Benito Vacio

Benito Vacio's blog on Ajarn.com


Back in the groove

How do Filipino teachers feel on returning home from teaching abroad?

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.


The end is nigh?

Is the Filipino love affair with Thailand coming to an end?

I talked to a number of Filipino teachers who are leaving in a term or two and tried to get some answers and find out their reasons for living.


Picture descriptions

A great way to improve a student's listening skills

Picture descriptions are a great listening practice tool. Students enjoy it because it involves drawing. Give them a try in your classes!


Language through Art (part two)

Strategies for teaching English using art

For a change, try art, music, and sports, as lessons to teach English. Wonder of wonders, students will welcome it for it will spice up their taste for words and they will love learning English more.


Language through art

What am I even doing in the art room?

I've been a full-time English teacher at my school for 5 years now but I have never thought of becoming an Art teacher. So how did my official assignment as an Art teacher begin?


An open letter to Filipinos

The Filipino people have spoken. They want change.

Let us help our country flourish just like Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. Let us help our president. Let us follow his decrees. We will never be lost with a good leader.


A teacher and an artist

A special man who has overcome all the odds in life

"Once a talent is used, it will grow and prosper. It will break the boundaries of hesitation and uncertainty; confidence will flow on and on."


Helping students with spelling

Activities for your writing classes

Make spelling part of your writing lessons. It works wonders and a poor spelling student before is now a poor speller no more.


Enhancing understanding

Getting students to enjoy using dictionaries in class

Understanding is one of the keys in making a lesson interesting. Students stay tuned to the repertoire of activities presented, deepen their liking for the subject, and look forward to more English encounters.


On teaching classroom language

Getting students to use simple English all the time

Whenever confronted with students who speak Thai in class, I considered it an opportune moment to teach them the right structures.


Individualized instruction

How to 'reward' students who finish work on time

If I have the opportunity to individualize my teaching, I do it. I will call one student to my seat, check his/her work, make the student change his/her answer when it is wrong, and receive extra work or reward.


An effective way of learning

Interesting new teaching methods that originated in Israel

Lucky are the schools that use this module for students will surely learn to speak, read, write and listen much better than the usual way of teaching.


Motorcycle madness

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Having heard about far too many motorcycle accidents here and now experiencing one myself, I've decided enough is enough - no more motorbikes!


Using a touch screen in class

Maintaining student interest with technology

I felt so overwhelmed by the results of using the touch screen computer for this was my first time in 9 years to use the most updated technology in my English classes. In fact, during my last observation, my inspector rated me excellent in my teaching.


Puppet talk

I had a great idea to use puppets in the classroom

At present my English Club members are working on a show that will last for 15 minutes and hope to present this at Christmas or on Children‘s Day. Try puppets in your own classes. It will make your teaching very enriching, so interesting, and really entertaining.


An innovative teacher

Using technology to create interest in language learning

I have been very impressed by one particular Filipino teacher who uses modern technology in his classrooms and is always looking for ways to keep students learning and improve their performance.


A fair old fare

It's always nice to get a free taxi ride

Sometimes your guard is up and you naturally suspect taxi drivers in other countries of trying to cheat you on the cab fare - but that's not always the case.


Airport encounters

Some of the folks you meet on the road well-travelled

I had a pleasant trip but my frustrations started when I was claiming my luggage. Firstly, my luggage arrived nearly an hour after landing. Then there were no departure cards or declaration cards to be collected by the immigration. Then they confiscated my mangoes!


Making students love English

Some activities that I guarantee keep students interested and wanting more!

I have successfully made my English room a good resource for learning English, a time for fun, where boredom has no place.


Teacher talking time

What happens if the teacher does a lot of talking in the classroom?

As an English teacher, when I teach, I see to it that my students do more of the talking in class rather than I doing it because I am already good in the language.


Writing activities

Some fun-filled, challenging activities to get your students writing.

