Recently, I read an online article about the Philippine government encouraging Filipino teachers overseas to return home and work. It was actually more interesting to read the comments section than the article itself. Several netizens expressed their opinion about this matter, ranging from extreme disgust to creating a comic relief about it. A huge number of those who engaged into the discussion were Filipino teachers in Thailand. Upon reading, I realized how these people still prefer to teach in Thailand than in our home country. I made a list of the top 10 reasons why our “kababayans” are much happier in the Land of Smiles. Are some of the reasons below the same as yours? Let’s find out!
#1 – Higher Salary
The ultimate reason why Filipinos are scattered all over the world is to work for a higher pay. While it is true that teaching does not make large amounts money, the salary of Filipino educators in Thailand is still significantly higher compared when they teach in the Philippines. An entry level teacher in a public school in the Philippines may receive a gross amount of 18,000 pesos per month minus tax, social security, and health benefits. A private school teacher even receives lower! These salary schemes are a major reason of an exodus of teachers to other countries, particularly Thailand.
#2 – Cheaper Cost of Living
Fair to say, it is cheaper to live in Thailand than in the Philippines. When you live here, you can eat a decent meal for 30 baht which is around 40 pesos. Groceries are so cheap, almost half the price than when they are sold back home. Other commodities and services that are less expensive in Thailand include transportation, petroleum, clothing, rent, entertainment, gadgets, internet services, and mobile prepaid. It looks like Filipinos are enjoying their second home away from home due to cheaper costs of living.
#3 – More Relaxed Working Environment
I remember when I was still in the Philippines, there were meetings held once a week. Sometimes, there is overtime work and some of my colleagues were forced to go to school on weekends to do paperwork and prepare lessons. There was even a time when I taught for 8 straight hours from 8 am to 4pm, working at lunchtime! Now that I am in another country, I can prepare lessons and instructional materials during my free time in school. According to Thai law, a teacher can have a maximum load of 24 units per week. That is approximately 4 or 5 teaching hours in a day. The rest is preparation time.
#4 – Better Quality of Living
My friends were joking about how it is difficult to work in the Philippines: “Dito sa Thailand, papasok ka lang sa trabaho. Dun sa Pinas, pipila ka pa ng jeep, maghihintay ng masasakyan, mababaha pag umulan etc. etc.” In all fairness, our quality of life in Thailand is something that we have to be grateful for. We feel safer here. We also experience lesser natural calamities. Storms, landslides, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions are things not to worry about.
#5 – Free Lunch in School
Yes! Free lunch especially in elementary schools! This is something Philippine schools don’t have. It’s a great advantage when you are a food addict. But beware. Your palate must be accustomed with spicy food. Thai food is mostly spicy.
#6 – No Pressure with Lesson Plans and Course Syllabus
When I was still teaching in the Philippines, I heard one private school withholding their teachers’ salary until they submitted their lesson plans and grades. Well, that is not the case in Thailand. Although there are lesson plans, grades, and course syllabi to submit before the due date, teachers work on their own pace.
#7 – Healthcare Benefits
Schools in Thailand are affiliated with health companies that ensure teachers the following: accident benefits, free check-up, and discounted medicines. To avail healthcare, schools deduct an amount from the teachers’ monthly pay.
#8 – Travel. Travel. Travel.
It is very easy to travel around Thailand considering the cheap transportation. Filipino teachers spend their holidays traveling by train, bus, or plane. In the Philippines, it is expensive to travel even just to another province.
#9 – Easier Employment than other Countries
Easier indeed. Thailand is more welcome to Filipino teachers unlike Japan, South Korea, Hongkong, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. Considered to be non-native English speakers, Filipinos can still practice their profession in Thailand. In fact, more and more Filipinos are being hired in Thailand every year.
#10 – Lesser Extra Curricular Tasks
In the Philippines, aside from teaching, teachers are also guidance counselors, coaches, interior designers, nurses, janitors, so on and so forth. The job description goes on. In Thailand, there is lesser work done. Hence, more free time. Lesser work, lesser stress, happier teacher!
While we can’t deny that it is more fun to teach in Thailand, we still find sadness missing our family and loved ones back home. Nevertheless, whatever reasons we may have for teaching in Thailand, it is for them that we are here.
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