Serious Articles
Articles that examine the more serious side of teaching in Thailand
Teacher Agencies - The Devil in Disguise?
they are everywhere you look in Thailand but are they giving teachers a fair deal or are they to be avoided at all costs?
Interview at the Thailand MoE
John Quinn, the senior TEFL trainer at SEE, spent a morning at the MOE office in Chiang Mai to try and get some answers to the many questions teachers have regarding teacher employment in Thailand. John has very kindly allowed to put the main points of the interview on-line. Some of the answers may well surprise you.
Then and Now for an EFL Teacher in Thailandd
How have things changed for an EFL Teacher in Thailand over the past ten or so years? If you think things are rough now, this might just change your opinion a little.
Teaching Freelance
How easy is it to go the freelance route in Bangkok and make money charging students upwards of 500 baht an hour? Well, here are some of the perils and pitfalls.
Health Insurance - what are your options?
As the old saying goes - don’t leave home without it! In this article, Bangkok Phil explores the options open to you if you want to take out health insurance in Thailand and why you shouldn’t get too excited if schools offer ‘free health cover’

Ask Tony for Health.’s resident health insurance expert, Tony Dabbs, has put together a pretty amazing Q&A page for teachers looking for health insurance in Thailand. Whether you need something cheap ‘n’ cheerful or the kind of policy that will airlift you to nearest five-star hospital - then Tony is your man!

The Teacher Trap and How to Escape it
Is it possible to escape the teacher trap? If you think that teaching is the only thing that foreigners can do in Thailand, well here are ten stories to prove you wrong.
How Much Do I Need to Earn?
Numerous jobs in Thailand still pay around 25,000 baht a month. Is it really enough to live on? The fur really flies in our heated ajarn debate.
Foreign Teachers - Different Lifestyles - How much money is enough?
What’s a comfortable salary in Thailand? How much do you need to earn? looks at about a dozen scenarios and how by earning an extra 10,000 baht a month can make all the diff.
The Guide to Renting an Apartment
If you’re searching for an apartment in Bangkok, then read the guide to apartment-hunting and learn the tricks of the trade
The Guide to Renting a House
For those getting tired of apartment life and the world and its uncle knowing your business - then perhaps renting a house could be the answer.

Will I need a degree to teach in Thailand? asks just how many teachers are teaching with fake credentials. Will schools employ teachers without a degree? And does a degree even make you a better teacher? also braves the sticky, sweaty Khao San Road and comes face to face with not only foreign women that have let themselves go, but the degree makers themselves. Graduate for 600 baht? Surely not.

Too Old at 45?
With one or two positions on the jobs board asking for teachers no older than 45, asks if this is the start of a terrifying trend and whether our middle-aged days are numbered?
More Power to Me
The Filipino teaching community is huge here in Thailand. But as many of them bombard recruiters inboxes with over-formal cover letters and speculative applications for jobs they are sometimes not qualified to do, asks the question ‘can Filipinos make it easier for themselves to find jobs?’.
Hundred Word Soapbox (2007) asked teachers living and working in Thailand how they would sum up the current situation of uncertainty for teachers - in just 100 words or less. I’m convinced that when you give people a platform to speak on, 95% don’t really want it. Teacher’s unions indeed. Well at least no one’s going back home just yet.
Black Teachers in Thailand
Are the Thai hirers racially prejudiced? We asked black teachers already working in Thailand how they have coped with certain problems. Or is life a bed of roses?
Corporate Training - Is the End Really Nigh?
Is the sun setting on corporate training classes? More and more companies are dispensing with the idea of English language training. Bangkok Phil leads you through the maze.
Interviewing for jobs in Thailand? - Read this first!
Thinking of interviewing for teaching jobs? What’s the best way to go about it? And why contacting employers by e-mail is an absolute no no.
Job Survey
We asked 25 job advertisers to tell us about the job market in Thailand. How many people are applying for jobs? What really annoys the job recruiters about interviewees and e-mail applicants? It’s all in the jobs survey. We’re where the teachers are!
The negative interview mindset
A growing number of foreign teachers (particularly male) think that it’s so easy to get an English teaching job in Thailand that all you have to do on interview day is turn up. looks at a common mindset behind interviewing for TEFL jobs
Where are all the teachers?
Is there really a chronic teacher shortage in Thailand? As 40,000 baht a month jobs go begging, we ask teacher recruiters for their thoughts.
What do Thai Students Think?
What do the Thai students really think about the ‘ajarn farang’? We asked a group of Thai adult students to give us their honest opinions.
Bangkok vs Chiang Mai?
Read a great account from a teacher who gave up the Chiang Mai lifestyle to work in the capital Bangkok. It’s a tale of two cities and how a teacher fared in both.
The Longest Journey
It’s a been a long and often painful journey, but here’s an account of 15 years in the Thailand TEFL business. My careers officer never once told me that it might turn out like this.
The Teacher’s Tales
The teacher tales were a whole bunch of articles that I wrote and first appeared on the website in the late 1990s. Much of the info is still as relevent today as it was back then. Take a trip down memory lane why don’t you?

