Casting off the shackles

A free agent at last

We all have to make decisions based on a given set of information provided at the time of the decision. Right now, for me that means abandoning Thailand and going back to Japan. As much as it may seem to be a step back, I am forced to see it as a step forward.


We work for the room

ESL ghosts of the past

There's been so many bad experiences, I don't know where to start. Forget the times I was ripped off hundreds of dollars from unscrupulous Korean hagwon owners and Taiwanese recruiters. That might take too long and it's another column entirely. I'm still trying to forget the time when one of the nine million Mr. Kims barged into my class and, in front of the students, told me in Korean what a horrible teacher I was.


Lazy movie device 327

The job description minefield

“Your advertisement said a salary of thirty-thousand a month. Is that accurate?” I asked. Another grin followed.


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.


Hoop hopping

The dreaded Thai visa procedure

You go to the Thai Embassy in aforementioned UN least-developed-nation-status state and submit your paperwork. The immigration officer then asks you if the school that you’re going to work for is on ‘the list’. Then you say, ‘What list?’ and he says, ‘The list’, then you shrug and he tells you that it isn’t, then you say ‘So why did you ask,’ and he says nothing, and you say ‘What should I do?’ and he says ‘Damned if I care, but you ain’t gettin’ no stinkin’ visa unless your school is on “the list”.


Veni vidi vici

Triple V and the certificates

For those of us coming to Thailand, vacillating about venturing a certificate won’t turn us into Verbosely Valiant Vince. It’s all in the doing. Bite the bullet. Do the certificate. But don’t make the same mistake that Vehemently Vacuous Vince made.


The Zen art of teaching English

Dharma, Zendo and all that stuff

Finally the last gong rings and the day is done. The monks quickly bow (clock) out of the temple as I check the next day’s scroll. It looks all right. I bid the nuns farewell – they work late into the night. I join the novice monks outside the temple and we all proceed to the izakaya.


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