Monday, November 15, 2010

A Lesson in Thai Lesson Planning

So I realize I just posted, but this will be a short post.

First of all and most importantly, you have to be ready to improvise at any moment. (I don't know if it's the same way for all you other teachers out there). But for a small example, the school assembly ran long today, so my first period got cut short from 50 minutes to like 17 minutes. And you're being generous if you say the classes are normally actually 50 minutes. Anyway, so much for my lesson plan, I basically had enough time to take roll and let my students get a head start on their homework, and this is with a class that meets once a week... Even though I'm in my 4th week of classes - but because half of my classes only meet once a week, and the school likes to spring random days or periods off on you at the last minute - I have only seen some of my students two or three times, and one of my classes only once! How are you expected to teach them anything?

I have grades M2, levels 6-10; and M4, levels 1-8. The M4's meet once per week, and the M2's twice a week. There is such a knowledge difference between the concentric levels of my two grades that I basically have to create different lesson plans for each one, otherwise the material is either way over my students heads and they are board, or they don't understand what I'm saying and within one minute they've tuned out and are now talking. The problem with this scenario being that I'm expected to teach the same material to all of the M2's, and all of the M4's...
So what ends up happening is I usually dumb down the lesson plan to the basic vocabulary that I put into a game - usually hangman - and I try to attempt some sort of lesson for the "smarter" kids (as a side note, the little shit-machines love freakin hangman). In the end I will have to create a standard test that will inevitably be too easy for some students, and way too hard for others. Normally those students would fail, but since they quite literally can't fail their english classes, I have to give them some lame assignment worth all the points in the class so that can get a 50 percent and pass. This is a sneak peak into a melting pot of serious issues that go deep into the Thai education system, and a discussion for another post...

Ethically, what's a teacher to do?

1 comment:

  1. this is very interesting! i think it's much like any flawed system (the american government, our own school system, etc) - you can't just throw your hands up and give in, you try to do your best and work towards the ideal. just teach what you can and even if you only make a difference to one person it still counts. and you have to work within the system to change the system. baby steps. at least that's what i think. yay for you guys for doing what you can. :)