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The Royal Womble College, Bangkok

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Morena123, Oct 2, 2020.

  1. ToK-tastic

    ToK-tastic New commenter

    There are at least 5 big name schools opening in BKK this year (or opened late last year), they are joining an already crowded market with some excellent well established schools. They're not opening because expat workers can't find IS places for their kids, they're opening because many Thais will leave the state education system as soon as they can afford to. The schools are spotting an opportunity with a potentially growing middle class. Therefore there a couple of considerations:

    (i) these new int schools will have mainly Thai students, this is not a bad thing (imo Thai students are lovely to teach), it's just that the schools may not feel like a more typical international school. Most expats already have their kids at the established schools, and most newly arriving expats will probably opt for the established schools for the next few years (big assumption, I know).

    (ii) the success of these new schools is obviously dependent on the Thai middle class continuing to grow. There are obviously Covid related economic worries in Thailand as there are everywhere, however beyond Covid there are additional local issues that might give cause for concern about the mid-term stability of the economy, and specifically about the distribution of wealth in the middle classes. Those in Thailand will have a sense of some of these issues.
    adrianwebb likes this.
  2. sid1913

    sid1913 New commenter

    My school was the one that sounds like ‘banana’ on paper. They wouldn’t budge at all! No housing would be included.
  3. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    I got it once, but it was by chance. Plus I wasn't looking to stay in the same place necessarily, which helped with the negotiating.
  4. Morena123

    Morena123 New commenter

    Yes, I had pretty much ruled out this school on those grounds. Otherwise I would be very interested and I know there will be movement in my subject this year. But I've heard they did bend this rule for at least one person last year... I suppose it depends how spoilt for choice they are. I think it's insane to have a blanket rule as so many people stay in BKK long-term that they must have missed out on some great people because of this approach!
  5. ggm78

    ggm78 New commenter

    on the other hand some of the worst leaders are the most experienced.
  6. Morena123

    Morena123 New commenter

    Certainly true! And presumably it's a good thing that they have a number of staff from the UK school joining the Bangkok school.
  7. Hz101

    Hz101 New commenter

    I'm very happy to be following this post as I applied and had an interview this week. I'm outside of Thailand at the moment so I know it will be a big issue getting in unless things begin to clear up by next summer :( To Morena123, I would avoid the welly boot at all costs. If you want more info, PM me.
  8. Morena123

    Morena123 New commenter

    Hz101 I've sent you a message!
  9. Mrsmoore4444

    Mrsmoore4444 New commenter

    Really interesting reading. I’ve taught at the womble UK and loved it, now considering the move to BKK. But, hugely worried that mid-pandemic isn’t the best time to move my family abroad. Any advice from those currently in, or with experience of living in Bangkok please? Thanks so much
  10. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    Borders are closed, more or less. Our new teachers were able to arrive from the UK but quarantined two weeks and were late to start teaching. Inside Thailand there’s no restrictions on movement. Wearing masks inside is mandatory. We do teach in person, with masks or face shields. Life is fairly normal. No tourists means the beaches are empty and there’re many excellent deals at the hotels that are open. Many businesses have failed and that is depressing. I’m grateful to have a job.
    Helen-Back and Mrsmoore4444 like this.
  11. Morena123

    Morena123 New commenter

    Everything grdwdgrrrl said!

    Some people have found the travel restrictions very tough as they're used to going home once/twice a year. Funnily enough in my circle it is the long-timers who have found it harder, the newer ones hadn't got into a rhythm of visits yet so while they're not happy about it, they accept it.

    Life is fairly normal. The new teachers at my school managed with quarantine fine, although I wouldn't fancy it with children!!

    I think Bangkok is a great place to live. Of course moving during the pandemic is more complicated than in 'normal' times, but the schools here have now processed getting people here with all the restrictions in place so if it continues til next August, at least they will know what they're doing.

    I would rather be here than in the UK.
    Mrsmoore4444 likes this.
  12. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    I would second what the last two posters have said. Bangkok is certainly where I would choose to be over the UK at the minute, especially with the silliness being shown by those in power. I think that all of the schools are now fully operational with a few new rules, masks, distancing etc. However the deals that you can get on flights to the islands and hotels when you get there are really spectacular. I really do think that it will be interesting to see how these new schools will fare whether they have the required numbers and also whether all of their staff showed up. Time will tell.

    One last teeny point about the school. Bringing staff in from the mother ship almost always ends in tears. Bangkok is most certainly not SW 19, the school will in no way mirror what goes on there, living and teaching here are completely different I have worked with a few "that isn't the way we did it in D#####H or H@@@@W" types and their whinging just became boring.

    Happy Half Term everyone......

  13. Mrsmoore4444

    Mrsmoore4444 New commenter

    Really valuable info, thanks so much.
  14. WippleSnapple

    WippleSnapple New commenter

    It's an interesting time to move schools in Thailand, an over saturated premium school market, chasing the crumbs of what the bigger schools leave behind through crazy discounts, to desperately try and convince parents to let their kids walk the empty corridors.