Is really responsible for ‘low’ teacher salaries?
No - at least not according to Louis Minson. Louis says that not presenting a realistic picture of the overall job situation would be sweeping things under the carpet.

Problems at your school?
So there are 25 things wrong with your teaching job? Actually there are 25 things wrong with every teaching job - you just pray they don’t all happen on the same day. As Phil explains, it’s the way you handle these often ‘minor inconveniences’ that will make or break your time in Thailand.

The Mass Transit Factor
Ajarn takes a look at the Bangkok underground and sky-train systems. Where do they go? what do they know? and how has your average Bangkok teacher’s life improved since the systems started operating.

If not Thailand then where……?
We ask teachers where they ended up when they finally decided to leave Thailand. Was the grass really greener on the other side and do they any plans to return to The Land of Smiles one day?
Fun Stuff
Articles that take a playful look at the often crazy Thailand TEFL industry
The A-Z of Teaching TEFL in Thailand
Thanks to the combined efforts of the discussion board members, we’ve come up with the ultimate A to Z of teaching TEFL in Thailand.
The Dreaded Teacher’s Room
For all those who have ever taught in Asia - laugh along at ‘the anatomy of a teacher’s room’ from the water-kettle that’s never full to the pot-plant that always needs watering
Nonthaburi……oh Nonthaburi
There are many jobs up for grabs in this rather much-maligned suburb north of Bangkok. We asked readers who work there or who have worked there if it’s really as bad as people say…..and if it’s possible to survive without a McDonalds. The living dead are among us.
Who Do You Work With?
Nothing more than a playful poke at some of the teaching characters we’ve all worked with down the years. Can you recognise yourself in there somewhere?
The Evil Expatriates
Ever had a farang teacher look you up and down on the sky-train? It could be that they want to share lesson plans or maybe they’re simply wondering what you’ve got to be so happy about. Either way - what’s happened to the expat community spirit?
Dress For Success
If you’re thinking of coming to teach in Thailand then don’t leave home without reading our indispensable guide to cutting a dash in the classroom. How many neckties do I need? Will the pony-tail have to go? From the moment you walk in the room, you’ll be turning heads and not stomachs. On no, not all five Spice Girls please!!!
Thai classroom assistants - angels from the Planet Xerox or Satan’s snitch?
They are as much a part of a teaching package as subsidized health insurance, the occasional sports day and possible unpaid test-marking. You told us about yours.
No degree? No teaching certificate?
No experience? All you’ve got is the language you learned as a baby. Is it still possible to get a job teaching English in Thailand? picks eight random phone numbers from the jobs offered board and calls them up. Dangerous things happen when’s got time on its hands.
First Lesson Memories
The ink is still wet on your brand new teacher training certificate and you’re suddenly faced with the prospect of standing in front of your first ever class and dishing up hearty portions of education and entertainment. We asked for your first lesson in Thailand memories. Were you as cool as a cucumber….or absolutely bricking it?
The Teachers Speak
“My advanced students asked me to teach them suitable terms for genitalia. I found it the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I ended up settling for ‘tuppence’ and ‘Peter Pumpkin” Enjoy the best quotes from 12 months of the discussion board teachers room.
The Teacher’s Diary
The diary was the sad and heartbreaking 4-week journal of Mr Jim Elmdon, a teacher who came, saw, and failed miserably. Keep a box of tissues handy.
Life in the Bus Lane
Life in the Bus Lane was a series of columns written for the Nation newspaper by Mr Ian McNamara, the founder of ajarn dot com. Often controversial (too controversial for the delicate Nation newspaper editor) the column ran for almost two years.
Ajarn Art
Take a look at the art gallery. This is the place for talented teachers to scan and send us those little masterpieces that are created while students are busy doing tests or assorted gap-fill exercises. Without doubt one of my favorite ever submissions to
The adventures of Ajarn Wannabe
A group of English teachers / actors have got together to make a funny film about a foreigner arriving in Thailand and after falling on hard times, eventually finds work as an English teacher. Look out for a few well-known Bangkok landmarks. Check it out.
