I was mildly surprised at the number of comments that part two of this trilogy stirred up and as a small-time published author, somewhat pleased. After all, whether your feedback is good or bad, any reaction is better than being ignored.
I’m not sure if Josh is one or two people but his comments were decidedly bipolar in places. I tried to reply to these but in the end gave up because it is so hard to isolate a comment and offer an explanation.
So, here’s a disclaimer before I can put this seemingly innocent and oft misunderstood topic to bed.
I’m simply writing my own perception of how it feels to look for work in Thailand as a teacher when I realistically did little preparation. I’m not ‘pettifogging’ as Josh suggested. I Had to look that one up Neither am I offering advice, as my own content testifies that I went about this in the wrong way.
Presenting myself as ‘foolish’ as pointed out by Jack, LOS, is my specialty and you may see that if you read one of my five books, plug intended.
There are those who despise this style but I personally get bored sh**less when reading a journal that is bereft of any personality or humour. Instead of slating the author, I prefer to move onto the next article, but each to their own. I try to write in an engaging and light-hearted way and if that style comes across badly, I am sorry, but it is what it is.
PS. Josh/Jack/Jim (what is it with the J theme?) et al, please contribute to the Ajarn Bloggers column yourselves, because I am sure you have great stories to tell…
Butthurt over. So on with the final chapter, if you are still with me ?
The story continues....
Over the next couple of days, myself and my increasingly frustrated wife pounded the steaming hot pavements of Kalasin. The job hunt was not going well. The typical response was either that they were not looking for foreign teachers or that they would only take applicants from agencies.
I had read enough articles from Ajarn.com to understand this was par for the course so tried to take it in my stride. We even ventured deep into the surrounding rural villages to see what was on offer and the results were promising if a little confusing.
Here, 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 on the teaching board and that had some merits as well as potential pitfalls. I’ve not mentioned it so far but the other reason for visiting these schools was because my own son, who was 15, had been out of education for a few months.
A disappointing job offer
The original reason for leaving the UK was to move to Bangalore and a good school had already been picked out. Sadly, the Indian job offer wasn’t up to scratch and the promised free housing and international salary also went up the Swannee. My wife’s mother was hospitalised at the time when we were due to return to the UK so we made the decision to spend some time in Thailand.
Okay, there are bound to be some critics who will call us crap parents but I felt that even a year away from the drab UK might be a good idea. As it turned out, the choice was decent because when we did return, my son was not only far more confident and worldly compared to the computer game addicted kid who left some 18 months earlier, but also more switched on and happy to continue learning when he re-joined his original school.
Anyway, we had an appointment at Kalasin Pitt School for Tom to potentially enrol as an M3 student. I had almost forgotten my own remit as we had a brief but pleasant chat with the school director. We then had a coffee with the Head of English Language Studies and this was when I was offered an interview. I was booked in for later that day and as we walked around the school, it became apparent that this establishment was better than any school we had seen so far.
As far as the interview was concerned, here are a few of the titbits that I can still remember:
(in front of about 15 teachers in the staffroom)
Them: How much money do you want us to pay you?
Me: How much do you pay foreign teachers?
Them: It varies
Me: Okay how about 50,000 baht?
Them: Oh, that’s too much, how about 35,000?
Me: Fair enough
Them: Do you have a BA degree?
Me: Yes, from the Open University.
Them: What is that?
Me: It’s a distance learning university in the UK
At this point a ‘helpful’ Ghanaian teacher butted in saying ‘That’s a very big university’ No more was said about the OU but the school later checked and indeed it is one of the accredited universities on the MOE list. This was a form of entertainment that I was also to enjoy in the coming year as many foreign teachers rocked up for similar treatment.
Less than ten minutes later I was handed a lengthy contract and the saga was over at last. Typically, Thailand had pleasantly surprised me and it continues to do this on a regular basis.
Should be enough ammunition for the comments that may or may not be spawned by this account of my job search in Thailand and, if you enjoyed it, you can read a lengthier butthurt-centric version of my time in KPS here