Yesterday I was about to sign an employment contract with a primary school in North Thailand. The verbal agreement was for a part-time post, teaching year 5 (15 set hours). This school has a designated English program.
The school approached my wife (a Thai) and pleaded that they needed me. They had asked me to teach last year but I was only prepared to take a part-time role and they insisted on a full-time post. So no arrangements eventuated but now they really needed me! I am a retired Director, Manager, University Teacher, School Teacher, and trainer and have worked all over the world. My last senior role was in Equatorial Guinea as the Director for People Development for a major oil & gas corporation.
I delivered a demonstration lesson on Monday morning in front of three senior Thai school personnel (including the school principal) after which I was told that I was hired and must stay with the school until the school term ends in April next year even if I don't like it! That should have been a warning sign statement. Nevertheless, I agreed.
After delivering a lesson early morning yesterday, I accompanied my wife to the school meeting room to sign the contract. On my explaining that the verbal agreement had not been adhered to and that asking me to teach a year 2 and year 3 class and adding an extra hour to the weekly agreed hours was not appropriate, they added that they were now only offering the job until September. I indicated that I would not be signing the contract and the meeting ended and we left the school.
Annoyingly I had delivered a few hours teaching and spent many hours preparing lessons and had developed a good rapport with the children. No offer of compensation was forthcoming. This would never happen in a Western school.
What I also observed in my short time at this school is a system of poor HR. Schools are crying out for qualified, experienced teachers, especially as Thailand currently has no access to English speaking staff due to COVID 19. I was very happy to help them out until April next year on the basis of what was verbally offered. Why then change the terms? Who knows? but I can guess and I'm of the view that it is all about control and self-importance. Farang is not Thai and therefore must be kept in their place and Thai teachers are very important people so whatever they do is always correct! Its that Farang again not respecting our Thai culture!
The reality is that there was no HR in this school and any farang I know would not want to work for a school that is as manipulative and dishonest in their recruitment processes as this school demonstrated. I only hope such practices are not widespread, but sadly I have my doubts.