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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Is the writing on the wall for government school teachers?

Yesterday i was told in no uncertain terms by a director of a teacher agency that the Ministry of Education in Thailand is very disappointed in the performance of foreign teachers. they are considered to be lazy and arrogant. I was told that the only reason that foreign teachers are teaching in Thailand was because of their accent. not because of their grammar skills or teaching ability. I was also told that Thai teachers are quite capable of teaching English without the help of foreigners.


Advertisements with misleading job titles

Advertisements with misleading job titles

Recently, I applied to an advertisement on your website for a secondary school teaching post. The ad posted on the ajarn site website, stated the school is searching for secondary school teachers.

A few days after I applied, I got a call from the school asking me to come in for an interview. They asked me if I wanted to do a demonstration class of any kind. They gave me the option of doing such a demonstration class in any discipline I wanted (math, science, social studies, to name a few of the choices). At the time, I thought this seemed a little strange since surely they would have had a specific need for a specific kind of teacher rather than every kind of teacher. At any rate, I chose science. So I was to do a demonstration class for 10th grade students for a science class.

The school is not exactly in a centralized, convenient location. Its on the outer-fringes of Bangkok and not near any mass transit routes at all. Therefore, I drove my scooter all the way from Payatai in the middle of downtown to the school; a 1 hour+ trip through dangerous traffic in the heat in the middle of the day.

When I got to the school, I filled out several application forms and an older man, presumably a teacher at the school, copied my degree and TEFL paper. He interviewed me and asked me questions about my resume. Then, after about 30 minutes of detailed interrogation, he announced that actually the school was not hiring for a secondary school teacher at all. Apparently, they only had one position available, and it was teaching kindergarten. As I have neither experience for nor desire to teach kindergarten, I politely refused. Following this, he kept on going as if he hadnt heard me refuse-- he told me the next step would be to see the director, fill out more papers, etc. I reiterated to him at least 3 times that I was not interested and there are many teachers who would rather teach kindergarten but I'm not one of them. He told me the school has trouble finding teachers to teach kindergarten. I asked him why they don't just place an ad for the job they need filled rather than one for a secondary school teacher. He told me, "sorry, they have only one ad-form for all their job postings" (which, as you can see from the ad they posted on your website, is specifically for secondary school teachers.)

I find it rather funny that this school has the idea they can get a difficult-to-fill post filled by advertising for it under false pretenses of another job title... do they actually think we job seekers are dumb enough to just say, "OK, that's fine, even though I wanted to be a rocket scientist, poop scooping will be just fine.."? But at the same time, it's really annoying and for a remotely-located school such as this one, its a real time-waster... Anyway, thanks for reading.

Phil / says - Thank you Nathan for getting in touch and keeping us informed on this matter. I can appreciate the total waste of time and energy involved. If you send me the contact details of the person you dealt with, I will gladly give them a call and see what can be done. At the very least, we need to let them know that this kind of recruitment practice is unacceptable.

Nathan Busch

What Nick is trying to say

Ok, This will be short. I think he is trying to say is stop talking about it and do something about it. Put up or Shut up. If you work for a company that discriminates, then stop working for that company. What if all us White guys stopped working in Thailand, who would they hire?...Yeh, I know... Asians, but you get my point I hope. Ok Nick, thank you for sharing and I will put up. Thanks Adam
(Phil - can we consider this particular topic now closed. Cheers)

Adam (English Teacher, Chaing Mai)

A quick response to Nick's idea of censorship.

I am assuming you come from an English speaking Western country, because the only errors in your written English are due to direct recording of spoken English, which is nothing really worth criticising you about. So I assume that you come from a place with freedom of speech and the right to be heard.

As the posts you so vehemently berate do not infringe the law of Thailand or anywhere, then what gives you the right to request censorship? Isn't a place to air your views? Also, hasn't it ever occured to your egotistical blinkered view of the world, that some people are new to Thailand and and so those posting are not "flogging a dead horse" to them, it is news. Furthermore, is accessed by many thinking of coming to Thailand, so I would imagine, that the wider the range of views, even those from the inferior people at "" would serve to give a more balanced picture of what the prospective teachers might expect. Or did you think everyone would be able to start their own business and be one of life's winners at like you? By the way have the British Council accredited your school yet?

