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Glen

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to The Middle East, Doha in Qatar to be exact, in September 2023.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I was there for five years, working at an international school in Bangkok that was an international school in name but not one of the really top-notchers. I was earning around 120K Baht a month in the year I left, which was more than enough to live on for a single person, but didn't put me in that top category which I felt was my target and one which I was qualified for.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

More money and to simply advance my teaching career.

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

I'm not sure where to start. The job pays three times more than I earned in Thailand. The benefits are numerous, including a nice two-bedroom apartment and flights to anywhere in the world. There is an ongoing teacher development program with regular workshops and training sessions. Plus the students by and large are keen to learn.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

It's strange but after a month, you miss many things such as the nightlife, the people and the general easygoing pace of day-to-day living. Thailand was perhaps less stressful than where I am now. However, after the months go by, those things fade from memory and seem to become less important and less of a thing to worry about.

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

You need to be well-qualified to work where I am now so that's going to rule many people out. But if you have the qualifications and money is your driving force, then why not? Life out in The Middle East isn't for everyone though. Thailand is welcoming to almost every teacher and is a great place to launch a teaching career as long as you have a clear plan of when to call it a day and move on. As many have said in these surveys, it's very easy to get stuck in a Thailand rut and stop looking for better opportunities.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I'm only in my mid-thirties at the moment and I would consider this period to be my peak years for earning potential so I need to make the most of them. Truthfully I would love to come back to Thailand one day but it would probably be when I'm looking at perhaps an early retirement and salaries don't matter as much. The thought of teaching on a part-time basis with no real money worries is quite appealing. Let's see how it pans out in the future.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Do some research and don't complain. When you're in Thailand, forget about your western habits. Follow Thai rules because you're guests here. Yeah, Thailand has its issues like low pay, cheating, corruption, and sketchy school officials, but that's just how it is. Thais like their country as it is. You wouldn't like it if someone from another country came in and started telling you how to do things, right? In Thailand, employees do what they're told and suck up to their bosses while doing it. Giving well-meaning advice might come off as criticism to Thais. So, no matter how much experience you have, it's better to keep your thoughts to yourself and do things the Thai way.

In Thailand, people are often judged based on their appearance, and having fair skin is highly valued. This preference is evident in Thai television, advertisements, and even job requirements, such as those listed on ajarn.com where only native speakers with a photo are sought. Unfortunately, racism is widely accepted as normal in Thai society. Some of the racist remarks I've heard from educated Thais are truly shocking. This issue stems from the way history is taught in Thailand, which fosters strong nationalism and, in some cases, xenophobia among Thais.

Thai kids act just like kids anywhere else. Some may test boundaries and not always follow traditional customs like giving wais. You might come across a few who act entitled, but don't let that get to you. Focus on the majority of students who are respectful and eager to learn. Rather than trying to fight the system, it's better to adapt and focus on effective teaching. Fighting against the system probably won't get you anywhere.

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