Dear Richard Burgess,
I must have been mistaken; I guess the MoE does not require a four degree.
Many of us "qualified folks" do not what to move to China or any other country for that matter. We would like for our degrees and effort to mean something; I do not believe this is a bad thing. Some of us have to pay those loans, and of course we drool over the prospect of making more cash for our college investments. We do this while competing with the fraudulent teachers who inevitably drive the salaries down, so please give us "formally" educated folks a bit of slack.
Nevertheless, despite your words of discouragement, it is possible to make enough money to pay off college loans here in Thailand, and if the MoE puts a system in place that most countries use (college grads do the teaching), teachers with four degrees, TEFL’s, Masters Degrees and/or formal teacher qualifications from a native-English-speaking-country stand to make more money. The Kingdom can afford it, so please don’t do on about the developing country bit. You may have a point about more rural places. There is perhaps a place for non-degree professionals in those high demand areas, so that any school that wishes to obtain ESL teachers can do so. This would need solid regulation or the freaks that you lashed out at in your last letter will just gain access to the kids again.
Some of us believe that a college degree is a crucial experience for educators in general, especially those who work with children. Many of us that hold a college degree want to make more cash, have better jobs, job-security, and benefits. Many of us college degree people have families, homes, etc and have no intention on leaving the Kingdom. I hope one day our degrees mean something; is that common sense enough for you? I will say that you are correct in the sense that if the MoE never requires a 4 year degree to get paid to teach in the Kingdom (volunteer all you want, any and all!!), then folks like me who are just sitting here licking our chops, hoping for greener pastures, and theoretically safer schools; well, we should just shut-up and deal with it or move to another country. Many of us “professionals” shall be curiously watching to see what changes are installed by the MoE and how they are enforced; China here I come???