Saturday, December 08, 2007

My kids are so entertaining

My kids never fail to entertain me. John's been working for a temp company, and the other day I took him to work after lunch (he's close enough to come home for lunch on this assignment) and went back in the afternoon to pick him up after work. As we were driving over, Trea asked where we were going.

"We're going to pick up Daddy," I said.

Slight pause.

"He fall down?"

She also has been watching a lot of Dora, and she wears this little pink backpack all over the house. She keeps asking me where her map is. I'll have to work on that.

We're really enjoying being around all of our family (I even got to see my parents over Thanksgiving). Trea thinks cousin=instant best friend. Luckily she has nice cousins who indulge her for the most part. She's also doing great at church, going to nursery and making friends.

Adia is thisclose to crawling on all fours, and I will miss the inch worm imitation she has done so well. She has six teeth and is such a sweet, easygoing baby. Our friends just had a baby, and looking at the pictures I got incredibly baby hungry. Which is really messed up, since Adia is all of 8 months old. But he just looked so sweet, and I could almost smell that newborn smell . . .

In other news. . .we bought a car. We got a good deal on it, and it seems like a very reliable vehicle. And it fits two carseats. I sound really old now, don't I?

I think we left Thailand just in time. I was just browsing one of my favorite websites about teaching in Thailand, and apparently there's a new Ministry of Education requirement for teachers to get a license. Now you have to complete a 20-hour course on "Thai culture and professional ethics". From what I can gather (and, true to Thai tradition, it's clear as mud) the course is a crash course in Thai culture, manners, language, art and music, and professional behavior. Most of that is useful, but honestly you don't NEED to know anything about Thai art or music to be a successful EFL teacher. And you don't need a formal course to learn what you need to know about the rest - a few good books, a few nice Thai friends, and you'll learn what you need to know. Not to mention the course is over $200 U.S., and appears to be offered by a university in Bangkok on consecutive weekends. So if you live out in the sticks, like we did, you have to travel to Bangkok on two weekends and spring for travel costs and accommodations there. That's not cheap, and you can bet I would be cranky if John were gone for two solid weekends in a row. Training like that would be nearly impossible for someone like me, who is still breastfeeding an infant. I had my teaching schedule worked around Adia's feeding schedule, and she's never had a bottle. There's no way I could leave her for that long.

After you complete the 20-hour course - which would probably be a great source of entertaining Engrish examples - you get to take a test on what you learned. And then you get to pay $30 U.S. to take an exam on "teaching profession knowledge." If I learned anything in my two years of assessment development, it's that writing a good exam is harder than it looks. A poorly written exam will tell you little to nothing about the knowledge of the exam taker. Who wants to bet that this exam was thrown together at the last minute by a handful of employees? Not a good way to measure anything!

I really do respect the efforts of Thailand to raise the bar where teachers are concerned, but I don't think they are going about it the right way. I hope it doesn't completely backfire on them.

I would still love to live abroad as a family again someday, but only if someone else handles the visas!