Richard Constable

If it is not now, it is to come

Whatever happens, I taught them my way


As I cast my mind back over the past eighteen years or so of my life, living and teaching in Thailand. I have experienced any number of events and of those, some of which have had little effect upon me personally, others have changed my life considerably.

Don't be alarmed, I'm not about to bore you to tears with the details, yet I will list some of the less than positive main events that I can recall. They are as follows;  bird flu, a drugs' war that was followed hard upon by a heartbreaking tsunami, a so-called 100 year flood, any number of political protests, an urban city riot, random bombs, shootings, assassinations, the odd military coup, martial law inclusive of a curfew, the occasional motorcycle taxi riders' shoot out - and now a partial lock down as a result Covid 19.

Consequently I have been sitting here alone on my balcony and wondering what the attraction of coming to live and teach in Thailand actually was. And before anybody jumps to leave a comment beneath this blog and ask me if I'm aware of the location of the airport, I can in fact 'on a clear day' see it from here.

What I meant was, what could have conceivably have prompted me to sell my home and move to other side of the world where I didn't even know a living soul. Was it that I had heard that rumour about there being an overwhelming abundance of highly attractive and available women in Thailand? Alternatively, was it the chance to spend an undiminished and almost endless amount of tranquil hours in any one of Thailand's temples? Or possibly the precious opportunity to educate and cultivate the outstanding, eager and attentive minds of Thai students?

To tell you the truth, it's so long ago I wouldn't like to say, as age has sadly taken its toll. Though I do remember thinking something along the lines of, 'Mmm sounds inexpensive and if that's the case my money might go a lot further there.'

In spite of it all, me emigrating to Thailand wasn't such a bad idea and when all's been said and done, the pros sure outweigh the cons, at least so far. Ah, but there's the rub, what is there that hasn't been, that is to come?

As I assume some of you are in a similiar boat to myself, as in one that is up a creek without a paddle, I would like you to abide with me and join in, on this first day of April. As in the manner of the late great American entertainer Albert Francis Sinatra, and vocalize My Way.

I taught them my way

And now, the end of my career is near

And so, have I faced my final lesson?

My teaching peers, I'll model it clear

I'll exemplify my case, of which I'm certain

I've lived, an EFL Bangkok teacher's life

I've travelled every BTS and MRT Line

And more, much more, than this

I taught them, my way

Regrets, I've had so many

But then again, too numerous, to calculate

I went where I had to teach

And I taught all levels, without exemption

I planned each class's English course

Each careful elicitation, upon a whiteboard

And more, much more, than this

I corrected them, my way

Yes there were times, I'm sure you know

When I was neither prepared, or knew

What I was supposed to do

I bluffed them through, and winged it out

I stood them up, and threw them out

And I disciplined, my way

I've served, I've coached and devised

I've had to drill, my fair share of students

And now, as lessons subside,

I find it all, so bemusing

To think, I did all those, observations

And may I say, not in a sly way

Oh no, oh no not me

I did observations, my way

For what is a teacher, if he/she does not

Define the words he/she wants to teach

Or enunciate, the sentence structures

He/She truly feels

My students' evaluation shows

I've been dealt blows

And I taught them, my way



Comments

Richard, at least you still have a sense of humour; you'll be fine.

By Neil Smith, UK (2nd April 2020)

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