Are you a teacher who once taught in Thailand but decided to seek out pastures new? Has the grass been greener on the other side? Maybe you swapped Thailand for the financial lure of Japan or Korea? Read about those who have left Thailand, and their reasons for moving...

Submit your own Great Escape


Tyler

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Moving to China or possibly Korea next.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

A little longer than a year.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I left when the floods hit Bangkok but the "no fail" policy set out by the Thai schools had been wearing on me for some time. They were constantly asking about how things could be improved but never acted on my advice.

For example: in the school I taught in, 2--3 different teachers would teach the exact same subject to the exact same class but at different times. There was no direction from the head of the English department (a Thai) and none of the teachers would communicate to each other about what they were doing. When I proposed a solution, they just shrugged it off.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

The pay you get in Thailand is very low. Yes, it helps that food and living in Thailand is cheap but not all schools will cover expenses such as visas, room and board, etc. The little amount of money you make gets used up surprisingly fast with these expenses that are often covered by schools in other countries.

The pay you get in Thailand will be enough for you to get by comfortably. If you would like to go home for the holidays, you'll have a hard time of it.

I suggest getting private students on the side. You can make good money doing this.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss so much about Thailand. At the top of the list is the food. Once I was able to withstand the full level of Thai spicy, I have had trouble finding Thai food that compares.

I also miss how cheap everything is. A meal on the street for one dollar, that often tastes great. A 20 min taxi ride across town for only five dollars. A giant, two story, three bedroom house for only three hundred dollars a month.

And who can't help but miss the beautiful south of Thailand? From the famous islands of Phi Phi to the lesser known islands.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

Teaching in Thailand is a good experience. Thai kids are unbelievably cute and fun. However, if you are expecting to make a difference in the kids lives beyond entertaining them, I don't recommend it.

The Thai people do not like confrontation of any kind. They love to talk about you behind your back though. Because of the aversion to confrontation (and possibly for money reasons too), they have a no fail policy for their students.

You can have a student who hardly shows up to your class and when he does, he goofs off the whole time. Then, when he is taking his tests (not administered by you), the Thai teachers help him to cheat on the test. And, if he still gets bad marks on his test, even with the Thai teachers spoon feeding him the answers, he will still get an above average grade on his test -- even if you write down that he failed.

This is the root of the problem, I believe. If students who didn't get results, or even try, and they had to go home to their parents and face the music, some progress could be made.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Of course. Most likely for vacation though.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you do wind up buying a motorbike, be very careful. The Thais are crazy drivers. Many people get injured/killed regularly in automobile accidents in Thailand. On one night alone (New Years Eve) there were 150 automobile related deaths and 300 injuries. This was just from one night and only from automobiles.


Natalie

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to China a couple of weeks ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for 4 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Low pay, long hours, no benefits, bad employers and unreasonable co-workers. I left because I am planning on going home one day, and I was offered a job in China. I am working in the school now and I am so happy. My job is great, I get paid 40,000 baht, with a free beautiful apartment, free bills, internet, food in school and a food allowance. And of course I love Chinese food and the cold weather! I will be here for a while. It is beautiful! I will virtually be saving my whole salary. You can even earn an extra 10 - 20,000 baht a month by teaching a few hours overtime.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

In Thailand, I was earning between 27 - 32,000 baht per month. But I needed to pay for my own rent and all the bills, food and transportation to and from work. Saving money in Thailand was virtually impossible, especially with all the visa costs and so on. My money was just disappearing so fast, and I am not one to 'party' so I never spent money on alchol or nights out. I do thank God for my experience though. I do miss Thailand, but only because I was there for so long. But I will definitely get over those Thailand blues.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the kids, and the fruit stands and mini bus trips to Bangkok. I miss everything apart from the school actually. And I certainly don't miss having to pay my rent.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

I would, but only if the salary was enough to live on with some decent benefits included. I would also advise teachers to check their contracts very carefully.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes, I will return to Thailand to re-capture memories. But maybe not to teach.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand is great but not everything is what it seems, especially if you make a mistake - and then all your co-teachers will gossip about you, even the ones who seem to 'care'.


Steve S

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I went back to the United States in March of 2012

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

A little over 10 years. I arrived in Bangkok 7 days before 9/11 on September 4, 2001

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Ten years just seemed like enough to me. My mother was 60 when I left the states and 70 when I returned. I wanted to spend time with her, and I also wanted to get back in touch with my friends and with what it meant to be an American living IN America.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

It's been nice getting back into the groove of being in America. It's great spending time with family and friends. I found a nice job (not teaching), a great house to rent and a great group of old and new friends. It really is nice being back into being part of a culture that I completely understand. And things are just easier here in many ways.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The weather, the food.... the excitement of being on an adventure and learning something new every day.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

If you want to have fun, go to Thailand. If you are a teacher who is passionate about improving the lives of your students long-term, then steer clear of Thailand. They know exactly how they want their educational system to be. For the most part, if you try to suggest improvements or changes of any kind, you only end up frustrating yourself and giving yourself the reputation of being a "boat rocker".

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

To visit, certainly. Thailand was my home for a decade. But I don't think I'd want to work there again.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Not really.


Steve

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to Melbourne, Australia in July 2012.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

18 months

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I saw the Thai educational system for what it was, and I realized that there was very little meaning in what I was doing.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

Well I'm earning a western salary again, which is great. I also feel that my work is valued and meaningful and that there is a purpose for what I'm doing.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The cost of living (food, rent etc) and most definitely the weather.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

It depends on the motive of the teacher. If you are a professional, and put time and effort into your work and want to see some kind of intrinsic reward for that effort, then Thailand is not the place for you. If you are not so serious and just want to facilitate the passing of time for the students and live in Thailand for all it's 'pleasures' then you won't have trouble finding friends and you'll probably have a great time.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Holidays for sure, but I'd probably wouldn't work in Thailand again.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

There's a great mix of people teaching in Thailand. Youngsters on gap years, thirtysomethings trying to find themselves, middle aged men looking for love and retirees just looking for something to do. Most farangs teaching in Thailand are generally there because they don't want to be in their own country, rather than they actually find Thailand to be paradise. It can be fun, the kids are very friendly and nice and you can make great friends. The hoops you have to jump through to get the work permit and the constant trips to Chaeng Wattana for 90 day reporting will slowly but surely eat away at you. If you're serious about doing meaningful work then give Thailand a miss, if you just want to be have a bit of fun or 'life experience' then give it a go.


Tristan

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to the UK fairly recently.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Two years in several top universities, teaching art and literature, and academic English to post graduates.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I have a great respect for the academy. I like what I do. I love art and literature. There is zero academic integrity in any of the institutions I encountered in Thailand. Particularly the so called, "best universities in the country." I taught academic English to graduates who knew nothing about their own field. Computer engineers who knew nothing about computers, and civil engineers who knew nothing about engineering. It became clear why the infrastructure in Thailand is such a shambles. It's such a shame.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

I get paid a lot more. I don't have to beg for my pay cheque. I don't have to be the only person in the staffroom properly qualified, and I don't have to explain the concept of gravity to graduates from the best university in the country (seriously)

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Fresh coconut, Chang mai and my secretary.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

It's a good experience in Thailand - but if you value your work, move on.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Holidays :-)

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Take it for what it is. Teaching in Thailand is a good excuse to try out new techniques. However, like I said, if you're serious about academic work, then Thailand isn't for you. Live the life you love.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 328 total

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