Daily Archives: June 12, 2005

How to Apply as a Teacher

I have told you before that it is one of my jobs to look after the foreign teachers at our school. It is also my job to read any e-mails that might come in from people applying for a job as English teacher. What I thought I would do today is give you some tips on how to make your application stand out from the crowd. I will also give some advice on not what to do!

* Always do some homework before you write your letter. Many schools now have their own web sites on the internet. Find out the names of some people and include them in your letter. Compliment the school on how beautiful it looks on the web site. Include any information that makes it look like you know their school already.

* If the school is asking for a native speaker then make sure you are a native speaker. Many schools are run like a business. They have to bow to consumer pressure. If parents insist that they want their children taught by teachers from the UK or America then the school has to provide these native speakers. It doesn’t really matter if a teacher from The Philippines or India is more qualified.

* Include all the relevant information in the opening paragraph. If they are asking for degree holders, TEFL certificate, native speaker, a woman etc. then make sure you make it clear you are fully qualified straight away. Then later go into more details. Not everyone will be fluent in English and might be put off by long letters. Also, don’t forget we receive many applications so we usually only read the first paragraph and skim the rest of the letter!

* If you don’t receive an answer from your letter after a week then follow it up with another. It is possible your first e-mail went missing.

* Don’t worry if you don’t have a TEFL certificate. Most schools will prefer if you have had some real classroom experience. If you have already taught in your home country or inside Thailand then consider taking an online TEFL course instead. It is much cheaper. Most schools won’t know the difference. Anyway, some schools won’t even care you don’t have a TEFL.

* If they ask for a degree then make sure you have one. To work legally in Thailand you need a work permit. To get a work permit you need a degree in any field. Some schools might not ask for a degree but then they won’t be employing you legally.

* If you are just interested in making lots of money then you are coming to the wrong country. You would be better off visiting one of our more affluent neighbours. Thai teachers have a starting wage of only 6,000 baht per month. People with more experience get about 8-10,000 baht per month. I know some foreign teachers who only get 10-15,000 baht. However, if you work in Bangkok you can expect 20-50,000 baht per month.

* Don’t send your letters as BCC – spam filters these days are very sensitive and will probably just put your application into the junk box. The chances are it won’t be seen. Also, try to avoid sending it by CC as well. We don’t really want to see that you are sending the exact same letter to other schools as well. We like to think that you have personally chosen our school and that we are the only people you are talking to!

* Don’t write to a normal Thai school looking for a job as a Geography or Math teacher. What makes you think you can teach Geography better than a local Thai teacher? Can you speak Thai fluently? Unless you have skills that a local person doesn’t have (i.e. you are a native English speaker) then you won’t get the job. If you insist on teaching something other than English, then apply for a job at an international school or somewhere that has a bilingual programme.

* Include a photograph of yourself. A smart appearance is very important. If you are a man, make sure you are clean shaven and don’t have a beard. If you are a woman, don’t wear a spaghetti strap top in the photo.

* Make sure your grammar is correct and that you haven’t made any spelling mistakes. It is surprising the number of letters we receive from people who make some clumsy spelling mistakes. Many word processors come with a spellchecker. Use it!

* Don’t start your letter with the phrase “it has always been my dream to teach in Thailand”. From experience, we know that 90% of the time you really are dreaming! We have wasted so much time writing back and forth to these people, even setting dates for their arrival, only to find they don’t turn up. These days, unless you can show you are sincere, we won’t take you seriously.

* A number of people suggest you shouldn’t visit the school unannounced. Personally I wouldn’t object. I would meet the person and give them advice of where to go if we couldn’t offer them a job. You never know, we might be looking for someone the very day you come knocking on the door. We would much prefer to give a job to someone we know that can speak English clearly than to someone who wrote a letter 1000 miles away.

* If you are going to visit a school, don’t turn up with your Thai girlfriend. Even more so if she looks like a “bar girl”. The school directors can be very conservative at times and won’t give you a second chance if it looks like you visit brothels.

