A Thai teacher went online to talk about his experiences on a teacher exchange program at a school in New South Wales, Australia.
It was a little different to Thailand, needless to say!
On day one he turned up at Mount St Patrick College in Murwillumbah in suit and tie.
His teaching buddy Grant said:
“G’day mate – what have you got all that clobber on for? You’re overdressed, mate. Relax a little bit!”
Only the headmaster had a tie and even he was casually attired. Other teachers had short sleeves, open neck and shorts.
PIcture: Daily News
At 8 am there was no need to line up at the flagpole. After a thirty minute briefing for staff it was straight into a ten minute home room registration then the start of a six period day.
There was no signing in to work only signing in and out if teachers had to leave during the day.
“How will you know if I turn up for work?”, he asked in his innocence
“Don’t be daft mate, we can see if you’re here. It you throw a sickie you’ll be at home won’t you, mate. Get with the programme son.”
The Thai teacher was to discover there was lots of documentation regarding reports and lesson plans but all other admin was left to the administration office.
“Don’t teachers have to guard the school at night?”, asked the Thai mindful of all the extra duties in Thai schools.
“You’re ‘avin’ a laugh are you mate. Security do that!”
There were 25 students in the class and everyone had a laptop, said the Thai with incredulity.
Not just that.
The students put their hands up when they had difficulties in their groups. And the teachers went round to help.
“Your job is to teach, isn’t it mate. So teach!”, said Grant obviously thinking “we’ve got a right one here!”.
The only time when the faculty wore ties was at an “Open House” for parents but even that was informal.
Then came a daring trip out to a Tree Top challenge that even the teachers took part in.
That would never be allowed in Thailand as parents would say it was not safe, said the teacher.
“Kids have gotta learn about things and take responsibility for themselves, mate,” shot back the reply.
The Thai teacher was even shocked that everyone on the bus sang a song he called “Shawn Mendes”.
About grades there didn’t appear to be much problem.
“What if I have to give a child an F? asked the teacher concerned how it might reflect on them as a teacher.
“No worries, mate. Just teach ’em all the term. Do your best.”
Other surprises for the Thai included early finishes and whole afternoons given over to sport rather than academic study.
Thaivisa notes that nearly all of the observations of the teacher – except perhaps the dress code – could have been experienced at a decent international school in Thailand.
But very few Thai schools are like this with a huge accent on hours of tedius rote learning and regimentation being widely reported by expat teachers who face difficulties in trying to introduce their own suggestions to school hierarchies mired in tradition and reluctant to change.
Thailand’s much maligned education system could learn a lot from abroad especially in places like Australia and the number one place in the world for education – Finland.
In the Scandinavian country there is virtually no homework, children start school at 7 and are encouraged to play far more than do boring lessons yet they have the highest educational standards in many subjects anywhere in the world.
Thailand prides itself on being in the class more hours than other nations but the quality is lacking.
More is in fact less and students are bored and under achieving, say critics.
Open your eyes, Thailand!
(Our quotes from the Aussies are based on experience as well as Daily News versions in Thai, Thaivisa further notes).