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eek

Unqualified Teachers

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I am posting here and hope thats ok, as its regarding a recent experience talking to an "English Teacher".

In my Thai language class (as a student) another student turns to talk to me before class begins. Also, this is the third time this man has spoken to me, and yet for the third time he asks my name again. Anyway..he likes to talk it seems (and not listen tbh), and tells me a condensed life story and that he has lived in Thailand for three years. He then tells me he is teaching at the very same language school as an English Teacher.

I ask him if he has teaching experience and/or a tefl/Celta and he tells me no. He took a tefl course, but failed. He says its because he is somewhat illiterate and has dyslexia. I asked how he was finding the students response etc..how the classes were going and if the students were learning. He told me that they are enjoying the classes and that its fun classes and things like his personality is what gets them learning. (Ok, somewhat he has a point..but only those elements count in my mind IF you have core teaching skills. As a student I dont want to attend a joking jovial class and learn nothing constructive..id rather have a teacher who does not have a dynamic/overzealous personality but who can TEACH me. And to be perfectly honest he doesnt have a dynamic a personality..just seems to think so). He is actually very patronising, and makes assumptions without even asking. Ie: He assumes i am someone fresh out of my home country without any knowledge of Thailand (or anything else really) although I have lived in various countries internationally since very young. I have already some basic experience of thai language and have used it everyday since i arrived here ( a year ago), but im embarrassed that i get sentences muddled up and cannot get past simple conversation, so that is why im on a beginners thai class..to learn fundamentals. He goes into teacher mode and tells me to 'practice everyday to build confidence' etc. I suppose i could set him straight, but ive found getting a word in edge ways is impossible. Plus if i do he just seems to forget..honestly think the man has a memory span of a fish!

I dont mean to be overly mean..but im gobsmacked about the fact he is teaching. Even with my degree (in Art not language) and five years (Art) teaching experience, I felt that in order to teach here I should take on and pass a course. I took a Celta when i first arrived to get qualified and get a feel for teaching the subject. Without which I would have difficulty even attempting to call myself an English Teacher or apply for a job here as one. (I since decided not to teach..but may do later). I still feel lacking in my grammar and skills to teach English, although my well prepared classes did go well and happily my students seemed to enjoy my classes (and remember what was taught when followed up on the next class). Yet this man is teaching children and adults English in a language school. It beggars belief!

..Am i being a snob about this? For I cant help wondering how someone like this can be employed as an Teacher here. This is Chiang Mai im talking about too, not a small Thai town. Are some major towns so desperate for native speakers that they take on anyone? I thought it was tough to get work here even for a qualified teacher.

Well regardless, I do sincerely hope that his students are getting something out of his classes and that he makes for a better teacher than he comes across. He may indeed be a dynamic teacher who provides entertaining and educational classes. But its honestly quite hard for me to believe.

Also is there not basic standard that needs to be met? I didnt ask if it was paid teaching, maybe it isnt. But i would think the school would like to maintain a standard regardless? Also baffles me with regards to visa. Oh heck i dunno.. maybe i will ask him more later, or maybe i will just let this bafflement all flow away. Adopt the 'come what may'/'mai pen rai' attitude to it all. Personally i cant help thinking Thai people deserve better.

Well..discuss..or not...but thank you regardless for letting me ramble my astonishment.

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He's giving teachers a bad reputation. Report him to the authorities for not having appropriate qualifications.

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I used to teach English at Chiang Mai University and he sounds like most of my co-workers at the time.

They threw some great parties though! :o

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I'm sorry but this man shouln't be allowed to teach English without at least some qualifications.

It's a shame that he has dyslexia but it is also a shame that he is teaching English.

I know that TEFL is mostly convversational practice and I am all for equal opportunites..

But would you have a limbless man teaching children how to swim.

I don't mean to sound callous.

If this became public it would be yet another blow to the tarnished reputation on English teachers in LOS.

BTW. . I would imagine that his arrogance is an attempt to compensate fot his learning difficulty.

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Not defending the mans lack of formal qualifications.

But what is his students alternatives?

A Thai English teacher who is hardly able to pronounce a single word in in English perhaps?

I have met a few of those. And I had to concentrate real hard to understand that indeed, they where trying to communicate in something resembling English.

Just maybe, maybe this guy's students will actually be able to speak some English when he is trough with them?

Well then they are better off than most in this country.

And that the man is trying to learn Thai, is for me an indication that he is trying to become a better teacher by actually learning the mother tongue of his students,

and thus be a better teacher.