* One of our main worries when we receive letters is whether that person can speak English clearly. If you are in Thailand, telephone the school. If the person that answers the phone doesn’t speak English then they will quickly transfer you to someone that does.

* If you have the skills, make a mini web site about yourself. If you have some pictures of you teaching children then show them. It would also be cool if you could put some sound clips so that we could hear you speak.

* If you are on holiday in Thailand and not ready to start teaching yet, then offer to teach at a school as a volunteer. If they like you, then they are more likely to invite you back in the future to teach fulltime. Certainly they would take you more seriously if you later write a letter saying you want to come back to teach in Thailand.

That is about it for now. If I get any more ideas and tips I will try and add to this page later. In the meantime, visit my blogs on Thai School Life. There will be more blogs on teaching in Thailand soon.

Fighting Everywhere

I had to answer mum’s phone almost every evening while I was still studying in Satree Samutprakarn School. It’s not because she was about to pick me up or asked me to go meet her somewhere in order to come home together like others.. it was always a phone telling me to hide or be away from those who were fighting in Paknam market. There are at least 3 or 4 technical schools and vocational training schools here in Samutprakarn. They can be able to touch and create some tools themselves and that’s the main cause of them making something dangerous like gun pen which is the least harmful or using their equiments to fight with others instead..

I can still remember that day so well. I feel like it just happened yesterday.. yelling, clinging, hitting and finally..road full of blood.

That day, my mum was busy with her meeting at school so she didn’t know if there was anything dangerous happening around the market where I had to catch buses so I just left school with my friends. While I was telling my friends a joke, we were happily laughing al-together then BaNGG!! – – “There!! THERE!!! Drag them down!” “Don’t act coward! GO FIGHT THEM!!” “USE THE BELTS!!” “I’ve got a GUN!!!” and etc. were the words intervening through the air to us and other people who were shopping some dinner at the market. Some of us ran away to hide..some were shocked and stood still but noone said a word or screamed at all coz we knew if we did, we’d be in trouble. I, myself, was eager to see so I stood there ..watching. I didn’t want to accept that it was real.. I thought it was some kind of movies.. I never knew people could be that wild and cruel.

The guys from technical school saw those from vocational one sitting and standing on the bus (with no air-condition) so they ran after the bus and caught it at last.. As soon as they reached those other guys, they all started to hit and punch one another..couldn’t really seperate which was from which school..after a few seconds, one guy was dead so his friends was mad..they used knives and at last..guns. At last, the police came..they took care of it ~ they fought a little but the police finally could arrest most of them. Everything was silent now.. I could feel nothing even my heart beating or the wind blowing my hair. It was like that scene was already over..now movies makers had to clean all the blood but nothing happened. Blood was still there..the bus was still there and even the body was there, lying still, too.

Not so long ago after that, we still heard about a guy who wasn’t even a student, just some adult sleeping on the bus. He was sitting on a seat at the back of the bus and his head was leaning back against the window. He must have had his mouth opened while he was sleeping..that’s how the picture on newspapers was. Technical school’s guy saw him yawning and felt disgusted so he fired a gun and the bullet went from the gun via his mouth and the window behind. And the latest fighting in my province..one grandmother was shot and died immediately.

I would love to know what’s so wrong with our world today.. why do people stop caring about others? We, technically, are this planet earth’s friends. There’s nothing we can really do to solve it for forever but there’s no excuses for any of us to just sit or stay still.. doing nothing. It’s time for us to start showing our power to protest it.. Some may not feel it so affects your life that much..but wait till some day, somebody you love or ones who share your surnames have to suffer from it.. there might be tomorrow for us and who we love.

