Richard McCully

Bangkok-based teacher and writer who always has interesting opinions on the TEFL business.


Teaching hours and how they affect performance

What is the right number of hours for a teacher?

I read stories of some teachers working near 12-hour days constantly and that can’t be good for you. Some people thrive on that kind of pressure but I’d say it’s not the norm.


We can learn from tourists

Isn't Thailand all about having fun?

I think expats need to let their hair down every so often or we can be dragged down to thinking everything here is negative.


Making hay while the exchange rate shines

For those heading back to the UK or sending money home, it's all hail the mighty Baht!

I can’t wait to get back to England in two weeks time where I’ll have roughly 25% more in my pocket than when I traveled back in 2014. It really is a fantastic time to get paid in baht.


Taking the TYLEC

A chance to improve and upgrade my teaching skills

Taking the course will make it easier to apply for other jobs in the future. It’s a desired qualification for many language schools, especially those who teach young learners. It can also boost salary too.


New (school) year resolutions

Improve my board work, use time more efficiently and avoid last minute rushes.

With the new school year less than a week away it’s time to make some new (school) year resolutions. I’m sure some will get thrown out of the window straight away but hopefully at least a few I’ll work on.


Those stuffy TEFL academics

So much is wrapped in long words and fancy terms to make it sound clever.

I just find the way academic information is given in the TEFL industry to be off-putting and boring. I try to present information in a fun, engaging way in my TEFL classroom, it’s a shame academics can’t do the same in their reports, journals, books or talks.


The dreaded Summer break

Six weeks means just far too much time on my hands

When I tell people back home how long I get off they think it’s some sort of perfect dream. However, there’s a certain length of time for a perfect holiday. Six weeks is way too long in my opinion.


Too much technology

What are the actual benefits of using technology in the classroom - and what could be done better without it?

Whilst technology is needed for a lot of my lessons I try to have periods of the class where it’s not used. If I’m not careful I can turn into a lecturer using screens, rather than a teacher using different teaching methods.


Is taking student photos a wise idea?

Think carefully if it's just to boost your social media presence

I’ve seen so many photos and videos online where foreign teachers have captured moments with their Thai students. The issue I have is whether this interferes with child safety and other protection issues.


Teacher talk time

What do the students really want?

I think a bit of TTT isn’t a bad thing. It can bring benefits if used correctly. Students don’t want a teacher who chats all class but neither do they want someone talking unnaturally for the sake of saving the odd word here and there.


Lesson planning

Can I make it a really enjoyable part of my teaching?

I was taught how to lesson plan during my CELTA course, but with many of my colleagues holding higher level teaching qualifications, I think I can improve by learning from them.


My thoughts on gate duty

It’s not a punishment. It’s not going to kill you.

Thai students actually really appreciate having foreigners there doing something such as gate duty. Moaning about it makes you look a bit pathetic.


Bah humbug! Working at Christmas

Surely a foreign teacher doesn't have to work on the 25th December!

For some reason I had just presumed Christmas Day would be a day off for foreign teachers. It was only around three weeks before the big day that I was reminded that I was expected to be at work.


Teaching very young learners

Whatever your gender you should feel confident to teach students of any age.

I quickly learned that teaching very young learners requires a lot of energy but it also energizes you at the same time. I was pretty nervous about teaching five and six year old students but in the end I have found something which I really enjoy.


TEFL crimes against fashion

Call out the fashion police!

Nobody is saying teachers should be suited and booted like city slickers but there are a few instances where I’ve had to laugh or just shake my head at what I’ve seen.


It’s time to start paying non-native teachers fairly

Nationality shouldn't determine pay rates!

If someone speaks English to a native level, has great teaching skills and experience, they shouldn't be discriminated against purely based on their nationality.


Is it worth moving out of Bangkok?

People often cite the lower cost of living, better quality of life and a more Thai-style existence as reasons to be based outside the capital.

I’ve done a little research and come up with some example salaries in different regions in Thailand. Whilst this isn’t an exact science it should give a good guide of potential earnings


Are TEFL teachers unambitious?

What can you do about it if you feel you're stuck in a 'teaching rut'?

So many people complain about conditions, wages and opportunities but do nothing to address these things. Some TEFL teachers seem to think this isn’t an industry or a “real” job so other aspects such as annual reviews and training aren’t relevant.


Teach in Thailand - the ultimate gap year

Why Thailand would make a fantastic choice for your year off.

A year spent teaching here in Thailand can be a valuable experience. The real-world skills you’ll learn will be useful. The friends you make will help you through the tough times and lifetime bonds can be forged


Things I admire about the Thai education system

Foreign teachers shouldn't knock it as much as they do.

Some teachers like to put the boot into Thai high schools - but I’ve recently been looking at it in a new light and have seen lots of positives.


I'm starting to enjoy edutainment

Edutainment is the idea that teachers should entertain and not just teach students. Teachers should be like game show hosts or performers in the classroom.

