how thai kids get on the naughty list

my m3s (9th graders) are doing comparative sentences with christmas vocabulary this week. both the vocab and comparative structure are review, so this shouldn't have been too hard. i gave them a worksheet to do, then walked around the class to make sure they were doing said comparative worksheet. from the back corner, i heard a loud, "teacher! teacher!"

me: "yes?"
student 1 (pointing to her friend): "stupid!"
me: "she is stupid?"
student 1: "yes, she is stupid!"
me: "NO! she is not stupid! are you stupid?"
student 2 (looks at me confused because she is sort of stupid): "no...uhh..." (says some stuff in thai)
me: "you are not stupid. this is hard. don't worry."

but the name calling continued, and after some debate about the stupidity of student 2 (who we determined was only a little crazy, but not stupid), student 2 pointed to student 1 and said, "she is bigger. her body is bigger. ugly."

i gasped and looked at her directly in the face. "NO! you are beautiful."

no wonder the thai teachers are so concerned with body image (in this office, anyway). they're terrible to each other from an early age. "you're bigger than me, so you're ugly." while i can appreciate some of the thais' frankness about image and learning ability, sometimes it's just too harsh (people are regularly described as "fat" or "dumb"). i used to parade around saying i hated political correctness and having to describe someone by every single other attribute they have other than "freaking huge," but really, i don't know how much of this harsh honesty is good for these poor pubescent kids.


  1. ... You respond to teacher?!
    You have a name!
    You don't call them student

  2. i'm just proud if the pronounce the r at the end of the word.