Let's evaluate what happens here in Thailand as something we can learn from rather than condemn.
I firmly believe that we can look at Thailand and learn a lot about how we prepare our kids to enter society and live rewarding lives with the resources they have and priorities they live by.
By just being here, you are making the education system better.
I've isolated the most compelling reasons why people teach long-term in Thailand and there are four of them as far as I can see... we like doing it, we can do it, we get paid for doing it, and 'purpose'.
Know what to expect if you decide to visit Thailand
I have some relatives coming over next March. With that in mind, I have put together a few ideas so the thing called 'culture shock' doesn't hit them (or you) too directly between the eyes and ruin their trip
What to do when students misbehave
This article is for teachers like me who don't have formal training to do what they do, but who nevertheless want to do the best that they can to enrich and improve their own lives as well as those of their students.
There are many obstacles in your way that you can do almost nothing about.
There are lots of good reasons why teachers are struggling to get the job done and the good news is that none of them are your fault!
Don't be that person who lives a life of regrets
If the worst happens, just come home! If that job sucks, or you get sick, or the view from your apartment is another apartment... don't stay! You've lost nothing and you've found out that the life of a traveller isn't for you.
My goal is to not frighten the lives out of my students
I'm stepping back from the serious, academic approach and working on making my classes something that kids look forward to - even if they aren't learning as much.
.....and her words translated
I'm dangerously unstable when provoked and I'm also insanely jealous. That's not a figure of speech - I really am bonkers! If I think that you aren't channeling your entire life towards me, I'll fly off the handle and my sulks can last for days
Some thoughts about renting in Thailand
Choosing a 'home' is a balance of positives (what you want) versus negatives (what you are prepared to put up with) Where you eventually decide to set up base camp in Thailand won't be the same as where your colleagues would choose.
A guide to making life difficult for you and everyone else
There's simply not enough information on how to be a crap teacher and just coast by. There's almost nothing on how easily you can do things that can get you fired or at least lose you the respect of everyone around you.
How soon will you be heading home?
Are you a new teacher in Thailand? How's it working out for you? Have you found a nice apartment yet? Scoped out all the cool places to buy coffee and street food? Fantastic. Welcome on board...
How delicious is your pie?
When I lost my cherry to teaching, my pie was all desire. Nowadays it's about half desire and half experience.
There is much to appreciate about what goes on at a Thai school
In Taiwan and Japan, they are just fanatical about studying and in the West, we're almost at the point where we've given up caring. Thailand seems to have a nice balance... the parents, teachers and the government care and are involved but they aren't crazy-ape-shit bonkers about it!
How things have changed for me over the years
I was a young and gregarious 'know-it-all' forty-year-old when I came to Thailand and I'm now in my late fifties. My life has changed enormously since the heady and adventurous days since my arrival
A look into the economic and political crystal ball
Realistically, in ten years time, I'm guessing that half of the people who are here teaching English now, will be gone. There won't be the funding to keep them at public schools and parents will baulk at the idea of paying for them at private institutions.
Five ideas to reform the Thai education system
I've been teaching in different schools and businesses around Thailand for a long time and in my view, there are five important areas that need to be addressed immediately, to secure (or at least improve) the standing of Thai education for the next generation.
What are the pros and cons?
I'll simply take a look at some pros and cons for both long term and short term teaching stays in Thailand. For the sake of this article, 'short term' is anything less than a school year and for 'long term', any work that keeps you in Thailand for more than a year.
Some ideas to make conversation classes more successful
Students find the ability to be understood in a foreign language the most gratifying aspect of the pain of learning it. If they don't get an opportunity to speak in the classroom they'll soon get bored.
Why you've now become a royal pain in the whatsit
OK... here's a list of ten reasons why you are just a pain to be around since you came back from Thailand. I'm hoping that you'll understand all of these issues and do something about them before our relationship is changed forever.
10 reasons why teaching English has made you a fantastic person
Think about how you've changed since you became a teacher - because you have and all for the better, too.
A good teacher can have a lifelong impact on their students
Looking back almost fifty years, I can remember what subjects I liked and disliked at school. Most of the subjects I liked was down to the fact that I liked the teacher teaching it.
A child's imagination is a beautiful thing
If you really enjoy your work and genuinely like your students then you'll already have the skill set needed to be able to determine what kids will enjoy while they are learning. My rule of thumb is... if I don't like it, my students won't either.
Making sure the right student wins!
