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Thread: 17 issues - from direct experience of teachers teaching English in Chiang Mai

  1. #16
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    I just got back home (11.30 pm) and see many posts here. Tomorrow morning the first thing I will do is to tell you guys what I think is a Thai perspective for these issues.
    Good night everyone,
    Kaew

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  3. #17
    dis member Array zeusbheld's Avatar
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    this has the potential to be a very interesting thread, even for non-noobs.
    Imodium can't stop me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    I just got back home (11.30 pm) and see many posts here. Tomorrow morning the first thing I will do is to tell you guys what I think is a Thai perspective for these issues.
    Good night everyone,
    Kaew
    Goodnight Kaew. See you tomorrow.
    This space for rent.

  5. #19
    Admin Array LDMA's Avatar
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    Ok that's a lot of questions for one post, but just so as to have one post with all 17 addressed here we go forgive me if any are short...starting 17 different threads would get these answered in far more detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    (Female) I’ve just started working as a kindergarten teacher and the Thai female teachers keep telling me how sexy I am. Am I right to feel flattered or are they trying to tell me something?
    No more than when they told me "You hansum!" Limited vocabulary and lack of connotation knowledge.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    My Thai supervisor tells me I have to pass every student! Some students don’t even show up for class, how can I pass them?
    Through gritted teeth is the short answer. The long answer is to view your grading as a basic pass being a fail and those who deserve high marks get high marks. Also get a reputatiuon for holding your re-tests after school and not in period, over and above the call of duty for you but makes you feel that somebody else is being penalised too. If they miss the re-tests you can't say they were'nt held at all,k and be meticulous with your registering of absences. However shoddy the school, it will usually have some kind of provision for non-attendance.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    I have been told that I have to teach my 3rd year nursing students how to translate medical journals. Some of them cannot even use the present perfect tense correctly. Translation is a skill ……… a job you do when you are fluent! How can I teach this? I’ve been told its in the curriculum and I have to teach it.
    All boils down to dictionary use and grammar correction...focus on these areas. The tricky bit here is understanding the medical terms yourself. Muddle through the best you can.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    Half my students don’t come to class who do I speak to about discipline?
    Again make sure your registers are completed and make a list of those students who do not attend. I would start flagging students after they fail to attend 2-3 consecutive classes. Start with your head of department, though many schools have a Hong Bukrong (discipline office). We get into murky territory here as the school I used to work at would send kids to be beaten there. If you disagree with corporal punishment (and why not? It's illegal!), having the head of English speak to them may suffice. Establish early on that you won't stand for it and also be sure that they are not skipping because they happen to find you boring.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    Will the students only respect me if I speak Thai?
    They may think they can take the mickey more if you know absolutely none...eg they can refer to you as "man" instead of "ajarn", which is basically calling you an "it" and extremely offensive, and should you not pick up on that kind of thing when said in obvious earshot of the whole class could weaken your authority. Ask yourself, would a teacher in your own country even get the job if they spoke no English, and despite this being Thailand and for this not to be a prerequisite, endeavour to learn at least when students are taking the piss out of you.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    My students keep calling me ‘fat’ and it really upsets me.
