My Awesome, Horrible Experience
Back in 2012, I signed a contract with a company [If I said their name I’d probably get my ass sued] that had backed out of the contract at the last second, even after everything was signed and agreed on. I was literally about to buy a $800 one-way to Bangkok, but before I did, I decided to e-mail my would be manager to confirm the dates once more.
This time she took unusually long to respond. Usually she responded the same day. This time it took her 4 days to get back to me! Not what you like to see from a company you’re planning on working for. I obviously didn’t go ahead and buy the ticket, instead I woke up to an e-mail saying, “Sorry we found someone else who could start tomorrow”.
It was companies like that I was afraid of being employed by and you should be too. Imagine if I kept good faith and bought that ticket? Companies like [Don’t want to get sued] are the reason why ESL horror stories are possible. Which brings me to my next point.
Don’t try to take shortcuts…
To be fair, this only happened once and was at my most inexperienced and unqualified moment. So that’s why I say get a TEFL certification if you can. Try to go with a TEFL company that can give you real-life practice teaching too. SEE TEFL is regarded as the standard for a solid TEFL course in Thailand and I’ve only heard great things from the students who took the course. I’ve sent a few people there already as well and they’ve only had positive things to say. I wrote a review about them a while back and I stand behind it. They are the standard for on-site TEFL certifications in Thailand.
(If that’s out of your price-range then look for something online.)
Also, if your hiring boss is a westerner it can add a bit of comfort as security. I say this because there’s a common understanding among fellow western teachers. They get it, you traveled a long way to be in Thailand to seek work and money doesn’t magically appear for you.
A teacher’s salary is definitely enough to survive on and enjoy what the country has to offer, but by no means is it a lot of money. It’s a big commitment to travel thousands of miles for some of us, so the least any ESL company can do is give us a chance.
Only One Option For Me
My only option at the time was to seek work immediately. I wasn’t really in a position to travel around a bit and get a feel. Obviously, If you can come and chill out for a bit while looking for work then by all mean do so. This is why I’m writing this post, because like I said, “Now the best time to travel to Thailand“. Situating yourself first will allow you to arrange in-person interviews and you could land a job that same day(and get paid more!).
The silver lining to my horrible but awesome experience and should be refreshing to hear for the skeptics was I got a skype call from an Englishmen a few days later for a position. During the Skype call my camera on my computer wan’t even working and he said, “It’s ok mate, I don’t even need to see you to hire you”. He said the job is yours when you get here.
Why So Dope Man?
Why was that so dope? Well, a sad part of the hiring practice over here(and in Asia really) is they do require to see photos of you, which at that point suggest they discriminate against who they hire.
For my future boss to tell me it doesn’t matter what I look like was when I knew working for this company would be a fun experience. He went on to tell me there was a couple other teachers my age at the school that could help me transition as well. Didn’t expect it to have such an impact on me and didn’t expect so many others to be of various ethnicity’s as well. Without doing much searching I still feel confident saying my school had one of the most diverse and international offices in Thailand. Jamaican-Americans, Iraqi-Canadian, Dominican-American and Malaysian-British just to name a few(humble brag).
The Point of This Post
The point of this post-thought is to highlight that a contract really is just a piece of paper with writing on it. It’s nothing more if you’re working for a company that doesn’t honor their word. If you have faith in Thai law then have fun taking them to court(if you really have the time)…Whenever that day will be… All in all though, job security should be your #1 concern if you’re looking for work. Ajarn.com is a great resource for finding jobs and where I’ve found most of my work. It wasn’t until my 3rd year that people started referring me to jobs.
I’ve worked for 4 separate companies during my time here. If you’d like to know who and my experiences then just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you come here you essentially have nothing. In a sense, you’re starting a new life and there will be ups and downs. Do everything you can to prepare yourself if you plan on working here. Peace.