Some activities may not be applicable to your students but with creativity, you can modify them to suit your students' levels and needs.


Advantages of team teaching

Working with a co-teacher who becomes a valuable assistant

When I taught with my partner, the Thai teacher would translate everything I would say. When I modeled all the oral activities, the Thai teacher would explain. But the flow of the lesson was in the hands of the Thai teacher.


Learning from young adults

Students enjoy interacting with surprise school guests

In utilizing community resources to enrich grade school students' learning, educators often invite religious leaders, parents and other professionals to speak to students in their schools for they believe these people have a lot of experiences to share.


How to stifle student confidence

Confidence is key when students want to improve their English

Once confidence is acquired, the student makes remarkable self-perception and strives further to succeed. Therefore, instead of killing this important trait, let's develop it among our students.


It's selfie time!

Where did the selfie craze start and why do we love it?

It is a fascinating word widely uttered by almost everyone who uses the camera, tablet, and cell phone to post on social media. How did this word originate? Who took the first selfies? Why do people post selfies?


If there is time

Making more of the precious gift of time and helping others

Time management is the solution. We have all the time in the world so let's manage it well. How beautiful our world will be if we only have good time management such that we find time for ourselves and for others as well.


Connections old and new

How social media and technology have affected our lives.

The use of social media and modern gadgets has greatly affected our connection with people. One time, I invited a friend to go out with me. I was glad my friend accepted my invitation. Unfortunately, while seated on the bus, he took out his tablet and began to play a game


Barrio Fiesta in Thailand

A day of celebrations for all Filipinos living in Bangkok and beyond.

Were you at the Philippine Embassy in Thailand last June 8, 2014? Did you have fun in the "Barrio Fiesta" (village festival)?


Notebook concerns

How to get your students to use their notebooks effectively

Friends of mind say that they give importance to student notebooks by grading them, giving stickers to those who have a complete set of notes , stamping them with positive comments - and giving points as part of their grade to those students who have complete, neat, and beautiful notebooks.


Applying for the OEC certificate

Information and advice for Filipino workers abroad.

The Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is a 'must have' certificate for all Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) on leave/vacation returning to their country of work.


Eye talk

Looking after your eyes and eyesight is so important

Have you ever experienced reading a newspaper one day without any problem and the next day you can no longer read that same paper - even with the help of a magnifying glass? What did your ophthalmologist say about the problem? Did eye correction work for you?


The key to student achievement

It's all about quality teacher training

When seminars /workshops are conducted, they should be truly relevant to the teachers' needs. During the seminars I attend, my fellow teachers always complain, "It's the same thing, they should have given us the things we really need, the things they give us are not applicable to our classes."


A 'one of a kind' camp

Organising the perfect English camp for students

Last term, I tried a different kind of camp. The theme was "Enhancing English proficiency in preparation for ASEAN 2015 through games and dance." I can say it was great because my students said that it was the most enjoyable camp they had ever been on


On having an English room

The advantage of having your own classroom space

I consider my classroom to be an extension of my house. After lunch, I can lock the door and take a little nap. Or I can watch my favorite movies and news broadcasts from The Philippiness. It's so different from the days of old when I didn't have a room and I had to bear the heat and noise of the library or the clinic or other 'makeshift classrooms'.


Go Genki

An unusual approach to teaching vocabulary

Why don't you try Genki English now? Once you have tried it, your teaching worries will be over, lessons will be enjoyed, dynamic students will be developed and most of all your classrooms will come alive.


A fruitful visit

When English club students and international school students meet

The purpose of the trip was to give my English Club members an opportunity to experience learning being in an English environment so that they could get inspiration to like English more.


The writing connection

Writing should be an essential part of an EFL lesson

Foreign language teaching shouldn't undermine writing. Students who just merely depend on listening and speaking, without writing, tend to forget things learned.


