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How to Arrive at a New School--the lone foreign teacher

Discussion in 'Welcome Newbies' started by DavidUSA, 28 Apr 2016.

  1. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Being new and being the lone foreign teacher out in the wilds of Thailand might pose a problem for you if you are not ready. I am not talking about specific cultural differences, as important as those are, but general problems which could arise anywhere.

    I have learned over the years, slowly I must admit, that upon arrival being Mr. Friendly to everyone does not work. It is better to be reserved and find out what is going on between the people at your work. If you are a single male you are going to have to be ready to face the fact of gossip, constant and real. I had to learn the hard way: I once talked to a teacher for one minute in the hallway of my school, and I noticed someone else freaked out. People at your work may dislike each other, and the outsider can have a powerful effect to unbalance the status quo and ruffle feathers. If Thai women can be said to share any quality, then that quality is jealousy. If are are reserved you might get to stay out of the games they will play, or try to play, with you as a pawn. And those games will be more sophisticated than anything you have ever imagined (besides quantum mechanics). Good for you if you think your job is to teach English. Go for it.

    By all means, make sure to get smart about Thai ways and learn how to show respect to them and their culture. That's a whole other issue. Their culture is rich and deep. They have never really been colonized. A whole list of other countries in Asia cannot boast about such power to preserve themselves. You are dealing with sophisticated people. Know that it is better to sit back and watch what really goes on because you don't know who is who until time passes, especially as one trying to navigate a foreign culture. Being frank and friendly with everyone might arouse animosity, even though it may seem professional to treat everyone with such openness and respect. Openness is the very last thing going on in a lot of places; its absence is not always obvious, especially when everyone is smiling.

    Keeping a low profile and will make life easier. I am sure there is a Thai proverb along these lines, there must be, maybe ten of them.
     
    Last edited: 28 Apr 2016
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  2. Clown

    Clown Well-Known Member

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  3. Clown

    Clown Well-Known Member

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    I hear you, David. How long have you been here?

    There was a young Chinese teacher who needed to go to Bangkok with me. The director wouldn't have us traveling alone on the VIP bus and in a taxi. Oh no! :nope She required a chaperone. For some silly tasks, there seems to be unlimited funds available. Wile for the biggest classes, not enough chairs and tables were available :duh
     
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  4. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I just wanted to make the point that we have to be conscious of what other folks think.

    I am not always good at that. The appearance of doing something incorrect can be worse than the bad action itself. We have to be conscious of appearances. So, in that sense, that director may just have been protecting people.

    As far as some women go, I'll take all the protection I can get. :lol
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2016
  5. chuachinsoon

    chuachinsoon Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Had that advice before. It turned out to be very useful as there were a few factions in the department. I kept a neutral smile for everyone until I worked out who was with whom. Still, a lot of the grief I received over a period of 2 years was possibly because someone perceived me as on another teacher's group, and chose me as the weak link and target. Glad that's over. But yeah, would be fatal for a noob teacher in Thailand.
     
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  6. Clown

    Clown Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I just wanted to make the point that we have to be conscious of what other folks think.

    I am not always good at that. The appearance of doing something incorrect can be worse than the bad action itself. We have to be conscious of appearances. So, in that sense, that director may just have been protecting people.

    As far as some women go, I'll take all the protection I can get. :lol[/QUOTE]

    Well, I upset a female teacher terribly when I banged my hand on the table in disgust. I had just learned that while the school spent thousands on the aforementioned chaperone-service II,me having to go to Laos for another attempt to get the B-Visa couldn't and wouldn't be sponsored. Surely, I would have been a good enough "bodyguard", if a Chinese woman in her lower 20s would need such protection on a VIP bus followed by a taxi ride. Nope, female company was required and paid for.

    David, care to update your fascinating impressions and observations?

    There's something I have come across all the time. The phony "I want you to teach me English" line. Sounds familiar to you guys and gals?
     
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  7. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    Ummm, be yourself and 'mai tong khit maak mai'.

    True ... but I hope you know your history and why. 1850's and beyond a wiki answer.
     
    Last edited: 15 Jul 2016
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  8. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    I take it that Rama V played Great Britain and France off against each other, while turning towards the US.

    I have often thought that inertia and entropy play a huge role, which they harness. Being clever helps. Modernizing was smart.
    That they were never really colonized helps explain the positive vibe that Thailand has, at least to some degree. I am not an expert on Thai history,
    but these things can be explained, in general terms, by common sense.

    I believe that Thailand has almost as deep a culture as Japan or China, even though its history is much shorter and it is smaller. Japan and China have both been
    crushed and dominated at some point, but the Thais just keep going along.

    It is interesting to live in China. So many Chinese are super wealthy. If you look around, it seems that people spend their free time buying diamonds and BMWs. There are two malls not far from where I live. I sit there in Starbucks and watch people buy diamonds in one of the thirty diamond shops. Yes, thirty. So let's get this straight: the goal of life is to work like a slave and buy carbon stones from deep inside the earth so you can show your friends that you have a lot of money. OK. But the problem is the vista of meaninglessness underneath this materialism. They exploit each other with no qualms, but I admit that is common. Something is missing. On the other hand, there is a positive feeling because everyone is working hard.
     
