I was a lead teacher, academic director and recruiter for a private Thai language school with several branches. I did this job for well over a decade and as you would expect - there's a story or two.
Virtual teaching is not for everyone and teachers that make the transition usually have a few habits they need to restructure in order to be effective online. Still, if you're one of the many teachers looking to make a change or just earn a bit of extra money, I highly recommend giving it a try.
Most of the English teachers in Thailand seem to be slightly older so it’s understandable that they would view energy, positive reinforcement and affability in the EFL classroom with disdain and denial.
Today I am celebrating my first year of teaching at a government school in rural Thailand. I thought I'd share some of the interesting idiosyncrasies within the school where I currently work.
I've now worked at a rural government school for a whole semester. I thought I might share with you my account so far, with some practical advice that may help ease your transition to teaching in Thailand.
It is impossible to describe how much Thai people love His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej because there is nothing else to compare it to. I can't think of another country that has loved a King, Leader or person so unanimously and unconditionally.
I have broken down ESL teachers into five general categories. These categories are only for native English speaking individuals coming from fairly wealthy societies; obviously the perspectives and other opportunities for educators from different locations will be quite different
I am not trying to claim this is any type of scientific research with a high level of reliability or validity, just a quick check to get a basic idea about whether or not ESL teachers in Thailand are underpaid and exploited.
Having the opportunity to come to Thailand to teach English because of being a native speaker of English does not come with any specific entitlements. Teachers need to learn and accept this.
Considering that English has been the international language of tourism and commerce for I don't know how many decades now, and there are I don't know how many thousands of English teachers all over the country, why is the general level of English so poor?
I have been teaching at a small kindergarten school for about three months now and have to say I’m loving every second of it. I’m really beginning to feel that I have found my vocation in life. I just wonder how long this honeymoon period will last?
Worried about that first day of class? The following compilation of articles might offer some insight into how to approach your students for the first time, regardless of their age, numbers and gender.
Now, I work hard and go beyond what is required of me every day. But it's no sacrifice. I like doing it. I'm no hero. In fact, if I want to, I can quit and bugger off home at any time.
A detailed description and step-by-step guide to what you need to do if you want to apply for an unsecured credit card in Thailand.
Most countries have lots to offer but one of the best places to teach English abroad is definitely Thailand. Here are plenty of reasons why.
Peetim's ESL homestay offers volunteers lodging, food, laundry, transportation, and Thai culture in exchange for teaching English in her government and private schools.
To help with adjusting to life as a classroom teacher, here are 10 great memes to expose some classroom realities.
Some would say controversial words from Steve. But what is it about untrained teachers that really gets his goat?
After a couple years living in a country where the average daytime temperature is around 32C, you start to celebrate when temperatures finally start to cool.
Over a typical week I see four hundred or more students, across Mathayom levels one to six, aged twelve to eighteen. Class sizes range from twenty to thirty students.
I'd always had a dream to teach in Thailand. I'm a fully qualified teacher with nearly twenty years teaching experience. So why not? Life's too short right?
People claim that Thailand will be 'left behind' in the coming years, but there is no evidence for this assumption. Its economy has grown considerably in recent decades, all the while with relatively low levels of English proficiency.
If you have been here a year or two, you have probably made or seen all the newbie mistakes. But more pitfalls await. Here is a run-through of things you should avoid
The economy is functioning like an alcoholic's ailing liver. This has been headline news for several years, but seeing it in the news and experiencing it first hand was quite different.
For the sensitive minded people who live in utter oblivion about skin color, this is probably not the article for you. But this is the cold hard truth.
I am happy to announce that I am back living in Thailand. I arrived here in mid-June after completing my last work contract renewal in Saudi Arabia.
Simply learning how to use popular software applications is no longer enough for today's students. Other countries are waking up to this reality and education departments have reformed their computer studies curriculum to introduce students to the basic principles of computer science from an early age.
Schools even have a legitimate excuse for celebrating Halloween, because it is covered in the Thai MoE's foreign language curriculum - ‘students should be aware of foreign cultures and festivals.'
If the country's economy were to develop and the powers-that-be decided to prioritise restoration, then the city could be the most beautiful in Southeast Asia
Much of what is often dismissed as over-sensitive, politically correct, namby-pampy pandering comes from a good place. Words are weapons
The Thai teachers at my school, especially the veterans, are uncomfortable with the excitement and commotion during the lessons by the foreign teachers. They view it as an inability to control our students.
