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Doc McCoy

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Moved to China in August, 2007 for a position at a University.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Worked in Thailand for 4 years. Both at a private school and government schools.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

There is no one, singular reason, but instead a combination of reasons. Teaching in a private school sucks the life out of a person. Teaching in a government school also sucks the life, motivation and desire to teach out of a person as well. Money is virtually non-existent, given all the time that one does not work, and hence does not get paid. At the end, government schools were hiring non-native English speakers at a fraction of what they were paying native speakers, and were putting too many demands on all of the teachers, such as remaining on campus during all school hours, even if one had only two classes a day. The biggest dissatisfaction came from the Thai education system in general, and the expectations that were being put on foreign teachers. The expectations were unreasonable, and could not be met, especially in classes of 50 to 55 students, most of whom had no desire to be in an English class

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

Initially, fewer hours - 10.5 per week - and more money and benefits. (Medical, significant travel allowances, housing, etc.) Of course, with fewer hours, the possibility for extreme boredom is prevalent, but can be combated. The teaching conditions are better both in the classroom and the expectations of the University. Here, foreigners are certainly making more than the native teachers, but there is very little resentment. Many of the native teachers will regularly attend foreigner's classes trying to improve their own level of English.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Hard to say what I miss about life in Thailand. The weather is probably the main thing. I am very adaptable, to a degree, and China is similar to Thailand in many respects.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

I would advise a new teacher to work in Thailand first for a few reasons. Initially, and assuming that the new cultural course requirements are worth the paper it is written on, that would be a benefit for anyone wishing to teach in Asia. A second reason would be the new teacher can get some experience and hone his/her skills before moving on elsewhere in Asia. The expectations on teachers for actual teaching abilities and skills are much lower in Thailand than in other Asian countries. On a personal note, and purely selfish, the more incompetent teachers that a country starts to entertain, the stricter the regulations are going to become for everyone. This is what Thailand is experiencing now. More of my views on teaching in Asia can be found on my blog:

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

For a visit, most likely. Have many friends there yet. To live there - probably not. The government is too unstable now, and the requirements for visas are onerous and ridiculous, in my opinion. Here in China, I can have a residency visa in just a few years, without any financial requirements. Given my advanced age, that is going to work out quite well.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I could probably add quite a few things, but that might offend quite a few of your readers. So, I will save you the unpleasant task of having to censor my comments.

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