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Who has more than the necessary?

Discussion in 'Staffroom' started by bahn_farang, 16 Oct 2016.

  1. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    As I dig deeper into the education field, the interest and challenge of new knowledge leaves me daily with a sense of wonder. With this in mind I would like to ask a question. Who has more than which is needed? Who has more than the bare bones of certification required to be a teacher in the kingdom?

    Before we start, and carefully and in equal measure deliberately I stress, this is not a thread which links academic qualifications with the ability to teach. I would not be so presumptive as to suggest there is a definite/possible/actual link. I know many a teacher who can teach but does not have the fancy paperwork to match just as I know many who are able to link what they have learned academically to their actual classroom practise.

    What I would like to explore are the views of those of you (for I can not count myself amongst you) who have qualifications above the level needed to teach in the Kingdom.

    Your views of teaching in Thailand
    Your advice to those who have not yet gained qualifications
    Your experience in gaining your qualifications

    respectfully bf
     
  2. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    "The bare bones" means some kind of certificate (TEFL, TESOL, etc.) + at least a BA degree in any field, right?
     
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  3. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    yes, sorry for being unclear. More than the minimum requirement for a full teaching license
     
  4. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    Me: AAB in Computer Networking Software, BS in Liberal Arts, Diploma in Russian, 120 hr TEFL, 13 years of college (yes, I did it for enrichment and enjoyment--history, literature, film, philosophy).

    More importantly, I was an administrator and supervisor of language schools for the US GOV. I spent two years of my militaty career listening to the world's leading experts on second language acquisition fight it out during conferences and in our office. I know what right looks like in a classroom. I supervised 600 students and five schools in the Washington, DC area.

    Here is something really positive about teaching in Thailand that we may not often think of: the culture allows individuals to be open to foreign people, to foreign ideas, to quite an extent--if that is something a Thai person wants to do, then fine, and they do not get ostracized. Think of all the smart things Rama V did, such as modernizing the country and bringing in more Western science, and think of the sincere, deep friendship between the US and Thailand during the reign of the great Rama IX. Japan, on the other hand, is profoundly closed off and suspicious of anything foreign. If it is not Japanese, they don't like it. That is why their English tends to suck.
     
  5. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    • Associate of Arts (English)
    • Associate of Science (Physics)
    • Bachelor of Arts (Economics)
    • Bachelor of Science (Computer Science)
    • Bachelor of Commerce (double major - management and marketing)
    • Master of Arts (TESOL)
    • MBA
    • Master of Education.
    • Ph.D (ABD)
    • Ph.D.
    Valid teacher's license

    No, I do not work as an entry level EFL teacher. Yes, I do work in mainstream, basic education - currently in Thailand but I have also worked in education in Canada, Korea, China, and Japan.

    Teaching in Thailand and indeed in many countries in Asia comes in many flavors ranging from the mundane in many government schools, to stupid in many top down private schools, to very forward in a few progressive private schools, to top end internationally accredited schools. Where you land depends a lot on what you have to offer.

    Advice: if you want to rise above the entry level, 30k jobs then start with your professional development AFTER you are sure this is what you want to do for the next few years. The longer you delay the longer you stay at the entry level. Options are open for those with legitimate credentials. For those without, entry level jobs or undocumented work await your long term employment. For those with a generic degree and want to improve then a TEFL course is a good start. CELTA is probably one step above that. A legitimate PGCE awaits those who want to move into mainstream or a DELTA for those who want to work in language academics. For those who want to properly get into academia or the tertiary sector then a related MA/M.Ed leading to a PhD is the next step (if you want a faculty position rather than just working in the university's language center as an EFL "guest" lecturer).

    Experience gaining qualifications: one phrase - "Life Long Learning". Let your path determine your next qualification. Don't go throwing money at qualifications in the hope that it might get you somewhere:

    I started out my career in software development a long time ago. I soon discovered that business people didn't really understand how to talk to computer guys and computer guys knew even less about the business they were writing software for. I returned to get a 2nd degree in business and then spend 20 years working out of Phoenix, AZ. doing Enterprise Resource Planning and SAP project management (translating between business and computer geeks). I added some additional qualifications along the way.

