How's the Thailand TEFL job market?
Are salaries really going down?
After hearing many teachers complain about TEFL salaries in Thailand and the fact that they seem to only be going in one direction. I decided to e-mail thirty to forty companies who are currently in the process of hiring teachers in order to get their hopefully realistic views. Those surveyed included agents, government schools, universities, private language schools, etc.
Sadly, I got something of a lukewarm response, which often happens when I send out these surveys and try to get to the heart of the matter. People seem to like playing things close to their chest. However, massive respect to those who did reply and send me their answers.
Please note that I have numbered the answers only to divide them up and let you see where the responses from different people begin and end. The numbers in each answer category do not signify that they are from the same person.
If I get more survey responses trickle in over the coming weeks, I will certainly update the information.
Quite a number of foreign teachers are complaining that teacher salaries in Thailand are actually decreasing or at least they have stayed the same for a number of years. Firstly do you think it's true and if so what are the reasons?
1) Yes I do think that's true. I am one of the few agencies that I know of - after talking to teachers who work for others - that actually gives two to four percent raises every year. I think the current situation is simply due to supply and demand and the fact that agencies are running a business and want to keep their bottom line down as much as possible. Due to the terrible economy in many Western nations, there is now a glut of young, energetic (but unqualified) native speakers available.
It's cheaper for agencies to hire a 23-year old college grad with no teaching experience and pay those teachers 25,000 a month than it is to hire someone with experience and have to pay that teacher 40,000. I don't agree with that practice and I don't do it because I don't think it works in the long term. These type of agencies usually only stay at any school for one or two years maximum before their contract fails to get renewed due to the low quality of the teachers they provide. But if the agency has many client schools on their books, I guess they can afford to not care.
2) This situation of decreasing salaries is because The Ministry of Education doesn't allocate enough budget to government schools for foreign teachers. Perhaps things might change if we see a new education minister.
3) I don't find it true at all.
4) I think we hit a peak about two years ago, when you saw a lot more 40,000+ salaries than you do now. Nowadays, thirty seems to be the new forty.
5) I have heard salaries are the same as they were 8 years ago but can't confirm this because I've only been here for one year. The probable reason is that most teachers lack proper teaching experience, or are here for travel and will take any job. Then there are the retired guys just wanting something to do so they are not too bothered about money
6) I have witnessed a decrease with government school salaries. We were told that their budgets had been cut for other things so they had to make up the money.
7) I think salaries have stayed the same for the last 5 years. And I think the main reason is that there are now many smaller companies offering to do the same job for less. We have also seen more teachers coming here - especially from South Africa - willing to work for as little as 30,000 THB per month.
8) The salaries we pay are not decreasing, but they are staying the same, generally at the bog-standard 35,000b per month. We don't make a huge profit per teacher like so many foreign teachers think - and trying to get more money from a school, government or private, is very difficult, even for a renewal contract. Also, it is now more difficult to place teachers at government schools as they are now supposed to take the lowest contract bid from an agency.
9) I'm not sure salaries are decreasing but they are certainly not going up either.
Many teachers are also complaining about schools cutting back on benefits such as health insurance and also making teachers work more hours for the same money. Do you think that there is a lot more ‘cost-cutting' going on?
1) The teachers at our school are having to work more hours because of all the hours lost last year during the flood crisis. It's a case of ‘making up the hours lost'. No one is finding themselves with more teaching hours for the same salary.
2) It sounds like you're referring to language schools. Truthfully, I have never been able to stir up enough interest in a group insurance program to make it possible, and we are in no position to pay the full cost for them.
3) Yes, I think there's a lot more cost-cutting going on these days and I can't see the situation improving any time soon.
4) I think we are seeing the fallout from last year's flooding. Let's face it - someone has to pay for all those sandbags. And I've even heard of schools that experienced no flooding whatsoever jumping on the bandwagon and cutting benefits - then citing flooding as the reason. That only works with new teachers though.
5) Yes I do, but I cannot speak for individual schools. We are an agency who offer teachers 35,000 per month and full BUPA cover.
6) I follow some of the discussions on teacher forums and I know some of the teachers posting on there personally. Even though they don't work for me, I know the truth and many of those teachers complaining only have themselves to blame. We haven't cut back on anything or added more hours to teacher schedules, neither are we expecting teachers to work harder for the same salary.
