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Yearly dodgy school recrutiment rush


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Have you seen the Ajarn.com jobs list this week? What a joke. I have stopped taking calls from random numbers as it's always an Ajarn can't quite catch the second bit from a school in can't quite understand what she's saying Bangkok. It gets worse every year.

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TBH, I'm going to do a Visa run, get that TOEIC test and then be available to be the next day at Nakhon Nowhere at 7:45 am sharp. That's the plan.

FYI, some schools haven't even advertized or tried hiring by any means yet. It boils down to some director benefitting financially from every day those foreign teachers are not hired. Just saying...

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Well, I started applying this late afternoon. Got the first desperate call. Apparently, tomorrow is some hiring deadline for government schools...

They wanted me to come overnight to Isaan! I explained that I have video and a scanner and they can witness me signing their contract... thumbsup.gif

Jesus, what a festering mess!

The border runs issue won't help and at some point, enough is enough and it's usually the best teachers who leave. coffee1.gif

Then there is another clear trend: schools and universities wishing to avoid paying for holidays. My last contract ended in February. But the students came to school in March... Things are happening for some financial reason. Remember that whistling.gif

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It is sad that some schools complain about the low quality of teachers, and the reputation of SE Asian English teachers has taken a hit over recent years, but it is often the schools themselves that weed out the good teachers by treating them poorly, until many of the remaining applicants are low-tier. Of course, many applicants are unskilled, unreliable and dodgy, but it is the schools responsibility to screen their applicants. Agencies and language schools have put the final nail in the ESL coffins. I have met several teachers who did the math and their teaching clients brought 100-150k a month into the company, while making 25-35k for the privilege. Not all language school owners are rich, but one will never make good money unless they are the owner.

So direct labor is at 16-35%

That seems pretty high to me, what do you think it should be?

What is a fair margin for the owner(s)?

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It is sad that (1) some schools complain about the low quality of teachers, and (2) the reputation of SE Asian English teachers has taken a hit over recent years, but it is often (3) the schools themselves that weed out the good teachers by treating them poorly, until (4) many of the remaining applicants are low-tier. Of course, (5) many applicants are unskilled, unreliable and dodgy, but it is the schools responsibility to screen their applicants. (6) Agencies and language schools have put the final nail in the ESL coffins. (7) I have met several teachers who did the math and their teaching clients brought 100-150k a month into the company, while making 25-35k for the privilege. Not all language school owners are rich, but one will never make good money unless they are the owner.

I count 7 unsubstantiated claims in that paragraph.

(1) some schools complain about the low quality of teachers

(2) the reputation of SE Asian English teachers has taken a hit over recent years

(3) the schools themselves that weed out the good teachers by treating them poorly

(4) many of the remaining applicants are low-tier

(5) many applicants are unskilled, unreliable and dodgy,

(6) Agencies and language schools have put the final nail in the ESL coffins

(7) I have met several teachers who did the math and their teaching clients brought 100-150k a month into the company, while making 25-35k for the privilege

There might be some truth to a few of the claims but this is the rant of someone who really should be doing something other than teaching in Thailand. Life is just too much of a burden for them.

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It is sad that some schools complain about the low quality of teachers, and the reputation of SE Asian English teachers has taken a hit over recent years, but it is often the schools themselves that weed out the good teachers by treating them poorly, until many of the remaining applicants are low-tier. Of course, many applicants are unskilled, unreliable and dodgy, but it is the schools responsibility to screen their applicants. Agencies and language schools have put the final nail in the ESL coffins. I have met several teachers who did the math and their teaching clients brought 100-150k a month into the company, while making 25-35k for the privilege. Not all language school owners are rich, but one will never make good money unless they are the owner.

So direct labor is at 16-35%

That seems pretty high to me, what do you think it should be?

What is a fair margin for the owner(s)?

Employees don't receive a percentage of a company's earnings unless they are part of a profit sharing agreement. They receive a salary. The salary is at least the market rate otherwise they wouldn't be able to recruit employees. This is fundamental economics in the real world. Too many foreign teachers live in a strange world where they believe businesses/schools should be run for their benefit.

