Ajarn Street

Teacher nightmares part two

What happens when teaching in Thailand all goes horribly wrong

October 2012 - Here's a familiar story of a teacher who tries to be 'too clever' and goes all out to antagonize the school management. There is almost certainly only going to be one outcome in these type of situations.

I'm a 32 year old teacher from France and I moved to Thailand three years ago, initially because I was working as an executive for a French company. On the verge of the financial crisis in Europe, they appointed me to their Bangkok office. Life was good but the global economy got worse and my company decided to outsource the department I was working for to a Thai company 18 months or so later.

I was already well established in Thailand at the time so I had no intention to move back to France right away. As you can guess, the first job that came my way was as a teacher. I used to give private tuition when I was still a student in Paris and being from a family of teachers, I did not find it too difficult to fit the teacher's cloth but at first I found it hard to cope with the Thai education system and its "no fail" policy towards students.

Ajarn.com and the various blogs were a great source of information and it helped me to better understand and adjust to Thai culture. I got my first teaching gig through an agency in Southern Thailand and I immediately liked the city I was in but as it often happens with agencies I soon found myself in need of a more "serious" teaching position and so I moved to Rayong where I happily taught English for about a year.

Anyway, I was always keeping an eye on the job offers and being used to a higher paycheck, I was more than willing to get a better salary while making my way back to Southern Thailand. I thought I had found the perfect job when I applied for a French/English teaching job at an international school.

I gave one month's notice to my school in Rayong and I swiftly moved back to the South.

It quickly became obvious that I had made a huge mistake just a few days after the school term started. The school I was at supposedly followed the British curriculum so we started in mid-August. No books, no curriculum, crumbling classrooms and a bunch of unmotivated, disrespectful students. I could not believe this was happening in Thailand. I was already used to the formal, polite (even if sometimes fake) way of Thai students addressing their teachers. No such thing here.

Two weeks later I was handed the contract. What can I say? 26 periods per week, a 5% levy on my 32K salary, no paid holidays for the first three months, gate duty, an obligation to sign a log-book whenever anyone was leaving school (including for a 5 minute trip to the nearby 7/11).

I refused at first to sign the contract, saying that I was not informed about any of this prior to or during the interview that I had passed just two months earlier. At the end of the week, I was told that I would lose my job immediately if I did not sign the contract.

The school refused to change anything (I certainly wanted to be freed from the gate duty at least, but no). I forgot to say I had to pay for my own visa and work permit (I never even put my hands on the latter, the management kept hold of all the work permits).

The situation with the students got worse, not only for me but for all the teachers that had started at the same time as I did (the "old" ones had already given up). No respect, no attempt to study or learn anything, and whenever I was trying to enforce any kind of discipline, the parents complained and I was called to the office.

That's when I started going around the local farang places asking questions and getting some answers. It turned out that the school had had no less than ten foreign teachers hired and then fired within the past 12 months. All the people that had been working there were very bitter about the whole thing.

Most of the complaints were about the inane management and their greediness and lack of manners or empathy towards their "employees" (I would not dare to call ourselves "teachers").

The strategy was to send us an endless number of memos about almost anything that we had to sign just to make sure that we "understood". The main purpose was of course intimidation: "memo: you're still on a probation period, we can let you go within 24 hours" / "memo: you can't leave school without permission or we can let you go within 24 hours", etc. You get the point.

One morning, it was just before 8 o'clock and I was at the gate when the director's personal pet came to me and some other teachers to ask us to sign yet another memo. That time I just drew a sheep and signed my name over it. Other teachers followed. As long as you're treated like a sheep, you might as well sign as one, I thought!

I did not have to wait very long before I was called to the office. There I was asked to give some explanation about the sheep thing. I politely answered that I was not 12 years old and that, as a teacher, I was not intending to be treated like one of the students.

I brought to her attention that I was holding two master's degrees and that I had a significant amount of work experience in respected places and businesses. I got lectured about not obeying the school rules / Thai culture blah blah blah and showed to the door.

Three days later I was sacked (sports days and holidays were coming up, so it was a nice way to save some money, wasn't it?). Another teacher (a Filipina) was sacked the same day, and asked to leave the premises immediately, even though she was not on a probation period anymore. Apparently it was because she had the misfortune to be sick for two days during the month. Sigh... I left without a protest and found a new job within a week, this time in a well-established government school.

Can I say first of all that under no circumstances must individuals or actual school names be mentioned in these accounts. I have also edited the name of the city so there is less chance of any ‘association'.

You're obviously a very intelligent and well-qualified guy. Reading your story I just wonder if having lost your position of prestige in a Bangkok company, you approached teaching English with something of a ‘this is beneath me' mindset. And upon facing all the admin and management problems that many teachers have to deal with on a daily basis, things affected you and annoyed you very quickly. But please forgive me if I have got that assumption totally wrong.

Because you're an intelligent man, I'm sure you must have known that the moment you replied to a memo with the drawing of a sheep, your days were numbered. I've been here over 20 years and I'm yet to meet a Thai that does sarcasm.

I've been in this position myself. I've sent antagonistic e-mails and memos to Thai management when I have felt wronged. It makes you feel good for a fleeting moment. However, there's only ever one outcome and only ever one winner - and it's never the teacher. You're immediately labeled as a ‘troublemaker' and it's a label that you'll never shake off. The only certainty is that the exit door won't be too far away.

If you feel you can't put up with the shit anymore, you should vote with your feet and leave. Don't burn your bridges and make enemies.

It's a great shame that you couldn't get around the restaurants and bars and meet some of these foreign teachers BEFORE you actually started working. It's always a good strategy if you have the time and the savings to fall back on while you are not employed. It would have certainly saved you a lot of stress.

I'm glad to hear you've found a decent teaching gig though. That's the way it often is here - you might have to kiss a few frogs before you find a prince.

June 2012 - Do you have any recourse when you miss the start of term and the agency decides to give your position to the substitute teacher?

I secured a six-month contract with a teacher placement agency and both my contract and visa will expire in September of this year. I informed the agency owner that I would be returning home for 22 days and I would miss the start of the new school term. The school term started on May 24th and the agency owner decided to hire a substitute teacher to cover my classes. However, when I returned to Thailand, the school and agency had decided to keep the cover teacher on because they felt the students would become confused if they had a change of teacher so early in the new school year. I felt that this was just an excuse to get rid of me. I also paid 3,000 baht for a work visa and don't think I will get that back. Does the school or agency have the right to cut a work visa before it expires? What can I do?

There is no such thing as a ‘work visa' in Thailand. Immigration will grant you an ‘extension of stay' on your non-immigrant visa based on possession of a teachers licence and possibly a contract - or retirement or marriage, etc, etc, but you cannot apply for a ‘work visa' - it simply doesn't exist.

