On Friday I was going about my usual classes when in one of my P5 afternoon classes I’m suddenly aware I’m being watched. As I raise my head from the kid’s work I’m marking I notice that the Vice-Chancellor of the school (Teacher L we’ve been asked to call her) is stood in the doorway taking pictures of me on an IPad. Just FYI this woman is pretty formidable and highly respected. We met her during our initial meeting with the school and beyond that have rarely seen let alone spoke to her. As the other teachers say: “She’s too busy.”
So, when she notices me looking she smiles and then walks into the class. Immediately everyone is silent, sat in their chairs and motionless. That’s respect!
She then asks me if the class are good, I decide to be generous and say they’ve been very good.
“I don’t believe you,” she says.
Me: “Um, OK.”
Teacher L:”I shall see for myself.”
She asked the class at large (all in English) if I was a good teacher and if they enjoyed learning English. I was relieved when they all decided to be nice and say yes.
She then asked a student (who looked horrified at being picked) to stand up. “What is your name?” The student answered with their nickname as this is how we know them. “That is your nickname…” the kid understood English well enough to correct herself and give her full Thai name.
“What is your teacher’s name?”
“Teacher Sam,” the kids said.
There was a moments pause before Teacher L turned to me and said, “Was that right?” I might of laughed if it wasn’t so tense in the room and instead just nodded.
“So what have you been learning today?”
Luckily, I was at a stage in the lesson where I’d already finished teaching the new vocabulary and the kids had been writing it down in their workbooks. On the board at that point I had a scene I’d drawn representing a mountain, forest and the sea with stick people doing different things such as walking, climbing and swimming.
I repeated the earlier drilling and the kids were perfect. I pointed at the stick people and asked in English “What are they doing?” Answers were: walking through the forest, climbing a mountain and swimming in the sea. I was impressed as we hadn’t covered the -ing word endings and yet they had said what I wanted them to.
I took the opportunity to say, “See, I told you they were very good.” Teacher L looked impressed and nodded. She took a few more photos of me teaching and then left. When she did the whole room deflated and I pulled at my collar and made the kids giggle.
Even with the language barrier they understood what they had to do, be good, don’t show me up and we’ll all be rewarded with praise later.
Here’s some more pics of some of my classes:
And here’s some videos from the morning Wai when we have gate duty at school: