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True Confessions

Discussion in 'The Teachers Lounge' started by portnoy58, 31 Aug 2016.

  1. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Looking back one of the funniest things I ever saw was a Grade 4 Science test. It was set by a teacher who, let us say, was rather challenged in the English language department. Basically the teacher was a NNES, I hasten to add not Filipino, and for their good fortune was contracted at the top rate. From previous experience I was expecting to invigilate an exam in which the test questions would be inter alia irrelevant, non-academic and made up of incorrectly structured questions.

    As I read the paper I was pleasantly surprised because the expected catalogue of horrors was not present. In particular I was impressed by one question which contained scans of the content labels of four standard food products with instructions for students to write notes on which foods had the healthiest contents. Nice question I thought. As I scanned I came to label number three. Oh dear, little problem - it was in French!

    Ah the joys of teaching in Thailand!
     
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  2. professeur

    professeur Well-Known Member

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    I guess that one advantage of handing in your test papers in French is that this way there is no chance for the Thai homeroom teacher to feed the kids the answers during the taking of the test.
     
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  3. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    It all started to go wrong for me when, towards the end of my first year, my school's management took a decision to become part of a well known school management group. The 'white' teachers were summoned for a photo-shoot with teachers/managers from this new group. When I appeared I heard one of the priests, (yes of the Roman Catholic variety wearing a nice white dress), who was part of the school's executive, explaining to one of our co-ordinators, apparently his niece who was also rather challenged in the language department, that only the 'white' teachers were required. Now I am a Catholic and one of the reasons I chose to work in this school was because it was managed by the diocese. I am well aware that the Church has many faults, many of its own making, but this was the first time I had heard a member of the clergy advocating what I can only describe as racism. I made it very clear to the co-ordinators and priest that there was absolutely no way that I would consent to my image being used to market the school in these circumstances. Lo and behold all the teachers were summoned.

    Later that day we had a meeting with our new 'manager' awho went round the room asking teachers to introduce themselves. When she came to one of our African colleagues, she broke into a spiel about her favourite teacher also being from Africa, and how they regularly discussed the colour of chocolate. I remember thinking what ineptitude and offensiveness and wondered if she had not been briefed about events earlier that day.

    And it got worse and worse!
     
  4. po3try

    po3try Well-Known Member

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    that's awful. i can't help think how much easier my time in Thailand has been because of my pale skin which is wuite saddening tbh.

    even in my good BKK inter school I can only remember seeing 2 full classroom teachers in my 4 years who weren't white out of 200 ish. and I'm sure the school isn't going just for whiteys but maybe the institutional racism in thailand is just putting non-whites off.

    my (British) school hired a (white) South African this year and i remember them saying that they were asked how they would deal with the parents questioning their English skills.
     
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  5. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    Merci for the laugh.....
     
  6. Fatty

    Fatty Member

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    About 7 years ago, I was teaching a class of P1 pupils. I was teaching them about the 'hard and soft C', and was asking them to give me some examples of words beginning with a 'hard C'. Up went the hands.

    "Car!" said one bright spark.

    "Cat!" said one of the clever kids.

    Then, a child shouted (at the top of his voice) a four letter word beginning with 'c'. It describes a part of the female anatomy, in a rather ugly way. It also rhymes with hunt. I think you get the picture.

    Rather foolishly, I asked him to repeat the word. This kid was a really bright kid, and I was wondering where he'd picked up such a word. Again, he shouted "C***!"

    At this point, I was about to try explain to him that that word was a very bad word etc. However, the teacher in me decided to ask him to give an example of this word in a sentence. He was the type of kid clever enough to do this, but I realised I was taking a risk.

    "I can run, but I c*** fly!" he said.

    Relief, followed by me modelling the correct pronunciation (several times) was then in order, as was a little handwriting practice later in the week, as his 'a' looked like a 'u' in his workbook most of the time.
     
  7. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    One of the most revealing discussions I ever had was with one of the managers about my then five year old son. 'Junior' has been in the Thai education system since he was two years old. He loved his pre-kindergarten experience in another school and would come home and speak in Thai to his English-speaking parents about his teachers, his friends and the activities. Then Junior came to my school for three years of KG and at various points I had concerns about his experience

    I was asked to meet one of the managers early in Junior's Prathom experience. She explained that as with other 'foreign' children they would not teach my son Thai, he could read a book or do other work in Thai language lessons and he would not be required to take Thai exams. I was floored by this because it just didn't seem to make any sense and at the same time my studies were leading me to the view that there are serious benefits for young children's cognitive development in learning a second language from an early age; these benefits are qualified by the rider that language learning activities need to be age appropriate.

    Whatever, here I was in Thailand, teaching in a bilingual school, being told by one of the managers that my son would in effect not be 'taught' Thai. Of course Junior has learnt a lot of Thai, reads, writes, speaks and understands to different levels and I have no doubt if he was 'taught' in some way there would be greater progress. But this strange transaction really confirmed to me that there was something fundamentally flawed in the school's approach to language learning. Surely you shouldn't need to explain to the management of a bilingual school anywhere in the world the benefits of learning languages? Of course you do, especially if the school in question employs people to teach English in the role of Foreign Teacher who can't speak English and its director can only speak in English by reading a prepared script - he simply lacks the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of a language learning programme or indeed to assess the competence of the Foreign Teachers.
     