Unending speaking day

Ideas to get your students speaking English

I had the rare privilege of attending an English seminar facilitated by one of the most sought-after language speakers in Thailand, Mr Andrew Biggs. I was able to get many ideas on how to make Thai students like English. One of these ideas is through auto-suggestion.


A costly trip

Problems that Filipinos have when leaving the country

On my 4th trip to Thailand last May 1st 2013, I was offloaded at Clark International Airport in The Philippines. I passed through this airport because of an attractive promotion offered by a certain airline. I didn't know that I would encounter a more costly trip instead


A dream school in the making

What does it take to become a top Thai school?

Classes in Thailand opened last month. Teachers, students and administrators are once again ready to perform their duties and responsibilities to put the name of their school in the limelight and live up to the expectations of those who acknowledge their school as a role model in the community.


A lucky guy

How to avoid losing things while travelling.

If you lose things while you are moving around Thailand, there won't always be a kind soul to hand things in at the lost and found office - but you can greatly reduce the stress that losing items can cause.


A river island

The fascinating island of Koh Kred in Bangkok

Have you ever heard of an island in the middle of a river? It sounds absurd, right? But there is an island 20 kilometers away from Bangkok where a lot of locals and foreign travelers/tourists frequently go to escape from the noise in the city. In fact, according to "Lonely Planet," Thailand's travel information and guide, this place ranks #7 out of 792 things to do in Bangkok.


How's the project doing?

A progress report on the Nonthaburi Project

The Nonthaburi English Teachers Project (NETP) in Thailand began in 2005. It has existed for nearly 9 years now but I haven't read a personal account yet from someone who is a part of it.


Beyond speaking day

Activities to get your students talking

My school director asked me to organise an English Speaking Day in our school. When I implemented the idea, my director was overwhelmed by its impact on students' interest and English language development.


Aiming high for o-net

Changes that should be made in preparing students for the o-net

February 2, 2013 is the date for the O-net examination in Thailand (Ordinary National Education Test). This is the day that level 6 and 9 students' are assessed in their proficiency in all subjects. That's why nowadays all Thai schools prepare intensively to improve their students' performance.


A teacher's pet peeve

The unenviable task of having to plan lessons

Lesson planning is a routine task that has now got into my system, yet if I had my choice, I would get rid of it. But how? So several times I tried teaching without a lesson plan? Do you want to know how it turned out? I think they were better than my planned lessons.


Remembering the terrible floods

We will never forget the horrors of late 2011

A lot of Thais said the 2011 floods in Thailand were the worst in 50 years. Factories and businesses, agricultural crops and countless properties were damaged at a huge cost. Anyone who experienced it will never forget.


The last exit

A group of teachers wanted to make a last visa run to Laos extra special

Teachers combined business and pleasure to experience a most memorable night in Vientiane. As one teacher said, "When I go to Laos, I shoot two birds with one stone. I get my visa and have a good time as well"


A Guinness book of records candidate?

I know a man whose worked for 19 schools

Ben said that he didn't plan to hop from one school to another. It just happened. From the time he started teaching at age 20 - but now in his 60's - he had taught in 19 schools (excluding tutorial centers). He taught in thirteen schools in the Philippines, five in Thailand and one in Afghanistan.


A fulfilling moment

The story of teacher Salrich

One Filipino teacher I knew and admired so much did something great for his school. His name was Salrich. When his director told him to beautify a 90-metre long concrete school-wall, Salrich hesitated for a moment. It was a huge undertaking.


An ajarn's trauma

The dangers of road-crossing duty

Crossing the street in Thailand is so risky. Two years ago, I was nearly run over by a car when I was crossing a road in Laksi. Although most drivers here will slow down, stop, and signal for the pedestrian to cross the road; there are others who seem to consider themselves "the king of the road."


An unwanted duty

Is this Thai tradition pain or pleasure?

In many schools in Thailand, Thai teachers, as well as foreign teachers, take turns in standing at the school gate to greet parents and students. Two or more teachers are assigned, depending on the size of the school, to do this each day.