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  9. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Well, I upset a female teacher terribly when I banged my hand on the table in disgust. I had just learned that while the school spent thousands on the aforementioned chaperone-service II,me having to go to Laos for another attempt to get the B-Visa couldn't and wouldn't be sponsored. Surely, I would have been a good enough "bodyguard", if a Chinese woman in her lower 20s would need such protection on a VIP bus followed by a taxi ride. Nope, female company was required and paid for.

    David, care to update your fascinating impressions and observations?

    There's something I have come across all the time. The phony "I want you to teach me English" line. Sounds familiar to you guys and gals?
    [/QUOTE]

    Once upon a time there was a genetic success story, half-Thai and half-Chinese, a healthy female animal. She said, "Why don't we rent a house together (we were both looking for a place to live)? You and your wife can have half of the house and I will take the other half." I thought it was a little odd, but not completely so. We were both teachers, and we could save money. I could not figure out what she intended, if anything. One day it dawned on me: she wanted me to tell my wife because in Thai-speak that perhaps meant I did not want to be with my wife anymore. It was a dirty trick to try and damage my marriage. It took me a year to figure this stuff out.

    One day she glides into my office, as if she could read my mind: Coco Chanel perfume, a short dress, heels, and her top had black feathers on it like in "Last Year at Marienbad." She sits down next to me, and I can see the top of her thigh-high pantyhose as she leans across my desk, "I want you to teach me English."

    I could have worked on the informal imperative with her. The present continuous comes to mind too. It is really interesting: you just can't predict what others think and want. In Thailand, you see some well-educated women, and it is sometimes Hell for them to find a mate. It is as if they are doomed. I don't think Thai guys tend to fawn over women who went to school in the States or elsewhere overseas, or are smart. Plus, it costs more to marry them, right? And if they get a whiff that you have some money, then it is like a vampire out for blood.
     
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  10. Clown

    Clown Well-Known Member

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  11. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    That would be one perspective which I disagree with and I hope you see which camp that perspective would lie in and why one may disagree. Colonialism at that time and the immediate forces at play of France and the UK and Thailand's geographical proximity played more into what unfolded including the Bowring treaty.This leads to a 'general academic consensus' of Thailand acting as a _______ (find the blank by researching yourself). I could write an essay on this ....oh I did a long time ago.

    ...so, and sorry in advance Dave, when you are trying to make a point please make sure you understand the content fully if you can. Sorry again Dave.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jul 2016
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  12. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Well, it does not matter which camp believes what. I don't know what camps you are talking about, and it seems superfluous. I am not going to judge the truth or falsity of something by who believes it. I just read some U.S. State Department materials that said Rama V played the Brits off against the French, and that he turned to the U.S. for help, which he got. Everything I have ever read about this says the same general thing. But I do believe that there are academics, who have come to a consensus, that the British Empire did not lose this one--nor were they outsmarted. I certainly believe that this conclusion has been reached and supported (in Great Britain).

    I do not think of Thailand as geographically proximate to France or Great Britain. It is the distance that must have played into Rama V's hands to subvert their dirty work and tricks.

    But I am glad that we are pushing the point. I am very curious about Rama V, and I want to know more details about what he really did. I want to know if he was really as savvy as he is portrayed to be. At this moment, I think he was. I'll do some digging. This is interesting.

    I lean towards the hypothesis that the British Empire was up to its "peculating despotism" (I love to quote Edmund Burke) and that Rama V was on his toes, so much so to stop it. From what I see right now--the modernization, the visits to England, the thoughtful changes he made to Thai society--Rama V was highly intelligent, capable in foreign affairs, and should go down in history as a powerful and insightful leader.

    More to come after I do some digging. Did Rama V play England off against France and keep Thailand independent, or is this a myth? If this hypothesis is wrong, I will eat crow.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jul 2016
  13. gungchang

    gungchang Well-Known Member

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    If you're new in a teacher room, you could bring donuts in the morning &/or order pizzas at lunch.

    The in-house intrigue can get nasty. I wonder if anything like that is going on at my current gig and I just haven't noticed.
     
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  14. ramses

    ramses Well-Known Member

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    :hilarious:hilarious:hilarious:hilarious:hilarious

    I have a sneaky suspicion this was a reference to British colonies in Burma and Malaysia and French colonies in Laos, Cambodia, and Viet Nam.

    To be fair, there is a narrative that is pushed about the history of Thailand's sovereignty. It is found in American propaganda, and elsewhere. However, this narrative might take a hands off approach with fact checking.
     
  15. chuachinsoon

    chuachinsoon Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. The buffer zone theory. And there was another line separating the British colonies from the Dutch colony in Indonesia.
     
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