Just because you’re paranoid….

… doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

It’s an old line, but it fits. A colleague found this Friday on a high-profile jobsite;

That’s my job, in case you missed the point. And, they’re hoping to replace me with two teachers. And there was me thinking that the long hours I was putting in to cope were all down to inexperience and ineptitude.

Maybe a little, but managing 400+ students over 15 different classes, and six different year-groups is not trivial. Of course, many teachers do it, but some probably have years of experience, and are working in their home countries.

So I’ve had enough of the grind. Just today finished totting up course marks over those 400 students. It should be time for a breather, and so it is for many teachers at work.

But, with the axe handing over my head, I now have a dilemma. Do I cruise and wait for it to fall? And hope the school honour the notice specified in the contract, or pay in lieu?

OR, do I pull the plug myself, and head for greener pastures in, for example, Vietnam?

I’m looking, but for all I know the decision may be taken out of my hands tomorrow. Watch this space.

Autumn in Rayong

There’s a chill in the air as I make my ritual trip down to the “Se-When” ( 7-11 ) for my morning Espresso.

As before, Google claims it’s 26 deg C, but it feels more like the 20s. I like it.

Mortal Engines

A small mobile city recently delayed my entrance to the school of a morning.

It was a case of truth being stranger than the fiction of the movie Mortal Engines

For those who haven’t had the privilege, here’s that movie’s plot summary. Cities are mobile monoliths on wheels. The larger ones swallow the smaller. The mayor of the city ( Hugo Weaving ) of London is marauding about swallowing everything it can in a bid for world domination.

So when the school hired a fleet of buses to move students to wherever, it felt the need to hire the mobile cities above.

It’s anyone’s guess what these cost, but it’s a fairly safe bet that they’re paying top dollar for the above cities, complete with gargoyles and decorations.

And never mind any consideration of a budget, or the state of the roads. By the latter, I mean that many of the roads here could be mistaken for alleyways back home. They’re narrow, uneven, often paved with cracked concrete and bumps aplenty.

Which means that the monsters above are about the least practical form of transport one could use for Thailand roads.

But never mind all that. It’s the same syndrome as a former ( Indian ) flatmate who owned an Audi, but couldn’t afford to buy gas – appearances count for more than reality.

One day he ran out of gas at home, and tried to jump-start the car. It was an automatic.

The Howling

For the first time since the June 18th bike accident, I took my carcass for a ‘run’.

And belying the Sympathy Chorus from the local stray dogs, it really wasn’t that painful.

Maybe it was chow time at the nearby monastery ( circa 5pm ), and the strays were harmonising with the bells.

Maybe they were singing for their supper. It’s more than likely a regular occurrence. Rayong is a little like Hunger City – 70,000 people-oids, and maybe half as many stray dogs.

These  dogs aren’t the mangy specimens you might expect – they’re lean, muscular, survival machines. You could go 10-pin bowling with their balls. They’ll be out in force at dawn, likely because that’s when the roadside stalls fire up their bbq’s. During the heat of the day, they’ll be lying around in gangs under the nearest shade. Come dusk / dinnertime, they’re back on the prowl.

Oh, and the run?  Not too bad for the longest effort since the accident. No pain. I’ll be under 50 mins for 5k in no time….

The Ice Queen Cometh

More dubious news on the job front this week when a mysterious unsmiling stranger ( pictured ) began turning up in my classrooms.

Which would normally be no cause for alarm, except that she was clearly not a student, and said not a word. Not a nod, not a smile, not a hello, not a name.

I assumed I was being blessed with a new Thai co-teacher, and so it proved.

Now you might assume from the charming photo that the news was bad, but not so. It was worse. When I introduced myself it became clear that my Thai is better than her English.

Ulp. This is bad because this is the person who is supposed to do the following;

  • relay the orders from On High
  • help in teaching the class / giving students directions in Thai who might not have fully understood my English
  • perhaps give suggestions as to classroom management and / or lesson plans.

And maybe I’m seeing things through Western Eyes, but I would have thought basic courtesy dictated at least an attempt to introduce herself to me. No matter which culture.

It seems not. I know better than most that ‘just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you’.

But it looks suspiciously like this outfit’s track record of keeping NES teachers in the dark and guessing continues unblemished.

The statue co-teacher has twice now moved my deadlines for exam setting and sitting forward with no notice.

It almost  as if fostering a state of permanent fire-drill (hypervigilance if you must ) serves their purposes…


Some minor discipline road-bumps over the last week or two threw up this gem.

In the contest of the Dweebs, student vs. teacher, my vote goes to the student who authored the gem at left. When I busted him for the third time watching youtube videos in class, I exiled him to a lonely chair, and set him to writing out lines. Fifty of them.

Late in the class, I sidled over to find out how he was getting on. He said he’d almost finished, and handed me to sheet you see. Without looking at it, I told him to go back to his seat, and concentrate on classwork.

On checking later, I see that he’d not only taken the 50 target seriously, he’d numbered his lines. Unbelievable!

My contract says I’m obliged to maintain class discipline. I assume that means that the school honchos wouldn’t be happy to find my students playing tag, or wrestling, or playing video games in class. Or talking over the teacher.

A week or two back, I’d taken the Sledgehammer approach, and started banishing students to the corridor. This was working well, until….

One day the H.O.D poked his head into a classroom and demanded a word. What was ________ doing in the hallway? He’d been asked to leave temporarily after continually talking over me during class. Annoying for me, and impossible for the other students to concentrate.

Apparently that form of maintaining order is unacceptable, because the school director does not like to see fee-paying students languishing in the hallways.

I was to find other methods. Now I have it…. lines! Straight out of the 1950s, but it seems to be working.

Rainy season

With the so-called ‘rainy season’, it’s cooler here as of a morning ride down to the 7-11 for an espresso.

While the above claims it’s 26 deg. C, it feels more like about 24 to me. Perfect, nice n cool. For maybe the first time since I arrived in Thailand in May, I’m better off with the apartment doors open, and air conditioner off.

English Program Teachers

Eep, just found this English language page ( choose ‘Englsh Programme’ Dropdown ) with mugshots of all ‘RayongWit’ English programme teachers.

It looks as if they’ve ordered the mugshots first by seniority ( first two ) , and then by age.

As you can see, it’s an odd bunch of loners and ne’er-do-wells. Of the Causasian faces, all are American except myself, Rosie ( English ), and Edoardo ( Italian ).

The rest are Thai teachers, and about half a dozen Filippinos, many of whom have been at the school since Forever.

There is, apparently, a lot of enmity between the NES and Filippino teachers. Both cohorts teach in English, but the NES teachers are much better compensated.

Below is the original version of my mugshot. This is my attempt at looking professional in a pass-around school jacket three sizes too big.