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Why do you guys do it?
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AKChina



Joined: 29 Apr 2015
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 11:34 pm    Post subject: Why do you guys do it? Reply with quote

Title says it all. I've been to Thailand on vacations, yes it's a very nice country. But it's only a nice country when you have the money to go to the nightclubs, visit the islands, and go scuba diving in the clear blue seas etc.

But a teacher on 30,000 baht isn't enjoying any of that. All the things that everyone likes about Thailand cost money. Is living in a 7,000 a month condo and eating 3*40 baht meals of pad thai a day really how anyone wants to live their life?

Schools expecting you to actually work a 40 hour week for 30,000 a month are having a laugh. That's 176 hours a month...which comes to...170 baht ($5) an hour. And nowadays they're even trying to get out of paying for vacations! There's no flight tickets provided, no accommodation provided, often the summer holiday isn't paid for...who are the people who take these jobs??

I'm not claiming to be rich because I'm not, but anyone can walk into Vietnam and get $20 an hour. The job I'm going to in China is 14 hours a week, with the same pay you get in Thailand for doing 40 hours. Oh and you get accommodation and flights included in China.

What is the draw of Thailand? I understand girls, beaches, good nightlife...but to enjoy any of that you need money, and 30k a month doesn't cut it. An ESL teacher isn't going to be snorkeling in Phuket, barfining from Pattaya gogo's, or dining in nice Bangkok restaurants. It's going to be shoebox living, eating Thai food with a trip to The Pizza Company being the monthly 'treat'.

I'm not 'hating', but I can see no good reason why anyone would choose to start teaching ESL in Thailand. If you're at an international school then sure but just focusing on entry level jobs it seems like you could have more fun pretty much anywhere else in Asia (as more money = more fun...there's nothing fun about struggling to pay rent, not having good holidays, and eating crappy street food 3 meals a day).
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 914

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The point being that you "START" teaching in Thailand at 30k.

You DON'T stay teaching at 30k. If you do then you get the existence that you were looking for.

People start at the entry level. That is what entry level is. The level you enter at and in Thailand that level is at 30k.

People who don't do anything to self improve and become more valuable deserve to stay at the entry level (and the majority of them do...).

Those who do improve, network and make connections, and professionally develop also do move past the entry level EFL jobs into something more lucrative and should be earning in the neighborhood of 80-130k (up to US$4k /month plus an expat benefit package) or more for their 880 class hours per year.

$20/hour ($18k per year for 880 classes) is still nothing more than beer money and is still at the entry level.

.
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xaile



Joined: 20 Aug 2014
Posts: 13
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not very keen to snorkel in Phuket, go to Pataya's gogo, dine in fancy Bangkok restaurants or do and visit any package tourist hell. I do all these things in a non-touristy southern province for local price all year around. But if those things are in your desired holiday schedule you can buy many package holidays in China and escape from the miserable, grey polluted winter. You will be welcome in Thailand! Laughing Rolling Eyes
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AKChina



Joined: 29 Apr 2015
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

suphanburi wrote:
The point being that you "START" teaching in Thailand at 30k.

You DON'T stay teaching at 30k. If you do then you get the existence that you were looking for.

People start at the entry level. That is what entry level is. The level you enter at and in Thailand that level is at 30k.

People who don't do anything to self improve and become more valuable deserve to stay at the entry level (and the majority of them do...).

Those who do improve, network and make connections, and professionally develop also do move past the entry level EFL jobs into something more lucrative and should be earning in the neighborhood of 80-130k (up to US$4k /month plus an expat benefit package) or more for their 880 class hours per year.

$20/hour ($18k per year for 880 classes) is still nothing more than beer money and is still at the entry level.

.


But you could make that argument for anyplace, surely? That there's entry level jobs and it's possible to make more. That's the case anywhere.

But entry level in Vietnam pays 4x more per hour than entry level in Thailand. That's no small difference. China is the same when you factor in the value of accommodation and flights provided.

