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Conversations with agents

2nd June 2012

These are actual quotes from real telephone conversations that I have had recently with teacher placement agencies..

Agent: “we cannot tell you where the school is until after you sign the contract” 
me: why?
Agent “I don’t want you contacting the school without us because we would lose our commission”

Next agent.

me:  “is the school in a remote location?”
Agent: “It depends on what you mean by a remote location?”
me: “is the location accessible by plane, train, bus, taxi. tuk-tuk or elephant?
Agent: “we will meet you at the bus station and take you there”
me: “about how far is it from the bus station to the town?”
Agent: “we will stop about half-way and buy you lunch”
me: “so it is not near the small town bus station?”
Agent: “they don’t have a 7 eleven if that is what you want”
Next agent.

Agent: “we will hold 3,000 baht every month from your salary and give it to you at the end of your contract”
me: “why?”
Agent: “so we know you will complete your contract and not leave early because of the working conditions”

Next agent.

Contact person: You will start at 7:15am for gate duty, teach 26 hours per week, remain on campus until 4.30pm when gate duty ends. You have to do one Saturday afternoon per month, and a once a week English club after school. We will give you 24,000 baht and we help you with the paperwork for a non-immigrant B visa - and we give 50% for accident insurance.
me: Thank you, good bye.

Next agent.

me: “can you tell me the age group of the students, your job ad does not say”
Agent: “we will pay you a bonus to sign a contract”
me: “okay, but what age group would l be teaching?”
Agent: “some of the classrooms have air-con, others have fans and the school provides a western lunch”
me: “great, what age group are the students?”
Agent: “it varies”

Next agent

Contact person; “Can you come in for an interview?”
Me: “yes, I can”
Contact person: “be prepared to teach a 50-minute class to students as a demonstration. Also bring us ten lesson plans and three positive references. Please, be on time because we have many other teachers demonstrating that week”
Me: “sure, my rate is 500 baht an hour”

Well, I can continue - although not now. Personally, I have twenty years teaching experience with excellent references and credentials. It is my desire to continue to teach in Thailand for the students. I try and ignore the nonsense but it just seems to be getting sillier and sillier.

By the way, this was written for a smile, not out of bitterness or anger.


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About 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. 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's duty to present both sides of the equation. Thanks for stopping by.