Friday, 31 July 2009

Teaching in Thailand, low pay and poor English teachers


The topic of teaching salaries in Thailand has always been a bit of a hot potato with certain teachers here.

You see if you're teaching in the government school system then you can expect a salary of around 30,000 to 35,000 baht per month. Far too low most teachers might cry out!

Cost of living here

Small one room condo in Bangkok = 3,000 to 4,000 baht per month.

Water = 160 - 200 baht per month

Electric 500 - 1000 baht per month dependent on if you get your electric direct from the electric company or through the condo / apartment block where you are living.

You see getting it direct from the company will save you a lot of money, because you don't have the building owner adding extra onto each unit.

Condo maintenance = 500 per month(approx)

Traveling to work = go by bus rather than getting a taxi makes it cheaper.

Food = Well you can eat out all the time which is dirt cheap

T.V = get dvds for the week 150 -200 baht

Ways for teachers to save money

Don't go drinking at go go bars etc!

Don't pick up Suzie wong every night, at least give her one night off a week!

Don't rent that 10,000 baht per month condo right in the most expensive tourist haunt!

Don't eat at Mcdonalds and pizza hut every day!

Don't exercise your arm muscles every night lifting heavy bottles!

Don't keep hoping into taxis!

Don't buy everything from western style department stores!

Don't send a big portion of your monthly wedge to the squeeze's money grabbing parents in iisaan!

Don't send money to help sick buffalo's etc!

You're still broke?

Well you could ask your employer for more work, but this will just make your days longer and in the end you'll tire of it!

You can supplement your income by working direct from your own home! If you don't mind filling in short surveys you can make a $1 a survey. The surveys usually a very short and on average will take you 5 minutes to complete!

So lets say you spend an hour a night in your nice cool comfortable condo filling in surveys. That equates to... $12 dollars a night for one measly hour spent in your own comfortable home doing something really easy!

Over a week that = $84 dollars extra!

Over a month that = $336 dollars per month!

Over 1 year that = $4,032 dollars a year tax free and in your pocket!

Just think how much more you could make if you spent just a few more hours a week doing this? You can do as many surveys as you wish!

So what's the catch? Is it going to cost me something?

NO, IT'S ABSOLUTELY FREE IT WILL NOT COST YOU A DIME! IT'S FREE AS IN FREE BEER!


All you have to do is sign up to start up 100% FREE!


That's all there is to it, the quicker you start the quicker you can earn!

All I ask of you is to let me know how you're getting on with it!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Teach English for Siam computer Thailand


This weeks featured English language school happens to be none other than Siam computer language institute Thailand!

Now most expat English teachers here in Thailand will know that Siam computer is one of the biggest if not the largest English language school here in Thailand. They also claim to be the oldest.

Siam computer has it's head office Based at victory monument in Bangkok. It also has many schools / branches / franchises scattered throughout the kingdom of Thailand, with a whopping 15 branches in Bangkok alone!

Siam computer & language institute was founded way back in 1979 and today offers more than just English language courses. Siam computer language institute now offers courses in computing, French,German, japanese and Chinese! Along with it's ever increasing network. Siam computer language school just seems to be going from strength to strength!

Working and teaching English for Siam computer


If you are a newcomer to the esl business in Thailand then you could do a lot worse than Siam computer.

For the newly arrived English teacher in Thailand Siam computer makes a great starting point! Not only for the newly arrived rookies, for more experienced and seasoned esl teachers as well!

Contracts & money


Siam offer a rather bog standard contract of employment across the board, so what can you expect?
Normally along the lines of 30,000 - 35,000 baht per month for approx 20 - 23 contact hours a week in one of their many government schools located throughout the capital city of Bangkok.

If you work at one of their many upcountry branches rates of pay might be slightly lower as is the cost of living in the sticks so things tend to work themselves out.

You will be asked to sign up for a one year contract. At the end of this contract you will be paid a completion bonus of 20,000 baht! That is dependent upon you not having any days off! If you are ill or miss a day during your contract you will forfeit 1,000 baht for every day you don't show!

You will have the opportunity to earn overtime working for Siam computer. They also run in house courses in their many language centers. This could be evening and weekend work.

However, I'd just like to point out that Siam computer only pay a measly 250 baht per hour for teaching English courses in house!

This is a pretty poor deal, because you could earn 300 - 500 elsewhere. Siam computer lag behind a little here I'm afraid to say. Personally if it was me I'd work for them teaching English during the week at one of their government schools and then moonlight at another agency on weekends!

What happens if I'm sick will Siam pay me?


No! Unfortunately Siam don't or didn't used to pay you for being off ill! It was tough titty in this department and you lost a days pay.