For 30k you should be able to just teach your 20 classes a week and go home, sorry. It's an insult to expect anyone to work a 40 hour week for 30k.

For example in Vietnam, 20 classes a week * $20 = around $1600 a month. So for half the hours of Thailand you get 60% more money.

Yes, international school teachers with a teaching license can earn 80k-130k, but that's not ESL teaching, that's professional teaching with proper qualifications. I agree if you get a teaching licence and get a job at a top tier international school in Thailand, you're doing well. But that's not what I'm discussing here - I'm talking about ESL teaching.
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RustyShackleford



Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 449

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's like Japan. The salaries are mediocre-horrible for most jobs at entry level, but some people really like the culture and ambiance and willing to make sacrifices to be within it. Same for here in Spain - I'm not fond of it for the money I'm getting but those around seem to love it for getting 1000€/month.

Thailand would not appeal to me for 30,000 Bht as well.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 914

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AKChina wrote:
But you could make that argument for anyplace, surely? That there's entry level jobs and it's possible to make more. That's the case anywhere.

But entry level in Vietnam pays 4x more per hour than entry level in Thailand. That's no small difference. China is the same when you factor in the value of accommodation and flights provided.

For 30k you should be able to just teach your 20 classes a week and go home, sorry. It's an insult to expect anyone to work a 40 hour week for 30k.

For example in Vietnam, 20 classes a week * $20 = around $1600 a month. So for half the hours of Thailand you get 60% more money.

Yes, international school teachers with a teaching license can earn 80k-130k, but that's not ESL teaching, that's professional teaching with proper qualifications. I agree if you get a teaching license and get a job at a top tier international school in Thailand, you're doing well. But that's not what I'm discussing here - I'm talking about ESL teaching.


For those on a gap year then sure.... the McD's of teaching English is OK but why would you want to stay there at the bottom of the EFL ladder for more than a short time?

For those with a degree (all legal teachers in Thailand now) it does not take much effort to move up from that 30k entry level job to something in the 50-60k range (IN EFL).

For those who are going to be at it for more than a short time (settling in for the long haul in Asia, gained a family perhaps) then 1 year of professional development (there are programs for working professionals who need to still work rather than take a year off to be a student again) and Bob's yer Uncle.

Jobs (as English teachers) in the 80k+ range come into view. Add a few years of experience and 130k as a home room teacher is certainly an option. (Yes, you have become a professional teacher rather than a "tourist teacher".)

Vietnam is certainly an emerging market but you still won't be living the expat life on your $1600 either.

.
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AKChina



Joined: 29 Apr 2015
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

suphanburi wrote:
AKChina wrote:
But you could make that argument for anyplace, surely? That there's entry level jobs and it's possible to make more. That's the case anywhere.

But entry level in Vietnam pays 4x more per hour than entry level in Thailand. That's no small difference. China is the same when you factor in the value of accommodation and flights provided.

For 30k you should be able to just teach your 20 classes a week and go home, sorry. It's an insult to expect anyone to work a 40 hour week for 30k.

For example in Vietnam, 20 classes a week * $20 = around $1600 a month. So for half the hours of Thailand you get 60% more money.

Yes, international school teachers with a teaching license can earn 80k-130k, but that's not ESL teaching, that's professional teaching with proper qualifications. I agree if you get a teaching license and get a job at a top tier international school in Thailand, you're doing well. But that's not what I'm discussing here - I'm talking about ESL teaching.


For those on a gap year then sure.... the McD's of teaching English is OK but why would you want to stay there at the bottom of the EFL ladder for more than a short time?

For those with a degree (all legal teachers in Thailand now) it does not take much effort to move up from that 30k entry level job to something in the 50-60k range (IN EFL).

For those who are going to be at it for more than a short time (settling in for the long haul in Asia, gained a family perhaps) then 1 year of professional development (there are programs for working professionals who need to still work rather than take a year off to be a student again) and Bob's yer Uncle.

