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Published: November 15th 2007
Some of my Pratom 4/1 students.
It didn't play out as planned, but I am finally teaching English in Bangkok.
Last week was fairly uneventful after all the drama of the previous week. I renewed my search for a teaching job, and scheduled two interviews for Monday, November 12. My plan was to go through those interviews before pursuing any other options.
However, I ended up responding on Saturday (November 10) to another posting by an agency on ajarn.com. The posting was for a full-time English Teacher (about 1 hour away). The start time of 7:30 wasn’t too appealing though (7:30-4:00). Up at 5:30 a.m.? Umm, do I have to?
They did have another position though which wasn’t posted online. This was an hourly teaching position at a private school (also about an hour away; Minburi). However, start times varied from 8:40-10:20, and finish times between 2:20-3:20. There would be no benefits or paid vacations/holidays. However, the hourly rate was reasonable, and they were willing to supply a substitute teacher during my trip to America for Christmas. Also, there would be no homework or exams to grade. These were strictly conversational English classes. That sounded better.
The agency gave me the number for
Neeracha Primary School
The entrance to my school.
the only other foreign English teacher at the school to get more info (also an American). After an hour conversation with the American (who has taught there for the last 2 years), I thought this school might actually be a good fit. Even if it wasn't, my commitment would only be through the end of the school year (March, 2008). Saai & I talked and prayed about it, and I called the agency back that night. I was offered the position over the phone (Saturday night). Yes, that's right.
I accepted. Great, when do I start? Monday. Really?
Yes. It’s Thursday now. I’ve already been teaching for 4 days. What grades am I teaching? Grades 4-6 (Pratom 4-6). I never thought I’d be teaching little kids, but here I am. I’ve got 27 teaching periods per week - each 50 minutes long (meet with each class 3 times per week; 3 classes per grade x 3 grades x 3 times per week = 27 periods per week). The other foreign teacher handles the 1st-3rd graders.
Classes consist of 30-40 students, and I have Thai co-teachers (a different one for each grade level) to help with class control
My classroom at Neeracha. A/C + fans are a good thing, but it still isn't quite cold enough for me!
and occasional translations if the students are completely baffled by what I am saying. Of course, the Thai co-teachers may be completely baffled by what I am saying too. Blank stares are to be expected, right? 😉
Anyway, off I go to prepare some lessons.
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