Monday, 26 November 2007

The insanity continues....

I was wondering this morning why there were so many kids hanging around outside, riding their bikes, playing in the yard, running here and there. Is today not a school day? Why yes, it's Monday. Perhaps it's a public holiday? Check the calendar...no, no holiday. So I ask one wee willy winky, "Why aren't thou at school today?" (although it sounded more Thai then that) and the reply..."My teacher has gone to Chiang Mai" (Chiang Mai is about 1600 km from my place). Hmm..then why are those kids who are all different ages, also not at school. "Their teachers are also in Chiang Mai". Hmmm...."How long are they in Chiang Mai?"... "10 days". So, to summarize, the entire school is closed for 10 days while 70% of the teaching staff party on down in Chiang Mai. The terrifying thing is that this is not an isolated incident...

I did a brief teaching stint for 3 months the year before last and while I hated it with a passion, I couldn't really complain because out of the 3 months, I probably only had to teach the equivalent of 3 weeks. I kid you not, here's the break down: the school was closed for nearly 2 weeks due to torrential rain, then the teachers went on innumerable trips to other schools to
1. send a teacher off to a new school
2. welcome a new teacher from an old school to our school
3. training days (!)
4. inter-school competitions.
Then there were the innumerable days where all the teachers would go out for lunch. The time would be approaching 1pm and I would say "I've got a class starting in 10 minutes, shouldn't we go?"..met with "haha" or "jai yen yen (calm down)" or silence cos they pretend not to hear me! I honestly can not count the times I missed my after lunch class due to the teachers being in no hurry! Then there were a couple of surprise drug testing days thrown in which took up more than half the day each time (all the boys had to pee in a cup..lucky druggie girls obviously get away with it cos they don't get tested!). Then there was a hair checking morning which involved all the girls lining up with teachers prowling the lines to ensure no child has hair past their ear level! What happens to the evil child that has grown their hair through the holidays? They get sent home to have a hair cut! What do the boys do while this is going on for a couple of hours? They just hang around playing ping pong or watch tv in the lunch area!

Thai education is very disturbing. How can a country pull itself out of it's problems if they don't have an educated population? The stories I could tell about how kids learn here. Kids come to use the net at our house to do their homework. Usually they come in groups. They will cut and paste complete articles directly off the internet and print off 5 copies of the exact same thing to hand in! How can they learn a thing! And the really sad thing is, is that you can't blame the kids cos the teachers don't stop them doing it because they don't know any different. It's a vicious cycle of ignorance. It's something I ponder regarding my own future kids. I'm thinking a combination of big city schooling (much higher quality of education then village schools) and lots of home schooling. Either that or move back to Oz!

3 commentaramas:

Bec said...

as you know this school thing is an issue for me too, luckily little sprog is a few years away from this but one thing I know for sure is he wont be going to the regular thai state school. In hubs home town there is a very good fee paying catholic school so he will be sent there as according to hubs (who also attended till 18 years old) they are quite strict about attendance & very rarely have days off outside of national holidays or training days. God bless the catholics in thailand too, they are just happy to have bums on seats in deepest darkest issan that converting isn't the top agenda for them, hubby spent all but 2 years of his whole education at catholic school but like a good buddhist has no idea what easter is & I had to explain the idea of the resurrection to him!!!

Rachel said...

So totally true - at my school the most important thing is money as we're a private school. All the Thai teachers are convinced our school is poor but that's only because all the money goes towards making the school more "beautiful" instead of education. We also have so many cancelled lessons it's unbelievable. My classes have been cancelled for football practice, dancing, cooking demo, parade practice, colouring, and at the moment cheering practice for sports day. They don't practice the sports, just the cheering! If I have kids in the future I'd def consider their secondary education, at least, in England.

Amy said...

I completely understand your concern with the education of Thai kids. That's a big reason we're back in the States now... there are lots of good things about Thailand, like kids acting like kids for years longer, but the lure of real libraries and parks with real playgrounds was enough for us. California public schools have a long way to go, but with parental involvement, my son can and should do well.