23 May 2009

A new school year

A new school year has just begun in Thailand and with it comes the good and the bad. The good is in the classroom. The students have arrived with their new books and fresh uniforms and are excited about being in a more senior class; that bit nearer the end of schooling. The bad is the utter chaos that is happening behind the scene.

One reason for our current state of confusion is a change of management which occurred during the school holidays. The foreign teachers, like me, missed out on all the action as we were all away holidaying in our home counties. Apparently thought the manoeuvring and intrigue was worthy of a political thriller and has left a bad atmosphere among my Thai colleagues. Our old boss is now just another teacher and people who we barely exchanged a hello with previously are now our new leaders. Our former boss is doing little to hide her umbrage at being usurped; although direct confrontation is not permitted in Thai society. She says that she is happy to be free of all the responsibility, but it is obvious that this is just a ruse.

The new management is full of new ideas, but in their enthusiasm for change has meant they have missed out on the important things. We are now a week into the new term and the class schedule is a mess. I turn up to teach health studies and find the students waiting with their ‘reading and writing’ book. It is not the students fault as the management is not in agreement about what subject we should be teaching either. One says it means this subject while another says it means something else. Fear of causing a loss of face means that they cannot directly call the other wrong. The solution; I have been told to teach what I want for the time being.

The current enthusiasm for school that the students exhibit won’t last. It never does. Failure to show some type of organisation though will frustrate them and cause this enthusiasm to wane far quicker than it should.

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