Legwork and salary negotiations
I was finally being offered teaching roles but the salary was typically around the 20,000 mark and that was just too low to consider. On the other hand, in most cases I would be the only Westerner at the school.
We can only offer you a low salary if you're not a native speaker!
My first interview was the result of a walk-in enquiry and it was a primary school, about five minutes away from where we lived in Kalasin.
The pros and cons of four different approaches
I was confident that emailing my resume and following up with a phone call was the way to go. Several days later, not a single school could locate my e-mail.
Sometimes showing the students tough love doesn't work.
My teaching colleague was just a bully who could only intimidate the younger students. ‘Find something unique that the kids are interested in, then you will be halfway there’ was some of the best advice I ever got.
How not to prepare for your very first class
I’ve read about how some of you love this work whilst others almost sneer at the very suggestion that we teach for the love of it. This is just a short recollection of how I really failed to prepare for what was one of the most challenging jobs of my life.
Casting my mind back to a government school I taught at years ago
Part of our family holiday was to be spent in Kalasin so I decided to reach out to my ex-colleagues and see how they were. Truth be told, I was also curious to learn about the school and if my replacements had been successful or not.
The nightmare of losing a passport - before you even get to Thailand!
About an hour before we touched down in Bangkok, my son announced that his passport was missing! Panic started to set in, my wife started to berate our son for being careless, tempers were starting to reach boiling point. Certainly not the best way to start this family holiday.
There's rarely such a thing as a straightforward visa run
Visa scammers, restaurant runners and queue-jumpers at the Thai Consulate. They're all part and parcel of a visa run to Laos.
I play piggy-in-the-middle while the family feuds go on all around me
Here in Thailand, family is supposed to be everything, and quite often that is the case. But what happens when two members of the same family have a serious falling out? What side will the rest of the family take, and does it even matter who is right and who is wrong?
A tale of the simple life in Issan with a bit of financial debt, drug dealing and machete-swinging thrown in.
When we moved from the UK to Thailand via India, I firmly believed that I had made the right move for myself and my family. We’d said goodbye to dismal Britain and were here to stay. What followed was a torrid time that bore little if any resemblance to what I believed Thailand stood for.
When another teacher gets in the way of you doing your job.
I walked in and smiled at the 50-something Thai teacher, who was a pretty big guy. He sneered at me and returned to the whiteboard. Feeling rather non-plussed I retreated and waited politely outside.
Memorable teachers and playing Father Christmas
I had looked forward to becoming a teacher for years and the thought had never crossed my mind that this particular job would be considered anything but decent and respectable. How wrong I was.
Well, job-hunting and snake-hunting to be exact.
So the morning of all mornings finally arrived and it was time for me to become a teacher; a giver of knowledge, a mentor; all of these things. Who was I trying to kid?
And somehow smiling through the pain while trying to teach a class of 50 kids
I was forced to wear sandals for at least a week as my poor toe needed some pressure-relief in which to heal properly. As I limped into each classroom, the 50 or so kids would all notice my footwear and the large bandage on my toe. But not one student smirked or laughed.
I mean, seriously, how many other teachers pass out in their first class?
when I awoke, I was on the floor slumped against the wall. I looked up to see at least 30 faces looking down on me, and yes, the smartphones were out in force. I could only wonder how much of the event had already been recorded.
An introduction to the cast of characters (my teaching colleagues)
It was already 35 degrees in the shade, and the last thing I really needed now was to be doing star jumps and the like. But it seemed that all of the teachers were getting their own dance moves on, and I had to do the same.
The adventure starts at a school in Kalasin
As I rode down the main Kalasin Road, towards the school, I was aware of hundreds of school kids heading in the same direction, I wondered which ones I would be teaching? As I parked up the bike, the school grounds were already teeming with student life it was as if the school had been transformed into a mini city.