From Police to “Border Patrol Police School Teacher”: Precious Experience with Teacher Quality Development Lessons

The road of Lt.Col. Watcharin Yosrungroj who put down the gun to become a teacher for more than 10 years

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“Teachers of the Border Patrol Police schools are high spirited and powerful. However, they do not put much effort in tactics. If they wish to overcome their enemies, they have to use a lot of strength and their hearts to fight. It might be a bit painful, but if we teach them the tricks, the fight goes subtle. As the power will also be less used, they will know their turn and reach the target in a better way”

stated Lt.Col. Watcharin Yosrungroj, School Principal of Ban Nong Khaem Border Patrol Police School, Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai province.

The challenging path of becoming a “teacher”

Being a teacher requires academic knowledge, teaching skills, psychology and full-fledged spirit of the teacher to understand students. Typically, the regular curriculum of the Faculty of Education and the study of Education takes up to 5 years to finish and it may not produce an inadequate supply of teachers to meet the demand. Many schools located at the border areas are greatly short of teachers. We then witness people of other careers turning themselves into teachers in various places. Nevertheless, it might not be enough and those teachers are in urgent need of teacher’s skills fulfillment.

Equitable Education Fund (EEF) correspondingly coordinates with educational institutions and the government sectors to establish “Teacher Development Program in Border Patrol Police Schools” to solve the scarcity of local teachers and uplift the quality of education of schools in remote areas by using the path of former Border Patrol Police school teachers as a case study before developing it for the better stage by stage. The road of teachers of the Border Patrol Police schools is interesting in terms of the way their lives were prior to the existence of the program, their experiences being teachers in the initial phase, the way they developed themselves and with the presence of the program, in what way they will help improve teaching in the Border Patrol Police schools.

From police to teacher, a new life goal

Lt.Col. Watcharin Yosrungroj, School Principal of Ban Nong Khaem Border Patrol Police School, Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai province, is an example of those who have converted themselves from other careers to teachers. Prior to becoming a school principal whom children love, Lt.Col. Watcharin himself used to be someone whom children were scared of because he was a border patrol police officer of the Narcotics Control Board team. His role was to arrest the convicted. It came to a turning point for him to become a teacher after performing his duties for some time.

“I felt bad seeing children cry when I was arresting their parents. I know that I’m not cold-hearted enough. When I knew there was a Border Patrol Police School, I asked to move as a teacher to help develop students there. I helped to pass on the primary knowledge to prevent them from committing any drug-related crimes, breaking the rules, and deforestation. That would be more advantageous.”

Although he had been provided with a quota to study as a teacher at Lampang Rajabhat University before he was a police officer, he had never thought of being a teacher. However, the crimes that he had witnessed convinced Lt.Col. Watcharin to desire to solve the problem at its root which is providing education for children and the community to prevent illegal actions. He accordingly made a decision to become the Border Patrol Police school teacher. Lt.Col. Watcharin viewed that this is a sustainability for the community and being a teacher suits him better. The result of working in the educational field from then to now proves that Watcharin has made the right decision.

How to start from the bottom as new teachers 0

The outset of Lt. Col. Watcharin as a teacher was teaching grade 3 students at Chaopho Luang Uppatham 2 Border Patrol Police School, Phrao District, Chiang Mai province. Due to the reason that there were not many teachers, Lt. Col. Watcharin had to take the responsibility to teach 5 subjects which were Thai language, English language, Additional Experiences, Additional Mannerism, and Works and Basic Careers. At first, Lt. Col. Watcharin had to study from teachers’ handbooks and textbooks because there were not many options of educational media, no internet, no Google to search for exemplary information. He then had to dedicate his time studying from textbooks and joining teacher training.

“Wherever there was teacher training, I enrolled all because I wanted to enhance my skills in order that I could become better at teaching. Students view us as their role model, if we teach them false information then it is wrong, meaning students will remember and learn what is faulty. For instance, if I tell them that the earth is flat, they will believe it is flat. Therefore, before passing on knowledge to pupils, we must know what is true and what is not to prevent them from remembering or learning what is wrong.”