To get an idea of exactly what teachers love and loathe about life in Thailand, we conducted a brief survey and with foreign teachers based in Chiang Mai.
By keeping the importance of good nutrition on the agenda, teachers can make a difference. But be a good role model to your students before requesting their participation in eating healthy.
If you're currently looking for a teaching position to keep you busy over the coming year, then there are plenty of great opportunities out there, but there is also a lot of competition
Thailand had run its course for me. I enjoyed it for years but the shine eventually wore off. I plan to return for a visit here and there. You just don't live in a place for 10 years and forget it.
It is because of our children that six months ago I started to look for new employment, as Thailand is still a country of poor people and wages are not very high. A single individual earning my salary would have been relatively well off, but now I support my wife and kids and bills would pile up and we would be living from paycheck to paycheck.
Recently I read an article that stated adults in Thailand are ranked 55th from a list of 60 countries on their English proficiency skills. From what I have seen as an English teacher working in government secondary schools over the last 10 years, I'm not surprised,
Many of the people I've met along the way have asked me how I managed to study and work at the same time, or how I got such a cool job, or where to look for a job and so on.
My life is much fuller and more varied since I purchased the car. I do more. I go to more interesting places. I don't waste time waiting for public transportation - and I feel safer in traffic.
The Thai football season returns on 14th February, and for many it is a chance to rekindle their love with the beautiful game. Thai football is on a high, so why not get involved?
They are the shopping mall English teachers - gliding like pale, undernourished phantoms amid the hordes of weekend Thai shoppers. The main reason I empathize with the shopping mall teacher is because I was once one myself. I know how desperate and soul-destroying it can be.
I'm an online English teacher, part of a booming sector of "edupreneurs" - teachers working for themselves, combining their skills and knowledge with technology, to create their own business.
We advocate flipping the traditional approach on its head. First, decide what you're going to teach and then find students to teach this to. And to ensure high rates of pay, what you should teach is something highly specialised.
I have lived and worked in Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and had the opportunity to travel throughout South East Asia during holidays. You can read more about the types of experiences you will encounter abroad in my latest novel.
For foreign teachers working in Thailand, the coup had a number of knock-on effects which started with a couple of days off school as educational institutions were temporarily shut down to silence protests from educators and university students.
It can be pretty frustrating when classes are cancelled and students go missing for activities and pre-activity preparations.
By the time we rolled into Hualamphong Station (a wonderful station, for the record) two hours late we were so happy that we kind of forgot about the sleepless night and just laughed about it. And that's what I'm doing now, writing semi-seriously about some minor issues on a train in a developing country.
Recently, in search of some intellectual stimulation I decided to teach myself Latin. A teacher by trade I felt somewhat hypocritical extolling the virtues of education, knowledge and study to my pupils only to find myself night after night subjecting my mind to hours of iPad surfing and social networking. I read too, of course. But it's not really work, is it? It's not a challenge.
The tragic deaths of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on Koh Tao last month made headlines across the world. It led newspapers and tourists to wonder - 'How could these brutal murders take place on an idyllic island in the Land of Smiles?'
I'm celebrating my 10th year in Thailand as an ESL Teacher. Working in a foreign land hasn't been easy. It took me years and a lot of patience and hard work to get settled, not to mention the ocean of tears and heartbreaking homesickness.
A look at the tightening restrictions in the Thailand TEFL industry and getting yourself diploma certified.
Fashion guru, Sebastian Hawkes, joins ajarn.com to cast a critical eye over what teachers should be carrying their stuff in this coming Fall. Could it be time to ditch the backpack for something more trendy?
Stroll along any sois and it is not uncommon at all to see men, wild hair unwashed, shoeless and half-naked, scavenge in overflowing bins. Drug addicts, unfortunate immigrants or just plain poor, it is hard to tell, but pitiful all the same.
Many studies have been undertaken to determine the reasons why South East Asian students have problems learning English. I would add to the list: weakness of the curriculum design, limited school resources, class sizes, poor course design, and course-books not always being relevant to the student's own environment.
The football World Cup was a great opportunity to broaden students' horizons by encouraging them to learn about people and cultures around the world. And enjoy the football of course!
I'm now in my third year as an English teacher at a secondary school in Thailand. I guess you could say I'm a veteran now, though this is a job which 'veteran' doesn't mean much
Not content with creating incomprehensible, inaccurate and often absurd examination questions for primary and secondary school students, NIETS are now planning a standardized exam for all students finishing university
Wouldn't it be great if students could use some of thier social networking time to develop their English? This was the thinking behind a project I started with my Mathayom 3 students - 'A Tweet a Day'.
