What Are Thailand Expat Teachers Doing Long-term?

Teaching in Thailand – What Is It Really Like? (VIDEO)

 

I used to know a lot of expats teaching English in Thailand. Now I know a few. Some make a decent living over the years as they stick with one school and their salary goes up. The salary is good for the area they are in, and invariably they meet someone they want to marry – and then start a new phase of life.

Some teachers I know make as much as 48,000 THB per month, and they’re living in a low-cost area. They stayed on for years, and in some cases – the school they are at is going to start outsourcing jobs to a staffing firm instead. The teachers that were once paid well will be out on their backsides, while new meat replace them at 28,000 THB per month instead.

So, though a teaching job looks steady in some way here in Thailand – it probably is NOT – unless it’s your own school. Meaning, you started the business.

Because I’m not in Bangkok, I only really know two kinds of people in Thailand. Those that are retired and have enough to live on – to do what they want. They travel around Thailand a little bit. They spend what they make on pension each month usually, some save a bit. They’re basically set. They worked their asses off during their younger days – and have a couple thousand dollars per month to show for it. Nice.

The other group I know are those that are usually younger, and that are struggling like hell to make more than 30,000 THB per month in Thailand. God help them if they’re living off that and trying to raise a family. I know a couple of guys like this. My wife has a Thai friend she went to school with that married a Canadian guy. They had one kid, now #2 is on the way. He’s taking them all to China to try to make more money and get a bigger savings.

Does that sound like a viable option? How many years would you need to work in China before you have a decent savings? 25? 35 years? The difference in pay is just not that much, and living in Shanghai – costs a lot too.

I’m trying to understand – how long are they going to do this? Rely on his teaching I mean.

How long can someone go year after year making less than $1,500 USD per month and being satisfied with that?

When do you crack and return home to get a job and bigger savings? When do you finally put a boot to your ass and learn some new skills that will get you a better job? When do you decide that $1,500 is so far behind the poverty line that it doesn’t work even in Thailand?

I wrote this today – and am thinking about it today because of a forum post I just read. A guy is returning to the UK after 4.5 years of living in Thailand because he’s afraid he’s going to join the “Condo Diving Club” in a few years if he totally crashes and runs out of money.

He has some foresight anyway.

I don’t know that everyone does.

If you’re teaching in Thailand and you have a wife and kids, girlfriend and kids – whatever your situation, you have a family… what is your long-term plan?

Anybody care to share?

Are you hoping that the teaching situation does a 180 turn and you’ll make better money in a couple years? Are you training toward doing something else? Are you waiting for your parents to die at home and will you the house?

Just curious – thinking about this a lot today.

Thailand Book Recommendations: Teaching in Thailand

I put out a book –

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TEACHING ENGLISH IN THAILAND

You can find it at Amazon under my name – Vern Lovic

Better to watch this video to see my latest take on it…

(Click the image above to see more information and for the ordering page.)

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Thailand is a well put together book that I highly recommend because I wrote it. ;)

I looked at all the different things I would want to know as a teacher coming from abroad to teach English to Thais and I jammed it all into this book. I know it’s American style to tell you it’s the Ultimate Guide… but in truth, I’ve seen nothing else that is current and that covers as much as this book covers. Not only will you learn all the requirements for teaching in Thailand, but you’ll have the “big picture” view about costs of housing and furnishings, short briefs on places you might want to live in Thailand, and the salary expectations you might have coming here in 2010-2011.

If you look on Dave’s ESL cafe or Ajarn (com) you can see that currently there are very few teaching jobs outside of Bangkok. There’s a reason for that. We’re in the slow hiring period. When is the good hiring period? You’ll find out in the book. Where are the cheapest places to live in the country? You’ll find out in the book. Where are the least stressful jobs at? In the book.

If you are considering coming to Thailand and you’ve already read the reams of outdated information online, get this “Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Thailand” in ebook format and it will help you make your decision for, or against, coming to Thailand to teach.

If you leave a comment below asking for a copy of this teaching book. I’ll give away 5 freebies. If you’ve already received a free ebook from this site before – sorry, this offer is just for those that haven’t received any free ebooks in the past here.

To Teach or Not to Teach

I’ve written a couple articles about teaching in Thailand here:

Why Teach English in Thailand?

