They said it couldn't be done!
Much to my surprise, an English woman contacted me stating that she lived on Phuket for 20,000 baht per month. I was so intrigued, I messaged her to ask if she’d agree to an interview explaining how to live in Phuket on such a low income.
A tale of failed repatriation
I wanted to just quit life in England and come back to the first TEFL gig in the sun that I found but I was torn. I was making a lot more money. I had a home and assets. On paper, my life was "sorted". But I was so unhappy,
What happens when the party is over?
How can an ESL teacher adapt to life back home or make the most of a planned visit without shrinking into a thousand-yard-stare or ponder an existential breakdown?
Five tips to make you stand out from the crowd
If you're currently looking for a teaching position to keep you busy over the coming year, then there are plenty of great opportunities out there, but there is also a lot of competition
Choosing and then studying for a degree in Thailand
I came to study in a graduate program at an international university in Bangkok. I hope that by sharing my scholastic experience in Thailand, those people who are considering a similar move may gain some beneficial insight, helping them to make more informed decisions.
31 cool and awesome things about living and teaching in rural Thailand
Before we get into the list I just want to mention that everything is written in good fun. Expats and Thailand veterans will understand more than first timers. Certain sentences and parts reflect my own specific experience more so than the general one. Some of it might come across as sappy, but I've had a very positive experience in Thailand and the glass is half full for me.
What to do and what not to do in the EFL classroom
Tim Cornwall offers some great tips and techniques for both experienced and inexperienced teachers alike from smiling to laying down class rules and from teacher movement to setting up activities.
Is the low salary for TEFL work acceptable?
Having the opportunity to come to Thailand to teach English because of being a native speaker of English does not come with any specific entitlements. Teachers need to learn and accept this.
I'm talking about those without as much as a TEFL or CELTA certificate
Some would say controversial words from Steve. But what is it about untrained teachers that really gets his goat?
But actually you might enjoy teaching it?
My Thai co-teachers told me that social studies teachers in Thailand are scarce. If the school can't find a farang teacher for the job, they need to hire a Thai teacher. So what does teaching social studies involve?
How I've settled into my wonderful new life in Thailand
I have been teaching at a small kindergarten school for about three months now and have to say I’m loving every second of it. I’m really beginning to feel that I have found my vocation in life. I just wonder how long this honeymoon period will last?
A young teacher's perspective on teaching in Thailand
Most of the English teachers in Thailand seem to be slightly older so it’s understandable that they would view energy, positive reinforcement and affability in the EFL classroom with disdain and denial.
A simple question that led to a most unbelievable runaround
I got an interview for a science teacher position here in Thailand. The owner of the education employment agency started by asking me how long I plan to stay in Thailand. I said, "A long time because I like Thailand." He asked me what I like about Thailand. I said, "What's to not like about Thailand?"
I couldn't believe what was going on in the classroom
I come from a society and a culture where the copying of anything in or out of a classroom is simply looked on as cheating. Not only cheating the whole idea of education but cheating oneself out of any possibility of learning, not to mention a total disrespect of the student who goes to the trouble of learning the correct answers in the first place. So I was appalled beyond measure when I saw my first example of copying in my classroom at my first school in Phuket.
Is it a case of too much monkeying around?
Games can reinforce what has been taught earlier in a lesson and can be used as a filler or as a reward for good work. But to expect foreign English teachers to spend the majority of their time entertaining students, especially adults, is, to me, just not right.
Thought you would enjoy reading something positive
Life offers many twists and opportunities to those with an open mind; and after an amicable divorce from my wife and selling my house and possessions, I hit the road with a small backpack for company. After three years on the road I stumbled into Thailand.
I gave up the classroom but still managed to stay in Thailand
Many of the people I've met along the way have asked me how I managed to study and work at the same time, or how I got such a cool job, or where to look for a job and so on.
What are the pros and cons of each?
I have broken down ESL teachers into five general categories. These categories are only for native English speaking individuals coming from fairly wealthy societies; obviously the perspectives and other opportunities for educators from different locations will be quite different
Tales from an academic director / recruiter
I was a lead teacher, academic director and recruiter for a private Thai language school with several branches. I did this job for well over a decade and as you would expect - there's a story or two.