This article is about how the Thai labor court system works in terms of mediation, arbitration, etc, how much money you can expect to be awarded in compensation - and most importantly, how much it will cost you.
Thai TESOL is a non-profit organisation that works committedly towards raising the standards of English in schools and universities across Thailand. They do this by cooperating with like-minded organizations, providing professional development, conducting research and organizing conferences.
One applicant that I won't forget was a certain Mr G. Glitter who applied for a primary school homeroom teacher position in 2006 and claimed to 'love working with kids'. The application came complete with a picture of the glam rocker in full 1970s rock regalia
This is the first of a series of articles about the Thai labour law and the labour courts and how foreigners, especially teachers in Thailand, are affected by them. As a teacher, I have been to the Thai labour court twice and in both cases had a settlement awarded to me. I have also been to the labour court in South Africa as an employer several times. I have never lost a court case.
Most Thais do not have any understanding or desire to learn road safety. If you grew up in my generation you had Tufty and his gang drilling the green cross code into your brain, and those lessons never get forgotten as the years pass by.
I had hoped to send this letter to you directly but I suspect your offices are besieged by angry protestors, frustrated with corruption and incompetency. So it seemed a better idea to write you an open letter. I am writing this in the hope that this year's O-NET (Ordinary National Educational Test) examinations will better assess the Mathayom 6 students than previous efforts have done.
So after being back in Australia for 7 months now, I'm still disappointed and can't settle here either whichever way I try. I have tried several different jobs and in my heart they don't really suit me. I guess I really just miss the Thai lifestyle I have been waiting so long for.
I was asked to fill in a questionnaire by my old university on the topic of teaching English in Thailand. Although it was intended to encourage applicants to take a Thai study program in Germany, the information might be useful for those teachers thinking of coming to work here in Thailand.
Games can reinforce what has been taught earlier in a lesson and can be used as a filler or as a reward for good work. But to expect foreign English teachers to spend the majority of their time entertaining students, especially adults, is, to me, just not right.
It's never been my intention to become best friends with any of my students but I truly believe that a good relationship and strong rapport with students is absolutely vital in order to begin being an effective teacher. If I ever expect to receive the respect of my students (which is all the time) then the obvious thing for me to do is give respect to them as early as possible.
I come from a society and a culture where the copying of anything in or out of a classroom is simply looked on as cheating. Not only cheating the whole idea of education but cheating oneself out of any possibility of learning, not to mention a total disrespect of the student who goes to the trouble of learning the correct answers in the first place. So I was appalled beyond measure when I saw my first example of copying in my classroom at my first school in Phuket.
Life offers many twists and opportunities to those with an open mind; and after an amicable divorce from my wife and selling my house and possessions, I hit the road with a small backpack for company. After three years on the road I stumbled into Thailand.
My philosophy on spoken communication has always been that perfect grammar, extensive vocabulary and intimate knowledge of tenses are all totally worthless if the listener cannot understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.
I got an interview for a science teacher position here in Thailand. The owner of the education employment agency started by asking me how long I plan to stay in Thailand. I said, "A long time because I like Thailand." He asked me what I like about Thailand. I said, "What's to not like about Thailand?"
Next year it's going to be a very long summer. Schools will be finishing in early March as usual but the new school year won't begin until mid-June. That's a 3-month holiday we're looking at. Great news for our students but it may be a little worrying for teachers that don't get holiday pay
This won't be a list of grumbles about Thai ignorance or rudeness. I don't intend to criticise Thai culture here - that's another debate entirely. If you're a Thai who couldn't care less about foreigners, don't particularly care about their feelings and think screaming "Helloooo!" at them from the back of your Fino is the height of wit, this article is not for you.
This happens ever year. Things are going great, the students and teachers are all settled, parents are happy, mid-term tests out of the way and then out of nowhere a local international school swoops in and poaches one of our ESL teachers. So annoying!
I had been working as a Maths teacher for just under four months at a Catholic school in Bangkok when the head teacher, who is always happy to deliver bad news in a very dramatic way, informed me that parents had complained about the homework books not being marked. This was just the beginning.
I taught English in China for 9 years. Every day I remember something bad that happened to me on a regular basis in China that never happens to me in Thailand. Here is my opinion of the two countries if you put them up against each other - from the point of view of an English teacher of course.
Before we get into the list I just want to mention that everything is written in good fun. Expats and Thailand veterans will understand more than first timers. Certain sentences and parts reflect my own specific experience more so than the general one. Some of it might come across as sappy, but I've had a very positive experience in Thailand and the glass is half full for me.
