The new Thai school year started yesterday so it was with a sense of apprehension that I biked in to Suratpittaya to begin my classes. The trepidation was due to the fact that rather than teaching the new intake of first years, as I did last semester, I’m carrying on with my old pupils as they enter second year. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great kids in that class and some whose abilities with English, enthusiasm and general behaviour continue to astound me. It’s just that some of them are, well, dicks.
Now I know all the clichés revolving around teaching – no such thing as a bad pupil, they’re all good kids deep down, etc – but believe me, these are only bandied about by those outside the profession. Some kids just don’t want to learn, aren’t suited to academic learning, don’t fit into the classroom setting, have various learning disabilities which make them a handful at the expense of other kids or are just plain bad. Yes some people are bad. It’s a fact. Deal with it, hippie.
However, I’m pleased to report that this year has actually gotten off to a glowing start. Yesterday’s classes were intended to be gentle introductions and reviews, just going over our schedule, objectives and the class rules, with a few team games to keep them happy. Mel, my fellow Scot and colleague, had warned me that the more rambunctious of my two classes were in something of a hyper mood and he’d had to go a bit Hitler on them but I entered the room to a sea of calm attentive faces and not a few welcoming smiles.
Both classes went without a hitch, the students looking suitably pissed off at some of our new disciplinary ideas – late slips, confiscation of any visible mobile phones, etc – but were more than mollified by the introduction of extra credit in exams as a reward for good behaviour. Okay, they may have got a little out of control during some of the games but I let them off, it was their first day back after all.
So today it’s into a bit of review from last semester – practicing past simple tense through the hackneyed old “What did you do during the holidays?” routine. Easy to teach, easy for the students, can mix up the listening, writing and speaking aspects to keep it interesting, should be a breeze.
Time for lunch before the classes now, hopefully will post about my classes at The Language, my main employer, later in the week. Things there are, erm, interesting, so should be plenty to talk about…