The Education Scene

“Wow, it’s like the [American] Wild West out there!”
–my friend Matt after hearing about the rampant corruption and rather lax enforcement of certain laws in Thailand.

As you know from my previous post, I am an educator. Previously, I taught in the States for three years before coming to Thailand. Education and teaching are things I take very seriously. That is why I am totally distraught over the complete farce that passess for private education here. It is a truism around the world that teachers do not get the respect they deserve from society. What is the old adage? “Those who can, do; those who cannot, teach.” Unfortunately this attitude pervails in modern Thai society. Many people think that anyone can teach, after all everyone has been in a classroom, so everyone knows what teaching is about, right? I find it curious that we do not have the same view towards doctors. I mean, everyone has seen a doctor at some point in their life, so everyone should know how to do the job, yes? I am utterly appaled at the complete lack to training and experience most forgien “teachers” have in Thailand. In my school, I am one of two teachers who actually have a degree in Education. [There are about 100 forgien teachers working at the school). Now while there are a few teachers who do not have an Education degree who do the job and do it well, the vast majority of teachers working at the school have no business whatsoever being in a classroom, much less around children.

Indeed, most forginers comming to Thailand see teaching as an easy way to make money for the six months to two years that they will be staying: All you have to do is dress the part, speak English, and yell at kids. When these people find out that it takes more than that, they get upset. Having no knowledge or experience in classroom management, they blame the poor behavior of the kids on the fact that they are spoiled or on “Thai culture,” instead of realizing that they can’t control a classroom. When these same people find out that buying a degree from a shop at Banglamphoo doesn’t automatically provide the mastery in pedagogy, linguistics, and other subject matter needed to be a successful educator, they develop a cynical attitude towards the profession and burn out…just doing enough to scrape by and finish their contract, or if it gets bad enough, wait until the weekend and go AWOL.

Now the blame doesn’t rest soely upon the shoulders of the forgien teachers. Many times, it is greedy Thai administrators that also contribute to the degridation of the teaching profession.

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