When I first applied for a teaching post in Thailand, I thought it would be a great way to get paid for traveling - an opportunity to visit another country, learn about its culture and get paid for the privilege; and boy, was I right!
Teaching English in Thailand has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things I have ever attempted.
For starters, I took a TEFL course in Chiang Mai, which was integral to my journey and ensured that I set off on the right foot. Apart from our lessons in the mornings which involved teaching techniques, lesson planning and the like, my classmates and I also did practical work teaching at the University every afternoon and then usually got together in the evenings for a few drinks. Some of us have remained friends despite moving to other centres to teach.
After a brief stint in Korea (the high pay lured me there), I have returned to Chiang Mai to teach, as I prefer the relaxed atmosphere and low cost of living to the non-stop activity. In Chiang Mai, I teach at a government school, which although it does not pay as well as private tuition, is a much more reliable source of income. My school has no objection to me teaching privately after hours, so I sometimes take on a private client or two to supplement my income.
The low cost of living in Chiang Mai has ensured that I have money to spare in order to travel, and by saving judiciously, I have enjoyed a few long weekend trips to other countries, such as, Malaysia and Singapore, which are necessary for VISA purposes anyway. I have learnt to ride a scooter, quite a challenge for someone with low hand-eye coordination skills, discovered a love for Thai food and the joys of vegetarianism, and have taken thousands of photographs documenting every tourist spot in Chiang Mai.
I could go on and on about my adventures in teaching English in Thailand but I will end by saying that the best part is that not only have I taught, but I have learnt. Every day, I have discovered something new - about other cultures, about people, about persistence and most importantly about myself.