Thai Ladyboys

“He fought like a man so he could become a woman” – Still from the Thai movie Beautiful Boxer

Thailand here has many-a glorious site to feast ones eyes on, besides just a million temples, two million taxis and three million noodle soup stalls we have the one and only ‘Thai ladyboy’. I had decided to stay away from such sordid topic til our cute little regular-commenteer friend from Indonesia here put in the query of ‘Can Richard or Steve write a blog on lady boys? – i just wanna know all the ins-and-outs about such a fine species’. Well, since our Webmasting friend Mr Richard is busy blogging to the likes of every Thai custom and superstition under the sun, Koh Changs’s gruesome garbage piles and how to be a respected teacher in Thailand, its me instead who has had to put pen to paper and give yous all a behind the scenes adventure into the goings-on of that…. lusty Thai ladyboy.

Ive certainly had a ride of laughs during my decade here in the ‘Land of Monks and Mangosteen’ but nothing has made me crack-up as much as the site of the Farang man finding out that his future ex-wife wanna-be used to be, in fact, a man.

I can recall the very sad and sorrowful tale of an English guy a few years back who after meeting his darling in Pattaya decided to turn the relationship into a serious one. So, our English buddy here spends the next one and half years sending his loved one wads-a of cash, building for mum-in-law a spanking new house and enjoying quarterly year trips to visit his cherished beauty. Since our English friend here could not cope with the anguish of having to live a life alone in Boring Britain decided to propose marriage to the love of his life and take her back to his home country. That was until….the day of the interview at the British embassy.

After the officials had listened seperately to the backgrounds of the lovers, the officials promptly realised that perhaps our English laddie here was getting more than he bargained for. So they took the guy to the side and said “Mr fellow Englishman and law abiding citizen…..we have decided NOT to afford a fiancee visa to your future ex-wife because her passport in Thai language reads ‘Mr’ and not ‘Miss’, do NOT make a laughing stock of us here at the embassy, asking us to afford a fiancee-visa to a man! you must darned well know that British law hears nothing of such a despicable thing!

All the other visa-hopefuls that day had the more than laughable opportunity of witnessing our English friend here running round the embassy carpark for the next half hour booting his darling up the bum and shouting to the likes of “In the name of the Queen i have never been so humiliated in the whole of me life!”

Once, when living down in Krabi a long long time ago my Dutch buddy asked me to go with him to Patong, Phuket for a few days and since my friend here enjoyed the bar life i was soon following him up and down the main strip stopping at a few bars for a bevvie. Next, whilst sat at one bar at an awful time of the day, something like noon, a ladyboy on standing outside the bar was in a brawling match with this darned big Israeli guy on the other side of the street cursing each other to the likes of “Stop your mouth or i put my high-heel over your head” and from the former Israeli solidier: “Just you go back to your village and ride a buffalo”.

After ten minutes of this verbal abuse the Israeli walks off and my Dutch friend on knowing this ladyboy asks her “What was all that about?” to which the ladyboy replied. “After spending last night with the guy, I just….this morning, decided to tell him that i was a ladyboy”.

Now, our ladyboy friends down there on Phuket are well-known for one thing.. and that is flashing their ‘works of operation-parts’ at a whole host of pedestrains walking by. After a few farang grannies and grandads had almost died of a heart attack on seeing such private parts exposed, the Patong police decided to make such an offence illegal, and posted up a few warnings in Thai lingo to the likes of ‘Any ladyboy caught flashing her watermelons in public will be prosecuted and fined: 500 baht’

Beyond a question of doubt, zillions of Farang have a fascination for Thai Ladyboys and to prove it you only have to look through the viewing statistics and refering search engines of thai-blogs.com. Whilst our dear webmaster friend here Mr Richard scores lots of new readers who have posted ‘Grand Palace Photo’ or ‘Spicy papaya salad recipe’ into a google search engine half the refering searches to my blogs can only be called ‘sizzlingly saucy’

On top of the most common decent ones i get, number one (for sure)are viewers who ask for info to the likes of ‘Thai girlfriends’ and second most popular has to be ‘Thailand + Lady boys’.

