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English Teachers Are Really Babysitters in Thailand

You know I’m doing something random if I’ve been speaking to English teachers, better known as the bottom of the barrel when it comes to expats in Thailand. For whatever reason it seems that most ESL teachers in Thailand have a chip on their shoulder like they are better than everyone else. I don't have many teacher friends in Thailand because most that I meet have some choice words to say about guys who frequent prostitutes, instead they like to think they are better because they can't afford to, I mean, they don't pay for sex.

Whatever your reasons for becoming an English teacher I won't hold it against you. You worked your ass off in "the system" to get a degree that doesn't get you any other job except for a low paying teaching job in Asia. You'll often hear banter from these "educated" types who tell you they are working here to help the poor students of Thailand, for the experience, and that when they want to make "real money" they will go teach in Korea. Got some news for those people, English teachers anywhere in Asia don't make much money, those fancy Korean jobs you'll hear a lot of them talk about is a fantasy. Even with a master’s degree and years of teaching under your belt if your teaching English as a second language you'll still make peanuts comparable to the rest of the “educated” work force even in Korea! I simply don't get ESL teachers at all and they don't get me. I don't have a degree, I didn't even finish high school, and all the jobs I've ever had I simply used google to solve any problems and make me look awesome. The teacher types tend to look down on other expats without an "education" and hate on the kids in their class that "don't want to speak English".

Actually the hating on the kids is the worse and every time i hear an English teacher telling me that their class sucks and "no one" even cares to learn just makes me cringe. WTF, I just want to kick them in the teeth. While you call yourself an English teacher you're really not, unless you're teaching university level you're a babysitter and not a teacher. You're job isn't even to teach them English your job is more to entertain and "make it fun". If I were to ask your kids what you are like and they say to me "Mr XXX is so funny and fun" you are doing a good job and you'll be loved by students and teachers alike. If you're an asshole and never smile then people are going to hate on you. Most English teachers here are assholes and don't get laid.

esl teachers in thailand

I'll say it again to be clear. If you're a teacher in an international school teaching a real subject then you're a teacher otherwise you're just a babysitter. It amazes me to hear the English teacher types complaining about their student’s inability to appreciate them or their unwillingness to learn. Where did these people go to school because i went to several schools in my childhood and most were filled with kids who couldn't give a rat’s ass about learning French, German, Indonesian or whatever pointless language it was they made us learn for years and everyone graduates and no one can speak a bloody word?

Most of the teachers I'm talking about are the same ones who studied French all through high school but can't speak a damn word of it then complain that their students can't speak English. WTF. I rarely meet an English teacher in Thailand who can speak any language other than English unless they learned English as a second language, in which case their accent is so terrible you wonder how they get a job in the first place

This article probably comes across like I'm teacher bashing and I guess I am, there are genuine exceptions to the case but for the most part ESL teachers here are poor, boring, and have no idea what they are really doing. (Like not really being a teacher at all).

What gets on my nerves about many (not all) English teachers in Thailand is how they belittle anyone who might have found success in Thailand, those who were lucky or fortunate enough to earn foreign wage 10 times+ their salary. Envious teachers hate the fact that 90% of his expat counterparts have a higher PPP than them (pussy purchasing power).

A lot of these teachers cross the line when they start making out they are the "good guys" and those with more money and girls are evil sinners. I've seen it all, these guys seem to think it's ok to lie to naive Thai girls and date bar girls in order to have free sex, somehow convincing themselves of their superiority.

I think it's admirable if a person gives up their economic advantage and western wage, moves to Thailand for personal freedom and self-discovery. That's awesome! Your way to do that is teaching English, nothing wrong with that at all! But don't call it a career, the kids don't want to learn English DEAL WITH IT! And stop hating on the whoremongers and guys who eat steak for dinner. I wonder just how many bar fines these guys would pay for if suddenly they found themselves with a Bangkok Multinational job and a 6 million baht a year package.

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

32 Responses to English Teachers Are Really Babysitters in Thailand

  1. TylerB January 14, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    HAHAHA,so true !!!!!! Although I do know some English Teachers who make damn good money but they work in private,foreign owned shcools

    • Chris January 14, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

      Damn good money…curious to what you think that is and what your friends make, I’ve never met an English teacher who made more than 120,000 baht a month. I know plenty of guys on a pension make more than that.

      • brad January 15, 2015 at 2:45 am #

        120,000 baht ($4000) a month? That’s pretty good in Thailand, right? It’s actually not bad for the West.

