You can do it - but have a plan!
First decide which camp you are in. There are two. Either you are coming to Thailand because you want to live here or you are coming to Thailand because you want to teach here. It's important to make this distinction.
An approach to teaching special needs students
Because I am teaching primarily in an English program where students' parents are paying for them to be there, I do not encounter many special education students. That said, I do have two students in one of my mathayom 2 (grade 8) classes who definitely have learning disabilities.
The highs and the lows and what I've learned.
Now that this academic year is winding down, I reflect on my first year with a lot of mixed feelings. There have been a lot of awesome moments where I really felt like a teacher. I really felt like I was getting through to the students and I was the getting the job done.
I thought this might be of benefit to new ajarn readers in particular
I was asked to fill in a questionnaire by my old university on the topic of teaching English in Thailand. Although it was intended to encourage applicants to take a Thai study program in Germany, the information might be useful for those teachers thinking of coming to work here in Thailand.
Is it a case of too much monkeying around?
Games can reinforce what has been taught earlier in a lesson and can be used as a filler or as a reward for good work. But to expect foreign English teachers to spend the majority of their time entertaining students, especially adults, is, to me, just not right.
Surely you can't be serious.
It's never been my intention to become best friends with any of my students but I truly believe that a good relationship and strong rapport with students is absolutely vital in order to begin being an effective teacher. If I ever expect to receive the respect of my students (which is all the time) then the obvious thing for me to do is give respect to them as early as possible.
What are the disadvantages of being an English program teacher
Since I've been teaching in Thailand. I've by chance and not necessarily choice - always been placed in English Programs. English Programs are immersion-based ‘special' educative programs placed within government schools.
Why learning Thai has helped me so much in the classroom
My philosophy on spoken communication has always been that perfect grammar, extensive vocabulary and intimate knowledge of tenses are all totally worthless if the listener cannot understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.
When a lesson plan can all go horribly wrong
Even when I try to tone down my sarcasm, those rascally comments still slip from my lips! I know that my students are vaguely aware of sarcasm but they don't quite understand it and they certainly would never use it on their own.
A progress report on the Nonthaburi Project
The Nonthaburi English Teachers Project (NETP) in Thailand began in 2005. It has existed for nearly 9 years now but I haven't read a personal account yet from someone who is a part of it.