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Unqualified Teachers

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Having read this thread I feel there is hope for me yet. I have no formal teaching qualifications, am a native English speaker (well Australian anyway) and have completed the TEFL course. My feeling is that given a lesson plan I would be able to conduct the class as well as a fully qualified English teacher. Having to prepare my own lesson plan would require more effort on my part than a qualified teacher, but only until I became proficient at it.

I do not have the seniority in country that some of the previous posters have, but I have had some exposure to Thai nationals teaching English and can say without fear of contradiction that I would do a far better job than them.

The fact that I speak Thai would make things a little easier for me than the OP's subject but I can't help but agree with the OP that if this guy has a thick Northern English accent AND is dyslexic AND failed TEFL than he has no place teaching English to anyone.

I can't wait to get stuck into it, arriving this Wednesday 17th Oct. Bangkok here I come!! :o

Hi MidasThailand.

Can you give me some details of your TEFL course, such as course content, duration of course, price etc? I hold degrees in Physics and Masters in Solid-State Physics, and have been informally offered a position to teach either English or Physics at one of the local Colleges in Korat.

How easy/difficult is it to obtain a TEFL certification?

Thanks!

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The demand for minimal 'qualifications' for matayom conversational English, (which means you are singing, dancing and playing hangman), is so great that the brickies and pigsty washers can probably do it better than somebody with a B.Ed. who knows better - precisely because they're not teaching Somchai and Lek, just entertaining them.

In my first assignment in a remote province, I taught a Matayom 4 class (5 hours per week) that understood the passive voice and the future perfect continuous (barely), and who asked tough grammar questions. The Thai teachers in the staff room asked even tougher questions, first to test my knowledge, and then to learn 'single' from 'singer.' Then they used me like a dictionary and played me like a tape recorder. The other guy who came later, never got asked anything, after he failed their first test of his knowledge.

If you want to be stuck teaching only beginners, bring your elementary school leaving certificate and give it a go. If you wish to survive and get better positions, improve yourself.

I bet if you ask any of my old univerity mates, none of them would know what 'passive voice and the future perfect continuous ' were. I certainly never knew until I had to teach it.

In my experience with Mattyom schools, learning is not important when it comes to the 'farag' teacher. It's all about how much al the Thai teachers can make off him. There are too many of these guys who get all high and mighty and start calling themselves 'ajarn' and getting al self-righteous and trying to belittle their teaching brothers and sisters for not sharinf their degree in dressmaking or for working as a gardener whilst they were a office worker. Accept that Thailand brings some undesirables and show some compassion otherwise you'll become a bitter old English teacher.

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Having read this thread I feel there is hope for me yet. I have no formal teaching qualifications, am a native English speaker (well Australian anyway) and have completed the TEFL course. My feeling is that given a lesson plan I would be able to conduct the class as well as a fully qualified English teacher. Having to prepare my own lesson plan would require more effort on my part than a qualified teacher, but only until I became proficient at it.

I do not have the seniority in country that some of the previous posters have, but I have had some exposure to Thai nationals teaching English and can say without fear of contradiction that I would do a far better job than them.

The fact that I speak Thai would make things a little easier for me than the OP's subject but I can't help but agree with the OP that if this guy has a thick Northern English accent AND is dyslexic AND failed TEFL than he has no place teaching English to anyone.

I can't wait to get stuck into it, arriving this Wednesday 17th Oct. Bangkok here I come!! :o

Hi MidasThailand.

Can you give me some details of your TEFL course, such as course content, duration of course, price etc? I hold degrees in Physics and Masters in Solid-State Physics, and have been informally offered a position to teach either English or Physics at one of the local Colleges in Korat.

How easy/difficult is it to obtain a TEFL certification?

Thanks!

Hi there,

I did the course at TEFL International in Baan Phe, which is in Rayong province and the stepping off point for tourists going to Koh Samet. The cost of the course was US$1,500. Duration 4 weeks, with the first week looking at "the model" and the next three weeks preparing and teaching lesson plans to M1-M5 students at a local school.

