I try to have as much empathy for my students as I possibly can and I am becoming rather good at understanding the unintelligible. However, there are limits to everything and I am not a mind-reader. If a person says for example /sa-pye/, I know he or she means “Spy” (the wine-cooler or James Bond, doesn’t matter). But if someone says “kye”, I don’t automatically think of cry.
It's just interesting to note that it is the relaxed attitude that keeps the East "developing" while it's our go-go attitude that makes us "prosperous". The same attitude that hinders them in business allows them to be happily content with life, whereas it's our work ethic that erodes at our physical and emotional well being.
As teachers in Thailand, we all try to maximize our earnings by taking on extra classes during our evenings and weekends. However, if we have no dependents or financial worries at home, is this really the best way to go about living in a laid-back place like Thailand?
Before beginning my experience as a TESOL teacher in Thailand, way back when I was a newbie farang taking my TESOL course on Phuket, I was repeatedly assured by indifferent agencies and instructors not to worry because you will always share classrooms with Thai teachers that are there to help you.
Last month I shared with you my findings about the numerous reasons why many Filipino English teachers in Thailand have started returning to their country, the Philippines. This time, let us see what our Filipino friends have to say after staying in Thailand for 5-10 years and for settling back in their motherland.
I remember in my first week at my government high school there was a student who was severely autistic. I just wasn't prepared for the task at hand.
There is an old joke in the TEFL industry: "What's the difference between a school administrator and a brain surgeon? A brain surgeon doesn't walk around thinking he's a school administrator!"
I am sick and fed up of people coming out to Thailand with stupid misconceptions and then moaning about how awful it is to live in Thailand. Shut up and go home then!
The letter itself should be relatively short and to the point. I would suggest no more than 3-5 paragraphs. The first paragraph notes your interest in the specific school and specific job listed, and reinforces that your qualifications meet the qualifications sought by the employer.
Troublemakers. We have all seen them do their thing, causing mayhem and disorder in the classroom; perhaps you were even one yourself at some point during your time as a student. Troublemakers are the bane of every teacher's existence and they make our job go from difficult to pounding headache and hair-tearing proportions.
My relationship with Thai food is quite complicated. My initial exposure to the cuisine occurred when I was quite young. In fact, I was so young that I didn't even know that it was Thai food. Hell, I only new Thailand from the tags on clothing.
Planning comes in all shapes and sizes and there are a myriad of planning templates online for every type of lesson. No matter what type of school you work in, you are sure to be writing lesson plans of some kind, but just how useful are they?
Like learning photography, becoming a better teacher is more about learning from mistakes than it is delivering perfect lessons every single time.
I am pregnant with my second child and despite all the protests about how much I hated it the first time around and 'would never ever, not ever do it again' have found myself in the club.
I came to Pattaya because of the ocean. I saw pictures of what looked like paradise, and thought I could live a life of quiet contemplation.
If the 20th century belonged to Europe and the USA, then perhaps the 21st century can belong to SE Asia and cities like Bangkok, can perform as well as cities like London, Paris and Frankfurt.
I'm constantly amazed by how many stray dogs and cats I see on the streets around Koh Samui. Some are lucky enough to look half decent, others aren't that lucky. For those of you who don't know how things work in Thailand when it comes to strays, here's the run down.
"All in the game" is a great statement for Thailand. Omar, Avon, Stringer and the rest of the gang nailed it. Thailand is controlled by a few at the expense of the majority. The majority respond by doing what they can. It applies to all facets of daily life. For foreigners living in Thailand we're somewhere on the border of it all.
From the moment you catch your first glimpse, your eyes become prisoners to the panorama. With its close proximity to China and the well renowned Himalayas, the main area in Sapa Town allows for the hilly, Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range to reveal itself.
“You live where??” I usually receive looks of concern from my students when I tell them that I live in the neighborhood of Bang Sue, about an hour away from our school. From my friends, I receive childish giggles. Yes, I get it. Ha Ha. Many people wonder why I would live so far away from my job and my friends.
Are you passionate about something? Do you have a lot to say on a certain subject? Are you an amazing cook or fitness guru? Running your own niche website is a great way of expressing your opinion and making money.
I was sitting in a small garden coffee shop just behind my school sipping a cooling iced-coffee yesterday afternoon, when I started to think about the area surrounding me. Its history is the history of foreigners in Chiang Mai, as this area is where the first foreigners settled, lived and worked in the late nineteenth century.
