What happens when teaching in Thailand all goes horribly wrong
June 2011 - This is a tale that emphasizes the importance of keeping up-to-date with Thailand's complex visa system and how it affects teachers.
I recently changed jobs, gave my old school notice and left on reasonably good terms. I was never given any documentation by them or told anything with regards to my work permit. I signed a contract at my new school and thought everything would be OK but because I gave notice that I would not be continuing at the previous school, they did not give me the performance bonus that I had been promised.
My visa expired at the end of the June and a friend told me that I had 24 hours to get out of the country. Shocked, I tried to find out as much as I could and I tried to exit the country on the weekend and was told I couldn't leave without a letter from the school stating the date I left the school. It was now getting on close to a month since I stopped working, although the contract finished later.
I then tried to get a letter from the school and they refused to date the letter. I then hurriedly went down to The Department of Labor and cancelled my work permit. I was then told I had to go to immigration and apply for a 7 day extension which I did.
When I got there they told me I had to pay a two-day overstay. For the day I supposedly resigned (the day before), and the day I was applying for the extension. I was not even given a day's grace. I had heard you had 24 hours to leave the country. Nope, I was given nothing. Not a week's grace. Not two week's grace. I then paid for the extension and the two-day overstay knowing that it could have been a lot worse. I was too tired to argue.
But I have to say what shocks me is the lack of information surrounding this and the fact we are not even given a day's notice. We are expected to leave the country the day we are fired or leave our job no matter what the work permit says, no matter if you gave them notice.
This sends a clear message that once they do not need you to be a teacher then you can get the hell out of the country. The only other option would be to cancel your work permit, which would take you a day, and maybe just maybe you could be on a bus or plane out of the country somewhere and you would then be charged not ONE day overstay but 2 days overstay despite the fact that you were in fact working the day before. How is it that there is such a lack of decency in this country? When you do the right thing, when you give notice that in the end you land up being screwed. It just amazes me that Thailand continues to operate as it does at will with no regard to the law, human decency and just good old plain honesty.
I have to say that this experience really shows me what Thai people think of foreigners. We are fine to buy houses, get married or come here on holiday or teach their kids, but once finished, then get the hell out of the country the same day you are fired or leave your job.
After a year of being at the school, I was not given one days grace, Not even one. And I have to say that the farang management are just as bad as the Thai's. They do not have the balls to stand up to their bosses or the decency to inform people of this. It really reflects poorly on Thailand and Thai culture and their real attitude towards us foreigners. I have since met other foreigners who had this done to them. The school kept their work permit and refused to give them a letter and they could not leave the country. Finally in the end when they left (a month or so later) they were charged the maximum amount overstay or 20,000 Baht.
What is it with the school system in this country? It is like you do not have to choice but to work at the school under their terms and conditions and if you do not, then they are unhappy. Even when they are at fault or have refused or failed to organize you with the right documentation. If you think you can find something better or do not like some things about the school and decide to move on there are such sour grapes they will do everything to be vindictive. Just like the schooling system here. Most of it is about the money and little about human decency.
May 2011 - This is a rather strange tale of a teacher who becomes ostracized at a job interview simply because she asks for a tour of the school facility.
My story starts with a fairly well-known teaching agency that recruits teachers to work in government schools in Southern Thailand. They are obviously a reasonably large operation. You see their job ads on many TEFL recruitment websites.
I visited the agent's office in early November 2010 and again in April of this year. On both occasions they told me that they had no vacancies, despite my very strong academic background. I was more than qualified for any of the positions that they supposedly offered. Incidentally, the day after my second visit, the agent placed a job ad on various websites, looking for five teachers to fill positions immediately.
I couldn't fathom what was going on here. The company wasn't interested in me conducting a demo lesson or submitting a detailed lesson plan. They weren't interested in references or even putting me under some kind of consideration. I had obviously upset someone and decided to probe deeper and ask a few questions of my own.
The owner of the agency eventually opened up about the underlying problem. He described me as ‘weird and aggressive' and said I was virtually unemployable. When I asked why he would say such a thing, he referred to my visit to their offices last November when I had asked for a tour of the new facility (the agent had recently opened up new training premises) My exact words on that day were "Wow! What an amazing center. Could I have a little tour and see some of the classrooms?"
The owner of the agency described this as ‘aggressive' and going against Thai cultural norms. I responded by saying that I had never been refused such a request in the past. Most schools were only to happy to show off their facilities. The owner then described the request as ‘weird'.
Oh well. This is the first time I've ever been penalized for showing enthusiasm and initiative.
April 2011 - The story of a great teacher who suddenly becomes an 'unwanted teacher' when a big swinging dick strolls into town.
My Thailand horror story happened last year. I applied for a position at an international school. The advertisement was in Thai-ized English, but I didn't mind. I came over from Australia, helped them voluntarily at their summer school and then continued working at the start of term teaching science and social Studies because they were desperate for a teacher. I am an economics/history graduate with a couple of Masters, but not really qualified to teach science. I am a fully qualified teacher with many years experience and was planning to bring my (Thai) family back to Thailand after the great welcome we got from the school (initially).
Then a younger American with a PhD turned up as the principal. A Google search showed me that most of what he said was crap and he was a refugee from a failed financial business course in the USA.
As the school was trying to get international status with a rather complex 'middle American' syllabus - even though most of the kids had little grasp of English - this man was obviously going to pull a few strings to get them through. The fly in his ointment was me - the only qualified teacher on his staff AND as I had a military pension, was also not dependent on my salary as his other four (degree only) teachers were. I was also unhelpful by suggesting we really needed some remedial English specialists to help the kids. I suspect this was my mistake and where being a 'threat' grew from.
So in a week, I went from being 'a great teacher with a military background' to somebody who needed to move down to their primary school level. In fact the school had been interviewing a science graduate during the week, as if I didn't notice. So I walked away. Despite many people suggesting I hold them to my contract, the legend of the mayor including his supposed gangster background did discourage me. The experience of others on Ajarn shows I would have been wasting my vindication of sorts.
It was a valuable lesson. The friendly Thais, as mentioned in one other story, all but disappeared. It was a real eye opener for me even though I had heard and read many stories not so different to my experience. This more than anything else disappointed me. I had a backup plan but I was trying to 'give something back to Thailand'.
I did recently get some satisfaction seeing the headmaster position advertised on Ajarn, in Thai-ized English again, and can only wonder what happened to my 'nemesis'?
February 2011 - The story of a teacher who found himself a dream job at a dream school. But mid-way through the second semester, his colleagues' smiles and laughter disappear. And replaced by cold-hearted sneers and silence.
After one year spent working at a government school, I got a job offer to work at a private school about an hour outside Bangkok. At the beginning everything went well. It seemed like a dream job at a dream school. All the paperwork for the visa and work permit was processed within a couple of weeks. I even got a higher salary than I had been promised at the interview. On top of all that, I got on well with my fellow teachers and the students seemed to like me.
My good fortune continued throughout the first semester. I could go home whenever I wanted as long as I had no further lessons to teach on that day (and this was agreed in my contract) The Thai staff were always helpful and I got along with everyone. In fact I was so happy with the situation that I started an English Club as a ‘thank you' for all the faith and support that my employers had shown me.
Then in the second semester, it all started to go pear-shaped. The school principal, teaching colleagues and Thai staff members became cold towards me. There were no more smiles or friendly chats or small gifts of food. Something was definitely wrong but I had no idea what it was. I turned up at school on time every day and was never ever late for class.
The principal started to make unfair demands. I was asked to do gate duty twice a week and meet and greet parents. OK no big deal but it clearly said in my signed contract that I would not be required to do it. The Thai management complained that I played too many games in class. They also put an end to my going home when I had no lessons to teach. They wanted me to stay at school all the time - lessons or no lessons. The final straw came when I was ticked off for walking around the school grounds while eating an ice cream. I was told in no uncertain terms that I had to be seated when eating an ice cream. I mean just how petty is that?
Suddenly my dream school had turned into the school from Hell.
It became blatantly obvious that the school wanted me out. They wanted my plums on a skewer and a resignation letter to boot. However, I continued working to the best of my ability. The atmosphere was horrible but I just kept me head down and aimed to see out my contract.
My refusing to play them at their own game seemed to rile them and they hit me where it hurts most - in the pocket. They refused to pay me for my last month of work and also for two month's holiday (all guaranteed according to the contract)
When I approached the principal about these pay issues, I couldn't get a straight answer. I decided to go and see The Ministry of Labor. The Ministry advised me to sue the school and assured me that I had a valid case.
Armed with the support of The Labor Ministry, I sauntered back into school to face my employers again. This time I was confident the pay issue would be resolved. It wasn't.
When I told the principal about my visit to The Ministry and the advice I had been given, she played her trump card. She produced no fewer than seven witnesses (including janitors and cooks) all ready to testify that I had physically assaulted the principal. My Thai partner was with me at the time - and she couldn't believe what she was hearing either.
I knew straight away that the game was over. What chance did I have against a school principal that I had supposedly attacked and actually punched with my fists? And what chance did I have now that she had a little band of merry men on her devil's pay-roll?
I was angry and upset with the Thai system for allowing things to get to this stage. I packed my bags, said goodbye to Thailand and headed back to the UK
February 2011 - Here is a case of what can happen when a teacher breaks a contract (at least in the eyes of the employer) and the relationship between teacher and employer then becomes positively hostile.
I managed to secure a position with a teacher placement agency somewhere out in the boonies, but after several months of employment, I received a job offer from abroad. Needless to say, it was a far better benefits and salary package than the one I was working for in Thailand. So I decided to tender my resignation by e-mail.
Even though the job offer from abroad made up my mind for me, I had become disillusioned with the agency position for several reasons. Firstly, I was still working on a tourist visa and having to pay for visa runs out of my own pocket. Secondly, I had never received the salary that the agent and I agreed upon in the original interview, and finally, I was offered nothing in the way of health insurance. As bad luck would have it, I became ill for a short time and had to pay all the medical expenses myself.
In short, I felt that I was going nowhere and constantly had to dip into my savings to maintain what I felt was just an existence.
The contract I signed with the agent stated that I had to give an eight-week notice period if I wanted to terminate my employment. However, I could only give a couple of weeks because the new employer wanted me there as soon as possible.
I put all this information in a well-written, polite e-mail and waited for my employer to respond. When the response came, it was short and sweet, but the agent clearly said that he accepted my resignation on a particular date and I would be paid accordingly. So far so good.
However, things took an unsavory turn for the worse when I found myself at the school in the company of both the agent (my employer) and one of the school's senior Thai staff. I decided (rather foolishly in hindsight) to take the opportunity to confirm with the agent that I would indeed be paid for the hours worked and that I could leave the job on a particular date.
Without any warning whatsoever, the agent flew into a rage. I was astounded by the level of hostility and anger that was suddenly being directed towards me - and I decided to remove myself from the situation.
I sent the agent another very polite e-mail. I apologized if he felt I had spoken out of turn or perhaps made him lose face by bringing up the subject in front of a Thai staff member. I didn't want the agent thinking I doubted his intention to pay the salary I was owed. I also apologized for taking sick leave and informing the school of my absence and not the agent as well. I also made it clear that leaving mid-term was something I truly didn't want to do and I appreciated the difficult situation I was putting the agent in - and the fact he would now have to go out and find a replacement teacher.
That said, I wasn't technically breaking the contract or at least I didn't feel that I was. I would actually be leaving to start my new job on the very last day of my three-month probation period.
I got no reply to the e-mail and it took me several phone calls before the agent finally agreed to deposit the money into my bank account.
Having gone through my contract again, I then sent another lengthy e-mail outlining exactly how much I felt I was owed. I wasn't demanding money. I was simply referring to the terms of the contract and asking for what I felt was rightfully mine.
I got a terse response from the agent saying only that he didn't approve of my attitude and that he would like to meet in person. I immediately e-mailed the agent and apologized if my communication had been misconstrued. I certainly hadn't meant it that way. I told the agent I would be more than happy to meet face-to-face. All he had to do was name a time and a place.
The agent got back to me with an appointed date, time and location and I agreed to meet him there. Cometh the day of the appointment, I waited over an hour and the agent never showed up. I also made several calls to his phone but without success.
When I emailed the agent later that day, the agent claimed he had shown up at the meeting place and waited himself for well over an hour. I started to realize that I was probably never going to see my money. I made several e-mail attempts to calm the situation down but the only replies I got from the agent were threatening.
I decided to play my last trump card. I had been advised to go and see the Ministry of Labor in Bangkok. At The Ministry, they were extremely helpful and said that I certainly had a case. They couldn't even find a record of this particular agent being properly registered.
