The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures

Fun Language

I kid you not: the English classes we were teaching were part of the Fun Language programme. A private primary and high school in a small village 45 minutes north of Bangkok. We living in a ten-story block of flats on the river, very inappropriately called Charming Mansions. Every morning we walked around the corner to the line of motorbike taxis waiting to take commuters to work, jumped on the bike at the front of the queue and hoped we were giving the right directions in our broken Thai.

At school we taught between 22 and 30 hours a week in our Fun Language uniforms. Our classrooms had no tables and chairs, but multi-coloured padded flooring. We were not to teach lessons, but rather play games. The English department in the school seemed to be divided into two parts: the “serious” English lessons which were taught by the Thai teachers, and the “fun” lessons which were taught by the foreign teachers. Not so much fun, though, when you have to play Ladders for 6 hours of your day.

So you see, teaching jobs in Thailand come in a variety of disguises. This first job was a great way for me to get some teaching experience under my belt. The school was very relaxed, we each had a teaching assistant, and management generally left you alone if you were respectful at all the right times and didn’t come to school drunk or hungover. The school even helped us find our accommodation and made sure we felt comfortable in our new environment, which went over and above what we were expecting.

My friend, however, soon became bored with the Fun and games and left for a job at a nearby government high school. Completely different story. No assistant. No materials (she had to source or make her own). Not even a curriculum. She was basically left to her own devices to teach whatever she wanted however she wanted. Fewer hours, zero paperwork or extra-curricular commitment, but less pay.

And we were both happy. We would come home every day, buy dinner from the take-away lady on the ground floor of the building, and we would sit on our balcony and laugh at our students and moan about the other teachers chat about our day. And then we would do it all over again the next day.

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8 comments on “Fun Language

  1. tomg1992
    January 19, 2015

    That sounds like my kinda English teaching, how did you find this cushy job?!

    • jellybeanqueen
      January 19, 2015

      Hey Tom!
      I found it on http://www.ajarn.com, which is specifically for teaching jobs in Thailand. It made it easier that I was already in the country so I could go for a face-2-face interview. It was a great job as a first-time job, but after a while it became a bit stifling. I’ll be writing more about working conditions in Thailand in the next few posts.
      K

      • tomg1992
        January 19, 2015

        Excellent! It sounds like a great first step into classroom teaching, currently doing online classes and I’m nervous about the transition! Planning a trip to SE Asia, any tips at all from an insider? Many thanks!

      • jellybeanqueen
        January 20, 2015

        Oh Tomg1992 – so many things I could tell you it would require at least a bottle of wine or a pot of tea! Keep an eye here and soon I’ll be posting in more detail about Thailand and on China as well. For now, if you want to get a bit closer to a classroom, ask a local language school if you can observe some of their classes, find a private student or look for volunteer teaching near where you live. Getting some practical experience on your CV will help loads, and it’ll help with your confidence too.
        Good luck!
        K

      • tomg1992
        January 20, 2015

        Are there plenty of places in England where I could do this? Thanks for the advice!

      • jellybeanqueen
        January 21, 2015

        There are loads of language schools in the UK – you could ask if you could observe a teacher. Not sure about places where you could do voluntary work, but I’m sure there must be some. Look for schools or centres that work with refugees or immigrants. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: a hot mess | Jellybeanqueen: A TEFL blog

  3. Pingback: 5 Reasons Not To Be a TEFL Teacher | The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2015 by in Thailand, travel and tagged , , .

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