Quotes from the discussion board
These are the hilights
"Bruce says his course is very good and he can prove it, Leigh says his is better, Bruce says no, his is better, and Smeg says they're all shit"
The Mad Baron sums up the TEFL providers in one short sentence
"I've worked as a teacher (with a university degree) here for ten years at different private schools and publics ones as well and I never met a farang co-worker with a TEFL cert and a degree that wasn't earning the same or less $ than me"
"If you place an ad for 'general labor" you will get tons of applicants. If you place an ad for a master bricklayer, you won't get so many, but you should only ask for a master bricklayer if you really need one. The master bricklayer will cost more than the general laborer. Most Thai schools haven't seen the advantage of hiring those with extra qualifications"
"Teaching esl is what it is and pays what it does. ain't fair? who fricking cares? if you decide to become a esl lifer, spend 99% of your time finding your niche and improving your place in the market and only 1% bitching"
"Most of the problems salary wise derive from there being a large supply of cheap labour. You can blame the back packers, or the people who are happy to try and live on 25,000 baht per month, and who stay in a tiny little bed-sit. It's amazing what some people will put up with just to stay here"
"The old cliche of the 40 year old sex tourist who only works to fund his whoring is a typical oversimplification, but is used frequently to try to degrade the efforts of "good teachers" here"
"I truly believe that there will be a machine that you can talk into and Thai will come out the other end will be on the market in 10 years. It will be a clear natural sounding voice too, and not the awfal crap that passes for a voice in the talking dictionaries currently on sale"
Marko, on the future of TEFL in Thailand and why we're all doomed
"I think that the concept of 'native speaker' will be outdated within twenty years. Because English is being taught so aggressively throughout the world, the success of that endeavor will eventually (possibly already has) mean that competent non native speakers of English will outnumber native speakers"
Kiambago. We really are doomed!
"In my experience, the ages of TEFLers in Thailand is pretty much spread across the board, from old cynics to the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed"
"I find that most of my students (and non-students as well) have a great misunderstanding of Western (especially American) culture. They think that the movies they watch are like a news reel. Or conversely, they think that every place is like Thailand (only not as good)"
"The more you understand the culture, the more effective your teaching can be. My TEFL course targeted Asian learners, especially Thais. You've got to know not to touch a kid on the head, you need to understand about "losing face" and "mai bpen rai" and respecting Buddhism"
Peace Blondie on why he's glad he read that guide-book after all.
"I think one of the major differences in the Thai and English languages is the use of tense...It seems Thai is more rooted in the immediate now, whilst English moves more freely across the past-present and future tenses...It sort of mimics the way a Thai and Falung ride their scooters about: The Thai, never really looking anywhere but in the SPACE IMMEDIATELY ahead, the fastidious Falung looking to the right, then to the left, checking the mirrors to see what's behind, looking ahead, gauging, plotting... "
"Problem is, most TEFLers are so cash strapped and fearful of the future or lack a backbone, they will grovel for the chance to work for 25,000 a month for ten months, then scramble for two months to find enough work to make ends meet, further depressing the wage scales"
Nemesis' view on the shoddy 'ten-month contract'
"There is no money in Thailand if you continue to settle for meager salaries. Working for 30,000 baht per month teaching English, science, or math is peanuts compared to what the corrupt Thais who drive the fancy Beemers and Land Rovers, etc. around. I honestly can't believe that some fellow farang are so naive as to believe that 30,000 is a lot of money per month in a place outside of bkk"
"Thailand is a trade-off. You should know and accept that you are going to be shafted in your professional life here. However, you are here for other reasons beyond work"
"I've seen some folks go overboard on trying to fit in and do things the Thai way, convincing themselves that they have no other options. Sometimes it's easier to say that there's not an abundance of good jobs rather than hitting the bricks to find one. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that"
"Smart Thais understand that a Benz is worth more than a Honda. The more intelligent Thai management are beginning to realize that some teachers are worth more than others. Some are willing to pay for it. They are the ones who will stay in business. Problem is, most teachers only think of themselves as junk yard heaps and don't expect to get anymore"
"Teachers without a degree that are happy to work provincially deserve to be able to get a work permit (IMHO) as there ain't no one else (half the time) able or willing to do it. In some ways they make better teachers as they're happy to have the chance to teach here and are generally married or have a family here....or so it seems in my experience"
"I once worked with a teacher who had an Ivy League degree and thought that he was above all us other losers. He acted as if he was so moralistic and all of us other lower life-forms were all sex-pat tourists. It was good seeing the look on his face when I bumped into him one night as he was walking out of Lolita's"
"How education fits in here is a mystery to me- everyone passes, anyway. It's a classic case of a training/job mismatch My own education, poor as it is, does indeed fit the "official" requirements, but where I first really learned to TEACH in the daunting conditions of most overcrowded Asian classrooms was in the language schools in Japan- and boy would I be lost now if I hadn't, no matter how much Nietzsche I'd read"
I just wanna teach
"If you have the guts, time, and inclination, c'mon over and join the fray at the 20-30K no visa-no contract cowboy level, then make connections and climb the ladder. Of course, to do so will require that you perform relatively well, have a certain amount of actual teaching skill, and don't present yourself as a KSR hippy backpacker"
IJWT's take on making it big in the Land of Smiles
"Another hurdle you might face is that most of the international schools are run by extremely snobby Brits. Don't be discouraged however. Advance research is good up to a point. Things look different once you're on the ground over here"
"As for working outside BKK, I think I may have a syndrome that many have: I would love to work outside BKK but have never found a job that can pay us as much as I can earn here. In that regard, my living in BKK is all about the money!"