Of course, maybe you feel is for the select long-termers who KNOW so much about LOS, and the stupid newcomers need to know their place. Maybe you feel threatened by talented newcomers, who might venture out to start their own business and become a competitor of yours?

Finally, if there is indeed racism and other forms of discrimination in schools, wouldnt it be the right thing to expose it, again and again and again, as these things need time to register and even more time to change. I agree with your views about Thailand being divided, but one reason it is divided is that maybe no one has stood up to say what is wrong.

Anyway Nick, enjoy your executive life style, if you want posts about diving, purchasing a Lear Jet or how to decorate your river view condo balcony so it resembles home I suggest you try other websites, and leave (translation lecturer or teacher) for those interested in education issues.


Nick is the one who needs flogging

Nick is the one who needs flogging

In reply to the pompous letter of 'self-made' businessman Nick: if you don't like the blogs on this site, just don't read them and don't criticize them, unless you have a valid point. I for one think the bloggers on this site are doing a hell of a job every month. More than can be said of your boring and useless rantings every five years. Btw, there are more 'vs.' than described in the blog: try boasting, arrogant, over-exaggrating expat with inflated egos vs integrated foreigners who try to help not only students but also their colleagues.

James Green

Horses that need to be flogged...

Hi Nick,

couldn't pass by this little gem of yours without responding. You're like so many people you meet here who think that, if it isn't happening to them, then it doesn't exist like the tree falling down in Sweden that nobody hears.

The fact is that racism, discrimination, ageism, subjective reporting and a host of other things need to be reported as often as possible because they have not been eradicated from society and probably never will, so at least this makes people aware of the problem and acts as a kind of "checks and balances" corrector in some senses even if only in a small way.

I would say to you in response to your letter that you don't need to read these blogs if you have no interest or compassion for others, and you certainly come across to me as a selfish twat when you open your first paragraph and talk about the following:

"I have my own company now and have been working successfully for many years. My company provides me with an expat executive level salary which is more than enough for me to live off of. "

Money, money, money. But then you end the same paragraph with the following:

"I’m still learning, but at the same time I believe I have a good handle on Thailand and the Thai culture."

You clearly haven't a clue about people living in Thailand: the impoverished, discriminated by age, or race, or by skewed reporting, and wouldn't know the feelings of your average Thai if they jumped up and bit you on the nose! You talk like one of those high court judges constantly berated in the UK for giving out inconsistent sentences: someone completely out of touch with the ordinary working man or woman. I can almost picture you now: peering down at me with pince-nez glasses, tut-tutting your disapproval.

For you, what matters is how much you have, so anything that discusses people who don't have it is largely irrelevant and therefore, for you, a form of navel gazing. "I have also heard and seen with my own two eyes the issue with all the vs’s. It has stopped me in some cases and it has not in others. I’m still here and I can still show you the money." Yes, yes, here we go again – the money God!

“A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 28:20)

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)”

You say, "We all know that news reporting isn’t fair or always objective." Is that so? So if we all know this, why do we expect our news agencies to be fair, impartial and, above all, objective? Is this something that is unreasonable to expect? Coming from your mouth, it would appear to be so.

You also said the following:

"How many vs’s do we really need to know? We will always have vs’s around. As long as we have selfish, weak minded, ignorant people around, they will always use these vs’s to promote themselves and their ideas..."

The only selfish individual I see here is you who has the temerity to lord it over the rest of us, letting us know in the first paragraph that (a) you own your own company (whoopee!), (b) you draw a high salary (obviously compared to us plebs!), and (c) you are some kind of high powered executive type (pls wait a min while I prostrate myself before you in obeisance!)

Ah, I see the logic fairy has got to you here and warped your brain a bit:

"However, if those who want to talk about these subjects so much, as if they believe it’s wrong, really want to do something to change this issue, then quit working for those companies, schools and organizations who believe in this crap or post those type of ads. Ah hah, got you…I know you won’t quit and because of that…it will never stop. So please stop pretending that you don’t like it or care."

Don't you think that most if not all the people you mention would quit if they could afford to? You really think they are staying in these crummy jobs because they want to or don't have the cahoneys to leave? Unlike you, oh special one, they do not have a high-powered salary to fall back on, so paallease...spare us the faulty logic as it only goes to show how out of step you are with reality.

Your advice appears to be accept it all which is, ironically, very Thai/Buddhist:

"Also, history has spelled this all out before, and we all already know what will happen, so why keep talking about it."