When poor evaluation strategy and lack of communication mean one thing - the exit door
I have taught at five schools in Thailand and only ONE has let me finish the semester and given me a recommendation letter. I've had enough of this place to be honest.
A parent's guide to some of the best international schools in Bangkok
If you are in the process of trying to decide which school in Bangkok is the best choice for your child, you can certainly get a head start with this list.
Toning appearances down for the classroom
I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area, where meeting someone with an outlandish appearance - even a teacher - is an everyday occurrence. Stretched earlobes, nose-rings, long pink dreadlocks, within the Bay Area culture, alternative was normal.
Sound advice from an interview expert
Try to think of some way to bring evidence of your skills to the interview. Take in copies of your best lesson plans to show how you’ve been professionally trained to develop a classroom strategy that makes for a highly successful lesson. It could also be used if a demo class is required.
Reflections on a TEFL journey
EFL teachers are frequently allotted a low status by Thais, expatriates and even other teachers. However, might not the beginning TEFL teacher with a 120-hour certificate possess within them the stuff of a Master Teacher?
What do the old hands often do wrong?
If you have been here a year or two, you have probably made or seen all the newbie mistakes. But more pitfalls await. Here is a run-through of things you should avoid
An updated overview of this fast-evolving industry
While the online teaching space might seem saturated with employers, there are really only three main players thanks to their millions in investments and their celebrity endorsements.
Ten low or no cost ideas to make your campus sticky
Most college administrators and professors here in Thailand are familiar with the student complaint: campus is boring! Some universities are trying to solve this problem using the idea of “stickiness” In fact 'the sticky campus' is now a designer phrase.
Bobo Meitei faces the perils and pitfalls of finding a teaching job
Bobo gets to grips with sliding pay scales and agents bemused by his pseudo-American appearance. Well worth a read!
Should teachers be entertainers?
One would think that the Thais' love of ‘sanook' would make the EFL classroom an inviting place for new EFL teachers, but the situation can be frustrating.
Why on-line teaching makes perfect sense
Virtual teaching is not for everyone and teachers that make the transition usually have a few habits they need to restructure in order to be effective online. Still, if you're one of the many teachers looking to make a change or just earn a bit of extra money, I highly recommend giving it a try.
Settling in as an English teacher - the journey and expenses
In my short time in Thailand I have learned so much already. The journey here has already opened me up to alternative experiences. Meeting individuals from across the globe has taught me that it is alright to be different.
Trump's dumbest idea so far
Trump's plans to put a million weapons into the American school system defies common sense and is exactly the opposite to what other countries have done to tackle the threat of mass shootings.
One teacher's TEFL journey
My first introduction the TEFL/TESOL world was an online TEFL certificate. Online was chosen because I was working on a cruise ship and obviously couldn't attend physical classes. I then finished the cruise ship work and wanted to live and work in Asia.
Taking care of 30 lively kids at a Chumphon orphanage
A lovely Thai couple, P'Nui (Mama) and P'Nong (Papa), run the orphanage. They were exceptional Thais not only because they were Christians, but also because they were so warm and friendly. I was made part of the family straight away
When all the other teachers have a bigger package than you!
I'm a TEFLer in a PGCE world. I'm very low down the hierarchy and I know it. I get it and I understand it, but it is not just the wages that are dissimilar.
It may work out for others - just not for me
It's not so much that I've had enough of Thailand, it's just teaching really. I'd say a good 90% of teachers at my school are women over the age of 50. None of them are open to change.
Because every child matters
Today Hands feed, house and educate over 300 children, providing resources that are needed by the dedicated Thai staff to develop the kids in a loving and nurturing way. Supporting over 300 children, Hands operates on a principal of ensuring that every dollar donated goes directly to the children.
How online comments can be influenced by differing mindsets
Thais are more likely to believe bad luck and evil spirits are the cause of accidents. If the victims survived, Thai people are likely to give credit to the victims' luck, merit, or amulet. Why is this?
Some of these students have had over 2,000 hours of English.
Considering that English has been the international language of tourism and commerce for I don't know how many decades now, and there are I don't know how many thousands of English teachers all over the country, why is the general level of English so poor?
