Pinoy Teacher’s Story: Keeping Self-Worth Intact Amid Significant Outpour of Filipino Teachers in the Kingdom


Most employment opportunities dedicated to Filipino teachers at offer a meager salary of less than 20k a month without other benefits. Whenever Filipino teachers see such ad, they shake their heads in disappointment. However, there is always someone willing to take the bait – for survival – they say. If my fellow Filipinos continue to accept offers with low salary and won’t haggle for an increase; our experiences and accomplishments (if any) won’t soon matter.

Read: Pinoy Teacher’s Story: Finding the Ideal School

In the beginning

Before I came to Thailand I was working my butt off in an American company servicing mostly north American clients. I was working during the hours everybody in my country was in deep slumber and having a talk with the angels on their pillows. Graveyard shift as what is it called – just so to compliment the time zones of another country literally halfway around the world. The job was physically tedious and mentally debilitating.

My purpose as to why I am sharing this article is to let everybody here in Thailand particularly Filipinos not to lose hope in finding a job. Just like most of us here, I was invited by a friend back in 2007 to explore and find my luck in the Kingdom. I had high hopes of landing a good job as I posses the degree required, the language needed, and a bit of experience.

Read: Pinoy Teacher’s Story: Journey to Prateepsasana Islamic School

I started losing hope

I sent my resume to probably hundreds of employers at that promised a good pay. Unfortunately, I only received a few leads pointing toward a possible job offer because of my nationality.

Of course there were indeed offers, albeit low. In fact, I was already hired and was told to start the next day for a kindergarten school in Nonthaburi, but the offer was way below my expectation, hence the refusal.

When a friend learned about it upon arriving home, I received a blatant “ang arte mo” opening salvo. After which, I overheard him and another friend talking with one of them saying, “ka bago bago pa lang e choosy na.”

The words hurt me like a sword penetrating my very flesh. I was in total disbelief. I thought they understood as to why I refused. Why would I accept a meager offer when I know my worth? Yet, my self-esteem plummeted to its lowest level. I started cursing the world.

I felt that my coming to Thailand was the biggest mistake of my life. Back home I was earning quite better than the others my age. I was exposed to western lifestyles and learned about international travel while sitting on my comfy chair, a job few others in the Philippines never had the chance to experience no matter how hard they try. But at the back of my mind, I blamed myself. I wouldn’t be hearing those words in the first place and will be greeted with a high five or a pat on the back had I accepted the offer.

Read: Pinoy Teacher’s Story: Believing in myself more

When I was alone

When everybody was out making money so as to pay the bills, save, and send some back home, I was alone in the room. And since we were on the 6th floor of the apartment building, I had thoughts of jumping.

Suicidal tendency? Perhaps you can call it that way. I also thought of going home and start my life anew. After all, I was just 23 years old.

Words of encouragement

But I continued the fight. I didn’t give up. I prayed. There’s a silver lining in the most darkest hour they say, and so I never let go of that idea.

The call was picked up by the person who is now the dean of our faculty. At the time, he was just the coordinator of foreign teachers (Nag level up si Ajarn). He then referred me to the person responsible for hiring.

To cut the story short,  I so got the job. This is my 8th contract with Pibulsongkram Rajabaht University. PSRU is also my first ever school in the Kingdom.

Did I mention we also received a salary increase this year? Yes, we did. I just signed the contract a few minutes ago and there I saw the increment. To top it off, we also receive a bonus upon completion of a year contract. I’m hoping it will be given at the end of this month. From time to time, we also conduct workshops and training courses inside and outside the university with a handsome fee. In fact, I just finished one last week.

The increase, bonus, and other income generating projects inside and outside the university were mentioned in hopes other people might be encouraged to do the same – to never give up and continue to fight. Don’t just accept offers because it’s knocking on your door. Being hired is one, but knowing your self-worth is another. After all, you know yourself better than anybody else.

I found a good job… and If I can do it, so can you!

This article was first posted on the author’s personal blog at entitled I Fought Hard In Thailand (My Life Story Then And Now In The Kingdom).

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John Benliro