The realities of teaching

The realities of teaching

Every picture tells a story

There is no other profession in the world quite like teaching; the challenges, the experiences and the sense of achievement, it is a truly unique and fulfilling career.

If you are fresh off a teacher training course, it is important to realise that the realities of working in a school are often very different from what you may be expecting.

To help with adjusting to the realities of life as a classroom teacher, here are 10 great memes to expose some classroom realities.

1) No matter how well you explain something, there are usually one or two students that will not have listened to your instructions and as soon as you ask the class to begin work, they'll raise their hands and ask you to repeat everything!

2) Classroom management is one of the most important skills to ensure a productive classroom. Having a ‘I'm not amused face' is a powerful tool that most teachers use to signal disapproval - it's highly effective and can be used with students from kindergarten to high school - this cat does it brilliantly!

3) One skill which you won't have learnt on your teacher training course is the ability to unscramble and decipher student code (also known as abysmal spelling & handwriting). Over time you'll develop this skills and one day you'll realise that even the most illegible scribblings can be read.

4) Staff meetings can be important, after all it's useful to know that the entire school will be wearing pink polo shirts next Tuesday or that you are taking the Grade 9 students on a field trip to the zoo next Friday - but more often than not staff meetings, which could be conducted in less than 10 minutes, tend to drag on and on. Every now and then it's nice when they get cancelled.

5) Having to write lengthy lesson plans is an unfortunate reality of working in a Thai school and no matter how hard you stare at your computer screen, they don't write themselves. If you're able to grab last year's lesson plans from the academic department or a teacher who is leaving, you'll save a lot of time by simply editing and updating these, rather than writing them from scratch.

6) There are some students in every class who love to ask questions....unfortunately, those questions often have nothing to do with the lesson!
Popular examples include;

- ‘Teacher, who's better, Ronaldo or Messi?'
- ‘How tall are you?'
- ‘Why is there a hole in your sock?'
- ‘Are you single?' ‘Why/why not?'
- ‘Do you have a six pack?' ‘Why/why not?'
- ‘What does _ _ _ _ (4-lettered profanity) mean?

7) Parent-teacher relations are important for student achievement and it's good to work with parents that take an active interest in their child's progress... but every now and again, you come across a parent who has a reason to email you every couple of days!

8) Having students realise that by simply completing the assignments you set, their end-of-term scores will improve, seems to be a difficult concept for many students to grasp....especially teenagers! They often don't realise until it's too late

9) Sitting patiently and waiting for the class to be quiet is an excellent classroom management technique - problem is, some classes take a very long time to settle down.

10) Group work is an essential 21st Century skill which all schools should support students to develop - the only problem with a lot of groups is that one or two diligent students do all the hard work while the others do absolutely nothing.

Daniel Maxwell
Varee Chiangmai School

Check out my new website as well - Teachers Notes (all about education)


Almost everything in Thailand is in Thai language. For example, recently, during my stay there, I noted that almost all of the products descriptions that are sold on the shelves in Thai shops are solely written in Thai.

I think Thais are not really interested in the real use of English language itself. They are just exploiting us gullible and vulnerable foreigners who are really interested in various teaching/learning/cultural experience to profit their own pockets.

I understand they want quality teachers to teach them English but they have for ages failed to increase the use of English in everyday lives. They should value English language regardless whether they make a huge profit out of English language or not.

Yes, I know they want to profit from foreigners and milk more profit from teachers with degree. They want to lure us to pay hundreds or thousands of bahts for their various substandard educational outfits.

If they can't even treat the use of English language seriously, why bother to have so many TELF centres?

They treated us like fools.

By Wendy, SEA (4th April 2016)

I think that you must cancel this because the majority of schools never reply when you send them your CV?
May I know why?

By Jerome, BKK (18th March 2016)

OMG you hit the nail right on the head! Giving out instructions is such a ball ache sometimes and I wonder if I'm the one doing the miscommunication! Hahaha what I often notice with Southeast Asian students is that they are largely spoon-fed in their life, both in and out of school, that they don't have sharp skills for critical/independent thinking.

By Ella Surtida, Indonesia (14th March 2016)

Being able to read and write text upside down or back to front is a useful skill when facing a student rather than over their shoulder ;-)

By Nigel Quinn, Thailand (13th March 2016)

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