Substitute Teacher For A Day
Despite protesting and screaming that I didn’t want to substitute teach for Kelly at Berkley International School in Bangkok, here I am. I relented under a barrage of persuasion and decided that perhaps substituting in a few high school English classes would provide some new insights into the international school scene.
I left for school by taxi with Wayne and the kids at 7:00 am, which is a time most normal people are just thinking of getting up. We arrived in five minutes and I was set up in the classroom with the computer hooked up ready for action and all I needed was a class of students. At 7:45 a jingling chime signalled that all staff and students were to assemble around the flag pole in front of the school. The Thai flag was raised, there was a pledge recited, a small grade one play was presented and the day’s lunch menu read out to all. A nice elementary-touch start to the day.
Period 1: Prep period, no class
Period 2: From 8:45 to 9:35 a class of eleven grade nine students arrived for action. Just before they arrived, a lady delivered a plate with twenty banana muffins and a quart of milk, with glasses, for a snack. The kids picked up their snacks, pulled out their own computers and spent the period working on the their assignment which was posted on something called Google Classroom. The class was a resounding success and I was feeling my groove!
Period 3: Back to back classes - a bit of a hardship, but I persevered. From 9:40 to 10:35 a class of nine grade eleven students descended upon me. For fifty minutes they worked quietly on their assignment and I only requested that they not fall asleep, but if I did, they should arouse me gently. Watching students working hard provides little stimulation.
Period 4: The ESL support students were sent to the resource teacher so I was rewarded with a well deserved break. Thank goodness!
Period 5 : As a special bonus before lunch I was blessed with another prep period. A welcome relief after the hectic pace of the morning.
Lunch: In order to prepare for the afternoon workload, a diverse Thai/American choice of lunch options was offered in the school cafeteria. There was a buffet of yellow curry, chicken and rice, omelettes, cooked vegetables, chicken nuggets, baked potatoes, soup and an extensive salad bar. That should get me through the rest of the day.
Period 6: The one grade ten student who usually comes in for independent study chose instead to go to music. Darn, I was so looking forward to teaching a student!
Period 7: 2:05 - 3:00 pm The last class of the day promised fifteen grade ten students. They came, they sat, they computered, they left! Another successful class of inspired instruction.
At 3:01 pm I guided my weary body out the door, left the campus and because I had a tiny bit of energy left, I walked the one kilometre back home under the blistering Thai sun. The most difficult thing that I did today was write my name, Mr. Ken, on the white board. The highlight of the day was lunch. I have submitted my resignation as a substitute teacher to Berkley School, as I am not capable of handling this kind of torment and abuse more than once.
PS I was paid $100 C.
PPS Should I give it back?
PPPS Who took advantage of whom?