Working with Thai Teachers
Working with Thai Teachers
As part of working in Thailand, you will be working with Thai teachers and the students. I know this may seem simple when you first arrive but, there can be challenges with this, as well. Thai teachers are generally there to help you and show you the dynamics of the school. The dynamics will need to be figured out as you continue working during the semester.
First Day and Meeting the Faculty
On your first day at the school, you will meet so many new people that it will be challenging to remember who is whom but, it will be remembered overtime. The most important teachers that you will want to make a connection with are the ones that you will be working with daily. This includes your foreign department head, your co-Thai teachers and their bosses, and of course the directors of the school.
The head foreign department head will help let you know what is expected of you. But in a demeanor, that may not be forth coming and this is when your co-Thai teachers will be extremely helpful. They know about the levels you teach, what classes may be affected due to activities, and may be the ones to observe or cover your lessons if needed. You can usually tell within the first month of how well behaved your students are and if they have a great Thai teacher.
Your co-Thai teacher is a great resource to make a connection with because they can assist if your kids misbehave regularly, are absent too often, and let you know of any important information that may affect you or your teachings. It is always best to double check with them when a student suggests a change in the schedule due to an activity. I have shown up to class and have been informed that there are no classes for a particular mathoym due to tests, scout day, cheerleading competition, etc. This helps to confirm this with either your Thai teacher or the head of that mathoym so, lessons aren’t missed. At times, it can be quite difficult to get all the information that is needed and how the Thai system works.
Embrace the Difference
The Thai system is quite different than any western system I have ever seen. It has been said that a student cannot fail the education system here. They told me that they can receive an incomplete but, the lowest mark they can receive is a ICT 1, which is equivalent to a grading system of 50-54 points. The student will still pass with this grade and moves on to the next level. In addition to this grading system, we will grade the students from a 1-3 (3 being the highest) on loyalty, believing in the king, patriotism, money and behavior.
This was outlined for us in a book when we started at our school but, really had to be figured out along the journey of teaching here. This is all part of a system that the government set up and it has been in place for a long time. Just remember to ask a lot of questions if you are unsure about something to ensure that your semester goes smoothly from start to finish and that all of your duties are completed.
Our Daily Tasks
The duties of a foreign English teacher usually consist of gate duty. Morning assembly talk (once a week depending on the school), teaching students, teaching Thai teachers English (if you are approached about it), and the school ICT system and books (pending on how your school tracks grades). These duties may vary depending on the school you reside in and it is best to find out who can help you figure all this out.
Our school outlined our most important duties as gate duty, morning talk, and teaching Thai teachers. I still think the students are the most important as a teacher. Overall, teaching in a foreign country can seem overwhelming but with the right help around, it can go smoothly. Just remember to always smile and work with your Thai teachers to the best of your ability. Do NOT cause any ruckus but, most importantly have fun with what you do.