Your employer probably charged you 3,000 baht for the process of getting your teachers licence, work permit and visa extension done. Some employers do it for free; others don't. But there's always an awful lot of running around to be done. Once your employer decides your services are not required, they return the work permit to the Thai Labour Department and your extension of stay visa (which is linked to that work permit) becomes null and void. Is this what has happened to you?

I haven't got a great deal of sympathy for this particular ‘teacher nightmare' I'm afraid. Surely no one signs up for a short six-month contract and then has to inform their new employer that they will be disappearing for the best part of a month and actually missing the start of the new term.

What you should have done is told the agency to find a new teacher, taken your 22-day trip - and then looked for a new job when you returned to Thailand. You don't go into the reason for the 22-day trip back home and I appreciate that there are such things as family emergencies, but that's life. You ended up putting your employer in a very awkward position.

This year has been a particularly difficult year for schools and agencies looking to recruit quality teaching staff. There haven't been enough good prospects around. I'm willing to bet that your agency found themselves a reliable, decent teacher to cover your classes and decided to stick with them - not knowing even if you were going to come back at all. The ‘students will become confused if we change teachers' line was in all likelihood a face-saving excuse. And why not indeed

February 2012 - This is a case of a seemingly well-established school cutting corners and trying to 'nickel and dime' its foreign teaching staff.

I have worked in Thailand as both an English teacher and a teacher of specialized academic subjects for almost twenty years. Last week my school tried to get all the teachers to sign new contracts for next year. Nobody signed. In this new contract are steep cuts in medical benefits, an increase in taxes for teachers with work permits, and a cut in our housing stipend of 2,000 baht per month. It all adds up. Note also that our school has been operating on an oral contract for the past six years since I have been with them and signed the original contract. My questions are as follows - are we obligated to sign these contracts even if we don't agree with the terms? And are there any options for us as foreign expats in Thailand to pursue some sort of legal channel?  One of the other schools in the group has given teaching staff until the end of the week to sign or else they will lose their jobs. Surely this can't be legal under Thai law?

One of our teaching staff is actually a qualified lawyer with many years of experience. He is telling all the teachers to stand their ground. He believes that if the school want to cancel our contracts, they will have to 'buy us out' so for example if a teacher has been employed at the school for over five years, he or she is entitled to a severance pay totalling at least six months salary. If a teacher has been at the school for three years, they are entitled to three months pay. But understandably a lot of teachers are getting very nervous.

This 'nickel and diming' of teachers (cutting benefits, etc) seems to be becoming a disturbing trend as we approach the time when teachers are looking to sign new contracts. I spoke to one teacher last week whose school has already cut the housing allowance and are also reducing the number of paid sick days. In addition, the school is starting new teachers on a salary that's 5,000 baht lower than the starting salary in previous years. Another teacher said that salaries are being cut at their school from mid-40K to below 40K a month. That's a hell of a drop for someone who has got used to living on a mid-40K income. This teacher also went on to say that in another attempt to claw back money, the teachers have all found their number of teaching hours increased. Firstly, does anyone have any suggestions on how the teacher in the situation above should proceed and does he have any legal recourse? Secondly, are you a teacher falling victim to these cutbacks or is it business as usual? Let us know your thoughts. 

For more 'teacher nightmare' stories from 2011, check out our first teacher nightmares page


he s right , international school in thailand are just business , make money, charge all parents and more they cheat the succes of the students... too much turn over of teacher. Administration...lol...target to sell food activities and service...
but academic way ...not at all

did you ask yourself why result are so good in international school.....not because student are good but their tutors choose what subjects are good for them , not for their futur but just to catch ib...exam....

By francois michel, bangkok (8th July 2013)

I do not fully believe what you say. I understand that you are at the most bilingual but then I doubt that. I agree that educational "institutions" in Thailand are not well run very often, but that is a different matter for the barely skilled who often claim to be teachers to work there.

By Stephen, Laos (1st April 2013)

Oh the horror stories I could tell you about my experiences, I started teaching in Thailand when I was 22 and taken for a ride all the way. The way I look at it is: I'll change jobs as regularly as I can until I find one that suits me and there's not too much BS fascist school rules, teaching kindergarten seems to have been the best experience for me.

By max, bkk (1st April 2013)

Cogent response from James in Qatar, I wholly agree with your comments and thoughts.

As for Craigster, is this person working for the Thai gov't?

By Jean-Michel, Bangkok (12th November 2012)

he who whines is never realistic.....I think it just takes a special set of cahones to have a good time international teaching...no matter what the conditions....I have taught in Thailand a number of times over the years and never once did I ever take the position thinking I was going to make some serious money...as long as I had enough to live in my studio @1200 bht a month...still eat like a king....mostly on the street as its best...and still take bus trips and train trips staying in hotels visiting other places in Thailand every chance I had..as well as going to the VIP movie theatre when I want to and hang out in the city...I was making 15kbht a month at one place and still usually always had about 8kbht in the bank at anytime...with my exit I took over 65kbht with me.....later at a real international school I was making bank but still chose to live simple....it was perfect....the difference between a bad experience and a good one lies within the person...not the victim...as one would profess themselves to be....

By Craigster, Saipan (11th November 2012)

I've also held teaching positions in places around the world that I'd readily admit were "beneath me." Saudi Arabia and Thailand immediately come to mind. However, any teacher worth his salt gives these places the solid effort required, a minimum of 3 months to see if adjustments can be made; and if not, hustles to find better work and working conditions. The schools aren't going to change, so either you have to change your attitude, or just leave. It's that simple. Best of luck to the person who had the nightmare post. We've all been there.

By James, Qatar (11th November 2012)

I thought that the first horror story was pretty accurate of the Thai education system. The reply from the Ajarn admin was horrible.

By Jean-Michel, bangkok (11th November 2012)

@Craigster - Your outlook on life is so optimistic but incredibly unrealistic. People complaining about the wage are those who live here with a family. Try paying for a new car with the good feeling you get from teaching. Chances are they don't accept "good feeling" as credit. And as far as helping the less fortunate, that's just patently false. Thailand is a very wealthy country that keeps most of its people in poverty. They say its third world and it is - but by choice, not by circumstance. Don't say somone's negative if they are being realistic, you run the risk of being naive.

By Calan, Chachoengsao (27th August 2012)

Wow...negativity prevails...Teaching in Thailand in most schools was never supposed to be about getting a western standard wage...yes some international schools are great about it like RIS and ISB...but all the one off schools for outsourcing english to the agencies or in government schools aren't your pie in the sky...people need to wake up and realize Thailand is a most wondorous place and the students are amazing...you should teach here with the mindset that you are giving something to those less fortunate...Thailand is not your bank nor responsible for your personal and capitol gains....even at 30k bht a month you can peel off a great time working for a year or even two...but if your an alcoholic playboy then obviously teaching is not for you...complaining about a fan room, the heat, etc...try living Thai for a change and seeing that there are still great teachers because they care....you can have a great life...on the cheap...try not to be greedy and self rightous...