"I think that Bangkok has more attitude. It's a myth that any city in Thailand except Bangkok is "podunk". Sometimes the nightlife outside of Bangkok is better - depends on what you like. You can buy pretty much the same things. The pace is a little to a lot slower. Certainly less stress and for most middle of the road jobs - about the same pay. There are plenty of posters on this forum who have tons of experience and have chosen the smaller places"
Johnny Larue on the everlasting Bangkok vs rural Thailand debate.
"You'll need to build rapport with your students - no course can help you, you'll need to maintain the discipline - no course can help you, you'll need to look at learning the language from young children's perspective - no course can help you, and so on"
Farang Noi builds up our confidence to teach children
"I am wanting to spend about 1 year in Thailand but I am looking to a school that might hire me and pay my air fare from the U.S. before I leave"
GM Flyers wins this month's 'you must be f***ing joking' award.
"If you get your bonus out of a Thai employer than consider yourself lucky. As long as you stay, you have a good chance of getting it, but if you leave at the end of your contract then they have no incentive to pay you. Go toe to toe with the f*ckers and you just might get it and if you don't then you will feel a hell of a lot better"
Buford T Justice endears himself to the Thai management
"A carpenter with 10 year's experience is more skilled than one who has just started, and I believe the same to be true with TESL/TEFL teaching. Lesson plan? After 5 years of teaching the past tense, who needs to make a lesson plan for it anymore? Should be able to do it in your sleep"
I just wanna teach
"When the academic year ended, I got a great Elton John purple and pink Lanna jacket, two Lanna shirts, a beautiful wooden table lamp, a handmade pencil box with the students' names in it, some tears they couldn't hold back, and some compliments I never expected"
"The job of a teacher, here or anywhere, is to teach. Strangely, we do not do that in a vaccum which magically excludes the school policies, the marking system, the ministry's latest new reforms, or most of what passes for day-to-day life. If any of these affect my ability to teach, then they are of concern to me. Those who are content to put in their hours and go home with nary a thought about the context in which they work are not teachers; they are drones"
This "Just do what you are paid for" crap is pathetic, unprofessional and irresponsible.
Any class that you can walk away from and still keep your job is a good class.
A good fieldtrip is one which you return with all the students.
Planning should mean that you have some idea of what you are going to do in class.
Forward planning is that you know when your days off are.
Mig's four-point plan
"I was 30 mins late for a class today as I thought it was Monday, not Tuesday. I was absolutely furious with myself. I've only been late twice and had about 5 days off sick in nearly two years, and I'm proud of that"
Marmite the Dog shows his dedication to the profession. Woof!
"It's the same old story... stick waving from high minded pros who only think that they have the answers...The difference in end results achieved from a 'career teacher' and an enthusiastic untrained amateur are absolutely negligible"
"What annoys me the most is that education is not the goal of the education system. It is used the same way that other institutions are used in Thailand - accumulate wealth, face, and power for certain individuals up and down the line"
Johnny Larue on the Thai Education system.
"My advice: all the answers you need are on Ajarn.com. Go there, do homework, come back with more specific questions, suffer put-downs, refine your questions further, formulate your plan and...execute!"
Tomcat welcomes a newbie to Ajarn.com
"Tell us if you want to live in a smoky dirty nasty hot downtown locale, or a faraway hot suburban neighborhood; tell us if you can afford 10,000 baht or 6000 baht per month including utilities; do you need cable and land phone; do you want a pool or fitness center; do you want to be close to the Skytrain or the new subway - see what I mean? Without some parameters, it's like asking if you should live in Atlanta"
Peace Blondie almost....almost losing it.
