Phil Roeland

Monty Python returns

Teaching can be rewarding, stressful, frustrating, or even downright funny

Sometimes teaching English in Thailand can be hilarious, even absurd. A few sketches follow. They will hopefully make you smile or even shake your head in acknowledgement. Anyway, I wish you all a happy new year and lots of fun. Cheers !

Monthy Python returns

Teaching in Thailand can be rewarding, stressful, frustrating, or even downright funny sometimes. The way people talk sometimes reminds me of the famous Monthy Python’s Flying Circus sketches. What follows are a few (slightly adapted) classroom conversations. Although they might be familiar to you, I hope you’ll find them entertaining.

Scene 1 : A classroom with seven students in an international language school. The students’ level is elementary. It’s Monday morning.

( T – Teacher ; S – Student Somchai ; P – Student Porn)

T : Good morning everyone. I hope you all had a good weekend. Now let’s get started and review some of the things we did last week. Somchai, what did you do yesterday?
S : I go to shopping.
T : Okay, now Somchai, could you repeat that, and try to remember what we said about shopping. Also, it’s about yesterday.
S : Oh, sorry, yesterday I go to the shopping.
T : Okay, so yesterday you went shopping (teacher overdoes stress to demonstrate).
S : Yes, I went go to shopping.
T : No, no, just went, no need to use go. Try again.
S : I just went go to shopping.
T : Wait, wait, wait, leave out just and go and use only went.
S : I only went to shopping.
T : (Getting frustrated) You went shopping, for crying out loud. Not to shopping.
S : Araiya? Crying?
T : Forget about that. You went shopping, didn’t you? Now you say it.
S : You went shopping.
T : (Turning his eyeballs) Not me, you went shopping.
S : (Puzzled) You went to shopping?
T : Not me, you! When it’s you, you have to say I. I didn’t go to shopping, you did, I mean I didn’t go shopping. Well, actually I did, but that’s not the point here. We’re talking about you, not me. Get it?
S : Araiya? (Looking to the other students for help)
T : Okay, Porn, what did you do yesterday?
P : I went shopping.
T : Thank you Porn. Very good. Now Somchai, what did you do?
S : (Starting to see the light) I went shopping.
T : Okay, good, and what did you after that?
S : I go to swimming.
T : Aaaaaargh.

Scene 2 : A small classroom where a private lesson is going on. There are two elementary students, both 18 year old boys who are in their first year of university. Their level is quite different. The first one’s command of English is below average, the second one’s knowledge sucks infinitely more than my job does.

( T – Teacher ; S – Student Somkit ; M – Student Machine)

T : Okay guys, let’s do it. See if you can handle the exercises I gave you last week. The ones where you had to fill in the blanks.
S + T : (Return a blank stare)
T : The basic sentences and questions, remember? Somkit, you go first. Read the first sentence.
S : Where are you come from?
T : Could you repeat that please? And remember the rules about asking questions, the correct use of the tenses and verbs. Remember? We did that last week, and the week before, and before.
S : Where you come from?
T : (Looks doubtful) Sorry?
S : Where you coming from?
T : Machine, do you want to give it a try?
M : (Looks completely puzzled) Araiya?
T : Machine, what answer did you have?
M : (No response)
T : (Speaking slowly and loudly) What – did – you – write – on – your - paper?
M : (Looks as if the teacher speaks Russian).
T : Hello! Earth to Machine. Come in please.
M : (Returns a blank stare).
T : Somkit, could you ask him to answer the question?
S : Araiya?
T : Oh well, never mind. The answer is ‘Where do you come from?’ Remember? Okay, let’s try the next one. Machine, try it.
M : (More blank staring).
T : Machine, try number two. Song. Understand? Khao jai?
M : (Starts stuttering the answer). She alway have beckfass in the morning.
T : Okay, okay, let’s try that again. It’s about using the correct form here. And watch out for the pronunciation. It’s alwayS and breakfasT. And it’s I have, you have, but he or she has. Can you try again? Machine?
M : (Looks as if in a trance).
T : No? Nothing coming? All right. (Teacher starts mumbling to himself) If you were a washing machine you’d be on my doorstep awaiting the next garbage removal. You haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about, have you?
M : Araiya?
T : I thought so. Moving on then. Somkit, could you please turn that bloody phone off and give the next one your best shot?
S : I am never go out on a Saturday night.
T : My goodness. If that was your best shot I guess you’ll never be able to conceive any offspring, if you know what I mean. No, of course you don’t. And you’re right not to go out and waste other people’s time.
S : (Looks puzzled too now).
T : Okay, Time’s up. Not a minute too early, I’d say. Let’s do the rest next week. If you’re still alive that is. You’re brain-dead already of course. Have you seen the latest Arnold flick, Machine? The good news for me is that you’ll never rise… (Teacher walks off mumbling to himself).

That’s it folks. Hope you had a good laugh. Happy New Year.


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