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Jirasart school in Ayutthaya

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Joined: 23 Aug 2003
Posts: 291

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:00 am    Post subject: Jirasart school in Ayutthaya Reply with quote


Me, a kindergarten teacher, a math teacher, and science teacher just got fired from Jirasart school in Ayutthaya. Teachers who don't have a degree in the subject they teach, regardless of their teaching quality, will be phased out. Same goes for anyone deemed not enthusiastic enough about sports events and music programs. So there's about to be a mass turnover.

How is Mr. Pathampong, the school principal, going to fill so many vacancies resulting from mass firings and new hiring requirements? By raising salaries to international school standards of 50,000-60,000 baht or by offering airfare and housing like schools in Korea and China? No, by dropping his preference for native speakers and his preference for older candidates. Does he seriously expect a native speaker with a degree in early childhood education to spend a year in Asia making $1000 a month, enduring the Thai climate and being away from their family and friends, when they can make $50,000 a year teaching kindergarten in America, where preschool teachers are in big demand? Same goes for math teachers, and America has a severe shortage of math teachers. This means the school will be flooded with teachers from Africa, India, and the Philippines, who are not native speakers; and with younger teachers, who are more interested in a day at the beach than a day in the classroom. Mr. Pathampong refuses to accept advice from 3 of the best foreign administrators in Thailand (no eggageration). He uses Thai art, social studies, and math teachers to evaluate foreign language teachers. He doesn't provide the foreigner teachers with fluent Thai team teachers - no team teachers at all actually. He doesn't visit the classrooms or solicit feedback from the teachers. He doesn't have a clue what's going on in the school, and doesn't care.

I'll share my story and the math teacher's story. First, I'll share what happened to the math teacher, since he had direct dealing with Mr. Pathampong. The excuse for the math being fired was his accent. His mother was British and he has taught outside South Africa most of his career. During a very long conversation with him, I didn't fail to understand one word he said. His accent, although distinguishable as South African, isn't near as strong as other South Africans I've met and watched on TV. There were 2 Africans and a Swiss in my office and there was a Philippino upstairs. Their accents are much thicker than his and they are still there, so accent was undeniably an excuse. Granted, I'm not a 10 year old Thai student trying to adapt to a (moderate) South African accent. But when the foreign hiring manager asked the students if they wanted a new teacher or to keep him, they told him they wanted to stick with him. If they were struggling with his accent, they would have asked for a replacement. Mr. Pathampong told him his final exams were too difficult and not enough of his students could pass it. 80% of his students scored above 80 on the exam. Half his students scored 100. Any math teacher would murder for these type of test results. Next Mr. Pathampong tells him his students complained about him. The teacher asked for names. Mr. Pathampong offered 10 names. The teacher happened to run into these students in the dinning hall and asked if this story is true. They denied it. He asked them to accompany him to Mr. Pathampong's office. Mr. Pathampong spoke to the students in Thai and they left. As a result of this teacher being so confrontational with Mr. Pathampong about not having his contract renewed in spite of high test scores and popularity with the students, Mr. Pathompong declares that he has orders from the school owner that the teacher is to be dismissed immediately rather than being allowed to finish his contract. The teacher calls his bluff. Mr. Pathampong backs down. Obviously he had no such orders, or the teacher would have been gone. Well, he's gone now and Mr. Pathampong is still there.