And all for the love of a good woman
With just over a month left in Thailand, having sold my motorbike and soon to be leaving my apartment, I met the new love of my life, which suddenly threw a spanner into the works. On our last day, we went to all our favourite places before sharing a tearful goodbye at the airport.
What level of English do employers need?
Are there English language skills gaps? Do employees with a higher level of English receive enhanced benefits? How do different countries and industries compare?
What can happen when your director of studies is a clueless foreigner
I've worked under four foreigners. The first one was fantastic. A fully qualified teacher with his own business who really wanted to be the best. The thing I liked the most about him was his honesty. The next three were just terrible people.
When you put your resume in front of an employer, you are the product.
Whether your resume is scanned for six or sixteen seconds, you've got precious time to make an impression. Power resumes that work are effective because, as marketing brochures, they spark an interest in a particular product - you!
The truth about the ESL industry here for guys like me
My advice is to think long and hard before coming to Asia, especially Thailand, to work as an ESL teacher. Keep in mind that recruiters ask for your photo when you apply for the job.
Not all the stories are bad
Recruiters aren't for everyone but they can play an invaluable part in your next ESL job search whether this is your first time teaching abroad or you're just looking to simplify the job search.
The strain of living miles away from ailing parents and loved ones
Listening to family members tell you about their serious health worries never ever makes for a pleasant telephone conversation and I'll admit to putting down the phone on such occasions and becoming a little emotional. You can offer all the support you can over the phone or even via Sype webcam but nothing ever beats being there with them in person.
Are the Filipinos getting a fair crack?
Straight-talking Australian teacher Ajarn X has written an excellent article on racial discrimination in Thailand, and also what makes the good Filipino teachers very good and the bad ones extremely bad. Not just a good read for Filipinos, but anyone who teaches in Thailand.
Blending Thai and foreign curricula
The Thai Basic Curriculum (TBC) for Foreign Languages of 2008 (BE 2551): If you are a foreign teacher at a government school or an English Program school in Thailand you will have to deal with it at some point.
Twelve months at a Thai government school
Today I am celebrating my first year of teaching at a government school in rural Thailand. I thought I'd share some of the interesting idiosyncrasies within the school where I currently work.
My humble tribute to a Great King and Leader.
It is impossible to describe how much Thai people love His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej because there is nothing else to compare it to. I can't think of another country that has loved a King, Leader or person so unanimously and unconditionally.
English teachers in Thailand actually don't do that badly
I am not trying to claim this is any type of scientific research with a high level of reliability or validity, just a quick check to get a basic idea about whether or not ESL teachers in Thailand are underpaid and exploited.
My first semester at a Thai government school
I've now worked at a rural government school for a whole semester. I thought I might share with you my account so far, with some practical advice that may help ease your transition to teaching in Thailand.
Tips to help a new teacher get through that very first day of class
Worried about that first day of class? The following compilation of articles might offer some insight into how to approach your students for the first time, regardless of their age, numbers and gender.
My vote and support goes to the Thai English teachers
Now, I work hard and go beyond what is required of me every day. But it's no sacrifice. I like doing it. I'm no hero. In fact, if I want to, I can quit and bugger off home at any time.
The process can seem complex - but it CAN be done
A detailed description and step-by-step guide to what you need to do if you want to apply for an unsecured credit card in Thailand.
From gaining work experience to opportunities to travel
Most countries have lots to offer but one of the best places to teach English abroad is definitely Thailand. Here are plenty of reasons why.
An interesting Thai homestay / work exchange
Peetim's ESL homestay offers volunteers lodging, food, laundry, transportation, and Thai culture in exchange for teaching English in her government and private schools.
Every picture tells a story
To help with adjusting to life as a classroom teacher, here are 10 great memes to expose some classroom realities.
What's not to love about it!
After a couple years living in a country where the average daytime temperature is around 32C, you start to celebrate when temperatures finally start to cool.
My first six months at a Thai government school
Over a typical week I see four hundred or more students, across Mathayom levels one to six, aged twelve to eighteen. Class sizes range from twenty to thirty students.
Getting a teaching job in rural Thailand
I'd always had a dream to teach in Thailand. I'm a fully qualified teacher with nearly twenty years teaching experience. So why not? Life's too short right?
