Working for the man
Are teaching agents spelling disaster for hard-working chalkies?
It's been five years since I wrote an article on the topic of teacher agencies. Back in 2006, when the article was first posted on-line, teacher agencies were still in their infancy and I was trying to gauge how teachers felt about working for a ‘middleman' - which is basically what an agency is.
Reactions were very mixed. Some described agencies as devious money grabbers, while others felt they provided a necessary service for teachers who lacked the know-how or ability to approach schools directly.
Five years down the line and teacher agencies are still around. Oh boy are they still around. Hardly a day passes when another new kid on the block emerges and is advertising for ‘teachers wanted for schools in Bangkok" or something similar.
Let's face it. You can see why so many are attracted by the smell of relatively easy money. Put a phone on a desk, boot up a pc, grow the balls to call around a few schools and tell them you can provide them with the finest teachers in Thailand - and you're in business. You don't even need to rent office space. More than a few agents operate from dilapidated shop-houses deep in the sois of non-descript ‘moobarns' And who cares if you haven't got the first clue how to support your teachers or what getting a work permit involves. You can learn it as you go along. And that's just how many agents seem to operate.
In his excellent blogs written for ajarn back in 2008, Jason Alavi, himself a supplier of teachers to several schools, spoke out about why agents have such a negative image in Thailand. There were all sorts of reasons. Most agencies just drop a teacher off at a school and leave them to fend for themselves. Many agents are only concerned with keeping a school contract and ongoing business. Many agents have a dubious history of paying teachers late. And as you would expect, there are quite a number of agencies who offer little or no assistance in getting teachers the necessary work permits and visas. As Jason succinctly concludes "Most teacher agencies make a lot of false promises and give wrong or incorrect information from the very beginning to potential hires"
To present the flipside of the coin, Jason penned another blog titled ‘The Flipside of Teacher Agencies" in which he described in detail how teacher agencies can sometimes be a good option - for some teachers at least. Some agents do know the visa and work permit processes and regulations back to front. Some agencies have set lesson plans for teachers to follow. The agent can act as a buffer between the teacher and a demanding school administration department and finally, working for an agent can give the teacher the opportunity to mix with fellow ex-pat teachers - a sort of cure for loneliness if you like.
Whether you subscribe to Jason's pro-agency arguments or side with the negatives, one thing's for sure - teacher agencies are here to stay!
The main problem that teachers seem to have with agencies is the salaries on offer. Teacher agents and 30,000 baht a month salaries have suddenly become the Siamese twins of the Thailand TEFL game. They're joined at the hip. Did the agents all get together and hold a secret meeting? Did they all cheer when the chairperson decided that 30,000 baht a month was to be the going rate and the decision was unanimous? You decide.
There has been much debate on the topic of agents hiring teachers and more to the point - who pockets exactly how much? I'm reluctant to get into this argument because I've seen so many different figures banded around. If the poor teacher ends up with 30,000 baht in their monthly pay packet, how much is the agent receiving from the school? How much are they creaming off the top? I've heard figures as low as 10,000 and I've even heard of some agents pocketing a whopping 60K. In conclusion - no one really knows for sure. It's mostly barstool banter reserved for a particularly slow Friday night. Only the school and the agent know for sure what the true figures are.
But is 30K a month a fair salary for a month's work? I met with a Thai gentleman last week who is taking the plunge and setting up his own teacher agency (oh not another one I can hear you all cry!) He's a guy with all the right government connections and later in the year he hopes to be recruiting a veritable army of teachers to be placed in government schools. He asked me along for a face-to-face because he wanted my advice on how things stood in the Thailand TEFL business and what teachers considered to be a living wage. I was impressed that even before we got into serious conversation, he openly mocked the current salaries on offer. By the end of the meeting I managed to convince him - without much difficulty - that 45,000 a month as an absolute minimum should guarantee him some quality teachers. Well, at least it's a start. Whether he has the honor to keep to his word or whether he falls in with the ‘30K a month club', only time will tell.
If I can be allowed to stand up for agencies on one point, teachers need to understand that it's never ever a case of the school paying the agent X amount, the agent paying the teacher Y amount and the difference between X and Y becoming the profit. The maths isn't that simple. In most cases, contracts to supply a school with teachers are hard won. No agent walks into a school, holds a meeting with the top brass and everyone agrees that the agent will supply half a dozen teachers and they all live happily ever after. Now that would be a fairy story. In reality, the school will make requests for new equipment (perhaps a few shiny new computers for the IT lab) or the less subtle - ‘look at the size of our table, now see if you can pass anything underneath it'. Contracts are always hard won and little wonder they are agent gold.