7) Our contracts are bog-standard and do not usually include health insurance from the school. It is not something they offer readily. I have seen that some schools, not just with us but friends at different schools have been given extra classes with no extra remuneration given. When this happens with ourselves, ie, a teacher being given an extra 2 or 3 classes per week, we try to get an increase in salary. Sometimes we are successful, but not always. My own opinion is that most schools have teachers between 8am and 4pm, so the number of teaching hours is irrelevant. I may be wrong with that view.
Have you noticed any changes or trends in the type of people who are applying for your teaching jobs?
1) Overall, I would say that the quality of applicant is greatly improved over what it used to be years ago.
2) Yes, I've noticed that most of the truly qualified and well experienced native speaking teachers are going overseas or to high-end international or private schools locally, where the pay and benefits are much better. Most of the people applying to me now are unqualified or inexperienced native English speakers looking for their first teaching job in Thailand. I still get the same deluge of Filipino applicants with degrees in education that respond to any job ad I place of course.
Yes, most applicants are not native speakers. Now there are many from Africa, Philippines and non-native speaking European countries. It shows how bad the European economy is when people can't find jobs there.
3) There seems to be a lot more people applying for jobs whenever we advertise.
4) We see all kinds of people applying for our teaching jobs. In the past we were lucky if any good teachers applied for the jobs we offered at all. But now we have lots of choice, which is good for the teaching industry. I think in the past teachers felt that we needed them and they could behave as they pleased. If they got fired from one school, they would just move on to the next. These teachers are now whining about how bad things have got now. But I think the schools are more pleased than ever with the standard of teachers.
5) In the last year or so there has been a definite difference in the teachers applying. We are now getting as lot of newbie teachers, more than ever.
6) I have seen a distinct lack of professionalism and work ethic, in both new teachers and those with several years experience. Starting at the interview stage, I arrange interviews with so many teachers and they just don't turn up. No phone call, no email, or even a text message to cancel the appointment. At schools, too many teachers walk into the classroom with the course book and that's it. We prepare worksheets, lesson plans and other teaching materials to give to teachers, but they are not always used. I think overall the level of teaching is lower than it has been in the last few years.
7) Teachers coming for interviews seem to be a lot more desperate for a job because they have bills to pay or they have seen their savings dwindle down to almost nothing. Years ago, when a good teacher came for an interview, they always seemed to have plenty of options open. That doesn't seem to be the trend now.
How about when teachers come to you for an interview, have you noticed any differences in people's attitudes?
1) I don't personally interview teachers much anymore, but often exchange e-mails with them before they arrive. If anything, I find a great deal more respectfulness, overall, than what they used to show.
2) Among foreigners who have been here a while, there seems to be a lot of anger, resentment and negative attitudes towards the new, stricter teacher licensing rules from the Teachers Council. Among new teachers there seems to be a lot of fear, anxiety and ignorance about these rules.
3) Teachers ask far more questions at interviews than they used to. I've got no problem with that. I think it's got to the stage where many teachers have had bad experiences too many times and they are wary about joining another poor school.
4) I haven't noticed anything unusual apart from the fact that you still get the same number of no-shows without as much as a quick phone call to explain why.
5) The most disturbing thing is just how many teachers have developed the mindset that there is no such thing as a good teaching job in Thailand. That can't be good. Not for anyone.
6) I don't really understand your question. Their attitude is that they want a job or they wouldn't come for an interview would they?
7) Yes, I recall a teacher applying for a job with us and when I called him up he basically yelled at me and told how he wouldn't work for less than 600 baht an hour. Now I have more choice and can pick the teachers whose attitude I like. I prefer a good attitude to teaching experience. But if possible I'll take both.
8) I don't personally conduct the interviews, but the feedback I have received about teachers that do attend is mixed between nice presentable, professional teachers to those we would rather not see again.
I think it's fair to say that the average teacher salary has been in the region of 30-35K for the last ten years. Do you think ten years from now, teachers will still be earning those kinds of salaries?
1) I'm not a prognosticator, though it's clear that salaries go up slowly. I'm not sure though if you are referring to salaries at language schools or kids schools.