Unfortunately, fighting for the money was going to take time. If I wanted to go all the way and claim a lawful ten times the amount I was owed, the case could take anything up to two years. If I wanted to claim only the money I was owed according to the contract, it would take several weeks.
Time was something I didn't have on my side. With the new job starting in a week or two, I had to wave the money goodbye and put it down to experience.
As a footnote, when I contacted the agent to tell him I had been to see the Ministry of Labor and I made one last ditch attempt to obtain my salary, all I got was e-mails and text messages containing abuse, threats and more abuse.
I'm in possession of the e-mail exchange between the teacher and agent in this sorry tale, and as you can probably guess, while the teacher's e-mails are professional and neutral in tone, the agent's e-mails leave rather a lot to be desired - and that's putting it mildly. I find it hard to believe that someone in the education business, someone who is responsible for recruiting teachers for schools and depends on getting a good name and reputation, would communicate in such an aggressive manner.
To provide a little balance, I've had to dig deep to try and conjure up a shred of sympathy for the employer. And I'm not sure that I can. There are a few points I would like to add though.
Firstly, try and avoid resigning from a job by sending an e-mail, or worse still a text message. This is always going to be a delicate situation and it's a time when you need to sit down with your employer and thrash things out face-to-face. Sometimes e-mail communication just doesn't cut it. It's easier said than done of course if you have the kind of employer who switches off their phone and simply refuses to meet with you. There are plenty of people who will always take the cowardly way out.
Secondly, break a teaching contract only as a very last resort. Even if it's a job that you positively can't stand, just keep your head down and somehow get through those remaining months.
I realize that the teacher in our story above is an exception because he can probably rightly argue that he left within his probation period. But no one knows if the employer had the teacher earmarked to continue beyond that probation period. It still put the agent in a fix and in the position of having to find another teacher. I've been in that position in the past when I worked as an academic director and in charge of teacher recruitment. When decent teachers suddenly jump ship, it causes all sorts of problems.
However, sometimes you've got to look after number one. You get an offer of a much better job and frankly, you would be a fool to turn it down. Employers need to understand that as well - particularly those that don't offer attractive teaching packages - because we're all striving to better ourselves and improve our quality of life. That's just the way it is.
February 2011 - Here is an almost unbelievable tale from a teacher who found work with an agency and the story highlights the dangers of having no degree and arriving in Thailand seriously underfunded. This is the teacher's account of things.
About four months ago, A teaching agency offered me a teaching position on the outskirts of Bangkok. Come the day I was due to make an appearance at the actual school where I was hopefully going to start working, I was driven, against my will, to a province several hours from Bangkok. This was certainly not what I had agreed to.
Let me say first of all that I have no degree. I come from a European country that has a very different degree system to Thailand, America, etc but I am currently studying in a degree program and only the thesis remains.
When we got to the school, I found out that the agent had lied to the school about my Thailand work history. Before I went into the interview, the agent asked me to play along with the story. I was reluctant to do so but was desperate for a job and had no money at all to travel back to Bangkok myself. I was definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place.
There were four people in the interview room; me, the agent, the school director and school department head. I made it quite clear to everyone that I had no degree. In fact at that stage, I decided I didn't want the job at all because it was so far away from Bangkok. I tried my best to flunk the interview but the school was obviously so desperate for a teacher, they agreed to take me on. The school then gave me the necessary paperwork to obtain a non-immigrant B visa from a Thai consulate in a neighboring country.
I started work at the school but at the end of my first month, there were problems with my salary. Another teacher had told the school that it was illegal to work without a degree and the school took the story to heart and decided not to pay the agent. That meant of course that I didn't get paid either. Fortunately I was able to receive a good chunk of the salary when some kind-hearted teachers loaned money to the agency. The school informed me that I could pose as a student and everything would be OK from then on. So I got documentation from my university back home and had it sent to both the school and the agency.
However, at the end of the second month, the same happened again. I received no salary. Again, the school refused to pay the agent. This time they used the ‘no degree' excuse along with a claim that my paperwork was not in order.
I asked the agent for copies of my contract but nothing happened.
By this time my non-immigrant B visa was running out and I still hadn't received a work permit. When I made enquiries, the school told me it was the agent's responsibility and the agent blamed it on the school.
The school produced a document for me to sign. The document stated that I had received X amount of money in salary (which I hadn't) I needed money desperately and luckily a couple of teachers dipped into their own pockets and gave me enough to see me through the rest of the month.
In the end I just decided to walk out. The worst part is that now the agency is threatening to sue me for giving them a bad name. I feel as if I'm at the end of my tether.
Phew! What a story. You might have the most fertile of imaginations, but you couldn't make this stuff up could you? OK, first things first. I've completely re-written the above account as it was sent to me over the course of several e-mails. Although the teacher in question has a decent command of English, he is not a native speaker and his written English fell well short of what I would consider native speaker standard. As a result, the actual flow of the story and the details were very difficult to follow in places. I hope I've managed to capture the gist of things at least.
So.......hmmmmm...........I don't really know where to start. I feel a mixture of sympathy for the teacher because he's gone through such a hard time, but I also feel like giving him a bloody good shake. I'm constantly amazed by the trouble teachers are getting themselves into with some of these teaching agencies.
The story certainly highlights the dangers of just rolling up in Thailand and looking for a teaching job with no degree and no money in your pocket. And thinking everything is going to be OK. Ten years ago this approach might have worked. But those days are long gone. And of course you're also throwing the label of ‘non-native speaker' into the mix (not that I think this was the cause of the teacher's problems)
The teacher talks about being taken to a school ‘against his will'. I imagine the teacher's mouth being covered in masking tape and being bundled into the boot of a car. I asked the teacher about this part of the story and he claims he was driven out of Bangkok in a fast car. So this wasn't just a teaching agency - they were kidnappers!
I asked the teacher if he had done any research at all on teaching in Thailand, given the fact he was a non-native teacher, had no degree, and had no money. Credit where it's due, the teacher was honest enough to admit he could and should have researched things better.
I'm just amazed that the teacher talks about ‘a second month' and ‘a third month' when warning signs had been flashing in front of him from day one. That's the time to walk out. Not three months down the line.
The part about both the agent and school blaming each other when the work permit didn't materialize really says it all for me. It's clear that both parties were dripping with incompetence.
And as for the business about the agent wagging a finger and screaming "I'm going to sue you" for whatever reason, 99 times out of a hundred it's just a load of piss and wind. It's someone who has lost face venting their anger in the only way they know. Sue you for what exactly? You were refused to be shown your contract. You received no salary. You got no work permit. Sue you for giving the agency a bad name? How on earth could you give the agency a worse name than it's already got.
If you fancy a little more reading before you go on to the next teacher nightmare, Jason Alavi wrote two excellent blogs for ajarn.com back in 2008. Despite being a couple of years old, the blogs are still as relevent today if not more so. Jason himself has run a very respected teacher placement agency for a number of years. In the first blog, he talks about why some teacher placement agencies are bad to work for, and in the second blog, he gives valid reasons why teacher placement agencies (the good ones) can be a good option for new arrivals in Thailand.
For even more reading, I wrote an article about teaching agencies back in 2006.
January 2011 - I got this short e-mail from a female teacher working in Cha'am. The teacher is fairly new to the country I believe.
Without telling me, my employer deducted 20,000 baht from my salary and says it will be returned after I have completed 12 months of service with him. The job offer over the phone was for 24 hours a week paid hourly. Once here in person the contract I signed was only for 18 hours a week, which has now dwindled to 13 hours a week and will soon be just 4 hours. All with a 90-minute commute each way. This is not the contract I signed up for! Please help me...anything, anything...I'm drowning. I don't even have a copy of the contract I signed and I'm having trouble getting one from them
As in any 'teacher nightmare' case, it's often impossible to get the whole story. One or two people have expressed the notion that the employer might have financial difficulties. I've since found out that the employer has been in the business of supplying teachers to schools for over a decade, so I think the financial difficulty scenario, although plausible, is unlikely. A few other people have advised the teacher to simply walk away and chalk it up to experience. I would probably say the same thing if we were talking about a few thousand baht but 20,000 baht is a fair chunk of change, especially when you are living and working out in the sticks. I would certainly contact the Ministry of Labor in Bangkok and see if anything can be done. As I've said elsewhere on this website, the Ministry of Labor are extremely pro-employee. They have helped a lot of teachers claim what is rightfully theirs in the past.
This particular 'teacher nightmare' does raise two important points though. Firstly, no matter how desperate you are for a teaching job, don't just accept the first thing that comes along without doing as much research as humanly possible. I am genuinely surprised that the teacher seemingly didn't ask around and find other teachers who had worked for this company. Surely they were not that hard to find in such a small town. Again, I strongly suspect this was a case of taking the first job available.
Secondly, it's important that your world doesn't come crashing down around your ears when you're suddenly stiffed out of a largish sum of money. It's important to have a parachute fund or a bit of 'floorboard money' as I often call it. Years ago, there was a popular book called 'Teach English Around The World' and the author championed the idea of arriving in a strange country, without a dollar in your pocket, and letting your sense of adventure take you the rest of the way. I thought it was a ridiculous suggestion 20 years ago, but in Thailand 2011, you would be plain crazy to adopt such a plan. If you are thinking about coming to teach English in Thailand, get as much money behind you as you can. Just in case that first teaching job doesn't turn out as you hoped.
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My son has been teaching English for 4 years and has told his mom and myself several hair raising stories that have us both fearing for his life! There seems to be no honor for these people. We've tried to get him to come home but his dedication is as big as his heart. If they can't be trusted then how can you believe them? They need to educate their on teachers and stop conning ours! Thank you.
By Gary allen, America (6th March 2020)
I had a long-winded and bureaucratic nightmare last year that has a happy ending. My story began in November 2015.
I had been in my provincial town in Thailand for 3 years and had become jaded with the place. I had relatively recently come out of an unhappy relationship of 2 years with a local woman who was jealous, and controlling. I had become sick of the culture, the monotony of my town and Thainess generally. I longed for the west. In my head, I was looking for a way out. That came in the form of a job offer in a town close to Madrid, Spain.
With just over a month left in Thailand, having sold my motorbike and soon to be leaving my apartment, I met the love of my life which suddenly threw a spanner into the works. The final month became a blur with whirlwind romance and my excitement soon being replaced with dread at the prospect of leaving someone I had only just met but had fast become infatuated with. On our last day, we went to all our favourite places before a tearful goodbye at the airport. The moment I boarded the flight, I knew I had made a mistake.
I touched down in a cold and rainy Madrid. It was winter in Spain. One part of me was happy to be in Europe, but the other part longed to be with the person I loved. I struggled to settle in to my new life. The school I worked at was very strict with their high standards and I was out of my depth with the formality of lesson planning and the classes themselves.
Outside of work, I was lonely, I had no friends, couldn't speak a word of Spanish and was staying in a hostel as I was struggling to find an apartment. On top of that, I was trying to maintain a long distance relationship. It was a stressful time and I lasted just a month. My heart wasn't in it and the school could tell. I was fired after a month there. My parents told me to stop doing TEFL, come back to England and find a real job. But my head trumped my heart and with the money I had earned in Spain, I booked a one way flight back to Bangkok.
After 18 hours, a short stop in Moscow and a few sterm questions off the grumpy woman at immigration, I found myself back in the sweaty embrace of a country I swore I'd never return to and moved in with the woman I loved. But the novelty of being back was soon replaced with anxiety. I had sold everything I had to fund my flight and first month in Spain and had spent a considerable chunk of my earnings from there coming back. I needed a job and fast.
It was February so not an ideal time but
armed with several copies of my CV, my girlfriend's car and a hand-full of optimism, I hit the streets of Pattaya, going door to door to every school. I soon got a job offer for summer school in April in a semi-international school in Pattaya.
I felt good but my euphoria was short lived. My 30 days was fast running out and I needed to take a border run to Cambodia where the nightmare started.
With a day left, my girlfriend and I took a mini-van to the border at Poipet where we were told by the unhelpful Thai official that I wouldn't be able to renew my visa waiver as I still had a contract to my previous school!
I had given my work permit back to my previous employer and left on positive terms with no plan to return. I had simply assumed they would cancel my work permit. But they hadn't. So I found myself in a position where I had to revisit my previous school in a different province, get them to write a letter stating that I had left, take it to the labour office and have them cancel the work permit, then go to the immigration office to cancel my visa and leave Thailand- ALL IN THE SAME DAY!
