I have "some" moaning and groaning to do, so I guess I'm here at the right place to do so!
Teaching in Thailand at high school level is a farce and complete bullocks. In 2 years time I taught at 6 different high schools, ranging from the rich, private school to the poor government schools. Teaching at high school could better be referred to as teaching at "hell school". I came to Thailand on 7 separate occasions, 7 consecutive years. I saw students everywhere in their cute white/black, white/blue uniforms. I saw great respect for their King and for monks and Buddism in general and I thought it would be a teachers heaven to teach such respectful and obedient people. I have some very good Thai friends and so I was so naive to think everybody was like that.So.....as soon as I started to teach in Bangkok, I saw that my dream became an absolute horror movie.
Children at school (high school that is) have no respect whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, not every student was bad. I had some nearly perfect classes like Mathayom 6/1, 5/1, 4/1 and these student were obedient and respectful and did what I asked them to do (doing their assignments, reading texts and so on) and it was a real pleasure to teach them, but unfortunately 90% of the classes following slash 1 (Mathayom 6/3, 5/3 whatever.....) were most of the time absolute hell. Especially the Mathayom 3, 4 slash 4,5 where pure hell.
My biggest frustrations at school:
- classes ranging from 30 up to 50 students in one class (impossible to handle and to teach)
- Thai substitute teachers sometimes present, sitting in the corner of the class, who were
supposed to help keeping order, doing nothing, just hang behind their desks without interfering
- fighting, phoning (with their mobile phones), playing music on their mobile phones, playing soccer
in the class room etc., you name it, I have seen and experienced all of it
- people enter the classroom far too late and start to create chaos among the others
- complete and utter disrespect in some classes because they think you are a farang, a white
monkey (this was said to me in my face on several occasions)
At all schools I had no right to straighten them out. There are no rules whatsoever. Yes, I went to the head of department and the director on many different occasions and they came with me to the classroom and then after some "harsh talks" with the students, they were quiet for 5 minutes and then everything started again. I had classes full of wannabe pop stars, checking their faces and their Korean/Japanese soap-styled-hairdo's in their little pocket mirrors every single moment, just sitting there chewing gum and laughing about me. I had some very hard confrontations with them, telling them that they could laugh about me and disrespect me but at the end of the day I would still make my money and that is far more than they will ever make at the 7-eleven when they leave school.
Wise ass little shit-heads everywhere. They leave their books at home on purpose and just sit there wasting their time while chewing gum and completely disrespecting you. I had a Thai teacher, she was one of the English teachers that taught them 3 hours a week, and this woman always came to my worst classes, just to have a "peek". These classes were absolutely disastrous, no books, no understanding whatsoever of the English language, you name it.....
She used to come to my class and ask me: "what are you going to teach them today?". I said to her:" they didn't bring their books again, like every day and they don't understand a word of English, so I can not read with them and practise pronunciation, so there's nothing much I can do". So she used to react a little pissed at me every time and so one day she started to get on my nerves and I told her:"Why is it, that these children have no understanding whatsoever of the English language while you, a Thai teacher who speaks Thai perfectly and also English perfectly teaches them 3 hours a week?".
"If I would be able to speak Thai perfectly like you do and had the ability to explain them every single word, I bet your ass they would speak English quite well within a year". Yeh, bingo, she silenced....but didn't like what I said. Yes, and I didn't like it, this same questioning routine several times a week while they don't handle any set of rules to straighten these children out who are unwilling to learn.
Yes, nice line-up every morning at 8. Nice pep talk every morning at 8, but nobody gives a shit.
I see 60 year old teachers who are working for the same school for more than 20/30 years and they don't have the energy anymore to do anything to improve the situation. At one school some Thai teachers told me in my first week that my next 2 hours that day would be absolute hell and that no teacher could handle them, but that day I handled them perfectly, but every hour is a struggle, a war of words and mimic, a complete and utter headache crash course.
The list of what is wrong in the educational system in Thailand is endless and this is due to the system, the parents and the teachers.
The system: at most schools were I was there were no exams! People just pass to the next year. No pressure, no study, no nothing.
The parents: they don't give a shit and lack any substantial knowledge whatsoever to motivate and educate or force their children to study. School is just a building where you drop your pain-in-the-ass children and have some hours of peace and quiet. Later in the evening? Let's watch some soaps: evening long, brainless entertainment with beautiful-bad-acting-screaming-white-skin models (in whatever word order you want...).
After school they eat and then most of the children disappear again in the soi and go to the game-shops and play computer games till midnight or after, nobody gives a shit.
The teachers: most Thai teachers don't care anymore, they just make a living and get their money anyway. Almost every farang teacher that I know does the same (and I know at least 30 in Bangkok). They tell me:"what the f*ck do you get angry about? The are just monkeys......take your money at the end of the month and just don't care about them! That's Thailand! It's a joke!
At the expensive private high schools they don't do much also, otherwise Hi-so daddy will take his child from school and put them somewhere else and teaching is big business in Bangkok, for the schools that is! Rich parents pay a lot to see their children off at some Hi-so school where the real native English speaking "monkey" teaches and where you have "English summer camps". They all want "the real deal" to teach their children English.
My list is endless. And also this "native English teacher" bullshit. The Thai still thinks that everyone coming from a native English speaking country is top and anyone else, non-native speaker is not good enough. What a big laugh! It's such a farce! I had a conversation with a guy from Manchester the other day and the day after with an Irish guy and don't forget the Cockney accent or Aussie..... God help us! Even I could hardly understand them!
There are native English speaking teachers around for more than 20 years and what is the level of English till now among the common Thai? Zero and non-existing! Only some rich Thai people who have the money to go to some of the better schools, or the ones who can afford to go abroad, are able to speak English to a certain extend.And yes....all these little hustlers in the tourist areas like Khaosan and Silom/Sukhumvit, bar girls and such, they know to a certain extend to "use" the English language, standing or horizontal. It's one big joke and unfortunately a sad one.
I see teachers getting hired and getting paid 40/50.000 Baht a month, who have absolutely no good knowledge to be at these positions. But just because they are "handsome" and/or know the right people, schools and universities offer them a job (even ask them to marry their daughters...).
Why do I get angry? I came because I like Thai people, I came to help them, no problem if I have to stay longer to teach them as long as they are eager and willing to learn, I will stay, even though it's my own time, nothing paid, I don't care.
I am a real teacher..