Stand up and be counted!
Louis Minson, who runs the ajarn discussion forum, has put together a very interesting Thailand teacher survey. It will only take you five minutes or less to complete and then you’ll be able to view all the results from the input thus far. You can access the survey here. For an overview of the results so far then please click here.
Articles from guest writers and stuff that doesn’t seem to fit in either of the above categories
Ajarn in the Bangkok Post
The Bangkok Post ran a full-page article on the website as part of its Learning Post education section on 22nd February 2005. You can read the complete article on the Bangkok Post website.
E-Mailing for Jobs - doing it the right way!
One of the most soul-destroying things for many job applicants is to not receive replies to your emails. But are you going about things the right way? Read recruiter Chris’s excellent guide on how to do it right.
Teach in Chiang Mai
The guide to teaching in Chiang Mai. Reproduced with kind permission from our friends at one stop Chiang Mai, a new website under the guidance of Andrew Bond. Cheers mate!.
A Teacher in Chiang Mai
Few teachers know Chiang Mai better than Andy B. Although he started working there for less than 10,000 baht a month, he soon found out that professionalism reaped dividends.
How Much Tax Should You be Paying?
John Cork has put a very nice tax calculator on an Excel spreadsheet for us. Simply enter your monthly teaching salary into the box provided and find out instantly if your school is taking you to the cleaners!
No magic bullets!
Dave Patterson, who is a teacher at the Prince of Songkhla University in South Thailand, says it’s about time Thai students took studying English seriously. And it’s about time schools got serious about taking care of their students.
A Thai Student’s Diary
A foreign teacher contacted ajarn wanting to share a diary that one of his English program students had written. Although the student is only a youngster, the diary is a very frank account of what it’s like to study at a Thai school. Top work!
Make Way for Grammarman!
We’ve all seen Thai kids and Thai adults with their heads stuck in those damn cartoon books, but could Japanese anime be making way for Grammarman - a new comic-book superhero? Grammarman is the brainchild of Mr Brian Boyd, a teacher with the British Council Bangkok. Read his exclusive hot-seat interview.
Book Review
As a refreshing change from someone writing about their ten years of hell in a Thai prison, you might want to take a look at Bangkok Exit written by Ryan Humphreys. Ryan gives readers a humorous warts ‘n’ all account of his first year teaching in Thailand at Sathit Wittaya School.
Your Help is Needed
Martin Walsh is the co-founder of Dragonfly, a company that supplies volunteer teachers to schools in the poorer regions of Thailand. They also have projects going on at the moment to help tsunami orphans
Jonno - A teacher made good
He taught English for five years and then said ’sod it - I’ve had it up to the eyeballs and I’m going to open the best English restaurant in Bangkok. Let’s be honest - we love these ‘teacher manages to escape the shackles of the EFL business’ stories don’t we? And although Mommas has now closed down and Johnno has disappeared off the face of the earth - it’s still a decent story.
Great book deal for ajarn readers
Sam at D’s book warehouse is having an educational book sale and ajarn readers can get a 10% reduction on any number of books purchased. Simply say “I love Ajarn” to the sales assistant to qualify for your discount. You can view the website with directions on how to get there right here
Thailand’s most famous student has a book out!
Panrit ‘Gor’ Daorung has written his life story and it is now available from Bamboo Sinfonia Books. From starting one of Thailand’s most popular websites to drug addiction to marriage and finally to life in prison. It’s been a roller-coaster ride of epic proportions. It’s a brutally honest account of life as a Thai teenager.

Teachers Comedy Movie Skit
Kirby Dale and some of his fellow teachers and students at Chak kham Kahnathon School in Lamphun made a very funny video about Thai high school students. The video is featured in two parts on the very popular youtube website.

Find a teaching job in just 10 days
I’m still amazed at the number of teachers who will pay companies hard-earned cash to find them a job, meet them at the airport, book accommodation, etc, etc Believe me - arriving in Thailand and setting yourself up is no big deal. A.J Hoge wrote an excellent guide to finding a job in ten days and takes you step-by-step through a 10-day plan of action. Well worth a read. Check it out