"Just got back from a teaching interview and a bit surprised at the whole thing...at least in practice...a lot of the rants I see on Ajarn about employers seem to be valid. Anyways, the whole interview consisted of telling me about "rules" that I would have to comply to; I asked for rule descriptions-- but was told I'd figure them out along the way"
Orlandium learns the hard way
"Talking to some students in a class, and suddenly BAM! I am in agony. My right eyeball feels like it has exploded. What had happened was a gecko had run into he air-con unit, and er..got spat out at speed in multiple pieces. Apparently I was hit in the eye by it's head"
Mowlem on the unexpected perils of teaching in Thailand
"In my first job in Thailand I worked everyday and so did all the other teachers. I eventually quit over this issue alone and they gave me a day off. Two weeks later my schedule had me working every day and I quit again and it was changed! These people are nuts!"
"Sometimes I think this student lack of expansion is because they just don't have the inclination or 'creativity' to get into the meat of issues. There is definitely a difference between conversation for the simple point of conveying meaning on one hand, and then at the other end we see those people who expand, analyze, create imagery, make you piss yourself, etc, etc. Some of the students I think are just as boring in their own language, i.e. it's not necessarily a 'language thing"
"I used to constantly have Barber's Adagio for Strings playing in the background. And I'd block out the windows with great black pieces of leather"
Sheeps Goat on whether background music is a good idea in EFL classrooms
"I came because I was bored and somebody offered me a job. What I can't figure out is why I am still here. Laziness I guess"
"These kids and adults aren't paying real money to be bored to tears. Entertain them, and if you're clever, you'll educate them along the way, and they'll hardly have noticed. However, just to tell 'em what I told 'em, I write today's accomplishments on the board, since with all the clowning around, they may not have noticed: "Today, we practiced the continuous tense in the present, past, and future." Oh, is that what all the dancing, singing, and jumping was all about, all those -ing words?"
Peace Blondie on the 'entertainer' aspect.
"I for one, will never prostitute myself for some Thai student who expects "a performance" from his western teacher . Do Thai teachers clown themseves for their students? It's called pride!"
"And honestly, my eyelids started to feel as though there was a tiny little lead weight attached to each one. The sun was streaming in through the windows. The classrooms on either side of ours were empty. And I just nodded off. Fortunately, when I woke up, we were all able to see the funny side"
Peter Perfect nods off in class
"Never forget that even if you live here for 10000 years you'll still be the foreigner. Integrate but don't lose your own identity. My bird constantly reminds me of the way things are done here for example after I loudly and at 2am told a Tuk Tuk driver to f##k off when he blatantly tried to rip me off after quoting the price. That's fine darling. If you can't slightly accept a small percentage of my way of doing things then get a Thai b/f like your last one. Remember him? Didn't give you a bean and you caught him in bed with your best mate... "
"I had a bunch of advanced student want me to teach them suitable terms for genitalia. I found it so difficult to come up with suitable suggestions. I ended up settling for 'tuppence' and 'Peter Pumpkin"
"There are so many moaning, complaining, negative, whining, posts around about teaching here .... does anyone actually LIKE their teaching job in Thailand? A great job that they love and look forward to each day, and why? It would be a breath of fresh air to read something positive"
Poo and Pee
"I love teaching. I just hate all the shit that goes with it. The ignorance, the stupidity, put your head in the sand and pretend it didn't happen stuff"
"If you think esl teaching is stressful, you have had very limited experience in life. having to make production or sales quota each and every month is stressful. owning your own business and having to make x amount of profit next month to cover your house payment is stressful"
"Maybe I'm not entertaining enough? Or does the problem lie in that special brand of male socialization that Thailand is famous for? I mean, just this morning as I was picking up my morning sandwich across from the school I witnessed several mothers in the cafe handfeeding their boys as they sat staring at cartoons on the TV. Do I, as a teacher, need to do the same?"
"Some of my best foreign language teachers have been taxi drivers, not just in LOS. I would say, honestly, the best English speaker in this province is Mr. Pong, a tuk tuk man.
His speech is 10X better than my boss'. He has never been farther from home than Bangkok. It seems too the folks here who will surprise you with English ability are the Thai Chinese business people - in a dark dank louse-ridden hardware store and up from a desk where dirty dinner plates lay brim to brim comes a voice ... good afternoon sir, may we help you with something?"
"An M.6 was constantly late and eventually she missed two weeks of study so when she returned I made her stand in front of the class and explain her actions
"Sorry Ajarn. My mother died"
"Don't come to Thailand to teach with any expectation of paying off any debts, saving any money or even making ends meet unless somebody can guarantee you a 45K baht/month salary. You'll just be miserable and frustrated"
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