Holidays

You will be entitled to all public holidays, which there can be a lot and you'll get paid for them!

What are they like to work for?


In a word good! The Thai management have understood the need for smooth staff / employer relations and have employed foreign staff who take care of the interviewing and recruitment process for the school.

Siam computer is a good place to kick off your esl teaching career here in Thailand, and is especially very friendly and welcoming to newcomers.

Siam computer also realize that to maintain a happy working atmosphere and to get the most out of their foreign English teachers they must work together hand in hand and they're certainly accomplishing this!

Requirements


To teach English for Siam computer the prospective English teacher will in most cases be required to be tefl qualified. This not only gives you the necessary skills to be able to teach English successfully. It will also help in your pay negotiations, and being a qualified esl teacher will definitely be a great advantage to you for future job hunting and employment within the esl business.

There are many tefl courses available from short tater courses to online courses so you really do have a vast choice of tefl courses to choose from!

Contact Siam computer


Tel. (66) 0-2247-2345 ext. 200, 204, 364
Fax. (66) 0-2644-6974; (66) 0-2644-6977
E-mail : patrick@siamcom.co.th and bhudeb@siamcom.co.th


Our rating and comments:


8.5 / 10 Siam computer and language esl school is a good school to work for. The only little niggles I have with this school are the lack of sick pay and the in house 250 baht per hour teaching rate. It needs to be raised guys!

The company are very fair to their employees, however Siam don't suffer fools gladly so if you're a pot head or a hippy that thinks you're going to roll up and pick up a few bucks without doing anything, then you're in for a shock!

Yes, do work for them, get yourself a start, and enjoy your life as an esl English language teacher, teaching English in this wonderful land called Thailand! Have fun!

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Friday, 24 July 2009

Esl teaching styles Thai vs farang!


When a new recruit to the Thai esl scene enters the classroom over here in Thailand, he/she is expected to be dynamic. Well that;s a word one of my old bosses Mr Manoch used to love to band around.

What he meant was that a foreign English teacher should be able to be creative whilst teaching students in the classroom environment. The reason for this is that Thai students who learn English, whether it be in high school or whether you be teaching private students in a language center somewhere need a teacher / clown type jester in order to keep their attention.

Lessons that are solely grammar based ortext book based here in Thailand are considered boring period! Teachers who teach this style will learn this very quickly as the student levels drop and the complaints roll in!

So lets take a brief look at the two styles here...

Thai teachers and their very own brand of classroom sanuk(fun)


Thailand is a culture where the word sanuk features in just about everything and if it's not sanuk then it just aint worth doing!

So how do Thai teachers teach? What's their big secret? How do they keep their students constantly entertained and always happy?

They don't the Thai teaching style is based upon the rota method of teaching. Basically the information is wrtitten on the board and the students must copy it down. After that the students recite what they've learned parrot fashion with the teachers, and that just about sums up their teaching style. Ask them to step outside of this little box and they can't!

You see part of the problem here is that most of the Thai teachers are old school just to coin a phrase. Yes, they were taught their trade back when the dinosaurs still walked the earth. That's the way they were taught and that's the way they will always teach. The old phrase can't teach a dog new tricks springs to mind.

Adding to this most Thais / Thai teachers have 0% creativity, it's just not a Thai trait! So thinking, planning and executing fun exciting and compelling lessons is just way out of their very limited scope.

Why aren't the students complaining that the lessons are dull and lacking in fun? The reason for this being is that they are Thai teachers and Thais will not go against Thai's, in other words they all stick together. This means that the Thai teachers are continually able to pull off the worst mind numbing drudgery one can imagine and still have the bare faced cheek to criticize the foreign teachers lessons for lacking in sanuk!

This is one way that Thailand works, and most new recruits over here had better get used to it, because you can't change it!

Foreign teachers style


Can you sing? Are you able to create fun entertaining and engaging lessons? Can you teach English very effectively? Are you able to discover and use the best techniques for foreign language acquisition? If so then you are just what the esl teaching industry here in Thailand is looking for.

The key here I would like to stress is creativity. For example take a pack of flash cards ok, how many different ways can you find to make games / activities out of a single pack? This si what I'm talking about, because you constantly need to be coming up with new and ever more creative ways to teach and engage your students. It's not too hard and after a while you'll discover that you've evoked that creative muse within yourself, and you're in full teaching activity flow!

When you create or find new activities write them down! Make a special file for games activities lesson plans etc. You'll certainly be using them in the future, and why not build up your arsenal now!

The differences between you and your Thai teacher counterpart is, you are creative, you are a native speaker of English, you have the ability to think out of the box, they don't! Use your skills oh wise ones and make your esl lessons in Thailand a teaching experience your students will remember and enjoy!