The difficulties of finding employment when a teacher returns to the USA
The economy is functioning like an alcoholic's ailing liver. This has been headline news for several years, but seeing it in the news and experiencing it first hand was quite different.
Sand Dust: Part Two
I am happy to announce that I am back living in Thailand. I arrived here in mid-June after completing my last work contract renewal in Saudi Arabia.
Computer coding is going to become an essential skill for all students
Simply learning how to use popular software applications is no longer enough for today's students. Other countries are waking up to this reality and education departments have reformed their computer studies curriculum to introduce students to the basic principles of computer science from an early age.
Facing challenges as a black teacher in Thailand
For the sensitive minded people who live in utter oblivion about skin color, this is probably not the article for you. But this is the cold hard truth.
Schools all over Thailand are spooking it up today
Schools even have a legitimate excuse for celebrating Halloween, because it is covered in the Thai MoE's foreign language curriculum - ‘students should be aware of foreign cultures and festivals.'
What does Burma's former capital have in store for the traveler?
If the country's economy were to develop and the powers-that-be decided to prioritise restoration, then the city could be the most beautiful in Southeast Asia
Isn't Thailand's penchant for the inappropriate part of its appeal?
Much of what is often dismissed as over-sensitive, politically correct, namby-pampy pandering comes from a good place. Words are weapons
Experiences from both Thailand and China.
The Thai teachers at my school, especially the veterans, are uncomfortable with the excitement and commotion during the lessons by the foreign teachers. They view it as an inability to control our students.
Our survey said.........
To get an idea of exactly what teachers love and loathe about life in Thailand, we conducted a brief survey and with foreign teachers based in Chiang Mai.
What happens when you leave for the big bucks.
Thailand had run its course for me. I enjoyed it for years but the shine eventually wore off. I plan to return for a visit here and there. You just don't live in a place for 10 years and forget it.
An American teacher takes up a position in Saudi Arabia
It is because of our children that six months ago I started to look for new employment, as Thailand is still a country of poor people and wages are not very high. A single individual earning my salary would have been relatively well off, but now I support my wife and kids and bills would pile up and we would be living from paycheck to paycheck.
How monitoring a student's nutrition can make all the difference
By keeping the importance of good nutrition on the agenda, teachers can make a difference. But be a good role model to your students before requesting their participation in eating healthy.
The positives of owning your own four wheels.
My life is much fuller and more varied since I purchased the car. I do more. I go to more interesting places. I don't waste time waiting for public transportation - and I feel safer in traffic.
Why not take up watching Thai football?
The Thai football season returns on 14th February, and for many it is a chance to rekindle their love with the beautiful game. Thai football is on a high, so why not get involved?
Teaching for 300 baht an hour as the rest of the world enjoys itself
They are the shopping mall English teachers - gliding like pale, undernourished phantoms amid the hordes of weekend Thai shoppers. The main reason I empathize with the shopping mall teacher is because I was once one myself. I know how desperate and soul-destroying it can be.
What to teach and how to find students
We advocate flipping the traditional approach on its head. First, decide what you're going to teach and then find students to teach this to. And to ensure high rates of pay, what you should teach is something highly specialised.
It's been one amazing experience
I have lived and worked in Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and had the opportunity to travel throughout South East Asia during holidays. You can read more about the types of experiences you will encounter abroad in my latest novel.
Teachers can now find students all over the world - without leaving home
I'm an online English teacher, part of a booming sector of "edupreneurs" - teachers working for themselves, combining their skills and knowledge with technology, to create their own business.
From an education and news point of view
For foreign teachers working in Thailand, the coup had a number of knock-on effects which started with a couple of days off school as educational institutions were temporarily shut down to silence protests from educators and university students.
School activities and the real business of education
It can be pretty frustrating when classes are cancelled and students go missing for activities and pre-activity preparations.
It's a shame that such a great mode of transportation isn't in better hands
By the time we rolled into Hualamphong Station (a wonderful station, for the record) two hours late we were so happy that we kind of forgot about the sleepless night and just laughed about it. And that's what I'm doing now, writing semi-seriously about some minor issues on a train in a developing country.
