Why so bitter?

Why so bitter?

I'm wondering about all the bitterness from Thailand teachers. Y'all are a bile-filled lot. I guess there's something about teaching in Thailand that makes you that way but I still have to wonder. I've taught in both of the Chinas (ROC & PRC) and have felt the culture shock, all three waves, and there's nothing more load-lightening than a good ol' bitch session with the other foreigners. But most of us, and I've talked to people teaching in Korea and Japan as well, just accept the differences in culture and get on with enjoying life in these great places.

Case in point: I have no illusions about any of my students becoming fluent in English any time before they go abroad and live in an English-speaking country. I'm happy that they can parrot back what I tried to dump in their little brains at the end of the week. I teach them the tests before they take it, I smile at the parents and tell them they're kid is great, punch my card and head to the mountains or the bar for the weekend. The retarded traffic, the unaware pedestrians, the spit and betel nut juice on the sidewalk, giant cockroaches, whatever; it's not going to get in the way of me enjoying the fact that I live in a great little tropical country where the living is cheap.

Maybe the difference is this: I, and many of my friends, are under no illusion that we are teachers or teaching. If we wanted to teach we would have gone to a country where the language of instruction was our own native tongue, and we would have taught a subject that we were passionate about. Did any of you really come to Asia to change young minds and make a difference in a child's life? You should have gotten that delusion excised before you even bought your plane ticket.

I'd love to work in Thailand. Thanks to the bitter folk who have warned me away from teaching in the municipal schools (I'll stick to the mall franchises). I like the country. I think I know the Asian mindset well enough. I know what my life would be like back in North America and I'm happy to have been given the chance to live a different one. Maybe some of you should think about that or try to go back and make it in your homeland. It's just a job.

Ell Tee


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