My first stop at my previous school was different. My friendly employer was now terse with me. She told me coldly that she "knew I'd be back" and that my job was replaced with a "hardworking Filipino" days after my departure. After about and hour and half wait, I got the half-page letter stating my termination of employment. One of the secretaries then offered to accompany us to the labour office to cancel the work permit. After another hour, that was sorted and we went to the immigration office where I was told by the official that because I had terminated my employment in December and it was now February, I faced a 20,000 baht overstay fine! Luckily the friendly secretary who was with us was friendly with someone at the labour office so we popped back, asked them to edit the dates on the document to "today", returned to the immigration where my visa was cancelled without a second glance.
As it was now late in the day, it wouldn't have been possible to get to the border in time for it to close so I chose to go the next day. The following day, I returned to Poipet, got another 30 days without a hitch.
The next week or 2 was pretty uneventful till my new school gave me the document to take to the immigration office to get my new non-B. I had heard all about the reputation of the notorious Jomtien immigration office but had yet to experience it myself.
On my first visit to the cattle-shed as I liked to refer to the place, I was rudely told that I would need a copy of my girlfriend's house book as official proof of where I was staying. That was relatively simple and she accompanied me on the next visit where the same stone-faced official told me I would need my original degree certificate and would need to take it to the UK embassy in Bangkok to have it legalised.
After a tense, worried couple of weeks waiting, my degree arrived in the post and we went to Bangkok before bringing the now legalised degree to the cattle shed where yet again the same rude official now told me I would have to return AGAIN to Bangkok to get the now legalised copy of the degree, legalised again by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cheng-Wattana. She could have told me that before??! To top it off, another "official" in the cattle shed offered to "have the visa ready in a day no problem" if I gave him 10,000 baht. No chance. I was at close to wits end by this point, my funds were dwindling and I would soon have to take another border run. My girlfriend, sensing my plight chose to make the border run a fun one, going for a weekend away in Kuala Lumpur where I forgot about all my problems in Thailand until my return to Don Muang where I got a grilling from the immigration official, saying "no more border run!" Despite me trying to explain that I had a job and was just waiting for the visa to process.
A week or 2 after Kuala Lumpur, I finally got the visa and "settled" into a relatively normal life whatever that meant by this point. Knowing that neither of us were happy in Thailand, in June, my girlfriend and I got married in the city hall. At least now we were legally married. After making plans to return to Europe again, my DOS at my new school told me "the immigration called, the won't give you a work permit till you have your original deed poll sent over" (my degree was under a different surname to that of my passport). We laughed together as we both knew I was leaving.
Since then, me and my wife have settled in Italy and even with the notorious Italian bureaucracy, it turned out to be a piece of cake bringing my wife over compared to the ordeal I faced in Thailand. Now we finally have some stability in life (until Brexit happens!!!)
Tips- when you leave a school, make sure you cancel your visa and work permit yourself, even if you don't think you'll return to Thailand. You never know what will happen!
-Make sure to now keep your official documents with you (photocopies will not suffice as of May 2016!)
Best of luck Ajarns!
By Jay, Italy (20th July 2017)
I have a horror story. I was apply for teaching jobs in Chaiang Mai whilst still living in the U.K. I got a Skype interview with a well known private school there, which went well and I was told I had been successful. They wanted me to leave the UK a month before I hadn't intended, so I booked flights and off I went.
When I arrived the school said they wanted me to come in for a tour and a meeting, however when I got there I was met by a panel of 5 senior members of staff. They asked me to show them how I would teach (which was not mentioned beforehand). After a panic and trying my best to improvise, which I did with some success, I was then told that they couldn't employ me because I wasn't American and they thought their students wouldn't understand my accent.
It took me 2 months to find another job, meaning I spent a big chunk of my savings.
By Becky, Manchester (17th June 2017)
I am not sure if I can post questions in this comments section of the forum however I cannot get any answers from anyone I ask... I have been looking for the answer on the internet all over but have not been successful.
I am currently in an agent-teacher relationship and therefore I have a contract with the agent and the agent has a separate contract with the school.
Now our school term is coming to an end and the foreign teachers are unsure of whether we will be kept by the school (as well as the school being unsure of whether they will keep us) due to the following:
- The foreign teachers' contracts with the agent state: "The employee (me) is not allowed to contract with the school directly for a period of 2 years after completion of the contract (28 February 2014)"
- The contract between the agent and the school apparently also states this fact.
The school is apparently having some problems with the agent and therefore does not want to contract with the agent after 28 February 2014 (when all our contracts end). However the school has indicated that, since they are not allowed to "directly" hire us within 2 years of the contracts' completion, the foreign teachers may be out of a job. Now, the school has expressed a desire to keep the foreign teachers, however it would be so unfortunate if we were to lose our jobs as a result of some beef the school has with an agent. In addition, is it possible for an agency to almost impose a "restriction of trade" (in a manner of speaking) which does not allow us to work with the school for 2 years after our contracts are complete, especially given the fact that we would no longer have a contract in place between ourselves and the agent, nor the school and the agent, after 28 February 2014??
This just seems abit unusual to me, however I am not sure if this is common accepted practice here or not. Has anyone ever heard of this, and if so does it mean that once a school does not want a certain agency anymore that the teachers now are forced to find a new school after their contracts are complete? Is there no way to continue to work at the same school?
Thanks a million!
By Zain Mahomed, Maesai, Thailand (30th January 2014)
Being a professional taking a career break and having just come back from Thailand having worked at a couple of Schools I realised that the whole approach to employing Western teachers is done with no understanding or appreciation of the morality and rights of employees that we take for granted in the West.
The whole approach from interview and getting the job, through the experiences in the workplace and the end of contracts and 'booting you out of the country' means that you come away from the experience with a total sense of frustration. It feels like in Thailand, as an employee you have no rights what so ever and are treated with no respect what so ever.
Thailand really needs to change its attitude to employing westerners if it wants this system to work and for decent people to feel that they want to stay. At the moment, everything is stacked against you and there is so much totally pointless beauracracy that it just grinds you down.
I noticed that the longer a western teacher had spent teaching in Thailand the more bitter and apathetic they had become about the whole experience so it is no wonder that there is a high turnover of good people and that Thailand is seriously struggling to improve the levels of English spoken.
By Jon, London (25th September 2012)
Sorry to hear those above stories. I am Thai as you can tell from my English structure of my writing. These issue above caused from lack of communication, misunderstanding in English of Thai people. This should be a good lesson for foreign teacher who willing to work or current work in Thailand. According to my understanding all legal statement which relate to your permit visa should be available for you on Thai government website.
By pattarath, bangkok,thailand (25th May 2012)
A year ago, survey by Thai Government was shock for public in Thailand. Some 88% teachers failed test from their subjects.
Huge incompetence which is so dangerous.
I wonder how much of those 88% belongs to English Thai teachers?
I couldn't find any valid information about it but I guess incompetence in teaching English is not less than 40%. Any clue?
Thailand need radical reforms in Education.
By Mickey, (22nd November 2011)
Great article. I'm not sure how many people would believe a lot of the stories you cite but from my own knowledge of the Thai Ed system, and the people who work in it I don't doubt that they are true.
By Kerrie, UK (20th November 2011)
Let's put things into perspective here. Thailand remains one of the few countries where foreigners with very few qualifications, and in quite a few cases no qualifications at all, are able to land FT teaching positions within the mainstream system. I mean, what do people expect? With such low requirements the country is hardly likely to be a world leader in the field of education,is it? If it was, then things would be rather different and 95% of the farangs currently working here wouldn't be able to do so. We shouldn't forget how lucky we are. A 4 week intensive course and hey presto - you are now a qualified English teacher. Many Thai teachers are committed professionals with qualifications coming out their ears and yet they still have to accept the fact that they are going to earn a fraction of what the the TEFL course qualified farang is getting.
Having said this, The stories like the ones on here and others that you hear on the grapevine still never cease to amaze me. It also continues to shock me at just how short sighted, unrealistic and naive some schools can be. I recently saw an advertisement for a position in an 'International school'. They needed somebody who was fully qualified to teach GCSEs, in other words, someone with QTS. They were offering the princely sum of 33K per month. I mean, who are they trying to kid?! DREAM ON!!! I have no doubt that they will end up employing someone with a BA (if they are very lucky) and a 4 week TEFL course cert that was obtained from a language school on a beach somewhere down in the Islands.
There is no doubt that thailand is behind, way behind. But the fault lies with the system and the people who run the schools. I'm sorry, but you try putting 55 kids of ANY nationality in a small room all day long - you are GOING to have problems. Many of the kids that you meet here are wonderful, bright, highly respectful and intelligent young people who are simply being stifled in their current environment. It is a great shame. For me the worst part is just the general acceptance of the situation -the 'that's just the way it is" attitude. Of course, the general population don't know any better, and having 55 mixed ability teens in the classroom of a 'top, private school' is perfectly normal.
By Paul, BKK (30th October 2011)
There is nothing 'Hitler' like in stating a fact. Children in Thailand have on average low IQ's. This is not the fault of the children, but the fault of the stupid corrupt system here that masquarades as education. I echo 'Smartie' and all the rest of the people unfortunate enough to try to bring knowledge and education to schools that run purely on financial profit and care not one jot about anything else.
I am not the one suggesting anything - it is you who rant on about Nazis. I take it you are a teacher?!
By Ian, Thailand (9th August 2011)
""It is not discrimination, its fact! A recent survey and acknowledged by the Thai government, is that Thai children have the lowest IQ in Asia! Happy, happy - ching ching!"
Ian please, ‘Nazis’ have made a survey about the superiority of 'Aryans' - blondes with blue eyes stating that they have better IQs and physical abilities than Jews and all other races as well. Then, it followed up with World War II and concentration camps as you know - or not?
Please be careful, as what you are saying now, stated very hard - just read some books man, that is why we have a social science called 'History' for not following the mistakes of humanity in the past - before by Nazis and you are just following their way man. So, what will you suggest next, to gather Thai kids in concentration camps so we foreigners! can teach! them how to behave and find ways! to raise their IQs? C'mon, you are talking like Hitler or an incompetent and hopeless teacher again who cannot do anything in the classroom and then blaming kids for their IQ. I am sorry but this is the way of a coward.
By KD, Bangkok (4th August 2011)
Smartie.- I'm trying my best to find one single thing I can disagree about in your article. You sum up the Thai education system perfectly. Its a losing battle and in the not to distant future I hope to get away to China, Korea or anywhere away from this lunatic asylum.
To KD Eraryrar - It is not discrimination, its fact! A recent survey and acknowledged by the Thai government, is that Thai children have the lowest IQ in Asia! Happy, happy - ching ching!
By Ian, Thailand (3rd August 2011)
Guys, I'm going to draw a line under the arguments. This is a comments section. Once posters start communicating (arguing) with each other, then it becomes a discussion forum - and ajarn.com already has a discussion forum.
If you feel strongly about something and there is something you want to get off your chest, we have the forum of course and also the ajarn Postbox. Or maybe you might think about writing an article for the guest's section.
By philip, (1st August 2011)
KD Eryarars letter is a joke. The #1 problem is student behavior. If Thai parents taught their children how to behave, a falang could teach them English.It is not the teachers job to teach these children basic behavior. The parents have to teach their own children something about how to behave at school before sending them off to school.Many Prathom 6 students act like animals at school. They have zero respect for school or for other people.
In an American school you do not need to use a microphone. Students sit quietly and listen to the teacher, it is a rule.The rules in a Thai school are about length of fingernails, lenght of hair, lenght of skirt.But they seem to have no rules about behavior, once in the classroom, anything goes.And the cheating and copying are hard for a falang to accept. But a Thai teacher will tell you that is just normal student behavior.To the Thai student and the Thai teacher, corruption is just normal behavior.
By Ron, Ubonratchathani (1st August 2011)
""That they have to do stupid and menial activities such as gate duty. Who ever heard of a teacher doing gate duty in the UK?""
Wow, wow, wow. It looks like, we have another Smartie a.. here to tell us there is no gate duty in UK. Thanks Smartie really so we know and we can change all the school system in Thailand.
So, you think, people of UK are so intelligent that they never do menial activities? Oh yeah, there, they hire someone else from poor countries to clean the toilets, right? Again, what a western arrogance. I think, you must have been feeling like you are at the same position like the poor guy cleaning the toilets in UK? Is it the fact bothering you? Yeah, at some point, things are turning back? It is ironic, right. Unholy judgement is beleive me.
Look, Gate Duty is for all teachers at the school not only for foreign ones. So, if you felt like it is only for you, you are totally wrong.
""Another problem is that everything appears to be the fault of the teacher. If the kids do not learn, it is the teachers fault. If the kids are lazy it is the teachers fault.""