But fact remains that most teachers working for agencies are still only earning around 30K a month.
There was a letter sent to the ajarn Postbox recently, stating that ajarn.com should stop accepting these advertisers and their ‘insulting' salaries. The letter writer even went as far as to say that ajarn.com needed to develop a conscience. I presume that meant the letter writer held ajarn responsible, or at least partly responsible, for the current state of salaries in the Thailand TEFL business. And of course there was the usual call for teachers to all get together, link arms and boycott these employers and hopefully make them see sense. These calls for an all-out teacher strike crop up year in and year out, if not in the ajarn Postbox then on the ajarn discussion forum.
And I'm still waiting for a letter-writer to lead the revolution.
I asked the ajarn forum members for their opinions. Should teachers force agencies to offer better wages and should teachers force ajarn to stop accepting job ads that don't pay enough? Those seem to be the issues.
A forum member named Frink suggested that educating the schools themselves was the real answer. "Advise schools on why they have no real need to go through agencies and how avoiding agencies could actually be in their best interest (higher salaries equal better teachers and retention of those teachers)"
Louis Minson, who runs the ajarn discussion forum from the UK but did his time in Thailand as both a teacher and academic director, rolled his eyes and said "Oh no, not this silly argument again. Ajarn.com has low paid teaching job ads, therefore it's Ajarn.com's fault that the average wage in Thailand is not higher. If you feel a job offers unacceptably low wages, don't apply for it. There are a whole load of Filipinos and other non-native English speakers out there who would give their front teeth for a 25k job"
This has always been an issue with me. Just because I or someone else wouldn't get out of bed for a job paying 30K or less, does that mean we should deprive someone else the opportunity by refusing to post the ad? Someone, somewhere is desperate for that job. And it's incredibly naïve to think that were the ajarn.com route closed down to any school or advertiser, then the sky would fall in on them. There are numerous other TEFL websites they can post the job on. They might even go out with a hammer and nail and tack it to the nearest lamppost. Heaven forbid, they may even struggle through the semester without an English teacher at all. A win-win situation for who exactly?
Louis continues, "those jobs are going to be available anyway based on local market rates, and while I used to recruit people who found our ad on Ajarn, just as many people would walk in not even having seen the Ajarn ad.
It's fairly simple. Thailand has a lot of schools which are not that well funded and all of them have an ideal that they should try and have at least one native speaking English teacher. It's not realistic for a massive number of schools, simply due to how deep in the Boondocks they lie, and no amount of money, were they even able to afford more than 30k a month, would attract farang teachers there.
Again, it's all about what you feel is an appropriate amount of money, don't feel it's enough, don't apply, don't take it. Ajarn.com is just reflecting what is out there in the mainstream Thailand TEFL scene"
Not all forum members agreed however. Yes, ajarn has to shoulder some of the blame.
One teacher, who admitted anything less than 90,000 a month is an insult, said "If I were seeking a teaching position in Thailand, ajarn.com would be the last place I'd go to...a last ditch effort. Ajarn is definitely contributing to the situation by allowing these dodgy agencies to post job ads. I mean it's not like ajarn is helping"
Another teacher made a couple of fair points. "Thai schools are not that poor - but the fact that some will take on anyone (without a degree or training etc) means that wages are kept low. This also means that teachers of this type are disempowered as they can only go for the bottom jobs which only pay for 10 months and sometimes have bad conditions.
Salaries have not increased much in the last ten years but the cost of living has risen a lot. If schools don't pay more, people will not be able to afford to stay here any more or they will be living month to month, essentially there will be a cycle of deterioration.
Personally, there are not many jobs on Ajarn.com that I would consider applying for, sorry to say it, but they do seem to target the bottom end of the market"
And from another teacher, who has now left Thailand's shores, "Ajarn has certainly done nothing to aid teaching salaries since the start of the century, and has most likely damaged them by making a song and dance about TEFL in Thailand and attracting the uneducated (and some educated) masses to the industry. With such a massive resulting increase in the supply of willing teachers, employers have had absolutely no need to raise salaries, and unlike in almost every other field of employment in Thailand which have seen decent yearly average salary increases, TEFL has barely moved, and may have even decreased"
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I work for an agency and receive 33000 baht per month, I also teach for an extra 6 hours a week (24 per month ) receive and additional 12000 baht from the same agent for private contract work. I think its a reasonable wage for the work I do.