There has been much debate about exactly what a 21st century education should look like with academics producing long-winded articles packed full with migraine-inducing jargon... but not a lot of change has actually taken place in the classroom.
We've both been here about six months, have only done two visa runs, had both our employers apply for our work permits for us, have started saving money as we actually make a little more collectively than we did in South Korea - and are both loving life again. Life really couldn't be much better.
Listening to family members tell you about their serious health worries never ever makes for a pleasant telephone conversation and I'll admit to putting down the phone on such occasions and becoming a little emotional. You can offer all the support you can over the phone or even via Sype webcam but nothing ever beats being there with them in person.
I feel it is just unprofessional that if someone well qualified for an advertised job takes the time to research the job and your school, then you as an employer should have the courtesy (manners) to acknowledge that application even if the applicant may not be right person for the job.
Living with the Tiger focuses on two of the kids as they take an emotional journey back to the families that had once left them to die at a hospice. Some of the family members are even shocked to see that the children are still alive.
You can change the lives of your students and improve the quality of life in Thailand by spending just a few hours a week organizing a Design for Change contest at your school.
The third update to the story came in late 2010 when Ralph entered into a long court case (are there any other kind in Thailand?) and was left with a half-finished building. Surely things could only get better? So here we are in mid-2012. Did Ralph's house of horrors story finally have a happy ending? Read the fourth and final instalment.
In Thailand the government has set 2012 as English Speaking Year with a goal of encouraging students to converse in English every Monday. Such policies are useful but the major leap of enacting legislation to make English an official language for Thailand is also needed
The integration of internet and computers with education and English learning is something students find normal, and classrooms without some access to educational software may seem quaint. Some students may even feel they can get more ‘professional' teaching from the numerous online ELT sites if a school is behind in IT.
When I visited Maesod for the very first time I decided to come and live here and start a factory. I was attracted by the town's abundance of cheap teak, cheap Burmese labour and OK its beautiful girls as well.
I flew in to Bangkok and spent four amazing days and nights there. I was about to head out towards Ubon to start looking for work when I was tipped off with a potential opportunity in the Si Sa Ket province of Isaan.
Although most of my TEFL experience has not been in Thailand, there is still a long list of things I won’t accept in a teaching job. Talk numbers and cross my palm with silver because these are the things I simply won’t do for work.
The diary is the heartbreaking four-week journal of Mr Jim Elmdon - a teacher who came to Thailand and failed miserably. Keep a box of tissues handy.
Like many of you I work a regular job. For the last 8 years I've been a psychiatric nurse working for the NHS. Life is pretty good, I've never had as much job satisfaction as I do now (I'm not lying, honest!). But the lure of adventure is just too much.
Teacher and fanatical scuba diver, Andrew Stanford, discusses the best diving spots in Thailand and encourages more people to get out there and enjoy a whole new world.
Do you want to be able to control a roomful of pratom one students with one simple word? ? Would you like to get 99 per cent participation from your matayom class? Do you want an easy way to engage your adult students making learning fun for them and for you?
Without a doubt the ESL industry around the world is primarily a scam that is governed by unscrupulous business people that rarely have any pedagogical knowledge or academic backgrounds in the field of education
The student was not happy with this arrangement and asked the manager why I could not teach her. The manager replied, 'You learn with who I choose, not who you want. And I have chosen the other teacher.'
It’s only after six years that I’m able to deal with the pain of the injury sustained during the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 26th, 2004
After returning to Thailand, I found a contractor I thought was committed to building my house the way I wanted it. Finding someone to complete what had been started by another person, I knew would be difficult, but nevertheless I thought I had found the right man.
The diary is the sad and heartbreaking four-week journal of Mr Jim Elmdon - a teacher who came, saw, and failed miserably. Keep a box of tissues handy.
I no longer teach ESL classes to Thai school students. I will never again work for another Thai boss. I now work for a Chinese man with Thai citizenship (caters to the Taiwanese test prep market) and a pair of foreigners. If you're smart and resourceful enough, there are thousands of opportunities out there
Employment agencies in are in dire need of actors for live performances on stage. Body piercing, visible tattoos, drinking or smoking in public, or any kind of physical handicap, even if slight, will qualify the applicant.
What can a teacher do if they are fed up with the standard 'teacher's uniform' of business shirt, necktie and trousers? Ajarn's man of style, Sebastian Hawkes, comes to the rescue with some carefully thought out suggestions. Mimi Rodgers offers her valuable opinions from a woman's perspective.