By Craigster, Saipan (15th August 2012)

Advice - leave. Simple as that. The education situation needs to be leveraged to the benefit of professional teachers who are desperately needed. Now it is all run with the wink wink nudge nudge that foreign teachers should pay for the privilege of getting visas, pay for their own work permits, buy their own bus tickets to and from Laos as well as the hotel rooms, subsidize electricity and water and deposit rip-offs for the benefits of greedy landlords, work in ancient buildings with no plumbing and teach in fan rooms with no A/C in 105 degree heat. The whole system is, relatively speaking, corrupt, not serious and exists as so many things in country as only for show and not for decent functionality.

Thailand will become a second class society if their students are not provided with decent instruction by adequately compensated teaching professionals who know what they are doing. The priorities here are to throw money around at undeserving projects and studiously ignore the real needs of the huge majority of Thai kids who are desperate to learn. The only reason to stay is to help the children, who are being run through the ringer and exploited by very unprofessional conduct on the parts of institutions with varying levels of corruption.

By Elvis, Thailand (17th July 2012)

The government and the school directors are totally corrupt. I opened a teacher agency here and the all the directors want is money from my agency anywhere from 75 baht an hour to 150 baht an hour for each hour the the teacher teaches,
it is highway robbery!
I even offered to come to their schools and teach a couple of times a month and offered them English camps, they told me they do not care for that and only want the money!!! The directors and districts officials are totally corrupt here and it is a total shame becauce the students are the ones who suffer for this!!!

By foghorn leghorn, Thailand (12th July 2012)

Keith I agree with you they should put their names to their views, mind you I find that most problems we get here are stirred up with jealousey, from your work mates,I am pretty lucky I have been here 9 years married to a thai school teacher, so I have a good mouth piece in my wife, who puts me in the right directions if there is a problem I am retired now but I still do english camps

By charles Wilson, Khunhan Sisaket (12th July 2012)

"and your extension of stay visa (which is linked to that work permit) "

There is no such thing as an extension of stay visa, only and extension of stay OF your visa


By Lloyd, Bangkok (4th July 2012)

I can't say I feel the story submitted here is a "nightmare" story. The teacher was gone nearly 3 weeks out of the semester. And he was hired by an agency. It's not like he had a long history with the school. If you're using an agency, you have to realize you are going to be shuffled and reshuffled.

As for teaching in Thailand in general, I have to chime in here now because I'm leaving again after a long holiday and a luke warm job search. I prefer to holiday here rather than teach. The salaries blow. 30K a month? (puke) The schools are not very well run. The visa hoops are annoying. What kind of lousy school makes its teachers foot the bill for these non-immigrant B visa runs? It's good that some schools are filtering out the backpackers and the people who just want to extend their holidays. But seriously. The salary is not worth the headache here. I prefer to work in the Middle East and then come back here on holidays. Avoid KSA, but the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar are of good places to start. I urge any self-respecting native English speaking teacher to abandon Thailand as a place to work. Get what you deserve: paid housing, annual ticket home, professional development, and a salary that is respectable. Come on Thailand. Get with the program!

By Jim on the way out of Thailand, leaving ... again (2nd July 2012)

Thailand should come with a warning. The school system is becoming worse than the USA, which is in the gutter. I worked in Surat Thani for the first quarter of the 2010 school year only to leave in August. for me it was best to assume all responsibility and just get the heck out of a bad situation. The only good jobs in Thai schools are in the private sector. Good luck getting into those schools. The public sector is as corrupt as the government. The schools function is to get anyone (especially unexperienced backpackers) for as cheap as they can. Why does this country feel a backpacker is a teacher? be wary of Thailand and the school system!!!

By John, Bangkok (21st June 2012)

"If she had a contract - not matter how long - then it is valid - especially if they signed it knowing she would be going on leave"

It's a big 'if' though isn't it Jon? We have absolutely no idea from just reading the teacher's story - and of course this is often the problem with these 'nightmare stories'. You do need to know every little detail befire you can make a proper assessment of the situation.

By philip, (19th June 2012)

First of all, we all know there is no such thing as a valid contract in Thailand when it comes to teaching. That is what i heard in my first interview for a teaching job in Bangkok and I am an experienced teacher in the US. It is disgusting how we are treated in most schools - used and thrown out - the kids are used as an excuse --- they would not have been confused - they are smarter than the admins usually - so give me a break and also as for saving face - that is a Thai thing so they don't get to get away with it with us - cause if they hire farang and want to learn and want us to teach then they should know that #$%^&*()_ doesnt fly... it is a BS excuse and not valid so just give it up unless you are 3 years old.
If she had a contract - not matter how long - then it is valid - especially if they signed it knowing she would be going on leave. If they invalidated it when she returned for illegal reasons then she should seek recourse through the courts and the school should be held responsible for damages - but hey
we also are trying to save face as i forgot so i guess laws don't matter so we should just say TIT - but as i remember from yesterday the culture minister doesn't like TITS much ... what the school did was illegal in any other country where the native teachers come from - so just stop making excuses

By jon, USA (19th June 2012)

Regarding the post February 2011, Contracts generally provide for the security of a year's length of employment, benefiting both the teacher and the school. They typically are a year in length, following the school semesters.

Naturally, you're not obligated to sign one if you don't wish to. Likewise, the school may elect to not renew your contract for another year if they so choose. And, they're not obligated to give you a reason. If you are unhappy with changes from one year to the next, your recourse is to find another job. Conditions for early termination, dismissal, etc. are stipulated within the contract.

Lastly, there's no such thing as a 'buy out' of a contract. Good luck to you all.

By Kru Khon Kaen, Khon Kaen (14th June 2012)

Must agree with the poster that said Teacher in SamutSakhon does not know what he is talking about.

Need a TEFL. Have to laugh at that.

By the way the minimum wage of 50000/60000 baht does not count for those in teaching.

By Schmel, Out there (3rd June 2012)

Samutsakhon teacher,

Your initial statement, "Let me tell you khunkrumark.com" is a advertisement only. You failed to hit your target market. We teachers have our certificates. Please refrain from using this as an place to post free ads. Thank you for your cooperation.

As for salaries, the more conveniences in your area, the less likely you will find high wages. Why? There are more teachers to choose from. As for the Northeast, the cost of living is lower, examples housing, fresh food products.

Once you gain experience you can find yourself part time evening or Saturday/Sunday jobs. This will boost you to around 50 to 60 K per month. Good luck to all.