I am sorry but you totally understand the concept of teaching wrong. If the kids are lazy and if they do not care what you are doing, of course, it is totally your fault as most probably:
1) Your classes are boring like hell.
2) You do not know how to control a class.
3) You are taking your job low so kids do not care about you. Do not think them they are stupid. They can sense your seriousness and intention on them.
If you cannot give them something exciting, they will of course turn their backs to you.
And, please stop blaming the kids, it is totally your incompetency, no one else’s.
""There are teachers here from almost every country on the earth, certainly every continent and most say the same things. Thai students are impossible to teach. They are highly sensitive, easily offended, and want to play the most trivial games subjects – music and art and when we actually try to do our jobs and get them to teach we are told we are too serious. And “serious” teachers never last. How can all these teachers be wrong? Most are shocked at the quality of the kids coming out of school. I am not saying that USA and UK kids are always good but Thai students pale in comparison. It simply cannot be most of the foreign teachers fault and most try to get their students to learn.""
Again, some more western gibberish and arrogance. I told you, it is only your incompetency and you are trying to cover it by blaming the kids. It is for a coward who does not want to accept their mistakes. If it will provide you a psychological runaway, you can take it but the world will remain still as the same while you are running away from the facts until you crash some part of the reality of life very hard.
Thai students are impossible to teach? Teacher from all over the world say this, huh? So, how do you know it? or you let teachers all over the world fill in a questionnaire about Thai kids recently? I think, those are your fantasies - after getting a long day of beating from the kids and Thai staff - over some beers.
And, your comparison between Thai and UK kids? Are you sure, you are not discriminative and/or racist?
Answer me? Why do not they let you teach in UK? Do they discriminate you there? or do they find you not so suitable for teaching?
One last word, it might offend some though, i am very/really shocked to see the quality of foreigners here- include me if it will make you happy:))
By KD Eryarar, Bangkok (1st August 2011)
Also what happens after school hours has nothing to do with them. Too often I find that schools think they own the teacher. I went to Ubon Ratchathani and met some teachers who told me that they are not allowed to drink in public. I mean what the F…..?? I met some teachers and at half past 2 or 3 in the morning landed up in bar with coyote dancers which happened to have dancers in there. She then told me that she could not drink because some of students were there. I was gob smacked…. Well what the F…. are your students doing in a Coyote bar at 3 am in the morning. They are drinking, why can’t you…. ? This idea that the teacher is holier than thou, untouchable model of discipline and moral integrity needs to put to rest. We are teachers. We are not monks. If I had wanted to be a monk I would have joined the priesthood I did not. I smoke occasionally, drink sometimes and sometimes meet some women. If the school does not like it they had better find themselves another teacher. I do it all after school hours, far from the school and would be highly unlikely to meet another student or teacher for that matter. And if I did I would have to ask what they are doing in club at 1 am in the morning…
By Smartie, Bangkok (31st July 2011)
I have been in Thailand for just over 2 years and I can tell you that in most cases employers do not keep their word. I understand that for most schools to have a foreign teacher is quite an expense above Thai staff or possibly Phillipino teachers, but quite simply the parents demand it. The parents want to see a white face in the school or classroom sometimes regardless of how they teach. Frankly I think that is wrong and I have met African teachers who are good at their jobs. Yet their dark skin makes them “inferior” to white skinned teachers. Is it my fault – No. In fact I have found that young blond haired and blue eyed teachers are in demand for their looks and the teachers and parents like them. I sometimes has zero to do with their teaching abilities. If the same ethos was applied in the US or in the UK it would be laughable.
But of the many teachers I know here, many tell me the following. That they have to do stupid and menial activities such as gate duty. Who ever heard of a teacher doing gate duty in the UK? Maybe the principle would be there to welcome kids every so often but having it as requirement is sometimes lost on me. All well and good to be friendly and welcome the students and their parents but would they not be better off preparing for lessons.
Another problem is that everything appears to be the fault of the teacher. If the kids do not learn, it is the teachers fault. If the kids are lazy it is the teachers fault. Then Thai teachers who think they know it all and so demand that foreign teachers do this or that even when it does not work and we are often obliged to follow. I sometimes follow through on my lessons from last time and I am told that I am being lazy. In fact they did not get it the first time and so I follow through. I am then sometimes told that the students are bored. But they did not do the work that I asked them to do. I teach Mattayom 1, 2, 3 and 6 this year and the contrast is stark. Mattayom 6 are the laziest little f……s to walk the planet. I asked Mattayom 2 and 3 to do the same work as Mattayom 6. It was about the earthquake and Japan and electricity demand and supply and I asked them where they would generate in Electricity in Thailand… all relevant to their own country. Mattayom 6 were even in groups of 4 and in the end went back to the Thai teacher and told her that it was too difficult. All the time, Mattayom 2 students could do it alone.
Of all the teachers I know here, all say the same thing. The kids do not learn mostly, we are under enormous pressure to produce, and the kids have little or no responsibility. They copy wholesale, they are never taught to think. When we try to do this we are told WE are lazy and not doing our jobs. They have a no fail policy and so the kids know they can get away with murder, the Thai teachers teach them grammar until it is coming out of their a… hole and they never get it, and when we do not follow suit we are told we are being lazy. And in the end you have an education system which is largely failing. You would be lucky if 5 percent of the kids who come out of school can write a paragraph of 50 words. I see them day in and day out. The Thai teachers are too soft on them, the entire education system is designed to save face - that of the Thai teacher and the student and in the end if they cannot speak English the foreign teacher is blamed. Or in some cases they have given up from the outset and just play games until the cows come home because at least they are enjoying it.
There are teachers here from almost every country on the earth, certainly every continent and most say the same things. Thai students are impossible to teach. They are highly sensitive, easily offended, and want to play the most trivial games subjects – music and art and when we actually try to do our jobs and get them to teach we are told we are too serious. And “serious” teachers never last. How can all these teachers be wrong? Most are shocked at the quality of the kids coming out of school. I am not saying that US and UK kids are always good but Thai students pale in comparison. It simply cannot be most of the foreign teachers fault and most try to get their students to learn.
By Smartie, Bangkok (31st July 2011)
Well Phil, you will get it next week then and the names are not that important after all. I do not remember any names, just remember the bad experiences man.
I would like the new teachers know, what are the problems we face here from farang teachers. So, they might not follow them.
By KD Eryarar, Bangkok (29th July 2011)
"It is always teachers complaining about things but ajarn.com have to publish the stories from the school and agencies as well"
No disrespect KD but many times I have invited schools, agencies and employers to write an article for ajarn.com on the topic of 'problem teachers'. I will happily put it online provided that no teachers names are mentioned (just as no employer names are mentioned in the 'nightmare stories' above) However, schools always seem to want to name and shame a teacher directly but once I tell them I am not willing to do that, they lose interest for some reason.
I would love to have the other side of the coin represented on the ajarn site, but in the eight or so years I have run things, I'm yet to get an offer. Is this a case of everybody waiting for someone else to do it?
By philip, (29th July 2011)
""I recently changed jobs, gave my old school notice and left on reasonably good terms. I was never given any documentation by them or told anything with regards to my work permit. I signed a contract at my new school and thought everything would be OK but because I gave notice that I would not be continuing at the previous school, they did not give me the performance bonus that I had been promised.""
As a manager in recruitment, i heard those reasonably good terms many times. One thing foreign teacher coming out of this profession have to know, one of the first subject they teach in an educational faculty is: "You cannot jump over your contract in a school as there is no replacement for a teacher leaving in the middle of the semester". This is a very common rule for real teachers. But, in Thailand most foreign teachers are like BUTTERFLIES flying to job to job just because other company is paying 2000 thb more?!!
""I have to say that this experience really shows me what Thai people think of foreigners. We are fine to buy houses, get married or come here on holiday or teach their kids, but once finished, then get the hell out of the country the same day you are fired or leave your job.""
How do you think we behave immigrants or foreign workers back home, please tell me. We behave them like third class bag of s....t so do not expect other country citizens behave you decently when you are here. Of course, you can work here and when your work is done, you have to get out of here as usual. What were you expecting?
You cannot even believe what kind/number of problems we are facing each year from the teachers.
It is always teachers complaining about things but ajarn.com have to publish the stories from the school and agencies as well.
On top, really i do not want to believe any of those written above as the truth has always two sides all the things stated above is only reflecting one side. What happened do we really know it? Maybe that teacher hit a kid or harassed one female teacher at the school and of course school wants to get rid of him somehow?
We do not know the original story!?
I am sorry guys but those kind of horror stories are just misleading teachers.
I am working in Thailand for nearly 4 years now and all i have seen, 95 percent of all those problems are coming from the teachers.
And sorry but i cannot blame any school or agency taking precautions like cutting some of the salary as a security as we had bad experiences on BUTTERFLY teachers, alcoholic teacher, paedophiles teachers - do you want me to count more type of teachers? as i feel like i can go forever - etc before. Please do not blame us all the time, blame the guys before who screwed the trust very hard.
By KD Eryarar, Bangkok (29th July 2011)
Geore Orwell's "Burma Days" tells the same stories. They are actually arresting Farang musicians who sit in at jam sessions in Chiang Mai....for not having a permit to volunteer. So, it's not just the TEFL crowd, it's the mentality - It's the Thai way or the highway. I have taught ESL on three different continents and I won't even consider it here. Go to Spain or Ecuador. Good Luck.
By DEDICATED TEACHER, Thailand (2nd July 2011)
Had similar problems during my year in Thailand... Someone else put it correctly: expect similar problems while teaching English all throughout East Asia (Korea the best but still bad). The legal system in East Asia is not objective and fair -- both in terms of prescription and enforcement-- especially for foreign employees. Even more so if you are poor and can't buy your way out of trouble. Teaching ESL is not a career, its a job at best.
Teaching in Thailand? The market in Thailand is so precarious, unpredictable, and low-paying that you might as well just go to Thailand as a tourist and get a real job in your own country.
By Mr No tie, Korea (22nd June 2011)
play the game, the Thai game in Thailand, culture is not for judging, when the game gets old, China, Japan, or Korea, Korea best, but similar problems, expect nothing be ready for anything.
By TOdd Saed, Korea (19th June 2011)
Are we really surprised concerning all of this ? It will always be like that because they are still live in the middle ages and I forecast that in 10 or 50 years time nothing but absolutely nothing will have changed. These fools live in their own pathetic world and will stay behind for the rest of their existence. Sounds harsh but it's a fact and unfortunately a reality. My full support to all these teachers who were treated so badly.
By Gary, Bangkok (19th June 2011)
I have read most of what has been writen on this blog and agree with all of it. It is shocking to see how most farang teachers are treated here in the kingdom of Siam. At my last school 2 months before the end of term we were asked to stay behind after our classes were finished, as Phetpeter had stated ( thai people = food ) the Thai teachers had finished their 6th meal of the day, we were ushered into a room to be told we had to re-apply for the job we had been doing for almost the whole past year.
So during the March-April break we still had to sign-in at school every morning without fail or no salary. I did this. I get no calls from the school about re-signing a contract during this time. So the alarm bells start to ring in my head "bugger"! My fellow teacher calls me to ask if I have been asked to come in to sign a new contract to which I reply no, but he had. Bugger! I decided I am in trouble now, so I decide sod it and go to Laos. At the border leaving Thailand I am sent into the Thai Immigration office. I ask why, I still had 3 days left on my visa.
Supposedly I needed a letter of termination from my school as well as from the labour department! Arse! I did not have said documents as my school did not even have the balls to tell me I was not getting a new contract. Luckily my girlfriend was back home and she managed to get the said documents from the school/labour office and faxed them to me at the immigration office. Sweet! By the time I arrived in Veintiene I was 10 mins late for the bloody Thai consulate.Crap! So because of the Thais at my old job not wanting to lose face and tell me I did not have a job plus not providing me with the documents my 2 day trip to Laos turned into 6 because it happened to fall on "Labour Day". I am so glad my English bank card still worked otherwise I would have been in deep do-do. So all I can advise is, if you think you are going to get canned make sure the buggers give you a letter of termination and you can sort the other details out with the labour office, just in case you have to do the same as me and go over the border.
By Anthony, Uttaradit (14th June 2011)
Oh, I miss Thailand, and I miss teaching, but stories like these bring me back to reality. I'm going back only as a tourist.
By David Singhiser, Honolulu, Hawai'i (17th May 2011)
‘weird and aggressive' - Well, you should already know the "Thai style" - just keep your head down, wai and khrap all the time, do as you're told to and don't ask any questions... :):):)
By Alice Thai, Bangkok (15th May 2011)
As always, thank you for your contributions to not only this article but also other articles and blogs on the ajarn website. However, we have to reserve the comments sections for comments only. If posters begin having open dialogues with each other, then the comments section becomes a discussion forum - and we already have a discussion forum elsewhere. Thanks for your understanding.
