The end is nigh (or is it?)

The Thai Ministry for Education plan on rolling out a train the trainer style scheme set on improving the English teaching skills of Government school teachers in a bid to cut back on the costs of hiring foreign teachers, according to the Bangkok Post this morning.

Wait… WHAT!

Don’t panic though, my ever hopeful one-day TEFL dreamers… the scheme has to a) happen and b) actually work.

A stand out quote from the article for me was;

…. the ministry recently conducted a survey of the capability of Thai English-language teachers across the country and found more than 43,000 Thai English language teachers in public schools, but only six of them have been found to have the ability to achieve native-like fluency in English.

… and a six week training scheme is going to sort out the other 42,994 people?

The Thai teaching style is worlds apart from more progressive, Western countries and it does not lend itself well to the EFL classroom.  Not only will the English language abilities of the teachers need to be brought up to near-native fluency, but their whole teaching philosophy will also need to be updated and transformed.  In six short weeks.

I think it’s great that the Ministry for Education want to make improvements to their home grown teachers, and I do agree that relying on importing foreign teachers at a higher cost is not a long term goal.  I just don’t know if this scheme is going to be the magic solution that they claim it is.

Only in Thailand: Super Placenta

When you have lived in a place for a while you stop noticing the strange things that once used to leave you wide mouthed and confused.

I have vowed to try and reignite my interest in all things weird and wonderful, and of course will be sharing my discoveries with you.

And so, for my first random item I give you SuperPlacenta, available at a 7-eleven near you (if you happen to live in Thailand)!  This beauty serum is apparently made from the afterbirth of a sheep.  The lambs certainly add an element of cuteness.  I have no idea what miracles this elixir promises to perform, but I wasn’t convinced enough to purchase it.  Because, placenta.

TEFL Flashbacks – letters to my previous self

Three years ago today I did my very first TEFL lesson as part of my placement on the TEFL Heaven course in Koh Samui.  Facebook very politely informed me at the top of my news feed today.  Good old Facebook memories feature, constantly reminding us of the wonderful things we have done in days past, and also some of the not so nice things which you can then delete and forget about forever.

This was my first proper lesson on placement as I was also being observed.  I can remember being a mixture of crazy excited to be getting in the classroom and crazy nervous at having to teach such little children.  I was a well seasoned youth worker but my main clientele were 17 year old young men and somehow I found this group of 8 year old more intimidating…

Anyway, seeing this come up on my Facebook news feed this morning transported me to where I was three years ago, and how things are so very much not what I expected them to be now.

If only I had a time machine, I could go back and tell myself…

Guess what?  You’re never going to go home!  That’s right, you may think that you are only going to stay in Thailand for a few months but so far you have now stayed for three years and you aren’t showing any signs of leaving yet…

Relax, you are going to do fine on placement (actually, you’re going to do pretty well… I’m still modest).  Just have some fun with it – you’re going to end up working at a high school once this placement done so make the most of these cute kids that you are inexplicably afraid of.

You’re about to be told where you are being placed for your long term job.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT tell mum to google ‘Hat Yai’, because the only results are about the bomb that went off a few months ago and she is going to go spammy.  Send her some nice links instead.  Soon enough when you Google ‘Hat Yai’, your (currently very young) blog will be in the results, sometimes #1 – yay you/me/us (this time travel stuff is confusing)!

Don’t worry about the bomb mentioned in my previous comment.  None will go off while you are there.

You will never believe where you are going to end up living – only bloody Phuket!  I know, I know, you have sworn to never go there.  But it will all make sense when the time comes.  And trust me, you can earn more money and go to the beach more often.

You are going to become overrun by pet animals.  I kid you not.  Get ready – you’re about to become an animal lover.  I know, it’s ridiculous.  But Thailand is going to change you.  Just wait and see.

I was so fresh and green back then, with half a plan of returning to my old job in a few months… little did I know.!

My Shameless Facebook Promo Post

‘They’ (whoever ‘they’ is… the blogging Gods?) say that you should try to engage with your readers on multiple platforms and be accessible from many angles.

So, let me shamelessly plug the fact that my blog is also on Facebook, and you can click here to head on over there and give the page a like.  I share more than just what I post on here as Facebook is much easier to use (also because I am on Facebook pretty much all of the time) plus I tend to be around more to answer comments and generally have a nice chit chat.

If you think you might find Facebook an easier way to follow me, then feel free to give the page a like and make me feel loved <3


A Street Cat Named Brian

I didn’t adopt Brian; Brian adopted me.

I live in Thailand, a country famed for it’s sunshine, beaches and laid back lifestyle. It is also one of the street animal capitals of the world. When we moved into our new house, within a few days we noticed a dirty, oil-stained cat living under a car on the street outside our house. It didn’t take him long to notice us either, and soon he was coming into our front yard, demanding strokes and love that I simply couldn’t give him in his current condition.

What followed was a trip to the vets to have him checked over. The vet put him at around 8 years old – pretty good going for a street animal. A few quick tests confirmed that my new friend had feline leukemia that was already quite progressive. He also had an infection in his face from mites in his ears. He was generally in a bad way, and of course being the soft-hearted girl that I am, when we went home that day he no longer stayed outside but was welcomed into my home. Knowing that I live in a country that doesn’t allow animals to be put down, I vowed to take care of him until the end.

I decided to call him Brian; it suited him. He had the attitude of a grumpy old man (wouldn’t you after 8 years living on the streets?) but he loved a snuggle. As time went on, Brian’s leukemia progressed more and more. He began to lose weight and lost the sight in one eye. But he kept on giving those snuggles until the very end. Our time together may have been brief but I am happy to have made his final year a happy, comfortable love-filled one.

Originally posted on The Animal Rescue Site.