By TR4Pattaya, Pattaya (3rd June 2012)

Teacher in Samutsakhon,

There are scores of teachers working in Thailand without a degree or a TEFL, the latter of which isn't even a legal requirement.

Someone wiser than me once said: "You are entitled to your own opinions. You are not entitled to your own facts."

I agree with your opinion that people should tread carefully when considering a teaching career in Thailand, and likewise be very careful whom they give their trust and money to. But much of your statement is outright false.

By anon, (28th May 2012)

Let me tell you khunkrumark.com, clearly you need to read what I said. I know you need a degree to get work out here, I am warning people that there is a company out there conning people that it is not required. Or it is maybe due to you being the one that is ripping people off? Maybe hence the attack and not understanding that I know I need a degree. I have one, and loving working here in Thailand. What is your problem though? This is supposed to be a free forum to express our problems and views. I am not affraid to do this, to warn others, why not try and help others too, to ensure that they do not land up in a trap like many others.

By Teacher in Samutsakhon, Thailand, Samutsakhon (28th May 2012)

Teachers are exempt from the farang minimum wage laws. As for working without a degree... The 'Teacher in SamutSakhon' clearly knows nothing about the real world! ;)

By khunkrumark.com, Thailand (28th May 2012)

I was told that the minimum pay for a western farang is legally 50,000 or 60,000 depending on nationality. Maybe if you follow this through legally you will be entitlrd to back-pay, too. Is it true?

By anonymous, north-east Thailand (27th May 2012)

I must also warn people out there. Do not believe any company stating you do not need a Bachelors degree to teach in Thailand. If any company tells you that, they are only out to get money out of you to do a TEFL course, which by the way you actually do need as well, and then once you have paid them in full, done the course, they make promises they cannot keep and will not keep either.
You will not find a job out there with no degree. So rather get your degree first, then find work out there. You need to know what you are doing in order to teach these wonderful children. So do it right. There are no short cuts in life, so don't accept false offers of work without a degree! So be careful people. Not worth being stuck in a country with no backing and less money due to someone taking it from you.

By Teacher in SamutSakhon, South of Bangkok (27th May 2012)

Most people don't put their names after a comment at least not their full real names. Who knows what some weirdo might do with my name?

By anonymous, bangkok (12th May 2012)

Why on earth are people like 'anonymous Bangkok' here in Thailand if they take such a negative view of it? And why not have the balls to put a name to a comment?

By Keith James, Thailand (12th May 2012)

I'm surprised they didn't tell you "This is not England, If you weren't in Thailand this wouldn't happen". In fact if you do want any justice you will have to find some place else to teach. There are countries out there where there really are laws. If you are working at a private school keep in mind that the school is nothing more than a business adventure for the owner. They will do anything to make money off of you and there is nowhere you can go to nor is there anybody who is Thai that will give a damn about your predicament. You are nothing but a resource here. That's the way it is in Thailand.

By anonymous, Bangkok (11th May 2012)

I wish to remind you my initial comment in regards to teachers fair pay and entitlements working in Thailand and also suggested to check it out for yourselves by going to the labor office in your area and questioning it, just like my friend took the initiative to do so and now is waiting to hear back the result hopefully this month.

Instead.... the response I'm getting is the same old same old winging... we know sometimes things aren't quite right the way we want them to be! The question is what can be done about it.... and do it! And if the result isn't what we expected to be.... then it's best moving on!

I'm looking forward to hear if anyone has gone to the Labor Office and to what they had to say about it.

So.... let's try and stick to the point! Shall we?

By Anonymous, South Thailand (4th May 2012)

"Perhaps if teachers were paid like professionals and treated like professionals..."

Er, hang on... are you suggesting that they are not?

Native English Speakers are at the top of the ladder when it comes to pay and 'allowed excuses' for poor performance.

Sorry, but when minimum wage for a native English speaker is $10 (US) an hour I can't garner up too much sympathy for those who feel a bit like crying when they aren't flavor of the month all of a sudden!

By khunkrumark.com, Thailand (4th May 2012)

I’m experiencing a lot of troubles this year as well. I’m doing all sort of “extra work” for my school, hiring teachers, holding seminars for Thai English teachers how to conduct English camps etc.

More work, less salary, moreover Thais become more and more unfriendly to us foreigners. Seems to me that they don’t really understand how good it is for a school to have teachers who’re well down to earth, living in this country for many years.

Expectations are way too high. Thai English teachers’ English still very questionable.

I’d love to see a Thai teacher teaching his/her language in let’s say the UK, where nobody can speak Thai……

Lot of schools might think qualified teachers are always and everywhere available.
Teaching in Thailand isn’t as funny as it was before.

By Mike, Sisaket (3rd May 2012)


Perhaps if teachers were paid like professionals and treated like professionals in Thailand, schools like those you speak of might end up with better than 'substitute teachers.'

After eight years in the international schools in Thailand, I took my qualifications and experience elsewhere. Too many school owners play games in Thailand and too many teachers put up with it. If a school has bad teachers, they should try and fix the problems, warn them and then fire them if they can't do the job. Schools that nickel and dime teachers often end up with the teachers they deserve.

To the letter writer, just leave. Even if you win a fight with a school, you'll lose: the years on your CV, the last of any good graces of the owners and a bit of your sanity. If a school behaves like this with contracts, I'm sure they find other ways of mistreating its teachers.

By Frank, China (2nd May 2012)

I will to check it out for sure! Thanks... ;)

By khunkrumark.com, Thailand (1st May 2012)

I suggest to check it out for yourselves... why not contact the Labor Office of Employment and see what they have to say...

By Anonymous, South Thailand (1st May 2012)

Bottom Line: Things are going to the dogs.

By Frank Lee, Saraburi (30th April 2012)

To 'anonymous in South Thailand'... PLEASE tell me you are not teaching English in Thailand! If you are then those 'rights' of which you are keen to remind us of also come with responsibilities - chief amongst them being the ability to do the job at which you are being unfairly treated!

By khunkrumark.com, Thailand (25th April 2012)

Apparently foreign teachers have rights as well... I suggest to get a valid answer to your problems is to contact the Employment Labor Office in your area.
The reason I'm saying this... it's because recently one of the teacher I worked with, went to the Labor Office to clarify his entitlements working with a language school (who employed him to teach in a government school) and was shocked to hear that by law they private school had these obligations to full-fill;
1. if he worked more than 20 hours per week for the school, they had to provide and pay for his work permit
2. issue a written contract
3. has entitlements to 5 days of sick pay per year and public holidays
3. and if the private school employed him without providing the above conditions he had the right to be back paid.
4. and since he was dismissed over the telephone, he also had the right to compensation money
He has taken the advise of the Labor Office and lodged a written complaint which now is under investigation
My self and another four teachers will be doing same if our colleague is successful.

