Legwork and salary negotiations
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 at the school.
We can only offer you a low salary if you're not a native speaker!
My first interview was the result of a walk-in enquiry and it was a primary school, about five minutes away from where we lived in Kalasin.
Sometimes showing the students tough love doesn't work.
My teaching colleague was just a bully who could only intimidate the younger students. ‘Find something unique that the kids are interested in, then you will be halfway there’ was some of the best advice I ever got.
How not to prepare for your very first class
I’ve read about how some of you love this work whilst others almost sneer at the very suggestion that we teach for the love of it. This is just a short recollection of how I really failed to prepare for what was one of the most challenging jobs of my life.
Casting my mind back to a government school I taught at years ago
Part of our family holiday was to be spent in Kalasin so I decided to reach out to my ex-colleagues and see how they were. Truth be told, I was also curious to learn about the school and if my replacements had been successful or not.
When another teacher gets in the way of you doing your job.
I walked in and smiled at the 50-something Thai teacher, who was a pretty big guy. He sneered at me and returned to the whiteboard. Feeling rather non-plussed I retreated and waited politely outside.
Well, job-hunting and snake-hunting to be exact.
So the morning of all mornings finally arrived and it was time for me to become a teacher; a giver of knowledge, a mentor; all of these things. Who was I trying to kid?
And somehow smiling through the pain while trying to teach a class of 50 kids
I was forced to wear sandals for at least a week as my poor toe needed some pressure-relief in which to heal properly. As I limped into each classroom, the 50 or so kids would all notice my footwear and the large bandage on my toe. But not one student smirked or laughed.
Postbox letter from James
I don't understand all this fuss about older teachers not being able to find work here. What about Isaan?