I found the course fairly easy. The reason I did the course where I did was because it was being taught by Dave Hopkins, who is a bit of a legend in TEFL circles and is the author of several books on teaching /grammar etc..

TEFL International claim that they are the only TEFL school accredited with the MOE but I wasn't really fussed either way.

Good luck, by the way, I'm quite sure you could earn more money teaching either Physics or Maths than English.

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I think the answer would be a two-tire system.

Those non-graduates with with TEFL ot its equivalent could be called 'speaking buddies' or 'teacher assistant'.

While the term 'teacher' should be reserved for at least graduates with academic degrees and TEFL.

Of course the assistant would be paid a bit less. In large schools the teachers could have responsibility for mentoring the assistants.

In the cases where the assistant worked well and showed potential he could be encouraged to further his studies.

Just to add.

I would think that there is already quite a few 'teachers' willing to work for 20,000 THB a month.

I think more would do so if they thought it could mean a chance to gain qualifications and eventually earn more.

I agree that many schools can't afford to pay more but why not reduce the pay of those unqualified on 30,000 to 20,000.

Give 5,000 extra to the teachers and use to other 5,000 to finance the further education of promising assistants.

I realize that these suggestions are controversial.

So what you are suggesting Garro is that a person with TEFL and say a BA with a major in basket weaving :o should earn more than myself with a TEFL and five tertiary qualifications (three in Electronics, one in leadership and management and one in applied Thai)?

I don't know if I'd be willing to cop that. :D

Edited by midasthailand

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I am embarrassed by my written work in the previous post! forgive me for I have drunk my fill. :D

Oops, just realized I could edit my previous post. :o

Edited by midasthailand

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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.

Highly unlikely, although I appreciate you are trying to make a point. Please provide some reference for this statement, as it sounds like an urban legend. If it really happened as you say, it is a serious breach of aviation regulations.

In reality, there is a very clear set of aviation terms, and it is applied internationally. While the pilot may have said "Left, right?", the controller certainly would have responded "affirmative" or "negative" as the case may be. It's simply not a mistake 2 people could make at the same time unless it was the first day on the job for both of them. And unless the pilot was a student flying a Cessna 150, it wasn't his first day on the job. Not to mention there is almost always a heading assigned, i.e. "turn left heading 270", and they always make it very clear if they want you to turn the long way.

Let's try to keep some reasonable level of perspective in this. Your life doesn't depend on speaking proper English.

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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.

Highly unlikely, although I appreciate you are trying to make a point. Please provide some reference for this statement, as it sounds like an urban legend. If it really happened as you say, it is a serious breach of aviation regulations.

In reality, there is a very clear set of aviation terms, and it is applied internationally. While the pilot may have said "Left, right?", the controller certainly would have responded "affirmative" or "negative" as the case may be. It's simply not a mistake 2 people could make at the same time unless it was the first day on the job for both of them. And unless the pilot was a student flying a Cessna 150, it wasn't his first day on the job. Not to mention there is almost always a heading assigned, i.e. "turn left heading 270", and they always make it very clear if they want you to turn the long way.

Let's try to keep some reasonable level of perspective in this. Your life doesn't depend on speaking proper English.

No, it is not an Urban legend.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garuda_Indonesia_Flight_152

There was a very good documentary on this air crash on Discovery last year, which went into great detail about the lack of clear directions in English.

Sad, but true. :o

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Having read this thread I feel there is hope for me yet. I have no formal teaching qualifications, am a native English speaker (well Australian anyway) and have completed the TEFL course. My feeling is that given a lesson plan I would be able to conduct the class as well as a fully qualified English teacher. Having to prepare my own lesson plan would require more effort on my part than a qualified teacher, but only until I became proficient at it.