By philip, (14th May 2011)
After 6 plus years in Thailand, mainly in government schools. I have come to think has it all been worth it? For the kids I have hundreds who still greet me, FB me and wah me in the street. My wife has many parents who say how happy their children have been teached by me...But.! Some English (Thai) teachers have been the most two faced people I have ever come across. Sweet mouth when you start, but, become popular with the students, and you are on the way out! Forget promises I left one school after three years, because the new director cut salaries stating that we can get more cheaper teachers! I when to another school who stated that a good future was to be had! Until a teacher locally started an agency! Suddenly all the local schools closed their doors to local teachers for the new influx of cheap European and African teachers. Will they stay unlikely as this city doesn't offer the treats available elsewhere. And as most will not have any form of transport, this city becomes an open prison.
For me! I know it is likely the phone will ring in the next 4 to 6 weeks, thats OK has I have been paying into the social fund, I continue to pay and I got 6 month unemployment benifit and free medical for two years. Will I wait around hoping for work? No! My wife and child will take care of the farm and I am going to China to work. Do I want to go? No! Will I work in Thailand for less than 30K? No! But from what I understand is China is like Thailand 6 plus years ago, They want native speaker teachers to assist them, and there is a price range to suit all types! Air Asia make it cheap for me to come home to Thailand every 8 weeks. So I have nothing to lose. OK I can live without working anymore, but, that is because I worked to live that way! But, I am 54 years old and still able to work hard to earn a bit more doing something I have come to enjoy doing.
I would not go if any school in Thailand wants me and is willing to cover the expenses needed to live away from home.
I agree with your other writers, some schools have no shame, in the conditions for the students, and in training the students. But, you can walk into the English department at any school, and find tables for eating, teachers eating all day. Piles of books, and paperwork that is years old and of no use. And hardly a penny spent on improvements. So much broken and outdated equipment. One school I know has a thousand computers for the students to use, but one second hand clapped out computer for the office. But they always had money for their teachers expenses.
I used to refuse to spend more than one hour in the office, as I had a broken year, no storeage space, they were also the only office without air, because they were also some of the oldest teachers in the school and couldn't stand the cool air! I kid you not! Of course half of them were not there but in other offices chatting eating or gone shopping. (Which the farang isn't meant to leave school permises before time! of most couldn't as they had no transport!) I wouldn't eat with them as it is dip and mix, god knows what germs could be had? Yes I have a very nice car, that didn't help either! nor the wife in her car dropping off my sandwiches if I forgot them!
Still as they say Only in Thailand!
By Phetpeter, North Thailand (13th May 2011)
By Ron, Ubonratchathani - thanks for the warning bro.. When i'm in the region I'd like to buy you a beer !
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (13th May 2011)
It is good that somebody is printing the horror stories. If I had read a few horror stories before coming here, at least I would have been prepaired for what to expect. Everything I read before coming talked about how polite and respectful Thai students were. And how they wanted to learn English. What a load of crap.
I have never taught in BKK, but here in Isaan, the wealthy students are rude disrespectful and have zero interest in learning English. My first 3 years here I was at a vocational college. The students English ability was almost zero. The pay was very low, but at least the students were polite. Then along came a new director and he decided all falang gone. So I needed a new job.
For 3 years I had heard about " the best school in the city". Many people told me about "the best school in the city". So I was feeling very good about getting hired there. But now I understand that to a Thai person "the best school in the city" only means that the parents are rich.My first day of teaching I walked into a room with 52 Pratom 6 students, and no helper. I stopped in the doorway, my mouth fell open and I'm thinking " oh my God,this is "the best school in the city"? There were boys climbing on desks, boys fighting and food flying around.And also at that moment I understood the microphone. In an American school there is no need for a microphone, the students sit quietly and listen. Thai students have absolutely no respect for school. Their parents have taught them nothing about respect for other people. I had a boy come up to me and get within 6 inches of my face and just start screaming at me. I pinched his cheek and pushed him out of my face. In my culture a 12 year old does not talk to an adult like that. The director had a talk with me about pinching the boys cheek.
That first day I had food land on me. I found out who threw it and wiped it on his shirt. I told him that I didn't want his food. One day I left class with blood running down my forehead. Boys in the back of the room playing with a piece of metal pipe. It slipped out of his hand bounced off the wall and hit me in the head. Maybe the worst was boys saying f@#k you, and writing f@#k you on the board. Of course they spelled it wrong. When I talked to the Thai English teacher about it, she blamed the American movies. She said well they watch American movies. I told her that American students watch a lot of movies too, but they don't tell their teacher f@#k you. About the piece of metal pipe, the Thai teacher said that was my fault for not keeping 52 students busy enough. When I talked to the director about f@#k you, and I gave him the students names, his answer was "well their parents are rich" The answer to every problem was "well the parents are rich". That was enough for me. I left "the best school in the city" after 3 months.
After living here for 5 years now, I know, the truth in Thailand is very hard to come by. That is why you can read so much about polite and respectful students.
By Ron, Ubonratchathani (13th May 2011)
Interesting nightmare stories. The common thread seems to be the middleman agencies that contribute nothing to improving teacher salaries or quality of education in LOS. In fact, the proliferation of agencies has yielded the opposite result. Another valid comment by one poster is that many ajarn farang storm around Bangkok looking like 'wet farts.' How true! We are guest workers in this country, and whoever comes to Thailand for salary, benefits or a 'future' needs to accept that the Thai universe will not reconfigure itself to haughty Western expectations.
By Guy, bkk (6th May 2011)
Relatively stress free? LOL! I don't know about that Phil! :) When I started doing this 8 years ago, I was thin, had no gray hairs and was in perfect health. Now I'm 20 pounds overweight, have an ulcer (from stress) and have started getting my gray hairs!
By Jason Alavi, Rangist, Patumthani (28th April 2011)
Jason, that's one hell of a story.
Even though they don't always go on to post job ads, I'm seeing more and more registrations coming through ajarn.com from companies who are obviously agencies. It seems these days that loads of people are seeing it as a relatively easy and stress-free way to make money.
By philip, (28th April 2011)
"The school informed me that I could pose as a student and everything would be OK from then on." and "However, at the end of the second month, the same happened again. I received no salary" from the third post above.
My god! If I wasn't paid after two weeks past the deadline, I'd have been out of there. I understand he was hard up for cash. What a sad story. Makes me shake my head as to the lack of even a desire to appear professional in some of the agencies out there. :(
A guy I just recently hired told me the sad but true story of an "agency" he interviewed with. The agency had no license, what a surprise, and the owner was some 24 year old Thai kid, who spoke little English and spent half the interview on his celphone, making sexy noises to a parade of girls. He also asked the teacher who he was interviewing a lot of questions about Visas, Work Permits and Teacher Licenses. When it was obvious that the teacher knew loads more about these issues than he did, the guy laughed and said "Very funny! You know more than me and I am owner! I should to know more!"
Yes...he should to know more.
By Jason Alavi, Rangsit, Patumthani (28th April 2011)
I came to Thailand 6 years ago and began teaching on the third day here. This adventure has been both a gift and curse.
Having my degree in Education, English/Reading/Psychology, licensed in home country, Thailand, and S. Korea; 30+ years of experience (mostly international), I was ready to take on a new teaching assignment. However, I did not expect to deal with the deadly three forks of teaching in Thailand.
The first is complete culture shock. Oh, not the environment, I am talking about the whole thought process and the difference in the way Thai and Westerners deal with things, see things, do things and the whole mai pen rai attitude.
The second thing is the teaching system and the restrictive laws that keep students from learning, much less mastering a concept that is useful.
Thirdly, both one and two combined with profiteering at the expense of society by greed based administration and owners.
We can go on and on here. We can give example after example but the bottom line is this. You must be able to first deal with personal issues so they do not affect your job, coworkers, or self. Then you have to be able to modify your expectations and delivery to fit into the system giving as much as possible to the student without listing the boat to far towards on side or the other. In other words, don't make wave by rocking your boat to much. Lastly, see education and your school for what it is. It may be a cattle mill for sucking off as much profit as possible, a sincerely great international school that prepares children for the world, a government school that is just a government day care facility or any combination of things but understand your place in it.
I have had many personal confrontations over what I felt were injustices to me from non support, misrepresentation, working under or with lesser qualified people, theft of money, etc... Then I fought the idea that all my years of teaching suddenly became Dante's Inferno for me as I tried to find a way to help pull the system out of hell. Finally, I realized I am a foreigner with not rights, security, or benefits except for just doing what I am told, keep my head down, take my money and do the best I can, always keeping an eye out for a back up plan.
That being said, I have always worked in the 60K salary range and I have a great job now. I love my students and the staff are just great. I will never get rich but I am very happy. I have accepted the above comments as a fact of life in Thailand and my life is much easier.
My advice to anyone coming to Thailand. It might be best if you are a new teacher without a lot of expectations. It will be easier to adjust. The younger the better but I suspect between 28 - 35 is a good range. Network and get to know every teacher you can. Compare notes on various school and how they operate and are staffed. Do not expect to get a positive response from International Schools. They do pay well but are hell to get into. Most hire outside Thailand. Do not expect emails to be answered from anyone in business. If you can a TEFL is good as is a YLE plus a degree. Expect hassels in visa, immigration and daily dealing with Thais when trying to get important things done (apartment, moving, buying large items). Pick your friends wisely. Most important the kids and their parents have the power to kill your job just by saying the right words. They must be on your side. You and the management can be best of friends but a bad report and loss of one enrolment means lost profit and you pay with your a%&*
By Free at last, Bangkok (24th April 2011)
There are always gonna be aspects of a subject a teacher doesn't like to teach, mine is grammar, it does NOT mean I cannot do it. Being a native English speaker, I never learned about grammar how it was taught on the TEFL, it made me friggin go to sleep. Yes, I have to study it myself to be able to teach it, that is what your lesson plans are all about, is it not? Another thing, a teacher doesn't friggin know everything, there are always going to be times when a teacher will not have answers for students questions. Some teachers may think they are so intelligent and know it all, I have met them.
If you came to Thailand to earn a better salary, then come equipped with a degree, a TEFL, even a PGCE (in the UK), which equates to a postgraduate certificate and teaching licence). I'm happy to say, I same here with my BA (Hons) English, 120hr TEFL (not an online version), later taking a TEYL. I have had good job opportunities. I also think the problem with employing teachers is even if you have all these qualifications you have to be a certain age, sex, if the female Thai assistants think your beautiful (males that is). Believe it or not.
Come to Thailand with a love for the children here, what is best for them. I see western teachers with faces like wet farts, what's the bloody point. Thailand doesn't owe you jack, come with a humble attitude, love the country. But you do have to live, 256k for 24mths, was that earned 10 years ago, today 30k a mth is crap money and i've noticed schools in the past advertising much more, now I see them on this 30k marker. If they pay this, then we shouldn't be seen as tourists and charged the earth everywhere we go.
By Wendy Livesey, Bangkok (23rd April 2011)
Hmmm.... 560 000 for 24 months works out to be according to my calculations around 23000 a month. Not exactly something to write home about.
Yeah and heard the other one.... just a peice of paper. This is of course sputed by people who do not have a degree and spend 4 years of their life getting one - the effort and money involved. Same with grammer I have seen. The teachers who cannot do it hate it the most. While one cannot just concentrate upon it teachers need to and have to know it (or some of it) or the most crucial parts. Too often I find teachers who do not know it, and lose their jobs because of it, because sometimes students know more than them.... if they don;t know then they should be prepared to study by themselves to get a grasp of it....
How can teacher's go into the classroom and get asked questions and just say they do not know or be prepared to find out, or worse just say it is not important.... they need to upgrade themselves.
By Smartie, Bangkok (23rd April 2011)
Further to what Ben has said, nine years ago it was probably much easier to find a job with no degree or TEFL then. All the positions I have seen require a degree and TEFL. If you have an English degree it isn't necessary to have the TEFL. I have an English degree and still took the TEFL. Honestly, I can't remember jack about what I did on the TEFL, apart from the dreadful grammar OMG, what a friggin nightmare, I feckin hate grammar. I agree that academic paperwork doesn't mean crap, teaching is also a natural ability, you either have it or you haven't. It is frustrating when you have so much experience, then, turned down because you haven't studied for that little piece of paper. (My story from the UK - I had over eight years experience as a Housing Officer, I moved to another part of the country, applied for another Housing Officer position and wasn't even granted an interview because I didn't have GCSE Maths) Fecking bullshit I say. So it just doesn't happen in Thailand!!!