There's nothing like setting yourself a challenge
Recently, in search of some intellectual stimulation I decided to teach myself Latin. A teacher by trade I felt somewhat hypocritical extolling the virtues of education, knowledge and study to my pupils only to find myself night after night subjecting my mind to hours of iPad surfing and social networking. I read too, of course. But it's not really work, is it? It's not a challenge.
What are Thailand's real dangers?
The tragic deaths of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on Koh Tao last month made headlines across the world. It led newspapers and tourists to wonder - 'How could these brutal murders take place on an idyllic island in the Land of Smiles?'
A teacher looks back over her ten years in Thailand
I'm celebrating my 10th year in Thailand as an ESL Teacher. Working in a foreign land hasn't been easy. It took me years and a lot of patience and hard work to get settled, not to mention the ocean of tears and heartbreaking homesickness.
Improving your long-term career prospects
A look at the tightening restrictions in the Thailand TEFL industry and getting yourself diploma certified.
Perhaps it's too easy to ignore the plight of the city's homeless?
Stroll along any sois and it is not uncommon at all to see men, wild hair unwashed, shoeless and half-naked, scavenge in overflowing bins. Drug addicts, unfortunate immigrants or just plain poor, it is hard to tell, but pitiful all the same.
An extract from a new book on teaching English to Thai students
Many studies have been undertaken to determine the reasons why South East Asian students have problems learning English. I would add to the list: weakness of the curriculum design, limited school resources, class sizes, poor course design, and course-books not always being relevant to the student's own environment.
How one school in Chiang Mai celebrated a feast of football
The football World Cup was a great opportunity to broaden students' horizons by encouraging them to learn about people and cultures around the world. And enjoy the football of course!
Sometimes just be thankful that's as good as it gets
I'm now in my third year as an English teacher at a secondary school in Thailand. I guess you could say I'm a veteran now, though this is a job which 'veteran' doesn't mean much
The latest brainwave from NIETS
Not content with creating incomprehensible, inaccurate and often absurd examination questions for primary and secondary school students, NIETS are now planning a standardized exam for all students finishing university
Organising a social networking project for students
Wouldn't it be great if students could use some of thier social networking time to develop their English? This was the thinking behind a project I started with my Mathayom 3 students - 'A Tweet a Day'.
Second article on Thai labor law and how it applies to teachers
This article is about how the Thai labor court system works in terms of mediation, arbitration, etc, how much money you can expect to be awarded in compensation - and most importantly, how much it will cost you.
The 34th Thai TESOL Conference was recently held in Chiang Mai
Thai TESOL is a non-profit organisation that works committedly towards raising the standards of English in schools and universities across Thailand. They do this by cooperating with like-minded organizations, providing professional development, conducting research and organizing conferences.
And more importantly how it applies to teachers here
This is the first of a series of articles about the Thai labour law and the labour courts and how foreigners, especially teachers in Thailand, are affected by them. As a teacher, I have been to the Thai labour court twice and in both cases had a settlement awarded to me. I have also been to the labour court in South Africa as an employer several times. I have never lost a court case.
How to avoid becoming just another statistic
Most Thais do not have any understanding or desire to learn road safety. If you grew up in my generation you had Tufty and his gang drilling the green cross code into your brain, and those lessons never get forgotten as the years pass by.
An open letter to The National Institute of Education Testing Service
I had hoped to send this letter to you directly but I suspect your offices are besieged by angry protestors, frustrated with corruption and incompetency. So it seemed a better idea to write you an open letter. I am writing this in the hope that this year's O-NET (Ordinary National Educational Test) examinations will better assess the Mathayom 6 students than previous efforts have done.
What on earth can my wife and I do to make things happen?
So after being back in Australia for 7 months now, I'm still disappointed and can't settle here either whichever way I try. I have tried several different jobs and in my heart they don't really suit me. I guess I really just miss the Thai lifestyle I have been waiting so long for.
I thought this might be of benefit to new ajarn readers in particular
I was asked to fill in a questionnaire by my old university on the topic of teaching English in Thailand. Although it was intended to encourage applicants to take a Thai study program in Germany, the information might be useful for those teachers thinking of coming to work here in Thailand.
Students are simply just not 'taught' here
Recently I read an article that stated adults in Thailand are ranked 55th from a list of 60 countries on their English proficiency skills. From what I have seen as an English teacher working in government secondary schools over the last 10 years, I'm not surprised,
Surely you can't be serious.
