Q1. Where did you move to and when?
Guangdong, China; August 2011
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
Seven years in Bangkok.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I hit the top of the pay scale for international school teachers hired in-country. I was tired of school owners with no education background that run schools too much like a corporation. Also, too long in Thailand does not look good on a CV for international schools.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
Better pay, lower cost of living in a secondary city, more professional colleagues. My school now knows that the amount of good foreign teachers here is not abundant and genuinely tries to retain its faculty.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Beaches, the calm and slow pace of daily life and the food. Fewer squat toilets versus where I am now!
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
I think that Thailand is an easier country for someone starting out to find their feet. The language and the people are easier to deal with than the Chinese.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I can't say for sure. People I know call me with 'job leads' thinking I'll come back but I'm under contract and trying to add to my CV. I'd really have to hear high praise from someone I trust about a school to go back. I think timing will also be a big part of whether or not I come back permanently but I do visit often.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
I'm not sure what the future holds for teachers in Thailand, but that's been said a lot. I really thought that my last job in Thailand would keep me settled there. Turned out that the last 'next big, new school' was a huge disappointment and I realised that I was constantly seeing the same problems in Bangkok. Many people that I know that lived there and left say that Thailand is a good place for a holiday but a bad place to work.
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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.