By Wendy Livesey, Bangkok (22nd April 2011)
Having neither a degree or any formal TEFL qualification, I have managed to find a secure 24 month contract for just over 560k salary - with someone who would be happy to see me stay for the next ten years.
Actually not EVERYONE is ignorant enough to rely too much on paperwork. Some people have learned that a degree is merely a superficial indicator, and that testing teachers on a part time basis and through observations is a much better way of selecting them as well as determining their salary.
The solution to the 'Thai Problem' is definitely NOT to introduce the 'Western Way'. It is better to simply educate them to adopt superior recruitment techniques. I met many teachers who completed both cheap/part time and expensive/full time TESOL qualifications. CELTA ensures you have an excellent technical knowledge of grammar, and some courses give you some great ideas for using materials in the classroom - but none compare to what I picked up in the first year of my nine years here.
By Ben, Bangkok (22nd April 2011)
This all points up the importance of working with professional educators in Thailand. Especially at the crucial stage of obtaining a TESOL certificate. Make sure your TESOL course center has connections with good schools in Thailand and that they have been in business here in Thailand for a good long while. A legitimate TESOL course center will even act as an arbitrator between you and your school if there are any problems. Anyone who takes a weekend TESOL certification course and thinks that will do the trick has been sadly hoaxed. Look for a solid four weeks of classroom instruction and observation, as well as at least 6 hours of observed student teaching. With that kind of backup you have a solid foundation to build a successful career as an ESL teacher in Thailand.
Bangkok Phil says "Hmmmm....not really sure what you are driving at here. I would have said a degree certificate is a far more solid foundation to building a successful TEFL career in Thailand because so many jobs require one. Just a TEFL certificate (or TESOL certificate as you have referred to it as) won't be enough for a lot of jobs. So I think you are wrong there. OK, a TEFL certificate will probably make you a better teacher but as for it being almost a guarantee of a successful teaching career in Thailand. That's simply misleading.
"A legitimate TESOL course center will even act as an arbitrator between you and your school if there are any problems"
And a lot of legitimate TEFL course centers won't. What's your definition of 'legitimate' in this case? Are you saying that once you pass a TEFL course that TEFL course training center will act as a go-between for any problems you may have with your next employer? Since when? That would only happen if the TEFL course provider doubles up as a teacher placement agency - and they are two entirely seperate things.
By Tim Torkildson, Ban Phe, Thailand (21st April 2011)
I know what I have to say isn't relevant to this thread, but, I have found a very good home for my dear "Prince of Bangkok" my puppy Chihuahua, a Thai family who love dogs, that live near my condo. I fly home on 2nd May and I am going to miss Bangkok so much. I am certainly not ready to leave after being here two years. I mentioned in an earlier message that my daughter is not well at all, I need to be with her, although I am very settled here and happy, with my condo on the Chao Phraya river and my job. I am very very upset to leave, I have no immediate plans to come back because of the situation in the UK. All I would like to say is I came to Thailand to teach for the love of children, particularly Thai children. We as westerners shouldn't keep moaning about how things are, IT ISN'T HOME!! What I do not agree with is the treatment of western teachers by SOME organisations, NOT ALL. We cannot tar them all with the same brush. If I am able, I will come back in the future. Please do not write off Thailand, I haven't and i've had my fair share of nasty administrators. One more thing, thank you Phil and ajarn.com for keeping me in work for two years, I am very grateful to you for the opportunities that have arisen for me. Good luck and may Buddha bless you in the future <3<3<3
By Wendy Livesey, Bangkok (16th April 2011)
In support of Thailand, I have always managed to get a job here, even after two days of arriving in Bangkok. I have never rang a school, I have always emailed and all my jobs have come from this website. I have just secured another year's contract, but I have just received some bad news about my daughter back home and I need to leave asap. I have a 5mth old Chihuahua which I can't afford to take home, it wil cost me £2,500 for six months quarantine. If someone can give him a good home it would be a massive load off my mind. Although I can't bear to see him go:-(
By Wendy Livesey, Bangkok (15th April 2011)
It begs the question for me whether it is ethical for people providing courses on TEFL to keep advertising as "jobs in paradise". It is clear the job market has changed and there are many more teachers now than there are jobs. It is clear that their advertising should reflect that. I went to one interview and they quoted some number that there was shortage or 20000 jobs on Thailand or Bangkok but that clearly has changed.
By Smartie, Bangkok (14th April 2011)
Actually the whole idea of people coming here and working for agencies amazes me. The salaries offered are (to my knowledge) entirely incomplete (contracts being signed cover only the times worked, often excluding even public holidays and short breaks during semesters or between semesters 1 and 2). I've been told many times - by reputable agencies - that this is how it works. You get paid maybe over a 9 or 10 month working period but it's possible that they might come up with extra little jobs to fill in some of the dead time to help you get paid during breaks.
Just about all these jobs are going to suck. Out of town, a school I recently visited in Ayuthaya expected two applying teachers to work 27 hours each. The agent stood to make a profit of 3000 baht after paying his teachers a total of 30,000 each.
From the 30k he would hold back 3k per month for three months as a security deposit to be paid back in the event of them completing the contract - however, this school advised him that NO teacher ever worked a full year. The students get very bored very quickly, and so do the teachers.
No - it isn't the same as it was ten years back. The salaries are similar or lower, the requirements and expectations are far higher, and job security is far more shaky.
I wouldn't advise anyone to come here to teach now, there are simply too many people chasing the work.
By Ben, Bangkok (14th April 2011)
Further to my comments of 1st April, I sent an email to my former agency, stating how upset and disgusted at the way I was treated and the lies an employee of theirs told to my new boss. I threatened them with legal action, ha, I received an email saying they want my telephone number, I emailed back saying a telephone conversation is just not appropriate at this time. They emailed again, they want to have a meeting. Well, well, I wonder what they are up to.
By Wendy Livesey, Bangkok (6th April 2011)
I have been teaching in Bangkok for two years now. I have had several different jobs in that time. I have been messed with here several times by agencies and schools. I have always gotten out of the job at the first sign of trouble. I would simply suggest never to compromise with Thais. They know the terms they agreed to, they just do not want to fulfill them. The amount of money farang make compared to Thais is significant(for teachers anyways) and so they are more likely to try to get at your money than they are at other peoples'. There is no reason to be so scared about standing up to your Thai boss. They tend to be incredibly non-confrontational and will not stand up to fight. I would recommend pushing them significantly. It seems as though so many of us(white people) here are scared. We are not second class citizens; we are as entitled as the next person. Screw the whole "visitor" crap, we are also people and deserve no less than any Thai. Maybe this is simply my American perspective showing through here....my pride will likely be my downfall.
By Bruce McElderry, Bangkok, Thailand (5th April 2011)
An interesting article, have recently experienced major problems with my school and the complete incompetency of the English program department.
I have been working at a well known, private Thai school for a year and have always worked hard and received excellent feedback from my employers and students.
In early January I notified my boss I was pregnant and was assured maternity leave. However out of the blue six weeks ago I was informally notified that the school would not be renewing my contract in May because I was pregnant and there was to be no further discussion of the matter. I have since been threatened that if I was to contact anyone outside the school for advice, or contact the school directly I would be immediately dismissed and have received no support. The repercussions have been huge and I feel completely disillusioned. I have received legal advice and have been informed that this is completely illegal and am now considering whether it is worth the risk and added stress of pursuing the matter further.
By CB, Bangkok (5th April 2011)
Nightmares in Teaching in Thailand are becoming less rare, sadly. I also was done out of a months salary. However the whole term was a nightmare. It is very difficult to check schools in advance and honesty should not be taken for granted.
By Robert Bruce, Bangkok (1st April 2011)
I am still having difficulting in getting any contact from Ministry of Labour as the phones are managed by non English speakers and the contacts are not responding. Does anyone have an English speaking contact there or Min of Education?
By kiwinicky, Rayong (1st April 2011)
I have a similar situation with my former agency, talk about pack of lies they told. PIGS. They were the ones that underhandedly got rid of me and they told my new boss that I just disappeard and deserted my children, ha!!! They had the brass balls to tell me on the phone what I supposedly did.
It is so unjust what some organisations can do and get away with. I got in touch with a solicitor's in Bangkok, but as yet I have had no appointment to discuss the issue.
By Wendy Livesey, Bangkok (1st April 2011)
The main problem is our expectations and underestimating risks. We should know much better this society, the mentality of people in Thailand. This knowledge has just one purpose and is to prevent major damage. It is evident that we are making mistakes. Westerners would have to know where they are going so, this web site and these stories are precious. If you are not stubborn so to underestimate risks by thinking that can't happens to you. As you are well experienced in your country, by your age, education or any other reason, just don't be so naive to think you are safe. Price can be surprisingly and unbelievably high.
However, we have to know the fact that in all business relation between Thais, is dishonesty, more or less. Most of them run after easy money and agencies (of many kind), as mediators for many purposes, are almost perfect way to get it. Chain of benefits, taking advantages upon some other Thai person or institution is boned and deeply in their custom, society. This is the case with majority. So, you as westerner is treated just as a source of their income, easy money. You should not expect much of responsibility, professionalism, effectiveness or even personal maturity in most of them. That is the key. Forget on things in doing business you used in your country.
Things will not change for the better until the government realizes that the school administration have too much of freedom and that they abuse the freedom given to them. Too much of free style, if you ask me.
Finally, the government has to understand what is going on and to take responsibility for those problems so, find a way to prevent the harassment of teachers who are coming to Thailand. Same way, Ministry of Education could organize Central Commission for foreigners who are applying for work in Thailand. They have right to be and they should to be selective and strict about choosing teachers as it's very delicate occupation anywhere in the world, as teachers are at work with youth of country and children are very sensible part of any society.
Taking charge over selection of foreign teachers, will stop all of this idiotic acting of people who run after easy money, agencies who are deceiving foreigners, mistreating them, abusing or threaten them(or even worse).
Ministry of Labour can't do much about it but Ministry of Education CAN DO and have to do. After all Government Officers should know that they are at the service of their Kingdom and country. So, every time they make some bad deed to foreigner, they are making a bad public image of their Kingdom. That way they are showing direct disrespect and absence of any love to their Kingdom. They have to think about it, if they don't lie that they have Kingdom in their hearts. Whether they like it or not, this is the truth and they have to face the things in this way.
By Tata, Lopburi, Thailand (25th March 2011)
Although I love to receive comments on these articles, I have to be careful not to turn the comments section into a discussion forum between two posters. Because we already have an ajarn discussion forum that serves that purpose.Thanks for your understanding and sorry that not every comment can be used.
By philip, (14th March 2011)
The thing is how far you wish to pursue it. The school I was referring to, I was told that whenever they ask for something new which goes against the original agreement, one of the teachers refuses to do it, and says if they have anything further they should talk to his lawyer. After having been bitten and lost 4 court cases they are loathe now to go against the contract. I sometimes think that is the way to go.
In my school they change terms and conditions all the time. I was told we would start at one time and when I started they changed the time of work to 20 minutes earlier and then started to charge for being late, a significant amount of money. They even lost some good teachers over this. Stupidity I thought to be so pedantic on being 1 minute late and the school suffered. Some parents are pulling students out of the school because I think for some weeks - maybe 2 they did not have teachers in the classroom. As the old saying goes "live by the sword, die by the sword".
As long as newbie teachers come in unknowlingly and I think this is what a lot of schools rely upon. Just filling the positions with new teachers who don't know any better or are in their first job. Later on, they may see out the contract or move onto something which they feel is better. But it seems many schools rely on the fact they can impose unfair conditions because they can find a teacher or teachers who will take the job not knowing what the school is really like.
By Smartie, Bangkok (13th March 2011)
By Kiwibees - good numbers to know. BUT I personally like to give or lodge complaints in writing. Phone calls can be ignored. If your complaint can be type in Thai that's even better. I figure if a large number of complaints are about a certain school, and all in writing, perhaps and i say PERHAPS someone with power my move his _-_ .. At times the Min of Labour won't do much.. A buddy of mine down south a few years ago. The school wasn't going to renew his contract ( after 2 years of work ) he said " OK " then refused his pay for May.. We ( him, his Thai wife, and I ) went to the Ministry of Labour. Since I was more knowledgeable in Thai Labour Law and I do speak Thai, I did the majority of the talking. The Labour Office agreed his school MUST release his final pay. They wrote and contacted the school outlining this error. The principal at the school told the labour dept to shove off .. Labour board did nothing more and my buddy didn't want to pursue it anymore.. Yes, he's foolish
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (13th March 2011)
FYI: you can ring 1506 - not sure of the times as the report states two different times, you also get to choose 9 for english then all the instructions from there are in Thai. will try again on Monday
Labour Minister opens 'Hotline 1506' to serve the public
BANGKOK: -- Labour Minister Somsak Thepsuthin Wednesday launched 'Hotline 1506' for callers to ask about matters as varied as giving helpful answers to questions involving their working conditions to Ministry of Labour affairs. The toll-free hotline service operates seven days a week and 24 hours a day.
