Thailand University Teacher Extraordinaire

The trials and tribulations of a young English teacher

Surviving the Science Experiment

on Fri,Mar,2011

In June 2010, I was asked by Joy, my Filipino/American workmate, to help put together and teach a new two semester English course for 1st year undergraduate Chemistry students. As it was a new course, it was up to us to write the curriculum and all of the materials. Since I said yes, life at work has been eventful.

Joy and I managed to muddle our way through the first semester. We had a one month head start to prepare and write materials before the course began. We eventually produced enough materials for the first 3 weeks. This meant that for the remaining 11 weeks, we had to write materials as we went along. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t foolishly chosen to teach another 2 international courses on top of the mandatory 4 Thai program courses that are a part of every teacher’s contract. Those 3 months were the most stressful but financially rewarding months of my life.

This second semester has been much easier and relaxed. We wisely invested in an academic writing course book, and we’ve been able to casually pick and choose the best chapters weeks in advance. This has been a huge relief as I had to spend hours frantically writing articles every week in semester one. We currently have 9 weeks of teaching left, and It’s nice not having to worry about potential disaster every week.

The students in my section of this course are an interesting bunch. My youngest student Jessica, is only 15 years old. She skipped ahead a few years in high school, and she looks out of place in a class where the majority of students are 18 years old. Sadly, her level of English is far below that of her classmates, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work for her to get a grade C this semester. At the other end of the spectrum, I have one student in my class who is apparently 24 years old. He is repeating his first year as a university student because the university failed to give him credit for the 3 years he spent studying in America. I would not be happy if I were in his shoes.

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One response to “Surviving the Science Experiment

  1. Hi there. Never heard of a critical incident questionnaire, but I really like the idea of it. Will keep it in the back of my mind when sharing good ideas with our staff in the school district. Have a great weekend!

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