2) No. I think that whether they want to or not, schools and agencies will have to face up to the reality and admit that they have to start paying more and offering more benefits if they want to get people who Thai schools, students and parents will accept.
3) Salaries probably will stay the same because one of the underlying ‘problems' - certainly as far as career teachers are concerned - is that Thailand is such an attractive place to spend a couple of years in. The cost of living is relatively low compared to other countries in Asia. It's easy to (cough!) make friends and form relationships with the locals. What young person, fresh out of university, wouldn't love to spend a year or two here. And all they ask is survival wages. I'm sure Thailand is more than happy with that arrangement.
4) Salaries will probably stay the same unless Thailand becomes such a huge economy they can pay more but I doubt it.
5) I think salaries will certainly be the same for government schools.
6) We are an agency and at the moment we are having a hard time getting decent money from the schools. I try to make sure my teachers are getting at least 35,000 THB per month but I doubt it will improve much over the next 10 years.
7) I agree with your average salary rate. I don't see anything changing drastically with this unless there is a real shake-up in the thinking of the government and the Ministry of Education.
8) I have no ide but no one is ever going to get rich teaching English in Thailand.
Are you finding it easier or more difficult to recruit quality teachers compared to say, last year or five years ago?
1) It's easier now than in the past.
2) Well, we get a good number of teachers through our TEFL course, and these work out great. As you know, we sometimes advertise on your website, and generally get more applicants than we know what to do with.
3) About the same, but I think this is only because I pay entry level salaries that are higher than all of my competition in an effort to offset this obstacle. I would rather make a little less profit and have stability with low turnover than make a lot of money with a higher turnover. I have 22 teachers now and my average, yearly turnover is just two teachers, which I think is fantastic compared to most other agencies out there.
4) It's always been difficult to find quality, reliable teachers with classroom teaching experience. Nothing has changed.
5) I actually think it's got much, much harder to find good teachers in Thailand. I think a lot of the better teachers have moved on to other countries. I used to bump into a lot of my ex-teaching staff on the skytrain (still on good terms though I might add) but I haven't seen many of them for a long time. I'm guessing they must have moved on.
6) The situation has improved a lot in the last two years. I took over from a really bad manager who tried to take advantage of teachers just to please the boss. However if you treat people like trash then you're only going to end up with teachers who have nowhere else to go. We are honest and straightforward with our teachers and it is working really well.
7) It is now much harder to employ quality teachers as it was, say two or three years ago.
Do you think the increase in the number of teacher placement agencies has been a good thing or a bad thing for Thailand's TEFL industry?
1) I think they are a good thing as long as they can avoid paying corruption money under the table and they can still pay the teachers a reasonable salary.
2) It's a very bad thing if they are not also reputable schools in their own right. They harm the chances of qualified teachers who lose out to unqualified ones 'sold' to the schools by these agents.
3) I would say it's a bad thing - simply because most of them have no idea what they are doing. For example, one of my local competitors is owned by a 23-year old kid who went for two semesters of college in The States. He then borrowed a considerable sum from his Mom and Dad and started his own unlicensed agency. He actually has to ask his own teachers about tax, immigration, work permit and licensing issues and nearly always pays salaries late. Unfortunately in my experience the vast majority of agencies out there are like his. It's sad for teachers and students, but I have to say that it's good for me!
4) The reasons why schools change to using agencies are simple. The teachers are screwing it up for themselves. They don't respect the school and they don't respect their fellow teachers. Schools end up having a hard time handling the teachers. After hiring teachers directly, they realize that it is not worth the hassle or the money they save. It's better to hand all the responsibility to an agency rather than deal with the headaches that come when they have to deal with teachers directly.
5) Agencies are fine if, and I mean if, they do a decent job and take care of the teacher. Too many agencies are just out to make easy money and they end up screwing things up for everyone else. I've heard some real horror stories from teachers who have come to work with us from past agencies.
What do you think Thailand needs to do to attract more quality teachers to come and work here or do you think things are fine as they are?
