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...
Here are the ten reasons you are going to quit teaching English in Thailand and either go to China or return home.
10 - You showed up for work to find the school deserted because of a national holiday... AGAIN!
It would have been nice if someone had told you that the school would be closed on the "holy floating a candle in the water" day! But, oh, no. It never occurred to the smarmy pen-pushers in the office that you could have actually made plans for this extra time off... like getting properly boozed up the night before or getting on a bus to that buddha in a cave that you keep meaning to go and take photos of and post on Facebook
9 - The Irish teacher you work with called in sick... AGAIN!
A shitty colleague has called in sick again and you find yourself in his classes presiding over students you don't know or care about with materials you don't understand... and don't care about! Your whole day is screwed with back to back lessons and nobody has even bothered to summon up the effort to climb the stairs and say 'thank you' for doing it.
8 - For whom the bell tolls! (It's 10:45... all the time!)
The cumulative mental anguish of looking at the clock on the wall of your classroom is starting to show. It seems to be stuck on quarter to eleven most of the time... even after lunch! Each slow, marching step of the second hand is another slap to your sanity. Half way through your last period of the day, the minute hand is actually going the wrong way... and it's only Monday!
7 - The sound of "I go to shopping!" makes your ears bleed and your mouth foam.
One of your best students, who you have been teaching for ages, can't answer a single question that starts with the word "Why...". It occurs to you how little impact you have had on every other student you have taught and now you are asking yourself... "Why?"
6 - You have dreamed about killing the Filipino teacher... AGAIN!
That happy, smiling Filipino hire is the most efficient backstabber you've ever met. Once again, she's managed to make you look bad in front of all the other teachers and once again, you can't quite figure out how she did it. You've tried to be nice but earning more money than her is an unforgivable sin. You're on her personal shitlist till the end of time!
5 - You show up for the new school year and the textbooks have changed.
As part of the effort to keep you busy during the summer holidays, the school has asked that you come up with lesson plans for the upcoming year. You comply because eventually the mindless web surfing in a sweaty staffroom has numbed your brain and you need something to fill the void till half past three. Fast forward to the first day of the new school year, you notice that the textbooks are a slightly different shape and color. The red mist is forming in front of your eyes...
4 - You start reminiscing about your old job back home.
A class hasn't shown up because of a school trip you knew nothing about. The internet is down and you're in the staffroom alone with only the coffee stained 'Living' section of the Bangkok Post to taunt you. It occurs to you that in your last job at home you could go to the lavvy whenever you felt like it. You could even stop working entirely and have a chat about last night's telly in the middle of the day! Not only that, sometimes you even left the building to have lunch outside!
3 - "I once had my appendix taken out and now I'm a surgeon!"
Everyone's an armchair teacher. Everyone! The parents can do your job better than you. Your employers don't mind telling you that they can do it better, too. Even the most vague comment you post online about your life is an insult to the noble profession of teaching English in Thailand! But worst of all is the new hire who can do it better. This idiot is gonna crash and burn in a few months but you haven't the patience to wait and watch it happen!
2 - You're teaching zombies! (Imagination is a crime!)
They don't look like zombies and you haven't actually seen them eat brains... although that prison food you walk past at lunchtime does look pretty suspect! But everything else about the students is zombie-like. The noises they make, the slow shuffling from class to class, the way they slouch in their chairs, the glazed, dead look into their mobile phones... suddenly you are looking a bit too delicious! It's time to flee.
1 - ONET!
Someone sent you an internet link to sample ONET questions. You are reading them and thinking that it must be a joke. When it slowly dawns on you that it's not a joke and that it's absolutely painfully clear that NOBODY in Thailand gives a toss about educating children - THIS is the moment you say 'sayonara, stoopids', pack your bags and bugger off. No wave goodbye, no last look over your shoulder... just a one-way ticket back to the world of being able to take a piss whenever you want to!
I left a few things off this list to keep it short. Did I miss anything that happened to you? What was the final straw that sent you scrambling to the cheapest dodgy travel agent on Asoke?