Thursday, September 01, 2005

Assorted Ramblings

If you read the various newspaper and forums you will see that corporal punishment it now against the law. You now can’t legally hit any kids. Errr yup. Well, unless you are a Thai teacher. Sometimes, going to my first class of the day, I see boys who are presumably coming in late and receiving a late “ticket” just inside the gate and another little line hidden from the main road where boys line up and get whacked a couple of times by a cane on the rear end. You can actually hear the sound from the other side of the road sometimes! Ouch!! I think it depends which guy is in charge of the whacking as a couple of times I have sent he kids really get whacked and a couple of times it didn’t seem to be that sore – at least judging from their reaction.

As is common which a lot of schools, there is always a circus outside with various people selling the kids stickers, pirated PS2 games, food and of course English language schools. Sometimes the language school folk take things way too far. Handing out the leaflets is a thankless job, I know, I did it for a while in a summer holiday when I was younger and the number of refusals can get you down but… I saw something last week that made me mad. I was walking behind a small kid, maybe Prathom 2, the schoolbag bigger than him, struggling his way up the street and the woman who was handing out the leaflets held out the leaflet in front of his face, when he shook his head to indicate he didn’t want it she took one of his arms and forced the leaflet into his hands and closed the hands around the leaflet. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. I really felt like going up to the woman and smacking her one. In the end, of course I didn’t and she carried on forcing the leaflets into the hands of the kids. The overall result? A few yards behind her was a growing pile of those same leaflets that the kids didn’t and therefore just dropped on the street. Stupid.

Things in the office are fairly calm at the moment, unless you count the fact that 3 people handed their notice in and one left immediately. So if anyone wants a job let me know! Over the last couple of weeks we have been observed by the bosses, this was one of the final steps before passing probation. Mine went Ok with a few comments about language level in instructions ie it was too high and the mix of activities wasn’t quite right but overall pretty positive. The one thing that amazes me is that the feedback is given in writing, you don’t get to talk with the observer – unless you want to! Umm. Seems a bit strange, especially for such a “serious” English program. Ah well, whatever.

Once we pass probation, a few things will happen, we will have to wear the school uniform on Mondays – white shirt and school tie, not really such a big deal. We stop having the “bondage deduction” taken from our salaries. And maybe most important of all, it will be more difficult to sack us.

The crackdown on downloading stuff seems to be serious. A couple of comments were overheard about removing any sort of program that will download music or movies so maybe it will be more than a couple of weeks before people start downloading stuff again.

I will now tell a tale of a teacher who joined the school not that long ago in another section. You make up your own mind whether he is an idiot, unfairly picked on, unrealistic or whatever.

He joined about 10 days ago and said he was going to resign. He was teaching M5 & 6. Not the brightest pack of cards on the table but … He is teaching 22 lessons a week of 50 minutes. Because of various activities that the kids did and a lack of enthusiasm generally for turning up, he was never teaching full classes and in some cases, no one turns up at all. The way his timetable is set up, he effectively has a couple of half days were all he needs to do is make sure he comes in at some point to swipe his timecard.

He says that he has been having trouble with his bosses as they tell him that if no one turns up, he still has to give the lesson and that if no one turns up it is his fault. But the main point of him wanting to resign is that the school will not give him the full bonus at the end of the year. He is not getting the flight allowance bonus and is being pro-rated on the “normal” bonus. He seems to think he deserves the full bonus.

Now, no school I know of will ordinarily give anyone joining 4 months into the school year the full bonus – unless you were a really good negotiator and or the school were desperate to get bodies in.

A few days later he decides that well, I am not going to get another job until October and then it will be the schools holidays so I wont be paid for the holidays and well if I stay until then I might as well stay until December and if I stay until then I might as well stay for the full year.

To my mind he was being a bit silly in wanting to resign as he seems to overall have a very sweet deal. Kids not turning up? Great Stuff. Half days? Wonderful. I wouldn’t mind that.

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