Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved back to England in 2012. After quite a few years in Thailand I couldn't just return home to my old city and pick up where I left off, so I moved further south to sunny Hastings in 2013.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I spent 6 years teaching in Thailand. 3 years were spent in Chiang Mai in the north and then I moved again and spent another 3 years in Chiang Rai, which is about an hour from the Burmese border (now called Myanmar).
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I fell in love with teaching despite all the pitfalls of the Thai education system, so it was time to get serious, return home and study more, in order to go to countries where I could actually be rewarded financially for teaching. It was easier said than done though. I started to feel trapped in Thailand. I loved living there, loved my job, the students and culture, but the recession kicked in in Europe, so leaving for possible unemployment forced me stay longer in Thailand. Suddenly I was 6 years in and had to force myself to return home, but I have never looked back.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
I teach in a language school close to the sea in England, so in that regard I've landed on my feet again. Teaching students from all over the world has improved me as a teacher. European students tend to know more grammar and vocabulary than Thai students, and they are more worldly wise, so that has enabled me to develop my knowledge in order to meet their academic needs.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
As many have said, the simplicity of rural Thai life. It's just so easy to go to the market, pick up what you need, and go about your daily life. Northern Thailand is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and greenery which just chills you out. It was a pleasure to live and work there every day and I miss it all profusely. My school in Chiang Rai was about 5 minutes from my house, so it was very easy to let the years tick by. Life was pretty good!
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Of course! It is an easier start to a teaching career than some countries, so one can develop their teaching style and find out if teaching is for them. If it doesn't work out, you'll have a period of your life, for better or worse, that you'll never forget.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I did return in 2014 to collect some stuff and see old friends, but Thailand is just too far from England to make it an annual trip. If it was closer, I'd have spent many more holidays there. The flipside is Europe in pretty diverse, so I am enjoying seeing new places like Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Belgium, the list is endless. Would I work in Thailand again? I hope not. I am trying to get bigger and better paid teaching gigs, so I'll leave Thailand for holidays.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Don't get too comfortable like I did. I wish I was younger and didn't have to go back to school later in life but life is like that. Should my 6 years have been 3? I often wonder about that. If you know early on that you like teaching, seriously contemplate leaving and doing more teacher training to turn it into a viable career. There are many great teaching gigs out there, so leave ASAP, get trained and get paid.