It's never been my intention to become best friends with any of my students but I truly believe that a good relationship and strong rapport with students is absolutely vital in order to begin being an effective teacher. If I ever expect to receive the respect of my students (which is all the time) then the obvious thing for me to do is give respect to them as early as possible.
Why Thailand doesn't have to fear the future and the ASEAN community
People claim that Thailand will be 'left behind' in the coming years, but there is no evidence for this assumption. Its economy has grown considerably in recent decades, all the while with relatively low levels of English proficiency.
Why learning Thai has helped me so much in the classroom
My philosophy on spoken communication has always been that perfect grammar, extensive vocabulary and intimate knowledge of tenses are all totally worthless if the listener cannot understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.
Major changes that will affect many teachers
Next year it's going to be a very long summer. Schools will be finishing in early March as usual but the new school year won't begin until mid-June. That's a 3-month holiday we're looking at. Great news for our students but it may be a little worrying for teachers that don't get holiday pay
We don't bite. Well - a handful might I suppose.
This won't be a list of grumbles about Thai ignorance or rudeness. I don't intend to criticise Thai culture here - that's another debate entirely. If you're a Thai who couldn't care less about foreigners, don't particularly care about their feelings and think screaming "Helloooo!" at them from the back of your Fino is the height of wit, this article is not for you.
Why does it always seem to happen to us?
This happens ever year. Things are going great, the students and teachers are all settled, parents are happy, mid-term tests out of the way and then out of nowhere a local international school swoops in and poaches one of our ESL teachers. So annoying!
When a school wants to fire you, what can you do?
I had been working as a Maths teacher for just under four months at a Catholic school in Bangkok when the head teacher, who is always happy to deliver bad news in a very dramatic way, informed me that parents had complained about the homework books not being marked. This was just the beginning.
Which country comes out on top for a TEFLer?
I taught English in China for 9 years. Every day I remember something bad that happened to me on a regular basis in China that never happens to me in Thailand. Here is my opinion of the two countries if you put them up against each other - from the point of view of an English teacher of course.
A new and exciting approach to teaching
There has been much debate about exactly what a 21st century education should look like with academics producing long-winded articles packed full with migraine-inducing jargon... but not a lot of change has actually taken place in the classroom.
Some of the stranger folks I've come across during interview procedures
One applicant that I won't forget was a certain Mr G. Glitter who applied for a primary school homeroom teacher position in 2006 and claimed to 'love working with kids'. The application came complete with a picture of the glam rocker in full 1970s rock regalia
Ignore the sob stories and the doom merchants - Thailand rocks!
We've both been here about six months, have only done two visa runs, had both our employers apply for our work permits for us, have started saving money as we actually make a little more collectively than we did in South Korea - and are both loving life again. Life really couldn't be much better.
All we're asking for is a reply
I feel it is just unprofessional that if someone well qualified for an advertised job takes the time to research the job and your school, then you as an employer should have the courtesy (manners) to acknowledge that application even if the applicant may not be right person for the job.
Pay close attention to what you carry those textbooks in
Fashion guru, Sebastian Hawkes, joins ajarn.com to cast a critical eye over what teachers should be carrying their stuff in this coming Fall. Could it be time to ditch the backpack for something more trendy?
The fourth and final part of Ralph Sasser's amazing story
The third update to the story came in late 2010 when Ralph entered into a long court case (are there any other kind in Thailand?) and was left with a half-finished building. Surely things could only get better? So here we are in mid-2012. Did Ralph's house of horrors story finally have a happy ending? Read the fourth and final instalment.
Why the reluctance to adopt English as an official language in Thailand?
In Thailand the government has set 2012 as English Speaking Year with a goal of encouraging students to converse in English every Monday. Such policies are useful but the major leap of enacting legislation to make English an official language for Thailand is also needed
How to get the best from your students with on-line tests
The integration of internet and computers with education and English learning is something students find normal, and classrooms without some access to educational software may seem quaint. Some students may even feel they can get more ‘professional' teaching from the numerous online ELT sites if a school is behind in IT.
