This is the place to air your views on TEFL issues in Thailand. Most topics are welcome but please use common sense at all times. Please note that not all submissions will be used, particularly if the post is just a one or two sentence comment about a previous entry.

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Please support The Hope Fair

The first Hope Fair of 2020 will be hosted on March 26th at the prestigious Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel, in the center of town, a few steps away from BTS Ratchadmri.

The Hope Fair is renowned on the Bangkok scene for its selection of 100 artisans and entrepreneurs offering quality products and services which can not be found elsewhere.

For the past 5 years, the Hope Fair has provided a unique shopping experience to the public offering crafts, art, fashion, and delicacies such as smoked fishes, foie gras, cheese, tamarind vinegar, vegan bread and pastries along with other treats prepared with love for all to enjoy!

Don’t hesitate to indulge yourself with clothes, accessories, home decor, and organic cosmetics. Or make your life easier by learning about innovative tools to support your daily life. Parents can also spoil their little ones with educational games, clothes and fun accessories .

Furthermore, all the vendors - designers, artisans and entrepreneurs - donate to the Mercy Centre, an orphanage in Klong Toey which supports the kids of the slums with financial and material aid.
During the fair, the foundation will be collecting shoes, clothes, or anything useful that can be reused by the less fortunate. Make some space in your cabinet and bring your donation treasures on March 26th!

Stay tuned! : https://www.facebook.com/events/135214437695684/

Posted by Ajarn


I made far more as a postman!

Most government schools here are paying about 30,000 baht a month - and they want you to have a degree! When I lived in Australia, I worked as a postman for a while and I was paid $27 an hour, then after 8 hours it went up to 1.5 times your hourly rate. After 10 hours it went to double time. The problem in Thailand is that the students want everything to be fun but do not want to put in the hard work. Thailand has caused it's own problems and there is no easy fix. If you are wondering why I didn't teach in Australia, go and ask any teacher what it is like working there!

Stewart


Name calling

Name calling

I have been called a farang, barang, gaijun, laowei and probably a few others (I was always struck there does not seem to be any catch-all informal phrase for Westerners in Vietnam). I find these terms are used far more often in a descriptive than an evaluative way. I have used them myself often enough. But of course they can, like any word used to classify people, be used as an insult.

It is probably a good idea to acknowledge the differences in acceptable behaviors coming from a more racially heterogeneous country where race and nationality are considered separate and a more racially homogeneous country where race and nationality are intertwined.

I remember one time I was in China (in a fairly small city without many foreigners) at a zoo. There was a little girl who was pointing at the animals and calling out their names (In Chinese of course). She would point and say, tiger, bird, monkey, and then pointed at me and yelled LAOWEI. Her mother tried to apologize, but instead we had a good laugh about it. Take your kids to the zoo and see all kinds of exotic animals, lions, tigers, monkeys and white people!

Maybe I should be more judgmental of the local cultures where I live, work and travel and be offended more often, but I am not sure how that would make my life here in Asia more profitable or enjoyable.

Jack


Whiteboard work

It’s interesting how we often take issues around boardwork for granted, even little things like how best to stand and write. Of course, so many seemingly ‘little’ things can end up being consequential.

I’m also reminded of a post by Anthony Ash called “Whiteboarding: the input session the CELTA forgot” which points out how this area can be neglected on TEFL courses and presents some really excellent whiteboard techniques. Finally, there’s an interesting resource on Twitter: the #ELTwhiteboard hashtag. It’s got about 600 posts tagged that way, most of which consist of EFL teachers the globe over sharing snapshots of their own whiteboard work from a lesson.

That hashtag shows how much of a class often goes ‘through’ a whiteboard, and how many different things it can end up as a canvas for. For example, in some of these pics you notice what is clearly students’ writing, perhaps from a board-race or class presentation. So there is another suggestion about how to approach your whiteboard: be careful not to guard it too closely; perhaps set a target of getting students using it at least once per class.

Matthew


As long as work is interesting.

As long as work is interesting.

I lived in Bangkok on less than 40,000 when I first arrived, and then later on a bit more than 40,000, and occasionally much more. For me, living in Bangkok on 40,000 (or less) was a pretty good life, but making more than that was better and making multiple times 40,000 was even better yet (but not multiple times better). But other readers might have had different experiences or have different viewpoints.

Personal opinion, as long as the work is interesting and your personal life is OK, making a decent salary is important, but having a high salary less so. Why not try to eventually have interesting work, a good personal life AND a bit more than an average income. It doesn't seem an impossible goal over one's lifetime.