English speaking day

Some different ways to get your students speaking English

I heard from a number of Filipino instructors in Thai universities that they had something called ‘English Speaking Day'. They said that students had not as yet made any significant progress but the instructors were optimistic that the ESD idea would work if implemented for a longer period of time and Thai students would surely improve.


Nurturing a talent

Recognize and develop your child's talents at a young age

One time, I visited an English engineer in Bangkok who was married to a Thai. This man owned a Lanai type of house which he himself designed. The house was beautiful, but this did not get much of my attention. What intrigued me was a sepak takraw ball hanging in the middle of the house - a game which his seven-year old daughter played. This gave me a thought that perhaps Thailand had found a takraw champion in the making.


The place to be

A special place to learn English where students are always made welcome

Have you ever heard of a place in Thailand where English lessons in conversation, reading, writing and grammar are offered free of charge for Thai children and adults? Who do you think owns this center? Is it a Thai? an American? a British person perhaps?


The Philippines on Thai TV

I will be a guest on Thai TV on March 21st

Thai Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Channel 6 will feature the Philippines as represented by Ms Sylvia Reyes, Chief, Cultural Affair and Attache of the Republic of the Philippines and yours truly - ajarn Filipino blogger, English teacher and painter, Benito Vacio.


Dancing with coordinators

Sometimes it's better to keep teaching colleagues at arm's length

The next term is fast approaching and many schools have job openings. Have you decided to apply to another school and look for a new teaching job because you have some conflict with your coordinator? If you don't plan to leave then how do you handle the conflict?


A ticket to happiness

How saving bus tickets can save your day

In the past I never paid any importance to my environment. Whenever I rode buses, I would crumple up bus tickets. I would play with them like a ball, fold them into a paper plane and let them fly. Sometimes I would fold the ticket into a neat triangle and insert it into the back of someone’s seat. But I guess I’m not the only one who does this right?


The queen of fruits and her vanishing land

How much do we know about this fruit that people either love or hate?

Although Pak Kret is noted mainly for its pots, it once had acres of sumptuous durian plantations and was known as the Land of the Queen of Fruits. My American friend who has lived in Thailand for more than 30 years and also my Thai friends who have spent all their lives in Pak Kret, all call it ‘The Land of the Durian'


Class, may I go out?

Dealing with a delicate classroom issue

What do you do you if in the middle of your teaching you suddenly feel the urge to go to the toilet? Do you wait until your class is over? Do you ask your students to excuse you? What's the best way to deal with this most personal of issues?


How to compile a flawless resume

Make yourself stand out from the crowd

This month many of our "kababayan" are busy writing their resumes hunting for jobs so I would like to write about an idea resume.


The land of good samaritans

Sometimes you can find help when you least expect it

What happened to me last November has given me the impression that there are indeed a lot of good samaritans in Thailand.


The road less travelled

What is the real essence of happiness?

One Filipino teacher from Chulalongkorn University Nonthaburi English Project told me that his mother adopted two street kids in the Philippines. The mother sends the kids to school and provides them their daily needs. What a way of attaining happiness!


Teaching in Thailand for keeps

The main reasons teachers get fired

Getting fired from a job causes teachers anxiety, embarrassment, trauma and often sense of injustice.


An assured retirement for Filipinos

Make sure there is life after Thailand

Have you ever thought about what’s going to happen when you leave Thailand after teaching here for several years? Will you be receiving a separation pay equivalent to one month salary per year of service or reaping the benefits of any other scheme?


When your head is full of lesson plans

How to handle teacher insomnia

Have you ever experienced an inability to sleep, "sleep deprivation" or insomnia? Are you bothered by it? How do you overcome it when you will be teaching the next day for possibly 4-5 hours?