The outcome will appear in better student development both in life skills and academics. Most students of the Border Patrol Police schools have high life skills basically. Teachers merely assist them in terms of academic knowledge for them to connect with their way of life. Lt. Col. Watcharin, as a teacher, feels proud.

Daily achievements of teachers

The role of teachers is not only beneficial to students, but also teachers themselves. Lt. Col. Watcharin has gained more academic skills as he has to pre-study before teaching his students. He feels proud and begins to think that he is a teacher when students make educational progress such as speaking basic English. Lt. Col. Watcharin also gained teaching skills and communication with students.

The more he participates in training sessions, the better his teaching skills become. He puts the knowledge and different techniques into teaching; lesson plans and a new manner of student assessment, for instance. In contrast to the original student evaluation which concerned the academic capacity, literacy and behaviors, post-training results in systematic assessment with criteria that can be applied to the school conditions.

From teacher to “school principal”, aiming to solve the school and community problems

Lt. Col. Watcharin had taught in the classroom until 2005 before the position of school principal at Ban Nong Khaem Border Patrol Police School was unoccupied. Lt. Col. Watcharin was then assigned by the commander to take the responsibility in the area; a dangerous zone where there are drug crimes and deforestation. A number of students are uneducated owing to forced prostitution. The first thing he did was inviting parents into a discussion over the solutions toward the forced prostitution which is largely caused by the children’s guardians who yearn for a commission after a successful human trafficking. As a consequence, it is essential to educate people in the community with the law that adults are regardlessly sentenced guilty if the children are under the age of 15, with or without consent. Apart from that, Lt. Col. Watcharin coordinated with related organizations to take care of the problem, with intense restriction, forced prostitution began to dwindle.

“They (the adults) still make a phone call to some students who left to study in other places. For the reason that they suspend their education to work at a karaoke bar. I went to the place in uniform, saying I am here to have my pupils back. The age below 18 is illegal to do as such. Although they graduated from our school, I have the concern to keep an eye on their being.”

Commitment to self-development to improve local education

Lt. Col. Watcharin decided to proceed with a Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree while inclusively working in the school administration sector. He claimed that education is not difficult when one is committed. Lt. Col. Watcharin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law. As a teacher he wished to pursue a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. But the curriculum only allows those who graduated from educational fields to study. He then changed to research and development study at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University.

Lt. Col. Wacharin spent his weekends off to study while having his friends on duty. He would return to work and replace his fellows on weekdays. It took him 4 years before graduation, an exhausting path but it was his goal to reach. Moreover, Lt. Col. Wacharin invested in his education by applying for a student loan. In terms of the Doctoral Degree, he attended North-Chiang Mai University in Administration and Development which took him more than 5 years to finish.

The next move in skills development of the Border Patrol Police school teachers

Lt. Col. Watcharin viewed that his own path was not easy and smooth. Often, he had to put a great deal of effort into an elusive knowledge. Once Lt. Col. Watcharin discovered the Teacher Development of Border Patrol Police schools, he was prepared to fully support the program because he believes it is a good concept. As a former inexperienced Border Patrol Police teacher, encouragement and power are inadequate. Rather, tactics must be involved in teaching. It is difficult to teach the lesson interestingly while being inexperienced because of the lack of skills, psychological knowledge, lesson plans and student assessment. Systematic teacher development in the Border Patrol Police schools is vital because students can make fast progress in development resulting from teachers implementing various teaching processes as though they held an Education Degree directly.

“This is seemingly a fulfillment for teachers of the Border Patrol Police schools who are high spirited and powerful. However, they do not put much effort in tactics. If they wish to overcome their enemies, they have to use a lot of strength and their hearts to fight. It might be a bit painful, but if we teach them the tricks, the fight goes subtle. As power will also be less used, they will know their turn and reach the target in a better way”

The path of Lt. Col. Watcharin as a teacher for more than ten years has enlightened the education industry that different organizations should pay more attention to teacher development as well as the development in remote areas. The first move of the development is the program in the teacher development of the Border Patrol Police schools. The willpower of other Border Patrol Police personnel who will help change the quality of school is the important course which can make the next move happen. If other personnel are as motivated as Lt. Col. Wacharin, Border Patrol Police schools will become many times stronger.

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