Jack


Be thankful for what you have

I've been teaching in Thailand these last 14 years and everything has turned out so well, so far. At first some things appear difficult but once you are settled in your school and get adjusted to how things are, the day-to-day work becomes easy and routine. A piece of advice especially for the native English speakers, don't expect preferential treatment so you won't get disappointed. We Asians settle on our own without expecting free airport pick-up or any other similar sort of assistance. We don't complain and we never do. If you get lucky and get special assistance from your school/university, be thankful and grateful. But don't be so demanding. This is Thailand! Life isn't all beds of roses here, but I'm sure it's pretty much convenient living and working here than anywhere else in Asia.

Roy


The bait and switch Skype experience

The bait and switch Skype experience

My partner and I are going to Thailand in March for three weeks. We are getting hitched there and while holidaying I have a few interviews already lined up. I hate Skype interviews. Done that before when applying for a position in China and it's daunting! You read one thing on their ads and they will say things that don't match at all in those Skype interviews. Not my game for sure! Both interviews I am going to are from ajarn and I didn't even contact them! They saw my profile and hit me up. Lots of other school contacted me but I get pretty annoyed at how they don't show the salary on their ads nor do they want to say what it is via e-mail. They want to discuss salary over the Skype interview. No thanks! I wasted so much time on Skype interviews when I was seeking a position in China that now I can't be bothered wasting time, especially with 10+ years experience teaching.

Letty


Do Filipinos really do it better?

This message is a comment on a post by Danielle 'Filipinos do it better'. I had to comment because this post is wrong on many levels. It seems to typify a common sentiment held by many Filipinos (as well as other nationality teachers) that they, as a group, are actually superior as teachers compared with anyone that they like to label as "so-called native speakers". This seems largely rooted in bitterness to do with school hiring policies as well as a reflection of thinking that can be seen in some of the questionable ideas found in the academic field of world Englishes.

I have worked with Filipino teachers, and it has been no easy task. The English material they produce for students is consistently riddled with grammar errors and inappropriate language. In addition to that, students have complained to me that they find their teaching confusing and tedious. In spite of these problems, the teachers are very conceited and like to throw their weight around in the workplace. It seems that they have a high opinion of themselves as teachers based on teaching qualifications they have attained which seem most likely of very questionable quality.

Thai educational institutions would, in fact, be much better off just using Thai teachers, as at least Thai teachers can explain things in Thai if students do not understand. If your average Filipino teacher cannot produce English accurately, then the advantage of hiring them over Thai teachers seems very questionable. Of course, there probably are some good Filipino English teachers, but my observation of the abilities of the teachers I have encountered is enough to show that the blanket statement 'Filipinos do it better' is not based on fact.

Jim Hensby


Tourists won't keep coming if.....

Tourists won't keep coming if.....

I get really tired of foreigners who constantly come out with the line "This is Thailand, if you don't like it then stay away".
Thailand earns a lot of money from tourism and is now losing ground to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, so wouldn't it be better to educate the Thais just a little bit rather than simply accepting the kind of behaviour that ensures many tourists will only visit once? How can any Thai think it reasonable behaviour to ride a motorbike at speed along a sidewalk, across a pedestrianised zone, or the beach promenade (right opposite the police station) when there are tourists with babies in pushchairs, elderly people, disabled people, children etc.
Do they honestly not realise how bad they make their country look? Pattaya's recent attempt to make the resort 'family friendly' will never, ever succeed when they allow their citizens to act like complete imbeciles.
Thailand is a great country and has many good things going for it - great food, some beautiful scenery, good transport, thousands of great hotels and resorts etc. etc. but they really should clamp down on the idiots who are destroying things for them on a daily basis.

John


Hire the best teacher for the job

I worked in Thailand more than a decade. Sadly, many schools in Thailand prefer native speakers over Asians, even to teach math and other technical subjects. I am a math teacher with several years of experience teaching high school math. I remember I had applied for a high school math teaching position in one of the schools in Thailand . As expected, I was not even called for the interview, perhaps holding a wrong passport. Later, one of my American friend with the acceptable skin color was hired for that position. At the time of hiring, he had a couple of years experience teaching grade 4 math, but had never ever taught high school. However, I had the opportunity to help him with questions from his students. I think schools in Thailand should strive to hire the best person for the job, regardless of their nationality

John


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