Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved back to the UK in October 2017, so I've been back a while now.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
One year in a government high school near Nakhon Ratchasima, then short contracts near Chiang Mai, then at Chonburi. Plus some short spells in Malaysia and Vietnam. I was in South East Asia for almost three years.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
First, I turned 60, and I found that schools were no longer so keen to hire me. I applied for jobs all over, from Hat Yai in the south to Chiang Rai in the north. I got told more than once that I was too old. Second, I found the heat of the Thai summers, especially in Isaan, was a bit too much for me.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
I'm teaching Chinese children online for around twelve hours each week. One to one, all keen to learn, no more classes of fifty students! Plus no more ninety day check ins, or work permit and visa paperwork to fill in. And I don't get barked at by packs of soi dogs now, so I can walk to the shops or the pub in peace!
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
The good weather, the beaches and a lot of nice people I met there, Thais, Filipinos, Bhutanese and other nationalities. I liked a lot of the food, beer, and the low prices, especially for a condo. Although a lot of prices are rising now and not as cheap as when I first flew out in early 2015.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
That would depend on the individual teacher and what their aims are. To somebody just starting out, I'd say give it a go for a year or two, then move on. English teaching isn't just about Thailand, try some other country for the experience, Vietnam, or maybe south America. For somebody older, in their fifties, looking for a new career, I wouldn't recommend it. A lot of Thai employers don't seem to like older teachers.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I hope to, but only as a tourist. I want to visit some places I didn't get to see when I was a teacher there. But I have a few other countries I want to visit first.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Yes, when you go, keep an open mind about Thai culture and always be respectful. Remember, you are a guest in their country. Do your homework, and make sure that you get your degree certificates notarized, and take a police check certificate from your home country. The authorities are now very strict about this, no more fake degrees. They check up. You will get found out. Apart from that, enjoy your time in Thailand. I did, it was a great experience.