I really feel sorry for the school as with this arrangement it seems that teachers just don't want to hang around and the first sign of a better job offer and the're off. It's a shame as the kids end up with a different farang teacher each semester and in some cases they get a new teacher every few weeks because for 33000 they just don't want to stick around and as for no pay during the October and the huge gap between Feb and May they just aren't prepared to wait, so move on.
The school isn't hard up and I'm sure they could afford to pay a contract period but I think it's more a case of they have just got used to it and accept that Foreign teachers will just come and go through the ever revolving door.
I must say it will be interesting to see what your new Thai agency fellow comes up with and whether he delivers the 45000 wage. Pardon me from being cheeky but I would very much like his contact information if it is available, one can never have too many contacts in Thailand. :)
By Jonathan, Thailand (7th December 2011)
It seems that everyone has got highly involved in the question of money. In my opinion, 30k is the right salary, at the right time, for the right teachers and I don't think the existence of these salaries is a negative thing. I lived off that wage comfortably enough and managed to save two thirds of it each month without fail. I willingly offered to do my job for that amount when my department worried if they would be able to afford my salary this semester. They're now paying me significantly more, but if tomorrow they had to reduce it, I would still work here, I love my job. That's what is important to me.
The real question is the question of agencies. Yes of course there are good and bad, but why? Why are the bad ones still flourishing?
The problem is that the buck doesn't stop with Thai agencies any more. As one poster commented, teachers are being recruited on the "just arrived in Bangkok wave", but there are recruitment agencies taking the advertising even closer to home and soliciting various university job fairs in the UK to find victims.
Although the agencies involved have now had to up their offers to 30k as every one has fled from them as soon as they've realised the real wage situation in Thailand, this is what 35 teachers faced last September and another 50 odd faced in April with one such partnership that is regularly advertised on ajarn:
Lured out here on a £800, 5 month "cultural experience" and promised a (non CELTA) TEFL certificate as a "passport to the rest of the world" and a 4 month teaching placement, 2 agencies looking to make a quick buck sent anybody out to work, however unqualified or unprepared they were. Allegedly "exclusive" in their selection to people that would only fit the bill as teachers, they managed to include several people that clearly were not up to the task, and even one teacher without a degree.
The bit that really takes the biscuit?
"Luckily" these recruits got paid 12,500 baht and had their accomodation paid for throughout their stay (agencies choice of accom) - as advertised, a wage that is "significantly higher than the average Thai teacher, giving you plenty to live off!"
A wage that the schools themselves were seemingly unaware of, and dutifully shocked by when it all came out and realised the cut the agency were taking.
Obviously, recruits came out, realise they've been had, argued to have their wages increased to 20k, got it, but still unsatisfied as agency did not provide work permits, tax receipts, never were in the office, or answered calls or emails and rarely paid correctly or on time, so they subsequently left after the first term and went home.
No problem for the recruitment or teaching agency - hit up another university, the same old spiel, take a (now) £1000 cheque for the TEFL, "train" some more teachers for 2 weeks and send them out to work for 4 months before they go home and it starts again. Maybe this time just get some of them to do an online TEFL course as well. Give them 2 hours with a guy who has no-little classroom experience, then send them out to work.
What? They didn't complete the course? Oh don't worry. The agency who have already insinuated to the schools that everyone has taught before will say they did complete the course, and with flying colours... though if you want your certificate you'll have to see out your contract for that because otherwise they will withold it despite the fact you've already paid for your TEFL. (By the way, no ACTUAL contracts were signed, this is just what the company in question threatened)
Subsequently, Thai students end up with high changeover in teachers and poorly trained ones at that, and all the better teachers have to face lower wages because all the agencies know that somewhere out there they will find people willing to work for 12,500 baht.
I'm not so bothered about the wages, for me, you weigh your pros and cons and apply to the jobs that you want. If it's low pay but you really love the job, who cares, go for it. If you want a high paid job, don't apply for the low paid ones. I don't really get the hang up on the money issue.
