Half-time at school, observations

Half of the time passed, time to think it over.

What did I find, what are the perspectives for the next weeks?

The school has less teachers than classes, same for the other school. A teacher with all examinations earns 9000 Baht a month, another with less qualification 5000 Baht. Primary school teachers earn less than high schoolteachers on private schools even better earning is possible.

There are male teachers at school, they mostly sit in the teachers room at the computer, saw them only rearely in classroom. I don´t know what important work for school they do, but I have read it is part of the political system to keep people. Can´t say wether this idea is correct or no.

The 2 schools have better equipment than I expected. There are 2 multifunctional printers/scanners, WLAN  – also for kids. But computers are private, so I never saw a kid computing. All classrooms have small, but workingg TV-players. I could connect them with my converter to my computer.

There is a school budget and the director seems good in fund-raising.

After one day rain, all is muddy. He got some money to make a concrete soccer-field and some other sporting places. One weekend at least 80 educators of the surrounding came and worked from Friday afternoon until sunday. The classrooms were used as biwak. The village supports such actions, because KiddyChai, who was a monk once does ceremonies for them if needed.

Schoolyear is Mai to March. I could not find out about syllabus. Thai school system is known to be poor – in difference to Malaysia and New Zealand. But I have heard about a project with New Zealand to develop a better system.

I have seen 2 English books. The one I like more I have looked all 6 volumes. I think, when there is possibility to teach that, kids should be at level A2. But not each child has a book, they cannot borrow one. The English teacher who came back after a baby pause even has no book. She nearly speaks no English, so communication is hard. But I don´t know about her writing knowledge, I have met her only 2 days before New Years break. It is part of the system, that people don´t dare to speak, because they have fear to loose face in case of a mistake.

Children of 1. class seem to be over forced, they have to learn Thai writing and Latin alphabet at the same time!!! Additionally are the principal differences in structure of the two languages and the differences in adolescence, which seems to be bigger than in Austria.

Thai school system is mainly based on learning by heart and to copy. I found out, that in 3. class they are not able to read.

Because of the missing teachers many lectures cannot be hold. Knowledge of the children is small. People are poor here, many children don´t know the next city Bueng Kan, 70 km distance. So they don´t know for example the difference between village-town-city-country.

When you only know the closest surrounding, how can you become curious?

The children are brave, disciplined, independent – they clean the dishes, the school area….but they are not independent in thinking: they prefer to do in single line.

For me there is also the cultural difference to be involved in an American NGO. I am not educated as language teacher, the other American teachers at private schools in Bueng Kan are. Though I have learned singing now for one year, I am not strong enough to use in teaching. Until now I have not assisted a lecture the American way. I don´t know what American teachers mean when they speak about „funny“ lectures. Until now I miss a profound talk about teachhing methods. So it is hard to reflect and develop a method which meets the needs of the children and my ability the best.

I feel a gap between the 3 cultures.

Ups! that is much, though I only wrote some of my observations.


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