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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

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Saturday, 18 July 2009

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Teaching esl in a thai government school part 3


In the classroom

One thing that any newbie to the Thailand esl teaching scene will start to realize is this.. one cannot simply drift into a classroom with a book under ones arm and simply teach from it for the entire lesson.

Why? Simple... The students soon get bored of book work. Especially Thai students! Remember one of the first rules of teaching here... sanuk or fun, things have to be fun easy going and well a phrase they love to coin is not serious.

So the keen observers amongst you will have deducted that you can get along way by making your lessons fun! I'll even go as far as saying... even if you're not the best teacher in the world, if you can create this valuable element within the classroom then you've virtually cracked teaching esl here in Thailand. This will be in most cases enough to carry you.

Teaching materials resources

So book work should of course play a big part in your teaching. After all it is what they're supposed to be learning.

The problem a lot of new teachers find is that they tend to be hurled right in there at the deep end. They lack experience and mostly are given rather shoddy teaching materials etc. This can be make or brake time for some.

You'll find a huge amount of stuff available on the net to help you. However I will suggest a strategy that has worked well for me, in the planning and execution of my lessons.

Lets say you lessons are 1 hour in duration, you could plan your lesson along the lines of this...

1. Book work = 20 minutes

2. Conversation based upon what you've learned from the book = 10 minutes

3.Game / activity based or not based on the work you've just covered = 20 minutes

4.Quick review / game type activity to review the main parts of the lesson = 10 minutes

Finish.

Lesson plans

For those of you who are not in the know a lesson plan is basically a description of what happened in your class. What you taught, language and grammar points, games / activities and the language you practiced and produced.

My tip is to fill in one of these after your lesson. Why? because what you did is still fresh in your mind, you remember it and also it's always best to keep up to date with your lesson plans. Imagine what a nightmare it would be if you didn't do a lesson plan all semester and then suddenly the head of your department asks you for them tomorrow?

Sounds silly but I know of many a teacher this has happened too!

Next week.. Thai esl teaching style vs foreign teachers esl style.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

ELT communications / english+ Bangkok Thailand


Every now and again we're going to be doing a special feature on an esl language school in Thailand.

We'll give brief details about the particular school and we'll try to give it a fair rating.

Many newcomers to Thailand are usually overwhelmed by the vast array of private English language schools that proliferate here in Thailand and especially around the capital Bangkok.

It can be quite a challenge to actually decide for whom you want to work and where you want to work.

So our first featured private language school is ELT communications or English+ as it's also known.

English+ was established in 2002 by a man called MANOCH BHESAYANAVIN, this is he...


Contracts

This school used to have a lot of contracts with government schools in the early days of it's operation. Though over the past few years it's lost all but one or two of it's schools.

English+ centers


English+ was quite well known for opening small franchise branches all over the city and many upcountry, though like it's school contracts most of the centers have now closed or gone out of business,

You will still find a handful of E+ centers scattered throughout the city, though at one time E+ could boast up to 18 centers in Bangkok and many more upcountry.

Here's a list of their school contracts / centers as of 2007/2008...


Cement Thai Ministry of Public Health

BPB-Thai Gypsum Products Plc. Ministry of Education

Thaicoon-BrandAge Holding Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy

TMB Bank Chest Disease Institution


Kasikorn Bank Suankularb Wittayalai School

Glow Group Debsirin School

Tipco Foods (Thailand) Chulalongkorn University (Satit Chula)

Philips Electronics (Thailand) Nakhon Ratchasima Municipal Office

Euro RSCG Flagship SME Development Bank of Thailand

JSL Revenue Department

Gianni Enterprise (Spicchio Pizza) Ministry of Finance

Nok Airlines

ELLE Magazine

CLEO Magazine

Marie Claire Magazine

AMTAR (A subsidiary of TV Channel 3)

ADVANCE AGRO (Double A)

Prudential Life Assurance

Contract

Contracts and conditions vary a lot at this place but basically you can expect something along the lines of 30,000 baht to 35,000 baht per month for 100 contact hours. If you work for them in house and by that I mean at any of their E+ language centers, you'll be paid anything from 300 - 350 baht per hour.

Taxi expenses

Again this firm used to give you traveling expenses, however they were then withdrawn and then reintroduced for just a selected few.

Work permits

Hmmmm, good point.

Our rating:
6/10 needs to work harder and create a better working environment for it's teachers.

Should I work there?


By all means, though this is a good school to start with and it has some good resources, you could certainly learn a lot working for this school. Though at the end of the day most teachers move on to bigger and better things.

Final comment

Okay for a newcomer to Thailand and the esl teaching world. You can even take a tefl course with them.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Teaching esl in a thai government school(part 2)


Testing the students

If you teach tefl in a Thai government school you'll be expected to test your students usually twice per semester.