    Oh diddums...like someone else said at least they are speaking English. Thai's don't consider this as culturally insensitive as Westerners. You could always include this and a list of other Western social norms into your lesson plans.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    I sent a student out of class for talking and a Thai teacher sent him back in. I feel undermined, what should I do?
    Speak to that teacher, but ask what he would do in that situation, rather than berate him for sending him back in. Perhaps that student, were he asked as question every time he carried on talking in your class might get the message not to draw attention to himself. Perhaps the school's rule is not to send out students. Tricky situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    I don’t understand about this whole concept of losing face ….. can I not single students out for bad behavior?
    Rule 1. Student loses face, big deal, you are the teacher. Definitely single them out. It's how effectively you do it that matters.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    Why do my students smile at me when they tell me they have not done their homework? I feel like they are making fun of me!
    Seriously? There are about 13 known reasons that Thai just grin innanely. Check this for more info... Thai Smiles
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    I have just realized that I have been mispronouncing a word in Thai for the last 2 months! Why did no one correct me?!
    Greng Jai. I don't know...sometimes I don't correct foreigners in the UK for their mispronunciations, sometimes you feel it's rude.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    The students laugh at me because I sweat, but it’s hot! What am I supposed to do?
    Wear a vest under your dress/shirt. Simple. Actually helps you feel cooler.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    I’m not sure if my Thai co-workers are older or younger than me, Should I Wai first or wait for them?
    Ask them...it's the first thing Thais do to establish the exact say thing...like the fat thing it lacks the stigma it does in the West.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    If someone Wai me and my hands are full of books, what am I supposed to do? I don’t want to insult anyone.
    Guy above got it right....nod and smile...would work as a farrang even if you didn't have the books.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    The Thai teachers at my school let the students talk and eat during the lesson. I don’t think this is appropriate. Is it Ok to have different rules for my classes?
    Yes. Establish them early in the semester. Neither issue is polite in Thai culture in a class regardless of the individual permissiveness.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    I tried to arrange a teachers meeting at my school to talk about some of the naughty students, but none of the Thai teachers showed up! Why?
    They can't be arsed, because they know exactly the problem, and this farrang ain't gonna change the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    My Thai supervisor always says ‘up to you’ whenever I ask him a question. My questions are very direct, how can I get a direct answer?!
    Try your fellow farrangs at the school and if that fails try Ajarn Forum
    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    Things don’t start as planned... How can I introduce the importance of time management?
    If this refers to you sitting in the class room like a pudding for 10 minutes, because the last teacher didn't let them out on time, then not much you can do. Ensure that your lesson planning take this into consideration by default. One of the facts of life in a Thai school.
    Last edited by LDMA; 15th January 2012 at 23:45.
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  7. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDMA View Post
    They may think they can take the mickey more if you know absolutely none...eg they can refer to you as "man" instead of "ajarn", which is basically calling you an "it" and extremely offensive, and should you not pick up on that kind of thing when said in obvious earshot of the whole class could weaken your authority. Ask yourself, would a teacher in your own country even get the job if they spoke no English, and despite this being Thailand and for this not to be a prerequisite, endeavour to learn at least when students are taking the piss out of you.
    I'm not sure what you mean by referring to us as "man". What are some common things to look out for where students might be being disrespectful in these kinds of ways?