I do not have the seniority in country that some of the previous posters have, but I have had some exposure to Thai nationals teaching English and can say without fear of contradiction that I would do a far better job than them.

The fact that I speak Thai would make things a little easier for me than the OP's subject but I can't help but agree with the OP that if this guy has a thick Northern English accent AND is dyslexic AND failed TEFL than he has no place teaching English to anyone.

I can't wait to get stuck into it, arriving this Wednesday 17th Oct. Bangkok here I come!! :o

Hi MidasThailand.

Can you give me some details of your TEFL course, such as course content, duration of course, price etc? I hold degrees in Physics and Masters in Solid-State Physics, and have been informally offered a position to teach either English or Physics at one of the local Colleges in Korat.

How easy/difficult is it to obtain a TEFL certification?

Thanks!

Hi there,

I did the course at TEFL International in Baan Phe, which is in Rayong province and the stepping off point for tourists going to Koh Samet. The cost of the course was US$1,500. Duration 4 weeks, with the first week looking at "the model" and the next three weeks preparing and teaching lesson plans to M1-M5 students at a local school.

I found the course fairly easy. The reason I did the course where I did was because it was being taught by Dave Hopkins, who is a bit of a legend in TEFL circles and is the author of several books on teaching /grammar etc..

TEFL International claim that they are the only TEFL school accredited with the MOE but I wasn't really fussed either way.

Good luck, by the way, I'm quite sure you could earn more money teaching either Physics or Maths than English.

Hello again!

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my inquiry, and the information contained therein. I think you're probably right about teaching Physics as opposed to teaching English. BTW, I was verbally offered 40K per. month by the Thai school Administrator for teaching Physics at M1-M6 levels. Does this figure sound right to you?

Cheers.

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Hello again!

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my inquiry, and the information contained therein. I think you're probably right about teaching Physics as opposed to teaching English. BTW, I was verbally offered 40K per. month by the Thai school Administrator for teaching Physics at M1-M6 levels. Does this figure sound right to you?

Cheers.

G'day, I have not yet arrived in Thailand and am yet to teach there so am not in a position to offer advice as to what would be a reasonable salary for a person teaching Physics to M1-M6 students. ThB 40,000 seems a little low to me but I'm sure PeaceBlondie or Ijustwannateach would be able to give you a more reliable answer if they were inclined.

Good luck

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Hello again!

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my inquiry, and the information contained therein. I think you're probably right about teaching Physics as opposed to teaching English. BTW, I was verbally offered 40K per. month by the Thai school Administrator for teaching Physics at M1-M6 levels. Does this figure sound right to you?

Cheers.

G'day, I have not yet arrived in Thailand and am yet to teach there so am not in a position to offer advice as to what would be a reasonable salary for a person teaching Physics to M1-M6 students. ThB 40,000 seems a little low to me but I'm sure PeaceBlondie or Ijustwannateach would be able to give you a more reliable answer if they were inclined.

Good luck

I'll leave that to Ijustwannateach, but it sounds like a decent starting salary anywhere but Bangkok. I taught with a guy who had a BSc plus an MS in fluid dynamics. He taught M1 part time in a remote province for a pittance, but that was part time and he was desperate. Even in the West, well trained secondary teachers of hard science (like my daughter) get stipends over and above the other teachers.

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Eeek, get a life! You don't like a guy you met, so what? What is wrong with you that you must try to put down others? It sounds like an unatural resentment. Would the truth be that you can't get a job as your not a native speaker?

The best teachers in Thailand( for conversational English) that I met were not the best qualified ones. The ones with PhDs and MAs in Linguistics etc couldn't teach at all. The best ones were ex butchers, car mechanics amongst others. This is my honest experience of working in over 20 language schools, at least 10 Pratom/Mattyayom schools, 4 universities and a few other places.

A common misconception from people arriving in Thailand is that to be a good English teacher you must have a knowledge of grammar. I remember years ago at ECC, the woman said that my grammar test was the worst she'd ever seen. I usually learned grammar the night before I taught it.

