How to Turn Your Dreams of Moving to Thailand into a Reality

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Millions of People Dream of Living in Thailand

A guy in at a bar on Koh Chang once told me that at least fifty percent of visitors to Thailand dream about being able to return as a full-time resident. This person obviously pulled this statistic out of his arse, but it does kind of ring true. You only have to look at the unhappy faces in Suvarnabhumi Airport departure lounge to see that many tourists feel desperate to stay.

Suan Som Rayong

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Are Parents Being Blackmailed by Thai Teachers?

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My reluctance to send my son to for extra classes outside of normal school hours may mean he ends up with lower grades and receives less attention from his teacher. This has nothing to do with his intelligence or level of knowledge – it is all financially driven. It feels like blackmail, and I kind of resent it because of the implications it could have for my son’s future.

First day at school Thailand 1

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There are Some Wonderful Foreign Teachers in Thailand

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Foreign teachers in Thailand often don’t get the respect they deserve. They are looked upon with suspicion by fellow ex-pats and as a necessary evil by many Thais. I posted on here before about the ‘terrible foreign teachers in Thailand‘ – these negative stereotypes do exist, but they grab more attention than they deserve.

Teaching in Thailand

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Timmy Starts Kindergarten Two in Thailand

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My son Timmy started back at school yesterday. This is his second year and he is now moved up to K2 – it would be the equivalent of junior infants back in Ireland. I asked him this morning if he preferred K1 or K2 and he says that K1 is for babies. His first year in school whizzed by at a scary pace. Readers of my blog may remember that I had reservations about sending him so young, but looking back we probably did the right thing. He made some friends, and he does seem to enjoy learning.

Back to School Blues

It has been nice having him home all the time for the summer holidays. I spend most of my time glued to the computer in my office, but I can hear him pottering around the house. I also stop for a chat every time I go down to refill my coffee cup. As he was off school we took the opportunity to do some travelling. We spent a few days on Koh Samet, and we also visited Savannakhet in Laos. He enjoys going to these places so when it comes to decisions about hitting the road it is two against one – my wife doesn’t have a chance.

I felt a bit sad over the weekend knowing that Timmy was going back to school – it sort of felt like it was me and not him who would be returning. I have so many memories of that first day of term 1. I would be so excited about all the new books in my school bag, but there would also be a deep dread. Going to school meant entering a world where I’d have far less control. It was a place where I had to struggle to fit in. It was a tough environment where you would either sink or learnt how to swim –I spent most of the time sinking. I felt sad about Timmy going back to school because like any father I want to save him from all that, but I don’t know if it is possible.

Back to Nagging My Son to Speak English

Going to school has changed my son, and it isn’t always in ways that I choose. Over the last few weeks I’ve managed to get him speaking English almost all the time at home, but when we picked him up yesterday he would only speak Thai. I will only converse with him in English, but I hate haven’t to keep moaning at him to speak my language. I worry that nagging will take all the fun out of the language – this is a concern that I’ve discussed on here before .

Timmy was fine going back to school yesterday because I promised him a new iPad game if he was a ‘good boy’. We had to literally drag him there this morning though. In the end his teacher carried him off, and I hated leaving him while he was still so upset. I would love to say to Timmy that he didn’t have to go to school, but he does. I tried to explain all that to him this morning, but he couldn’t understand. It was heartbreaking but what are we supposed to do? The exact same thing happened last year but by the second week he loved going to school. Hopefully he’ll settle back in again quickly because I don’t want to have to go through that every morning.

Now That My Son Has Completed His First Term at Thai School

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It is hard to believe but my son has already completed his first term of school. It only feels like a couple of weeks since we dropped him off for his first day. I hope that all the terms don’t pass so quickly because otherwise his graduation will soon be upon us. As I shared in my post Why I Don’t Want My Son to Start School in Thailand, I felt reluctant about sending him at first. I worried that he was still young, and that the school day was too long. I’m now pleased to report back that I think we made the right decision by sending him.

Taking Control Thai Style

One of my main concerns was that they expected Timmy to attend shcool from 08:00 to 15:00. This seemed like a long a day for a child who still hadn’t hit his 4th birthday. In the end I reached a compromise; we would send him from 08:00 to 12:00. This worked well for a couple of weeks until the teacher suggested that we allow Timmy to stay for his nap; that way we wouldn’t have to wake him up. It seemed reasonably enough. A couple of weeks later and my wife wanted to leave him until two – apparently Timmy had been missing out on dancing in the afternoons. By the time the term had finished Timmy was attending school until 14:30. I stubbornly hold onto this last half hour because it gives me the illusion of control. It also means that I don’t have to fight to get a parking space with all the other parents.

I’m surprised at how well Timmy has settled into school. He did have a week where he didn’t want to go, but he can’t get enough of it now. His confidence around other children has risen dramatically, and he always talks about his new friends. The one thing that concerned me was that he stopped speaking English for a couple of weeks (read here), but he is now speaking my language again. The high point of the term was when he got up on stage to sing the Spice Girls song “Momma I Love You” – this was for Mother’s Day. I was so impressed with his performance – he was just so natural up there.

Disappointed That My Son Might Not Be a Genius

Before the end of term my wife and I had to attend a meeting with his teachers. They gave him a glowing report, but I must admit feeling a tiny bit disappointed. I suspect like most parents I secretly hope that my child is some type of prodigy. I was sort of expecting that one of the teachers would proclaim my son to be the most gifted youngster they have ever had the pleasure of instructing. It never happened. In fact he even failed at swimming. This came as a bit of a surprise to me; during my seven years teaching in Thailand I never saw a child be given a failing mark in anything- especially in a private school. This failing mark boosted my confidence in the school quite a bit.

We will have Timmy back at home all day for the next six weeks. He is already driving my wife demented with his constant demands for entertainment. It is nice having him here all day, but school certainly has its advantages.