Monday, October 31, 2005

A Game of two halves

So, the second semester starts last week and what happens?

Well, nothing totally unexpected to be honest. Despite being told that we were fully staffed we had a couple of people leaving and yesterday I overheard someone talking to another school and so might be leaving.

So here were are back to getting covers for people again. And yes you guessed it, I got a cover. The guy who organises them is unreal. I get one, another guy gets two. Now bear in mind this is a 3 day teaching week. Others get none. What is this guy on? Is he just thinking that some people have done him wrong and thats why they are getting covers? God knows.

On our non teaching day we had a little welcome speech from the director of the school and some other high up. Quite why I am not sure as it was just the farang staff from the various programs. The speeches were bordering on bizarre, from the announcement that the director was just back from America - whoop de friggin whoop - to organise another school to twin with and the usual we hope you do well for our students to we want you to work hard but not too hard, we dont want you overworked. Hmm, maybe thats what I should try with the cover man. Hey, the director said I shouldnt be overworked, how about giving covers to other people for a change??

The guy, who I think is also a director, gave an almost surreal performance. He said that the children we teach may be from good homes and wealthy parents but they are empty, they are damaged, they are incomplete and need our love. They need us to touch them and give them love. Imagine a school administrator saying that in USA or UK. That we have to touch our kids!!

It got better. He said that he hoped that we made friends here and that we would not go out alone because since inflation was running at 6% it was a dangerous place. We should not go out alone at night!!! Well, to be fair, if you read the forums at ThaiVisa there has been a few threads about violence to farangs increasing. Even so, I still feel far safer here than I do back in my home city. It was a comment that again raised quite a few eyebrows.

I noticed that the thread about the school has almost died a death on thaischoolwatch. It was only natural.

Oh yes, I noticed this worthy cause browsing about today. Please join up.

Want to help stop the illegal trade of Khmer artifacts?

Sign the petition to encourage the Thai and Singapore governments to sign the 1970 UNESCO convention on heritage protection.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Summer Of Our Content

And why is everyone content?

Well, its the holidays of course. Throughout Thailand that sound you hear is the sound of teachers everywhere going "Thank God" Two weeks of not hearing "Teacher! Teacher!" "Teacher Finished!" Oh how I would like to strangle whoever got that habit installed into the kids. Two weeks of peace, relaxation and doing whatever we want.

In Bangkok, people without kids are also thanking their various gods with the traffic decreasing down to zero around schools and probably a good 20% overall.

The drawback is that, if the kids are on holiday then wherever you want to go in Thailand, it will be filled with kids. I tried to book an activity holiday and got told that they were fully booked as they had got a batch of 50 kids coming for the month.

And so it is with buses and trains to popular destinations ie Chiang Mai where sleeper trains become fully booked weeks in advance for the start and end of the holidays.

To mark the end of the semester we had a large staff meeting. Where the usual thank you for all your help statements came out. We are apparently using too much paper and are over budget. So we have to be more careful in requesting the number of copies we need. Also we shouldnt be printing stuff off the internet for personal use - ooooo the horror!

Also - JM. Of course I am bitching about people leaving early or coming late when I cant do it, its my blog and I will bitch if I want! - the boss raised the point about people swiping in and then not being seen again until the swiping out time and that we were not to do it. A bit late conidering it was the last day of the do nothing period. Never mind.

If you werent doing a 4 day summer camp for Prathom during the last week you had to go on a "Profesional Development Seminar" Which had the usual dry tales of this is how you should do it - straight from a book - and not very practical at all. A couple of people tried sneaking out but the boss started sitting at the back to stop that.

The alternative was doing the camp. 4 days of "fun filled activities " It turned out to be more exhausting than normal teaching as the breaks were fewer and you had them all day. There were no free periods - well officially. There was a certain participant who decided that he would create his own free periods by going off somewhere and diappearing or by simply sleeping through the activities and not taking part in anything at all. By the end everybody had noticed and commented about it. I only sleep 4 hours a night he says, well thats all you need if you sleep another 5 durng the day I suppose. At the end everybody got 500B a day for the camp and there was more than one barbed comment about how not everybody had earned it. It was quite funny at the end that we were told the payment was all they could spare. hmm. I heard the kids were charged either 1000b or 2000B, there were about 160 kids. So, on the conservative side thats 160,000 B in income and the teachers got 20,000. The food probably cost 3000 - at most, the prizes and materials maybe another 10,000. Hmmm whatever way you work it out, it sure was a nice "little" profit for the school.

Seems to be that the most profitable business in Thailand is to run a school.

See you all after the holidays.

Oh yes, from now on, if you add a comment you will have to fill in one of these funny password tests to stop comment bots, I been getting a lot of spam comments so sorry about that.