By Anonymous, South Thailand (24th April 2012)

This seems to be a growing trend in Thailand which is why I left. This does not mean that grass is always greener I'm afraid. Teaching English in both countries and a specialised subject to boot does not even matter- contractually you are indeed over a barrel. I would not be complaining at the offer on hand to you. ALL Thai schools are cutting back and unless you are in an international school you have to suck on it. Private schools and government schools all pretty much work the same...however, on a lighter note. There are other options and other countries. I would probably trade places. Thailand is still unbelievably cheap in comparison to many countries in SEA.

By Alan Smith, Indonesia (18th April 2012)

Advice: Don't come to Thailand and expect to earn a decent wage. Don't expect schools/agencies to live up to the terms of written agreements. Don't think for a minute that you are anything more than a 'guest' teacher or that you or your entire staff can't be replaced at a moment's notice.

By Guy, Bkk (14th April 2012)

Let us see if we get the facts straight. You were offered conditions of employment that you do not find satisfactory and aksing for advice, is that it?

Accept the offer or find a better offer seem to be your two main choices (Same as if working in any other country in the world from my experience). Of course if you are considered “special” I suppose you would have some power to negotiate but if you are not considered indispensable by your school your power to negotiate will be lessened.

I don’t know of any legal requirement in Thailand or any other country that stipulates a new contract which is offered must be as “good” or “better” than previous ones offered. On the other hand you also are not legally required to accept an offer you do not find satisfactory.

By Jack, North of where I want to be (26th March 2012)

I remember being in exactly this situation in England and, via my union, getting appropriate legal advice. In England, the employer has you over a barrel on this one. If you don't accept the new contract, you render yourself unemployed. If you go into work without signing the new contract, you have (in the eyes of the law) accepted the new contract even if you state that you disagree with it. There is a period of notice the employer has to give you to change a contract but it isn't very long, usually a month. Given that Thailand usually has even less protection for employees than England my guess is that you'll have to put up with it or move on.

By Keith James, United Kingdom (22nd March 2012)

I've been at the same government English program for a few years now. For this April holiday they now told us that we'll only get the Songkran holiday (1 week), instead of the usual 5. The rest we'll have to come & sign in. And on top of that we'll still only be paid 50% for that month!

The school blames the government. We've always had 11 months contracts, but there has always been a gentlemen's agreement that those who stay for next year would get compensated regardless. That's out the window now with the new management.

By Anonymous, BKK (11th March 2012)

Change schools or head off to Tiawan,South Korea or China many jobs in other Asian countries why are you worried????

By John Ronald, Bangkok (8th March 2012)

I guess what khunkrumark.com said is mostly true (BUT NOT FOR ALL THAIS). I often find the best way to enjoy your job, and keep it is to : keep your head down, dress properly and professionally, be on time and reliable, don't argue or second guess your boss unless the request is completely unreasonable, smile and put on a good face. Thai's do not like it when you are absent often, perpetually late, and don't dress the part. 90% is show. If you show up on time, and look good, that is more then half the battle.

By Ron, BKK (8th March 2012)

Having read through these 'nightmare' experiences I am sure there are more to these stories than the writers are telling us. My experience has taught me that there are certain rules to follow if you are going to be successful here as a teacher. First - remember, it's style over substance. This is the way the education system works, especially the private sector. Next - enjoy being 'flavor of the month' while it lasts... because it won't! There is no 'justice' here. Promises and contracts are simply not worth anything here. If it all goes 'Pete Tong' then do what Pete Tong did - move back home!

The point is, is that this is a culture that really doesn't want us here. The surface friendliness can often be a bit deceptive especially if you are new to the country. If you are fighting for your rights and referring to contracts and implied promises (or even actual ones) then you are going to end up the loser.

Be careful what you say and keep your social distance from everyone.

Thailand is a great place to be... on their terms!

By khunkrumark.com, Thailand (7th March 2012)

I think the best way to find a job is to just ask around. Easier said then done foe those of us new to Thailand. The best jobs, it seems, are usually not advertised, just passed on by word of mouth. I know of an agency that is pretty good, but I have never heard any other good stories about other agencies. It seems they always nickle and dime you, and then screw you.

By Ron, BKK (1st March 2012)

Please do not name schools or companies in your comments.

By philip, (1st March 2012)

In response to Ron, I'd like to say that your advice is very sound. I ended up working for an agency, as a lot of the school contracts in Bangkok proper are tied up with agencies, and they always have work available, as in: "can you start tomorrow?" One can become exhausted running around BKK going to interviews, as I did, and just give in to the temptation to start working. The agencies also provide a safety net, as some of the schools in Bangkok are very difficult to work for--but agency system encourages them to treat teachers badly. The agencies offer to replace a teacher at any time if the school is not satisfied, so the schools get on a power trip and replace teachers for the most trivial things, w/o any regard for their feelings, or any appreciation of how hard they may have tried. But, this is the kicker: during the flood my agency promised all teachers that we would not lose any wages (for not working in November) because the agency is paid per semester, not per month--so instead of spending Oct and Nov looking around for other work, I stayed loyal to my agency. Then, come December, they announced that we were, in fact, daily-wage workers who are only paid for the days we actually work (even though our contracts stipulate a monthly wage), so we would not be paid for November, AND we would have to teach an extra hour a day, and Saturdays to make up for November (a month we were not paid for). Well a lot of people quit, but I figured that quitting before I had another job wasn't going to make up for my lost pay....then I read a piece of fine print that was not part of my contract and found out that I had to give 30 days notice if I wanted out of my contract, or forfeit 30 days pay (and yes they do hold people to that--someone only gave 28 days notice and lost a month's pay). So the only way out of a contract is to get them to fire you---not a smart way to do business.

By Susanne, Bangkok (1st March 2012)

There's a law in Thailand (Labour Protection Act) saying that if your employer does nor renew your contract, he has to pay severance, at least 3 months, increasing with seniority.
The fact that there isn't any written contract doesn't matter as you have your regular monthly payments as evidence.
Changing provisions in a contract is similar to not renewing it.

By Garouda Hanouman, Chonburi (25th February 2012)

I am not a young blonde headed young man with blue eyes, I have worked in 4 schools in Issan, only had one problem with salary with one company who had a cash flow problem and they are the biggest company going, they said they would pay me every month 1st month ok money on time 2nd month they paid me 2 weeks short I asked the school they said I had to take it up with agency, I told agency I don't work for nothing, they replaced me there and then, the school begged me to stay, I was not a teacher in the UK I was a salesman and I never lied to get a job and I am 69 years old and I have retired now, but I still get offered jobs, I always say if they offer you a contract and you are happy with salary sign it not all schools are bad, most of the times its the farangs that give you a hard time.

