Monday, October 25, 2010

Teacher in Asia

When young people traveling to an through Asia, its sometimes happens that they fall in love with the region and don't want to go home. But how to make a living here? The answer is simple: as a teacher. Since local teachers are just bad and English speaking foreigners are good per definition, it's kind of easy to find a job. No qualifications required, at least not for the schools on the lower end of the scale.
These people work some hours a week teaching, and since life is cheap in Asia, they make enough money to pay a guesthouse.

These people are notoriously ignoring the culture and laws of the country. Foreign people I knew who got killed where teachers - driving drunken and/or without helmet. They don't care about one way streets, parking fees, dress codes. Most of these teachers try to be still backpackers. In Laos I am now in trouble because I bought a car from a guy who never updated the number plates and never got the mandatory inspection. When I asked him, he said: "You know, it's Laos, they don't care." This guy also left his job in a public university without giving notice and got hired by an international school. The university is still not amused.

First of all, THEY do care. Not get caught by the police doesn't mean you do right. Then most rules have a meaning, the usually make sense. More important is the fact, that if we foreigners give a shit on local laws, how can we encourage people here to follow. Lack of governance and law enforcement is one of the biggest problems in Asia, that's why projects and developments are delayed or fail and corruption is so successful.

So if teachers, the ones who should be a hero for their students, don't care, what might be the impact for the students?


  1. I taught in Vietnam for a year & a bit, enjoyed the teaching but what got me down and ultimately caused me to quit was being surrounded by so many losers & arseholes. People who thought it was OK to turn up for work drunk/stoned, OK to grope female students, OK to turn the teachers' room into a recording studio, OK to spend 3 hours, for which parents had paid a lot of money, playing hangman or watching videos. There are some good people in EFL in Asia but they are sorely outnumbered by lowlife.

  2. Are there ways to legitimately volunteer or even get paid teaching English in South East Asia without paying astronomical prices?

    I understand what Thomas is saying, which was kind of my concern in the first place. As for Tim's comment, I don't know if I am just completely naive, but if that is true about the English teachers, I am truly shocked!

    I am going to SEA in January and would love to do some teaching if I get the opportunity. I have a TEFL certificate, but really can't justify spending thousands for the privilege of teaching through one of the many hundreds of UK/USA organisations with most of it going on 'admin costs', but obviously I want to do it legitimately if you get what I mean?

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  3. So damn true, there are exceptions but for a wide majority of "english teachers" this is true in Vietnam and all surrounding countries (e.g. even in Japan/Korea its the same).