I would like to talk to you once again, the readers of ajarn.com, about the wonderful world of teacher licensing in Thailand. It's been quite a while since my last blog but Phil has begged me to bring everyone up to speed. Does anyone really know what's going on?
Many readers, friends, fellow teachers and administrators, som tam sellers and people on the web are understandably rather confused by the current state of affairs. I just wanted to write this blog to help clear up the confusion because that's the way I roll. I'm just here to keep it real. Well, as real as one can in Thailand.
OK, here's what we know for sure.
1) The infamous 20-hour Thai Language Culture and Professional Ethics courses have all been temporarily suspended. This is because The Teachers Council of Thailand (TCT) thought that the curriculums and teaching methodologies of the institutions licensed to hold this class were apparently "less than ideal". What? Am I hearing this correctly? (You ask as you scratch your head in dismay). That's right. No more ramwong sessions with Mike Piromporn blaring in the background? All that was missing was a 100 Pipers with soda, ice and glasses. I liked it! I even bought som tam and gai yang for the teacher and my classmates. I thought the classes were hilarious! An endless source of entertainment. Er, I mean...knowledge and enlightenment. Sorry. Oh well, can't have everything.
The TCT will, in theory, let the public know if and when the classes are back on. For those of you who really, really, really want to take the class, please stifle your disappointment. Or don't. I'm all about freedom of choice.
2) The 4-part teacher licensing exams have also been temporarily suspended. The reasons are...well...do I really need to go into this? If you've seen, heard or experienced any of the test questions for yourself, you've probably almost recovered by now. Breathe in...breathe out. Paint happy tree, with some happy clouds. By the way, the 9-part exam for Thai teacher applicants has also been suspended, lest you cry "racism", "xenophobia" or "Olivia Newton-John"
3) The one-year Teacher Professional Licensing courses, which several local universities had running in English, have all been temporarily suspended. Are you beginning to see a pattern develop here? This is because The Teachers Council of Thailand (TCT) thought that the curriculums and teaching methodologies of the institutions licensed to hold this class were "less than ideal" (yes, I've used that sentence before I know)
There was only one university whose curriculum was actually approved right from the beginning, and that university isn't even in Bangkok. So all of those people who spent their hard earned money and their time to take the classes, because they thought that it would fulfill their teacher license requirements are...well...let's see. My Grandfather used to have a saying about people like that. He would say "they're in the prison shower room with no bar of soap." My heartfelt condolences go out to all of you who did the course. Hopefully they'll actually be worth something in the future. The TCT will, in theory, let the public know if and when the classes are back on and, hopefully, with curriculums that are actually approved.
So now the billion dollar question - how is a person to get a non-immigrant visa and a work permit without a teacher's license when a teacher's license is the first thing immigration asks for now?
The ONLY thing that seems to be working now is for the school where a prospective teacher intends to work to type up an official letter, signed by the principal (or someone else in authority) asking the Teachers Council to please issue a "Temporary Permit to Teach Without a Teachers License".
Here is the explanation in Thai, for school administrators, etc. (ทำจดหมายถึงเลขาธิการคุรุสภาเพื่อขอหนังสือขออนุญาตให้ครูชาวต่างชาติปฏิบัติการสอนไปก่อนโดยไม่มีใบอนุญาตประกอบวิชาชีพ)
The reason cited for the request should be something along the lines of "This teacher is unable to attempt to become qualified, since all the methods of becoming qualified have been temporarily suspended. This route has worked for about twenty teachers that I know personally. Good luck. Hope it works for you. I don't know what else we can do. They've closed off all avenues of us trying to be good boys and girls and abide by the rules.
The confusion and lack of professionalism does not discriminate based on race, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation or favorite Mirinda flavor. It's an equal opportunity culprit. Case in point? My wife (who is Thai) recently registered for a Masters in Educational Administration at a Bangkok university well known for degrees in education. They took her money and gave her a schedule of classes, which starts in June. Then, two days ago, she was reading Koo Sahng Koo Sohm magazine. The owner of that magazine is on the Governing Council of The Teachers Professional Licensing Review Board. Let's not even bother asking why. T.I.T.
In the most recent issue there was an article describing, in minute detail, which teacher licensing procedural steps were canceled (all of them) and why. Now, in preparation for writing this blog, I called three different people I know at the TCT. I looked at The TCT website. I got more detail from my wife's ladies gossip, homemaker and ghost story magazine!
So there you have it. There used to be four different ways for us to try and jump through the hoops. Now three of those hoops have been put in the back storage room and nobody has the key. From now on folks, if you want to know the most up to date status of the various issues that have a direct effect on your profession, go buy a copy of Koo Sahng Koo Sohm magazine! It comes out twice a month and only costs 20 baht an issue! There's even a section of pages at the back where you can get the phone numbers to get cheap ringtones of the latest "Bird" song or half naked pics of Beer Leo girls! Who could ask for more?
Oh well........I'm glad I could help to clear up all this nasty, senseless confusion. Good luck out there.