Guess you're some kind of "maw doo" and can see into the future. The rest of us mere mortals have to make do with going to sleep and hoping the new day brings us something nice.

"I drive a car and the wheels on my car go round and round. How many times do you want me to discuss that subject with you? I hope zero. "

Fortunately, there are a lot of people who will not accept inequality, racism, ageism and their ilk, but then I wouldn't expect you to understand as there's no financial gain it for you; no money in it right? Why should you care? You have everything and are leading the perfect life, right?



P.S. Your English could do with a little brushing up too as I couldn't fathom what this was supposed to mean - "More than the average white, native, American, British, blonde, blue eyed teacher out there." For the record, this is a dependent clause and, therefore, is a sentence fragment - in other words, an incomplete sentence which therefore has no meaning.

Tom Tuohy

Aren't we flogging a dead horse?

Aren't we flogging a dead horse?

Hello Phil, You may remember me from my article you posted a few years back..."Show me the money". I have my own company now and have been working successfully for many years. My company provides me with an expat executive level salary which is more than enough for me to live off of. All of my business is from repeat customers/clients or referrals. My customers/clients ranged from active and sweet two year olds to school/university level students to Business/Executive level Management to government officials who report directly to the authority in this country. I've lived in Thailand for long time and have worked for schools as well as corporate companies in senior level management. I'm still learning, but at the same time I believe I have a good handle on Thailand and the Thai culture.

Now to my points: I have from time to time read several of the articles post on your website and many are both interesting and good, but at the same time, I think sometimes we are beating the same dead horse over and over and over again without any real value or change. We all know that news reporting isn't fair or always objective. I really need to say this to educated people. Secondly, white vs. black vs. Asian vs. non-Asian vs. American vs. British vs. native vs. non-native vs. the world vs. alien. How many vs's do we really need to know? We will always have vs's around. As long as we have selfish, weak minded, ignorant people around, they will always use these vs's to promote themselves and their ideas, but let them do it on their own time and website. We can call it,, and if we want to read about all their vs's...we can just go there.

I have also heard and seen with my own two eyes the issue with all the vs's. It has stopped me in some cases and it has not in others. I'm still here and I can still show you the money. More than the average white, native, American, British, blonde, blue eyed teacher out there. Can't we all just get along and stop talking about all this stuff. Put it on that website I mention and post and talk about it all day/life long. However, if those who want to talk about these subjects so much, as if they believe it’s wrong, really want to do something to change this issue, then quit working for those companies, schools and organizations who believe in this crap or post those type of ads. Ah hah, got you...I know you won't quit and because of will never stop. So please stop pretending that you don't like it or care.

How many times have you heard a person say something about another person because of race, color, or any negative reason beyond their control and those persons are still your friends and you still hang out with them, I'm not talking about can't get rid of them even if you wanted too, I’ve tried. Get real, those of us who have to deal with these issues every day, really don't need to hear about it from people who don't deal with them. We don't even need to hear about them from people who do have to deal with them. We just need them to stop and the only way that will occur is by action no talking about it all day/life long.

Also, I lived through the last few weeks and have heard every opinion under the sun. I have both heard and have seen with my own two eyes a lack of objectivity and basically lying on both sides. Wow...amazing Thailand. I knew there was something to that name.

Regarding the news reporting objectivity, get real. Whether it was a red vs. yellow or green vs. black shirt, there is a great division between those who have and those who don't have in this country. If that was dealt with then more than likely, we wouldn’t have had the events over the last two months or last year. Look at China, they had Tiananmen Square. They dealt with it in the right way. They pump money into the economy and as long as people are able to take care of themselves and their families. Go to school and get an education, most Chinese have forgotten all about it. It may not be right, but you have to admit it worked. The class system here is really bad. I've heard people refer to other people as uneducated dogs or over-educated pigs. What would you like to be...neither. I read an article last week that was written in 2009. It stated that the different in the have and have not’s in western countries is about 0.04 - 0.06, in developing countries it is 0.07 - 0.08, in counties where there are currently active civil wars, it is 0.15 - 0.18. Currently, in Thailand it is 0.12 - 0.15. So with this said, it should be no surprise about what happened last month or even last year.