Three things which seem unavoidable are death, taxes and debates on ajarn.com about the requirement for teachers of having a degree. Those without degrees generally argue a degree is not necessary, while those with degrees will normally make the case a degree should be required.
Having driven in Thailand myself for many years, I can attest to the difficulties faced by foreign drivers in Thailand. For one thing, the rules of the road, what are called in the UK - The Highway Code - are followed in Thailand in the same way other rules are followed by Thais in general life. In other words, they are not followed at all.
I need a little intermission from Asia, from being abroad, from the frustrations. It's time to remember why I moved away again, time to take a step back and get out of the bizarre madness that has become my life.
My foreign friends and students who know my life habits ask me why I love old things; old houses, old wood furniture, and even pieces of an old rice mill that I keep underneath my old wooden house in Bangkok. It seems strange, doesn't it?
"Hi, how are you?" "I'm fine thank you, and you?" "I'm fine thank you." Now, where have we all seen and heard this longwinded, nigh on nonsensical way of communicating before?
If you have evaluated yourself honestly and you have come to a conclusion that you are in fact a crappy teacher, what can you do about it? Since most of these things actually have to do with personal motivation, probably not a lot.
It's about time there was an update on the much-criticized teacher licencing laws. Please try not to laugh too loud.
Facilitating English camps has always been challenging and fun for me but ten years ago I had absolutely no idea how a camp worked or what it was tring to achieve.
Although generally positive, 2010 has seen considerable volatility in world financial markets that caused investment jitters on occasion and the forecast for 2011includes more of the same.
The core aim of the Compass Education program is to help students examine and come to understand key questions and concepts centred around who we are; where we are in place and time; how we express ourselves; how the world works; how we organize ourselves; and finally how we can go about sharing the planet.
There was one final story I wanted to relate here, because it was my greatest adventure in Thailand. Or was at least my most memorable experience, at any rate, because it was the closest I have ever come to kicking the bucket.
We are all familiar with the fact that every class has its own special chemistry. For obscure reasons some classes are friendly, others not; some bright and perky, others lackluster and heavy going.
He single-handedly broke every stereotype of the Ministry of Education. He was outgoing, inquisitive, articulate, globally aware, and willing to debate ideas about education. I resolved to formally interview this man one day and tell his story.
Much has been written about the Thai culture, some of it well researched and gleaned from many years of experience. This article is unashamedly neither.
My submission omissions of late have been due to my recent career change. As I no longer work in the teaching industry, I feel I can better serve this space with short sketches of my life in Japan than with longer submissions on broader topics. So here goes
Day one of the course began with the typical smiles and greetings. The venue laid on a nice little breakfast pack for each of us and well wishers waited at the doors to greet us with: "Hello, thank you for coming!". (Like we had a f***ing choice!)
Here's a complete breakdown of my time spent on the Thai cultural course. Actually I've decided that it was nothing but a teacher's council money spinner. It had little to do with improving a teacher's performance in the classroom and just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, the foreign participants were given an impromtu dance class.
The first one is to relax more and try to really enjoy teaching in this land of sanook. I knew about sanook before I came here to work- it was partly the great sense of fun in Thai culture that attracted me to it- I just didn’t know that for a Thai person it quite properly should infuse just about everything worth doing.
The transition to life in a new country means adjusting to a foreign culture. But what is culture? What is it that we are confronted with? Culture is a set of shared, accepted behavior patterns, values, assumptions and common experiences. It defines the social structure, the expectations and the norms of communication for a society.
Each learner and each learning experience is unique; yet educators can identify patterns in the learning process. Designing effective learning requirements requires a clear understanding of, and attention to, both commonalities and differences in the learners and the learning.
Bored with teaching? Sure there is a better way to make a baht in Thailand besides the TEFL game? Well, I just finished a six-month stint working in the marketing department of a large Thai furniture company.
Covering classes was not a stretch, it allowed me to walk over to the ‘teen’ division of the campus. Being the other farang female the ‘high school’ kids always were attentive when either of us had to fill in.
In Thailand, I have found that people quickly get labeled and categorized as either good or bad, helpful or unhelpful, good teachers or bad teachers, etc. Then once you are labeled it is a long and difficult process of changing your projected image.
Let’s face it, when a teacher realizes they made a mistake by taking the job, or have suddenly found another school that will pay them more money, they will try to get out of the contract. Many just up and leave with no word or thought for the mess they are leaving behind.
Some people believe that every native English speaker is born with the ability to teach English. Unfortunately a high proportion of people with that belief appear to want to be teachers.