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    "Man" is a personal pronoun, similar to "it"....used to refer to animals...so if a student said "man poot wa arrai" to his neighbour when asked a question by you, he would be saying something intended as an insult on the assumption you have no idea it's insulting..ie "what is it saying?"...in other words not affording the same respect that a Thai teacher would automatically be conferred...and thus getting a cheap laugh from his neighbours or the class as a whole. I am sure there are many examples of how Thai students exploit the typical lack of Thai language knowledge displayed by the average Farrang teacher, but this is certainly one I have encountered. Another is writing insulting comments in Thai on their desks in liquid paper about the teacher...something they would not do with a Thai teacher.

    ---Update---

    If nothing else acheived today, I have established that quick quote is now working correctly...I still prefer the javascript pop-up version.

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  10. #22
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    Hi guys,
    This is a difficult topic for me to discuss in English because my English is not that good. I try to think about these cultural issues and be true to myself to answer.
    I will do my best to communicate what I see from my Thai perspective. Of course, everything has exceptions.
    There is always personal background of the people you are dealing with involved.

    In working, Thais do not pay attention on how smart people are as much as farangs do.
    Thais pay attention, sometimes unconsciously, on pleasing one another and to rely on one another. (We can talk about 'why it turns out to be like this?' later).
    These are what Thais believe that it will keep them safe and continuously be benefited.
    Therefore...
    1. You can not be too smart because you will make others look bad or stupid. But you can be a good friend to them unlimitedly, then you will be praised. Being good friend is to please them no matter at work or personal matters. You might see a Thai spending enormous of time in their life going to so many funerals, wedding or different events of people who could potentially benefit them in their work, or who have helped them in the past (we call this as 'Boonkun'. We could discuss about this later).
    2. One of the reason Thais often say 'mai-bpen-rai'(That's ok, not a big deal) is that they want to please you by showing that they are nice to you. If you are the one who can still benefit them, even you did something wrong, they will accept you and protect you. Positively looking at this, it is nice because they take things easy. But also, the coin has 2 sides always, it could go too far like not letting any students fail at all because they afraid that this will not please the kids parents. They are afraid that this will harm them somehow; their income, their reputation, etc.
    3.

    Jeez, I think and write in English very slowly. I got to go. I have a Thai lesson at International school. I will be back and continue writing this.
    All the best,
    Kaew

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  12. #23
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    Looks like you're doing pretty well with the English.

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    I agree it is always a pleasure to see native Thai speakers posting so eloquently in English on this site.

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    Yes, good to see.

    And rare.

    Much appreciated.
    When being run out of town, get in front of the crowd and make it appear like a parade.

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    I wonder if your accolades would still continue if the OP was a man.

    I do find her points to be eloquent and well thought out. It is an interesting perspective.



    As other posters have said a lot of those questions work themselves out or the person leaves.

    The first issue about dress. I find that a lot of younger teachers dress like they are going out to night clubs. It isn't about looking good but looking professional. If one gets comments on their sexyness, then perhaps they are not dressing professional.

    Some of the other issues like passing students regardless. Many countries are doing this now. As others have said use a standard ruberick and grade students accordingly. Even though they may pass a low mark is a low mark. Some teachers don't like it because they cannot punish their students by failing them. I always feel that you have failed your students if you fail your students. Even the students with low ability can make progress and deserve to be rewarded.

    Most of the other interpersonal communication issues are relatively minor. The simple answer is adjust. Stop thinking that you are special and that the way that you do stuff is the only right way. Accept others that have to accept you.

    Unfortunately, in many work environments teachers are pushed extremely far and given ridiculous demands. It is hard but pick your battles.

    The one thing that I disagree with the OP is that "even you did something wrong, they will accept you and protect you."

    Typically Thais do not have a lot of conflict resolution skills. Once you do something wrong you are on their shitlist forever.

    I have worked in some groups where two colleagues had an issue and the workflow stopped as a result. They wouldn't ignore their issues and just work together. It takes a lot to overcome any minor conflict.

    I actually think the stupid Thai culture course that people have to take would be better if they stop teaching how to eat som tam, and discuss issues on work place communication.

    It is often the manner in how things approached from western perspective that creates the conflict not on what the end result is.

    Good thread OP. I think that this is a lot better than the what I learned in my 2 years thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    I wonder if your accolades would still continue if the OP was a man.
    of course, as long as she's not faking the Thai part.

    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    I actually think the stupid Thai culture course that people have to take would be better if they stop teaching how to eat som tam, and discuss issues on work place communication.
    i paid for that so i could get my 2nd 2-year temporary license but haven't taken it yet (flooding was a factor). now i know what it's actually about i'm way more interested than had it been about workplace communication :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by frankly speaking View Post
    I wonder if your accolades would still continue if the OP was a man.
    I thought it was. Must have missed something...

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    ^Me too. I just assumed it was a guy, dunno why.

    As to the accolades, I would prefer to hear the Thai perspective on the 17 issues in the OP before potentially bestowing mine. I feel the OP has not told us anything yet that we didn't already know and specific answers to those 17 issues would be more useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamBlake View Post
    I thought it was. Must have missed something...
    Myself as well.

    ---Update---

    Quote Originally Posted by kaewishere View Post
    (Female) Iíve just started working as a kindergarten teacher and the Thai female teachers keep telling me how sexy I am. Am I right to feel flattered or are they trying to tell me something?
    That's why I assumed our OP was male.

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