I have taught in Thailand for eight years and I understand much of what teachers have written here. I also understand that most of the time teachers do not get what they expect. This is often due to their relationship with their employers and this can be personal, business, academic or any number of things that rub them up the wrong way. It only takes one cultural complaint and you could be on the list of non-renewals with no benefits.
I don't want to address any of that. What I am shocked about is the erosion of the job market. I have been gone for two years and I came back to Bangkok all hopeful and ready to work. I even knew - based on past experience - how much money I needed to get by on until my first checks came in. But I had no idea how much things had changed.
Jobs have drastically disappeared for experienced licensed teachers. I mean in my case, it was the international schools that hired you and a few of the top Thai schools. Sure there are many language schools, and hourly work - but the day of the 60,000 baht a month jobs are gone.
I have literally applied at all the schools with openings. I have years of experience, licenses (including a Thai teachers license) and degrees in education. I have had not one hit in a month. Every school that I have spoken with in person offers 25,000 to 32,000 baht a month and very little help getting settled. Unlike the old days, where schools would give you an advance to do the border run and pay for the non-immigrant B visa, along with all the other stuff. Nowadays, it doesn't seem to happen.
I got down to my last 4,000 baht and began to look at Issan and northern Thailand for potential employment. Lo and behold the pay is the same (or a little better) but the cost of living is cheaper. Much cheaper. I made the unknown fatal error by not comparing both Bangkok and Issan before I went to the city on false assumptions. Luckily, I have a wife and family in Laos and they can help me a little to get started. The border is closer so it takes less time and less money to do the border run. Some schools will actually cover all the costs too.
It is a shame that Bangkok has become stagnant in so many ways. Wages are falling, cost are rising and call-backs or even acknowledgements are very slow in coming. I recommend that anyone coming to Bangkok to work should first weigh up the living costs and compare wages at the upcountry schools. It may be a 'less is more' situation.
I am packed and leaving this week. Doubt I will return to Bangkok for a long time. Maybe never, but who knows the future.