Nowadays, there is a dearth of teaching opportunities for non-native speakers in Thailand. How can a talented English teacher combat this? Is there hope for career shifters in Thailand?"
Lady used to send me inspiring quotes and last time she sent me one from Denis Whitley, a well known American motivational writer. Whitley's quotation gave me an idea on what to write for my next blog. Let me share it with you. "The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, I am. Losers on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have done, or what they can't do."
Perhaps, just like any travel enthusiast, Lady had never dreamt of coming to Thailand. After graduation from college, while waiting for a teaching assignment in her hometown in the Philippines, she worked in a consultancy agency in Cebu. She was assisting people who got their visas for New Zealand when her friend's friend invited her, "Lady, join us here in Thailand. It's a good place to stay, you know." Her friend's invitation kept haunting her. Other than that, she was also fascinated by nice stories she heard about the "Land of Smiles" so she finally decided to go.
At first, Lady had some adjustment in language and food but as days went by she got used to them. Without much difficulty, she got her teaching job through an agency in two weeks. Her director was meticulous about dress, punctuality, preparation, and schedule; but she was able to keep up with them. However, after a year, because she failed to acquire a work permit and visa assistance, which the school promised to give her several times, she left mindful of the uncertainty of what the future might bring.
It's still no joke applying for an English teaching job in Thailand, that time, although it was her second chance to do it. She did walk-ins and online applications. She admitted she tried ajarn too. For sometime, Luck was so elusive until the time came when she got a call from International Standard Organization based outside Bangkok. This organization evaluates reputable companies and issues certificates for those that can pass quality and environment management, as well as safety requirements in their jobsites. The work was entirely foreign to her, but with Denis Whitley's inspirational quotes, will, confidence, optimism and guts, she accepted it.
What's so interesting about Lady's luck was that she had only worked for less than a week, yet she was already sent to Singapore for training. Being a fast learner, she quickly got to grips with the job. She had one problem though. Her company adopted a new system in its function, so she had to burn her midnight candle to learn the mechanics of the job. She did this through self- study with the help of manuals available. Another concern was her little knowledge of Thai. As the only Filipino in this prestigious company, with more than a hundred Thai staff, it was like working in a place where she didn't know anybody. Most of her colleagues refused to talk to her due to their inability to speak English.
When asked if she was a winner, she answered with a smile, "I guess, you can consider me a winner because of my family, my good position, a good paying job, and a promotion just around the corner." She also cited one achievement, "I was able to make a difference in our workplace. In my company, there is now an ambiance of internationalism. It didn't take place overnight. I had to teach English classes on weekends to make my staff and other employees from other departments speak English." As a result one staff opined, "Lady, if you were not here, we would not have spoken English because we didn't have any opportunity."
In her third year at the company, she has grown professionally, has got a chance to travel to Singapore, Malaysia, and London, as well as has having obtained the privilege of rubbing shoulders with big-wig delegates coming from different countries for annual conferences in Bangkok.
Her advice to ajarn readers, "Don't give up. Take the challenge, if you have the will. You can be a winner."
With Lady's story, we can say that there is a green pasture for teachers in Thailand especially for those who have extra qualification or skill in accountancy, secretarial science, engineering, call center, computing, and other fields. Our talented teachers can try in other areas so that stiff competition in English teaching can be reduced. Moreover, it will open the door to bigger opportunities for those who really like to share their talents in Thailand. So anyone with extra skills, why not try, who knows? Just like Lady, you might be another lucky one.