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.

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.!

This used to be my commute to work.

image

Since I have moved to Phuket I have a new found appreciation for what was an idyllic route to and from school, meandering through rubber plantations and farmland with only the odd herd of buffalo in the way of traffic.

Fast forward to Phuket; big roads.  Big, busy roads.  Roadworks.  Roadworks everywhere.  Unecessary u-turns resulting in a zig-zag traverse across the island. Traffic jams.  Floods.  Crazy drivers.  Insane drivers. 

That commute there in that photo?  That’s one thing I miss about living in the deep south.

Ban Koh Lone School – my Snapchat Story

Earlier this week I visited Ban Koh Lone School on the small island of Koh Lone, just off the coast of Phuket.  The island was devastated by the 2004 tsunami.  I went along with 2 colleagues to carry out some preliminary checks before we go back in a few weeks en masse to redecorate the library and the 2 classrooms still in use.

It’s been over 10 years since the tsunami hit and I would hate to see what is left of this place left to rot and ruin.  I’m really looking forward to helping out this small community – a little bit of help can make a big difference here.

Here’s my Snapchat Story from the day to give you a feel of the condition of the school and this island.  Apologies for the poor camera quality, I will be taking proper kit with me when we go back to do the volunteer work in a few weeks.

Hibernation Complete.

Every time it happens.  And every time I fail to see what is happening to me until it gets too late.

Rainy season.

Every rainy season, without fail.  The rain comes, the sun goes into hibernation.  My summer sun-kissed-ness (new word) fades.

Every.  Thing.  Is.  Damp.

And somehow I let myself become the weather personified.

I am the cloud.  I am the rain.  I am the doom and gloom and I forget why I ever came to Thailand.  A brief internet search has me self diagnosing myself with Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder.  Which I probably don’t have considering I have survived many a grey Autumn/Winter back home in the UK.

My facebook news feed fills up with friends enjoying ice cool ciders on a Cornish beach.  With festivals and BBQs and all that is wonderful and right about a British summer.  Deck chairs.  Pimms.  Sipping Pimms in a deckchair.  I even find myself thinking about the bloody seagulls.  Yes, I miss those flying vermin that snatch tasty treats right out of your hand.

I can’t believe I would ever find myself hankering after a BRITISH summer.  They aren’t exactly renowned for being that great.

The blog all but dies, and Facebook has a wonderful time reminding me of posts I had made when I first came here and rainy season was just a bit of exciting weather and everything was new and exciting and inspiring.  Now I have nothing new or exciting or inspiring to post about.  I am sorry dear readers, but I am beyond the point of writing just for the sake of it.  And I am sure that you are glad of that.

But times are a’changing my dear.

Today is November 1st – the first official day of high season here in Phuket.  And, same as every year, it’s like someone has flicked the sunshine switch back to ‘ON’ and it is glorious and beautiful and all things that make the weather in Thailand wonderful.

Today I am feeling thankful.  Thankful that the sun has finally made an appearance that will hopefully continue for the coming months.  Thankful that I can once again wear my summer dresses and my flip flops and have beach trips on the weekends and BBQs in the evenings.  We may not be able to have a glass of Pimms but I can make a bloody good attempt at making some sort of Sangsom based summer cocktail.

I realise that as you read this in your Autumnal homeland with Winter drawing in and the prospect of not only rain, but sleet and snow and de-icing car windscreens and frozen pipes and… here I am complaining about a few months of rain.   But it’s all relative baby – and I should count my lucky stars that it is hot once again and that I have survived another rainy season.

#firstworldproblems?  I got me #Thailandproblems.  And I would rather make it through a thousand more rainy seasons than ever have to de-ice my car or wear thermal underpants ever again.

Time to once again start loving my Thailand life.  Expect more blog posts soon.  I am out of hibernation once again.

❤ Kylie