Okay, thats my thoughts. You may proceed your whinge now :o

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it is not "a whinge" Gimbo, its a genuine concern. How on earth would you feel as a paying student in your home country being given a second rate unqualified teacher? This is also, as i said, no small town, but Chiang Mai! I hardly think the quality of English teachers is so low as to be recruiting semi-literate teachers who fail tefl courses? Plus I am attending the SAME language school he teaches at and tbh my very pleasant thai teacher is more understandable to me when speaking English than his muttered thick accented North English dialect. If he is being paid..its possible sadly that he is also earning more than the qualified thai teachers.

I also wonder if he is only learning thai now (after 3 years of living in thailand) because maybe it is part of his teaching programme, free, or at a discount. He seems more interested in banter (translation: talking about himself) than actually learning (but its early days yet so i best not be too opinionated with regards to that. Time will tell).

OK, granted NOW i am off on a rant, but i still dont think im off on a whinge. Definition of whinge: To complain in a particularly annoying manner. Whine; grumble peevishly. I dont think my post is any of those things..but then again im of course biased. However, i think my point IS valid, and put in as least a "whiny" way possible.

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Where did i say i teach English Sir? Plus this is an informal forum is it not? If you READ my OP you will notice that DESPITE my experience in teaching (ART) and having a CELTA qualification I STILL feel that i am not suitably qualified to teach English.

Oh heck its like talking to rocks around here sometimes :o

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Standard procedure in the teaching forum: if a poster brags about their grammar, spelling, syntax, etc., and they make a mistake, you may note it. That's not what eek has done here. Posts that attack other people about their grammar get deleted.

eek, I'm surprised this happened, but CMai is such a big place, even incompetents sometimes slip through and get hired.

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I suppose so PB.

Can i please emphasise that i would not be taking a dig at this man in ANY way if he was not teaching English. The world is full of bizarre characters, and thats great, but I DO take certain things seriously, such as being qualified (not just academically) in important roles.

I would not want an no-experienced un-qualified builder to build my home or a self-proclaimed psychiatrist messing with my emotions.

I take education seriously. I think people deserve good teachers.

Im sorry if my ideals seem harsh.

(I also, as stressed, fully accept that my grammar etc etc is not up to par. However, i feel that it has no baring on my comment, nor reflect my level of education or ability to communicate my point.)

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Let's not go overboard. The unqualified brain surgeon/unqualified conversational language teacher comparison is such a silly one I don't know why it keeps coming up- first because the stakes are obviously astronomically higher in the first case, and that in the second case ANY amount of real conversational ability more than the students or their Thai teachers have already is at least something considering the low salary, low contact time, and low opportunities many students will have. It's not rocket science and it's not even literary analysis; it's "How are you doing? I'm pretty good, thanks, how about you?" for *maybe* 1 hour a week if the students are lucky (or even one hour every two weeks or every month).

I'm not defending incompetence, but as I've recently said if you pay peanuts you will get monkeys. Fully-qualified, licensed, gold-star-in-their-belly-buttons, true-blue teachers in their home country get offered 120K a month plus an enormous benefits package and full legal paperwork before they even consider getting on the plane, and that's the low end (teachers without much seniority or experience). Language schools, dodgy government schools, and agencies typically offer teachers between 20-30k a month base salary plus a snowball's chance in heck of ever being legal- I should note that the salaries are considered particularly bad in the Chiang Mai area. If a CELTA isn't enough of a qualification for that kind of position, Eek, then do you think Thai students will benefit proportionately to the whopping increase in fees they will have to pay to cover the additional employment costs? I think it is more likely that if such stringent qualifications are enforced, there will be no language schools, no native-speaking teachers of any kind, and no chance of real English in larger Thailand. It is not ideal, but it is better to allow such mistakes as the hiring of this man to occur occasionally than to have no English teaching going on at all except at schools that only multimillionaires can afford. He shouldn't be teaching, but there are hundreds who can teach because of a system liberal enough to be this pragmatic.

"S"

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I have to agree with Ijustwannateach. Eek, you may wish to "widen"your perspective....just a little. If you get around a little, experience Thai teachers, Farang teachers, Thai students, and the "system", it may help.

Being an unqualified English teacher myself; I am a little surprised at your rant. I am at a Goverment school. You would ( or I would ) expect a certain standard of teaching and teacher abilty. I was surprised.... Of the 6 English teachers there, 2 cannot speak English at all, 1 can a little bit, but won't, and 3, I can understand some of the time. I am unqualified, but more qualified than the students other options. I can communicate with the students in Thai, and am openminded enough to ask for direction and help from the other teachers regarding the "how to's"of teaching. Aside from some difficulties with one teacher, it has been a good experience for all. This job is not easy by any definition, and severely underpaid.

