An English teacher at a school in Bangkok has revealed how, during lessons with a particularly difficult and unresponsive young child, he became so thoroughly bored, that he regularly counted the number of windows in the condominium opposite.
The teacher, who we shall call 'Fred', worked at the Pinklao branch of inlingua, which is on the 5th floor of the Central shopping center. Across the road, is the Lumpini Park 2, a whopping condominium with a huge number of windows - just the thing for teachers who have lost the will to live, and are trying, desperately, to distract themselves from falling, headlong, into the Land of Nod.
'Fred', by his own admission, was regularly detailed to teach+ students of low English capability, and even lower levels of enthusiasm.
It was, he said, often difficult to discern if they were still alive.
One-to-one situations can often be difficult at the best of times, and with Thai students' inordinate fear of making a mistake and 'losing face', many choose, instead, to remain silent. Fred's student, a young girl, was in this category.
He tried, week after week, month after month, to cajole some words out of the girl, with flash cards, games, and other activities, but in vain. Initial hope, then determination, eventually gave way to disappointment, frustration, and counting windows.
Asked by another teacher how many windows there were in the condo, 'Fred' replied:
"I don't know. I always lose count at around 270."
+ In the context of this story, 'teach' means 'spend time in the room with a student, under the pretext of trying, often unsuccessfully, to impart some knowledge about the English language'.