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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A quick response to Nick's idea of censorship.

Nick,
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 Ajarn.com 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 Ajarn.com and so those posting are not "flogging a dead horse" to them, it is news. Furthermore, Ajarn.com 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 "SelfishWeakMindedIgnorant.com" 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 MrExecutiveTrainer.com like you? By the way have the British Council accredited your school yet?

Of course, maybe you feel Ajarn.com 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 Ajarn.com (translation lecturer or teacher) for those interested in education issues.

Bobtheblackpoet

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?

best

Tom

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. Wow...do 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, SelfishWeakMindedIgnorant.com, 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 that...it 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 family...you 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"...to 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.

Nick


Just a thank you

Phil,
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.

Titch

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


Traumatised by Thailand

I believe Thailand is still a safe country. Thai people are gentle, kind-hearted and peace-loving. Given all these good things that teaching in Thailand could provide, I still hold on to my principle NEVER to teach in Thailand again! A few "powerful" and "influencial" people in that country caused me too much pain - mental, pshychological and emotional suffering.

I used to teach in Thailand. I loved working with my Thai collleagues and students. However, I couldn't imagine insulting myself and the nobility and diginity of the teaching profession by embracing a very rubbish system. You see, there is too much discrimination. I worked under this agency managed by a wicked woman. I received 15,000 baht per month. I had an American colleague who was never a college degree holder, was never a teacher in the US, was never a good teacher in that Thai school where we taught and even a grade school student in my country could tell that he is stupid. But then that same agency which sent me to that school asked me to assist him anyway. And he was very lucky. He received 25,000 baht! No sweat.

This is just one. In another school where I taught, another stupid guy from New Zealand enjoyed his no-sweat 35,000 baht, while I had mine at a much lower amount. this is with another agency managed by a Thai teacher.

All these things because these people, who are not even qualified to teach in kindergarten schools in my country, are the so called 'native speakers"! These are just tourists who go to Thailand, enjoy the bars, night life, beaches and God-only-knows. These are tourists who just want to earn something to sustain a good life. These are tourists who have no heart for teaching and the students. these are people who say all the bad things about Thai teachers and students. And these are the same people who enjoy the money from the sweat of the parents of these students they love to mock and criticise.

I know a lot of other stories about discrimination. And I know that it is a fact that Thai agencies, and other agencies put up and managed by Thais and "native speakers" practice such. Even Germans, Dutch, Italians, Nigerians, "white" and "black" people presented as "NATIVE SPEAKERS"! How could some people afford to fool others? Of course, most people, especially those who are not that educated nor learned, believe and see these people as "native speakers"

It is a shame that these good Thai students and parents are being fooled. So I can't afford to work there anymore. I don't want to prepare mateials to be used by these "native speakers", assist "native speakers", and be a part of that rotten system anymore. It is no wonder, wherever you go in Thailand, you ask people with "How are you?" and they will automatically answer, "I'm fine thank you and you?" You ask them, "How do you do?" and they will respond, "Alaina?" What do you expect from people taught by fake teachers?

No offense meant to real teachers. Of course there are good, real, caring teachers who are native speakers. As I have said earlier, Thai people are so nice.But I don't want to take the risk again. I don't want to go through those traumatic experiences again, of being discriminated against and collaborating with agencies and somehow taking part in fooling these lovely Thai people.

Micky Davenport


Is it wise for a foreign teacher to complain in Thailand?

Is it wise for a foreign teacher to complain in Thailand?

I work full-time at a university in Phitsanulok, Northern Thailand. From time to time, when needed, other establishments of higher learning such as smaller affiliated universities, contact English teachers of my university to enquire about their availability to teach a few hours in theirs on an hourly rate.

About a year ago, I was contacted by the Head Monk of the Foreign Languages department of such an affiliated university, to teach 6 periods on extra pay. I discussed the days, times and the rates of pay and agreed to take up the offer. The following Wednesday I went along to the university. I was told that I would be teaching 3 periods on Saturday mornings and another 3 on Wednesday morning.

The Head Monk’s Assistant was a layman in his early thirties, who I gathered was an ex-monk. He took my certificate copies, documents and photos and then said that no register was available for me to sign that day but would have one ready next time. He then took me to my class room in an adjacent block. On the Saturday after, I went along to the office to sign the register, which I hoped would be available. There was no one to be seen for about 15 minutes. Just then the assistant turned up and apologized for being late and then asked me to go to Room 203 in the next block. I went, but could see no sign of this room anywhere in the block, so I came back to see the assistant. By now I was perspiring profusely and had my neck-tie hanging loosely on my neck.

The assistant apologized and said that he meant the third block and agreed to take me there. As we had to go upstairs I asked the assistant whether I should take off my shoes. His answer was: ‘of course you should, you should know’. Then seeing that I was sweating so much and my face full of exasperation, he said ‘you are not happy here are you? If you don’t like to work here you need to tell me’. I said that it was none of that, but that I was tired and hot trying to find the class room.

After the lesson I phoned up the Head Monk and related to him what happened and pointed out that the assistant was speaking somewhat out-of-order to a person who was doing nothing wrong. I apologized for taking up the Head Monk’s time and asked if I could see him the next day at 4 p.m. He agreed.

When I saw the Head Monk as agreed, he sat me down courteously and apologized for what happened and the rather chaotic state of affairs. He said that he was to blame for not getting things in an orderly state. I said that I accept that these can happen anywhere and I thought nothing of it. The Monk then handed me an envelope with some money in it and said: ‘thank you sir for your understanding’. Seeing that I look puzzled he went on to say ‘last evening the six member Directorial Panel discussed what happened and decided that they should clear the bad air between two people for the sake of the university and have decided to terminate my employment’

Recovering from my shock and dismay, I replied in the following manner: ‘you have taken a decision against and to the detriment of the complainant and in his absence but with the participation of the offender/accused. Altogether you had 7 Thai men making a judgment against a foreigner, whose voice was never heard. I too am a practicing Buddhist but am appalled at the abysmal standard of procedure, conduct and justice of a Buddhist Institution of this stature – finding someone guilty of complaining about unfairness’.

Siri Herath


Severance pay part two

As of Ministerial Regulation, B.E. 2541 (A.D. 1998) Issued under the Provisions of the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (A.D.1998) issued by Mr. Trairong Suwannakhire; Miniser of La bour and social Welfare on the 19th of August, B.E.2541 (A.D.1998) Page 60 of the Thai Labor Protection Act. it say, QUOTE: "(1) The Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (A.D. 1998) shall not apply to an employer who operates a private school under the law relation to private schools but only in respect of principals and teachers."

The authority was given to this one man under section Section 4 of the act page 1, which states "Apart from the previous sub-sections, Ministerial Regulations may be issued to any category of employer whatsoever and exclude the provisions of the Act, either n whole or in part."

This act exemption appears to be an outright example how the elite control information taught in the schools and how teachers are kept under control. With many foreign teachers teaching at private schools the access to world news and free thinking is a danger to the status quo. Therefore by having such a law that will effectively deny the teachers any rights of redress in the labour system or benefits granted under the law, it is a great tool to keep the teachers under the thumb. I even had Thai teachers come to me and beg me not to mention their names as they had too much time in and did not want to get fired. They knew that they are not government employees and also have no rights under this act.

There are seperate laws also for international schools which I have not located as of yet. Anyone that knows where to find this law, please post it so we can look it up also.

The only way I know of to get this law replaced with a fair and just one is to get the present Minister of Labour to repeal it. Evidently, they don't need anyone's permission to do anything and are above the law. Maybe another administration fee is in order.

Justice for Chalkies


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