Your rant sounds like you have a personal thing with this guy, which has clouded your perspective

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The other day I was talking to my friend who privately tutors non-native speakers who attend international schools. She said that usually they work on the student's homework assignment, or read a selected book at the right level. But sometimes, they just engage in 'idle talk.' She justifies the idle talk on the basis that these students seldom have long conversations with a skilled native speaker. A student may only have 60 seconds of dialog with his teachers in a day, and find speakers of his own native tongue for social interaction. The informal talks often reveal mistakes such as improper syntax, pronunciation problems typical of the students' nationality, verb/noun disagreement, etc. - some of these being speaking problems that only a well trained, attentive EFL teacher would recognize and know how to resolve.

She also says that she's met a few seriously terrible EFL teachers in Chiang Mai, but many more teachers are overqualified and underpaid for their level of expertise.

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I have to agree with Ijustwannateach. Eek, you may wish to "widen"your perspective....just a little. If you get around a little, experience Thai teachers, Farang teachers, Thai students, and the "system", it may help.

Being an unqualified English teacher myself; I am a little surprised at your rant. I am at a Goverment school. You would ( or I would ) expect a certain standard of teaching and teacher abilty. I was surprised.... Of the 6 English teachers there, 2 cannot speak English at all, 1 can a little bit, but won't, and 3, I can understand some of the time. I am unqualified, but more qualified than the students other options. I can communicate with the students in Thai, and am openminded enough to ask for direction and help from the other teachers regarding the "how to's"of teaching. Aside from some difficulties with one teacher, it has been a good experience for all. This job is not easy by any definition, and severely underpaid.

Your rant sounds like you have a personal thing with this guy, which has clouded your perspective

I'm sorry but there needs to be at least some standards set or else the whole idea of English teachers In Thailand becomes a joke.

I agree with the previous comments that,'if you pay peanuts you get monkeys' but still schools could do better than this.

There are plenty of Fillipinos and natives of India who speak English flawlessly and have qualifications.

I am sure they would serve the kids better than many of the native English speakers who claim to be teachers.

If the only qualification to teach English is the ability to speak it then it is no wonder that many Thai teachers view their farang colleague as a joke.

I do not mean to have a go at you personally Canada and I suspect that you make up for your lack of qualifications by enthuasiasm for the job.

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The consequences of poorly qualified teachers is serious whether or not it's English or neurosurgeons. Several years back there was an airplane crash in Indonesia and the basic problem was misuse, understanding of English. It went something like this:

Air traffic control: Turn left.

Pilot: Left, right?

ATC: Right.

Pilot: Right?

Crash. They slammed into a mountain.

These are likely to be people who have taken English and believe that they can speak it because they took the class from (qualified?) teachers. They passed the tests etc.

Parents and students have the right to know the qualifications of their teachers. Some parents don't always care and just want a 'native' speaker so their kids learn to speak normally. That's fine, as long as everyone knows what they are getting.

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I suppose so PB.

Can i please emphasise that i would not be taking a dig at this man in ANY way if he was not teaching English. The world is full of bizarre characters, and thats great, but I DO take certain things seriously, such as being qualified (not just academically) in important roles.

I would not want an no-experienced un-qualified builder to build my home or a self-proclaimed psychiatrist messing with my emotions.

I take education seriously. I think people deserve good teachers.

Im sorry if my ideals seem harsh.

(I also, as stressed, fully accept that my grammar etc etc is not up to par. However, i feel that it has no baring on my comment, nor reflect my level of education or ability to communicate my point.)

Eek, you are doing just fine, and your true concern is notable. It is good of you to show the concern that children aren't possibly being taught as well as they should. Especially since the parents are being charged a bit more for that farang teacher's services. Maybe this is a little push for you to realize that you DO possess the best qualities to be an english teacher there. Caring. If your heart is into everything that you bring into the classroom and in everything that you speak, your students and their parents will see this and have real respect for you. Your teaching peers will see your passion also. Sometimes it is not the professional knowlege that guides someone as much as it is the passion of one's heart. You have written that you do possess good education, and the ability to cross over from one field to another and possibly succeed in the places where you have noted much failure by others. One thing I have learned very recently, there are no walls, only timeframes between accomplishments. You may never feel you are ready to teach, but to teach others is also to learn from them. :o

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