The foreign teachers in Thailand have a poor reputation. In some ways this negative image is underserved, but there is no doubt that bad teachers exist; those who not only lack the skills to teach but who also have no professional standards. In the beginning of my career I could be described as one of the bad teachers, but I did work hard to escape this category. I met other teachers who didn’t seem perturbed at all by their bad reputation; in fact they revelled in it.
“I’m Off for My Brothel Break”
One of the things that amazed me most about some expats in Thailand was how open they were about their sex lives. Before arriving in Thailand I’d spent tens of thousands of hours sitting in bars, but I’d be almost blushing at some of the things this new crowd of drinking buddies would be talking about. Maybe I’m a bit prudish, but where I come from you don’t boast about going with a prostitute- there was always something a bit shameful about admitting that you needed to pay for sex. My new TEFL drinking buddies would not only admit to going with these hired bed pals but they’d want to provide a blow by blow account of the event. They would even give recommendations and compare notes; it was discussed in the same manner as groups of lads will discuss football scores. If you announced in the bar that last night you’d slept with two lady-boys and a monkey it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.
One of the bar conversation that stands out the most from that time occurred one afternoon during my first week working at the school in Ladprao. I got talking to another agency teacher, and he invited me out to the bar after work. I would have been going to the pub anyway and the opportunity of a bit of company sounded like a great idea. It turned out that he was meeting up with another expat teacher, so it had all the makings of a good drinking session.
These two men were both in their forties; both had been teaching in Thailand for a good few years. They had similar stories to the ones I’d heard from the other expat teachers I’d been drinking with recently; the tricks they had for getting paid to teach while doing minimal work. The topic soon moved onto bargirls, but by now I’d become immune to this type of conversation and sort of enjoyed it – just being one of the lads. It was only when they admitted that they both usually went to a brothel during their lunch break that my jaw almost hit the floor. That just seemed wrong on so many levels; they were so matter-of-fact about it as well. What people do in their free time is their business, but nipping off to a brothel in the middle of a school day can’t be right – can it? Imagine if the parents of their students found out or the school administration? The two guys didn’t seem in the least bit bothered about this, and claimed to not make any attempts to hide their lunchtime activities.
The Bad Apples Spoil it for Everyone
During my first months working in Thailand I met quite a few unsavoury characters who were making a living from TEFL. To be fair though, the people that I was running into weren’t always a realistic representation of foreign teachers here. I’ve found that like tends to attract like. The fact that my life revolved around getting drunk all the time meant that I only got to know the hard drinking teachers. I later found out that there were many foreign teachers who did act professionally and could do their job properly. Their reputation suffered because some of us just weren’t so conscientious and probably shouldn’t have been teaching in the first place.
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The Story so Far
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Why Does The Foreign Teacher Always Smell Like Peppermint? – Part 2
Why Does the Foreign Teacher Always Smell Like Pepperment? – Part 3
Why Does the Foreign Teacher Always Smell Like Peppermint – Sleepy Thai Girl -Part 4
Why Does the Foreign Teacher Always Smell Like Peppermint – How Dare They Not Like Me – Part 5
Why Does the Foreign Teacher Always Smell Like Peppermint – Beers, Jokes, and Gameboys – Part 6
Why Does the Foreign Teacher Always Smell Like Peppermint Part 7 –The Thailand Paperwork Nightmare