1. What is your position in the school, and what are your duties and responsibilities?
I hold the position of Vice Director, providing support to the director of the school. I am a specialist in academic affairs.
I receive the directives from the Director regarding all academic matters and compile and prepare them for implementation.
These matters include:
• Promoting discipline, virtue, ethical behaviour (ethics) and harmony/unity in school and the community.
• Promoting the importance of the development of student activities amongst academic staff that develop student potential in every way.
• Promoting and planning for the development of student welfare systems, policies and plans.
• Managing student affairs.
• Managing the administration and implementation of student activities.
2. What characteristics should a good school have?
I believe that good quality (superior/first-rate) schools should have the following characteristics:
(1) Demonstrate responsibility in their role of institutions of teaching and learning.
(2)Promote participation from all parts of society
(3) Demonstrate clarity of purpose.
(4) Be worthy of their important status in society.
3. What policies and procedures or methods do you employ for dealing with the following issues?
3.1 Conflict between teachers.
3.2 Conflict between teachers and students.
3.3 Student problems.
I have the following methods for dealing with the aforementioned issues:
3.1 Managing conflict between teachers.
Before attempting to mediate, it is necessary to determine whether the complaints made by teachers are justified, reasonable, are not one-sided, and considering the needs of all parties. To achieve this, the 4 (Buddhist) sublime states are used as the basis for mediation. These are: loving kindness or compassion, charity, pleasure in the achievements and success of others (sympathetic joy), and equanimity. Also, acknowledging the good work of others, providing kindly advice to those who engage in unwholesome actions, and forgiving mistakes and being willing to begin again afresh. During mediation, I listen to all parties, hear and accept the feelings of all parties, and therefore provide a starting-point for resolution talks. Following analysis of the issue, the teachers are each encouraged to reduce the level of hostility.
3.2 Disagreements/conflict between teachers and students.
To begin with, each party should be given time separately to identify the issues. The teacher is asked how the problem came about, and how the teacher’s performance led to the problem. They are asked if a deviation from their normal practice may have led to the problem. Once the underlying reason has been established, the party who is responsible for the mistake should accept responsibility, and the other party should be encouraged to forgive the person in error, and I encourage mutual forgiveness regarding hard feelings generated as a result of the conflict.
3.3 Student issues and problems.
First the reason is sought, and I establish whether the problem is justified, accurately or clearly perceived, and then encourage the student to accept that the problem occurred through the actions of the student, and identify ways of improving one’s conduct. Following this, the teacher of that student is encouraged to greet and treat the student in the same way as all other students.
4. What policies and methods do you use to solve parent/caregiver complaints?
To begin with, I attempt to consider whether the complaint is justified and well-founded. It is important to respect the parents even if the complaint is not justified, and to just point this out in a respectful way. If the complaint is justified, I search for evidence and details about the nature of the problem. I then invite the complainant to explain in greater detail, and reassure the parent or caregiver that the matter will be given urgent attention. At first I make sure that the complainant and the person who committed the wrong-doing do not meet face-to-face. I then act to solve the problem in a neutral manner, to increase understanding and resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the parents/caregivers.
5. Can you give one or two examples from your experience as an administrator of decisions that you have observed that differ from the approach you outlined in the previous question?
A complaint form was received by a senior school administrator from the parents of one of the students, and was then told in person by the parents that a teacher punished the child of the complaining parents by punching the student in the head, resulting in the student developing a serious headache. As soon as the complaint was received the senior administrator summoned the teacher immediately and demanded an explanation from the teacher, in front of the parents. The teacher was then reprimanded, again in front of the parents. I believe this was inappropriate. If it was me in this situation, I would have apologised to the parents of the student who was punched, and assure the parents that the offending teacher would be confronted. I would summon the teacher a little later, and counsel the teacher in appropriate disciplinary methods. Finally, I would assure the parents that the offence would not happen again.
6. How do you motivate and inspire the students?
I endeavour to motivate and inspire the students in the following ways:
(i) Point out the purpose and goal of the course of study, unit, assignment/project, test and so on – give students a goal to aim for.
(ii) Demonstrate sincerity in the desire to provide a quality learning experience.
(iii) Hold a belief in the ideal of being a teacher, and adhere to the ethics and principles of being a true teacher, established in 2539 (9 points/statements: 5 compulsory, 2 important, and 2 desirable).
(iv) Promote the development of relationships between students and teachers based on strong human relations principles.
(v) Acknowledge and reward appropriate performance and behaviour – either through material rewards, peer recognition or verbal praise.
7. How do you provide help to teachers experiencing difficulties in the classroom?
I provide assistance to teachers experiencing problems in the classroom in the following ways: be a source of suggestions in effective teaching practices; in essence, teachers are responsible for what goes on in their classrooms, but if students are disinterested, skip classes, are frequently absent from school, I aid teachers in finding effective solutions. After receiving details from teachers, I summon the ailing student for counselling, in order to ascertain the reasons for the student’s lack of interest in their studies. To begin with, the student is encouraged to adjust their study attitudes. If the avoidance behaviour is repeated, I set up a meeting with the parents of the student. If the problem stems from a physical or mental dysfunction, the teacher is instructed to seek advice from a medical professional.