1) Things are great as they are, relatively speaking. Let's face it - professional teachers working for good salaries abroad are not going to sell their home and their car and their other belongings just to come to Thailand to teach for a fraction of that amount (Some do, though, but not many). And even if they did, the teaching quality would not be as good as that of a tefl teacher trained here - even if he or she lacks a degree - as being a 'professional' teaching English native speakers is a far, far cry from being a 'professional' at teaching ESL/EFL learners
2) Things are certainly not fine. Thailand needs to start having more inclusive, user-friendly rules and regulations where foreign teachers are concerned (or where everything else is concerned for that matter). For example, any foreigner who tries to call the Teachers Council to ask questions about the licensing regulations ends up hanging up the phone in frustration because no one speaks English well enough to answer them.
The typical response, from The TCT is "Well this is Thailand. They need to learn to speak Thai". They are right, of course, but that is an unrealistic expectation. When even little things like a help line that actually works cannot be pulled off, what does that say about the big picture? It says that the big picture is run very unprofessionally.
The Thais seem almost adamant about NOT adapting to the English speaking world, yet expect highly qualified, experienced, dedicated foreign teachers to come here in droves to teach for 22,000 baht a month. The government has official pay scale levels in place for teachers with certain sets of qualifications. For example, any teacher (foreign or Thai) with a PhD in their respective field, should have an entry level salary of 22,000 baht per month at any government school or university. 22,000! When I point out that no self-respecting native speaker who matches those qualifications would go for that, their invariable response is something like "This is Thailand! If they don't like it - they should leave!"
And that is exactly what good teachers are doing - in droves. This nationalistic, jingoistic Thai attitude is killing Thailand. But good luck getting anybody in a position of power to admit that or act intelligently on it. This ship called the education system of Thailand is sinking fast and the smart rats are jumping ship while they see the chance.
I can only try to change the culture of the client schools I have. Let Thailand help itself, because they certainly don't want any help from any foreigner.
3) Well a lot of the placement agencies are of a very poor standard and the TEFL companies make promises they don't keep, such as promising a person a job after the TEFL course then not providing one. Then when the teacher finds another job they don't give the certificate until the teacher gives them money. We are a placement agency but we design our own total conversation programs, sell them to the schools with teachers and provide full support. We don't just place a teacher in a school and leave them to fend for themselves as most do
4) Better salaries and conditions for starters. Many schools still have a whiteboard and the teacher stands there teaching, which is so boring for the students who all now have phones, I-pods and all manner of electronic gadgets.
Teachers vary so much in quality. A student can go into one class and have a good teacher then go into another and have a bad one.
Corruption is another issue. Many times we go to sell our programs around schools and the director or assistant director is asking us what's in it for them. Until these people stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the kids it wont change
5) I think we need to look at how we can get people to stay here longer. Keeping the teachers we have is a lot easier than recruiting new ones.
6) Things have never been perfect here for teachers. I think the Thais feel that foreign teachers are paid a lot already and therefore there is no need to improve things
7) I think major changes need to happen. The ministries of Labour and Education plus the Immigration need to work together and stop changing the process to obtain work permits. It is a headache trying to obtain work permits for teachers as one ministry says something different from the other or even individuals say contrasting things. The whole process needs to be made much easier, as at the moment it is very convoluted for schools, agencies and teachers alike. I also know many teachers are not happy about paying for the Thai teaching and ethics course
I also honestly believe they need to disregard the requirement for a degree. Having a degree does not make a better teacher. I have seen many teachers over the last few years and some of the teachers without degrees have been our best teachers. Overall, I think it evens itself out. Teachers should be means tested on their ability or approved by the school they work at. Teachers with degrees could simply get paid more because of their higher educational standard.
In your organization, have Thai staff salaries increased at a faster rate than those of foreign teachers over the last five or ten years?
1) No, we pay at the same rate, generally, whether they're Thai or foreign teachers.
2) At the same percentage rate per year but the entry level salary is lower to begin with. I actually want to pay them the same as my native speakers but my client schools refuse to pay me at the same rate so I can't. Technically speaking I could - but I would lose money on their contracts.
3) I don't deal with Thai salaries, so I really don't know. I can say that they don't get paid anywhere near the salary of a native English speaking teacher.
