This is the place to air your views on TEFL issues in Thailand. Most topics are welcome but please use common sense at all times. Please note that not all submissions will be used, particularly if the post is just a one or two sentence comment about a previous entry.
It's hard to believe how uneducated people are on here about money, when they say "You'll make three times what a Thai does," or "You have to live like a Thai!" Total rubbish. The salary one makes as a teacher, first of all, is three times more than the minimum wage in Thailand. Yes, this is true. But when you factor in all the circumstantial costs, opportunity costs and expat costs, a Westerner making 30,000 baht a month will, in the long run, have a lower standard of living of Thai who makes currently 10,000 baht a month.
People are bloody clueless. Consider the following factors:
Expats pay for work permit costs and criminal record check costs, etc.
Expats pay for visa run costs
Expats pay more for Passport Services
Thais get access to free healthcare
Thais get access to bank loans and credit and local brokerages for investments
Western teachers are often paying off loans from expensive universities that cost up to 20 times what a Thai university costs
Westerners pay more for national parks, taxis, and pretty much any other good or service
Westerners were born in colder environments. Science proves that your sweat glands and optimal temperature are developed and adapted when you are around 2-5 years old. Therefore, air conditioner costs are higher for Westerners
Western Food that Westerners grew up with (although not a necessity to live, it is something they are adapted to eat) is two to three times more expensive than Thai food.
Thais have their family networks to draw on at all times and can share resources
Thais do not have to spend money to fly home for funerals, weddings, reunions, etc.
Thais are generally smaller in stature, so they do not have to eat as much
Thais are not constantly having to bargain with touts and vendors who treat them as tourists
Thais have more right to the laws and are less likely to have to pay bribes, get ripped off in a legal dispute or not get paid
It is much cheaper for a Thai to retire in Thailand than it is for a Westerner who needs x amount of money in the bank for a retirement visa
The amount of money a Westerner needs to retire in his/her own country is four times what a Thai would need in Thailand
Thais are legally allowed to work a second job
Thais are legally allowed to own property and a business
A Westerner is expected to pay the lion's share for his/her Thai Spouse's lifestyle and family
A Thai does not have to pay fines to immigration for not checking in every three months
Westerners have to pay more for moving and shipping costs (presents, bank cards, documents, etc) than the average Thai
Thai entertainment, such as television, books and movies are also much cheaper and more available in Thailand
Thais can invest in their own furniture and not have to pay the "service" for serviced apartments, while only long term Westerners with a Thai spouse could and would be able to do this
Expats have to pay remittance costs and exchange rates to move their money to and from their home countries
Expats have to pay for Skype/Google Hangouts to be able to call family and friends back home
If they want to integrate, Expats have to pay (one way or another) for Thai language lessons
If they want to get married, go to a dentist, write a will, etc., a Westerner will have to pay a translation fee or premium for an English speaking service (unless they can read Thai very well and I have never seen this)
Although paltry, Thais are entitled to social services and programs that Westerners are not
Thais (in slightly higher tax brackets) can write off expenses and purchases - like the genius first time car ownership tax deductible that Yingluck introduced
Thais don't have to do their taxes twice, or have the possibility of paying an accountant, tax documentation twice, and they don't have to worry about the residency/non-residency bullshit.
Thais don't have to worry about the work or fees of keeping bank accounts in two countries.
Am I missing anything? Perhaps the above was somewhat rambling or petty, but I still believe that people need to "Wake The F.... up" and stop falling for this argument. I would never consider living in Thailand again for anything less than 90,000 a month.
I remember working part-time in a language centre that geared mainly towards IELTS, TOEFL and TOEIC. The ladies at the front would tell the students any old bollox. Didn't matter how low level your English was they'd push you to do a the course.
The first thing I'd do is tell the students how difficult IELTS can be. If you're at a level under pre-intermediate, you will struggle (these students harboured ideas of studying in the UK, etc, so needed at least a 6.5 score). I told them they'd be better off learning general English for a while and then come back. So, I'd get that out of the way and I'd introduce the course. We'd get to the first activity and I would see the students' faces drop. That sudden realisation that this was proper hard work.
No word of a lie I had a student ask me; "Teacher, if I did this test in Cambodia, would it be easier?" to which I replied "Is that a joke?" I could see some of the students eyes light up as they thought I was going to reply 'yes'. Unfortunately for them, I had to break the news that this is a standardised test. It's the same all over the world and the reason it exists is to test your level of English. Faces dropped again. I explained to some of the nurses one time that doing their TOEIC test can be a question of life and death for some poor bugger in hospital. The questions aren't trying to trick you - they're trying to make sure you're listening properly and have a good grasp of English.
I think many people believe studying IETLS, etc, to be a status symbol. I've had students study it thinking it was merely an advanced level of learning English. It's not. It's a test that anyone can take to test their level of English. If you wanna spunk god knows how much money up the wall on doing a 60+ hour course and then an exam, go nuts. But understand the reason for studying English proficiency exams. It's not about learning English - it's about learning how to pass a particular test. Your English has to already be good to get a meaningful score that will help you progress to university abroad, etc.
I disagree that teachers shouldn't have favourite students. It's pretty easy for me to determine early in the school year, which students get the best of my attention and which ones will benefit most in the long run from a little favouritism.
My favourite students are the ones who are the most attentive and involved in the class. I play to this section of the crowd. If the rest are quiet, I leave 'em alone.
I'll never forget a TV interview that the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys gave (Jimmy Johnston) after he had fired a player for sleeping in a player's meeting. He was asked if he would have fired Troy Aikman (the quarterback) if HE had slept during the meeting.
His answer was: "Of course not. I play favourites."
Made sense to me.
In my humble opinion, teaching in Thailand is not that harmful. Some people rather allow external factors to harm them. I believe that teachers with proper qualifications, like degrees in education and so on get paid well. For the other ones, who get paid less, the golden rules for a happy life in Thailand are always the same: Just ignore, or at least don't get too involved in all those things that make no sense to us, or that we, as foreigners, cannot change. Get a life outside the working place and surround yourself with positive people. Well... at least for me it works, and I've been here almost a decade. Peace
Dear All, I taught in Thailand about ten years ago at a government school. Over the last ten years or so,I have taught in Japan, China and now in Dubai.
I occasionally visit this website to see how things are developing in regards to salaries and working conditions. To my surprise it seems that the salaries have remained the same and in some cases working conditions have got worse.
I enjoyed my stay in Thailand, but from week one, I knew it would only be for a short period of time. I still don't understand why teachers stay in Thailand for a period of of more than a year.
Poor salaries, poor conditions, lack of respect from some Thai teachers and students whom have no incentive to study hard.
Keith in Dubai
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