Richard Constable

Teacher stories


Farangs and sirens

Teaching colleagues from over the years who never really succeeded in the romance stakes

A few recollections of foreigners and their relationships with Thai femme fatales. In fact everyone who has ever lived here, no doubt has a few similar tales to tell.


Dodgers to dodge

My personal top five Bangkok rip-offs

Let me give you the heads-up on my most annoying Bangkok rip-offs, swiddles, swizzes, scams, rackets, dodges, I mean forms of deceit (call 'em what you will) here in the Venice of the East.


Some more reasons why you'll quit teaching in Thailand

Six more reasons why you'll be heading home before too long

The frustration of having no real authority over your students, interference from Thai teachers, the thankless task of morning gate duty and more!


Lamentable times in the land of the smiles

When drinking nights turn sour

Not far from a massive educational campus which I'd been working at and living on for sometime, stood the local watering hole, and where there occured a memorable event that I'd much sooner forget.


A rare combination of education and fun

The story of how I got my full-time teaching break

After three months as a part-timer, my chance arrived when two of my fellow full-time teaching colleagues, Big Barry, a former scaffolder, and Londoner Jeremy, an ex-soldier and former plumber, both failed to turn-up.


Strange encounters of the foreign kind

Amusing recollections of foreign teaching colleagues

I thought I should write about some of the more interesting or obscure behaviour, that I have witnessed from foreign ex-pats living in Thailand, or have had related to me by others. Although I'm going to travel back a bit in time, so as not to put anyone's nose out of joint that I know at present.


Strange encounters of the Thai kind

Strange things that have happened to me over the last few weeks

These might well have happened anywhere else in the world for that matter. On the other hand, things that may well not have happened anywhere else in the world, other than Thailand.


Thai language communication issues

Where is it insulting to be spoken to in your own language?

Seriously, if you really want to rattle a Thai person in Bangkok, then speak to them in their own language. Truly, there are few things that irritate them more than a foreigner who can speak Thai clearly and is, or appears to be fluent. It is akin to waving a red flag at a bull.


Lockdown 2020

Today is Britain's National Poetry Day, so here's a reminder of what we all experienced during Bangkok's curfew.

Students studying with their teacher, sadly could no longer be, sitting in their classrooms, content and comfortably.


The class A and B new norm

Is it going to work well or is the system doomed to fail?

Teachers were told that the standard programme student classes, that each consist of thirty-odd students, would be split into approximate halves and each group would now only study at the school on alternative days.


Homespun mumpsimus

Another look at this phenomenon.

I thought it was only fair to write about the 'mumpsimus' I have mostly encountered from any number of Thai people, over the past eighteen years or so.


Mumpsimus

When know-it-alls get it plain wrong

For a while now, I have been wondering why such a high percentage of foreign expats living in Thailand, suffer from mumpsimus.


Teacher contract headaches

What happens to foreign teacher contracts now that the Thai school year will run from July 1st to mid-April 2021?

Not all foreign teachers are prepared to work a few extra weeks for free, alongside already earning a relatively low professional salary without as much as a pension pending.


A grave situation

Financial struggles during this difficult period

Language schools work on a pay system where they are always holding 2-3 weeks pay of teachers money - even after paying their salaries.


If it is not now, it is to come

Whatever happens, I taught them my way

I would like you to abide with me and join in, on this first day of April. As in the manner of the late great American entertainer Albert Francis Sinatra, and vocalize My Way.


Why the f-word doesn't upset me

Sometimes you have to admire Thai people's directness

If I am called 'farang' by a young Thai person I instantly point at them and snap 'sadparot! In case you didn't know, 'sadparot' is Thai for pineapple - so the young Thai, on seeing the irony in this, is usually amused.


Having fun with teacher

Some great word activities that will make you the most popular teacher at school.

Have fun with these, move at a fast pace and persevere as you'll have to be the teacher games' master a few times with a new game before you're able to present it perfectly. Above all else, if you don't keep the students round about level on points they'll lose interest.


Learner-oriented fun activities

My relatively laid back teaching approach to teacher/student semi-interactive learning

When I begin a two-hour lesson, I write every student's nickname down the left-hand side of the board, one below the other. Not only those that have already arrived but also those that are expected.


16 teaching rules I live by

Some of these techniques you might find useful.