Now for the tefl teacher this can either be a god send or a right royal pain in the ass! My thoughts and experiences in this department are that testing is great! Why's that you might be thinking?

Well most tests in your average government schools are just speaking tests. You should of course base all your test questions on what the students have previously learnt with you.

For me testing all my classes which there were usually 18 to 19 in all was great. It meant that I got to sit outside and call my students out one by one to test them. I would test half the class one week and then test the other half the next week, all in all two weeks of testing and not having to teach!

What will the other kids be doing while I'm testing?

Herein could lie a problem. Let's see, you have 50 kids in a class and you the teacher are sat outside calling students out one at a time. That is a recipe for disaster, all those kids in a classroom on their own with time on their hands and nothing to do! Anarchy will certainly follow!

Not only will you suffer discipline problems, noise and general disorder, you could even end up with students fighting and getting injured if you're unlucky.

What you need to do is to give them something to occupy their time. For example print up a crossword or word search, make sure that what you give them is not too hard, or else they'll just give up, or not too easy or they'll have it finished within ten minutes leaving you back in the same boat!

This will occupy them for a decent length of time. Now take your table and chair outside and close all the doors except for one.

Connect your mic up inside the classroom and hopefully the lead on it will be long enough to extend outside of the classroom and to your table.

Sit down at your table with your students name list and call each student out individually and conduct your english speaking test or what other esl test you have prepaired for them.

Part 3... esl resources, lesson plans, and making your own games and other esl classroom activities.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

tefl,efl,esl,tesol,tesl... do you speak a da tefl lingo?


Newcomers to the tefl teaching world might find themselves a little overwhelmed by the amount of terms that are being banded around. Most teflers tend to use some of the above phrases interchangeably, but fear not help is at hand. You too can now speak a da tefl lingo!

tefl = teaching English as a foreign language.

tesol = teaching English to speakers of other languages.

efl = English as a foreign language.

esl = English as a second language.

tesl = teaching English as a second language.

Now you've got a few tefl phrases under your belt. You should now feel confident to speak a da tefl lingo with your English language tefl teaching buddies!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Teaching esl in a government school in Thailand part 1


So you're a newbie teacher or just a plain wanabee and you're wondering what it's like to teach English in a Thai government school?

The classroom

Well Thailand isn't exactly a first world country and this is reflected somewhat in their educational facilities. When I first walked into a Thai government school and started teaching English, I discovered it was like stepping back into some kind of time warp, taking me back to my early school days in England.

You'll find a blackboard, oops am I allowed to say that still? Lol who cares! and chalk! Jeez, I thought they'd all gone out years ago, back in England and the west yes! However this is Thailand and that's the way of things here.

One other thing I'd like to mention here is this. The air con lovers out there will be very disappointed because most Thai government school classrooms have fans! If you can't take the heat then you'd better find somewhere that has air con!

Number of pupils


Here's one that will probably blow the mind of a rookie teacher in Thailand. To tell you the truth it did me. I remember in the bosses car that day. My first day teaching esl in Thailand. On the way to the school my boss dropped the bomb shell, that I'd be teaching 50 kids in a class! Fifty I said, the answer came back, yes.

Now I know why they left it to the last moment to tell me. Boss said... are you okay with that? I said... suppose I'll have to be! In some schools the number can rise to 60! So you've been warned!

Public holiday


Plenty and numerous especially in the second semester. So here's my tip. If you get a choice of a monthly salary or getting paid by the hour. In most cases it would be wise to take the set monthly salary, even though you might earn a bit more by teaching for an hourly rate. Believe me in the second semester if your getting paid by the hour, your monthly salary will drastically drop!

Hours you'll normally work


Depending on your employer and the school you'll normally work 75- 100 contact hours per month.
Now 100 contact hours is the top end of the scale here. That equates to around about 25 classroom teaching hours per week. I'll tell you this now, 25 hours will tire you, and should be avoided!

A fairly sane target you should be aiming for is anything from 17 to 19 hours per week. Sometimes this can seem a tadge too long as well.

Classroom control and discipline


Fifty to sixty kids in a classroom will be a recipe for anarchy if you're not careful. You have to be able to control the little buggers. Now there are various ways of achieving this. The easiest way is to become an expert in classroom discipline techniques

By discipline I don't mean taking a student to one side and thrashing him within an inch of his life. No, what I'm talking about is a lot easier. Simply creating your lessons so that they are entertaining and fun will go a long way to keeping kids under control.

Your problems will normally start if the students get bored. They get bored for a number of reasons and the biggest factor here is lack of understanding which then leads to boredom that inevitably leads to out of control classes.

Part 2 to follow...