There are three levels of English in Thai Schools:
- The normal English classes which the foreign teacher might visit once or twice a week. The other lessons are then taught by the Thai teachers.
- The Intensive English Program (IEP) where the foreign teacher teaches English every day to her/his class and stays with those students during the day.
- The English Program (EP) where the foreign teacher is the classroom teacher and teaches most subjects in English.
EP is very expensive for the parents and the teachers have to be fully qualified and have degrees in the subjects they are teaching. At our school we do the cheaper IEP option, though some of the parents have said they say our version is just as good as an EP school.
How IEP works: You need to look for opportunities during the day to add a layer of English to the students’ learning. There is both the formal lessons, which you prepare and the informal “chats” and “English experiences” which you create whenever possible.
|7 am. Before school starts
|Greet students, talk about the day, how they feel,
What did you do last night? On the weekend?
Help them form questions and chat with you.
Review questions from the green book
Review vocabulary or material that you are teaching
Nice time to have 1:1 with some students
Tell stories about your life, family…
|Help students get organized and ready …“put away your books, line up outside, stand straight, no talking”.
Take the students down to the playground.
While waiting for assembly to start, you can chat with them.
Model respect by standing quietly for the anthem, you could sing along with the students
|7:45 -8:00 am before first lesson
|Review the standard material in the vocabulary book/sheet
Try to vary the approach but ensure you review the information each day.
Talk about the dates and weather and maybe ask who has a birthday
|Chat about the milk, why drink it, where it comes from, who likes it,
what flavor …
Student asks you to cut the bag, give me a straw, …thank you, you are welcome
|Opportunity for Contact time and maybe general chatting
|11:50 lunch time
|Waiting for lunch: chat about food, hunger, label bowl, cup…
Chat about anything interesting
Tell them to line up and then take them to collect their food
Make sure good manners are used and students always say “please” and “thank you”.
The students say grace in Thai and English.
Ask them what they are eating today and about the ingredients.
While they are eating, chat with the students about the food, asking if they like it and if it is their favorite.
Tell the students not to eat too fast and to try and eat all of it.
If they have finished, they should say, “I am full” or “Can I have more, please?”
The students take turns to be on duty and carry the plates and waste food down to the kitchen. You can ask “Who is on duty today?”
|Opportunity to do more Contact time with the students or general chat. If you are teaching straight after lunch and you need to prepare something, then you can leave. But try and be with the kids to chat with them.
|The students usually go back to the classroom by about 12:20pm. You can ask them what they did at lunch time or what snacks they ate.
Usually the whole school does meditation before the first lesson after lunch. If not, you might be able to use it to review something with the whole class. For example, get them to do their times table in English
|This is Contact time for you.
|End of the day. Tell the students to put their books away and to get ready to go home. Usually, they line up outside. Try and take the lead.
|Once the students have left, you can then go home or take the opportunity to have some quiet time and prepare your lessons for the following days.
Good Manners in the Classroom
The Thai teachers teach students how to behave and be good Thai children. This includes how to “wai” properly, to dip their head when walking past an adult and how to give and receive an object.
You need to teach the students about “English” manners. How to use please and thank you, no thank you and you’re welcome. The students need to learn how to greet people using a handshake, a nod or a high five. All students need to be reminded to act properly… wait their turn, share, walk in the halls, be courteous of each other, be polite to others and respect other’s property. You need to expect students to be polite and cooperative in your presence. Have the same expectations of behavior for your Thai students as you would for any students.
Thai students are expected to stand and wai a teacher at the beginning and end of each class. You need to stand and “receive” the wai, you may wai back or nod to the students.
Once a month, you may want to switch classes with your fellow teacher to expose the students to different accents and different people. You could arrange this with each other and plan to spend the entire day or part of it with these students.
The Green Book
The green book contains material that will be used in the exams given by the school.Each booklet contains questions, vocabulary practice and simple reading exercises which need to be reviewed with each student. This can take place during a lull in classes, first thing in the morning, during nap time or at the end of the day.
When the student has mastered the material, you may sign your name, make a star or put a sticker on that page and move on to the next page with the student.
Same with questions, after a student has mastered 5 questions, tick them off and move on to the next 5 questions.
The material is considered important and you need to find time to ensure that the students are successful when they are assessed.
You are hired because parents have paid extra fees to have their child learn English from a native English speaker. There are expectations that you will be in the classroom most of the day to teach and model English. While in the room you need to act professionally at all times, this means that you do not play on your phone, sleep at your desk or act in ways that you know are unacceptable in schools worldwide. You are the first foreigner that some of these families will meet and how you act reflects upon others and future teachers as well. Your Thai teacher will not complain to you but that does not mean that your behavior (both positive and negative) goes unnoticed.
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