For me it's more about advertising agencies that are unprofessional and practicing things that are borderline illegal. But again, it's not that ajarn even allows advertising space to these recruiters that bothers me. What infuriates me is that they can advertise with false promises but we're unable to name and shame them because of ajarn policy.
Of course there are good agencies and bad ones. Of course ajarn has to advertise whoever wants to buy the advertising space because that is how the site develops and sustains itself.
But, why shouldn't the teachers be allowed to openly comment on their experiences as well?
Maybe then the bad agencies will start to die out, and in turn there will be more serious teachers, with better training who deserve and will receive better compensation for their skills.
By Life, Hat Yai (21st June 2011)
There is a new insipid species of teacher recruiter in action. In the Khao San Road area, a new band of ESL teaching agency touts are working the "just arrived in Thailand crowd ". It works like this: a friendly farang meets you in a bar or restaurant, and casually mentions that he has a friend looking for English teachers paying around 27,000 baht (or less) - he offers to help you out and to hook you up with his friend - but what he neglects to mention is that he is a paid recruiter and pockets a quick 4000 - 6000 baht if he delivers the naive newcomer to the recruiting agency he is working for. If he was really a friendly guy in a bar, he would just give the individual the telephone number or the street address of the agency - which happens all the time - this is called networking. These touts are working for agencies that are already underpaying teachers, usually in the 30,000 baht a month range, and usually offering a 10-month contract, pocketing the teacher's holiday / vacation pay, which the school pays to them.
Often the recruiting touts are borderline English teachers themselves, as was the case when I declined an offered a 26,000 baht a month teaching job. It wasn't until later that I found out "my friend" was a recruiter and had given up teaching because he was so successful at duping new arrivals into accepting "lower than low "paying teaching jobs .
By barry brooks, Bangkok (19th June 2011)
It is impossible to keep up with the plague of agencies that has consumed the ajarn job adverts and put a choke hold on the enterprising Western teacher. Their silly names and laughable wages/working conditions would be pure comedy if they didn't sound the death knell for earning a livable wage. In Thailand (and elsewhere), quality educators are irrelevant in the director's grand scheme. Even in California, many teachers are hired without credentials, solely as a means to cut costs in staffing schools. Do California school administrators lose their jobs and suffer salary rollbacks in tough economic times? Don't count on it.
I do not blame ajarn one bit for providing ad space to dodgy agencies. Corrupt school directors receive lucrative agency kickbacks, and the buck stops there. Agencies are pimps in this show; it is not the business of ajarn to crusade for salaries or expose how the wheels are greased in providing white faces and warm bodies in Thai classrooms. Thailand is a poor place to build a teaching cv but a good pit stop for a cultural 'experience.' End of story.
By Guy, bkk (31st May 2011)
Philip - "To me (and many other teachers) it’s a totally unfair comparison. Foreign teachers are not Thais. They cannot be expected to live like Thais either. They don’t have the family support network that Thais have..."
That is why we are paying foreign teachers double or triple then what Thai citizens are getting paid for the same job so they can live comfortably.
Hippolyte - " Although this might be true, it fails to address the issue that no Thai graduate wants to become a teacher, and that there is a serious shortage of local teachers. Thai universities graduates don’t go for 7,500 baht jobs anymore; most expect a minimum of 15,000. "
This only reflects the market in Bangkok. Things are totally different in other parts of Thailand especially Northeast and Central regions where 7500 thb a month is a good start. I know Thai teachers starting with 4000 thb a month until they complete their probation. Not to mention kindergarten teachers which are working for 3000 thb a month.
F1ve- " It’s not the reality. It’s the reality you try to create. As expenses increase, the recruiters are decreasing wages. There is no less demand and therefore no justification for offering less. All you’re doing is recognising the increased cost of living and increasing your own profits, while leaving the unknowing teachers to work on a shoestring.
What you don’t realize is these actions will hurt YOU in the long run. You don’t think the schools will notice how little the teachers are being offered and adopt this penance as their own? Once that happens, what do you think will happen to your commissions? You’ll start to see them dwindle as well."
Actually, it looks like you are not aware what is going on here and it is easy to speak from China. So, we close everything here and leave it to your reality, right?First of all, i am paying more than what i was paying 3 years ago. And if our expenses will grow then of course we need to reflect it to the salaries of our teachers. This is a normal practice in capitalism.
Moreover, the schools are totaly aware of what we are paying to our teachers as mostly they set the price.So it does not hurt anyone. Of course, the schools are aware of our operational expenses and they know, how is runing a company in Thailand.
