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Police academy

By 6 years ago
Categories Phang Nga
16th November 2011

Monday saw the new term of TEFL classes starting in Ao Luk and an opportunity for our newly qualified teachers to take on their own classes. As tends to be the way of things here in Thailand, there were a few surprises in store, as TEFL teacher Jon Majumder explains….

First day of class for this new term was already causing me some feelings of trepidation, mainly because I had not taught at the center for two weeks, following our 5 day break after finishing the TEFL course and a week of renovation work to the GVI base. We also taught a couple of the local schools; an experience that made me realise I needed to work on classroom management!

John teaching classes in a local school

So, first day of school arrives and it is a quiet start; only three students to begin with. The lesson’s going well and I can take my time. Then three new teenagers arrive – OK, so I’m not that far into the lesson and I start again. However, as soon as I start a boy walks out of class, followed by another. In the words of Mr T, it’s time to “Get some nuts!”. I challenge the two boys, do they want to be in the class or not? In the class or not? They come in and sit down. Result! The problem mushrooms and I end up with about 21 teenage boys who are taking part in Ao Luk Police’s ‘second change’ program! After a few stern words from Apple (our native Thai speaker and a TEFL teacher) the lesson continues…

Roll onto the next morning and I find out that I am being allowed to teach them at the Police Station. Lots of preconceived ideas and prejudices come to mind, plus I find out that a few of them are gang members! Various thoughts run through my head – had I caused offence or made them ‘lose face’ (maintaining face being very important to Thais)? This could be potentially hazardous to my health!!

Practicing vocabulary with the new students

My lesson is planned and re-planned because I don’t want to play a slap game. A slap game is where you put up pictures of various objects, split students into teams and give the first student in each team a fly swatter; you call out the name of an object in one of the pictures and the first student to ‘slap’ the right picture wins a point. This is an extremely physical game with young children; with gang members – it could end badly!!!

Young offenders learn alongside the wives and children of police officers

The lesson begins and I am joined by not only the rehab students but some police officers’ wives and children – in total 29 students. All my fears and prejudices amount to nothing and the class goes really well! I can’t explain it; it was just amazing and the buzz afterwards, EPIC!

Tonight – the slap game! Hold onto your hats!