Should Expat Teachers Hit Thai School Children?

Teacher Fired for Blogging (Bangkok)

Teaching English in Thailand in Surat Thani

Teaching English in Thailand (Round 4)

Recently I saw a twitter post by travelfish that highlighted a new article there that was definitely worth reading. Travelfish article:  Teaching in Thailand >

Catch travelfish at twitter at: http://twitter.com/travelfish Catch me at:

http://twitter.com/AimforAwesome (my other sitewww.AimforAwesome.com)

If you don’t know what Twitter is – you’ve got to find out – especially if you have a business. Twitter is like world-wide chat. You choose who to add. They choose to add you or not. Very helpful current info from people into the same things as you are.

I’ll be doing a video on it shortly to explain the whole concept.

Teaching in Thailand: Jobs Available

Teaching in Thailand: Jobs available

The jobs that are available always greatly outnumber the
jobs I want.

Right now I’m trying to find a job in the northeast of
Thailand, in a good school, that pays 32-35,000 Thai
baht per month. It’s gotta be close to Laos so I can go
frequently. It should be close to a major city with a Tesco
so I can have Italian bread (french bread) sometimes.

It should have some universities. It should have good
internet connections SOMEWHERE – even if not at my
home. It should have good connection at the school I
work at.

There should be virtually no farang there at all. One or
two that I might see each day – ok. No more really. No
tourist atmosphere.

They need to have awesome som tam, spicy, spicy.

The school should give me a bonus at the end of the year
equal to one month of salary. The school should offer
yearly increases if I stay. The school should have some
experience already dealing with farangs and know that
we don’t take well to last minute notices.

The teaching job should be for Prathom 2 or 3, maybe
4. Or, I would consider a university job – but they don’t
pay so well in Isaan. Never more than 28,000 baht per
month.

The city should have lots of traditional morlam dancing.
I LOVE that stuff. I love the music too. I should get
awakened every Saturday and Sunday by groups of
people dancing behind a pickup truck with large speakers
and some guy playing a crazy instrument that sounds
almost like east Indian music, but is much, much better.

There should be a too-geh outside my window.

There should be a Makro where I can buy a ping-pong
table so I can invite people over.

Ideally the job would be close to a part of Laos that is
thin so I could shoot across Laos and into Vietnam for
a 3-day weekend.

There should be an English camp where we go
somewhere fun like Ko Chang near Rayong.

There should be Thai teaching assistants.

It should be a great Song Kran town. I think all the
towns in the northeast are, though I’ve been to just
Ubon and Sisaket oh, and Warin Chamrap. Those
are all perfect.

Anyway… Anybody know of a teaching job in the
northeast that is looking to hire for next term that
might fit the above?

Didn’t think so!

*******************

Living in Thailand – What is it like to live in Thailand? Could you do it? Follow one man’s journey.

Moving to Thailand – What is involved in moving across the globe to live in Thailand? What is it like? All your questions answered.

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching in Thailand – There have been a couple attempts at books that cover this subject. We have reviewed them and found them seriously lacking. Here is a very complete book on the subject.

25 Ways to Make Money in Thailand without Teaching – Many come to teach and find out after a semester or a year that it just isn’t what they want to be doing. Thailand’s great cost of living means there are any number of ways to earn a sustainable living. Learn 25 ways to accomplish this online.

Notecard, Isaan, Garn

Notecard: Isaan 2nd grade school class, English program

I’ve got many of these – I made 60 yesterday. I won’t bore
you with too many at a time. And, don’t go back through
all of them and read them all at once or you’ll burn out
on them!

The pictures of excrement part – is a story about when I was teaching 2nd grade at Assumption College. The kids were having a fun day of drawing funny pictures of their teacher – me – and writing funny phrases and words on
them. They’d hand me the picture and then watch for my reaction – which was always exaggerated and incredulous.

They had a blast with this. It started after one girl drew a picture of me on her homework – and it was funny. I pretended that I got angry – but in a funny way. Then another kid drew something and gave it to me. Then the entire 2nd grade class were drawing funny pictures of me and giving them to me.

The class clown – a kid named Garn was sitting there for 15 minutes with a smirk on his face. This kid was really odd – like he was out of touch with reality. BUT, he was brilliant and if he ever applied himself – and he did
sometimes just to see my reaction because I lavished praise on him when he did.

