Determine your own significance
The true value of an English teacher
Native English teachers incompetent in the classroom? Of course they're incompetent. Many of them, anyway. Then again, many of the Korean English teachers are incompetent as well.
When in Rome
Definitely don't do as the Romans do
With the school year just beginning, at least the public schools here in South Korea, this is as good an opportunity as ever to discuss the teacher-training workshop that is offered twice a year to native English speakers by the various Offices of Education. I've had the misfortune of attending two of them in my three years with the program, both presented in the exact same fashion.
Bananas and condoms
How some EFL teachers are attempting to proselytize the flock
Every now and then we come across ethnocentric people who believe that their culture and society are vastly superior to anything the "socially depraved" West has ever produced. There are two sides to this debate. This is the other side.
Or the culture of understanding?
If knowing more about a specific culture can make me a better teacher while I'm living there, then I'd be more than happy to sign up and pay for some culture course. But keep the "My Culture Is Better Than Your Culture" crap out of it
Outsourcing in the TEFL industry
It's not just for blond-haired blue-eyed wonders anymore.
no one bitches and moans like foreign English teachers. Especially the foreign English teachers with blond hair and blue eyes. Especially the foreign English teachers who have been spoiled over the last three plus decades with free airline tickets to and from home and rent-free apartments
The perfect storm
Dopey foreigners and mentally deficient Koreans part one
So Korea, go ahead and continue to hire unqualified native English teachers. You know exactly what you're doing. You're hardly walking and talking testaments to your own good judgement. A plague on all your houses!
You are the solution
what foreign teachers don't want to hear
Many foreign teachers forget that they're not in Kansas anymore, and demand that their hosts adapt to them rather than trying to find a middle-ground where a reasonable compromise can be reached. If many foreign teachers are the problem, (and they are), then they are also the solution.
TEFL’s number one enemy
Losers to the right of me, morons to my left
There are many successful teachers here in Korea and elsewhere. I have been lucky enough to work with many great teachers. But they are a rare breed, indeed. Successful teachers don't allow the system to beat them down. They rise up to answer the call again and again.
Delusions of the lowly and mediocre
A letter home from the mad world of an English teacher
Dear Mom and Dad. Just imagine, last year I was getting my B.A. in Sociology, (minor in Leisure Studies), and stacking cat food part-time on the shelves of Wal Mart. And now, bam! I'm a teacher. Glad I refused that job offer at Burger King. If only the guys can see me now.
Teacher as leader
An article in the Korea Times
Far too many native English teachers come to Korea with neither plans nor goals in dramatically raising the English language ability of their students. Having failed, they then blame the Korean education system for being uninspiring and unprogressive.
The politics of Babopalooza
The joke is on us
The stress and aggravation of life in Korea for expats can be brutal at times, and that's why it's important to blow off a little steam every now and then. During times like these, most expats simply get together to eat, drink, and complain about life in a society that still views foreigners as less than equal.
The courage to be fair and honest
The intelligence to see the big picture
I have just read the article in the Korea Times entitled "12 Foreign English Teachers Suspected of Drug Abuse" and have been appalled by the light in which you have put foreign English teachers in Korea. I can understand your need to sell a story by the use of using a powerful heading to draw people in. But it has come at a cost of discriminating against the foreign community in Korea.
Caring or kinky?
Corporal punishment in public schools
According to studies and surveys, neither the majority of teachers, parents, nor students are against corporal punishment in school. In fact, an overwhelming majority are for it and see very little, if anything wrong with it, as long as it is meted out "fairly."
A Taiwan and Korea story continued
Noble warriors and the culture of Irresponsibility
It has often been said that a lot of people--- whether it be Immigration officials, those who work in Embassies or Consulates, members of the business and academic community, and many everyday people--- don't want us in their country. Some want to learn English. Many need to learn English. And most parents want their kids to learn English. But many people don't want us here.
A Korea story part one
Noble warriors and the culture of Irresponsibility
I believe that just about all of us noble warriors would like to look back on our overseas teaching experiences with pride and come to the conclusion that we did well. I don't know anyone of us who wants to look back at their experiences in anger and disappointment and conclude that they failed.
Touch their hearts
Touch their hearts and their minds will follow
Let's leave the academic stuff to Thais. Leave all of this pedagogical, impersonal, pompous-ass, Ivy-league, academic mumbo-jumbo for their own people. As westerners, let's teach them some real English.
We work for the room
ESL ghosts of the past
There's been so many bad experiences, I don't know where to start. Forget the times I was ripped off hundreds of dollars from unscrupulous Korean hagwon owners and Taiwanese recruiters. That might take too long and it's another column entirely. I'm still trying to forget the time when one of the nine million Mr. Kims barged into my class and, in front of the students, told me in Korean what a horrible teacher I was.
Certificate (3), Diploma (2), BSc (1)
British (male, 57 years old, native English speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
British (male, 33 years old, native English speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
Filipino (male, 35 years old, native Tagalog speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
Filipino (female, 21 years old, native Tagalog speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
Certificate (2), MA (1), BA (1)
Filipino (male, 33 years old, native Tagalog speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
British (male, 49 years old, native English speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
Cameroonian (female, 29 years old, native English speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
British (male, 23 years old, native English speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
Certificate (4), BA (1), MA (1)
Canadian (male, 46 years old, native English speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
BA (1), Certificate (1)
British (male, 51 years old, native English speaker). Currently living in Thailand.
Ajarn.com 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.
Ajarn.com 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 Ajarn.com's duty to present both sides of the equation. Thanks for stopping by.
The Region Guides
Fancy working in Thailand but not in Bangkok? Our region guides are written by teachers who actually live and work in the provinces.
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Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.
Fancy teaching freelance?
How easy is it to cut out the middlemen and rake in the cash teach students at their own homes?
Find out how employable you are in Thailand as an English teacher. Is it a case of 'welcome aboard' or "Mom, I need you to send some money again"
The cost of living
How much money does a teacher need to earn in order to survive in Thailand? We analyze the facts.
Hi, I’m Tony Dabbs
I was a licensed life and health agent in the USA for many years and now I'm ajarn.com's health insurance expert.
E-mailing for jobs
E-mailing potential employers in Thailand can be a very frustrating experience. Teacher Chris is on hand to give you some top tips.