Getting to grips with life as a teacher in Thailand
I flew in to Bangkok and spent four amazing days and nights there. I was about to head out towards Ubon to start looking for work when I was tipped off with a potential opportunity in the Si Sa Ket province of Isaan.
Make a difference with Design for Change
You can change the lives of your students and improve the quality of life in Thailand by spending just a few hours a week organizing a Design for Change contest at your school.
They say that everybody has a price
Although most of my TEFL experience has not been in Thailand, there is still a long list of things I won’t accept in a teaching job. Talk numbers and cross my palm with silver because these are the things I simply won’t do for work.
One teacher's descent into madness. Now updated for 2011
The diary is the heartbreaking four-week journal of Mr Jim Elmdon - a teacher who came to Thailand and failed miserably. Keep a box of tissues handy.
Be bold and ask your boss for a career break
Like many of you I work a regular job. For the last 8 years I've been a psychiatric nurse working for the NHS. Life is pretty good, I've never had as much job satisfaction as I do now (I'm not lying, honest!). But the lure of adventure is just too much.
New film highlights the stigma associated with HIV-infected orphans in Thai
Living with the Tiger focuses on two of the kids as they take an emotional journey back to the families that had once left them to die at a hospice. Some of the family members are even shocked to see that the children are still alive.
Scuba diving is something anyone can enjoy on a weekend off
Teacher and fanatical scuba diver, Andrew Stanford, discusses the best diving spots in Thailand and encourages more people to get out there and enjoy a whole new world.
An amazing new approach to teaching that really works
Do you want to be able to control a roomful of pratom one students with one simple word? ? Would you like to get 99 per cent participation from your matayom class? Do you want an easy way to engage your adult students making learning fun for them and for you?
Failing young students is simply a poor strategy
Without a doubt the ESL industry around the world is primarily a scam that is governed by unscrupulous business people that rarely have any pedagogical knowledge or academic backgrounds in the field of education
Should the most popular teacher get the largest share of the work?
The student was not happy with this arrangement and asked the manager why I could not teach her. The manager replied, 'You learn with who I choose, not who you want. And I have chosen the other teacher.'
What it's like to start your own 'Thai-style' business in Thailand
When I visited Maesod for the very first time I decided to come and live here and start a factory. I was attracted by the town's abundance of cheap teak, cheap Burmese labour and OK its beautiful girls as well.
Jorge Jo's moving account of one of the most newsworthy events in history
It’s only after six years that I’m able to deal with the pain of the injury sustained during the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 26th, 2004
An update on the perils of having your own house built in Thailand
After returning to Thailand, I found a contractor I thought was committed to building my house the way I wanted it. Finding someone to complete what had been started by another person, I knew would be difficult, but nevertheless I thought I had found the right man.
This is all just ridiculous
I no longer teach ESL classes to Thai school students. I will never again work for another Thai boss. I now work for a Chinese man with Thai citizenship (caters to the Taiwanese test prep market) and a pair of foreigners. If you're smart and resourceful enough, there are thousands of opportunities out there
An ironic view of a job ad
Employment agencies in are in dire need of actors for live performances on stage. Body piercing, visible tattoos, drinking or smoking in public, or any kind of physical handicap, even if slight, will qualify the applicant.
Alternatives to the shirt and tie combo
What can a teacher do if they are fed up with the standard 'teacher's uniform' of business shirt, necktie and trousers? Ajarn's man of style, Sebastian Hawkes, comes to the rescue with some carefully thought out suggestions. Mimi Rodgers offers her valuable opinions from a woman's perspective.
Man and machine in not so perfect harmony
When a group of experienced motor-cycling friends suggest hiring powerful bikes to explore the beautiful Chiang Mai region and you know full well that you've never ridden a motorbike in your life, that crazy sense of adventure takes over.
You can please some of the people some of the time
Recently we sent out a teachers newsletter to let people know about all ajarn's latest developments and news. Although a lot of the feedback we get is complimentary, this letter from Dave Bryant proves that it's not always a bed of roses running the ajarn.com office.
Just when you thought it was safe to walk under the scaffolding
Teacher Ralph Sasser has now returned to America. After being duped by building contractors here in Thailand, it's the only way he can save enough money to get the job finished and realize his dreams.