I would also take his figures with a large pinch of salt. Unless he's audited the accounts of the school/business, he doesn't know where the money goes.

Edited by Loaded
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You should try working for a moving company when teachers are moving out. Every quote I send is expensive. Everyone wants to send their 3 cubic metres of pants to the other side of the world for 50p

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It is sad that some schools complain about the low quality of teachers, and the reputation of SE Asian English teachers has taken a hit over recent years, but it is often the schools themselves that weed out the good teachers by treating them poorly, until many of the remaining applicants are low-tier. Of course, many applicants are unskilled, unreliable and dodgy, but it is the schools responsibility to screen their applicants. Agencies and language schools have put the final nail in the ESL coffins. I have met several teachers who did the math and their teaching clients brought 100-150k a month into the company, while making 25-35k for the privilege. Not all language school owners are rich, but one will never make good money unless they are the owner.

So direct labor is at 16-35%

That seems pretty high to me, what do you think it should be?

What is a fair margin for the owner(s)?

Employees don't receive a percentage of a company's earnings unless they are part of a profit sharing agreement. They receive a salary. The salary is at least the market rate otherwise they wouldn't be able to recruit employees. This is fundamental economics in the real world. Too many foreign teachers live in a strange world where they believe businesses/schools should be run for their benefit.

I would also take his figures with a large pinch of salt. Unless he's audited the accounts of the school/business, he doesn't know where the money goes.

Fundamental economics also say when you have a lot of illegal workers (not correct visa or work-permit) in a certain kind of business, the salaries will be lower than it should be.

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One of the people responding to the question of payment pointed out that market economics is to pay the least amount of money possible to those you employ. I hope this person is not a teacher. Teaching is more than merely standing in a room checking that students understand the grammar. There is a relationship between teacher and student which goes far beyond the financial reward. I do not say to my students that the lesson is finished on the hour. Questions they raise and their individual needs have to be met after school.

Employers too need to understand that if they hire at the lowest rate, the teachers will need to do too many hours to give time for preparation and quality lesson development. All participants in this market need to recognise the great divide between education and hourly money making. Once we understand this we can clearly draw the lines between the two different arena of employment.

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It is sad that some schools complain about the low quality of teachers, and the reputation of SE Asian English teachers has taken a hit over recent years, but it is often the schools themselves that weed out the good teachers by treating them poorly, until many of the remaining applicants are low-tier. Of course, many applicants are unskilled, unreliable and dodgy, but it is the schools responsibility to screen their applicants. Agencies and language schools have put the final nail in the ESL coffins. I have met several teachers who did the math and their teaching clients brought 100-150k a month into the company, while making 25-35k for the privilege. Not all language school owners are rich, but one will never make good money unless they are the owner.

So direct labor is at 16-35%

That seems pretty high to me, what do you think it should be?

What is a fair margin for the owner(s)?

Employees don't receive a percentage of a company's earnings unless they are part of a profit sharing agreement. They receive a salary. The salary is at least the market rate otherwise they wouldn't be able to recruit employees. This is fundamental economics in the real world. Too many foreign teachers live in a strange world where they believe businesses/schools should be run for their benefit.

I would also take his figures with a large pinch of salt. Unless he's audited the accounts of the school/business, he doesn't know where the money goes.

Employees absolutely do receive a percentage of a company’s earnings.

Where else would the company get money for payroll if not from earnings?

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lol.....way too funny.....your post is dead on the head. I have had this experience far too often and like you, it really burns my ass when they want you to start the same day. Never mind that there may be issues in the "contract" that you'd like to discuss....noooo....start get here and begin teaching.

I am perplexed as to why schools wait until the last second to recruit.....it is absolute studpidity and in my opinion reflects on the intellect of thai's in the whole country.

Thank you for a spot on post!!!!!!!!!!

Hmmm... Did you read..."As of this Monday an unusual number of people did not show up. There are usually 2 or 3 no-shows, but this year there were maybe 8 or 10. Of those I've contacted (some just don't ever answer the phone or an email again) here's a run down of reasons:

1. They were offered more money at another school.

2. The visa situation has become difficult. Including some who don't think they can be around until the paperwork is done.