    Last edited: 1 Oct 2016
  8. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    The Science teacher, a solid teacher in all other respects, who sent a M3 boy to the toilet to 'knock one out', as they say, in order to produce some sperm to use in a slide for magnification .....duh!
     
  9. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    I worked in a system where the school management actively sought to undermine me by any means possible. If I was asked to account for anything it was justified on the basis of a complaint from a parent who always had to remain anonymous. An example: an upper primary Mathematics exam I set in which students were asked to bisect an angle using a compass. A fairly standard geometric process and one which most students enjoy doing.

    Basically you draw an angle and then, using a compass, you draw two arcs with the same size of radius originating from the angle's vertex; these two arcs will intersect and if you draw a straight line through the point of intersection to the vertex you will have bisected the angle. As you might appreciate a number of my students either didn't have compasses or even if they did, thought it would be easier to simply draw two intersecting arcs and then draw a line back to the vertex or just to estimate it and draw a straight line, and hey presto, job done. In real terms it's quite easy to detect this. In my instructions I had made it quite clear that a compass should be used and the arcs should not be erased.

    So two of my esteemed managers came to enquire why I had docked marks from a student who had sketched a nice straight line which appeared to bisect the angle in question; they said a parent had asked. I explained there were no arcs and the question required arcs to be drawn etc. I could smell the BS - I gave them a very quick demonstration using my board compass on the big board and they left sharpishly, their tails between their legs.
     
  10. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    And then there was the Poisoned Dwarf, the co-ordinator, who was one of the troublemakers in the above post about bisecting angles by using a compass. Her orders were to get me. As nasty a piece of work as I've met who brought pain and suffering to a few of us and who set about her task with glee.

    One day the Dwarf asked me if I would be able to teach a training event for her sister, a university lecturer. 'You hate my guts,' thought I, 'why are you asking me? Why not one of your favs?' Suspicions aroused. The Dwarf is incapable of a Damascene conversion or its equivalent. She likes being nasty, it's kind of a hobby.

    'Last Saturday and Sunday in April' she said with further details to follow. OK. A few days before the event the Dwarf said there was a big problem and the course needed to be rescheduled to the coming Thursday and Friday. Can you still do it, she asked. Mmmm, I knew this was not what it appeared. 'Dwarf', I say, 'you know I am working summer school on those days, so why are you asking me?' 'Could you not phone in sick?' she enquires. I said no way, I don't abuse sick leave, I'm working on those days ...

    Looking back, I have no doubt that had I done as bidden, I would have been fired. I've often tried to imagine how the Dwarf and her boss, a Catholic priest, planned this. The Dwarf is not very clever and such a stunt really must have been beyond her. But a pretty good stunt nevertheless regardless of its origin.

    You know, I don't miss this stuff at all. I'm delighted to report that I actually saw the Dwarf off. She quit. Terrible some of the stuff that is being rolled out in schools by managers and probably being instigated by Catholic priests. But there again the clergy haven't exactly covered themselves in glory, so maybe not such a surprise.
     
  11. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    It was one of the seminars for teachers at my former school, being the school with the ERIC department that usually does all the seminars for the teachers from the particular educational area office.

    My American colleague with a Master’s and 26 K starting salary, only 1 K more than a real bad ass Asian educator, his wife and a bunch of relatives were in the other group.

    I always had to change the speech our Thai head teacher prepared for our director and walk him in how to pronounce the words properly. A real nice guy, more a friend than my boss. I deeply regret that I left.

    When I came out of the principal’s office there’s this one guy who always acted like the boss of the clan, you know a real Wannabe macho with 45 kg and a 7th Day Adventist.

    Not available on Saturdays and we always had to do their work as well until they could choose to leave school, or join in.

    The guy saw me coming out of the principal's office and said: “Where you go?”

    I said that I had to prepare him for his opening ceremony speech. The guy:” What she say?”

    My answer was: “I’m sorry, but our boss is male.” The guy didn’t know what male means and kept looking at me waiting for another answer.

    “He told me to go and have a coffee” and I went to my house....

    Then the seminar that went pretty well and group 2 had the last part with a PowerPoint Slide. It wasn’t really fun for adults to act like little kids, but some Hello Kitty teachers participated in the last Hi- Hello and vice versa Show.

    The last Slide then showed in very big letters: F I N N I S H.

    I went to the notebook, searched for the Finnish flag and showed it in full-screen mode to save face when the same guy with the ear problem came by and wanted to know why I did that.

    “Why didn’t you write Finnish people?” was my answer with a question.

    He said yes we finished the seminar when Lin was already in tears, I couldn’t hold back and we immediately left the scene lol.
     
  12. SageAdvice

    SageAdvice Well-Known Member

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    An obvious oxymoron: religious education...
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2016

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