Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved back to England in February of last year (2022)
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I worked there for three years. I did one year at a university in Bangkok and then moved down south for a quieter life (and less money) at a private school in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
Both of my parents were getting on in years and not coping too well with life. Because I'm an only child, I felt duty bound to return home and take care of them, or simply to be there if they needed me.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
Fortunately, I'm a fully qualified teacher so I've been doing some supply teaching at various secondary schools in the Bolton area (my hometown) and doing some freelance editing work. There's plenty of 'bits and pieces' work in the UK if you put your mind to finding something but it's very often 'feast or famine' and impossible to budget from one month to the next plus of course you don't get the benefits that you'd receive from a full-time position. I can't commit to a full-time job at present though because of the parent situation.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
The simplicity of life, especially the two years I lived down south. I often float off into daydreaming mode and I'm back in Nakhon Si Thammarat. It's a warm, sunny day and I'm riding my trusty motorcycle to the beach wearing t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. I can sit on the beach, under an umberella with a good book, and it feels like I haven't got a care in the world!
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
It's horses for courses. I saw many foreign teachers come and go during my years in Thailand and some loved it and many just couldn't cope. I think in many cases, new arrivals have expectations that are too high and they get stressed when things don't go smoothly (as they rarely do in Thailand). You have to go with the flow and not get fazed by the bumps in the road.
England is England and while it has its faults, I still think it's a great country to live in. I hate the cold Winters though!
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I'd go back in a heartbeat but unfortunately it's a case of letting nature take its course and having to wait until I have no family ties. I'm mindful though that I'm now in my mid-forties and it won't be that many years before I could be deemed as 'too old' to work in Thailand. You have to be realistic about things.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Perhaps I just got lucky but Thailand was very good to me. I made some great friends (both farang and Thai) that I still keep in contact with. In fact several of them have visited me on trips to England. I worked at fabulous schools with great admin staff and teaching assistants, etc. I never had many problems at all while I was there. I know some teachers aren't so lucky but I noticed those teachers that struggle are very often in bad situations of their own making.