        • Chris January 15, 2015 at 11:05 am #

          Depends, in the west u gotta pay stupid tax on that. Yes its good for an english teacher but comparable to other industries or a multinational job its not great. My thai friend just finished her masters and now got a job. Her starting salary is 130k. She was smart enough to study law her friends are teachers and bank tellers and make less than 30k. My point is even a thai graduate can make more money (without even speaking english) its good salary but far from rockstar status and on average most english teachers make far less than thai professionals

      • Taylor February 27, 2015 at 2:19 am #

        If you are talking about bottom of the barrel jobs for 20,000-30,000 baht per month, then yeah it’s shit. If we are talk about jobs at international schools, demonstration schools, universities, English programs, and the like, then that’s another story. Of course the people working at the best schools here are qualified teachers with formal training and credentials, not, for example, non-native speaking backpackers that chose teaching as a way to get by and live here and claim to be experts. The benefits at top schools are about more than salary. At my school, I’m getting 90,000 per month, so you could say it’s more like 150,000 per month, because if you include weekends, I get 5 months of the year off with pay (im at a tier 2 school so there are others that make more than me. twice as much). Also get flights home, accommodation allowance, transportation allowance, good insurance, free food at the school, etc. I majored in education with a plan to teach internationally as a career so i could travel, make money, and be part of the communities i was living in. For qualified teachers, Thailand isn’t even on the top scale for salaries. The salaries in the middle east and Korea are not a myth, you can actually save and make bank. I’ve taught in dubai and seoul, two other countries before coming to Thailand and I’ll admit there are a lot of unprofessional, untrained people “teaching” here for the wrong reasons. I for one believe the Thai ministry of education should tighten the restrictions even more than they recently have to weed out people who pretend to be teachers.

  2. Farang Dude January 15, 2015 at 1:39 am #

    Sounds like the life of “Stickman.” Although supposedly no longer an ESL teacher, he’ll hangout in the naughty nightlife areas, take pictures of bar girls and create blog entries on prostitution all the while bashing the industry itself. Total fucking hypocrite.

    • Chris January 15, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Agree with you here. Hes the guy thatll go to a soapy just to have a look doesnt partake then claims to know everything there is to know about the industry.

  3. TylerB January 15, 2015 at 2:41 am #

    Are you saying $120,000 baht a month is not a good wage in Thailand? For teaching English?WTF ?

    • Chris January 15, 2015 at 10:41 am #

      The average salary for english teachers here i believe is $600 a month in korea its $2000. Yeah 120k a month is good for an english teacher.

  4. Derek January 15, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    I would partially agree with you Chris, but you are more bashing the lower end teacher types – the ones working in Thai schools (with or without a degree!). You are more bashing the ESL/TEFL’ ers! Also known as backpackers wishing to prolong their stay!

    It is worthy of note that not all teachers over here are teaching English and some (read very few) are not doing it for the money but for something to do during the day I know few retired or semi retired expats that do that. Myself, not yet 40 and in my 6th year of enforced retirement due to a horrific accident..I do that, often you will find me at Wat Pa Pao in Chiang Mai few days a week volunteering.

    As for teaching I do know a few that are teaching a top, top, top schools and getting big bucks, way more than 120k!

    Good article, I am not a fan of those “I am a teacher please worship me and bow before me” types!. (BTW, those are usually the non degree left school at 16 with nothing and done a one month TEFL course types..with PPE..Piss Poor English, often with a rank rotten accent that even native speakers struggle to understand!..red necks, country bumkins, etc etc)

    • Chris January 15, 2015 at 11:18 am #

      I kinda was bashing the lower end but with no ill will. If ur awesome and love to teach or whatever your reason thats cool im not knocking actually being a teacher. Im knocking those teachers with a stick up thier ass. Be a teacher and not a hater. Also thanks for volunteering too my respect to all that do so. Money is not everything.

  5. IGOR January 15, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    Funnily enough, I made pretty much the same post (in a different form) a day or two ago, couldn’t agree more.

    To be fair I’d have a bit of respect for most teachers if they basically just said ‘Yeah, it’s fuck all teaching but an easy visa’ instead of deluded self-congratulatory bullshit about how they’re a credit to Thailand.

    • Chris January 15, 2015 at 11:25 am #

      555 yup its those guys that piss me off

  6. Primmy January 15, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    But maybe you ought to be babysat too? You seem to have trouble with ‘your’ and ‘you’re’… Anyway, it is a personal choice – live and let live – it’s their poverty, not yours. No I’m not a teacher.

    • Chris January 15, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

      Trying to make it obvious that I’m not an English teacher 😉 Yes it’s their choice and if that’s what someone does for a living then enjoy it love it! Being a teacher doesn’t automatically make you special which is the attitude I see in a vast majority of English teachers.

  7. brad January 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    Chris, may I ask the question. How much is enough for you? How many baht per month is enough for you?

    • Chris January 15, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

      Enough for me? Like how much i need to live in Thailand? I always recommend 100k baht a month if you decide to live here forever but is that you’re question i’m not sure.

  8. jake January 16, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Fucking awesome. White knighting ESL teachers, dudes that got laughed out of their home country, trying to self delude themselves here. All the while contributing to the fucking up of the beautiful native lands with their Western beta boy ideas. Seems like more than a few whiteys I met here in SEA fit into exactly that faggy category.