So which way is Thailand going and what is it's future. It also referred to an economic model that developing countries use to close this gap. The article stated that although initially to gap widens at first, it eventually moves closer and everyone begins to enjoy life. However, most countries peak, then begin to close the gap, but when they apply this model to Thailand, it was supposed to have peaked in 1994…yes that’s right 16 years ago. Well. Numbers don't lie and the rule of cause and effect still apply. Remember your boy scout training and "Be Prepared" run, it may get a bit hotter in this country. Also, history has spelled this all out before, and we all already know what will happen, so why keep talking about it. I drive a car and the wheels on my car go round and round. How many times do you want me to discuss that subject with you? I hope zero.

Finally, and this is for you Phil. I'm assuming you are one of those people who believe this type of activity is wrong. So if this is what you really think, then why don't you not post those type of ads and post a few more faces of color on the front, not side, of your website. I know... business. It was just a thought; nobody wants a real change, just want to feel good about talking about it. Enjoy the chatter, because that's the only thing it is, and for the people you are talking about...well, we've heard it all before over and over and over again. You know that dead horse.

PS. I know this may be chatter too, but I try to make it only once every 5 or so years.


Just a thank you

Site gets better and better...treat yourself to a sangsom and coke. You've done a great job.

Phil says - Thanks a lot Titch. Actually there are still a number of changes we want to make over the coming months but glad you like the current version at least.


Why feel traumatized?

In response to 'Traumatized by Thailand' (Postbox 24th May 2010)

Who is Mickey Davenport – really - Maria Diaz or Miriam Divero perhaps? I am curious why this poster would feel ‘traumatized’ for being paid 15,000 baht per month, when certified teachers in the Philippines typically make about 10,000 baht per month (12,500 PHP). It would seem then that a Filipino/a working in Thailand as a teacher is making 50% more than they would back in their own country. By contrast, an American working in a Thai school making 35,000 baht per month is making the same wage as someone working full-time flipping burgers for McDonald's back in the USA. An American or other native-speaker with a Western university education who is working in Thailand is typically making 1/3 of what they could earn at home. Supply and demand are partially responsible for salary variations here in the Kingdom.

Furthermore, in contrast to a Filipino/a teacher working in Thailand, Westerners generally spend most of their salary inside Thailand. People from the Philippines typically send a significant proportion of their earnings back home, which does not benefit Thailand.

Finally, any university-educated Westerner reading the Davenport post can easily spot the clues which suggest that it was written by a non-native speaker of English. Thus, even if a native-speaker is not a certified teacher, she/he can still produce and recognize a well-written English text. Without the ability to produce models of good writing and/or properly evaluate student writing, a teacher's value is considerably diminished.

The Thai education system is certainly far from perfect, and, being a human creation, imperfection will likely continue to feature.

Gavin J.

Happy in the UAE

Happy in the UAE

I Worked in Thailand for nearly ten years before I made the decision to move to Dubai. I have a masters degree and landed a position at a college. I am a husband to a Thai wife and I have two kids. When I worked in Thailand the last salary I had was 75,000 baht. I can tell you that with a wife and two kids in school after the bills there was very little left over for savings. One time my father got sick and I had to return to North America on short notice. In order to be able to do this I had to borrow money from the school I worked at.

When I made the decision to work in the UAE I was contacted by a college and the process went very quickly. The salary was $5000 US tax free with many incentives. I had to provide translated documents for my wife and kids as per what was required by UAE law. I quickly sold everything and it was hard to watch years of items disappear as I sold the things I collected to make a home for my family.

At first I found the process stressful because the money was tight to pay for a lawyer and translation fees for my family. Thailand has never been a good country to build a savings for the family. Once everything was finalized I was relieved to receive plane tickets for all family members, a free home when I landed in Dubai, 300,000 baht to furnish the home and my kids get free education at a good school. In addition I was told I could get a car loan so I did. For the first time in my life I have a new family vehicle. Every year in Dubai I get a plane ticket to go home and see my family in North America. Moreover, my one month yearly bonus is kept as a savings for my retirement.

I have been here over a year and I have a good savings for my future. When I decide to leave I will also have my monthly bonus accumulated over the years for retirement. I can say that I will work a long time in Dubai and when the time comes to return to Thailand with my family there will be enough money to buy a good home and I will have a comfortable secure retirement.

If a person has any education at all the UAE has excellent opportunities if one wants to teach.

Jeff Warden

Jeff Warden

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