The teaching river

the waterways of Thailand and ayutthaya

Truth be told, I have taken as many as 150 boat rides in Ayutthaya. My love of this city’s waterways first struck me in the year 2000. I had just flew into Thailand for a new teaching job. Luck was with me. The first place that I looked at for housing was located right beside the Chao Phraya River. I rented the small stilted bungalow on the spot. There was no reason to look for anything else. After years of teaching abroad I had finally found what I was looking for.


The pee, the nong and the wai

Aspects of Thai culture

Although ajarn.com has never shirked from handing out some just criticism on Thai education and culture I felt it was only fair to balance worthy criticism with worthy praise.


Rote learning and Thai schooling

Improving student language skills

To improve Thai-language skills amongst youngsters, Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng plans to cut rote learning and introduce more reading and writing. Mr. Chaturon said Thai-language teaching needed to undergo a radical change since children were not good at their mother tongue.


Go to Hell

Leading my students into hell

In Hell you can see human bodies with the heads of chickens, cobras, and toads. You can peek at naked people scurrying up thorny trees while red-clad demons stab them with spears, hungry crows pluck out their eyeballs, and rabid "soi" dogs bite their genitals off. You could have a better day, if you know what I mean.


The magical land

Where no student fails an exam

Yes, dear readers, students in Thailand simply cannot fail exams. This probably comes as a very big surprise for the people unfamiliar with the Thai situation, but believe me, it is true. Well, it is still true at the time of writing, but maybe not for long anymore.


Ayutthaya island

Tales of ghosts and spirits in deepest Thailand

I have yet to see a ghost in Ayutthaya myself. But, I am learning to speak Thai, so maybe that will help. The main problem today is this: wailing ghosts don't attract western travelers, who are celebrating on vacation. Nobody likes whining and misery. We can always get that at home.


A bit of culture part two

The concept of face and other things

If a waiter in a restaurant screws up your order and brings you fishballs instead of the fried pork-skin on rice you ordered, most people won’t send it back or make a fuss about it. The waiter might lose face. So what? Well, by embarrassing him this way, you too will be considered as having lost face. It’s really a lose-lose situation. You can either eat your smelly fishballs or lose face.


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.


A bit of culture part one

Loud music and slouching

Now let me first get one thing straight. I like Thailand and I like Thai people. They are very friendly and I usually don’t mind their strange behaviour and views. They say it’s culture. It’s not a problem for me, but the question is: can you handle it? With ‘you’, I mean the newly arrived farangs who are still in the so-called honeymoon period and think Thailand is heaven on earth


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?


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