    It’s one of the reasons to spend time in nearby, other countries that are more challenging to that type, and therefore less infested with their little pea brained existences. You notice immediately how locals have less prejudice when they meet whitey-you, probably because they haven’t been exposed to any of those douche nozzles.

    • Chris January 17, 2015 at 1:13 am #

      You raise an excellent point Jake. So many retards here, and especially when i’m in a tourist area I always feel like I have to prove that I’m not just another whitey knighty.

  9. Joe January 16, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    This has to be one of, if not the best Thai blog articles I have read in the last year. Well written, funny and for lack of a better phrase ‘so true’. Maybe some ESL teachers will take a look in the mirror after reading it, I doubt it, but you never know. “The teacher types tend to look down on other expats without an “education” (Ryan) and hate on the kids in their class that “don’t want to speak English” (Bill). “If you’re an asshole (Ashley) and never smile then people are going to hate on you. Most English teachers here are assholes and don’t get laid” (Chelsea). Disclosure: I don’t dislike ESL teachers, but how can you not applaud an article that rings so true.

    • Chris January 17, 2015 at 1:07 am #

      Thanks for the compliment Joe, the truth hurts.

  10. John January 17, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    Hilarious. higher PPP than them (pussy purchasing power).

    To your point – I don’t like how I cant talk business with them. It’s seemingly odd as you’d think you might have something in common with them. But mostly they just suck and are boring.

  11. Jack January 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    Not sure what all the bashing everyone blog entries are all about. This is a great blog to read interesting articles about Thai girls. Who gives a f*ck what other people think or say – at the end of the day probably 90% of western males living in Thailand are here for the same thing. I would assume you and the people that frequent this blog and appreciate it for its content and well above what others think about them. Lets get back to the important sh*t – thai p*ssy

    • Chris January 18, 2015 at 11:16 am #

      I love your last statement! So True!

  12. ChiangMaiGuy January 20, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    Part of the problem is the ‘deferential culture’ here places teacher so ‘high’ and has special names for them to be addressed by ‘ajarn’ and ‘kru’ it makes them out to be ‘special’.

    In my country we say “those that can DO and those that can’t teach”

    Nothing against teachers but they ain’t ‘special’. I qualified myself but never used used it here as the output just ain’t worth the input.

  13. Jimmy January 22, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    I worked as a teacher in Phuket back in 09/10 and was earning 40k baht a month working part time. I now work in China doing less hours and earning considerably more money. The other teachers I worked with fell straight into the category that is mentioned in this article. I felt like the black sheep at work sometimes. If someone wants to pay for sex then that’s their choice, don’t look down on people coz they do. Treat people how you expected to be treated. Respect!

    • Chris January 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

      I’m glad you commented. Teaching is a respectable job, nothing wrong with it, what I have a problem with is the attitude of many teachers here, thanks again for your comment.

  14. Nick January 22, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    I’m coming to Thailand next month to take a TEFL course and to start teaching English. It’s a good way to get my life started in Thailand. Once I learn the language I hope to work as a Paramedic or RN like I have been doing for the last 15 years. I hope what you say about the ESL teachers isn’t true but F it I’m used to being the exception to the rule. Hopefully we can get a chance to kick it and I can change your mind about teachers.

    • Chris January 23, 2015 at 1:46 am #

      Sure Nick, I’m always down! always exceptions and plenty of teachers are cool (just the majority aren’t especially the younger ones), I hope a lot of teachers read this and potential teachers read this as well might change some minds. It’s funny after righting this post I met a kick ass teacher just moved here from teaching in Japan, we got along really well. That said a lot of what I say in this post is true even if they aren’t all like this. When you get here be sure to hit me up, peace.

    • ChiangMaiGuy January 26, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

      be careful with that dude… only Cambridge or Trinity are internationally recognized and most in Thailand may be ok here but no good anywhere elese

  15. Mike July 26, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    I’ve been teaching here for nine years. It’s a complete joke. I have a wife and child and can not just up and leave. All the “agencies” care about is putting a White face in a school. Communication, organization and management are a joke. Nobody cares. These people are ignorant racist. No matter how Thai you act, no matter that you take your wife and child to the school….You are an outsider and they’ll remind you of that daily. The “agencies” lie about everything. Any problem is automatically your fault. The government schools in the N.E. are the best. They just tend to leave you alone….but NEVER will keep you a 2nd year. The directors will never look you in the face. The Thai teachers gossip about you while standing right next to you. These people are hopelessly dishonest and passive-aggressive to the extreme. If you are thinking about teaching in Thailand…Please save yourself. Go to another country.

  16. Lexia September 18, 2017 at 9:43 am #

    “You’re job isn’t even to teach them English your job is more to entertain and “make it fun”. If I were to ask your kids what you are like and they say to me “Mr XXX is so funny and fun” you are doing a good job and you’ll be loved by students and teachers alike. If you’re an asshole and never smile then people are going to hate on you. Most English teachers here are assholes and don’t get laid.”

    None of your arguments are supported by any kind of tangible proof.
    Are you really a teacher?

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