8. What vocation-related characteristics do you look for in teachers?
I expect that the teachers exhibit the professional standards of educators, which consist of:
(1) ongoing professional development.
(2) undergo activities that produce consistently positive, successful student outcomes.
(3) maintain high standards for reaching each student’s highest potential.
(4) develop educational curricula that effectively achieve student outcomes.
(5) develop efficient teaching materials/aides for teaching and learning.
(6) employ teaching methodologies and activities that lead to permanent positive outcomes.
(7) develop effective and meaningful systems of evaluation, recording and reporting on student development.
(8) be a good role model and example for students to follow.
(9) work together with all other academic staff to constantly improve and develop the school practices.
(10) work together with others in the community to improve and develop school practices.
(11) research new teaching methodologies.
(12) create opportunities for student learning in every situation.
If teachers consistently demonstrate the aforementioned qualities, the school will produce high-achieving students of good character, who can live in our society happily, in line with the guidelines and goals of the latest educational reforms.
9. What are the most significant problems in your school, and how do you deal with them?
If I really consider carefully what large problems exist in my school, I would have to say that “there aren’t any”. There are minor problems, associated with teachers not fulfilling their roles as teachers, such as:
(1) Teachers should sincerely love and show compassion and care for their charges (students)... pay due attention to them, provide support, encourage, provide motivation, and give students equal opportunities to learn and develop. However, some teachers are not fair to some of their students, preferring some over others.
(2) Teachers should act in a manner appropriate to their role, to act as role models/examples for their students. For example, behave appropriately, or appropriate physical deportment, speak well, think appropriately. However, some teachers do not speak respectfully or politely.
For each of the problems identified above, I have methods of finding solutions. As soon as I discover that teachers are acting in the ways outlined above, I will summon the teachers for an interview. I will encourage them to change their opinions and attitudes, ask probing questions, and request that the teacher perform their duties as appropriate to the ethics of teaching professionals. In my office I have a framed copy of the 9 essential qualities of a good teacher, placed next to my desk to act as a permanent reminder of their importance. Whenever teachers come into my room for an interview or for counselling, it acts as another tactic for impressing the importance of these qualities in the mind of the teachers.
10. Do you have any particular points of pride in the school, and how did they come about? Or are there any school-related successes that you are particularly proud of, and why are you proud of them?
I am proud of the success of this school. This is as a result of the fact that all members of the school community, such as administrators, teachers, other academic staff and personnel, have the same goal in mind. This is based on the belief that emphasises the student as the most important component in the school. We look at whether everything we do will have a positive outcome for our students, and only do it if that is so. We construct and implement objectives that will create a positive learning experience for our students, in line with their abilities, learning preferences, interests and needs.
This is done with the following main points in mind:
(1) Focusing on the most valuable aspects of study and school life related to the students.
(2) Pushing students to reach their highest potential.
(3) Developing skills for researching knowledge from a wide range of authoritative sources.
(4) Enabling students to apply the skills they learn at school in their life in general.
(5) Every part of the school is actively involved in every step of the learning process, such as teachers, students, parents and caregivers, and the larger community.
11. What do you feel are significant failings related to academic administration (in Thailand)? And if you had the opportunity to go back in time to the past, and could change poor decisions, what would you change?
The main issue that I feel represents a significant failing is as follows:
Both the educational administration of primary level (which is under the control of the Office of National Primary Education, which in turn is controlled by the Ministry of Education), and the educational administration of secondary level (which is which is under the control of the Department of General Education, which, again, is in turn is controlled by the Ministry of Education) are now co-managed by the Office of the National Education Commission. If I had the chance to go back and reverse decisions, I would separate administration of primary education and secondary education to two separate departments/offices. This is because there are 6 primary levels and 6 secondary levels – making up 12 total years of pre-tertiary study – and these are too many years for one office to be responsible. The administration of both primary and secondary levels involves student, teacher and curriculum administration, but primary and secondary administration, including development, involves different approaches. Problems are created as a result for teachers, students, and schools. I feel it is necessary to separate administration of these 2 levels.
Translated by Matthew Platt, Jan 2010.
Years of translation experience: 19. Registered at ProZ.com: Jun 2010.
Lived in Thailand for 6 years, married a Thai, have 2 children born in Thailand. Worked as an ESL/computer/science/mathematics teacher, and head of department in 3 schools. Learned to read Thai in first 4 months. Excellent grasp of tones, excellent vocabulary. Possess Masters degree in Education. Have been doing informal translation and interpreting work for 11 years. Thai partner available to ensure perfect translation work.
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