Dear Prospective Bangkok Employer:
I’m a 53-year old American expat with a BA in journalism, a 120-hour TESOL certificate, a 40-hour TEFL certificate, and a 30-hour IELTS training certificate, a weekend short course of IELTS speaking examiner training with the British Council, and 10 years of teaching experience in four countries – South Korea, China, Vietnam, and Thailand. In short, I’m a garden-variety, good-for-nothing, dime-a-dozen underachieving drifter seeking a cushy college gig teaching 16 45-minute classes a week with no office hours and a rent-free 90 sq.m apartment for around $900US a month after taxes.
In my last two positions, I wasted my time and my life of quiet TEFL desperation at an all-girl’s government school off the Hua Lamphong BTS station sweating direly in dreary and dilapidated non-air-conditioned classrooms beneath depressing rows of old, broken-down fans babysitting on average forty bored, clueless, and mediocre mathayom students who neither understood nor cared about the value of learning English as a foreign language.
My starting and ending salary, which amounted to and equaled one month of employment before I quit post haste, was 36,000 baht. For this salary I was required to pay a 20 baht round-trip to ride a motorcycle five minutes to an MRT station and a 74 baht round-trip to ride the train 40 minutes, then walk 20 minutes to school and teach 19 classes a week plus one English Club a month.
The textbooks and curriculum, designed by a big Bangkok teacher-placement agency, were absurd at worst and mediocre at best, and getting students to follow the lessons and write in their workbooks, much less to understand the inconsistently graded and poorly conceived material, was like trying to get a romper room of cheeky monkeys to focus on drying whiteboard ink.
My three foreign colleagues were equally dispensable flunkies with varying levels of experience in the TEFL trenches, but all were seemingly stuck in the rut of going through the motions of pretending to be teachers for the sake of a paycheck. Despite their outward ability to show up and punch in they were, like so many other government school babysitters in the Land of Smiles, secretly trudging and frowning upon their lowly positions with dislike and disappointment while riding it out for the semester break.
My other job was at a training institute in Bangkok, where I was paid 500 baht an hour to teach teens and kids an extra 8 hours per week. The students were fine, and the school was adequately run and the work fairly enjoyable, but the commute, which included more MRT and BTS fares and considerable traveling and walking time between schools and stations, was too burdensome and unproductive in my book.
So, I’m heading back to China and that job I was seeking. I may be a slacker but it sure beats banging my head against the wall in Bangkok, any day of the week.