Stories where teachers and teaching agencies have come into conflict are all too common and allegations (on both sides) are difficult to prove/substantiate. Also, there are always two sides to every story. After having been here for over 12 years, I find that some schools are a great fit and others are not so much.
When stuck in a position where the school is not appreciating the teacher’s effort, or the teacher is not appreciating the school, it is best to find a better “home” or, quite simply, time to make a change. And, IMHO, labour courts don’t always offer the long-term satisfaction (or short term results) one desires but they do serve a valuable purpose.
To say this type of situation is a “Thai thing” is disingenuous because we have all read to the “horror stories” of teaching in China or Korea. In addition, all you need to do is read CNN, BBC or any other news outlet from the U.S. and U.K. to see the battles and bitterness surrounding education/teaching there (vocal parents with an agenda, overcrowded classrooms, lack of resources, learning-disabled or emotional unstable students, teachers being paid based on standardized test results, schools losing funding or being closed based on standardized test results, teachers without qualifications being hired by local education boards, and teachers prior to obtaining tenure being forced out for nebulous reasons…the concept of tenure itself is under attack).
Racism, or judging one by their appearance, is also not a uniquely Thai attribute. I grew up in an area of outright racism…violent, ignorant racism… Regardless, judging someone based on the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their religion, their economic status, etc. is wrong whatever the location or industry (or reasons).
I spent years “preaching” equality but, in the end, it came down individual connections that changed people’s thinking. All I can suggest is to focus on changing each individual’s perception rather than feeding into their preconceived (and wrong-headed) notions. Nothing that is said will change a person’s mind until they meet someone that defies what they believe to be true.
Finally, I don’t believe the finger can be pointed just at agencies since there are good and bad agencies just as there are good and bad schools…or even good and bad teachers. Each situation, teacher, agency, and school is unique.
Just as some schools are not a good fit for a teacher, some agencies are not as well (and vice-versa). The truly bad agencies don’t stay in business in the long run…and the truly bad schools change their tune after “too much bad press”...and the truly bad teachers end up leaving because they can’t find gainful, stable employment.
I wish teachers the best of luck but if you are an experienced, qualified teacher then employment will be quite easy to find. Go out there and find a more positive working environment but remember to leave the past (experience) behind you.
Don’t bring any animosity into a new job…judge the new position based on what it is…new and unique..a chance to start fresh and show them who you are and what you can do.