    At 40 I transitioned out of IT and went to work in the Education Technology Center of a small Canadian University. From there it wasn't a long stretch to east Asia and EFL. I added some additional qualifications and certification and now work as a school administrator at my main school and program manager for for about 15 other schools. I continue to do and publish academic research as part of what I do and I also speak at 3-6 international conferences per year.

    I have continued to add additional qualifications as I went and ended up with a nice collection of wallpaper behind my desk but the path I was on at the time dictated the qualification and not the other way around.

    Needless to say, I am not working at 30k/month.

    .
     
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  6. gungchang

    gungchang Well-Known Member

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    I'm an anomaly. I got licensed in the TCT TKT era and by present day standards am unqualified. I suppose I'm grandfathered.

    It was enough to receive 45K at my last Bangkok job. They also provided a stipend for a visa run, health care, and during the flood paid my full salary for two months while the school was closed. They also paid for summer teaching on top of my full salary even though there was no contractual obligation to do so. It was fun making 80K those months. I then passed on an extremely desirable job that paid a bit more. AUA starts at 40K.

    The point being, you can rise above 30K even with "just" a BA and a CELTA.
     
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  7. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    ttompatz thank you for sharing your path and particularly

    Between 40 (ish) and now roughly.... 20 years??

    your achievements are inspirational although of course have come through dedication and hard work, thank you again
     
  8. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    That makes good sense.

    If one is a teacher, improving yourself is just the right thing to do. Almost none of us will become wealthy as teachers, but constant improvement should lead to a steadily increasing salary.

    In China, bare minimum qualifications can earn you over 80,000 Baht (equivalent) per month (after taxes) + housing + bonus. But many teaching jobs at universities can go really low for China: 30K, etc. Starting out at 30K in Thailand can be a good experience-- it was for me. When I come back, I want to run my own school or get 60K (after taxes). For me in Thailand, that should be enough. After I finish my MA in English and get a US teaching certification, I shall return.
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2016
  9. spidey

    spidey Well-Known Member

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    I am very close to getting a full teachers licence. Got the degree, got the Post Grad Dip in Teaching and a tattered old TEFL.....plus 13 years experience teaching kindergarteners to business people. None of them really prepared me for teaching in Thailand...

    All the paperwork in the world wont prepare you for being thrust into a school in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by Thai 'English' teachers that cant communicate at even a basic level, that often have hidden resentment and insecurities to boot. Then the kids.....woefully unprepared by said 'teachers' due to basically non existent or at the very best limited actuall REAL WORLD conversational practice using English. You spend a lot of time 'gently' re teaching these kids, helping them to un learn all the awful English they have been taught by a system that is failing them......all the while trying not to have the Thai English teachers lose too much face.

    However, all is not lost. I am seeing good things from the younger generation of Thai English teachers. Some of the new teachers at my school actually go out of their way to say hello and make chit chat. Its encouraging though they are a VERY small percentage still compared to the overall situation. This is where learning to communicate in Thai is necessary. Ok, if you want to stay living in Bangkok in your own little bubble eating Subway for lunch everyday then not learning Thai may not be so much of a problem. However, for me its been invaluable both in terms of just getting on better with everyone (office banter etc) AND making contacts that are useful for getting more work etc. Learning to speak Thai will not only gain you the respect of you fellow Thai co workers, it will also endear you to your students. Making the odd joke in Thai at opportune moments can mean the differece between a dull class and a lively engaged class, thats my experience anyway.

    The mismanagement and general 'balls ups' that happen on a day to day basis can make the anally retentive lose their sh*t. Things just dont run as they should.... alot of the time. You have to just accept that you will be shovelling s**t up hill a lot of the time. This makes for frustrations but also it can mean free periods of watching people getting bitten by snakes or squeezing infected boils on Youtube back in the office. You will then be asked to do the impossible at short notice.....your full year lesson plan is now due TOMMOROW!

