Skip to content

Proles V Big Brother – Thai Style

July 11, 2012

As I have previously mentioned our school is actually two on one campus; the government school, which I work for and which caters to the proletariat, and a private fee-paying school. The two could not be more different. They have different classrooms (air-conditioned with interactive whiteboards), different curriculums, different teachers and even different school uniforms.  I blogged previously about how on the first day of the year the government school children were made to line up and cheer the return of the fee-paying ones as they passed. Uncomfortable.

Anyway, like many schools in Lop Buri the fee-paying part of my school found itself with no western teachers this year, this is very scandalous for all the parents who pay extra for more one-on-one time with native English speakers and rightly so. Because MEP has found itself with no farangs they begged the government school to share theirs (more controversy) and they’re desperately on a hiring binge to rectify the problem. It has meant that for the last month and a half I have been teaching both; government school in the morning and MEP in the afternoon. I was a bit annoyed about it at first but it means I get half my salary again at the end of each month and I’ve come to really love my MEP class.


I teach 7 classes of 40 government school children twice a week and the same class of 20 MEP children every day. Because I have them on a daily basis I have really gotten to know them and they’ve warmed up to me much more. I love seeing how quickly they progress, but then the same is true for all 300 of my darling 5 year olds. With my government school kids when they started I was lucky if some of them knew ‘hello’. After a month and a half they now know body parts, colours, animals (Old MacDonald is their favourite), they can count to 10, recite the alphabet perfectly, say ‘how are you? …I’m fine thank-you,’ ‘see you tomorrow’ and ‘good morning.’ They can also follow commands; ‘clap your hands,’ ‘sit down,’ ‘stand up,’ ‘stamp your feet,’ ‘spin around’ and ‘march’. I’m pretty piggin’ proud of that. They even know emotions; if I pretend to cry they shout ‘sad,’ if I jump up and down and grin they shout ‘excited!’ That’s really useful when someone’s gawping at me instead of singing; all I have to do is say ‘grumpy?’ or ‘shy?’ and they all know exactly what I mean. Before I started I thought I wanted older children but actually I love the babies and I think I want to stick with them; they’re brains are just spongy, absorbent goop at that age; full of condensed milk and dirty socks and a bizarre ability to remember almost any word they hear. That said, as quick as the government school kids progress, the MEP children who have 70% of their lessons in English from day 1, are astonishing. MEP promises that their pupils will be more-or-less fluent in English by 12 and they don’t fail to deliver (as long as they have first-language English teachers). After a month and a half they speak better English than I did French after 3 years of secondary school.

One thing to be said for MEP is that there is hardly any smacking, although the reason for this I’m sure will horrify all the teachers reading at home. All the classrooms in MEP are rigged up with webcams so that the parents can watch from home on the website and make sure their darlings are being well looked after. That was pretty weird to start with but I don’t even think twice about teaching in Big Brother now. The MEP parents love me and will often come up and smile and ask how their sprog is getting along. The other reason for no smacking is that there is generally a more western vibe at MEP.

I’ve started thinking about what I want to do at the end of my contract and I’m definitely thinking I want to spend the whole year at Anuban Lop Buri so I can see the children through. The only dilemma is whether to stick with the proles or go work for air-conditioned, higher salaried Big Brother.


One Comment leave one →
  1. July 11, 2012 9:09 am

    You really seem to have quite a dilemma there. Would it be too difficult for you to continue as you are and continue teaching both? As to teaching in front of a camera, I think that it would be a great idea. As long as you did nothing that you would be ashamed of (that does not include playing the fool and joking with the class) it could be very useful. The school’s would have to make sure that their discipline policies were totally watertight and that the teacher would not just be left to fight it out on their own. Also the parents would get a chance to see what an impossible job it can be and have graphic proof of how some children are now completely feral. Some schools in this country are actually doing it and in the internet age why not?
    Sadly, I must confess that, care of this blog, I am now worried about you teaching English. Clearly, you are very creative and have been achieving good results, but the use of the word “GOTTEN” is deeply disturbing. Is there no hope that the tide of americana can be diverted? Are we going to hear you using the terms “flashlight” or “faucet” or teaching the abominations of yank spelling and when dealing with younger children and the alphabet, horror of horrors, could you really end up teaching Zee instead of Zed?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: