Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I went to teach in China in January 2023. New year, new career path and all that.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I worked there for two years at a large government school in Si Saket.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I needed a change of scenery and to start earning a bit more money. When I hit 40 years old, I started to think about my future more. If I was going to stay as an English teacher then 40,000 baht a month for the rest of my working days wasn't really going to cut it. Although 40,000 baht was more than enough to live on in Si Saket, it didn't really allow for wild trips home or wild trips anywhere to be honest.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
The salary is almost double what I made in Thailand and I don't have to be in school as much (only when I have classes plus a little bit of prep time on top) The school simply values its teachers more and we have weekly meetings to make sure that everyone is happy with their lot and especially the new teachers are settling in OK. There are regular workshops that teachers are encouraged to attend and you just feel as though you're improving as a teacher all the time. In Thailand, you're pretty much left to your own devices and I suppose there's good and bad in being left alone. But career-wise, you get the feeling that time is just standing still.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Probably the simplicity of all. In a quiet rural backwater like Si Saket, if you have a good school administration department that takes care of all the visa and work permit stuff, then life on 40K is relatively stress-free. That brings its own issues though in that one day can just blend into another and your life lacks challenge. I certainly miss the terrific students and some great Thai colleagues, who I always found so helpful and willing to give up their time in my rare hours of need.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Oh, without a doubt. I think it's an amazing country to get some TEFL experience under your belt. And as long as no one is complaining, you can just get on with life. Be careful about getting too comfortable though.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I don't think so, although I certainly plan to return for holidays.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Go to Thailand with an open mind and go with the flow. Don't try and change the system. Let the Thais do things their way, even if it might not be your way. Keep all that in mind and you'll have a blast! It's just a shame that besides the top jobs at international schools, Thailand just doesn't pay well enough to live, travel, and plan for retirement comfortably.