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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chiang Mai: The End of the Honeymoon

For some reason, the few hours' teaching I've done has kind of ended the honeymoon with Chiang Mai. Or maybe it's just that horrible three-month barrier, where everything looks bad but you don't know what to do about it. Anyway, canceled classes (one only an hour in advance and still no pay), failure to pass on messages, incomplete information, and the low wages have sort of soured me on the whole town. Not fair, but true.

One thing that amazes me is the universal response I get when I mention how frustrated I am. Everyone reassures me that this is typical, normal, the Thai way. I guess they think I'm taking it personally. What I really want to hear is that this is atypical, and wouldn't happen at other schools. Hearing it is common just discourages me.

I've also learned that I can't get a job in a government school, including a university, because I am over sixty and it is illegal. And that jobs teaching at the local public university require that you spend eight hours on campus every day, even if you only teach 15 hours per week. You get two weeks vacation, and the rest of the time that school is not in session you have to go to work anyway.

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