Daily Phuket #74: 05 September 2021 – Silent Seminar

Today, I participated in a 6-hour seminar in which a total of 12 English teachers gave details on creating the perfect CV and all the ins and outs you can imagine for a successful job interview. This was heavily promoted by the university and more than one thousand students participated in today’s 9am to 4pm Google Meet live stream (with an hour break for lunch).

The problem was…. NOT A SINGLE STUDENT SPOKE! I have gotten used to talking to myself during Upper Primary online lessons for my school but I expected more from university students in their final year. The presentation was designed by our organization’s head teacher to be very interactive with plenty of opportunities for questions, feedback and role-play.

Complete and utter silence from the students. Zero participation from them despite plenty of encouragement from the teachers. It was exhausting to say the least, particularly during the portions when I interviewed myself. I did both good and bad interviews and even tried to go for laughs in the bad one. I could have heard the crickets chirping back in Kansas better than the students in the seminar.

Except at the end. I said, “Thank you and goodbye” and suddenly there was the deafening sound of dozens of students turning on their microphones and chorusing “Thank you, teacher”. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing and exclaimed, “My goodness! You ARE alive!”

I did enjoy the day, despite the lack of participation. I did it in a glass-walled room in our agency (yes, the 24-inch Acer went back out on the road again) and was the object of much photography and video clips. Hopefully, some day I will get copies of those as I completely forgot to do the ubiquitous screen captures needed for our reports. In the meantime, I can only share one of the advertisements for the event. I did not join the Thursday or Friday sessions so I do not know if the students spoke on those days or not.

I enjoyed talking to a couple of the other teachers who were also broadcasting from the agency. We got to chat a bit during the lunch break and afterwards when the common refrain was “These are English majors. Why won’t they talk to us?” It was also pleasant to see the support staff once again (our photographers and videographers), although they are a bit stressed as they are busily packing everything in the office. We are, again, changing location — finally moving out of the mall and back into Phuket Town. COVID changes everywhere.

Upon returning home, I decided to just relax for the evening. I am writing this post on my tablet (hence the lack of right-justified formatting — I will fix that later). Afterwards, I will read for a while and maybe even watch something on Plex or YouTube. It has been a while since I watched anything other than teaching videos. I will leave my computer and other gear (fans, power strips, mic and headphones, etc.) packed up and ready to go on another motorbike trip in the morning.

Tomorrow, it is back to Kathu and my wonderful seven classes in a row. I am looking forward to it as I know that many of my younger students (P1, P2, P3 and P4) will repeat the vocabulary words or anything else I ask them to. The seven classes will pass by like a breeze…

2 thoughts on “Daily Phuket #74: 05 September 2021 – Silent Seminar

  1. I stumbled on the Philatelic Pursuits site while searching, of all things, for information on the new wine stamp from Artsakh. I then went to this blog and read about your incredable situation in Phuket. I cannot imagine doing what you been through for the last months. When I was working I traveled to Bangkok a few times, but never seemed to have time to get away from there. (This was in the 80s and 90s, I retired at the end of 2000.) What I recall, other than work related items, were the friendly people, the excellent food that I had to keep telling them to spice down, the traffic in Bangkok, and the expression (something like) “raising your children in the car.”

    I hope things improve for you. Here in Ocala, FL the worst of the Delta spike seems to be passing but one has to wonder if thee will be new variant that will cause another spike.

    Best wishes to you.

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