Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Changing of the Guard, or Who’s in Charge here anyway?

So, my travel woes…that story will have to wait until it’s closer to resolved, especially as it’s gotten hairy enough to be beyond what you should blog. I really hope it doesn’t come to small claims court, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility right now.
Whatever, I’m back. So let’s get back to our narrative and I’ll worry about that mess.

The Dutch, British, and two Canadian teachers have left the school, some as previously mentioned.
Our office now consists of: The High Strung American (hey, I’m working on it), The Filipino, The German, The South African, two (soon to be three) Thai teachers, The Boss Lady, an Irishman and an Aussie.
The new guys ask me all sorts of questions. As if I have some sort of authority or clue around here. I think it’s cute they think I might have any answers for them. My best advice for the Aussie, at a loss for teaching a computer program he doesn’t know, was “just don’t bang your head into the wall too much.” I’m thankful I don’t have to teach computers, for lots of reasons, enough that we can skip that drama.
Believe it or not I’ve learned to roll with it a little bit (when it doesn’t involve my credit card), when it comes to teaching or ‘working’ around here; though it is so much easier when all I have to worry about is the chalkboard and not the technology. I can adapt a class that isn’t reliant on technology that is lacking.

Our schedules have been rearranged a lot this semester, as per an intraschool political battle and the fact that one too many foreign English teachers has been hired. As such, to appease the ‘Thai side,’ (non-English immersion) side of the school, a couple of us have classes on the Thai side now. And in order for us all to have a full teaching load, in student contact hours as per our contract, we have white teachers assisting white teachers. Oh sorry, should I say foreigner? It’s same same really. Well...I’m not getting started on that one right now.
This is, apparently, all the more ironic because a few years back there was a big stink and all assistant teachers were kicked out of English Program.
I’d say a good summary here is reverse, reverse!
As such, with dual teachers it’s sometimes difficult to tell who’s in charge of a class. This is slowly getting ironed out, but in the meantime, too many cooks in the kitchen. When things are settled, having an assistant teacher can be a blessing; so far here it’s almost been more of a hindrance everything is so up in the air. The classrooms are small enough the ‘assistant’ has to work just to stay out of the way. And as is common to all human interaction, some teacher pairs work better than others. That’s as far as I’m going with that.

The new computer lab has materialized. My desk is still here! We have teacher’s computers (this is really quite fancy), we even have internet that is mostly functional! Though not enough jacks for every teacher to be online at once. Oh, foresight. The water hasn’t even stopped working yet this semester! The ‘library’ even has some books in it now. As my colleague said “well it’s a room with books in it, let’s not get carried away here,” when I got excited about the books, they are mostly text books in boxes. It does, to its credit, have computers (that are set up and work!). I wonder how long before they go viral.

Some other happenings: food poisoning again, beat it back with a stick this time. Now it’s official, now I am back in Thailand. Getting charged double at the hospital. We’ll call this the white person tax. But really? The hospital? I didn’t even realize it until I discussed it with a colleague who nearly spewed his beverage across the table, (and it was still a bargain compared to even stateside minute clinic prices), but come on. Christian hospital. Of course. I know I make four times the average Thai worker. But we pay double and triple when things like this occur.
I have a Thai Social Card! Therefore, I now have Thai health insurance. Almost. Is that sorted yet? No of course not. Though they will likely, eventually, reimburse me for half of my latest hospital bill, the amount it should have cost. And with the Thai Social Card, this overcharge situation shouldn’t happen in the future.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Why? Is the most pointless question you’ll ever ask in Thailand. A much more suitable question is Ok, so now what? And be prepared for at least three changes. And the answer is probably not actually the answer. Just go with it, well, most of the time. Pick your battles wisely.

Things I enjoy: the restaurant where I’ve gotten breakfast a couple of times before work, called Jenny restaurant. Not because of my patronage.
Thinking to myself, “How many of my friends rode to work on a motorbike taxi today? In a skirt? Not side saddle? In the RAIN???” Probably not many even among my friends here. Admittedly sometimes I do ride side saddle now. If I were Catholic I’d cross myself before doing this.

Having decent headphones and making youtube, twitter, facebook and blog writing look like work. Well at least until I get 20 tabs open and realize what a waste of time THAT is. How to be as unproductive as possible: log in to twitter and start reading all of the links your friends have shared. Great for looking busy though. Learned some cool stuff. Skype has been blocked again, and the office is much more populated now any way. Haven’t bothered attempting to install messenger. GoogleChat works :-).
More than ever I worry I’m going to be too lazy for a non-Thai workload after all this, though I’m starting my first round of distance graduate work in two weeks and I’m certainly not lacking for outside projects.

I would beat myself over the head trying to lesson plan, but, it would appear the basic lesson plan is ‘plow through as much of the grammar book/writing book/reading book as possible.’ And while that seems like pretty low level teaching, as long as the schedule is still all loosey goosey and I’m just now back to solid food, I’m just rolling with it. Some of the book lessons aren’t too bad. Some of them might as well be in Greek. Meh. I have fall backs. I can’t really call them plans, like I said, or I suppose quote, “I’m making this up as I go.” I still don’t have a talking dragon side kick, OR a robot. Lame.


  1. If its allowable, you can get a router to connect multiple computers to the internet at once :D

  2. Yeah, they're working on that, but things move slowly around here. Maybe by next semester. Maybe.