In reply to 'Thailand you have lost another good teacher' (Postbox 7th October) the noble concept of bettering students and a country is no small matter. Thailand has a lot to offer its students and in a sense it is better than many of the other "developing nations". However, with systems and policies in relation to the way foreign teachers are treated, it results in a mix between the dark ages and the 21st century.
People and cultures are judged on the way they treat outsiders and animals. Unfortunately, animals are often treated a bit better than foreign teachers. I am quite surprised to notice that after a long time, it is now starting to backfire. The numbers of new foreign teachers are not as many as before - just like the tourists. Before, Thailand had a place in the ESL world that was a lot less lucrative for teachers than South Korea, but it was 'sabai sabai' and an element of real smiles. Now, it is hard to find a smile from Thai employers and even harder to try and smile as a foreign teacher.
Like any profession, market forces take priority. Where Thailand had a niche, China has now opened its doors and is offering a lot more. If Thailand wants to still remain a player in this game, it is time for a 100% top to bottom change. Change requires the Thais to rethink very deep points:
1. Is the foreigner actually the devil and therefore not welcome in Thailand?
2. Of all the countless foreign teachers that have given their sweat and blood for Thai students - just like the foreigners did during the second world war. Bridge over the River Kwai (Kanchanaburi) and a lot more. We built the railways and the EP school programs (modern times) Anybody want to say thanks?
If the foreigner is not unwanted, then it is time for the penny to drop, and if we are really included (as opposed to excluded from everything) maybe we can all work together to build a really good tomorrow for both Thais and foreigners and especially the students! I have met, lived and worked with numerous people from numerous nations - the biggest obstacle for progress is an artificial divide - us and them.
Phil says - I really don't get the second point. Weren't soldiers forced to build the Bridge over The River Kwai? But no one forces anyone to come here and teach English. And to come up with statements such as "there aren't as many foreign teachers as before', you need to have access to statistics or data. And data on foreign teachers doesn't exist. It never has,