Chill out - 'mai dtong serious' :o

Nicely said! I totally agree with you. Live and let live? It’s a shame we can’t all have this attitude! Some of us were not fortunate enough to have come from money? I wish when I was of a younger age my parents could have afforded to send me to university etc… My life would be totally different to what it is now? But I would dread to think that I would have ended up being a snob! Like some people are…

And yes I agree that because you can speak English doesn’t mean you can teach English? But come on… Look at the low paid rates unqualified teachers are actually paid over here? As stated above some of the best teachers are ex butchers, ex builders etc… And some of the best teachers have all of the relevant teaching qualifications… And you have to remember that their rate of pay is much greater than unqualified teachers! To my knowledge that is. To ask if a teacher is a good teacher or not? Ask and talk to the students that they teach! You can’t judge someone because they do not have the relevant qualifications. I myself have had many different jobs over the years and I was not qualified for any of them. But over time I got very experienced and ended up running certain departments, supervising and training other staff. So yes I agree that not every unqualified so called language teacher will be a good teacher, but some of those unqualified language teachers will given time be better teachers than those with qualifications! Because they will gain that experience? It is not just about qualifications, it’s also about personality and people skills also… It’s about that individual as a person…

A lot of westerners over here have Thai wives and also have children, their family is here… And maybe teaching is the only job that they are suitable for in this country? If the students are happy with their unqualified teacher and they feel like that they are achieving good standards from this person then let them be…? After all the students happiness is the most important! If they are not happy with their teacher then they will decide for themselves that they will look for another teacher or school… And then the school that has that sort of teacher where students are leaving on a regular basis should then decide that that teacher is not suitable to work at their school… So I agree as above, get a life! Or if you don’t have a girlfriend/ boyfriend then you should seriously think about finding your self one… And if you do have one then I feel for them I really do. And if any of my grammar is incorrect? Then I’m terribly sorry…

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Yet another person who has sort of missed my point. Well c'est la vie.

All I can say is maybe some members should consider their own advice and not be so judgmental of others. Its funny that the same people who tell me to be more tolerant are the ones so quick to flame me. Presumptions made too. I was mature student when i did my degree (although only 23) and i worked two jobs the first couple of years and then took out a loan. But whatever, that is not the point.

I gave a basis why i queried this mans teaching ability and did not resort to base presumptions about his personal life. Nor have i resorted to insulting other members of this thread.

Some may think my views on this particular may be misplaced and incorrect. This thread was created to try gain a better perspective, but alas some cannot state points without personal digs. Why people cannot argue their point in a respectful, dignified way, i do not know.

Edited by eek

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Eeek, get a life! You don't like a guy you met, so what? What is wrong with you that you must try to put down others? It sounds like an unatural resentment. Would the truth be that you can't get a job as your not a native speaker?

The best teachers in Thailand( for conversational English) that I met were not the best qualified ones. The ones with PhDs and MAs in Linguistics etc couldn't teach at all. The best ones were ex butchers, car mechanics amongst others. This is my honest experience of working in over 20 language schools, at least 10 Pratom/Mattyayom schools, 4 universities and a few other places.

A common misconception from people arriving in Thailand is that to be a good English teacher you must have a knowledge of grammar. I remember years ago at ECC, the woman said that my grammar test was the worst she'd ever seen. I usually learned grammar the night before I taught it.