The last, you have to accept the fact that the money/capital is sliding to Asia from our western countries. While the unemployment rate is around ten percent in USA, it is only two percent in Thailand. So, there is an influx of foreigners cannot even find jobs in McDonald's coming to Asia to teach. It means competition and of course all the schools are aware of this fact. So, they lower their fees but we still keep our salaries same or mostly more.
Thomas - "Correct me if I am wrong but I hear the average teacher salary of 30,000 baht has been the same for the last 10 years if that is the case then it is not even keeping up with the rater of inflation, correct?"
It is not correct where i am working. First, we give a raise to all our teachers - of course the ones continuing with us - more or less equivilent to the rate of inflation. So, teachers started with us 5 years ago have salaries aroun 40 k now.
I am stating it again and again. All thoese frustration - which i respect - about agencies are coming from some basement companies which are not reliable or cannot run a smooth business and the ones signing with those without even checking things. ALl i know, there are maybe around five organizations placing teachers in Thailand which are reliable enough to run things. The rest, just struggling - even to speak English with their teachers!
But, i have no respect on people who claims the salaries - or any salary in this world - as " insulting salary". I think these are the ones came here with high expectation but cannot find what they want and start to moan about it.
By KD Eryarar, Bangkok (30th May 2011)
Correct me if I am wrong but I hear the average teacher salary of 30,000 baht has been the same for the last 10 years if that is the case then it is not even keeping up with the rater of inflation, correct?
By Thomas, Khon Kaen, Thailand (29th May 2011)
whoever said agencies set the wages?? the market sets the wages. if there were not people ready to take 30,000 thb per month then there would be no ads to that effect. but people are willing to work for that, if they think they are worth more then they wouldn't accept it, right? surely they can't be the ones complaining about this, because they already get paid 60,000 thb per month then, right? so why care? or is it that these other people that are complaining, who are getting paid a lot more, possibly doing something else, who has pity on these other guys - they think are feeling hard done by? you decide.
i know many people on around 30,000 THB per month, in and outside bangkok, and they don't have a chip on their shoulder - they are happy to be here and enjoying the time they have, because most of them are on a stop gap between finishing uni and getting a settle-down career in their own country. sure they'd love more money but who wouldn't, in any job. are they scrimping to get by? no.
the fact of the matter is, money is not the reason most people come to teach, its the cultural experience, if they wanted money there are plenty other countries out there like Korea or Japan. who pay a lot more.
I'm not against teachers getting paid more, but i think blaming one type of organisation is a little bit silly - in basic economics and capitalism, the price is set by the market, actually its almost like the teachers got together and said what will we accept, around 30,000 THB? OK, we'll take it. the teachers set the price just as much as the employer.
By sonic, Bangkok (28th May 2011)
I'm not even in Thailand yet and I'm already tired of the argument recruiters put forward to justify their existence and destruction of the ESL industry.
"Stay in USA and UK and earn three times more there- of course spend three time more - or if you want to live in Thailand and/or be a teacher, you have to accept its reality...."
It's not the reality. It's the reality you try to create. As expenses increase, the recruiters are decreasing wages. There is no less demand and therefore no justification for offering less. All you're doing is recognising the increased cost of living and increasing your own profits, while leaving the unknowing teachers to work on a shoestring.
What you don't realize is these actions will hurt YOU in the long run. You don't think the schools will notice how little the teachers are being offered and adopt this penance as their own? Once that happens, what do you think will happen to your commissions? You'll start to see them dwindle as well.
Keep up the "If you don't like, stay home" argument until everyone has no choice but to do just that....and then you'll be left with nothing. Well, that 25k-30k teaching job will probably be available.
By f1ve, China (28th May 2011)
AYC writes on its website:
"Keep in mind that, a Thai citizen bachelor degree holder is getting around two hundred and fifty USD."
Although this might be true, it fails to address the issue that no Thai graduate wants to become a teacher, and that there is a serious shortage of local teachers. Thai universities graduates don't go for 7,500 baht jobs anymore; most expect a minimum of 15,000.
In order to attract decent foreign teachers, schools should pay more than peanuts (and expecting well-qualified teacher to come here to teach for 30,000 is more than wishful thinking).
Training Thai teachers is what should be done, but it nobody seems to want to invest in this as there is no short-term gain or 'face' in it...