By Charlie Wilson, Sisaket (25th February 2012)

I don't know why any qualified teacher, or those with a bachelors degree would be looking at an agency for a job. There are tons of jobs out there! Maybe not right now, as the school year is about to end. I have looked on this site, out of curiosity, to see how many jobs there are available in my area. I live in a suburb on the outskirts of Bangkok. There are 3 schools hiring for multiple positions, JUST ON THIS SITE. Most SAY they require a degree, but if they are in a pinch they will hire someone without. Often times you are better off not even sending your CV, but physically going to the school to speak with them (Especially if you are a young, good looking, guy/gal). I hate to say this, but Thais love to hire, young, blonde haired blue eyed pretty people. There are jobs out there. Talk to friends. Get names of schools, go there, see what the hubbub is. You would be much better off looking for a job in April as the new school year starts in May. Also, try your local mall if you are desperate for part time work in the mean time. There are plenty of language schools at most locations. Stay AWAY from agencies if at all possible. If you are forced to go this route, look up TLS thailand. My brother has previously worked for them, and I have a few friends who have done the same. I can not promise you will get the best job, or what you are looking for right away. But they do pay on time, and they are straight forward ( At least in the cases that I am aware of).

By Ron, BKK (24th February 2012)

to anonymouse
i have a B.Ed in English and General Studies, 5 City and Guild qualifications and 5 ULCI certificates plus a teacher training certificate and a diploma in teaching from a university in bangkok,i think i am very qualified to teach,also a valid teacher licence and a work permit as i have been teaching here for over 7 years so YES i think i am a bit qualified so i can complain,its the agencies that muck us about and unless you are lucky enough to walk straight into a school job you have to tread the boards with agencies,

By alan7554, nahkon si thammarat (24th February 2012)

Question: If this school in question sacked all the teachers without either degree or work permit, how many would be left?

Answer: Almost none.

Unless you're a qualified teacher with an appropriate degree and work permit, I think you've got absolutely nothing to complain about.

By Anonymouse, Bangkok (23rd February 2012)

my nightmare is working for a well known teaching agency in Bangkok, last month she only paid me half of my salary,and is stalling on paying me this months salary + what she owes me,also due to her sending bad teachers to the school i am working in, the school has cancelled her contract,so next month i have no job and no money, Beware of the teaching agencies. You will get ripped off.

By allan, Nahkon Si Thammarat (23rd February 2012)

Well done, Ron!

I know sticking together has helped maintain your contracts but for new employees it's still bad. Today I was offered a job at one of these schools, who I have previously worked for and they offered me B6000 less to do the exact same job.

I still feel salaries, benefits and conditions are on the way down and while they can not do much to the existing staff, they will try to claw the money back in different ways.

But I will finish on a positive note.

Well done, once again!

By Robin Hood, Bkk (23rd February 2012)

@ At Phillip. It was a great day for all of us. Not such a great day for the guy who owns the school, who was planning on buying a new imported sports car, and now has to stick to a simple 2012 BMW.

By Ron, BKK (23rd February 2012)

Well done Ron, A little bit of 'teacher power' at last!

By philip, (23rd February 2012)

Good news....... The school the main article is describing has decided to not cut our pay after all. After a website was set up on facebook keeping all teachers from many schools owned by this organization informed on what was going on. Almost 90% of the teachers refused to sign the new contract. Sticking together as a large group, more then 200 teachers in 5 schools, we prevailed. Not all stories here have a bad ending. I don't think they will try something like this again, as this time it went belly up.

By Ron, BKK (23rd February 2012)

I'd like to address the last post by Billy. Yes, it is wrong, and as you correctly stated, it happens a lot. It happens so much that teachers who are familiar with "the Thai system" really try to get a read on what their future is with the school before the term is up. Imagine coming to the end of your 10 month contract (another shifty aspect of Thais) and you're wondering ..."Are they going to hire me back? Hmmm...no one has said anything one way or another and my visa will then need adjusting." This is the game Thai schools play with foreigners. All in the name of saving the face of the teacher, they don't outright fire you, but they don't invite you back, either. Are we splitting hairs? The teacher has been fired. Period.

This creates a great deal of mistrust amongst staff. I had a friend who could sense he was not going to be rehired because no one was helping him with his visa issues. After getting the run around for several weeks, and his status about to go bad, he spoke to the principal directly. Sure enough, he was not going to be rehired. Both agreed that he'd work out the remainder of the month and be paid. This is actually a "good" story. I know of others who have certainly caused a stink by being the last to know they are out of a job come end of term.

And just for the record, anything perceived as "unlawful" does not apply to foreigners or "falangs." The sooner an English teacher realizes this, the happier he will be.

By jim, Bangkok (22nd February 2012)

I want to know if a school decides to not renew an employee's contract for no given reason and clearly stating that the foreign teacher was not being fired, the school is simply just not renewing the contract, does this fall under the unlawful release of an employee? This happens to many foreign teachers at the end of the year and seems to be a very wrong work habit in Thai schools.

By billy, bangkok (22nd February 2012)

I left a big branch school in December, another branch of the same school contacted me about starting for them.....B6000 less than my former base salary and the same benefits. 24 teaching periods and other duties. Sadly, I had to decline.

By Robin Hood, Bkk (22nd February 2012)

I agree with the anonymous commenter suggesting teachers offer private tutoring. I don't understand why more teachers don't aggressively pursue this option. I'm not even a teacher, I sat down at Starbucks, same time each day, for two weeks straight. During that time I was asked if I was a teacher and if I could provide private tutoring by two students...and hello...I was only visiting Bangkok. If you want opportunity, there is opportunity to be had. But you have to actively pursue it. And I don't believe many teachers do--because I personally know quite a few.

By Richard, (20th February 2012)

I forgot to address the issue of free-lancer illegality. It is illegal to teach freelance, but technically, it's also illegal to have a work permit for a full-time job and accept any other form of employment. My point would be that nearly every teacher has been engaged in 'illegal' activities at some point, as the work permit/teacher's license/visa issues are so illogical and problematic.

If you don't advertise and you only rely on word of mouth, it's nearly inconceivable that you would be nabbed by the authorities. I have never heard of any farang getting stopped for his/her work permit. You work in your own home or in others' homes, so your exposure to Thailand is actually minimal outside of the travel to and from students homes and actually working with said students. I'm not sure how the authorities in this country would even know what's what regarding the teaching profession. I wear shorts, a Polo shirt and sandals to work, so I look like every other vacationer (I don't get involved in the whole hi-so, face-promoting fashion fad in Thailand, mostly because people that wear suits and work in 3rd world classrooms end up looking a bit funny, but maybe it's just me).