Chill out - 'mai dtong serious' :o

Nicely said! I totally agree with you. Live and let live? It’s a shame we can’t all have this attitude! Some of us were not fortunate enough to have come from money? I wish when I was of a younger age my parents could have afforded to send me to university etc… My life would be totally different to what it is now? But I would dread to think that I would have ended up being a snob! Like some people are…

And yes I agree that because you can speak English doesn’t mean you can teach English? But come on… Look at the low paid rates unqualified teachers are actually paid over here? As stated above some of the best teachers are ex butchers, ex builders etc… And some of the best teachers have all of the relevant teaching qualifications… And you have to remember that their rate of pay is much greater than unqualified teachers! To my knowledge that is. To ask if a teacher is a good teacher or not? Ask and talk to the students that they teach! You can’t judge someone because they do not have the relevant qualifications. I myself have had many different jobs over the years and I was not qualified for any of them. But over time I got very experienced and ended up running certain departments, supervising and training other staff. So yes I agree that not every unqualified so called language teacher will be a good teacher, but some of those unqualified language teachers will given time be better teachers than those with qualifications! Because they will gain that experience? It is not just about qualifications, it’s also about personality and people skills also… It’s about that individual as a person…

A lot of westerners over here have Thai wives and also have children, their family is here… And maybe teaching is the only job that they are suitable for in this country? If the students are happy with their unqualified teacher and they feel like that they are achieving good standards from this person then let them be…? After all the students happiness is the most important! If they are not happy with their teacher then they will decide for themselves that they will look for another teacher or school… And then the school that has that sort of teacher where students are leaving on a regular basis should then decide that that teacher is not suitable to work at their school… So I agree as above, get a life! Or if you don’t have a girlfriend/ boyfriend then you should seriously think about finding your self one… And if you do have one then I feel for them I really do. And if any of my grammar is incorrect? Then I’m terribly sorry…

I,ll respond to this. Asking the students in Thailand is not an indication of a good teacher. Thai students will always vote for the one that they have the most fun with.........the best entertainer etc. This is not a good indication of a good teacher. Teachers educate. How they educate is always subjective.

As for butchers being good teachers? Maybe................i won,t dispute that. Do they understand the thought processes of young learners? I doubt it. That is one of the benefits of an educational degree. It should be taught.

Does a butcher realise that a 9 year old will only absorb the first 20 minutes of the class ( learning mode ) before switching off?

Does a builder understand how to manage an unruly class? Seating arrangements? Rows, groups, U shape etc? Why would a teacher do this? What would a builder do? Shout? Punish? Expel?

Educating children is a science................and not to be taken lightly.

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This thread has deteriorated badly, in several directions... but to respond:

Garro, your two-tier system makes perfect sense; that's probably why it has so little chance of coming to pass. In any case, since Thailand has higher qualification requirements for teaching jobs- even conversational English teaching jobs- than Japan does (true fact), there's obviously no problem, right? Qualification requirements have no meaning unless they are enforced, and to enforce them will reveal that the emperor has no clothes and that foreign native-speaking teachers who have any kind of choices with any kind of qualifications will not work for 20K baht/month. At the moment, anyway, there is already a two-tier system- teachers without qualifications or skills stay at the lower level jobs or in the country; others find ways to move up if they're not happy.

Stevemiddie,

Your sentiments are admirable. Would you be happy to see student fees rise (on average) to 200K-300K baht a year? The kinds of backgrounds you are recommending demand those kinds of fees. Once again- conversational English for one hour a week is not rocket science, and while it demands some skills in the way of classroom management (as you have pointed out) those skills are taught as a part of some TEFL classes, and otherwise if the teacher survives he will pick them up.

Sunrise, flaming against teachers in general is not permitted in the Teacher's Forum.

Let's stay on topic on this thread. There is an entirely separate thread for Questions About Qualifications.

"Steven"

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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.

At the other end my brother took the telf course, he has no qualifications but has worked all his life and has been in some good position. At the course he was at, there were newly qualified, and experienced teachers taking the course, some were senior teachers. During an exercise where they had to role play and teach to the students, his example was used as perfect example of out to teach and illustrate, and his marks were the best. When asked by the tutor were he taught, the teachers were a little ambarressed by the fact he was an engineer and had never stepped foot in a classroom as an adult.

Qualification means <deleted> if you don't know how to use them. Likewise there are to many teachers who don't know how to teach. My ex-wife was one of them.

Edited by TommyGun

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