Regular ajarn contributor Tim Cornwall is back with more tips and techniques for both experienced and inexperienced teachers alike from smiling to laying down class rules and from teacher movement to setting up activities.
When a group of experienced motor-cycling friends suggest hiring powerful bikes to explore the beautiful Chiang Mai region and you know full well that you've never ridden a motorbike in your life, that crazy sense of adventure takes over.
Recently we sent out a teachers newsletter to let people know about all ajarn's latest developments and news. Although a lot of the feedback we get is complimentary, this letter from Dave Bryant proves that it's not always a bed of roses running the ajarn.com office.
Teacher Ralph Sasser has now returned to America. After being duped by building contractors here in Thailand, it's the only way he can save enough money to get the job finished and realize his dreams.
No, ajarn.com isn't responsible for low teacher salaries - at least not according to Louis Minson. Louis says that not presenting a realistic picture of the overall job situation would be sweeping things under the carpet.
A foreign teacher contacted ajarn wanting to share a diary that one of his English program students had written. Although the student is only a youngster, the diary is a very frank account of what it's like to study at a Thai school. Top work!
All the information on this page is courtesy of our friends at One Stop Chiang Mai. If you see something inaccurate - complain to them.
Read a terrific account from a teacher who gave up the Chiang Mai lifestyle to go and work in the capital Bangkok. It's very much a tale of two cities - and how one dedicated teacher fared in both.
It's a been a long and often painful journey, but here's an account of 15 years in the Thailand TEFL business. My careers officer never once told me that it might turn out like this.
Bobo gets to grips with sliding pay scales and agents bemused by his pseudo-American appearance. Well worth a read!
Bobo Metei came to Thailand as a fresh graduate on the lookout for different things. So being a young man with little money in his pocket, he decided to take up teaching.
John Quinn, the senior TEFL trainer at SEE, spent a morning at the MOE office in Chiang Mai to try and get some answers to questions teachers have regarding employment in Thailand. John has very kindly allowed ajarn.com to put the main points of the interview on-line. Some of the answers may well surprise you.
Dave Patterson, who is a teacher at the Prince of Songkhla University in South Thailand, says it's about time Thai students took studying English seriously. And it's about time schools got serious about taking care of their students.
Some long-term teachers make one of the biggest decisions of their life and decide to have a house built in Thailand. But what happens when it all goes wrong? Read Ralph Sasser's nightmare story of bent lawyers, jail threats and the construction company from Hell.
Kathy Willis from the USA contacted me to say that she was going to spend a whole week interviewing for teaching jobs in Bangkok. Yes sir, she was going to run a finger down all those banner ads on the ajarn.com homepage and hit the mean streets in search of suitable employment.
Kristen Jeffery came to Thailand for 18 months to teach English....with a husband and a very young daughter in tow. Kristen very kindly tells ajarn.com how her experience unfolded and needless to say, it's a must-read for anyone thinking of teaching English while caring for a young child at the same time.
Straight-talking Australian teacher Ajarn X has written an excellent article on racial discrimination in Thailand, and also what makes the good Filipino teachers very good and the bad ones extremely bad. Not just a good read for Filipinos, but anyone who teaches in Thailand.
Take a look at what teacher Steve Salyer has done to his studio apartment in Sukhumwit 71. Let Steve be your inspiration. Now isn't it about time you paid more attention to your living environment and stopped your mother worrying so much?
Leigh-Anne Hunter has found out that people fall into three distinct groups when you let them know of your ridiculous plans to move to Thailand. How do you know you'll like it if you've never been? Isn't that where the tsunami was? I guess these people mean well.
I found out later after talking with other teachers, that there were two teachers that didn’t like us and they were both on the “committee” The director couldn’t go against the committee because she would lose face.
Few teachers know Chiang Mai better than Andy B. Although he started working there for less than 10,000 baht a month, he soon found out that displaying a degree of professionalism reaped dividends.
Take a look at the ajarn.com art gallery. This is the place for talented teachers to scan and send us those little masterpieces that are created while students are busy doing tests or assorted gap-fill exercises.
How easy or difficult is it to adapt back to a life in your native country after spending seven or eight years teaching in Thailand? Will jobs be easy to come by? Are your old friends still around, and if so, how will they react when the wanderer returns? How does it feel to suddenly find yourself thrown into a world of credit crunches, binge drinking, escalating crime rates and a world far removed from the one you left behind?