Post a Comment
(no sign-in required)
Very little if anything changes in Thailand. Teachers come and go. You can complain or not but they always think they will find someone to accept the pay or conditions and only when a few brave souls stand up and say they are not accepting it, they may take notice but slowly the new rules and regulations and way of doing things are lowered on the staff below. But I am always surprised at the farang bosses who become brown noses and just accept whatever comes from the top. Maybe deep down they just don’t give a sh*t. If you don’t like it then leave and that is what some people do. In my school which promotes itself as a top tier school, they do very little for you buy expect this top tier education. I was teaching science this year and was not given a bottle of cleaning alchohol the whole year. The parents were great and would try and bring what I asked them for labs, but the school itself couldn’t care less. They then had the gall to complain about my classes. I felt like saying are you sh*ttin me? You have done nothing for me the whole year. You wish to complain. Unfortuntely so little in this country is about education and so much about face and looking good and what the kids think. Some Thai teachers had the balls to come and tell me what they thought education should be. If the kids are not running around like headless chickens they think they are not having any fun. Screaming at the top of their voices. This is what Thai education amounts to. And this is why this country never really progresses, the kids cannot write and you can either accept it or not. Some do. Some don’t. the teachers who seem to last are the ones in my opinion who don’t give a damn. They don’t take it too seriously. Damn if they learn something. Damn if they don’t. Then the parents who seem to complain at the drop of a hat and this seems to be increasing. Now maybe they do sometimes pay a lot of money but the parents are as much as a hinderence as a help. Parents are far too quick to complain, and the teacher will be out the door and a new one in, and so the new teachers just is a yes man. But deep down the parents have no idea what these kids need which is why after 10 years of teaching English so few can actually do it.
By David, Bangkok (8th April 2013)
Peter, do be very, very careful around a couple of issues:
1. Don't spend your hard-earned cash on a certificate course that isn't internationally recognised, also remembering that the better institutions, certainly international employers, will have the same demands in-country.
2. Remember rampant ageism - both official and unofficial - in Thailand.
By Mark Azavedo, Dalian,China (5th April 2013)
Hello. I'm a recently retired professional seeking a lifestyle change.
I am considering TEFL in Thailand, but I'm particularly interested in teaching business English in a Microsoft Office context. I visualise teaching directly to employees in the commercial arena, ratherthan the classroom.
I have recent experience in the classroom teaching accredited courses including Certificate II in Business, and tutoring in business courses to diploma level online.
I have tertiary qualifications and Certificate IV in Training and Assessessment.
I am on the verge of enrolling for TEFL at University of Chiang Mai.
Any advice or assistance will be greatly appreciated.
By Peter Davidson, Victoria Australia (4th April 2013)
Corruption within the education system in Thailand is beyond belief. Private schools are only in it for the cash. Native speaking english teachers are only there so the schools can get the parents to pay more. Its a dirty business and its only getting worse. Its in the culture of the country and the wealthy just exploit it to the maximum. Private schools are a law unto themselves and teachers have no protection or rights of any significance. The big slap in the face for native english teachers now is the so called teachers assitant position. Not only did we all jump through hoops for the T.C.T. doing culture courses and examinations etc to gain a teaching licence. Now we see another loop hole exploited and teachers further devalued. Will the last decent native english speaking teacher to leave the country please wish the kids good luck because it is them that will suffer for the greed of these so called schools. It seems Thailand will continue to carry on regardless,corrupt,lawless and care free. There are many things I love about this country but the education system is not one of them.A crying shame.....
By Rob, South Thailand (15th September 2012)
I live and work in China. I can spend freely including socially (though it must be noted that I don't drink or smoke, frequent bars, etc), I can save substantially and remit large sums back to UK. Finally, I travel a lot both inside and outside China.
I believe that B30,000 would be survivable in many parts of Thailand, even allow a small amount of saving in some areas, but the lifestyle simply would not match what I can sustain in China (including holidaying in Thailand!).
As a destination, though, I'd love to teach in Thailand. That's the whole point - many, many people would love to teach in Thailand. The supply side of the equation is damn-nigh infinite! No wonder wages are low. That is exacerbated by the latter-day Thai veneration of youth. That low-pay teacher is young and pretty - seriously a winner!