3. They have left for another country.

Amazes me how some people jump on a chance to dis and don't really think the issue through! Statements like, ..."reflect on the intellect of Thais..." and another post, "Most Thai schools do everything at the last minute" are ludicrous! What would you know about the intellect of Thais, and how could one have a clue as to what MOST Thai schools do?!

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It is sad that some schools complain about the low quality of teachers, and the reputation of SE Asian English teachers has taken a hit over recent years, but it is often the schools themselves that weed out the good teachers by treating them poorly, until many of the remaining applicants are low-tier. Of course, many applicants are unskilled, unreliable and dodgy, but it is the schools responsibility to screen their applicants. Agencies and language schools have put the final nail in the ESL coffins. I have met several teachers who did the math and their teaching clients brought 100-150k a month into the company, while making 25-35k for the privilege. Not all language school owners are rich, but one will never make good money unless they are the owner.

So direct labor is at 16-35%

That seems pretty high to me, what do you think it should be?

What is a fair margin for the owner(s)?

Employees don't receive a percentage of a company's earnings unless they are part of a profit sharing agreement. They receive a salary. The salary is at least the market rate otherwise they wouldn't be able to recruit employees. This is fundamental economics in the real world. Too many foreign teachers live in a strange world where they believe businesses/schools should be run for their benefit.

I would also take his figures with a large pinch of salt. Unless he's audited the accounts of the school/business, he doesn't know where the money goes.

Not to compound the part on the market, but if schools are having trouble filling spots then maybe the market is in fact speaking. I know for a fact that 30-35,000 to teach in public schools is too low, so im now teaching in China. So hardly a strange world...

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Non response seems to be the norm among thai entities, be they schools,companies, or hospitals, particularly when it is a business or work inquiry.

I know people that have taken considerable time and even hand delivered inquiries and proposals which almost 100% time do not receive as much as a 20 second email to acknowledge it.

Someone from a big G7 law firm sent a formal letter (translated to thai) with a business proposition to a very big thai company. A lot time and effort then professional translation. Not even an acknowledgement.

You would think any entity holding itself out as international/ upscale/ high level, would at least acknowledge an inquiry????

Without going into why it is like that the important thing is it is far from international standard/level.

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My wife is Thai. She works for the government. They do everything at the last minute. She does everything at the last minute in her personal life. Farmers do not do any great planning and most Thais grew up on a farm. We find out about a wedding on Thursday and go on Saturday.

Thais do not consider this a rush and it seems to usually work out. I know CRAZY !! How can you properly run a school that way? My ex wife begins recruiting in March for the following September. When she does this she usually knows August 1 to 15 who her starters will be. But thinking about it her early applicants are often drop outs by June or July. They are given too many choices by allowing them to apply early. Go figure. I have also been a teacher - now retired.

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I, like Scott in an earlier post, also deal with the hiring of teachers in a government school. This year there is far fewer 'quality' applicants than recent years. I started advertising for a positions in my school last Feb for a May start - i don't call that last minute - and i have still to fill all the positions. Yes, schools can improve with regard to salaries and conditions especially government schools who are extremely reluctant to pay 12m contracts.Most schools are also under pressure from parents to hire 'white' native speakers or else they will take their students away from the school! In addition it is not only the fault of schools as i have frequently sent emails to teachers offering jobs who do not respond in any way, despite chasers. T.I.T (This is Thailand) if you don't like it, then nobody is forcing you to stay in the country. I think many teachers who are flexible are now experiencing other countries and often better working conditions hence the reason for many schools still without the right teachers. I love Thailand, I love living here so i put up with the issues and problems i face as a teacher. No country is perfect

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Since the pay seems to be about the same all over the country, 28k to 32k a month, I assume it's not the schools but the government that determines the pay. And since this is low pay for a qualified native English speaking teacher, the schools will always have trouble recruiting teachers, and will aggressively pursue anyone remotely qualified who expresses interest. The last minute part probably has to do with last minute no-shows to filled positions.

