Just a little comment really based around what the Ministry of Education are trying to achieve and the way teachers in the broad stream of education are treated salary wise.I appreciate what the MOE are trying to do but I think their sledgehammer to crack a hazelnut approach is way off the mark. This might annoy a few readers but, I think in the main it is logical.
The requirement to hold a degree while on the face of it sensible I think in the wider scheme of things doesn't achieve much. It will filter out some undesirables but not all. I think a far more sensible approach would be to introduce a mandatory English Grammar test for all teachers and that should be the basis on whether they can teach in Thailand. If they have a degree great if not then no problem.
Most people will argue the old if you haven't got a degree then you are not educated. I think I would have to argue this point. The MOE want English speakers in their schools across the board which is how it should be. I think I can say with certainty that any teacher, and by teacher I mean someone who went to university for four years with the express intention of going into teaching as their profession, is not going to come to Thailand to work each year for 8 1/2 months salary and poor salary at that.
The only teachers who will do that are ones that are here near the start of their career and want pretty much a working holiday. This is no good for the schools as they have a revolving door of teachers and this is certainly no good for the children as they have a new face speaking to them every few months.
When I was at school I had the same teacher for the whole of my primary life and for the years in grammar school. That is how it should be. The first port of call for the Thai government is to make sure that schools are funded well enough to provide a salary for at least 11 months of the year. Why should a westerner be expected to go without salary here when they wouldn't in their own country.
Now, going back briefly to the grammar test this would at least ensure that regardless of whether a person has a degree they at least will have the knowledge in their about Grammar and having a TESOL, TEFL etc as requirement they will have had some training and assessment which would show them capable of passing on that knowledge.
I sat at On Nut square which is a little haunt by On Nut BTS and a gathering spot for English teachers. I overheard a conversation of four teachers who were arguing what were verbs, adjectives and pronouns, and sadly none of them seemed to have much idea. A grammar test would have weeded that bunch out for a start. It really is a case of trying to keep the good people here and paying them a salary that would make them want to stay. That should be the goal of the government.
I teach conversation to 720 primary students who I only see for one hour each week across 20 lessons. I have been told that the Thai schools have been told that from next year all conversation classes should expose the students to at least two hours with a native English speaker, yet they, as yet , have no extra funding. I think I can say safely that there will be very few takers if it comes to doubling the teaching hours to 40 in a week on a government salary of 33000 - 38000.
I hope I haven't ruffled too many feathers but the time has come that the term to term payment needs to stop and a more fair means should be adopted. The money is there - it just needs to be diverted out of certain pockets and used more appropriately. With Asean round the corner I think Thailand has a long way to go and it needs to get it's skates on with this. Thank you and mini rant over but I think it's a fair rant.