The labour minister said inquirers may dial 1506 to query regarding health care benefits, social security coverage, job openings and placement, immigrant workers and work permits, skills development training, and grievances or complaints about problems at their workplaces, among others.
People may not only lodge petitions affecting their personal interests but they can also provide suggestions for the Labour Ministry to consider, Mr. Somsak said.
With 120 telephone lines connected to Hotline 1506, Labour Ministry remains responsive to callers from 7am until 7pm weekdays and from 8.30am until 4.30pm on weekends and holidays.
By Kiwibees, Rayong, Thailand (13th March 2011)
By philip - NO not saying or implying that.. It would be nice.. section I, II and III dictate the severance pay. As i said, it's section 18 but i can't quote you the information as i don't have my book with me
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (12th March 2011)
By Kiwibees - sounds like a place to avoid ! I would pursue it into the Ministry of Labour and legal advice if it's not solved. You're in Bangkok ? I know a good lawyer
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (12th March 2011)
I have now read Phil’s article http://www.ajarn.com/ajarn-street/articles/i-work-for-the-school-from-hell/ and take heed of the comment ‘Sister who is in charge of foreign staff at a Catholic school and perhaps doesn't possess the greatest people skills morphs into ‘the barking mad farang-hating nun from Hell' – I think he may have meet her already. Yes this sister has had some recent unfortunate dealings with other foreign teachers and mentioned she will never trust another foreign teacher, but that had nothing to do with me or the other sacked teacher. As a business head, and yes our schools are run as businesses, she should be more aware of how to separate her issues, as any reasonable business person should. This is not a huge issue as we only had two weeks left¸ BUT relaying on two weeks’ pay (as this is a school that does not pay over holidays) AND it is still unjust and unlawful.
By Kiwibees, Thailand (12th March 2011)
Yes it is a Catholic girls school and everyone there is fantastic EXCEPT this head nun. She is elderly, controlling, mean spirited, and unreasonable. She hisses at us sometimes when we say helo, and is all over us the next time. Her understanding of life in the real world is fantasy. In a recent meeting on discussing some flexible working schedules, she said I will never change my rules if you don't like it just leave. So I told them I would not be returning next year but would see my contract out, get my students through their exams and do all my admin. A month later two of us get sacked on two days notice. Devil in a habit!
By Kiwibees, Thailand (12th March 2011)
So Kanadian, we're saying that if a teacher has worked somewhere for ten years, they are entitled to thirty years severance? Three years for every year worked? That's what a comment below is implying.
By philip, (11th March 2011)
By Smartie your 100% correct.. The man in the black robe will exercise his power.. The Ministry of Labour Act in Thailand is actually good and most judges will agree. The same as in China but here a judge is not required most of the time. We have the Foreign Experts Bureau. They will fine, and black list schools from employing foreign teachers. My current college felt that pain back in 2002. Lost their licence and a serious fine because of a guy from New Zealand. He gave them a beating.. And yes, this is a government college
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (11th March 2011)
By philip - Philip 3 months is under article 18 of the Ministry of Labour Act. I can't quote it as I don't have my book with me. Section 1 is for under 1 year, section 2 goes from over 1 year to i think 10 years. etc, etc.. sorry can't quote it
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (11th March 2011)
"It seems they [teachers] are entitled to three months severance pay for each year they worked there. So I heard"
Well, I think you heard wrong. Three months sounds awfully generous to me.
"How about if there was a black list for schools so that schools became blacklisted and teachers refused to work there based on previous experience of teachers. Sounds reasonbale does it not?"
No it doesn't. For all sorts of reasons. I wrote an article on this topic several months ago.
By philip, (11th March 2011)
By Kiwibees, interesting thought.. Maybe a letter to the pope would be interesting. I doubt if he will reply.. who knows - I assume it's a Catholic school ?
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (11th March 2011)
By Kiwibees, I believe the Thai Ministry of Labour law say's 30 days notice or 1 month pay in lieu of notice. I have the labour book act but I'm in China and my book is in Thailand.. But I am very sure it's 30 days notice.
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (11th March 2011)
I have started to hear that some teachers have started to be successful in sueing unethical schools and taking them to court. One large school which employs over 30 teachers was taken to court a number of times (4 I think I heard), and they lost every time. The Thai labour laws seems to favour farangs more and more and it seems that the courts are giving us decisions in our favour. The school in question no longer fires teachers willy nilly and they have started to honour the contract. The school in question has many teachers and they wanted to introduce yearly contracts but the foreign teachers want it from the time they started working there. It seems they are entitled to three months severance pay for each year they worked there. So I heard. Some teachers have got so bold that they have refused to do things that the school has requested or changed since it was not in the original contract.
I work in a school which changes conditions all the time. Working hours, deducting money for being late (even one minute). No one stands up to them. I heard there is a blacklist for teachers. How about if there was a black list for schools so that schools became blacklisted and teachers refused to work there based on previous experience of teachers. Sounds reasonbale does it not...?? While this may be difficult for ajarn to do, I think it is fair to prevent unsuspecting teachers to be taken advantage again and again... in the end agencies care about the commissions and schools feel they take advtantage of teachers and change conditions willy nilly as they want to. And it is one reason I will not be going back to my school last year. I am in the same boat, but did not give them notice and will only on return to school.
By Smartie, Bangkok (11th March 2011)
Hi, I was just wondering how we put up a warning about a school who have actioned some unethical and contractually illegal actions to two staff members for resigning. The head of the school, a nun of all people, has given us two days notice, cutting our contract short. Out of the twelve teachers in the English department only two of us have been honest about our not returning next year, while some of the others are just not going to turn up.
This notification came two weeks after an English department meeting stating she will keep us on till the end of the school term, as per our contract. When she was reminded of this by the English dept heads she said I don't care and I will not argue about this. Her dictator style has many of the Thai teachers fearful as she already deducts money from their wages without their consent, and any objections are met with less than reasonable and justified outcomes.
We had already been given summer school schedules and other work to do over the last weeks, prior to this decision. She also wants to have us hand in our work permit before she will pay any outstanding salary. She will not meet with us, and has conveniently left this decision until she was going away on a trip so not contactable. We are going to seek advice from the Dept of Labour, School council and hopefully anyone you can suggest.
By Kiwibees, Thailand (11th March 2011)
By Guy, bkk - question is, when if any will it stop ? someone with better computer skills needs to set up and site to warn others.. As long as it is done a honour scale.. No BS, just facts
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (28th February 2011)
I'd rather read Penthouse 'forum' letters than these horror stories of innocent babe-in-the-woods teachers who've been eviscerated by unscrupulous employers and agencies. Condolences to my teaching brethren.
By Guy, bkk (27th February 2011)
Smartie - you would be surprised what Thai teachers make.. It's only the new teacher who get paid crap money.. Those with over 10 years exp are easily making 30 000 B a month.. Don't fool yourself
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (27th February 2011)
Please don't send 'teacher nightmare' stories that are littered with references to individuals and schools. I don't care how much effort you've put into writing it - it will just be deleted.
By philip, (27th February 2011)
When I signed a contract at my current school, the farang head of that section, told me "Don't worry about a copy of the contract, it is not worth the paper it is written on". Needless to say I did not get a copy of the contract. But schools all want it in their favour. They continually complain about the foreign teachers to the Thai staff and are suprised when farang-Thai relations are down the toilet. We are told we are paid well but this is not true. The Thai staff are just treated like sh*t, for low money and minimal wages and expected to go around scraping and doing whatever is expected of them. Truth is the bosses who are slave drivers here. As they jet around in their fancy cars most of them do minimal work and expect everyone else to work a minimum of 12 hours a day. Added to this, many private schools have cost cutting which is beyond reason. Yesterday I had a problem getting - wait for it - 3 pages photocopied. If i took it to a photocopy shop I could have got it done for 3 baht - 10 American cents. It was marks for the my class for the end of the year. If I do more than 20 copies I can get them done for 40 satang a page. I am so sick of working for schools whose only concern is the bottom line and hardly anything is about education. But hopefully we learn and move onto better things. That is what I am trying to do now.
Most agencies do things illegally and do not get work permits for the teachers. So why do schools use them? - I am convinced because they give the schools and directors kick backs. I got offered a job with my old school because they wanted me back. When I told them how much I wanted including a work permit, I am now told that they want me to teach wait for it - 6 subjects next year across 3 or 4 levels. And they want me to go through the agency. Why the agency because they say they are good. I know the reason is that is the way they can get kickbacks and money in their pockets. It is shame that so much about education in this country has to do with money. We all like money and maybe Thai teachers are paid too little but I cannot see how this gives license for corruption on the scale I see today.
As long as they pay me for the work done I am relatively ok with it because I know that the contracts are not worth the paper they are written on here by anyone or most of the schools in this country. To get someone to honour their word is a rarity indeed. Ironic in a country that pride's itself as Buddhist which goes against the heart of Buddhism.
Phil says - "Most agencies do things illegally and do not get work permits for the teachers" That's a very very bold statement. I bet you haven't got any figures to back that up have you? But yes, part and parcel of an agent getting a contract with a school sometimes depends on what the agent can buy for them (new computers, new books, etc) That's certainly the way the system works here.
By Smartie, Bangkok (27th February 2011)
Teachers who are new to Thailand and the profession are often easy prey for certain teacher agencies and schools. Experienced teachers are less likely to find themselves in a similar situation. Some agents or schools just want to make money as fast as possible, and that is what they do. My first teaching job in Thailand was a good lesson. An agent contacted me and placed me in a school. As they (the school, not the agent:-) robbed me and my fellow colleagues of a decent amount of our salary, I started looking elsewhere. You win some, you lose some. I won a new job and a great environment, and I lost some of my money and a corrupt environment with it. To anyone who works in Thailand, I would like to say: you are free to choose who you work for. When you sign a contract, check the notice period. Keep it on 30 days maximum. This way, if some environment is too troublesome, you'll only have to bear it for another month.
By Matthias Van Kerkchove, Thailand (26th February 2011)
Be it as it may, I did enjoy the students, the challenge of creating a fun lesson to keep their attention, the joy of seeing some progress...................and yes, for those who throw down that gauntlet, I do have a degree, Ph.D: social anthropology, three Masters: psychology, philosophy and structural engineering........yes, TEFL and CELTA.....but what makes a good teacher? Ability to get the lesson across......hold the students attention and hang in there. But the abuse, the lies, theft, deceit and avarice were insurmountable. I feel used and hurt.........my pride crushed and my pocketbook bruised. Why did I teach for so little money, $2,000 US equivalent? Change of scenery, spice of life, hope to help some out of the way area to rise up and join the rest of the thinking world. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions. Yes, do not print the agency names, the government departments or the school names.................but I know one thing is for sure, people talk, teachers are communicators by profession and I have personally been witness to a few impressive impromptu info sessions in Thailand with experienced teachers instructing wanna be teachers about the perils.
As far as unqualified teachers go, what kind of help can be expected at such low salaries? Actually, honestly, I have seen some good teachers who had no college time at all. They were simply naturals, charismatic and entertaining. They had that something which the students liked. And conversely, I have met quite a few educated, certified and experienced teachers in Thailand whom I knew to be very poor instructors, dry, not connecting and actually pompous in their smugness of aloof self absorbed admiration. Oh well, what does it matter? I doubt anything will change, sad to say, but true.
So why do we put ourselves through this abuse? For some, like we have read, the money, desperate to survive. But for the true dedicated teachers we do it because we remember that one special teacher in our life, hopefully like me a few, who changed our life, made us a better person and even inspired us. We do it because we care. But in my personal experience of years teaching around Thailand in the universities to the public schools and private, the end product was always, without fail, the same. Last few months salary not paid, agreed work schedule, duties and salary gone askew after a few months, jealousy by the Thai teachers and the coup de gras................take the money and run. Teach in Thailand? No thank you. But my heart hurts for those few good students who would go on to change the world. Tteachers are often hopeless romantics. Ha ha ha! Laugh to keep from crying, hey?