Ultimately, when you discuss legal vs. illegal in a country like Thailand, your'e kind of spewing hot air. The distinction has minimal meaning here, especially if you have the funds to guide hands of any Thai officials one may come across. That's all they seem to really want anyways. Set aside 50,000-100,000 THB to help 'expedite' your case if you are picked up by the police/immigration.

By Anonymous, Thailand (17th February 2012)

I love what 'anonymous' has done. I dread the possibility of working for a Thai school again, and am putting it off for as long as I can. I am looking for alternative routes to securing enough income here for my family. And anyone who dates or is married to a Thai knows you are married to the family. So, without too much commentary on that, let me just say I am all for the idea of working illegally as a freelancer in Thailand, letting the freelance work become the cake instead of the icing. With Thai schools cutting so many benefits (and that's why we really join a company, right? So we can get a work permit, insurance and paid holidays) why not take it all on? No more sports days, camps, form-filling meetings, BS professional development and Thai administration shenanigans. And yes, no more goofball fellow falangs to deal with in the office, too. Good luck! Hope it continues to work out for 'Anonymous.' Good to hear a success story, even if it's not all on the up and up. What I'd love to hear is a Thai administrator's point of view on ajarn.com. Not likely, but wouldn't it be nice to hear the headaches they go through when trying to hire a decent foreign teacher on 30K a month?

By Jim, cambodia (16th February 2012)

Anonymous, you are obviously doing well having gone down the freelance teaching route - and yes, there is good money to be made if you hit it right - but it's also worth pointing out that a lot of teachers are understandably wary of doing it full-time for fear of the work technically being illegal.

I've always felt that freelance teaching is the 'icing on the cake'. It's something you do a few hours a week to supplement the invcome from your day job. Once it turns into a full-time operation, then you are putting yourself on the radar. I mean, you even signed your comment as 'anonymous' so I'm guessing you yourself are aware of the risks involved.

By philip, (16th February 2012)

I read these stories and my sincerest sympathies go out to those teachers experiencing this. The attitude towards education in this country is severely lacking and that creates a system in which all parties (except the top) suffer in the wild pursuit of profit (minus any accountability). When I see these stories, I have one thought: Stop doing this. Stop working for other people and cut out the middle man. I paid a Chinese visa brokerage (Chinese people living in Thailand always seem incredibly knowledgeable about Thai government procedure) to secure a Marriage "O" visa (which not everyone can get but as an alternative, my American friend used the same agency and got a 1-year non-B). I quit my job at the Thai school I worked for and went off the grid, teaching private lessons to students from international schools. It took a while for my reputation to get off the ground but now I comfortably make 50-60,000 THB in the bad months and 80-90,000 THB in the good. I rarely work more than 4 hours a day and often it's more like 2 hours per day. I pay no taxes. I accept no cr*p from Thai administrators and other profit filters that just suck off of the bottom line for boneheaded purchases, "tea money" and other Thai educational pastimes. I also deal with immigration only four times per year. My friend has to pop in and out Cambodia on his non-B and he has the same deal. There is an incredibly strong market for reliable, results-oriented private tutors out there. So many teachers are quacks in Thailand that, if you can tie your own shoes, people here will pay you to teach their kids.

By Anonymous, Bangkok, Thailand (16th February 2012)

I forgot to mention...... They have cut all new teachers salaries by 5,000 baht as well at this school. Where the starting salary used to be 43,000 baht, it is now 38,000 baht. I imagine it will only get lower. Good thing is, my boss seems to have trouble finding people. When she does find someone, they seem to be unable to or unwilling to perform to their standard. You get what you pay for, wether it be a teacher or at your local market.

By Ron, BKK (16th February 2012)

In my five years of teaching in Thailand, I have only seen salaries and conditions deteriorate. It is a situation of supply and demand. With this global economic crisis, more people are looking for jobs than there are jobs available. Also, more people are looking to change careers and venture abroad than ever before. So a lot of new or fairly desperate teachers are willing to accept lower pay and less benefits. The schools are trying to capitalize on their earning potential so they are operating like any for-profit business would. It's not fair to the teachers or the students. Profit, business and education don't mix very well, especially when 'customers' are looking for quality services from poorly trained, inexperienced and underpaid 'professionals.'

By Lisa, (15th February 2012)

Yeah rough stories coming out of Thailand. I was expecting to return in a year and see some change once I finished my teaching license. However, I'm starting to wonder if it's even worthwhile to do so!
Connor, I have to agree with Philip. What are you going on about?

By Aaron, Portland, OR USA (15th February 2012)

I know of this chain of schools. I too am employed here. They are trying to cut 2000 baht from native speaking teachers, and up to 3,500 from Filipino teachers, not to mention everything else listed above. Best thing is, they didn't expect all the school teachers not to sign, these being fairly large schools, employing many foreigners. Strength in numbers. As of right now, this is only going to affect some schools.. If we stop the buck here, it will benefit maybe thousands. Good luck teachers.

By Ron, BKK (15th February 2012)

Indeed, the work situation in Thailand is getting harder and I would say worse in many schools. I absolutely despise any state school that “penny pinches” regarding the wages and/or tightens screws to make working conditions more slave like – for such I often wonder who is filling their pockets at the teacher’s expense and who gets sadistic kicks from watching foreigners suffer. I can however, have some sympathy for private employers that are cutting costs because times are hard (not if things are going great and they just want to shaft the employee).

OK, for many years I have been keeping eyes on such matters and the following is MY view of the law and how this matter could go. The legally qualified teacher has some valid points, but this is Thailand and things could also get nasty.

This is the Thai Labour Protection Act 1998 regarding severance:

Section 118
An employer shall pay severance pay to an employee whose employment is terminated, as
(1) An employee who has worked for at least 120 consecutive days, but for less
than one year shall be paid basic pay for not less than 30 days at the most
recent rate of basic pay received by him or not less than the basic pay he
received for work performed in the last 30 days in respect of an employee who
is rewarded on the basis of his output;
(2) An employee who has worked continuously for at least one year but less than
three years shall be paid basic pay for not less than 90 days at the most recent
rate of basic pay received by him or not less than the basic pay for work
performed in the last 90 days in respect of an employee who is rewarded on the
basis of his output;
(3) An employee who has worked consecutively for at least three years but less than
six years shall be paid basic pay for not less than 180 days at the most recent
rate of basic pay received by him or not less than the basic pay for work
performed in the last 180 days in respect of an employee who is rewarded on
the basis of his output;
(4) An employee who has worked consecutively for at least six years but less than
10 years shall be paid basic pay for not less than 240 days at the most recent
rate of basic pay received by him or not less than the basic pay for work
performed in the last 240 days in respect of an employee who is rewarded on
the basis of his output;
(5) An employee who has worked for more than 10 years consecutively shall be paid
basic pay for not less than 300 days at the most recent rate of basic pay
received by him or not less than the basic pay for work performed in the last
300 days in respect of an employee who is rewarded on the basis of his output.
Termination of employment in this Section shall mean any act of an employer which
prevents an employee from continuing to work and receive his basic pay therefore,
whether due to the termination of an employment contract or for any other reason, and
shall include the situation where an employee cannot work and be paid because the
employer can no longer operate its business.
The provisions of Paragraph 1 shall not apply to an employee whose period of employment
is of a fixed duration and whose employment is terminated at the expiration of that
Employment of a fixed duration referred to in Paragraph 3 shall be said to exist in the case
of employment on a special project, which is not in the normal way of business or trade of
the employer, where there is a fixed schedule for commencement and completion of work;
or for work of a temporary nature with a fixed schedule for its commencement or
completion; or for seasonal work in respect of which employees are only engaged during
that season; provided that the work must be completed within a period of two years and
the employer and employee have entered into a written agreement at or prior to the
commencement of employment.
Section 119
An employer is not required to pay severance pay to an employee whose employment has
been terminated for any of the following reasons:
(1) Dishonest performance of his duties or the intentional commission of a criminal
act against the employer;
(2) Intentionally causing loss to the employer;
(3) Performance of an act of gross negligence which results in severe loss to the
(4) Violation of the employer's work rules or regulations or orders which are both
lawful and equitable when the employer has already issued the employee with a
prior written warning, except in a serious instance when the employer is not
required to give a warning.
The written warning shall be effective for a period of one year as from the date
of the commission of the violation by the employee;
(5) Neglect of his duties for a period of three consecutive work days without
reasonable cause, whether or not a holiday intervenes;
(6) Imprisonment by reason of a final judgment, except in the case of offenses
which arise from negligence or for petty offenses.

And as per the Supreme Court’s judgements in Thailand, time limited contracts only have value if they are for a certain limited number of jobs. (http://www.pattayamail.com/802/business.shtml)
So, from the above, severance pay is due if your jobs are terminated BEFORE or AFTER the end of the contract at the rates above. Now, where it gets tricky is that the employer is not really offering to terminate your jobs, just a change in work conditions. Like any place where matters are negotiated, the employer is free to do such. You can refuse to accept the conditions and then it can go a number of ways as follows:

1. The employer does not back down. Recruits new staff and you are all out of a job. Here, non-renewal of contract is the same as contract termination (under Thai labour law) and you are entitled to severance pay. Now you must spend the time and money to take them to the labour court (free to cheap) or civil court (can become expensive). The employer may play fair or may use dirty tricks and during this time you are without a work permit and visa (although once legal proceeding commence, you can get a special type of visa to be here for the case). However, you do have a good chance of getting severance pay but you probably won’t get your old job back.

2. The employer respects the strength in numbers and backs down and you all continue to work under existing or acceptably modified terms.

3. Some or all workers bend and accept the draconian modified terms of the contract. The group breaks up, some keep jobs and some stubborn ones lose jobs.
It is not an easy choice and I can personally understand if some/many choose the last choice as this can get rough and powerful employers can really play dirty (at levels bordering on pure evil).
I would only embark upon choices 1 or 2 if I have the time and energy. Really want to stand on a matter of principle. And I either have enough money to survive without a job or have another job in the bag.
It is your choice and I would advise you to speak to a Thai lawyer and the local Thai labour office (government) before following the foreign teacher that claims to be a lawyer – the Thai legal world is not as straightforward and clean as us Westerners might have experienced.
Good Luck!

By Mr Grumpy, Thailand (15th February 2012)

Connor, your post doesn't make sense. Did the guy go to court expecting to get half a million baht for one month's service? And the same person seems to change from 'he' to 'she' if you read through it again.

By philip, (15th February 2012)

I get what your saying about feeling aggrieved, I have 2 examples of what happened to people I know> Firstly a guy i worked with for the last 4 years and his service was 10 years in total was canned with 4 weeks notice as questioned the schools relocation of tea money. no compensation paid. Secondly 2 guys i know woking in Bkk where let go after 10 years of service with 2 weeks notice, One of them went to court, expecting to get 500000 baht for 1 months service for each year and got 50000 baht and ordered to apoogize to the Thai employer for the upset he had caused by ringing it to court. In the court she wore rags pleaded poverty etc. and the judge felt sympathy for her alleged financialhardship even though 2 weeks earlier she had bought her son a 2.5 million baht car for cash. It is their rules and we have no say I agree with the earlier comment we will always just be falangs.

By Connor, Thailand (15th February 2012)

I have posted very recently on a discussion forum about salaries and the like becoming steadily worse. With the influx of more and more foreign teachers coming to Thailand, I can not see this situation getting better in the near future. I used to work for one of the branches of this school ( very recently) you are referring to. I left for the same reasons

Remember. United we stand, divided we fall!

I think collectively you need to stick together and find a way to reach some kind of compromise with the admin regarding the benefits. I know this is easier said than done but foreign teachers need to remember, a lot of attraction these schools receive is because of their foreign teachers. Without them, there would certainly not be half othe number of the millions of Bhat they receive in tuition every year.

By Robin Hood, BKK (15th February 2012)

My first bit of advice is to seriously consider whether you really want to stay in Thailand. After two years of the BS a Thai school gave our foreign staff, I left for greener pastures with the same BS, but with a much better salary.

If you feel you can't leave LOS, then I suggest finding a decent lawyer. Thais would rather save face than deal with a third party, so perhaps the idle threat of legal channels might change their tune. But then again, you are always "the falang" here, so your chances of getting any fair kind of deal are slim.

In my gentle wanderings in and out of considering coming back to Thai school insanity, I've done demos at Thai schools for jobs that didn't even exist, been approached for a 4 month contract by what seemed to be a drunk Irish guy in the countryside and pretty much been ignored by every school looking to hire some backpacker (said with spit and disdain) who will take up space in their school for 30K baht a month.

So when it comes to hearing the tales of woes from teachers still in the Thai school grind, I have to ask you: Why do you do it? 40K baht a month is a joke for any teacher worth his salt, but a livable joke I guess if you are in Bangkok. I mean, I feel your pain. I did it for nearly two years.

Best of luck.

By Jim, a little bit of everywhere (15th February 2012)

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Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!

Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.

Need Thailand insurance?

Need Thailand insurance?

Have a question about health or travel insurance in Thailand? Ricky Batten from Pacific Prime is Ajarn's resident expert.

The Region Guides

The Region Guides

Fancy working in Thailand but not in Bangkok? Our region guides are written by teachers who actually live and work in the provinces.

The cost of living

The cost of living

How much money does a teacher need to earn in order to survive in Thailand? We analyze the facts.