But, yes, Thailand does still worry about teacher quality. In response.it has come up with that brilliant mechanism of the in-country interview and/or sample lesson, thereby guaranteeing choice from a limited gene-pool, with the exciting addendum of backpackers that happen to be passing through.
When will Thailand learn that serious professional teachers don't just pass through or pitch up on the off-chance that work might be available? We do, though, have Skype, as a natural tool of the trade.
By Mark, Dalian, China. (20th July 2012)
I work on the corporate side of things mainly and we too have noticed a drop in demand and therefore, demand for teachers. Salaries have been static and, in some cases, dropped, for 4 years.
Since the floods in particular, business has been slow. I suspect people are repairing damage rather than training.
Couple this with more people from the English speaking nations who can't find jobs back home and yes, you have lower wages here.
Therefore if money is your primary motivation, you shouldn't come to Thailand without an education degree.
By neil, Bangkok (7th June 2012)
A good article that raised some serious issues on both sides. I think there is more to add.
Firstly, don't forget that Thailand is an ageist society - junior Bechemheinem the third, armed with his freshly printed degree in political science and newly rocked up from nowhere city, USA, isn't going be met with either the respect or the salary he would expect back in the West. Indeed, if he were to observe his age/experience equivalent Thai counterparts, he would notice that, though he may feel very hard done by, he is earning a lot more and being treated far better than they - and they hold a full degree in education or even more!
Secondly, Thais are on a sliding pay scale - the longer in the job the better the salary. If we talk of pay rises they should be justified/earned the Thai way and not an automatic right for western 'teachers'! Don't forget, kids, who's to say the schools aren't giving pay rises but they aren't trickling down to the teacher - school's admin/agencies hijacking it!
Thirdly, Thailand is not a meritocracy - school management and the cliques that run schools come and go every 3 years - when they elect their management. When you feel the wind on the back of your neck and are given no support/the cold shoulder, you may be in with the wrong crowd or the crowd that is just about to be ousted from power (happened to me!) Furthermore, some positions of seniority are bought - it could well be that the Director of your local government school was a P.E. Teacher (true of a huge local girls school where I live) but has raised enough cash/'saponseeerrrrs' to buy his way to the top and then claw back as much as he can before his sell-by date is up! They are surely going to loot the coffers and pay 'Johnny big nose' as little as possible while putting a salary of 50,000bt per month through the books (in Johnny's name)!
I detest that expression 'It is what it is!' as it clearly isn't in most cases! Tit? For sure. Use your school salary to pay for your life and take on part time work in the evenings and at weekends to give you money to save: What other job in the world lets you start at 08 dubbs and go home at 4p.m (or even earlier). Work two or three more hours at 400/500bt (during the week) and 6/7 hours on a Saturday gives you another salary and you still have time for a couple of hours of beers with mates before going to bed at 10.00p.m. and a day off every week on top of the 2/3 months of paid hols a year plus the many public hols!
Given, the cost of living ratio when compared to the West, this sounds like a bloody good deal to me! Where do I sign?
By Rocksteady, Chonburi (20th May 2012)
Reading the above article....well, I am glad I walked out of this circus they call "education" in Thailand a year or so ago. Taught at SWU and Mahidol unies full-time for years, and some awful language schools too, part-time for some extra cash.... Money, benefits, working conditions are simply atrocious in Thailand. Not to mention the sanook students expect from their farang teachers. Awful!
Loving life once again OUTSIDE teaching wink wink ;)
By Richard, Paris (1st May 2012)
Interesting reading Phil. It now reminds me WHY I refuse to work or live in Thailand.. A friend of mine returned to Thailand last year, his contract started at 36 000 B a month, the director said next term we must lower it to 30 000 B - yea he quit !
By Kanadian, China (30th April 2012)
I work in Chiang rai and the salary increased by 1000 baht per month last year, but my colleague who has worked here for 16 years told me that is the first increase he had. Also the flooding excuse at the the end of our contracts we receive a months salary as a bonus which is nice but last year we were told would not get it because of the floods. I would like to point out whilst many provinces were under water we had droubt. My employers are quick to use national events to skirt around money payments several times.
