You missed out a fourth option Jack (“We all have choices” Postbox 25th May) and that is to leave Thailand, work elsewhere and come back for holidays. Welcome to China where education is taken seriously, teaching is an average of 15 to 20 (45 minute periods) per week and when all the free stuff such as accommodation, electric, food . . . is thrown in, it’s easily worth the equivalent of 60k+ baht a month. No ‘extra activities’, ‘forced’ attendance in summer camps or ‘compulsory’ sports days. The atmosphere is usually serious but friendly and older teachers are rather more welcome than 21-year old blond/e haired ‘backpackers’.
I do still look on Thailand as my ‘home’ and have a wife and house there, so my post is not sour grapes against the country itself but rather at the reality of what’s going on. The ‘happy, happy’ teaching methodology, the exam cheating, the corruption, the influx of unemployed people replacing the tourists . . . . . a developing country that relied on tourism is now wondering where all the money has gone! In less than eight months, despite normal everyday expenses, I have saved 170k baht to bring back to Thailand in the summer holidays, something that was impossible when I worked there.
That’s why the salaries are dropping and teachers are leaving at an alarming rate; money and in many cases the horrendous working conditions. China welcomes teachers and experience with open arms, as does Vietnam and South Korea. Teachers are now leaving Thailand and if tourism doesn’t come back soon, (unlikely given the deep recession the west is in), Thailand will once again sink back into oblivion and its third world status.