By William, Hawaii, US (25th February 2011)
Firstly, is there any chance of getting the agencies names that abuse foreign teachers surly if one is 100% correct in the way you as a teacher have been abused then why not give the agencies name? This way we can at least avoid the agency / school when applying for a job. and avoid sending the "new lambs" to the slaughter house. secondly, is there any "club" that we can join that will protect our rights as a foreign teacher? Thirdly, remember the old saying "United we stand. Divided we fall"
Phil says - "no, employers cannot be named for legal reasons. Although the teacher nightmares appear genuine, there is no concrete proof that these incidents are true. You always have to bear that in mind"
By Teacher Andries, Bangkok (25th February 2011)
Dave - you would be surprised to know how many expats motorcycle taxi drivers are in Thailand ! And it's these type of scum who actually hinder " good teachers " from securing a good wage. I actually like Thailand.. However the MOE and other hideous factors which compells me to exit the land of ( alleged ) smiles.
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (24th February 2011)
Why anyone who considers themselves qualified in their field would work for $1000 US a month is beyond me.
By dave, THAILAND (24th February 2011)
My advice. Never ever break a contract in Thailand.
If for any reason you must leave the school, do not tell the them. Just take your last salary and leave without a word. Hassle free. Why should we respect the contract if Thais never respect the terms of the contract?
By teacher, BKK (23rd February 2011)
My experience in Thailand as a teacher was not easy, pleasant and certainly not profitable. The last position saw the last two months of my salary not paid, my three month initial visa had expired and I was on a tourist visa, that being the excuse to not pay, no work permit, per immigration who previously looked the other way. Work permit trips during that period cost me a bundle, one to Laos, and the second to KL, the time, the money, the unsureness of the whole thing. Each time, same story, paperwork incorrect. Teach in Thailand? No thank you!
By William, Hawaii, US (23rd February 2011)
By Concerned, Bangkok - are you implying the MOE act in a professional manner ? ha ha ha ha ha ! perhaps your forgot about the 3 level tier of getting a work permit ? i'm unsure if it still applies today. However it went something like 1 - degree - 2 - college and letter from school - 3 schools writes a letter to the MOE saying " he's all i can afford... and PRESTO paper work done !
By Kanadian, Jiangxi, China (11th February 2011)
Brian Quinby - I can't agree with you anymore. But fact is, schools will manipulate that issue without remorse !
By Kanadian, Jiangxi, China (11th February 2011)
I am supposed to be sympathetic towards unqualified people who come to Thailand with insufficient funds and then get screwed trying to make a fast baht and in the process, take away jobs from qualified people. No thank you.
By Brian Quinby, TH (11th February 2011)
I think every teacher is experiencing the same thing. As a concerned teacher, I am just hopeful that one day the Ministry of Education would act and do something about all of these things. This is not a request but the right of a teacher. We are also people (humans) even if we are just foreigners. We do have our degree that needs to be respected. And, hopefully they would stop being a racist. No matter what your skin color is, your citizenship, your appearance - hopefully every school would not make that as a basis of your knowledge - as a teacher. But the other way around....knowledge, experience and degree as a real teacher must be the basis. The Ministry of Education must hear all of these complaints and atleast try to dig deep down the cause(s) to all of these. tsk! tsk! tsk! Well,am keeping my hands together and kneeling down on my knees.
By Concerned, Bangkok (11th February 2011)
I worked two years ago for an agency out of Petchaburi. When I left, they had sold the computers, the good staff who could speak English had dissapered as well and I didn't see any students. And yes, they hire everyone they can get, East Europeans, Frenchmen, Italians, with or without a degree. Then they send these "teachers" to government-schools. They deduct 20000.- baht from the first salary, most likely to prevent the hired teachers to leave, and there are many reasons to do so. And when one is not carefull, he or she never sees that money again. They also deduct "tax", only they forget to forward it to the tax office.
By John, Lampang (11th February 2011)
Sometimes, things happened for a reason. But, one thing is clear to me...Thailand's education and its system really sucks. The reasons why they can use and abuse some of the teachers (native or non-native) are 1st: they will hire you and give you the salary depending on the color of your skin (not really coz of your degree) 2nd: they can abuse you coz you're not from this land (Thai land is for Thais only) 3rd: It is your choice not mine that you're here in Thailand so you better do whatever I say; and lastly, they don't care coz there is no failing of grades "system" in some of the schools...(just give the students a passing score so the parents would be happy). Do you think teachers are given much respect in all of these? Hmmm...not really! I believe that as a teacher, we have the right to educate them what is right from wrong. Unfortunately, we can not do that here.
By concern- European, Bangkok (9th February 2011)
Smartie - your 100% correct ! as i said previously, do your best to AVOID employment agents. Yes I did use " " quote marks as they alledge they are a " school ".. However it's just about $$$$ .. I would suggest many websites for college etc in China are offering positions for Pinoys for next term ( March ). In China they must provide you a Foreign Experts Certificate ( book ) and with that, schools won't cheat you.. Without it, it's like being in Thailand with no B visa, and work permit.. You will open yourself up to BS and be short changed.
By Kanadian, Jiangxi, China (4th February 2011)
The point is that they know you want to or are going to leave and so they have done this to "protect" themselves no matter if it is immoral. I have been working in bangkok for 2 years and give you the following advice. Where there is smoke there is fire. If they are doing this to you already, cut your losses move on. try to get your money out. if you do not have a work permit them reporting them to Min of Labour could get you in more trouble. But it depends how far you wish to take it. I am loathe to let these MFr's get away with it. In Thailand losing face is a huge way to control people and so you can politely tell him it is unacceptable. If he does not agree then say you have to leave and want to be paid. If that does not work you can a little more vocal with him.
I worked in Samut Prakan with 15 other Phillipino's who were treated like sh*t at their school. I was the only one to stand up to them and was fired 6 weeks later, not before I had my say though. I used to type letters and put them on their desk (or the manager's desk). That way they could read it and save face (or some face). Once they told us we were going to have a meeting on Saturday.. did not ask, just informed us. I refused to go because I was doing a visa run but told them even if I was not, I would not be there. At the Saturday meeting they told the rest of the staff they want the long term plan finished for the school by Monday - as in now work the whole f.... weekend burning the late night oil to finish it on Monday.
For most private schools, education is about money. If they have a choice between children's education or making money they go for the latter. They introduce the most stupid and ridiculous cost saving measures which are conterproductive to children's edcuation. If you have no worksheets and no material to supplement your teaching how are the children going to learn? In most places they are too tight to provide it because quite simply this is about the bottom line and nothing about education. All show and very very little substance. After 2 years teaching here I have seen the sins after working for private schools and agencies. Corruption lines the system but it does in every line of work here. Why should education be different...??
If they are doing this get out. try to get your money and learn from your mistakes. I have seen too many teachers staying in sh*tty jobs because they lack the resolve to find something else. Here is Thailand if they know they have you by the short and curly's they are guaranteed to squeeze a little or lot.. they need to know that you have other opportunities and if they squeeze you too hard that you are going to leave and find something better. Always try to be legal and don't accept too many changes. If you do they know they have got you.
By Smartie, Bangkok (3rd February 2011)
If this person is an employment agent, my # 1 rule is, avoid employment agents at ALL COSTS ! Shut them down ! I have a problem with an agent - and If i recalled his name I'd type it.. But he called me up for a job in Samut Sakorn, saying the job was mine.. Packed my truck drove 500 km, for an interview.. Good thing is, the owner of the school -- let's just say her English was very good.. I hope she dropped that moron agent !
By Kanadian, on winter vacation in the south of Thailand (28th January 2011)
I'm pretty sure you're working for the exact same rip off agency I first hooked up with 2 years ago. Count it as a loss and quit while you're ahead. Also before you do quit, go to the school and tell them why you're quitting, and then find another teaching agency on ajarn.com and talk to them and send them to the school to get their next contract. That's what I did, and they lost the contract with the school. They did take my 20,000 baht, but in the end it cost them a contract with their biggest school. Good luck to you. Fight fire with fire, that's all you can do in a land where evolution is still taking place.
By Adam Samut Sakhon, Samut Sakhon (26th January 2011)
If you signed a contract with him, then you should have a lawyer take a look at the content and stipulation(s) of your contract to determine whether you have a case or not and copy of your contact can be attained thru court subpoena . If there was no contract signed , then pretty much it's your words against his. I would seriously consider Tony's advice from Isaan if I were you.
By J.J, Bangkok (23rd January 2011)
Well, sorry to hear this. Thai view foreign teachers as nothing to them. You can either quit the school, contact the Labor Board in Bangkok (it's located not far from Victory Monument). Or you can go back to the person who hired you and talk it out.
Personally, I had one school try to pull the same stunt. I just asked the lady to repeat her self, looked into her eyes. Responded to her, this is my response. Lifted my middle finger and walked out.
By Abdul Jabaar, Bangkok (22nd January 2011)
In my expert opinion for what it is worth. I have to pretty much agree with most of the statements above. A while back someone posted the following address on ajarn dot com.
The Lawyers Association of Thailand
26 Building 5
Phra Nakorn District
Bangkok - Tel: (02) 622 – 2331 or 2332
They did not give me an email or website address because, by their own admission, they “rarely check” their email or website. T.I.T.! Anyway, check them out if you want a lawyer but don’t feel like shelling out those “special price for you, my friend me!” rates.
They have volunteer lawyers always on call ready to assist anyone who walks through their door, free of charge! I have read a lot of threads on various forums lately about employment contracts, wrongful terminations and other legal skullduggery, so I thought this might be useful information to many of you. However, they are NOT to be confused with the Law Society of Thailand, the Professional Licensing Body (i.e. Bar Association) for all Thai lawyers. The Lawyers Association of Thailand is, as it was explained to me, a volunteer organization set up to assist the underprivileged in obtaining free, high quality legal advice and/or representation.
They assured me that they have given free legal assistance to many foreign nationals over the last 52 years, since their inception. However, that did ask me to tell anyone who might be interested to please bring along a friend or someone else who can speak both your language AND Thai. It is very difficult, time consuming and expensive (for you) to find an interpreter for you. If you bring your own along, you’re golden.
By Donald Patnaude, Bangkok, Thailand (19th January 2011)
I too have had similar experience, but the school at which i work has stood by me and demanded that the agent return the fee, the agent now doesn't talk to me and has sacked me by email at least twice! Now he owes me for visa fees and a medical expenses. I would advise you to get another job!
By AJARN T, KORAT (19th January 2011)
I was canned by a school because I changed my final exam after I learned that Thai teachers getting paid to tutor some of my students got a copy of my exam and taught it to their students.(All I did was remove the first ten questions.) They went to the principal and demanded my dismissal. I still had six months on my contract. I sued and won. I was the second farang teacher at that school to sue and win. That was two years ago. The school has stopped abusing farang teachers, even Philippino teachers. The suit cost me 3500 Bt up front but brought in 102,000, one-third of which went to the lawyer. I was concerned that I might not get another teaching position. I am now teaching at a university.
Telling a teacher to just chalk it up to experience is flat ass wrong. It sends a signal to administrators that they can do whatever they want and we will not stand up for our rights. It also tells our colleagues that they are fodder for any school administration. When the lawyer got a quick look at my contract, he did not hesitate to take the case on a contingency. It was two months before I got my money, but the point is, I got it. Granted, every suit won't be successful. The only certainty is that you will lose if you don't try. The one thing the Thai courts respect above all others is the written contract.
By tony, Issan (18th January 2011)
Is poster on a guaranteed monthly salary? If so, how much is it?
A 90-minute commute each way? Don't tell me this person commutes from Bangkok to Cha'am on a daily basis? That's madness!
Frankly, not enough here to go on. If this lady takes home say 40,000 a month and has a 20,000 'bond' taken out of her pay check to keep her from running away from a 4-13 hour a week job, I don't think it's all bad. She should get herself a room in Cha'am though if she's planning to stay at her current workplace. A three-hour commute is just not doable.
By Hippolyte, Bangkok (17th January 2011)
To be blunt, it sounds like an agency, and there are two possible reasons for your dilemma. Firstly, as Mr.X states, the agent could be having financial difficulties or secondly, you are causing the problem with perhaps too many demands or complaints. Thais don't take kindly to too much boat rocking, but will not fire you outright. They prefer you to go yourself. No paperwork/contract in your hand, how can you prove the cash? A further problem is that the school year finishes in six weeks.....so I would be looking for a new job now and keep your fingers crossed as you could make a new start around May time.
By Lomsakpeter, Phetchabun (15th January 2011)
If you have left no knot untied on your side it sound as if your employer has financial difficulties, Are you employed by a school or an agency?
Should you be able to give us more information I am sure that somebody from Ajarn.com can give you solid advice as they have done before on numerous occasions.
Just be very careful in what you say and do.
By Mr. X, Bangkok (15th January 2011)