Teaching in Thailand

The word expectation is very strong. When expectations are not met we are often disappointed. Assumptions tend to involve common sense and seem to be less harmful to us. Or are they?

1. Foreign Assumption: If I sign a contract it will be honored.

Thai Assumption: We will do what we want now that we got you here. Maybe we will have honor.

2. Foreign Assumption: Those who have power are concerned with education for young people.

Thai Assumption: Why benefit a country or people when you and your buddies are making lots of money? Besides, your kids will get your job courtesy of our corrupt network.

3. Foreign Assumption: Schools value knowledge and expect you to contribute yours.

Thai Assumption: We don't care just put on the factory uniform. You’re lucky it's a shirt and tie.

4. Foreign Assumption: In a very hot country you can drink water in class as you are speaking a lot.

Thai Assumption: You'll be fired for drinking water in class and no food allowed in the staff room.

5. Foreign Assumption: You will get your bonus and have a job next year as you honored a contract.

Thai Assumption: We don't care how long you have been here. We can pay less as you have too many years. We invented a new rule to not pay your bonus it’s called subject to change at any time. Get a lawyer!

6. Foreign Assumption: People you work with will be professional and not interfere with your life.

Thai Assumption: Professionals have degrees. If we can hire whitey for less, get away with it and create fear to control then that's all that matters...profit, profit, profit.

7. Foreign Assumption: Merit is emphasized in a country of merit.

Thai Assumption: Ha ha ha ha. Family name and money is first. Who cares if a kid's lazy and dumb? More money for penalty fees. So we lost a poor intelligent student...no biggie.

8. Foreign Assumption: Honesty is a part of the school process—especially religious schools.

Thai Assumption: Honesty doesn’t pay the bills or allow for expansion—we need to build another school.

9. Foreign Assumption: Accepting corruption means you are not corrupt.

Wrong Assumption: Real teachers cannot do the wrong thing for long it goes against our code.

I came to Thailand as I had friends from my college years who traveled through Asia. They all enjoyed Thailand, however, none of them worked here.

I think it would be safe to assume that if a single teacher wants to save money and do what is best for the future than Thailand is not the country to work in. Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and the Middle East seem to have a better idea of labor relations and the rewards are much better.

The common Thai practice of ignoring corruption or the attitude of calling it a compromise is really quite unbecoming of the culture and nothing to be proud of. If people with power do nothing about corruption then they are no better than the corrupt. The sad thing is that young people are learning corruption in certain school systems that have no accountability for the youth and characters that they are developing.

It may be safe to say that any assumptions in Thailand are probably not a good thing to have.

Dude Abides

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