Then, it astonishes me the inumerable amount of Farang who are unable to differentiate between an actual girl and a ladyboy! So for all you readers, here is some advice… on ‘spotting a ladyboy’:

Be suspicious to the likes of any supposed girl standing at the height of 6 foot 2 with an enormous chest and bulging biceps.

Beware of any husky voice asking to the likes of “Hello honey, where you go?”

And be real darned suspect if she has bigger feet than you and legs that look-like those of David Beckham’s

Even so, many of our ladyboy friends are pretty stunning to say the least and in places like Pattaya, are undoubtedly far better looking than most of the bar girls from Buriram. Talking about the height of them again, I am amazed to the high percentage of Thai men, who on being ridiculously tall, decide to have a ‘sex change’ and become a ladyboy.

On becoming a ladyboy it is essential first, to seek a change in your hormone system and so all the ladyboy wanna-bes can be seen popping into their local pharmacies and purchasing a whole years supply af that ladies’ medicine; ‘the pill’. While the doctors recommend consuming just one-a-day, the ladyboy wanna-bes are scoffing them down at the rate of 5-10 a day. Next, the ladyboys on needing to slim down are terribly reknowned for taking a daily dosage of the world’s most potent ‘slimming pill’ and that is ‘methamphetamine’ (Amazingly, a few crooked doctors in The States have been caught prescribing this drug to ladyboy wanna-bes over there, under its medical name: Desoxyn!)

Tonnes of the ladyboys are addicted to this stuff, and so many a Farang who on in enjoying the bar scene down there in Patpong, Khao Sarn or Phuket are warned to be darned careful on any dealings with a ladyboy, yes stacks of them are suffering from the ‘madness fever’, and im not exaggerating!

Once upon a time i had a decent ladyboy friend of mine over there on Ratchdaphisek who was working as a make-up artist. I asked her one day to the likes of “What do your folks back home think about you?” to which she answered “They don’t know im a ladyboy, in fact every time i go home i wear a big baggy jacket to disguise me chest and tell them ive long hair cause i play for a music band”, and im not joking.

You may have wondered what happens when one of the insane pickpocketing ladyboys is jailed. Well, they get banged up in the girlie section and certainly not the male section. As the randy male inmates would be mouth-watering in delight at the prospect of a big-ballooned ladyboy as a jailmate. As for toilets, of course the ladyboy uses the female one.

Then there is the question of ‘military service’, what an embarrasing sight it would be for the Royal Thai Army to have a lipsticked ladyboy guarding the border with all the Khmer soldiers on the other side staring into their binoculars and having a right darned laugh at such a saucy spectacle. And so, when the army on ordering a Thai male citizen to surrender to their recruiting office, a thorough inspection has to be made to the health of the guy.

Of course, many a recruiter has been not-so-surprised to see the likes of a ladyboy walking through the door. Now, its army policy that the authenticity of the ladyboys’ chest and underparts be analysed and classified ‘real’ by an army doctor before she is exempt from military service. As for any ladyboy wanna-bes who use tennis balls to fool the on-lookers, they are not, and are soon forced to serve the compulsory two years.

Ive been asked on a few occasions to – what happens to a ladyboy when they are past their sell-by-date ie. too darned old to be of any use anymore. Well, the answer is, just the same as any other normal woman and that is selling grilled pork by the side of the street, cutting hair or dealing in lottery tickets. as for the physical attraction of one! i’ll let your imagination get the better of you there!

Then finally, I remember the classic newspaper headlines in the Thai Raj newspaper a couple of years back that read ‘Accountant to sue hospital for the mysterious disappearance of his diggery-doo!’ It seems that the pitiful accountant who on going for a back operation at a darned well-known Bangkok hospital was the victim of a despicable doctor cock-up after his ‘operation details’ got mixed up with those of a ladyboy wanna-be’s! So, for any of you male readers out there wanting to have an operation in Thailand – you have been warned!

NOTES: Since this is a ‘family’ related website it has been decided to postpone the popular VOCAB FOR TODAY section this time round. As for the reasoning behind this, I’ll leave that to your own imagination’

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