Before stepping into a Thai classroom, it's best to rid your mind of any preconceived notion you may have of what a class is supposed to look like. Your mouth will hit the floor solely based on the number of students jammed into each classroom. It is my personal experience over the past 3 years that the Thai Government schools are simply profit centers. As harsh as this sounds, after spending a week in one of these classrooms, you will definitely have the same impression. It is a simple equation- the more students the principal can enroll, the more tuition the school can collect. So, consider this your first lesson: insane class sizes
Running a Tight ShipThe Calm Before the Storm
Once the initial shock and awe wears off from the sheer class size, you better be ready because it is show time! More often then not, (I'd say around 90% of the time) your Thai co-teacher who is supposed to "help teach" the class with you- will slip stealthily out the door. Other times it is less obvious and she makes a bee line for the door before you even have time to write your name on the board. I almost think the Thai teachers get a sadistic rise out of leaving the farang teachers out to dry. Here you are with fifty, yes fifty, 7 year old kids that can not understand a word you are saying. The blank stares only last for about 10 seconds. Then once the students realize their "real" Thai teacher has left, all hell will break loose. Here is lesson #2: The Thai teachers perform corporal punishment on their students, thus the students are scared to death of their Thai teachers. Western English teachers are not allowed to lay a hand on the Thai students. The Thai students learn this very quickly. And when they taste that bit of freedom of being able to act how they want with little or no consequences, WWIII ensues. On your first day if you aren't successful in running a tight ship so to speak, you'll never regain control of the bridge. You might as well quit now. Scared yet? I think we'll end today's lesson on that note.
In my first of many posts regarding teaching English to Thai students, I will start with the numbers. Above all else, the majority of questions I receive about teaching in Thailand revolve around whether you can make a living as an English teacher inn Phuket. Although there are many aspects of teaching in paradise, both good and bad, salary seems to be the most important.
For starters, don't expect to get rich. At the majority of the schools in Phuket, monthly salary hovers around 30,000 baht. That's 1,000 baht a day, or about 30 dollars a day. Not exactly the kind of pay to write home to Mom about. In fact, you will probably write home to Mom to ask for money.
Read more: The Numbers Game
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