Chances are that your employer in Thailand will put some pressure on you to add some edutainment to help them keep students and get good reviews. If you can’t do this then you’ll probably be looking for a new job pretty soon.


Games to try in your classroom

Five games / activities that work with Thai students

Thai students of all ages love games. Even adult learners with serious jobs can really get into games. I also love them too because they are a fun thing to add to a class and you can make them relevant at the same time.


Why I'm happy to work weekends in Bangkok

Days off during the week can be a joy

Bangkok, it must be said, can be pretty nasty on a weekend. There are almost no benefits of having these two days off work compared to taking the days off in midweek. Not that I can see.


Accents in the classroom

"Sorry for my daughter's accent, her teacher is a Filipino"

By having an education with teachers from around the world a student can be more prepared to use English the real world, not just in the classroom.


Speaking Thai in the classroom

It is not what foreign teachers are paid to do.

It wasn’t until moving to a language school, with proper management, that I saw the negative side of a foreign teacher speaking Thai in class. It was also at that job where I saw that some TEFL teachers are actually stuck in the routine of speaking Thai with students.


Do Thai students want to learn from textbooks?

And how do teachers feel about using them?

Whether you are teaching in a high school, university or private language school most students will be expecting to see some form of textbook to be assigned to them. It is like a comfort blanket to them.


Thai teacher tourism

Is this a good thing or not?

There is obviously a steady supply of foreigners who are happy to pay for the experience and companies who can make good money from this business.


Do you want to be a TEFL teacher or a licensed teacher?

The positives and the negatives of each

Do you want to continue working in TEFL or become a licensed teacher in your home country and go for the higher-paying international school jobs. It's a big decision to make!


What you can learn working with colleagues from different countries

Everyone has something to offer you

Overall, I really enjoy having a true international environment at work. The chance to work and meet people from so many countries has improved me as a teacher and allowed me to learn a lot about other cultures.


Handling students with learning difficulties

How can I ignore students just because they are different?

I remember in my first week at my government high school there was a student who was severely autistic. I just wasn't prepared for the task at hand.


Decisions, decisions

Is it time to stick or twist? To leave Thailand or stay?

I came to Thailand for an adventure but I fear the adventure is nearing its end. There is a new journey to start and I'm hopeful its one that can begin - but for now I'm feeling a bit stuck.


Staying safe in Thailand

Thailand isn't dangerous but you do need to be smart

As a new teacher considering where to live and work, safety is an important factor. Even if you don't think too much about it, I am sure your family will.


The joys of teaching Thai adults

Why they are so much more rewarding than kids

If anyone was coming to Thailand to teach I would recommend they teach adults as it will be a much more rewarding experience for them. You will also have lower stress levels and enjoy talking about a range of topics with students who, on the whole, want to be there.


Online teaching - an overview

Who do you teach and how much can you make?

If you have some free time and want to top up your income, then look into online teaching. It certainly is a viable option for many teachers here in Thailand.


More than just money

Consider the 'perks' of a teaching job as well

I have come to realize that there are many other important factors that you should consider when applying for teaching jobs, some of which are just as important as the salary.


Men and women's opportunities in Thailand

Are things equal for men and women in the Thailand TEFL profession?

Men and women often have contrasting experiences in the workplace mainly in terms of salary and promotion opportunities. I was interested to see if the same was true in Thailand and if not, then what factors affect your job and salary prospects.


Pay rises and promotions

How to aim higher and enjoy a better quality of life as a teacher

I'm looking ahead to next year and thinking about how to get a pay rise and a promotion. You should be thinking about it too. So what are some of the ways to go about it?


Playing sport in Thailand

What opportunities exist to keep fit?

When I lived in England I used to play football once a week and have the occasional round of golf but I thought those days were over when I moved to Thailand. However, the exact opposite is true, Thailand offers you the chance to play lots of different sports, live a healthy lifestyle and meet new people.


Why I work in a language centre

Thai high schools? Never again buddy.

The benefits of a good language centre far outweigh those of a high school. The freedom, work conditions and financial package make it the best option for me.


Cheap and expensive in Bangkok

What's a bargain and what costs an arm and a leg?

My friends and family back home sometimes ask me stupid questions about living in Thailand. However, one question which is interesting is, do you find everything in Thailand cheap?


Pocket money

The impact of a weak Thai Baht for foreign teachers in Thailand

Over the past few months the Thai Baht has become weaker against many other currencies. This has had many implications for Thailand as a country and for the people who live and work here. I want to focus on foreign teachers in Thailand and how the exchange rate changes might affect them.


Why I live here in Bangkok

So what's the attraction exactly?

Bangkok might never be the place I truly call home but it's a place I'm happy to be right now.


Second season syndrome

How does the second year of teaching in Thailand compare to the first?

Having just passed my two-year anniversary in Thailand I thought I would look and see if I suffered from Thai second season syndrome - and how it might affect you if you decide to come to Thailand.


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