Postbox letter from Elisha
The element of autonomy in the teaching world was what appealed to me about teaching compared to other (employee style) careers.
The problematic pronunciation of many Thais
I try to have as much empathy for my students as I possibly can and I am becoming rather good at understanding the unintelligible. However, there are limits to everything and I am not a mind-reader. If a person says for example /sa-pye/, I know he or she means “Spy” (the wine-cooler or James Bond, doesn’t matter). But if someone says “kye”, I don’t automatically think of cry.
Some of these students have had over 2,000 hours of English.
Considering that English has been the international language of tourism and commerce for I don't know how many decades now, and there are I don't know how many thousands of English teachers all over the country, why is the general level of English so poor?
Or is the foreign teacher better off without them in the classroom?
Before beginning my experience as a TESOL teacher in Thailand, way back when I was a newbie farang taking my TESOL course on Phuket, I was repeatedly assured by indifferent agencies and instructors not to worry because you will always share classrooms with Thai teachers that are there to help you.
Reflecting on what I could have done better for my students
What had I achieved as a teacher, as a class?" "What had I given them? What had my students taught me during the past year?" So many moments of ups and downs, sheer joy and triumphs, but there were things I wish I could have done better.
From using humor and surprise to employing reward structures
Boredom grows from predictability. An occasional taste of the unexpected will make everyone's learning experience more enjoyable.
Being interviewed in the street by English students
Taking to the streets and talking to complete strangers is something no Thai student would do out of their own volition. It is clear that most – if not all of them – do it because their English teacher imposed it as a mandatory assignment.
My first six months at a Thai government school
Over a typical week I see four hundred or more students, across Mathayom levels one to six, aged twelve to eighteen. Class sizes range from twenty to thirty students.
Getting students to use simple English all the time
Whenever confronted with students who speak Thai in class, I considered it an opportune moment to teach them the right structures.
Which student gets the teacher's questions and why?
Here are the different groups of students within a typical class. They are quite distinctive and there's not really much of a gray area between them.