and a few that would lose both. There are too many attitudes entrenched and heads in the sand. I suspect very few people do and none of them are in a position to change anything.


Malcom Sphincter said...

Your job is shit.

Your blog tells us your job is shit.

Your blog is shit.

dong said...

Is it worth it in the long run? No. Do people (Thai admin/students/farang teachers) think of the long run in Thailand? No. All students here are the same-- it is programmed into them from the start to be totally uninterested in anything around them except for themselves and the actions/reactions of their friends. I've never seen children so COMPLETELY indifferent to learning, to doing anything that is slightly challenging. I can ask "why try?" but the truth of it is that we will. We have ethics, whereas many people here do not! It's as simple as that. It also gets very boring not doing anything in class besides give them worksheets while you sit looking at the window. I know because I've done it. It makes one loath themselves, as well as their students. There's nothing worse than having ZERO respect for your students and employers. It makes work very UN-enjoyable. Take the little shits outside, do nothing but play games, have them make a board game and play it everyday until their fingers fall off. Good luck.

Sarah said...

Teach English in Korea