    Having said all this I thrive in this environment. I love how crazy it is, how much time and effort is put into such trivial things. How often their systems fall apart, only to have the exact same system tried again.....its entertaining. The students are great most of the time and respect from the Thai teachers can be earned, and really must be for you to have a decent time here. No paperwork will prepare you for working here and it will take you a few years to settle. The best way to go about it is to use the old buddhist philosophy of staying in the moment, not thinking too much about how things f*cked up and not worrying about how much they are going to....just concentrate on trying to get it right in the moment.....
     
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  10. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    Me too, and I think learning the local language anywhere in the world is a positve. Also I am one of those rare breeds that has done this within my degree inclusive of a year abroad at Chiang Mai University, thus I am qualifed in Thai language too.

    Me too and a fair bit more than that. And well done ttompatz on your impressive list of qualifications, it does show real dedication to your chosen profession.

    "The minimum neccessary": For me whilst teaching at University, yes ...teaching Prathom level, no. Teaching legally all the time with a WP while I have been in Thailand, yes.

    Why have I not gone and done a PGCE or another dipEd course to qualify me for a full teachers license? In my home town here I am already on the top money available. There are no inters here and there is nowhere I can progress to. My choice is a lifestyle one given I'd never even consider commuting to Bangkok for double the money. My wife rakes in a good salary too each month. Needless to say we have a very comfortable life.

    Am I running the gauntlet? Yes ...but it keeps life exciting and at my age and my plans for the future then the investment in postgrad work is not worth it. While I can teach legally in Thailand I will continue to do so for a short while, and when I cannot, if indeed the day arrives, then I will do my "something else"... being in education is not a be all and end all for me.

    So good luck to all the teachers that wish to become suitably qualified to be a teacher in Thailand, and good luck to all the others too that have a different outlook and agenda trying to stay in LOS.
     
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  11. Clown

    Clown Well-Known Member

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    Some would like to hear that they have the gold standard: a full Thai TL.

    Well, I'm not glued to the job and dislike the whole education industry. There are people with WP who never went to university for a single day.

    Whatever the RULES & REGULATIONS may be - there is also the reality. My own colleague didn't have to get a waiver. All it took was a different job description for the WP. Makes one wonder when one had to be xx hours on a bus to Bangkok for a waiver.
     
  12. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for some in-depth and thought provoking responses. I took deliberate care when posting the questions in an attempt to be neither judgmental nor presumptive.

    It is certainly not about having the full license as the "gold standard". As I indicated in my post having the full license does not a better teacher make. The original idea was to open a conversation on furthering education options, not on the reasons why others have elected not to go down the path of further professional development. Nevertheless, the thread has elicited some real quality posts which as I spoke to the effect earlier, I extend my gratitude.

    Certainly the Celta, Delta, and TEFL are three things which I would like to achieve. Slip into the mix a MA and the summit being a Phd. within ten years.

    My sincere apologies if the thread was taken in a light as anything but in which it was intended. Certainly professional development is not needed for all or indeed seen as a priority by most; that said I would like to go down this path and the comments on this thread have helped tremendously.
     
  13. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    In reply to this... the CELTA makes sense. Not sure why a DELTA if you are going to go down the path to MA/PhD.
    In fact, not sure why a PhD unless you are looking at a career in research or upper academia. If you plan to stay in the trenches then a DELTA or PGCE / M.Ed makes more sense.

    The point of my previous post was about letting your needs of the time determine each credential as you go.
    Not lining up credentials in the hope of going somewhere.
    You may very well end up with a wall full of paper that impresses some but the reality is that you get what you need to do the job that you do, move forward in your career or for personal development.

    The point that clown misses is that you get what you need to be better at what you do. It is not just about what the next clown gets away with. It is about personal and professional pride or self improvement rather than just being the next jaded azz on the treadmill earning his 30k.

    .
     
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  14. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Again thank you for your insight. I have decided to go down the path to MA/Phd since I would like to work in research. I also see the qualifications as a vehicle to deepen my understanding of education. Another significant factor is that within my current context of a government school, I feel under stretched and more than a little bored.

    Learning interests me and, I believe, improves my teaching.
     

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