Monday, 11 May 2015

Volume 43, chapter 94: Monday blues

I don't hate Mondays, but the beginning of a long week at work is nothing to look forward to. Mostly my long days at work this week consist of sitting alone in an empty office while the other teachers attend a 3 day workshop of changing teaching styles and focus. I would actually like to attend, but since it's entirely in Thai, I don't understand a word. Instead I download tv shows to watch at night and finish up my lesson plans for the coming semester. I also need to make up some attendance sheets and a student info database form. They may not be able to find much public stuff from me online, Despite the public nature of this blog, my day-to-day Facebook page is locked down pretty tight to people I actually know, but I'll be sure to get all the necessary info from them to track their online moments. It makes it easier to teach if I know a little bit of the way these kids live. I can make lessons they relate to.

So, anyway. I did nothing today for 8 hours. I started and finished a book I was required to read for this Administration shake-up. It took me a little over an hour to read. It had lots of pictures and read like a middle school book. It was called Our Iceberg is Melting, or some bullshit like that. It was basically the same book as Who Moved My Cheese and even included a forward by the same author. It was simplistic and about as exiting to read as watching water boil. I get what they are trying to do and I admire their efforts at recognizing there is a problem with the education and trying to fix up, but I've seen this happen before hundreds of times in Korea and it is ultimately doomed to fail due to culture indoctrination. These kids have been forced to conform to a certain ideal, sometimes through liberal use of capital punishment despite it being illegal, and now they want us to embrace their individualism and uniqueness, under an oppressive military dictatorship. They want us to teach these students to question everything, when doing that can land you in prison. No freedom of speech here. The kids are clueless on how to respond to such freedoms-- they can't give an opinion unless it's been previously approved beforehand by their peers, and it's like pulling teeth without anesthesia for the teachers. I feel very sorry for the other Filipino teachers that have to sit through that bullshit just because they happen to understand Thai. I feel sorry for the Thai teachers because they will also have to adapt as much as the students and I'm not sure they are capable. I'm use to this style of teaching, so I have no problem with it, but it so different than rote teaching which puts the teacher in the position of an infallible taskmaster. The Critical Thinking model of teaching puts the teacher in the roll as a fallible guide/mentor.

The rest of the day, I set up some business meetings for the weekend, and argued online with some nationalistic Ko-Am troll in S. Korea for shits and giggles. When I got bored of that, I watched Game of Thrones. It was alright, but it just doesn't hold the same anticipated thrill it did for the first 2 seasons. One of the few book series I have not actually read. I bore easily of long-winded writers. I don't like Stephan King much either. I prefer my books and prose quick and snappy.