Monthly Archives: February 2012
“If the [the boss] does not talk to you regarding your contract by the 29th of February, you must look for a new job.”
That was the message written on the whiteboard of my office when I walked in to work at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning. I work in an office with about 14 other western teachers; no Thais, no management watching over us. In that respect, we’re lucky: we usually have free rein to do whatever we want in our free time. But the way information is handed down to us in an indirect fashion is infuriating to a bunch of English, Irish, and American teachers who are accustomed to a certain amount of respect in the work place. Working in a Thai organization, you are nothing short of a kind of servant, who must do whatever his or her superiors bid at a moment’s notice. The Thais call this “Thai style” and then say that we don’t understand. But let’s face it, who wants to understand a backwards fucking system that seems to thrive on disorganization and last-minute decisions.
Many teachers were “passively” dismissed today, myself included. We work for a pittance of between 27,500 and 33,000 baht per month – about enough to live pay check to pay check – then the school have the cheek to throw all kinds of extra activities at us, things that were never mentioned in the extremely vague and fluid “contract.” This year is supposed to be the Year of English, and so all of a sudden, teachers now have to be in school at 7:00 instead of 7:45, as stated on the contract, to speak English with the students. In 2015, Thailand will become part of the ASEAN union and the government are basically crapping themselves because they know that Thailand has the worst standard of English in the whole of South East Asia.
I have worked at the school for two and a half years. I have taught every grade, from Kinder up to Matayom 3. I have been on school trips with a hundred kids and organized games in the stupidest locations (the school once took the kids on a trip to the car park outside a temple, we then proceeded to play games in the car park). I have hardly ever had a sick day or been late. I have been loyal to my students, often coming in to school when I was sick. I have written more exams, worksheets and lesson plans than I can possibly remember. And the thanks I get for all my work is to be indirectly dismissed via a message written on the whiteboard by one of my colleagues. But the last laugh will be mine. What my boss doesn’t realize is that I was offered a new job last week with a considerable increase in salary. And the best part of it is that the new boss is also a westerner. I have had it up to my eye balls with despotic female Thai bosses. I have never met anyone more unprofessional than the woman I have worked for for the last two and a half years. She shamelessly had favourites, usually attractive single men, and made life hell for those she took a disliking to. This cracked fairy would be dismissed instantly in the west. It seems Thailand has a long way to go before it shakes of the shackles of its benighted past.
If you’ve ever considered travelling to Thailand, you will have no doubt heard one common theme: the people smile all the time. So when I arrived in Thailand I was eager to see all those perpetually smiling faces. I was disappointed then when the myth was revealed for what it really is: a myth. Of course, Thai people have nice smiles – the girls in particular have a way of looking exceptionally beautiful with their even, beaming smiles – but Thai people are pretty much like any other race most of the time: they walk around po-faced, looking straight ahead. So why do Thai people smile? The following reasons may shed some light on why Thailand has been dubbed The Land of Smiles. Read the rest of this entry