Sunday, November 3, 2013

My First Time Ever on the Teevee!

YAY! Despite only working the last week of October, I got paid yesterday. The no-back-support chair crisis is over. Freshly assmenbled from Tesco for 790 Baht ($25)...

Tomorrow, it's back to school for week two of the new term. I teach a total of about 300 students. ALL of them got 'homework' assignments to watch English Breakfast on Thai PBS this morning. Having a cameo role on a relatively little-known show on public broadcasting won't exactly make me a celebrity, but it will be interesting to see if whether or not this appearance on the teevee will effect my credibility in the classroom. Students won't learn from teachers they don't respect, and as well as being a nice thing to add to my CV as a teacher, appearing on national television might do wonders for my 'classroom cred'.

As an 'ajarn farang', in the minds of most of these kids, I get bulked in with the dozen or two other foreign teachers they've had. I'm a person they can barely understand, can't talk to them in their own language and not really a teacher worthy of the kind of respect they give their real (Thai) teachers. Thank God I usually have a Thai co-teacher in every one of my classes else complete chaos would be the norm instead of happening on occasion.

Being a bit older than their usual ajarn farang, I do get a bit more respect than I otherwise would. Coming into this gig, someone I love and respect told me that teaching class in not like open-mic night. If I approached teaching as being an entertainer, I wouldn't garner the authority I need to maintain control in a room full of 40 13-year-old boys. I've seen that and understand it first-hand now. That said, over the course of this last half year, I think 90% of my students look forward to my time teaching them. The get excited and interested when I enter the room because I'm going to be engaging, unpredictable and yes... entertaining.

What makes a good ajarn farng? Seems to be a theme recently here on my blog, so it's kind of fitting that it was the question that Bro and Home Boy asked of their victims... errr.. interviewees.

I can't seem to find a URL that will allow me to embed the video here in my blog, so I ask you to please click the link below to visit to view the wonderful teleplay written by my friend Bobby. I think he had me in mind when he came up with the character of an ukulele-playing NES teacher. (I appear at about 10:00 into the vid, so be patient).


As I mentioned here a few weeks back, it's been a lifelong goal of mine to be on TV. I don't mean in a crowd shot at a sporting event or because of some unique circumstances or characteristics, I mean as an actor. Now, I've done it. Do I feel any different?

Yeah, a little. I feel a little bit more experienced, mature. I feel more accomplished, recognized.

Heck, I'm driving through this life with not that much sense of direction or purpose; if I can find a smooth patch of road here or there, might not be as exciting, but certainly a lot nicer to drive down.


  1. Bucket list items are important to everyone regardless of age. I often think we associate bucket list and old. Not true. You need to have those dreams and goals to reach for no matter your age. You succeeded on that item and you should have grown and learned from it. Believe me, we all appreciate those smooth patches when we can find them.With 90% of your students having been won over you are definitely a success.

  2. Finding the balance is a daily challenge. I have been thinking about your post on burn out. Many teachers became such because they loved school and loved the subject they choose to teach. They thought all students would feel the same and feel distressed when they do not give him 100% of their attention.

    Yes, being a little entertaining can be a good thing as long as you are respected and not thought of as a fool. Entertainment is very culture driven, an what is amusing in one could be totally wrong in another.

    Glad you got the chair.

    I haven't looked at the show yet, but will on the laptop later.

  3. It's been rather incredible watching your ascendency in Thai culture. I do hope you stay for a while--I'm curious where you'll end up next.

  4. congrats on the tv appearance, what a great story to use as an ice breaker or conversation starter, you're gonna get a lot of mileage out of that

  5. Love the video. Well done. The writer, producer and actors did a good job. Pass this on please.

    How do you explain the "Wham Bam, Thank-you Mam." to your students? *Giggiles*


  6. Watched the show. Reminds me of Sesame Street without the muppets. You did a good job, but then you were definitely type cast!

    Whats with the tattoos? Yours were fake weren't they? I hope!


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