Ajarn Street

The ajarn.com teacher survey

We asked the questions and you gave us the answers

What gender are you?
Of the teachers who did the survey, almost 92% were male and 8% were female. Thankfully we didn't have a category for those who were 'not sure'. So there you have it - teaching in Thailand is still a predominantly male-dominated profession. Or women just don't like doing surveys. Or they're busy washing dishes in the kitchen. You be the judge.

What age range do you fall into?
34% of Thailand's TEFLers are in their 30s. Let's be honest - it's a wonderful age to be. You're old enough to be taken seriously but still young enough to make a fool of yourself in front of ten screaming toddlers. According to the survey, the age groups 25-30 and those in their 40s are also very well represented. Surprisingly there were not that many teachers in the 18-25 age group and I say thank heavens for that. Do you think we want some lantern-jawed Adonis breezing into town and nicking our jobs? No. Then again - teachers in that age group are probably soaking up the rays on some palm-fringed tropical beach anyway. Money in your pocket, free love, a golden future - God I hate them.

What is your marital status? 
Almost 39% of teachers have decided to tie the knot (around where I'm not entirely sure) 30% describe themselves as 'in a relationship' (we won't go down that route) and 21% are young, free and single. Divorcees account for 6%.

How many children do you have?
There are those TEFLers who not only teach the little blighters for a living, but actually want more punishment when they get home. 30% of teachers have either one or two kiddies in tow, but the vast majority - the selfish people (and that includes me) - account for a whopping 59%. For us the pitter patter of tiny feet is probably next door's cat.

Do you currently live in Thailand?
89% said yes and 11% said no. But all 11% said that they had lived in Thailand at some stage of their lives.

Which province do you live in?
Of the 89 people who bothered to answer this question, about half lived in the capital, where the streets are paved with gold - or sometimes just loose paving slabs. The rest are pretty well spread out - a few in Chiang Mai, a few in Nakhon Pathom, a few in Nakhon Si Thammarat and a couple of brave souls eking a living out there in Chacheongsaw. There was even a person living in Mahasarakham. Group hug everybody. I went there once on a Saturday afternoon and it was closed.

How long have you lived in Thailand?
The largest group in this category (over 30%) are the TEFLers who have been here for 5-10 years. They've done their apprenticeship. They also pay twice as much as a Thai to go into places that have a 'double-pricing' system but you can be sure they'll have a bloody good moan about it. However, living here for such a lengthy spell does mean that you're far more adept at getting the elastic bands off those plastic food bags. Incidentally, only 10% of teachers has managed to make it to the ten-year mark. They can often be spotted on the sky-train shaking their heads and muttering to themselves. Where did it all go? This question could apply to money, youth, ambition, confidence....or just hair.

Do you foresee a time when you will leave Thailand?
I think it would be a very brave man who answered 'definitely not' to this question but that's exactly what 5% said. Either that or their Thai wives are watching over them while they fill in on-line computer surveys. The majority (36%) went for the more cautious 'probably not' while 23% gave the question a resounding 'definitely yes'. 20% didn't seem to care either way and were willing to go with the flow. Thailand certainly gives you a lot of practice with that.

Give a rough estimate as to when you think you will leave.
Most TEFLers are willing to give Thailand between 1-3 years of their lives. Almost a quarter of the voters said they would stay for between 1-2 years and another quarter said they'd be willing to stay a year longer. About 29% of TEFLers said they would be gone within 12 months. One teacher out of 98 said that he / she is looking to stay here for 20 years or more. He must really love it here.

What is your immigration status in Thailand?
The Thai immigration will be pleased to know that an enormous 73% of teachers are here on a non-immigrant B and 16% are here on an O category visa. Two lucky souls have a Thai residency visa but no-one in the ajarn survey had risen to the dizzy heights of Thai citizenship.

Are you working as a teacher in Thailand?
89.8% said they were chalkies and the remaining 10.2% said they weren't. Inserting 'ner ner ner ner ner' in the additional comments box was really quite unnecessary I thought.

What qualifications do you currently hold?
Almost 40% of those surveyed had a degree in a non-teaching related field and a TEFL certificate. 6% had a PGCE and 7% had a masters in education. Only one person admitted to have no qualifications whatsoever.

Do you hold a current work permit?
74% said yes.

Do you have a Thailand teacher license?
The yes teachers and the no teachers were virtually split down the middle on this one.

Have you ever worked on fake documents?
92% of teachers surveyed said they had never worked on fake documents.

What age group do you MAINLY teach?
Almost 47% are working in the Thai secondary schools while 24% ply their trade in the primary schools. 18% are at universities and colleges while only 5% work in the library-like environment of the corporate training room where students sometimes join hands to contact the living.

What type of organisation do you work for?
43% of teachers are employed by government schools and 18% are working at international schools. Less than 10% of those surveyed strut their stuff in the private language sector. It would have all been very different years ago I can tell you.

Are you employed via an agency?
They've been called the Satan's arse of the Thailand TEFL world and yet only 7% of teachers work for them. So what are the other 93% moaning for then?

Do you like your current teaching position?
75% of teachers like their job a lot (how come we never see you on the ajarn forum?) Only a miniscule 3% said they disliked their job and 21% wouldn't commit either way. Not until they asked the boss first I suppose.

How long have you been working at your current place of employment?
This was a somewhat mixed bag of answers with an employment period of 1-2 years coming out as the top answer.

Do you work full-time or part-time?
Only 7% had managed to work out life's eternal secret of how to work, rest and play with the emphasis on the last two.

What is your monthly income from your main teaching job?
Forget what's gone before. This is what people are really interested in. Who's earning more money than you are? Well...30% of teachers are in that 'Bangkok-safe, rural-rich' 30-39,000 baht a month zone. Almost 20% are reaching out and touching luxury at 40-49K a month, and 17% are in the 50-59K middle-class 'good heavens, look who's moving in next door' bracket. 8% are in the Villa Supermarket preferred shopper category (60-69K) and 5% earn over 100,000 baht a month and probably have Japanese neighbors. Don't fret though if you're worried where the next hot meal is coming from. A sizeable 15% of TEFLers here live and survive on between 21K and 29K a month.

What is your total monthly income?
This is the part where you take your teaching salary and add it to the import / export business that you beaver away at in the evening. It might be sending a dozen moody polo shirts home to your brother-in-law or flogging ornate Thai hand-carved chopsticks on Ebay. It all counts! And when you take all this into consideration, an entrepreneurial 11% of TEFLers tweak the nose of the five-figure monthly income and positively laugh in its face. In fact 64% of those surveyed are making over 40,000 baht a month when they tally up their revenue streams. Good to see that capitalist spirit is alive and well in The Land of Smiles.


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