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I think a lot of people with experience dont really view thailand as a legit option. Japan is just... japan i guess. Itll always have applicants (even if, to quote my former boss: "its more like people are paying US to work in Matsumoto from the salary they get"). It obviously attracts the fresh graduates and the starry eyed asia-philes with no problem.

Korea offers similar package but is a bit more of a risk. Obviously hagwon is a roll of the dice. Five out of six times itll be no problem, but that one crappy roll and youre in limbo hell. So obviously it has its draw backs. Also since the Kpop explosion more people know about it and its pulling some of the heavily over-saturated market from japan meaning ages come down, wages start dropping a little (benefits are going the way of Japan), and experience starts counting for less. Why would a school pay 2.6 mill/month for someone ticking all the epik boxes, when you can get someone younger, likely less jaded and more easy to push around for 2.2? Obviously market plays its hand on this one. Of course its just a trend, not applicable to all situations.

And if neither of those work out, maybe youre getting older in the tooth, maybe your experience is viewed less favorably than youth and vigor (not bitter!!!!!), or maybe you just fancy a return to the wild west of scoring your own benefits as a direct hire for the school and calling your own shots, but sorta want people to sort out your visa for you before you come, then china is a pretty safe bet. Savings are as high as Korea, the kids are genuinely fantastic, benefits are great (airfare, housing, health insurance, paid school vacations etc), age restrictions arent so pronounced, and jobs are PLENTIFUL. The workload can be a bit heavier of course (which is why korea is always the perfect balance for me), and it can be intimidating as hell just to even conceive of the idea, but the opportunities are all over the place.

Which brings me to Thailand:

Actually im not the best placed to talk about thailand. Ill just say it didnt suit me in several ways personally. But for a new applicant the barriers are no visa before entry, you must already be in Thailand and pound the pavement for a decent job, and thats a roll of the dice. No pay during school holidays. And those holidays are looooooooong. Low pay, poor school conditions. Wonderful happy kids, but not always the most interested in education - particularly English. On the plus, beach, tropical climate, beautiful culture, plenty of jobs, no age restrictions, under the counter teaching for our less than qualified compatriots, and honestly its a fun place to live. But as several of my friends said (i kid you not - all independently before i moved there), dude, go there on holiday, dont come to thailand to teach. Mileage may vary, but personally speaking, they were pretty much spot on.

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To be fair, my JET interview could be summarised by the following dialogue:

Interviewer: "Now going to Japan is a big change. It can be very scary to live in a new country with no friends or family. Are you sure youll be fine?"

Me: "yes"

Interviewer: "Are you sure?"

Me: "yes"

Interviewer: "well then, congratulations, welcome to the JET programme!"

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Have you seen the Ajarn.com jobs list this week? What a joke. I have stopped taking calls from random numbers as it's always an Ajarn can't quite catch the second bit from a school in can't quite understand what she's saying Bangkok. It gets worse every year.

It gets worse at times too. In Roiet a farang (Roiet Witt), and his Thai wife (StriSuksa) are selling jobs for 50% of your first months salary. I wonder if they declare the income and if this is covered by his work permit. Perhaps immigration should be informed. To me we should be helping each other just as a favour, not trying to fleece others who may not be so used to Thailand as us.

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The salaries in Thailand are a joke........plain and simple. I arrived here in 2005 and they haven't changed one bit!! My current school just came out with an absolutely ridiculous salary scale. The top salary is 55,000 baht but in order to get that you need a PhD, teaching certificate AND 10+ years teaching experience. cheesy.gifcheesy.gif

I get a kick reading some of these ads claiming that 20-25,000 baht is a competitive salary.

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I think the schools underestimated the political unrest. After awhile, teachers are going to ask, "Maybe i should explore another country?" it's not like they will see a big decrease in pay. I think people are also concerned over the visa crackdown, even if it may not apply to them. soon we might hear, "Thailand was sooooo 2009". It's a hard profession to get respect as an ex-pat, unless you make good money. which you don't. and for people who don't need the money or are retirees, the aggravation may not be worth it. i really enjoy teaching, but it has to be a subject i really enjoy.

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