When I first came to Thailand, my intention was to eventually teach in corporate environments; I've always enjoyed public speaking, and I've given business presentations on several occasions before leaving the USA with great success. Bangkok is constantly attracting more and more international companies, and with English taking the role of the primary business communication language, it makes sense to me to try to edge my way in.
A few weeks ago, an opportunity finally presented itself through my part-time language school to teach two evenings per week at an engineering firm in the Ekkamai area. I jumped on the chance, and I must say: I'm so glad I did! My original thinking was that these classes would be more serious than the Mathayom-level science classes I currently teach; it is a business environment, after all, complete with suits and ties. I also expected, at least to some degree, to have students with at least basic English proficiency to work with. Both of these assumptions were wrong, and I'm happy to say that I'm glad!
For starters, just like in most environments in Thailand, the corporate setting I'm teaching in is far more relaxed than I'm used to from the USA and even Germany. Sure, people may be dressed in business casual, but the prevailing relaxed attitude typical of Thais and Thailand shows even in dress shoes.
Next, my students approach the class with a genuine interest to learn English. This may be due to the fact that they're "on the clock" during my 6:00-8:00 p.m. classes with them two days per week, but I'm still happy to have intrigued students. Their knowledge of English varies greatly. I have a few students (generally out of 10-12 total) who have a very good grasp of English, and can carry on a basic conversation. I also have several students on the opposite end of the spectrum that cannot even read a basic sentence. Even so, the group I have seems to like helping one another along, and they all seem to have a blast giggling at their attempts to learn. That's always a good sign!
I'm lucky to be working for a great language school that provides the basic lessons and ideas for activities, but I generally use those as guidelines and let the class take our discussions wherever they like. The class is, after all, for them, so it only makes sense. Even though the class's age range is between probably 25-50, they all still love to play games just as much as my Mathayom students. In fact, I could argue that they like to do so more! One class, because I noticed they were having issues pronouncing basic numbers correctly, I taught them how to play "Go Fish." You would have think they just learned rocket science; they love it!
All in all, I'd have to say that teaching corporate classes has become my favorite work activity. Sure, I love teaching in a high school, but there's only so much you can do within their set curriculum. The corporate classes give you a chance not only to interact on a somewhat higher level with students (due to their age primarily), but also something different. Government schools can get a bit monotonous, day after day, but corporate classes typically have a different feel to each one.
You also can't beat the fact that the pay is far better, plus you may get lucky like me and get an environment on the 25th floor of a business building with great views of the city. Sure, it makes for two long days a week (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at a government school, then 6:00-8:00 p.m. straight after), but all in all, I'd say the whole experience is extremely positive.
While I like the stability of a paycheck that typically comes with a government school, it sure will be hard to resist moving entirely into the corporate teaching realm as my time teaching in Thailand carries on.