If you are new to my articles, just a quick overview of what I hope to achieve. Basically, I am just trying to be an information clearing house for any and all information that (I feel) might be of some use to anyone teaching in Thailand. If there is a specific issue any of you would like me to look into, let me know. I'll do my best to find the info for you and post it here. If I can't find out, I'll let you know. If there are any questions you have, let me know. If you have any ideas as to a column subject you would like to see, let me know. I am not an expert in any given field. I am just someone who has several years experience dealing with the academic, administrative, legal and social aspects of teaching here.
I'll start with what (I think) is the most important news since last month. The important news is that foreigners who wish to continue teaching in Thailand can now do so, even if they are not yet qualified. Read on.
I finally (Monday August 25th) met with the Assistant to the Secretary General of The Teacher's Council of Thailand. As of the writing of this article there is still no new Secretary General. She took me to meet the Director of Teacher Licensing of T.C.T., the Director of Teacher Professional Standards of The T.C.T. and The Director of Teacher Professional Qualifications Transfer and Accreditation. Everyone was incredibly helpful and open. I thought I would just be ignored and they would ask me to leave my documents and that they would "get back to me". I would like to thank her again for being (probably) the most open, nice and helpful government worker I've ever met here!
She and the other three officers I talked with at The T.C.T. asked me to NOT use their names, as they are government officials and they, like most other government officials I've met in any country, are not eager to take a definitive stance on anything for obvious reasons. Of course, anyone who REALLY wanted to could figure out who they are merely by their positions but who would want to waste their time doing that? That being said, it is (obviously) up to you as to whether or not you want to believe what they told me. Long term residents know that T.I.T. (This Is Thailand) and things here are usually "fluid", for better or for worse.
I have dealt with several M.O.E. officials at the local, provincial and national levels on many issues over the years and they have (almost) always been helpful and honest in their dealings with me and I have rarely been disappointed by them.
So... here we go:
On the subject of teacher licensing, the information I was given is:
"If a foreign teacher has a Temporary Permit To Teach Without A Teacher's License (ใบผ่อนผัน) and it has reached it's two year expiration date, IF that foreign teacher can prove that they are showing good faith and continuously working towards meeting the licensing requirements, The T.C.T. will then issue another Temporary Permit To Teach Without A Teacher's License, to allow said teacher enough time to successfully meet the requirements for professional licensing of a teacher set by T.C.T." (ใบผ่อนผัน)
So, if a foreign teacher is...
A) Trying to finish a Bachelor Degree (Ed. or Non Ed.)
B) Trying to finish a One Year Graduate Diploma in Teacher Profession
C) Trying to finish a Masters in Education
D) Trying to pass all 4 T.C.T. Exams (In lieu of an Ed. degree)
and they still have not been able to complete A, B, C or D above, The T.C.T. will ALLOW THEM TO CONTINUE TEACHING LEGALLY (i.e. get a new visa and work permit!) as long as they have the paperwork to prove that they really are trying become qualified, one way or another. If you are showing good faith, they won't cut you off.
This pretty much means that anyone who sincerely wants to stay and teach in Thailand can do just that!
I can hear some of you saying things like "O.K., but who wants to spend the time and money to finish a bachelor or master degree, so I can make 35,000 a month when I'm done?!" I hear you. Decision time.
P.S. You STILL have to do the 20 Hour Thai Culture, Language and Professional Ethics Course. No getting around it unfortunately. No testing out of it either. Might as well go take it and get it over with.
I made a mistake in July's column. I stated that the next 4 part T.C.T. Teacher Licensing Exams were going to be held on Saturday October 3rd and Sunday October 4th, 2008. The dates were correct but the days were wrong. They are being held on a Friday and a Saturday. Better get your Personal Leave Request Forms in to your D.O.s, EP Coordinators, etc., if you're going. Or get your sick voices ready. Thanks to those readers who let me know about my mistake.
I have received several emails asking me if I know of any helpful books or other materials to prepare for the 4 part exam. Stamp from ajarnforum has put together the most comprehensive list of reading materials to prepare for the exams that I have seen so far. Here is the link:
Thanks to Stamp and all of the original members in The TCT Test Takers Group for making all of their legwork available to everyone!
If anyone is interested, Dr. Stephen Krashen, a world renowned educational theorist and Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California is coming to Bangkok. He will be speaking at Concordian International School on Saturday September 20th. For details and to register, go to www.concordian.ac.th. Thanks to Mathias for the info.
For those of you who asked for and received a copy of the letter I gave to The Assistant Secretary General, I know there are still quite few unanswered questions/points. I haven't forgotten. On Monday the 25th, when I was at The TCT all day, I didn't have time to go to OPEC or CHET or any other offices that could answer questions concerning private school teacher licensing or university teacher/professor licensing. I had planned on going back to The MOE this week but I think I'll wait for the mob to go home first, thank you very much. I'll post the other answers in next months' column, assuming the mob is gone by then!
That's all the news that's fit to print for now. If any of you have any helpful info, please send it my way and I'll put it in next month's column. Thanks for stopping by!