Wow! Myanmar obviously didn't agree with Lydia. But don't use that reason to 'slag off' teachers and schools in the country <a href="http://www.ajarn.com/ajarn-street/postbox/myanmars-not-for-me" title="(Ajarn Postbox 5th July)">(Ajarn Postbox 5th July)</a>
I've been teaching in Myanmar since 2012, and like me, there are many dedicated and very good foreign teachers (and local teachers) working hard to improve the education of the students.
Unlike the government in Thailand, the Myanmar government recognises that the educational system needs to be overhauled, and they are very happy to accept advice from foreign experts to achieve this goal, (unlike Thailand, which often refuses advice from foreign experts - remember the flooding in Bangkok a few years ago and the government's refusal to accept advice from Dutch flood avoidance experts).
Just a few weeks ago, a new Primary Grade 1 curriculum for learning English was introduced in Myanmar state schools, having been created with advice from Japanese educational experts. That new curriculum will be rolled out to higher grades over the next few months.
'Democracy has a long way to go'? At least it is going in the right direction, unlike another country I could mention.
Many teachers drink in bars, (I'm not one of them). Come to think of it, many people who are not teachers also drink in bars. As long as they do not become dependent on alcohol, and as long as it does not interfere with their work, then I can't see the relevance of your statement.
"... and ignoring the massive poverty and broken down infrastructure around you". One reason why many foreigners come to work in Myanmar is to try to alleviate the poverty and to improve the infrastructure. I teach in Naypyidaw on weekdays, and then join local volunteers to teach free at the local orphanage during the weekend. Other foreign experts that I meet are helping the Myanmar government to improve the sanitation systems in Yangon, or to analyse and advise on improvements to the electrical grid network.
"The authorities often do not check credentials or criminal record backgrounds of teacher - a number of whom come with fake qualifications". Er hello!! Are you talking about Myanmar or Thailand or Cambodia or .....?
The rents are high in Yangon, due to the shortage of available accommodation. That's why many schools pay to accommodate their teachers in hotels. I have several friends who stay in 4 and 5-star hotels at their school's expense.
The frequent power cuts are due to the weak electrical grid, which cannot yet meet the growing demand. As for the long rainy season, I'm afraid that is one issue that no-one can change.
"It is kind of the dumping ground for teachers who can't get well-paying jobs in Thailand". Perhaps you need to ask why they can't get well-paid jobs in Thailand. One reason often mention is because of the age discrimination against experienced teachers that many schools in Thailand are famous for. I'm 58 years old and hold down a $3,000 USD/month teaching job in Myanmar, teaching kindergarten and lower primary. No school in Thailand would entertain my employment because of my age and, well that's their problem, not mine.
As in any country, there are some schools that are run purely for profit. Lydia, don't tell me that schools of that type don't exist in Thailand.
In conclusion, it sounds to me that Lydia didn't do her homework before accepting her job in Yangon. I can also suggest that Lydia is a 'glass half-empty' sort of person, which really is not the right attitude to have when working in a developing country.
Good luck with your freedoms in Thailand :)