Submit your own 'Great Escape' »

John Dixon

posted on 11th May 2012

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Thailand from Australia in May of 2002 and was recruited by University of Melbourne on behalf of Joseph Upatham School in Nakhon Pathom and finished there in Feb 2012.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Ten years at the same school, but chances of promotion or doing anything other than teach English there were zero. Worked with some really great people and some complete nut jobs as well. My school was overall good and many teachers have been there for 10 years plus. But if you want something more than to cruise along for the rest of your life till your pension arrives, it is not the place for you.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Two reasons, my Thai other half of six and a half years died and as stated no chance of going up or even sideways career wise. The boss, while having her good points was always inconsistent on saying one thing and wanting or expecting you to do something else. Remember you are only there to make them look good. I did get a good offer of a job in 2008 at Trinity International in Bangkok but had to turn it down because of caring for my other half. I have sons back in Australia and family as well so that was the main reason for coming back in Feb of 2012.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

I don't see any advantage of coming back to Australia. It is expensive, over-regulated, over-policed and everyone is over-worked (if they have a job) and no one really smiles and the weather at least in Melbourne is crap. Not afraid to admit I have made a mistake so will be back to Thailand one way or another ASAP.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the warmth, my Thai and farang friends and the smiles. As a professionally trained teacher, give me teaching Thai students to teaching in a school in Australia any time.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

Test the waters first. There are many good schools to work at in Thailand (and some not so good ones). But do your homework first and the more qualifications you have, the better the job you will get. Teaching in Thailand can be a great experience. But if you have not been sent there to work by an international company you won't make a fortune, Like the old joke goes - how do you make a small fortune in Thailand? Answer; start with a large one! Also take take the time to learn at least some basic Thai.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Currently in Melbourne and having to do (more) training (Two degrees and a teaching qualification not enough) to teach refugees English. Though this is a stop gap. Turned down one job last week in Chaiyaphum as I don't really want to be working for an agency. The Thai school year is starting soon and the International School year in August so as soon as a satisfactory job comes up, I will be back in Thailand.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Give me Thailand to Australia any day.

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About Ajarn.com

Ajarn.com was started as a small hobby website in 1999 by Ian McNamara. It was a simple way for one Bangkok teacher to share his Thailand experiences and pass on advice. The website developed a loyal and enthusiastic following. In 2004, Ian handed over the reins to Phil Williams and 'Bangkok Phil' has run the ajarn website ever since.

Ajarn.com has grown enormously and is now the most popular TEFL site in Thailand - possibly even South East Asia. Although best-known for its vibrant jobs page, Ajarn has a wealth of articles, blogs, features and help and advice. But one principle has always remained at Ajarn's core - to tell things like they are and to do it with a sense of humor. Thailand can be Heaven or Hell for an English teacher. It's always been Ajarn.com's duty to present both sides of the equation. Thanks for stopping by.