Mark Newman's blog on ajarn.com.


Don't dream it, just do it!

Don't be that person who lives a life of regrets

If the worst happens, just come home! If that job sucks, or you get sick, or the view from your apartment is another apartment... don't stay! You've lost nothing and you've found out that the life of a traveller isn't for you.


Getting the kids hooked young!

My goal is to not frighten the lives out of my students

I'm stepping back from the serious, academic approach and working on making my classes something that kids look forward to - even if they aren't learning as much.


Your girlfriend Nan......

.....and her words translated

I'm dangerously unstable when provoked and I'm also insanely jealous. That's not a figure of speech - I really am bonkers! If I think that you aren't channeling your entire life towards me, I'll fly off the handle and my sulks can last for days


An ideal home

Some thoughts about renting in Thailand

Choosing a 'home' is a balance of positives (what you want) versus negatives (what you are prepared to put up with) Where you eventually decide to set up base camp in Thailand won't be the same as where your colleagues would choose.


Be the worst teacher you can be

A guide to making life difficult for you and everyone else

There's simply not enough information on how to be a crap teacher and just coast by. There's almost nothing on how easily you can do things that can get you fired or at least lose you the respect of everyone around you.


Ten reasons to quit teaching English in Thailand

How soon will you be heading home?

Are you a new teacher in Thailand? How's it working out for you? Have you found a nice apartment yet? Scoped out all the cool places to buy coffee and street food? Fantastic. Welcome on board...


The practicality of experience and the advantage of training

How delicious is your pie?

When I lost my cherry to teaching, my pie was all desire. Nowadays it's about half desire and half experience.


The social graduate

There is much to appreciate about what goes on at a Thai school

In Taiwan and Japan, they are just fanatical about studying and in the West, we're almost at the point where we've given up caring. Thailand seems to have a nice balance... the parents, teachers and the government care and are involved but they aren't crazy-ape-shit bonkers about it!


Little victories - then and now

How things have changed for me over the years

I was a young and gregarious 'know-it-all' forty-year-old when I came to Thailand and I'm now in my late fifties. My life has changed enormously since the heady and adventurous days since my arrival


The age of Trump........and Thailand!

A look into the economic and political crystal ball

Realistically, in ten years time, I'm guessing that half of the people who are here teaching English now, will be gone. There won't be the funding to keep them at public schools and parents will baulk at the idea of paying for them at private institutions.


An uncertain future?

Five ideas to reform the Thai education system

I've been teaching in different schools and businesses around Thailand for a long time and in my view, there are five important areas that need to be addressed immediately, to secure (or at least improve) the standing of Thai education for the next generation.


Long term work or short term work?

What are the pros and cons?

I'll simply take a look at some pros and cons for both long term and short term teaching stays in Thailand. For the sake of this article, 'short term' is anything less than a school year and for 'long term', any work that keeps you in Thailand for more than a year.


Teaching conversation in Thailand

Some ideas to make conversation classes more successful

Students find the ability to be understood in a foreign language the most gratifying aspect of the pain of learning it. If they don't get an opportunity to speak in the classroom they'll soon get bored.


Ten reasons you’re a jerk! (an intervention)

Why you've now become a royal pain in the whatsit

OK... here's a list of ten reasons why you are just a pain to be around since you came back from Thailand. I'm hoping that you'll understand all of these issues and do something about them before our relationship is changed forever.


Why you are fantastic!

10 reasons why teaching English has made you a fantastic person

Think about how you've changed since you became a teacher - because you have and all for the better, too.


Good adverts last a lifetime

A good teacher can have a lifelong impact on their students

Looking back almost fifty years, I can remember what subjects I liked and disliked at school. Most of the subjects I liked was down to the fact that I liked the teacher teaching it.


The fantastical world of teaching in Thailand

A child's imagination is a beautiful thing

If you really enjoy your work and genuinely like your students then you'll already have the skill set needed to be able to determine what kids will enjoy while they are learning. My rule of thumb is... if I don't like it, my students won't either.


Mother's Day essays

Making sure the right student wins!

Every August, we have a writing competition at school to celebrate Mother's Day. My job is to decide which students genuinely made the effort to produce their own work - and not just run it through Google Translate!


Common law and common sense

In Thailand, the ‘rule of law' is often just a guideline and last resort

One of the biggest grievances of expats living in Thailand is the enforcement of laws. In every aspect of Thai society from murder to littering, there seems to be a casual enforcement of the law.


The natural order of things

Not all students are created equal or should be treated as equal

In the best interests of the students who are capable, interested and who want to learn, some kids have to be left behind. That's why our school has streams.


