Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dont Look Back In Anger Part 5

And here we go for the next instalment.

At the time I was working everyday apart from Sundays and I was starting to wear myself out which was one of the reasons I had left my job in the UK.

So basically I was on the lookout for a new job. The agency I had been doing corporate work for - Elite - had actually offered me a job not long after starting with them, about the middle of June I think. But they offered me about 25k, although that would have increased my income, it meant working more hours. Nah.

About 6 weeks later, I was chatting with the head man and the subject came up again and this time the offer was 28k. More interesting but still not enough to tempt me. Another 6 weeks or so and the offer was upped to 32k. Well, ok I though, that’s a bit better I might as well give it a go and see what happens.

So, off I trot to have the interview with the DOS – Raymond Kerr - at Assumption and he comes across as very competent, very clued up and a fellow countryman. Sorted. The only problem was, this was now October and I wouldn’t start working there until the end of the holidays.

My first day brought a shock as I discovered the DOS had moved on. The story is that it was one of these “mutual decisions” or at least it was mutual from the sense of both parties realised that they couldnt work with each other. The DOS was too outspoken, too knowledgable, too ready to fight the corner of his staff against the agency. In other words the sort of guy you want on the teachers side, your side against the agency.

The set up was a little bit odd in the sense that the agency had a contract to provide all staff to the school. So we were all teachers in a school but employed by the agency. We had in effect two bosses, the agency and the school, this as you can imagine led to some strange situations where communications broke down, were interrupted and in some cases invented!

It has to be said that I learnt a lot from my first six months there. The TEFL course gave me an idea, Wat Plabachai school taught me a lot about self preservation, if not teaching, but Assumption taught me a lot about teaching. Or at least the teachers in my year group did. In a way I was quite fortunate in that I had a “real” teacher in the group PGCE – UK teacher - qualified and all that. That group Simon, Blake, me and John ( or was that the group in my first full year? I cant quite remember ), anyway we all got on pretty well, we co-operated on lesson plans, ideas and it was really good for a new teacher. Something else that was pretty good was that we were all teaching in rooms beside each other, so that if we set tasks for our class and they were quiet we could pop into someone elses’ room for a few minutes or more drastically call for reinforcements.

One of the consequences of the boss leaving was that they had to promote someone to replace him. The choices were to be honest not that successful. One was a decent teacher but the man management skills were definitely lacking, a point which he readily acknowledged himself. The other appointee was a very nice chap who was the other extreme, who took ages to make a decision and didn’t want to upset anyone. Step forward John and Tony. Admittedly they did have the awkward position of being between the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright stupid. You can decide yourself who are the teachers, the school, the management and the agency. Having seen what goes on in all schools over the last four years, it would take a lot more than 60k a month to make me take that sort of job. Moaning from one side, moaning from the other sid, moaning from both sides and all the bitching and none of the credit.

Out of school John was a fairly decent person ( if he brought money for his drinks ) and Tony was a quiet soul who largely kept himself to himself and his wife who then came in as a curriculum development consultant or a similar title.

The other teachers were the usual mix of folk in either Thailand or the school for a year, people with too much alcohol in their blood stream or too much blood in their alcohol stream, people who had been there for years, people there for a week, a day or be the invisible man and not turn up at all.

Just to show my naievity at that point, at the end of the year I had to go home. I needed a new visa and my original ticket was going to expire, so I asked if I could use the sick days that I hadn’t used instead of taking unpaid leave. And the answer was no I couldn’t. Instead of being like everyone else and taking a sickie I was the berk who tried to be honest. I learned that lesson.

The new school year started and a new boss appeared. At first we thought OK it should be an improvement. Ah, the dreams of the forlorn! No it wasn’t. In the end it proved to be the start of the decline of the Roman Empire. Well, ok that’s a bit of an exaggeration but it was the beginning of the end of the beginning etc etc

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know that I am waiting breathlessly for part 6.