So he’s sitting there smirking as each kid brought up funny pictures and I read the comments – like “Aj Vern no feet” or “fat mr vern” or “mr vern no arms” or “no mr vern” and other things. Some kids gave me 6 pictures making fun of me!

Garn comes up just as I had gathered my stuff and he hands me a very small corner of a piece of paper that he ripped from a page. In pencil was a picture, un- mistakably of a STEAMING TURD. He walked back to his desk slowly and sat down – barely able to hold back his grin… He thought mr vern was a piece
of steaming shite!

So – that’s teaching Prathom 2 in Thailand. Chaos. Funny pictures. And, not me, but other farangs that come into school drunk either after nights out late
or after they’ve had their morning beers.

Moving to Thailand?

Learn the Thai Alphabet in 1-Hour! – groundbreaking system gives you the easiest, fastest method to learn the difficult Thai Alphabet in a fraction of time it takes everyone else. Not a joke! It seriously works – I’ve reviewed this book.

Living in Thailand – What is it like to live in Thailand? Could you do it? Follow one man’s journey.

Moving to Thailand – What is involved in moving across the globe to live in Thailand? What is it like? All your questions answered.

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching in Thailand – There have been a couple attempts at books that cover this subject. We have reviewed them and found them seriously lacking. Here is a very complete book on the subject.

25 Ways to Make Money in Thailand without Teaching – Many come to teach and find out after a semester or a year that it just isn’t what they want to be doing. Thailand’s great cost of living means there are any number of ways to earn a sustainable living. Learn 25 ways to accomplish this online.

Joys Thai Food Recipes – Joy’s 50 best, 100% authentic Thai recipes. A classic!

Joys Thai Dessert Recipes – Joy’s TOP 20 Thai dessert recipes. A must have!

Thailand’s Finest… “Farang Teachers!”

I’ve not been in jail in my life. Not even to walk inside one.

I’ve been on the front porch of a jail and it seemed that any
moment myself and 2 friends could be joining the 30 naked
guys that we could see plainly through the curtainless window
just 4 meters in front of our faces, crammed into their small
holding cell…

But, we paid our 1000 baht fine and they took 4 of our “illegal”
Beer Laos’ – 2 light and 2 dark, and sent us on our way with
the rest of our 2 cases and some wine and whiskey.

Now – that small brush with Thailand’s Finest was no easy sweat
off the bollocks. There was a lot of stuff going on right there
which I’ll have to write about in a future post.

This post is about Thailand’s “other” finest… the teachers.

Specifically the teachers at the school where I teach now. More
specifically, the farang teachers at the school where I teach now.
There are 12 of us I think someone said… Some from USA, UK,
Holland, and Philippines.

I’ve been living here for over 2 years. Years they’ve each lived
here: 7, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 6 months, 6 months, 9 months, 7 months,
5 months, and the Filipina girl we’ll leave out of this since she and
I are the only ones that don’t partake…

Partake of pot smoking.

Now, I’ve never been addicted to anything in my life. But, I’ve
worked in the mental health system in the USA and counseled
those that have been. I understand addiction. I guess you
could say I’ve been addicted to exercise in the past when I
did triathlons.

I’ve tried pot. Exactly 3 times. It was a horrible psychedelic
experience the first time and so the next time wasn’t until
12 years later. That time I felt what I was “supposed” to feel,
but still – I wondered why people liked that feeling. I hated it.

The last time it did nothing for me. Personally I could care
less if people do it. I had many friends in the states that did
it. No worries. Get caught in the states – get a year probation
first time – or something lame… even if I’m caught WITH
them I’m likely to get a blow-off sentence plus I’d pass any
test.

Anyway… so here we are… living in a foreign country where
they take drug use of any kind (except alcohol!) very seriously.
In fact, there is an often quoted number of 2000+ people that
were killed in some manner (all kinds of manners really) during
the last drug user and dealer “witch hunt” that occured just
before I got here.

Apparently Thaksin wanted to appear tough on drug use – and
so he authorized the police to take care of business –
shooting to kill when necessary. Many were shot in
the back… which shouldn’t surprise those of us who live here
– they fight the same way – bottle to the BACK of the head
without warning.