When students talk out of turn and are disrupting the flow of the lesson, I look directly at them and start a loud slow count from one up five. This generally works as the students have been programmed by their Thai teachers from an early age that a full count of five is swiftly followed by something highly unpleasant.


Songkran 2019

Always a fun time of year for foreigners

A minute late I arrive at the hotel, I pay the rider, standing there wet and wondering if I should even go into the upholstered chaired bar area in such a state. Nonetheless, equally considering whether to go back and confront the inconsiderate idiot who had soaked my evening wear.


What's up Doc!?

A recent visit to a private Bangkok hospital

As for the doctors, I didn't have the least bit of sympathy for either of them. The way I saw it, the first was an uncongenial individual, who first having had her feathers slightly ruffled, then seized the opportunity to hit out and try to do some financial damage to an unwell person.


A year in Ubon (part three)

The concluding episode from a first year teacher in Thailand

After work, late in the afternoon - back in my bungalow having packed my saggy suitcase with the few items I was going to need. I sat on one of the two chromed chairs in my compacted kitchen and couldn't prevent myself from thinking about the possible impending events of this coming evening.


A year in Ubon (part two)

The continuing story of a first year teacher in Thailand

On the last day of the school semester, I came back from a classroom to the teacher's office, hot and flustered but on a high. I'd just said goodbye to my best class and told them among other things that I'd be looking forward to coming back to the school in the new semester.


A year in Ubon (part one)

I know. I'll go and teach English in Thailand.

Do a TEFL course, sell my bungalow, get a teaching job and move to Thailand. What could be difficult about that?


What's a foreign teacher's contract worth?

What happens when your teacher agency won't pay up!

We were contracted to be paid for the full month of September but we were being told that our last day at the school was September 16, 2016. Something was rotten in the Kingdom of Thailand - it was like we were having our arses kicked out of a job too early.


Last Christmas

A foreign teacher's Christmas in Thailand

Another reason I came out here was to be an EFL teacher, yet due to the fact that I haven't got a university degree, I couldn't get a job working directly for a school, hence I teamed up with an agent and now work indirectly for one.


Along the Bangkok riverfront

A new iconic building for a city that's changing fast

In my opinion the ICONSIAM is an extremely welcome addition to the rapid and ever-changing City of Angels' skyscape, nevertheless, some of its wares will no doubt be beyond the pockets of all-but accredited international school or trust fund teachers.


A diverse day in paradise

Beggars, food courts, communication problems, cancelled classes and disagreeable customer service

Just another day - another morning, another commute, another birthday and I'm on my way to teach at Speech Perfect at the Mall, Bang Kae in Bangkok. Just as I do every day - with the exception of public holidays.


A blissful situation

Building the home of my dreams in Thailand

The bungalow will consist of two bedrooms, one en-suite, the main bathroom, a kitchen, and a decent sized living/dining room. It will be 150 square meters including a carport, and should work out at 2,200,000 baht; 50,000 pounds.


We love you, Ms. Leanne

A single female teacher's adventures in Thailand

I'd been to the land of smiles for me hols a couple of times before and I loved it! It was such a refreshing contrast to Luton's daily drudge of work - the same old shops, pubs, bars and singles' clubs - to a thirty-something lady still in her prime.


All is never what it seems (part 2)

When life takes an unexpected and tragic turn

How pitiful that the poor little girl that she had been, finally having found a little security and looking forward to having a future with her own family - should so tragically lose everything she hoped for.


All is never what it seems (part 1)

A teacher finds love in Thailand.

Soon after we'd met, Tangmo moved in with me. My friends told me not to get involved with a girl who I acquainted in a bar. My family said that we were too different and it was too soon - but it just felt right and it still does.


The gutties dinnae fit well

OK class. Get your English books out!

Recently while having a few wee drams in a well-known British pub on the Sukhumvit, a Scotsman by the name of Evan Elliot reflected on the events of his day to Richard Constable who was working there as a barman on this particular evening.


A short-lived teaching career?

I'm not sure whether Thailand isn't right for me or I'm not right for Thailand.

In spite of the draconian disciplinary measures, the students are basically normal, mostly happy, playful, loving children, who are extremely well behaved, and attentive to my classroom instructions - when the Thai teachers and assistants are present.


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