Jobs (as English teachers) in the 80k+ range come into view. Add a few years of experience and 130k as a home room teacher is certainly an option. (Yes, you have become a professional teacher rather than a "tourist teacher".)

Vietnam is certainly an emerging market but you still won't be living the expat life on your $1600 either.

.


But again, there's jobs above entry level in every country on the planet. Yes, some people can network their way to 50k or 60k after putting in a couple of years earning peanuts. But you can earn that (or more) right away in Vietnam, China, or Korea as an entry level worker, and then after the same 2 years get a better job in those countries so you're still earning more than the Thailand TEFL guy.

I'm not claiming I live the expat life in Vietnam, but there's a huge difference between working 20 hours a week vs 40 hours, and there's a huge difference between $1,600 a month and $900

A 40 hour week for $900 is $5 an hour. That's an insult to absolutely anyone, let alone someone with a degree from a western university.

What can the entry level EFL'er actually do in Thailand, that makes coming to Thailand worthwhile to begin with? The main reasons people like Thailand, in no specific order: 1) Beaches, 2) Women, 3) Nightlife, 4) Good travelling opportunities around some of the worlds most lovely islands. But the poor EFL'er on 30k a month won't be enjoying any of that which means it sort of defeats the purpose of working in Thailand to begin with...if you can't have fun, what's the point?

I visit Thailand on vacation relatively often. Alcohol is 80 baht a bottle these days at the lower end places, can go up to 160 baht at say, a disco/nightclub. Rent isn't that cheap, at least in Bangkok you'll be looking at 7,000 for a place that is even habitable, probably more like 10,000 if you want an actual nice place. The food really isn't that cheap unless you're happy eating 3 meals of street food a day.

But let's just take some low end figures - 7,000 for rent, 5,000 for food, 600 for internet, and 1,400 for electricity and water. So that's 14,000 gone, leaving you 16,000 for entertainment and other expenses.

16,000 baht disposable income a month? For working 40 hours a week? The hell? Even going and spending 3,000 on a decent night out for yourself and a girlfriend (1,500 each, so not exactly making it rain!) represents a huge spend. Taking a date to The Pizza Company actually is a decent chunk of your monthly budget too. And heaven forbid you lose your phone or your laptop breaks...you'll be slaving away for two months just to buy a new one. What kind of life is that for anyone?
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Brunouno



Joined: 18 Apr 2013
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AKChina wrote:
suphanburi wrote:
AKChina wrote:
But you could make that argument for anyplace, surely? That there's entry level jobs and it's possible to make more. That's the case anywhere.

But entry level in Vietnam pays 4x more per hour than entry level in Thailand. That's no small difference. China is the same when you factor in the value of accommodation and flights provided.

For 30k you should be able to just teach your 20 classes a week and go home, sorry. It's an insult to expect anyone to work a 40 hour week for 30k.

For example in Vietnam, 20 classes a week * $20 = around $1600 a month. So for half the hours of Thailand you get 60% more money.

Yes, international school teachers with a teaching license can earn 80k-130k, but that's not ESL teaching, that's professional teaching with proper qualifications. I agree if you get a teaching license and get a job at a top tier international school in Thailand, you're doing well. But that's not what I'm discussing here - I'm talking about ESL teaching.


For those on a gap year then sure.... the McD's of teaching English is OK but why would you want to stay there at the bottom of the EFL ladder for more than a short time?

For those with a degree (all legal teachers in Thailand now) it does not take much effort to move up from that 30k entry level job to something in the 50-60k range (IN EFL).

For those who are going to be at it for more than a short time (settling in for the long haul in Asia, gained a family perhaps) then 1 year of professional development (there are programs for working professionals who need to still work rather than take a year off to be a student again) and Bob's yer Uncle.

Jobs (as English teachers) in the 80k+ range come into view. Add a few years of experience and 130k as a home room teacher is certainly an option. (Yes, you have become a professional teacher rather than a "tourist teacher".)

Vietnam is certainly an emerging market but you still won't be living the expat life on your $1600 either.

