My TEFL career

The ups and downs of over fifteen years 'in the game'

It's a been a long and often painful journey, but here's an account of 15 years in the Thailand TEFL business. My careers officer never once told me that it might turn out like this.


Isaan bound

A half year in review

Not surprisingly, I am still wrestling with the administration over issues of fair pay, planning time and sensible class-size and leveling. Despite everything, I am having a great time in Khon Kaen.


Never mind fluency

Here comes the grammar teacher

I think it is quite absurd to reward students who are good at cramming grammar rules – and may not be fluent at all – and punish students who can speak English fairly well but aren’t very accurate. English is a language. The main purpose of a language is communication.


We're not just another brick in the wall

Hey teacher, leave those kids alone

I'm learning that ESL teaching is a useless endeavor unless there's a special student in your class. Someone who makes you care and feel. I'm learning that a wall around you, although useful at strategic times, is dangerous when students are relying on you to connect with them and deliver "the goods."


No fries with that!

Teachers as mentors and heroes (part two)

As we ESL teachers and TESOL providers--- especially those teaching in financially impoverished countries--- strive to help others to financially improve their "lot in life", are we not, at the same time, helping to turn them into the same capitalist and consumerist pigs that have now permeated Japan, South Korea, and other developed countries?


A little piece of advice

Starting your teaching career in Bangkok

Whatever you do, don’t start an ESL career in Thailand. Why? I’ll tell you. Unless, you come over on a substantial mattress of financial support you will be behind from the get-go and spend your whole time here figuring out how to make ends meet.


Wishes

Reflections on the Thai TESOL conference

Okay, I have to admit that there are a number of good, dedicated Thai teachers of English who do make a difference, but there aren’t merely enough. As long as the government keeps teachers paying a pittance there never will be enough.


Monty Python returns

Teaching can be rewarding, stressful, frustrating, or even downright funny

What follows are a few (slightly adapted) classroom conversations. Although they might be familiar to you, I hope you’ll find them entertaining.


A teacher's lot

A week in the life of an English teacher

As Friday is my day off, I consider Saturday to be the start of my working week. Yes, that’s right, I work six days a week, not unusual if you work for a language school. Unlike Thai schools, the weekend is the busiest time for language schools.


The teacher's diary

One teacher's descent into madness

The diary is the sad and heartbreaking four-week journal of Mr Jim Elmdon - a teacher who came, saw, and failed miserably. Keep a box of tissues handy.


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