“Springcait” (http://iamlearningteaching.wordpress.com/) expressed wanting to read more about teaching abroad in a comment below, so I’m motivated to do a post about it. But I’m left thinking about what I might write about teaching in ‘The Land of Smiles’ that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. And when I write about the past I feel like I need to find a new and productive “reflective angle” to take for my own sake; in looking back, I want to be able to look forwards with fresher eyes. I want to dig a bit and not only relate something but create something I can learn from myself (or deflate something I learned or believed before!). And I’m almost there, but not quite. The title of the post, I think, hints at the direction I’m seeing there.
After starting out in Sri Lanka I moved to Thailand and stayed for 6.5 years before coming back stateside for an M.Ed TESOL. In Thailand I taught in all types of contexts and environments and – like many in ELT – slowly but surely went from ‘adventurer’ to ‘professional’ during my formative TEFL-time there. But that process took a particular shape and went through particular stages as affected and influenced by the particular and perhaps peculiar character of Thailand’s EFL and general educational atmosphere.
That’s what’s there to dig into and reflect on, but it’s not quite ripe yet and I don’t quite have the chance right now. In the meantime, do any of my handful of readers have experience teaching in Thailand? If not, what’s your impression of ELT in Thailand? Does it’s reputation as a kind of ‘TEFLer’s wild west’ reach you? Other thoughts? What do you make of the post title above?
I’ve been looking through old photos recently (see the couple I’ve embedded in the blog design now) and found one from what I think was probably the final day of a course at a university language center in Bangkok I worked at on evenings and weekends for a few years. So this’ll be the placeholder for my future reflections on teaching in the ‘LOS’…with plenty of those famous smiles on display!