Good teachers or warm bodies?

What do we deserve?

I’m guessing that at least one third of all TEFL teachers are underprepared, underqualified or lack any kind of training in their subject. Compounding the problem is the fact that government funding for teacher training/re-training is non-existent.


Marko's guide for newbies

Ten top tips for new teachers arriving in Thailand

New teachers teaching Thais in schools are often placed into an awkward and stressful situation, not really sure of their authority and sometimes not even placed with assistants who are much help


Bloody well turn it down

Noise pollution gone mad

At the risk of sounding xenophobic..., what the heck, I'll say it: Thai people don't hear noise in the same manner as foreigners. Could it be that Thais have some sort of innate (spiritual?) ability to 'tune it out'. More realistically, the reason is; Thai people 'bear it'. For them to show disdain for loud noise would be a sign of weakness.


Random TEFL musings (part one)

Preparing yourself for teaching in Thailand

Teaching in Thailand isn't easy. Accept that you will never be the perfect teacher. Take classroom management seriously. Expect bad or negative things to happen. Finally, know exactly why the school has hired you.


Teaching young Thai kids with no resources!

How to be a success in the classroom with very few materials

‘How do I teach with no resources?' Well, if you are new to Thailand and teaching and have just started at a new school this may be useful to you.


The ten teaching English in Thailand commandments

Tips and strategies to make your life easier

If you are new to Thailand, the following guide may help you to enjoy your time here and your classes more. If you are a burned out, old pro, the following gentle ‘reminder' may reinvigorate your verve.


How can I make it in the madness?

The harsh reality of teaching in Thailand

It's depressing just how many people come here to teach and leave with lots of resentment and bitterness. Or worse still, remain here polluting the place with those same feelings! Don't be one of them.


How long is long enough?

You've attended the job interview. You need a yes or no answer.

Once you have attended an interview, what do you think is a reasonable time-scale to wait for either a yes, you've got the job or a no, you haven't? The answer is to always go with your instincts.


Older teachers and acculturalization!

Adapting to life in Thailand strategies for the older expat

For the older expat, life in Thailand can be magnificent. A well organized and well resourced expat can enjoy a rebirth in the ‘Land of Smiles.


Over 40? Don't fear. Teaching in Thailand is still for you.

Moving to Thailand strategies for those in their mature years

If you're over 40 or even over 50 there are still a lot of opportunities waiting for you in Thailand. You may have had a career in the armed forces or banking or engineering. You may be getting over a messy divorce. You may simply just be tired of where you are from.


Who gets the call when their arms are raised?

Which student gets the teacher's questions and why?

Here are the different groups of students within a typical class. They are quite distinctive and there's not really much of a gray area between them.


A farang mute!

Why I have no intention of studying Thai

We all have our different reasons for being here in Thailand. Yours may be to experience adventure and to embrace different cultures. Mine's just the opposite. I came to be left in peace.


The teaching game

Games - I love 'em and I use them in my classroom in every way I can.

Don't be dismissive of games or underestimate their value. The resultant effect of these light-hearted activities may have more than just the 'learning' benefits.


How to be a successful teacher in Thailand

There is little correlation between a successful teacher and a good teacher

Success in Thailand is an easy (but often lengthy) process of self discovery. But it starts with finding out what is expected of you from everyone you come into contact with and being able to adjust your behavior to provide those things.


Getting that corporate contract

How to forge ahead in the world of selling business English

If a private language school is paying you 800 baht an hour for corporate work, then how much are they making for themselves? Why aren't YOU making the whole 2,000 baht an hour - and cutting out the middle man?


Coming to live and teach in Thailand?

You can do it - but have a plan!

First decide which camp you are in. There are two. Either you are coming to Thailand because you want to live here or you are coming to Thailand because you want to teach here. It's important to make this distinction.


Times have changed for older teachers

Older teachers can find it tougher to get teaching work here nowadays

In my view, over the next few years, Thailand will see a sharp decline of older native English teachers in the classroom. The above factors will weigh increasingly against those older job applicants who, in the past, could simply show up to an interview and be almost guaranteed of getting that job.


Here is the news

as prepared by the Thailand Ministry of Open and Honest Government

In Education news - A British English teacher who had been fired for failing a student has been reinstated. Last month Trevor Brigham was dismissed for failing a female student.


Letter from Thailand

A bit of good old English nostalgia

I didn't mean for this first essay to become maudlin or even nostalgic. I don't miss these things really. But I do miss the way that some of them made me feel.

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The Hot Spot


Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.


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Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?


Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

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Air your views

Air your views

Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!


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Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.