.


But again, there's jobs above entry level in every country on the planet. Yes, some people can network their way to 50k or 60k after putting in a couple of years earning peanuts. But you can earn that (or more) right away in Vietnam, China, or Korea as an entry level worker, and then after the same 2 years get a better job in those countries so you're still earning more than the Thailand TEFL guy.

I'm not claiming I live the expat life in Vietnam, but there's a huge difference between working 20 hours a week vs 40 hours, and there's a huge difference between $1,600 a month and $900

A 40 hour week for $900 is $5 an hour. That's an insult to absolutely anyone, let alone someone with a degree from a western university.

What can the entry level EFL'er actually do in Thailand, that makes coming to Thailand worthwhile to begin with? The main reasons people like Thailand, in no specific order: 1) Beaches, 2) Women, 3) Nightlife, 4) Good travelling opportunities around some of the worlds most lovely islands. But the poor EFL'er on 30k a month won't be enjoying any of that which means it sort of defeats the purpose of working in Thailand to begin with...if you can't have fun, what's the point?

I visit Thailand on vacation relatively often. Alcohol is 80 baht a bottle these days at the lower end places, can go up to 160 baht at say, a disco/nightclub. Rent isn't that cheap, at least in Bangkok you'll be looking at 7,000 for a place that is even habitable, probably more like 10,000 if you want an actual nice place. The food really isn't that cheap unless you're happy eating 3 meals of street food a day.

But let's just take some low end figures - 7,000 for rent, 5,000 for food, 600 for internet, and 1,400 for electricity and water. So that's 14,000 gone, leaving you 16,000 for entertainment and other expenses.

16,000 baht disposable income a month? For working 40 hours a week? The hell? Even going and spending 3,000 on a decent night out for yourself and a girlfriend (1,500 each, so not exactly making it rain!) represents a huge spend. Taking a date to The Pizza Company actually is a decent chunk of your monthly budget too. And heaven forbid you lose your phone or your laptop breaks...you'll be slaving away for two months just to buy a new one. What kind of life is that for anyone?


Shhhh, stop mentioning Vietnam. The last thing we want is for this place to turn out like Thailand and be even more saturated with teachers and undesirable Westerners Very Happy
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EFL Educator



Joined: 17 Jul 2013
Posts: 988
Location: Cape Town

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too late....EFL teachers from Bangkok's Kaosarn Road have already arrived in droves looking for work in Nam...and have found it....especially in Hanoi and HCMC!!!!!! Shocked Shocked
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hdeth



Joined: 20 Jan 2015
Posts: 583

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh. $20 per hour... Simply can't earn more than that, and why would you? Impossible to spend that much money.

Do the international schools require teaching experience in western countries? Are they real international schools or more for rich thai families who want junior to study abroad? I work at an "international" school in Beijing on the strrngth of an advanced degree but no teaching license. I know one teacher here who did the teaching license course in the US but never taught there. Would an online teaching certificate course be enough?
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nomad-ish



Joined: 21 Oct 2010
Posts: 153
Location: Moving up the food chain!

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hdeth wrote:
Ahhh. $20 per hour... Simply can't earn more than that, and why would you? Impossible to spend that much money.

Do the international schools require teaching experience in western countries? Are they real international schools or more for rich thai families who want junior to study abroad? I work at an "international" school in Beijing on the strrngth of an advanced degree but no teaching license. I know one teacher here who did the teaching license course in the US but never taught there. Would an online teaching certificate course be enough?


no, you don't need western teaching experience, but more often than not, you will need at least two years of teaching experience post-certification. the better international schools will obviously require more experience and some might have a preference that some of that experience was obtained in a western country.

it is definitely worth your while to get a home-country teaching license - i wouldn't trust an online course for this. invest in a year back home and then start off with a low-tier international school to get some experience and then keep moving on up to schools with better benefit packages. there are some excellent, world-class international schools in thailand where you can earn upwards of 100,000 baht/mth, but you do need a teacher's credential. it's worth the investment in the long run.
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AKChina



Joined: 29 Apr 2015
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But guys - I'm not talking about teaching in an international school! That's a totally different matter. I'm asking why anyone would degrade themselves into working a 40 hour week for 30,000 baht a month. Thailand isn't exactly a cheap country compared to its neighbors and yet it pays by far the lowest.

