Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved back to my small home town in Germany (near Hamburg) at the beginning of 2020 (just before Covid-19 became a major problem)
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I worked there for two years at a large private school in Khorat Province.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
Although I loved the school where I taught at, I started to feel like I was just ghosting through every day and the work was no longer a challenge. It didn't really matter if I did a good job as long as I showed up and just did an OK job then that was enough. I began to wonder how many years I could continue in this way until I went crazy. I'm not saying the school was one of those that just needed a warm body in the classroom but it began to feel that way to me. And when you begin to lose interest in the classroom, it's sure to rub off on the students and I didn't want that.
Another reason for returning home was that my father wasn't in the best of health and my mother was struggling to cope with taking care of him. It was time to do my bit for the family I guess because I am an only child. There are no other siblings to call on.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
Well of course with looking after my parents combined with Co-vid bringing the world to a standstill, I haven't really bothered to look for any work since I got home. I've helped out a few friends with some casual work now and again (construction work, delivery driving, etc) but only for a bit of pocket money. Staying with the family means I don't really have any expenses anyway. I suppose I'm like millions of other people right now - I'm waiting for the world to get back to normal.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
I miss Khorat Province in general. It's a lovely place to live and work. As well as being a vibrant city with plenty of restaurants, nightlife and things to do, you have some gorgeous countryside and national parks just a short drive away. When I first arrived in Thailand, I thought about teaching in Bangkok but I hated the place so much I didn't even do a job search. I think I went into Bangkok twice in all the time I was in Thailand. I have no idea how anyone can live there but I'm not really a city boy anyway.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Well I'm not living in a TEFL destination at the moment so that part of the question doesn't really apply to me. Would I seek work in Thailand? Yes, why not? The teacher salaries are not the best (especially for a non-native speaker) but outside of Bangkok, you can live pretty well on 40,000 a month. I was earning almost 50,000 actually and found it to be more than enough. Thai red tape (visas, work permits, etc) can get a lot of teachers down but my school had staff who were brilliant at taking care of those things so it was only ever a minor inconvenience. I guess it's important to work for a school who is strong in this particular department.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I genuinely have no idea what the future holds at the moment. I'm still in my twenties so there is plenty of time to figure out my next move.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Just because you are a European or non-native speaker, don't approach things with the attitude of being 'second best'. I think more and more Thai schools are coming to realise that the non-native speaker is just as employable and do just as good a job in the classroom. I got paid the same salary as the native English speakers at my school and there was never any resentment. We were all on an equal footing.