A Parent Writes
Jeez, guys, I was only trying to help! I was only trying to offer a little advice to sex tourists who were planning to apply for teaching jobs in international schools in Thailand to fund their nocturnal activities and I end up with a torrent of abuse!
Stick said he wanted more long-term residents of Thailand to post on his site, and when I read of one guy’s suggestions that sex tourists should work as teachers at international schools rather than teaching English, I thought I would offer some advice based on my ten years experience here.
All I did was to point out that international schools prefer to hire married men, and that most didn’t allow their teachers to go into sex-for-sale establishments. And that an international school might not be the best place for a sex tourist.
The next thing I know there’s a torrent of abuse heading my way accusing me of being a bad parent, of being hypocritical, of going with hookers myself, of having a minor wife. I must have touched a nerve! Hey, I was just telling you like it is. Most of the postings these days seem to be from guys who only stay in Thailand for a few weeks a year, and often opinions get represented as facts. I just wanted to redress the balance. Sorry I spoke.
But while I’m on, maybe I should expand a little on my original thesis. Here’s the thing. It’s getting harder for Westerners to find a teaching job in Thailand, and it’s sites like Stickman’s that are partly to blame. Once it became generally known that English teaching was a way to stay in Thailand for long periods, thousands of sex tourists poured into the industry and they have given the whole profession a bad name here.
Do I care? So long as they stick to teaching English to Thais, I have no views either way. I do feel sorry for the Thais, who often get very bad value for their hard-earned money, but that’s up to them. Caveat emptor. And I feel sorry for the real English teachers because the influx of sex tourists has held salaries down to subsistence levels.
My wife did a year studying English at the AUA school and she was always amused when not-particularly attractive teachers with very little money asked her out. She did think it strange that farang teachers thought it acceptable to hit on students half their age, but she’s old enough to take care of herself.
My 21-year-old stepdaughter goes to one of the big Thai universities and unashamedly flirts with the better-looking farang teachers. Do I care? No, of course not, she’s old enough to know what she’s doing.
But I do care who is teaching my young daughter. And I take the view, as does her school, that sex tourists and whoremongers do not make suitable teachers of young children. End of story.
Some of my best friends spend all their free time screwing around. I have no problem with them spending time with my daughter. But I do have a problem with sex tourist teachers being responsible for the upbringing of my child. Hypocritical? Maybe. But then I’m not being paid to bring up anyone else’s children. That’s the difference.
Let me give you an example. I have friends who take cocaine. A lot of cocaine. And I have friends who are commercial airline pilots. Thankfully, there is no overlap. I am happy to sit with my cocaine-taking friends when they take drugs. I am happy to fly to Hong Kong in the back of a plane driven by a friend. But if ever one of my pilot friends developed a drugs problem, I would intervene. No matter what the consequences. People with drug problems should not fly planes.
I have friends who are taxi drivers. I have friends who drink heavily. If I got into a taxi and smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath would I do something? Damn right. I am not being driven anywhere by a guy who’s been drinking.
Do you get it now? Guys who come to Thailand for the purpose of screwing Asian girls are not suitable to teach my children. Or any children. Most of the good international schools are aware of this. That was the point of my original submission, to point
out that the school my daughter goes to prefers to hire married men. And that it takes the view that visiting a sex-for-sale establishment is a sackable offence.
Judgmental? Maybe. But honestly, I’m not some sort of right-wing born again Christian fundamentalist. Do I care if my daughter gets a gay teacher? No. Of course not. But if he was a paedophile, damn right I’d care. My daughter’s teacher is a heterosexual with an eye for a pretty girl? Fine. But if he’s a sex tourist and whoremonger then I want him the hell out of that classroom.
The first school my daughter went to had no male teachers. Well, they have one guy, who teaches sport. That’s not because there aren’t any qualified male teachers in Thailand, it’s because the administration is aware that a high proportion of farang male teachers here in Thailand are more interested in the sex industry than they are in teaching.
When I was looking for a new school for my daughter I went to a recently-opened establishment in Sukhumvit. During the tour I saw a couple of young male teachers and I went over to talk to them. I started chatting about what a great country Thailand was and before long got them onto the subject of the bars. Lots of ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ and they were soon telling me how much fun they were having. Pricks. Incidentally, the school is struggling. Parents aren’t stupid, they can see through the new buildings and the computer rooms and the playground. It’s the quality of the teachers that counts, and there is no way those giggling morons are going to be teaching my daughter.
The international school we chose for my daughter is huge, oversubscribed, and has a five-year waiting list for Thai children. Why? Because of the quality of the teachers. Most male teachers there are married, and as I said in my first posting, their contract prohibits them from going to sex-for-sale establishments. I didn’t say they couldn’t drink, I didn’t say they couldn’t go out with local girls, what I said was that if they were in a go-go bar bouncing a teenage hooker up and down on the knees, they would lose their jobs. And rightly so. That’s a fact, lads. There’s no point in getting angry at me. Don’t shoot the messenger!
The guy who put up the original posting suggesting that sex tourists apply to international schools didn’t mention, by the way, just how hard the job is. Classes start at my daughter’s school at 7.30am. That means I have to be up at 5.30am to get her ready. Her teacher is there before 7am so I figure she’s up before me. That’s par for the course in Bangkok’s international schools so that the children can get to school before rush hour starts. There’s no way a guy can be out whoring past midnight and do his job properly. The teachers I know are all in bed by 10pm during the week.
Three friends of mine are teachers at a big international school. They’re all younger than me and better looking, but they have never been to Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy. They’ve taken their families shopping in Patpong, and that’s the closest they have been to a go-go bar. They each earn more than 100,000 baht a month. All three have wives who are also teachers earning a similar amount. They have good pension plans, and their rents are paid for. All have three-bedroom apartments (same block I’m in) in an upscale development in Sukhumvit where rents start at 60,000 baht a month. The school pays their rent. They all have cars, and they all have kids who get free schooling. These guys have great lives. And they deserve it. They are hard-working, well-qualified teachers who between them have more than fifty years experience. In the evenings they’re around the pool playing with their kids. At weekends they go off as families. They are the sort of teachers that Thailand needs. The sort of teachers that I’d be proud to have educating my daughter.
So when you read a posting telling you that international schools are the place to work if you like the feel of Asian skin (that’s what the guy wrote) then I’m here to tell you that it’s not as easy as that. The schools don’t want sex tourists on their teaching staff, and neither do we parents.
The flood of emails attacking me are water off a duck’s back. Why I’m in Thailand, how I earn my living, and how I spend my leisure time is nobody’s business but mine. How I bring up my daughter is nothing to do with you. Do I go into go-go bars? None of your business, lads. Am I being hypocritical? I couldn’t care less, lads. I don’t impact on your life, and I won’t, unless one of you tries to work in my daughter’s school!
It it hard to argue with this.