Yes, yes...there's jobs that pay more than entry level. But get this - even someone at 'entry level' work should still expect to be able to earn enough to enjoy their lives and not have to literally pick the cheapest options for everything just to make the books balance at the end of the month. In every other place in Asia one can live a decent enough lifestyle off the cash provided and not have to worry about every little expense. In Thailand you can't. You're literally just working to pay rent and eat food.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 914

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AKChina wrote:
... even someone at 'entry level' work should still expect to be able to earn enough to enjoy their lives and not have to literally pick the cheapest options for everything just to make the books balance at the end of the month.


Strange... but I have done this in many places in Asia and the picture for gap year EFL teachers (entry level stuff) isn't that much better elsewhere any more. Come to think of it.... has been like salaries... and not changed much in the last 15 years (in Asia).

30k for a gap year isn't so bad. Life is an adventure and that is what backpacking and EFL used to be all about.

Staying at 30k for 10 years is just foolish.

Get some professional development and move up through that gap year glass ceiling. 60k is certainly on the table for EFL teachers with just a modicum of pro-D.
Remuneration packages of up to 130k (plus benefits) is certainly there for those who want to stay in the game and become legitimate teachers.

.
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hdeth



Joined: 20 Jan 2015
Posts: 583

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Entry level is different elsewhere. Entry-level in China can be 2-3x more for fewer hours. Only the uni gigs pay at that level and they provide housing, a bonus, and are only 12-16 hours per week.

I could survive on 30k baht if I wanted to...but Thailand is not THAT amazing. I really like Thailand but I can earn way more in China ATM.

The idea of teaching at an international school in Thailand does have a draw though. That's what I do here but they're willing to overlook the lack of teaching license at my school if you have a desirable graduate degree. Or if you teach math or science.

No way am I taking a year off for a teaching license. There's one through Florida that can be done entirely overseas, or one in Texas and a few other places where they pay you...or Teach for America...

I'm leaning strongly towards doing the Florida one because there's plenty of licensed teachers here to do observed classes and it's a substantial pay hike outside of China.

I have one co-worker who finished the teaching license education but never actually registered as a teacher state-side. I was wondering if that was acceptable in Thailand? I'm not sure how much observed teaching she did.
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AKChina



Joined: 29 Apr 2015
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

suphanburi wrote:


Strange... but I have done this in many places in Asia and the picture for gap year EFL teachers (entry level stuff) isn't that much better elsewhere any more. Come to think of it.... has been like salaries... and not changed much in the last 15 years (in Asia).

30k for a gap year isn't so bad. Life is an adventure and that is what backpacking and EFL used to be all about.

Staying at 30k for 10 years is just foolish.

Get some professional development and move up through that gap year glass ceiling. 60k is certainly on the table for EFL teachers with just a modicum of pro-D.
Remuneration packages of up to 130k (plus benefits) is certainly there for those who want to stay in the game and become legitimate teachers.


Entry level EFL'ers do much better over here in Vietnam, where pay is $20 an hour. They'll earn about 50% more money on average and work a LOT less hours.

As pointed out as well, entry level in China for a 40 hour work week (so we compare apples to apples here) is at least 2x that of Thailand.

In Korea one earns double the salary of Thailand at entry level, and will also get flights and accomodation provided.

You can get professional development anywhere and move up to increase salaries, without the need to *beep* yourself out for 40 hours a week at 30k a month to do it.

The way I see it - all the things that make Thailand an amazing country are only amazing if you've got the money to experience them. 30k baht a month isn't getting you anywhere near. Relative to its neighbors, Thailand is an expensive country to live in.
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