Readers' Submissions

English Teachers In LOS

  • Written by Siam Sam
  • November 20th, 2004
  • 4 min read


I am commenting on both whether English teachers should be paid more, why they should / should not associate with bargirls, and the recent commentary on English teachers in Thailand by "The Lonely Professor" entitled "Understanding Amazing Thailand".

First, I have to really ask who understands Thailand more? Is it "The Lonely Professor" or Jim Collinson, writer of the submission named "TIT – Teaching in Thailand"?

I would say both are writing from some level of emotion or biased opinion, but Jim seems to have a more focused and perhaps correct opinion. Though "the professor" expanded the topic to all ESL teachers, Jim's point was simply that unless you take teaching to a truly professional level, which means being a college graduate (getting the degree to prove you know more than the compulsory Western high school diploma requires), getting certification beyond an easy 4-6 weeks certificate, and acting like you care about your reputation, you should not expect to be paid more than up to twice what a Thai teacher with a college degree often gets (about 30 to 40k Baht per month).

"The Professor", like I am sure many ESL teachers, may have felt offended by this statement. However, should someone who may not even have a college degree get 80-100k Baht monthly, which is up to 4 times what a Thai with a college degree and teaching English would get? Is it unfair for the Thais with money to demand that their children's teachers be away from the sex scene, the drug scene, or whatever?

No, not in my opinion. The Thais or any consumer has the right to refuse paying for teachers for whatever reason they want. And no, the Thais are not compelled to pay Westerners more than the already twice Thai salaries they already pay Westerners.

I feel compelled again to also point out that Jim was referring to Western teachers of all subjects, teaching in high end foreign schools for high school students. "The Professor" was referring to all English teachers. While it is true that many middle and lower class Thais, and bargirls who make upper class salaries but belong in the lower class socially, do frequent the ESL schools that punters teach at, upper class Thai parents of high school, middle school, and grade school children are free to say no to such instructors. And in fact they are saying no, by paying much more money to the higher end schools that both pay higher salaries and demand their teachers to avoid the farang hooker scene.

How about the issue of being a hypocrite? Well, from the information on the articles by Jim Collinson and the subsequent "anonymous" poster, it would seem by his own words he may be just that. However, whether you like him or not, his point is valid, that most parents, even if they are hypocrites, do usually want to protect their kids from the same whoremongering punters that they themselves may be one of. Hypocritical, yes. Does it mean rich Thai men, who may be screwing around with their mia nois or at Thai massage parlours, will not want to protect their own little daughters from other men like themselves who happen to be farang teachers? No way. In fact, a whoremonger would likely be even more protective of their daughters from other sex tourists! I know that I will always question the intentions of older middle-aged, balding white guys if I had a Thai girl for a kid!

"The Professor" also made to the extent that one thing the Thais are not guilty of would be hypocrisy. That is hardly the truth of the matter. In fact, how someone can understand Thailand and say such a thing is incomprehensible to me. Thais are grand hypocrites. Here are some examples.

1. Thais are mostly Theravada Buddhists, yet most of them eat meat. A case of "luke warm Buddhists".

2. Thais claim farangs are too quick to anger, yet most are just waiting below the surface to erupt into angry, irrational, uncontrollable rages. Anyone who has been around Isaan people and bargirls know this.

3. Thais claim Westerns are egotistical, yet what country to this day denies it was conquered, embellishing on their forced "alliance" with the Japanese? How could they have not been conquered, given they passed the 'amity agreement' for the very purpose of showing appreciation to the USA for pushing out the Japanese?

4. Thais claims farangs care too much about work and money, yet just look at what unethical things they have done for easy money?

In my opinion, and it is an opinion, Jim Collinson is a hypocrite, but then how many punters are not when it comes to their own children and wife? The only mistake he made was to think he had a right to speak about other farang being with bargirls when he does it himself. I agree that you cannot expect people to respect your opinion here, when you are doing the same thing. It goes to the old saying of "do as I say and not as I do".

However, I also think that ESL teachers with low or no qualifications also have no business expecting more than the grand wages they are also receiving by Thai standards.

Stickman's thoughts:

Read Jim's next submission, an excellent piece, and then see what you think…