The Thai teachers assigned to observe my lessons did everything but. They prepared their own lessons, graded exams, or filled out paperwork; they tidied the back of the room; they chatted/consulted with other Thai teachers (sometimes 3 or 4 of them having a pow wow in the back of my classroom while I'm trying to teach a lesson); they came to the lesson late and left early. (Surprisingly, most of them didn't use their phones.) Put simply, they didn't see the interaction between me and the students. But they couldn't admit to the school principal that they played hooky instead of doing what he assigned them to do. So they put piddly, trashing comments in their reports. Mr. Pathampong never set foot in my classroom and didn't bother talking to me or the foreign administrators about the accuracy of these reports. Nor did he ask the foreign administrators to observe my lessons for a second opinion. Turns out he wasn't even sharing these reports with them. He was deliberately keeping them out of the loop. Only 2 out of the 20 Thai teachers who pretended to observe my lessons are English teachers and only one of these English teachers is fluent. Most of them don't understand enough English to know what I was saying or what the students were saying. One of the Thai teachers understands so little English, she had to ask me through one of the students to explain what I was saying and writing. She spoke to the student in Thai, the student translated into English to me, I explained in English to the student, and then the student translated into Thai for her. How is this teacher or any of the other Thai teachers qualified to evaluate me if they don't understand the language and if they didn't pay attention to what was happening in my classroom?

My students have been studying grammar for 4 years, yet they consistently omit or misuse prepositions and articles, etc, don't understand the correct conjugation of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives, don't know how to make effective use of conjunctions, and can't spell such basic words as breakfast, coffee, dolphin, and even the word 'study'. Only one of my 80 students can write a paragraph or carry on a conversation with complete, correct grammar. I didn't have a chance to talk to the Thai grammar teachers, so I can't tell you how well they can string an English sentence. But I did see a worksheet for one of the final exams. None of the questions on the worksheet tested the ability of the students to use sentences. None of this bothers Mr. Pathampong, assuming he's even aware.
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Joined: 05 Feb 2014
Posts: 401
Location: Flashing my lights right behind you!

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought you posted about this school before.

My advice still stands. Move on, get another job, it's a two a penny school to be found all over Thailand. Why do you care so much.

Let them mess it all up.

It's not your problem. Since when was a school in Thailand about education.

Wake up and move on!
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EFL Educator

Joined: 17 Jul 2013
Posts: 988
Location: Cape Town

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To The OP,

Just another Thai school in the LOS.....,me thinks they will end up only hiring Filipinos to replace fired Native English Speakers as subject teachers and offer them less Thai Baths as salary....and possibly more Tom Yum Kung or Chicken Adobo at the school cafeteria to keep them happy. Shocked Shocked
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Joined: 17 Jun 2014
Posts: 176
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you didn't meet their somewhat unreasonable degree in subject requirement; it probably didn't matter. It would have been more professional (on a cold day in Hell) for them to send you on your way, with good recommendations. I spent an entire semester prepping students for one Math Exam that they needed to pass to graduate. The pass rate was about 22%. At then end of the year, I received a handshake and glowing compliments from the principal. Go figure.
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plumpy nut

Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 1652

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigdurian wrote:
Thought you posted about this school before.

My advice still stands. Move on, get another job, it's a two a penny school to be found all over Thailand. Why do you care so much.

Let them mess it all up.

It's not your problem. Since when was a school in Thailand about education.

Wake up and move on!

Very sound advice. The corruption that is severe in Thailand extends to the school system. None of these schools have any form of accreditation that is western like with the exception of four schools 'real' international schools in Bangkok. Standards in private schools in Thailand consist of throwing out the severely dumb students and nothing more. In the western system someone teaching math would be expected to have core degree course work in mathematics, however like I've said before - in Thailand the students could get a lot of education and help from just a smart High School graduate in just about all subjects.

The failure in the Thai system has little to do with the quality of the teachers although in real small cities teacher quality may be a problem. The private schools being solely concerned with making money must cater to the accusations of students and parents that the teachers aren't 'learning' the students well enough.

This aside, the bottom line is mostly, the students want a piece of paper to show that lists a school with a long string of teachers showing their listing of undergraduate and upper graduate degrees. The proper degrees gives the school the appearance of being prestigious thus providing prestige for the students. It doesn't matter if they have critical thinking skills or learned anything at all, just that they can show this great piece of paper.

Simply enjoy your stay in Thailand and when you're fired which is inevitable for all teachers, just find another job to lengthen your stay. Nothing will ever change. You won't be treated with respect and you won't make any money in Thailand.
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