I hadn’t SEEN drug use here in Thailand among any of the locals
in Ubon and I knew many. However, I was told that it was popular
among a certain group of young people – even 15 – 18 yr olds AT
school.

I went to play some ping-pong at a co-workers house just a day or
so after coming to this school as a new teacher 9 months ago. I
brought my girlfriend, who had never seen anyone use drugs, or
even knew the name of the drugs… These clowns sit down and
start packing a bowl into a rose apple. I was shocked that these
guys, seemingly bright guys, were going to smoke POT in Thailand
inside a house that was surrounded by other houses at 7 pm on a
weeknight – in front of my innocent Thai girlfriend!

I was pissed – and yet, it’s gotta be expected I guess. People do
what they want when they want without regard to others in the USA
and it was business as usual I guess.

My girlfriend and I went upstairs and pretended to use the computer
while the 4 teachers smoked pot bowl after bowl. My girlfriend asked
me a LOT of questions. She was scared as hell. She had known victims
of the drug manhunt and probably was imagining that we were next.

Understandably.

So – we bailed out after that. Not returning… I’ve been a social recluse
since. I was told that the Filipina girl and myself were the ONLY ones
that didn’t smoke pot in the office! Not including the Thai teachers.

So, I didn’t want to hang out with anyone since my girlfriend and I do
everything together and I sure didn’t want to put either of us at risk
for some ambitious cop or neighbor with a plan to get 50,000-200,000
baht from a group of farang pot smokers.

I didn’t need the stigma attached to hanging out with them either, as
all long-term residents of TH know, the locals talk about EVERYTHING
we do. EVERYSINGLEFARKINGTHING. If you’re going out with 2 girls,
everyone knows. If you’re banging your maid, everyone knows. If you’re
smoking pot on the ferry to Koh Samui – the entire town knows and will
tell everyone that doesn’t know.

Yes, this happened too. One of our teachers from the states was smoking
bowls ON THE FERRY to Koh Samui. A Thai teacher ON the ferry saw it
and told the entire school that farang teachers from our school were
doing it.

That happened about 5 months ago. Did they smarten up? No, they
got worse.

I heard this first hand from 2 of them that were there and this is
how it was relayed to me… The two of them were at “ferry pot smoker’s”
house. I’ll call him, “Rick”. An Aussie guy acquaintance had lent Rick a
weed eater to cut the grass for a party that was to happen that next
day at the house. The guys Thai wife came, and with them came a 16
year old German kid that was here in Thailand on an exchange program.

As the wife and kid walked into the house, Rick and another teacher
were, of course, smoking pot… it’s a very regular part of their lives.

Rick asks the wife and kid if they want some Tuna Melts. They say,
sure!

Rick goes and makes some tuna melts. In the meantime the guy that
was cutting the grass came in and so there was Rick, the Aussie, the
other teacher, the wife, and the kid. The guys start smoking pot
again. The Aussie starts acting like a monkey – and blowing smoke
right into the kid’s face – and the kid is kinda freaked out. He’s trying
to avoid it, but apparently the Aussie guy is pretty belligerent about it
and blowing it repeatedly in the kid’s face.

Anyway, so they eat their tuna melts. And the kid starts flipping out.
He is having some kind of drug induced or mind-induced experience
where he thinks that Rick has laced the tuna melts with some LSD or
other drug!

Now, who is to say? I don’t know this guy THAT well to vouch for him
that he WOULD’NT do something like that. I’d like to THINK he
wouldn’t -but the whole story is very strange.

So, the kid went to the hospital and was there for 2 days. He told
EVERYONE he possibly could that Rick drugged him with the sandwiches.

He wrote internet stories about it. He told people at home. He told
doctors, nurses, and teachers from our school!

I’m sure I haven’t heard even a PORTION of the stories that have
gone on here in 9 months. I hear little since I ask little. If someone
volunteers it – I hear it.

It’s like a dream! Well, it’s a writer’s paradise anyway… so I’ll just
try to lay low until I can get the hell out of here and closer to some
sanity – maybe back to ISAAN!

ANYbody have similar experiences here? Or, if you want to write in
support of drug use here in Thailand because you’re on top of the game
write that too… tell me that I’m being paranoid…