Four things from last week I don’t want to forget, and another from yesterday:
1. After I was given notice, the only Thai teacher who explicitly refuses to hit kids and probably needs to be promoted to head of the department, took me outside and asked why I would film the teachers hitting the kids. “That’s so bad,” she said. As if ritually hitting, abusing and humiliating kids – and doing god knows what kind of horrible permanent damage – is not of itself bad. As if the issue is filming teachers doing it that is the horrible social mistake and transgression. “Why did you do it?,” she asked. And I said that I was tired of playing nice and doing it the respectful way, and giving face and all that crap. I wanted it to stop. Period. Immediately. Now. Not next month when Johnny-come-lately who hasn’t seen any problem with terrorizing kids or metaphorically sucking their insides out like a vampire pulls their deluded head out of their ass and gets around to hinting that on a good day it might be a less than ideal thing to do. Sorry to ruin the parade. This just goes to show how ingrained and pathological the whole situation is. That it’s really more like a POW camp, with constant violence, either experienced or witnessed which can be almost equally damaging, where the most competent students are witch-hunted and threatened, where the authority is unaccountable and completely arbitrary and can make up and re-make the English language as they go along – to the point that the students have no idea what’s going on and no standard for what they are supposed to be learning.
2. The students I tutored in spelling told me that most all the students did not want to see me leave because they felt like I was part of their family. High praise indeed.
3. One of the teachers from England told me he was amazed that a bunch of his students, unprompted and of their own accord, personally went to the director to ask why I was being fired. He was also amazed that another of his students broke down in his class crying because I was leaving.
4. It was difficult for me to walk around the campus because kids kept coming up to see me. One boy who was never in any of my classes wanted to hug me. When I tried to slip around the back of a building, a group of 13 year olds were kicking football and when I walked by they all dropped the game and mobbed me to hug me. I sobbed and almost broke down then, but managed to keep it together enough to survive until today.
5. Yesterday I had to write to the teachers in America that have a pen-pal exchange with my students and tell them what happened. And I forwarded e-mails from the Americans to my students who now have to explain what happened to their teacher, who was involved and what to do about the exchange. For those who prey on weaker people, and defenseless kids, it is always more convenient for their ugly business to be done in the dark. If they think it is “legal” and honorable, then they should have no problem explaining themselves to every other academic institution across the planet.