My boyfriend and I have recently started our first teaching job in Thailand; we are taking over from 2 teachers who openly admitted to us they could not control the classes and had trouble teaching basic topics. The school we are at is quite a large government primary school and there are around 45-50 students in each class we are teaching the whole school english between the 2 of us. The problem is most of the classes do not understand very simple instruction, and they are now used to getting away with mucking around in classes and not paying attention as the other English teachers let them do it (apparently they are just as bad for the Thai teachers as they are for us). We have no assistance from the Thai teachers as they leave the classes before we arrive to teach. Even if we try to act out or mime what we want them to do we are met with blank stares or a paper aeroplane to the head. If anyone has any advice about controlling large classes and communicating simple instructions to students who have very little English skills it would be appreciated.
Hit the first kid who doesnt understand.
Keep hitting till they all understand.
You don't say what levels you are teaching.
First; you can't teach from the desk or the front of the class. Take role, write the A/B dialogue on the board and have them copy the lesson in their notebooks.
Start the lesson before they finish copying and circulate constantly through the entire class. Tell them you will grade their notebooks for completeness (however you can communicate that).
4 minutes before the class ends tell them you want absolute quiet for a timed 2 minutes and they cannot leave until that is completed. Works like a charm; it may well be the only quiet you get all day.
Nobody can teach you what you should already know now; so, like me, you're in the trenches; use your brain, creativity, and ingenuity to figure out how to get on with your job. Identify the one or two students who can speak some basic English and have them communicate your instructions to the rest of the class.
Find some fun games to play also, they love games and there are myriad English centric games; check the internet for free downloads.
I never had a class of less than 50.
Frederick Douglass: Find out just what any people will quietly submit to
and you have found out the exact measure of injustice
and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these
will continue till they are resisted with either
words or blows, or with both.
ďDonít believe them, donít fear them, donít ask
anything of them.Ē
Welcome to Thailand.
Have a look around, this issue has been addressed many times.
"While Jim is milking the Russian Boar, I'm in the shade of a Baobab tree being served a cool drink by a beautiful young indigenous girl. "
Aloha - Aloha HARD
Looks like you're teaching kids age 6-12 who of course have a low level of English.
Before giving you any advice I'd like to know more, like how many hours, how many different classes you teach, how you are getting on with admin and how much you get paid. Also how the classroom looks.
If it is an open room with small desks crammed in there, admin has a swim-or-sink attitude, you have a total of 300+ students, do 20+ hours a week and get paid less than 30K I advise you to find another school!
Good discipline is possible when the children see a reason to learn. you need to engage classes first with fun stimulating activities (not easy I know with 50 kids) Try arty activities such as making things. Invest in some modelling clay and keep the kids occupied. don't worry so much at the start about what they are learning but focus on building up a rapport and working out which students have some ability. Its a tough gig but with perserverence you can do it.
clay for 50 kids , ok let's say 25 pairs .Good luck!
You are in an almost impossible situation. You either join the circus or leave it!
If it's a government school then you shouldn't be alone in the classroom... but you are and that's the situation you are faced with.
Discipline comes first and education follows. If the school is happy to leave you alone in front of fifty unruly kids then take a newspaper in with you and a flask of coffee. The time will go a lot faster and the kids will have learnt just as much as if you had really tried teaching them!
You could test the waters a bit by having a 'sit down' with the principal and asking about having assistants in the classroom for the sole purpose of disciplining the kids.
It might be that she/he doesn't really know what's going on in the classroom and a few asses will be kicked... and it may be that he/she is indifferent to you and your situation... which is where the flask of coffee comes in handy!
Good luck and keep us posted.
Ahhhh! modelling clay......That takes me back. Blowpipes, modelling clay for ammo.........Christ, that used to hurt
It wasn't me............I wasn't even there.
That's right. The only time I've ever had a Thai co-teacher in any of my classes, is when it's an EP class.
I'm on my own in all the others.
even when i had a co-teacher, they never went to class