There are more and more screwball foreign teachers in Thailand pontificating away. This site belongs to Paul Garrigan, an Irish ex drunk, ex teacher, and middle aged Muay Thai dabbler. Below, he weighs in on foreign teachers in Thailand. You really need to visit his site for the full impact.
Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery in Thailand
Foreign Teachers in Thailand Have Such a Bad Reputation
I no longer teach in Thailand but did so for almost seven years. One of the things that become clear to those who do decide to enter the profession here is that foreign teachers have a bit of a bad reputation; or at least those who come from western countries do. The harshest critics tend to be other westerners. Some of these criticisms can seem extremely severe, while other just sound silly – at least to me.
The attitude to westerners who teach in Thailand always puts me in mind of Jim Royle, from the UK sitcom ‘The Royle Family’, who would sneer at everything that irritated him by adding the words. ‘my arse’. I can easily imagine him responding to the news that a westerner is teaching in Thailand with the words ‘teacher, my arse!’.
Criticisms of Foreign Teachers in Thailand
The most frequent criticism that I hear about the western teacher is that they are only doing it to stay in Thailand – opportunists. This is probably true for most, but so what? I think the criticism here is that our motivations for doing a job should be somehow nobler; we should have a calling to do it. Maybe we should have dreamed about it as a child and devoted our youth to obtaining the proper qualifications. Surely it’s not right that we should decide to become teachers because it suits our lifestyle in our thirties, forties,fifties, or older. Is it?
I fell into nursing. I would not have even considered it a few months prior to applying to begin my training. This did not stop me becoming a good nurse who did his job efficiently. No one ever questioned my motives for joining the profession, and no one accused me of becoming a nurse for the wrong reasons. Nobody cared. So long as I could do the job well, what did it matter?
I think that there is a major misunderstanding here; the belief that people usually enter professions because of some noble calling. I am sure that some do, but many don’t. The reasons given by people for beginning their careers are often far from noble and are usually quite mundane and sometimes even strange. I know doctors who became doctors because their parents were doctors, I know nurses who became nurses so they could meet a rich doctor and I know people who decided to become teachers because they quite fancied the long holidays. Most people seem to just fall into professions, and their motives are seldom given much scrutiny from their peers. Why you want to be such and such, is usually a question reserved for job interviews.
I fell into teaching in Thailand. I had left a job in Saudi Arabia and had nowhere really to go. Somebody I met on holiday here suggested I should give it a go. I did, and I soon found that I liked it. It was a challenge. Life takes us to places that we never planned to go; that is what is so great about it.
Any White Face Can Teach in Thailand
Another favourite criticism is that any white face can get a job teaching in Thailand; they don’t even need to be able to speak English! Is that really true? If you visit some of the Thailand related web forums you will see posts from people who are desperate to get a teaching job in Thailand. There are many who have tried to teach here but failed. I would actually say that most people who try to land a teaching job in Thailand don’t last very long. Ok, they might get a job, but teaching is not an easy thing to do. If you do not have what it takes then the job will be unbearable and most people will quickly give up.
It is now more difficult to get a job in Thailand without at least a university degree. Moves are underway to make an education qualification mandatory as well. People do still get jobs without degrees, but I think that most would agree that if you want a future teaching in Thailand then a degree is the bare minimum. The parents expect it, and it seems to me to be a reasonable expectation. I don’t think that a degree necessarily makes somebody a good teacher, but it does at least demonstrate an interest in learning.
Teaching in Thailand Has its Rewards
I enjoyed teaching in Thailand for a long time – I viewed it as a profession. Later I found something that better suited me, but I don’t regret those years teaching. There are some great foreign teachers in Thailand who just need to live with the negative stereotypes – the view of the western teacher is unlikely to change anytime soon. The greatest reward for a teacher comes from seeing students make progress; you get days when you really believe you are the best teacher in the world. Best teacher, my arse!
check out the website -
Foreign Teachers in Thailand Have Such a Bad Reputation | paulgarrigan.com
Why Does The Foreign Teacher Always Smell Like Peppermint? – Part 1
Last edited by cluezo; 9th October 2011 at 12:14.
TQA, interesting point, but, there are many jobs like this in North America where the pay is very dispropotionate to the responsibilities. Most jobs dealing with child care or education are low paying, whereas bus drivers and mail sorters are paid ridiculously high thanks to their unions preaching for these rights.
Many people tend to dislike teachers because they get nice long holidays. FFS, they have to put up with other people's kids all day every day and keep a strong front.
When I was teaching in BKK I made well over $1,000 per month, in fact I made much more than I made in a marketing and inside sales job in Canada, and I was allowed to take holidays. This was not allowed in Canada. Oh ya, the law allows two weeks but in reality, you are never allowed to even take a week off work at one time because management didn't like this.
My decision to take the TESOL course and buy my plane ticket was the best thing I ever did. If I hadn't done it, I would be still in Canada hearing about how my tax dollars are being wasted on people who don't contribute to the economy. They get raises every year, gas prices keep increasing, rents or property costs constantly rise etc. etc.
I'll end my protest there. I think the article is well written and gives a good point of view.
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved with toast.
One of them, however, is opening a can of corned beef with that stupid key. This cannot easily be done at the best of times, and toast is of surprisingly little use in resolving the issue.
Thanks for mentioning my article cluezo. It gave me a good excuse to once again visit Ajarn.com. I used to spend so much time here reading threads - not posting so much. I sort of miss it here, but now that I don't teaching I forget to visit.
Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with moustache. You won't be able to find it. But when your heart is ready, peace will come looking for you
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Hello Garro, good to see you again and to see that things appear to be working out OK for you.
We used to clash occasionally on Thai Visa so I'll try not to offend you but ''now that I don't teaching'', is that Thairish or what?
If you have personal issues with posters on Thai Visa, keep them there.
Hi Norman, ''now that I don't teaching'' seems perfectly reasonable to me, but I'm not an English teacher
I don't know what you mean about clashing on Thai Visa - I was always a gentleman.
When they suspended my account it was by mutual agreement
Natalie8 I have never been nasty to anyone, I was jesting with garro and certainly not being offensive.
As regards the t/tt, for a time I could not log on so re-registered then found I was able to log on again.
Thai visa? Did you not notice ''used to'' and ''occasionally'', they might possibly have given you a clue. And ''clashing'' means a bit of debate and bantering as we held contrary views and was no big deal.
As you are obviously a senior moderator and not just a gobby person I will follow your instructions regarding my future conduct.