Every August, we have a writing competition at school to celebrate Mother's Day. My job is to decide which students genuinely made the effort to produce their own work - and not just run it through Google Translate!
In Thailand, the ‘rule of law' is often just a guideline and last resort
One of the biggest grievances of expats living in Thailand is the enforcement of laws. In every aspect of Thai society from murder to littering, there seems to be a casual enforcement of the law.
Not all students are created equal or should be treated as equal
In the best interests of the students who are capable, interested and who want to learn, some kids have to be left behind. That's why our school has streams.
Ten top tips for new teachers arriving in Thailand
New teachers teaching Thais in schools are often placed into an awkward and stressful situation, not really sure of their authority and sometimes not even placed with assistants who are much help
Noise pollution gone mad
At the risk of sounding xenophobic..., what the heck, I'll say it: Thai people don't hear noise in the same manner as foreigners. Could it be that Thais have some sort of innate (spiritual?) ability to 'tune it out'. More realistically, the reason is; Thai people 'bear it'. For them to show disdain for loud noise would be a sign of weakness.
Preparing yourself for teaching in Thailand
Teaching in Thailand isn't easy. Accept that you will never be the perfect teacher. Take classroom management seriously. Expect bad or negative things to happen. Finally, know exactly why the school has hired you.
How to be a success in the classroom with very few materials
‘How do I teach with no resources?' Well, if you are new to Thailand and teaching and have just started at a new school this may be useful to you.
Tips and strategies to make your life easier
If you are new to Thailand, the following guide may help you to enjoy your time here and your classes more. If you are a burned out, old pro, the following gentle ‘reminder' may reinvigorate your verve.
The harsh reality of teaching in Thailand
It's depressing just how many people come here to teach and leave with lots of resentment and bitterness. Or worse still, remain here polluting the place with those same feelings! Don't be one of them.
You've attended the job interview. You need a yes or no answer.
Once you have attended an interview, what do you think is a reasonable time-scale to wait for either a yes, you've got the job or a no, you haven't? The answer is to always go with your instincts.
Adapting to life in Thailand strategies for the older expat
For the older expat, life in Thailand can be magnificent. A well organized and well resourced expat can enjoy a rebirth in the ‘Land of Smiles.
Moving to Thailand strategies for those in their mature years
If you're over 40 or even over 50 there are still a lot of opportunities waiting for you in Thailand. You may have had a career in the armed forces or banking or engineering. You may be getting over a messy divorce. You may simply just be tired of where you are from.
Which student gets the teacher's questions and why?
Here are the different groups of students within a typical class. They are quite distinctive and there's not really much of a gray area between them.
Why I have no intention of studying Thai
We all have our different reasons for being here in Thailand. Yours may be to experience adventure and to embrace different cultures. Mine's just the opposite. I came to be left in peace.
Games - I love 'em and I use them in my classroom in every way I can.
Don't be dismissive of games or underestimate their value. The resultant effect of these light-hearted activities may have more than just the 'learning' benefits.
There is little correlation between a successful teacher and a good teacher
Success in Thailand is an easy (but often lengthy) process of self discovery. But it starts with finding out what is expected of you from everyone you come into contact with and being able to adjust your behavior to provide those things.
How to forge ahead in the world of selling business English
If a private language school is paying you 800 baht an hour for corporate work, then how much are they making for themselves? Why aren't YOU making the whole 2,000 baht an hour - and cutting out the middle man?
You can do it - but have a plan!
First decide which camp you are in. There are two. Either you are coming to Thailand because you want to live here or you are coming to Thailand because you want to teach here. It's important to make this distinction.
Older teachers can find it tougher to get teaching work here nowadays
In my view, over the next few years, Thailand will see a sharp decline of older native English teachers in the classroom. The above factors will weigh increasingly against those older job applicants who, in the past, could simply show up to an interview and be almost guaranteed of getting that job.
as prepared by the Thailand Ministry of Open and Honest Government
In Education news - A British English teacher who had been fired for failing a student has been reinstated. Last month Trevor Brigham was dismissed for failing a female student.
What do we deserve?
I’m guessing that at least one third of all TEFL teachers are underprepared, underqualified or lack any kind of training in their subject. Compounding the problem is the fact that government funding for teacher training/re-training is non-existent.
A bit of good old English nostalgia
I didn't mean for this first essay to become maudlin or even nostalgic. I don't miss these things really. But I do miss the way that some of them made me feel.