By Hippolyte, (26th May 2011)
KD, I do agree with you that everyone has a choice of whether to be a teacher in Thailand or not. Just a few hours research on the web and it's pretty easy to ascertain how much you will likely be earning and what's involved. As you say - no one ever came to teach in Thailand to get rich.
However I will always disagree with you on the following point;
"In reality, those insulting salaries are around three times more then a Thai teacher with around 5 years of experience and double then a teachers who has around 10 years of experience"
To me (and many other teachers) it's a totally unfair comparison. Foreign teachers are not Thais. They cannot be expected to live like Thais either. They don't have the family support network that Thais have. I once worked at a school with four receptionists who all earned barely 15,000 baht a month - yet three of them drove cars. I rest my case.
By philip, (26th May 2011)
Do we really need the agencies with their insulting salaries?
As the head of recruitment in AYC for 3,5 years now, it is very hard for me to understand the discussion about the need of agencies. We brought - we did not point a gun - here at least a thousand teachers over three years and 7 semesters and most of these teachers has no contact or a guarantee for a job in Thailand. We offered them full security with a real contact with all their legal issues - of course we are always bound to high Thai bureaucracy and experienced problems - and payments always on time even if they did not teach a single day. Moreover, even if they find a school by themselves which school can guarantee one year contract to a farang/foreigner in Thailand? Please tell me, do teachers survive without any support or training/knowledge about Thailand, its culture and tricky education system?
I know many teachers worked/working directly with the school became a meta for in school politics which is hard to define for a foreigner. I know many teachers who have seen another foreigner sitting on their desks in the morning and find themselves fired without any notice or reason and especially when they were announced as the best teachers at the school the day before. The sad thing is schools always hired another farang/foreigner as the new teacher right away and asked him/her to explain the teacher that he/she is fired. No confrontation at all, no reason - except " we did not like him/her"high and dry in the middle of the semester with no jobs or a need for relocation, burned apartment deposits, rents, broken relationships etc...
As one of the biggest teacher placement organization in Thailand - we actually prefer to use the term organization for companies as big as AYC and agency for the basement companies with two Thai ladies, a computer, a phone and with no support and security at all - we feel that a salary of 30 k - 38k thb is more then enough for the reality of Thailand. Teachers sending mails about stopping the adds of organizations due to their so called insulting salaries are looking like the guys who have been fired by the schools already and struggling to find any more jobs due to their high expectations. Actually, it is normal for these type of guys who do not hold or do not care any single thing about Thai Culture and how things are running here.
In reality, those insulting salaries are around three times more then a Thai teacher with around 5 years of experience and double then a teachers who has around 10 years of experience. It is the salary of an army general in Thailand who need to climb there for 30 years. On top of these, what do you mean an insulting salary? So, people earning less then 30 - 38k need to feel ashamed? The term 'insulting salary' is an insult for the people earning less than that.
We are not in Thailand to become rich or if you need more money why bother yourself coming to Thailand? Or another crucial question for you: "If you want to be rich, why did you choose to be a teacher instead of a banker?" Teaching is an idealistic job and we really do not like people who take teaching in Thailand - or elsewhere - as a meta for money.
Stay in USA and UK and earn three times more there- of course spend three time more - or if you want to live in Thailand and/or be a teacher, you have to accept its reality, wipe your tears, open your eyes again, look around and recognize, you are not in USA/UK etc. any more and please leave your traditions and salary comparisons there...
Still, over 3 years of interviews and emailing, I totally understand the frustration of the teachers burned by some basement agencies. No payment, no support, no legal procedures. But, this is because of our foreign, greedy and super confident minds as we are always focusing on "money". Teachers needs to keep in their minds that a company offering a better salary does not mean they have better service and operation as well.
Big companies which are doing things smoother, of course pay less salary due to their high operational expenses and investments such as semi annual seminars, work permits and their procedures, transportation costs, curriculum staff, substitution for sick! teachers, money under the table, salaries of its staff and office costs... There are many other things I dare to count... So, if you do not focus on a couple of thousands bath less or more - which will not make you rich or poor - then no problems at all. Plus, do not forget to check the building of the company, decoration, the number of staff inside. If you trust on two Thai ladies with broken English, in a small room at the basement, with a computer and a phone, then you write to several blogs, forums and ajarn.com to complain about the agencies, right?
By KD Eryarar, Bangkok (26th May 2011)