Classroom ice breakers

How to start your lesson off the right way

Summer classes begin soon and many of us will be working during our vacation. One of the problems we face is how to maintain student interest


Observation blues

How do you feel about teaching observations?

Many teachers fear observations, especially when they are unannounced. On the other hand, announced observations are easy to handle because the teacher can prepare a little bit more.


An opportunity in the offing

Two enterprising Filipinos have set up a new chess and language center

Two Filipino English educators have decided to work as a partnership, pool their resources, and set up Gainsfield Chess and Language Center in the heart of Nonthaburi


Chuckles in the classroom

Some of those hilarious moments that make teaching worthwhile

I’ve had several funny incidents in my ESL and EFL classes that might brighten the teaching days of our readers. Here are some of them.


Ideal teaching practices

But this time with more of a poetic licence

Let me write my blog in verse this time, For you to know what’s all in my mind. Writing poetry is one thing I like to do, To express my ideas I feel are really true.


A tribute to all Thailand's ajarns

The story of Peter the dedicated teacher

This is a tribute to all Filipino teachers in Thailand who have the tenacity, fighting spirit, and determination to work in this country to help the family back home.


Open invitation to an art exhibition

Everyone is most welcome to drop by for a chat and to view my works

Usually I am analyzing academic and Filipino issues as part of my ajarn blog, but this time I would like to promote my interest in art and some of the work that I have produced. I would love to see as many readers and friends and art lovers as possible. You are all most welcome.


Handling a 'sanook' class

How to handle a classroom full of badly-behaved children

Success in handling naughty students calls for common sense, creativity and resourcefulness on the part of teachers. Furthermore, a lot of reasons that trigger students’ behavior have to be addressed too, for if they are not, problems will surface


A Haven for Filipino Teachers

Some suggestions on where Filipinos might find teaching work

Each agency has different sets of procedures and requirements. Just prepare all your credentials when you apply, including your ID pictures. Be ready with some teaching materials too because a number of agencies require 5-10 minute teaching demonstration.


Hope for career shifters in Thailand

How can talented teachers overcome a lack of opportunity?

There is a green pasture for teachers in Thailand especially for those who have extra qualifications or skill in accountancy, secretarial science, engineering, call center, computing, and other fields


Dreams do come true

Gumban's story

Gumban once thought, “Is it love for travel or is it mere coincidence that I am here in Thailand as a teacher? “Is it force of circumstance or matter of choice?” “What has really brought me here?”


The making of a champion

Teacher and student working together in perfect harmony

Is sheer talent sufficient enough to make a story telling champion? What has training got to do with it?


A student success story

Helping a Thai student bring home the bacon

In teaching, we, teachers, must think of an ingenious way to make our students learn using varied types of materials and different kinds of strategies for every student has his/her own learning style.


Featured Jobs

Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners Ltd.

฿60,000+ / month

Bangkok


English Teachers for Adults/Kids

฿105,000+ / month

China


NES English Teachers

฿350+ / hour

Bangkok


Corporate Trainers

฿600+ / hour

Bangkok


Native Japanese Teacher for Language Center

฿50,000+ / month

Bangkok


Education Consultant

฿50,000+ / month

Bangkok


Featured Teachers

  • Josiah


    Singaporean, 30 years old. Currently living in Australia

  • Allison


    American, 47 years old. Currently living in USA

  • Albert


    Singaporean, 62 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Ma.


    Filipino, 23 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Vareya


    Thai, 27 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Michael


    British, 66 years old. Currently living in United Kingdom

The Hot Spot


Need Thailand insurance?

Need Thailand insurance?

Have a question about health or travel insurance in Thailand? Walter van der Wal from Pacific Prime is Ajarn's resident expert.


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.


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

Many schools ask for demo lessons before they hire. What should you the teacher be aware of?


Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.


Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.


Contributions welcome

Contributions welcome

If you like visiting ajarn.com and reading the content, why not get involved yourself and keep us up to date?


Can you hear me OK?

Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?