The Bilingual School

This morning I visited a local bilingual school.� My colleagues asked me to accompany the students to the school even though there was no real reason for me to be there.� I'd heard some good things about the school, so I was eager to see it and learn more about it.� I thought we'd get a tour and we'd talk with some teachers.� Instead, the school planned 2 hours of presentations and talks for us.� I was placed in the front row like always because I'm a teacher.� Everyone there spoke English, so I was really disappointed when the presentations turned out to be entirely in Thai.� It's�so difficult to sit there�and try to look interested when you can't understand anything that's being said!� I got really bored.� We took a break after the first hour, and one of the teachers volunteered to show me and Masayo (the Japanese teacher in the Ed. dept) around the school.� That was really great!� The campus was beautiful and we really enjoyed learning about the program.

This school teaches some subjects in English and some subjects in Thai.� They have many native-English speaking teachers from Australia and New Zealand.� The classes are really small; each section has only 6 or 7 students.� The classes looked like fun too!� Students spend a lot of time working on interesting projects and�doing group work.� The school was definately impressive!� I found myself wishing that we had schools like that at home!

My students were impressed by the school as well, but I think they also felt discouraged by the visit.� Thai teachers at the school can only teach art, social students and physical education.� The school will only hire native English speakers for English-teaching positions.� So my students learned about this great school where they will never be allowed to teach because they aren't native English speakers.

Thai English teachers are often passed over for teaching positions in favor of native English speakers.� Unfortunately, many of these native English speakers are not trained language teachers.� (That isn't the case at the bilingual school we visited today, though).� Anyway, one of my students told me today that she's worried about finding a job after she graduates.� She's worried that schools are going to want to hire only native speakers.� This particular student is going to be a fabulous teacher.� Her language skills are very good, she's creative, and she works hard.� It's sad that someone like that has to worry about finding a job.

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