Teaching at my university

What does holding down a university job entail?

3rd January 2009

if you want to teach university classes like mine, in particularly regard to Thai classes, if they are school leavers they’re really as good a bunch of starters as you could ever hope to get. If you try and teach them in a systematic way, you will encounter difficulties – difficulties that might, at first, be inclined to plunge you into the deepest depths of despair.

Why not accept life degrees?

Sent in by James D

24th December 2007

Is it cheating? Some people may feel this way, but read through this website and there are many posts supporting the fact possessing a university degree does not make you a better or worse teacher than the next teacher, it's down to proving yourself as an individual in the classroom.

The deep bow and the silent fart

Where does respect for teachers actually come from?

1st October 2006

I don't care about students bowing to me when I enter the room. That is learned behavior. And whatever is learned can be unlearned and replaced with something more practical, like coming to class prepared to learn English by bringing your pen and notebook; like paying attention while the teacher is speaking

You will always be an outsider

The dark underbelly of the Thailand TEFL industry

1st August 2006

These questions lead to the dark underbelly of Thailand’s EFL industry. Let’s face it: the cowboys have invaded and they’re here to stay. Many English teachers are tourists who only want to extend travel by getting a quick paycheck. Some are fly-by-night sex-pats who have run out of cash. Many English teachers are fleeing a criminal past, or hiding from life back home.

Isaan bound

A half year in review

1st August 2005

Not surprisingly, I am still wrestling with the administration over issues of fair pay, planning time and sensible class-size and leveling. Despite everything, I am having a great time in Khon Kaen.

Sweet spastic, silly swarms

Back in Korea again

1st July 2005

Korea was the same as when I left it. New swarms of hagwons proliferated like rabbits on viagra and cheap wine. Every street twinkled with the latest corporate offspring – doe-eyed upstarts of whatever educational franchise chain. Small, independent, family owned schools struggled to compete; while saturating the nation themselves oblivious to supply and demand.

We work for the room

ESL ghosts of the past

1st July 2005

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.

Are you certified?

Finding your way through the TEFL course maze

1st June 2005

Teaching was no longer challenging. I was stagnating. Sure, I could always shake my life up with a weekend of debauchery, an occasional fling with a sexy female expatriate, or by traveling to a different city – and, truth be told, I often tried combining all three. But, at my core, I knew that I wasn’t growing productively. As a teacher I wasn’t developing. My methodologies had become stale. I needed a new bag of tricks. I needed rejuvenation.

Why don’t we ever learn?

ESL teachers, bar girls and the sex industry

1st June 2005

I hoped that I would never feel the need to write about bar girls or the sex industry, but these two stories stood out for the simple reason that both of them involved ESL teachers living and teaching in Bangkok.

Advice you can truly use

Don't listen to those barstool experts!

1st October 2004

Having been warned-- or advised-- that appearance is very important here in Thailand, (just as important as Japan, Korea, or Taiwan I suppose), I set out on job interviews. Most of the advice for teachers on the Thailand websites struck me as either superficial or downright absurd.

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About Ajarn.com

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.