By Andrew, Chiang rai (24th April 2012)
I am a teacher in a Government school teaching Maths and English and I was getting quite a good salary but had a lot of work and a lot of pressure. I quit this year and what prompted me to quit was quit simply the gossip about my salary which seemed to become the kicking ball around the school among the teachers. Despite the fact I had more work than them, and had sometimes 5 different classes in one day it was never enough. I just decided I could no longer work under such conditions and rather get another job or go back to my country and go into something else.
Also the Thai teachers always seem to be complaining about how much work they have or they work harder than the farangs but very few apply themselves. I have seen over the years Thai teachers getting lazier and lazier. Everything is on the farang teacher espeically in English. They will monitor and evaluate the farang Teacher and never themselves. Some are meant to be co-teachers in the classroom.. Most of the time they do not come and when they do they sit silently in the back.
They never interact and get involved in the class even when there is a problem. I had a problem in one of my classes with some of the boys and the Thai teacher refused to get involved. At Mattayom 3 level some could hardly write and this was for a special class which paid extra money to get paid 3 or 4 times by a farang teacher. They had been at this for over 3 years. Some could not write a simple sentence!
And this is what? The farang teacher's fault? It is not enough fun perhaps? I am so sick of the double standards by the Thai staff who think they work harder than us, but rarely ever deliver. They teach incorrect grammar and pronounciation on a consistent basis and teach the wrong way. They cannot even pronouce "juice" properly. They teach English as a set of rules. And so I see Mattayom 6's who simply give up because seems like an endless set of rules this way and that. One day it is like this this and next it is like that.
But the thing which upsets me is the gossip about my salary and I just decided I could not work under such conditions and I told them so after I quit. And I feel justified to do so. I feel they want farang teachers just to take what they dish out with little complaints, "Yes men" who will follow their rules. They can complain about us in droves but if we return the favour well quite simply they are not happy.
By Marlin, Bangkok (3rd April 2012)
An informative article ... many thanks for this one.
By Guy, Bkk (13th March 2012)
Great, well researched article, as usual, Phil. :) Some thought provoking responses.
By Jason Alavi, Rangsit (3rd March 2012)
As an experienced EFL teacher entering the Thai job market, this article was very informative. Thank you.
By Marcus, United States (26th February 2012)
My girlfriend now earns more than I do. My full time job is not that well paid but it's a very easy job.
I make most of my money from evening work. This seems to have improved over the years. I can now command anything from 600 - 1000 baht an hour with private students. Never accept less than 500 Baht.
My advice is to take a cushy 35,000 Baht a month job. (When I say 'cushy' I mean a job with not too much of a heavy workload) In the evening you'll be free to work corporate, etc.
By Liam Gallagher, The Republic of Mancunia (22nd February 2012)
Over the years, I've seen a lot of government schools go from hiring their own foreign English teachers to contracting with third-party agencies. Some of these schools actually get a fairly large government budget for each teacher of at least 60k baht and then the agency pays the teacher about 35k baht with no benefits. Most of the time, agencies don't even go to the schools to provide assistance other than to say things like, 'the most important thing about your job is to sweet talk the Thai teachers and make them happy because if they don't like you, it doesn't matter if you teach well, they can force you out. They don't care about your teaching or what you do in the classroom.' Agencies get rich off of this business, but ESL teachers and students suffer for it.
Now I make four times what I used to make in Thailand per month and I could make more if I wanted. I'm also teaching respectful VIPs and their children who will travel the globe using what I teach them. To say the least, it's a lot more rewarding than working for an agency teaching in Thai government schools or most private schools. Thailand seems all too happy to lose good, experienced teachers and it's articles like this that prove it.
By Lisa, (22nd February 2012)
"I think the Thais feel that foreign teachers are paid a lot already and therefore there is no need to improve things"
That's an interesting comment but I think talk to or spend large parts of your working day with Thais who earn 10-15,000 baht a month (and probably that's about their worth) and I can probably see why you would form that opinion.
However, talk to Thais who earn 50,000 baht a month up - and there are plenty of those too - and the feedback might be very different.
My wife earns in the region of 80,000 baht a month. Ten years ago when she started her career she earned 16,000. She can't believe foreign teachers are still working for 30K a month.
By philip, (22nd February 2012)