Where no student fails an exam
Yes, dear readers, students in Thailand simply cannot fail exams. This probably comes as a very big surprise for the people unfamiliar with the Thai situation, but believe me, it is true. Well, it is still true at the time of writing, but maybe not for long anymore.
The ups and downs of over fifteen years 'in the game'
It's a been a long and often painful journey, but here's an account of 15 years in the Thailand TEFL business. My careers officer never once told me that it might turn out like this.
A half year in review
Not surprisingly, I am still wrestling with the administration over issues of fair pay, planning time and sensible class-size and leveling. Despite everything, I am having a great time in Khon Kaen.
Here comes the grammar teacher
I think it is quite absurd to reward students who are good at cramming grammar rules – and may not be fluent at all – and punish students who can speak English fairly well but aren’t very accurate. English is a language. The main purpose of a language is communication.
Hey teacher, leave those kids alone
I'm learning that ESL teaching is a useless endeavor unless there's a special student in your class. Someone who makes you care and feel. I'm learning that a wall around you, although useful at strategic times, is dangerous when students are relying on you to connect with them and deliver "the goods."
Teachers as mentors and heroes (part two)
As we ESL teachers and TESOL providers--- especially those teaching in financially impoverished countries--- strive to help others to financially improve their "lot in life", are we not, at the same time, helping to turn them into the same capitalist and consumerist pigs that have now permeated Japan, South Korea, and other developed countries?
Starting your teaching career in Bangkok
Whatever you do, don’t start an ESL career in Thailand. Why? I’ll tell you. Unless, you come over on a substantial mattress of financial support you will be behind from the get-go and spend your whole time here figuring out how to make ends meet.
Reflections on the Thai TESOL conference
Okay, I have to admit that there are a number of good, dedicated Thai teachers of English who do make a difference, but there aren’t merely enough. As long as the government keeps teachers paying a pittance there never will be enough.
Teaching can be rewarding, stressful, frustrating, or even downright funny
What follows are a few (slightly adapted) classroom conversations. Although they might be familiar to you, I hope you’ll find them entertaining.
A week in the life of an English teacher
As Friday is my day off, I consider Saturday to be the start of my working week. Yes, that’s right, I work six days a week, not unusual if you work for a language school. Unlike Thai schools, the weekend is the busiest time for language schools.