The nightmare of building your own home in Thailand
Some long-term teachers make one of the biggest decisions of their life and decide to have a house built in Thailand. But what happens when it all goes wrong? Read Ralph Sasser's nightmare story of bent lawyers, jail threats and the construction company from Hell.
One teacher's account of being popular with students and getting fired
I found out later after talking with other teachers, that there were two teachers that didn’t like us and they were both on the “committee” The director couldn’t go against the committee because she would lose face.
People's reactions on hearing that you're Thailand-bound
Leigh-Anne Hunter has found out that people fall into three distinct groups when you let them know of your ridiculous plans to move to Thailand. How do you know you'll like it if you've never been? Isn't that where the tsunami was? I guess these people mean well.
Look what I did Mom!
Take a look at what teacher Steve Salyer has done to his studio apartment in Sukhumwit 71. Let Steve be your inspiration. Now isn't it about time you paid more attention to your living environment and stopped your mother worrying so much?
How difficult is it to adjust to life back in the old country?
How easy or difficult is it to adapt back to a life in your native country after spending seven or eight years teaching in Thailand? Will jobs be easy to come by? Are your old friends still around, and if so, how will they react when the wanderer returns? How does it feel to suddenly find yourself thrown into a world of credit crunches, binge drinking, escalating crime rates and a world far removed from the one you left behind?
Loving parent Kirsten Jeffrey tackles the parent child issue
Kristen Jeffery came to Thailand for 18 months to teach English....with a husband and a very young daughter in tow. Kristen very kindly tells ajarn.com how her experience unfolded and needless to say, it's a must-read for anyone thinking of teaching English while caring for a young child at the same time.
Is ajarn.com partly to blame?
No, ajarn.com isn't responsible for low teacher salaries - at least not according to Louis Minson. Louis says that not presenting a realistic picture of the overall job situation would be sweeping things under the carpet.
Is it paradise or pants?
Few teachers know Chiang Mai better than Andy B. Although he started working there for less than 10,000 baht a month, he soon found out that displaying a degree of professionalism reaped dividends.
What it feels like to be a Thai student studying English in school
A foreign teacher contacted ajarn wanting to share a diary that one of his English program students had written. Although the student is only a youngster, the diary is a very frank account of what it's like to study at a Thai school. Top work!
The road to becoming a teacher
Bobo Metei came to Thailand as a fresh graduate on the lookout for different things. So being a young man with little money in his pocket, he decided to take up teaching.
John Quinn asks the probing questions
John Quinn, the senior TEFL trainer at SEE, spent a morning at the MOE office in Chiang Mai to try and get some answers to questions teachers have regarding employment in Thailand. John has very kindly allowed ajarn.com to put the main points of the interview on-line. Some of the answers may well surprise you.
Dave Patterson would most certainly like a word
Dave Patterson, who is a teacher at the Prince of Songkhla University in South Thailand, says it's about time Thai students took studying English seriously. And it's about time schools got serious about taking care of their students.
A bit of info on Thailand's Rose of the North
All the information on this page is courtesy of our friends at One Stop Chiang Mai. If you see something inaccurate - complain to them.
One of my favorite ever contributions to ajarn.com
Take a look at the ajarn.com art gallery. This is the place for talented teachers to scan and send us those little masterpieces that are created while students are busy doing tests or assorted gap-fill exercises.
How do the two biggest cities in Thailand measure up?
Read a terrific account from a teacher who gave up the Chiang Mai lifestyle to go and work in the capital Bangkok. It's very much a tale of two cities - and how one dedicated teacher fared in both.
One woman's quest to find a teaching job through informal interviews
Kathy Willis from the USA contacted me to say that she was going to spend a whole week interviewing for teaching jobs in Bangkok. Yes sir, she was going to run a finger down all those banner ads on the ajarn.com homepage and hit the mean streets in search of suitable employment.
The ups and downs of over fifteen years 'in the game'
It's a been a long and often painful journey, but here's an account of 15 years in the Thailand TEFL business. My careers officer never once told me that it might turn out like this.
One teacher's descent into madness
The diary is the sad and heartbreaking four-week journal of Mr Jim Elmdon - a teacher who came, saw, and failed miserably. Keep a box of tissues handy.