    The temptation to move this year is going to be high for many teachers, with salary cuts, job losses, POR being cut, positions combined, the grass is going to be very much greener, particularly when they are worried about their jobs.

    A few of things I would be wary of:

    1. The in country recruitment this year is going to be seriously competitive, you are going to need that edge to get to the top. Single teachers are going to lead the buyers market with all the additional costs currently for families to be recruited here, schools, even big fancy ones, are watching their pennies.

    2. The economy is not in a good state, hasn't been for a while, but looks like the tipping point that it needs is here with covid and the other activities. The elite families don't care, they will continue to populate that riverside school, the others though, they will start to feel the pinch as they we go into Q1/2 next year.

    2008 banks were shown to be not too big to fail, 2021 the premium school market in Bangkok could very well be tested under this theory.

    Schools that sound like a verse from a Steve-O poem can't keep giving huge discounts.

    3. The glass dome over Thailand has to be lifted at some point, there are current discussions as to how schools can be managed once they are opened, looking at models in other countries where whole schools are not shut perpetually for 14 days as students repeatedly test positive. This is being looked at at gov level, which is a positive move.

    However, if you have worked here long enough, you know that once a student tests positive in your school all hell will break loose as parents panic and fear will drive their decisions. Doesn't matter how good the school policies and procedures are parents will panic and pull their children.

    A single case has the real risk of impacting a schools student population and rapidly changing recruitment plans already in place for next academic year. Are you prepared to risk being on the receiving end of a "We are sorry to but...."email?

    If the rumours are to be believed, even the banana school is overstaffed and really hurting just now.

    If you can swallow one more year at your current school and they want to keep you, it would be a sensible move to seriously consider it and wait for the fog of madness to have cleared a bit in 12 months time.
    Mrsmoore4444 likes this.
  15. Mrsmoore4444

    Mrsmoore4444 New commenter

    Thanks so much. Really useful advice. I know it’s a massive risk.
    PS can someone please give me a clue on the “banana” school?!

  16. gone east

    gone east New commenter

    Thailand is, somehow, to all intents and purposes Covid free. This has come at the price of the tourist industry though. Time will tell how long the Gov can resist the pressure to fire up the economy and let tourists (and therefore Covid) back into the country but so far they keeping it at bay
  17. Morena123

    Morena123 New commenter

    MrsMoore - replace the B with a P. Then replace the first N with a T. That's the name of a top school here in BKK.
    Mrsmoore4444 likes this.
  18. WippleSnapple

    WippleSnapple New commenter

    It far more reaching than just the tourist industry though and this is what is not being talked about. The impact on secondary and tertiary businesses is massive. The impact on airlines is unheard of. Hotels which usually have 1400 guests have less than ten at this time of year, all those businesses that run off the hotels are shut down.

    Some budget airline cabin crew that they have all been told to get second jobs and not expect to fly until March 2021. I know of local cabin crew for major carriers who are driving for Grab, working back in family businesses or selling stuff up country to get by.

    Schools are going to fight to hang onto their students, this has already started this summer with discounts for life being offered from some premium rubberised footwear schools to new families. Others giving 75% discounts to populate their upper school as they are too new and small to do it themselves yet.

    Mid tier schools may do well out of this, with parents who cannot afford the fees moving down and parents from mid-tier schools heading off to bilingual schools or the lowest international schools.

    This has already happened at a few schools, in some circumstances it has been quite surprising moves by families going from upper mid tier schools, dropping into low end bilingual schools, but in significant numbers to leave too many teachers behind.

    However there is another scenario that could potentially play out - premium schools must have bums on seats at whatever cost, empty schools don't look good to prospective parents. They will offer significant discounts to keep students in their schools, the mid-tier school parents who can't afford it move to the bi-lingual school or proper bottom end international schools and there is a vacuum left in these mid-tier schools as they have nobody replacing the people going out.

    The last scenario is a real risk over the next 12 months.

    The grass is always greener until it is whipped away like a tablecloth in a magic show to reveal a sceptic tank of lost hopes below.

    I would not want to be a teacher coming to the end of my contract in Thailand this year.
    grdwdgrrrl likes this.
  19. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    Their is a word going around at the moment, often used to describe the Prime Minister of the UK, which has, at its head, the word for a male bird followed by womble. Every time I see this thread that is the word that leaps to mind. I do hope that it isn't prevalent here in Thailand or they won't be getting many applicants.

    Probably just as well half term is over.....

    Wannabsupawoman likes this.
  20. Hz101

    Hz101 New commenter

    So guys, I pulled out of the recruitment process.
    Yesterday I was notified that I passed the first round and was shortlisted, but the second stage seemed too long-winded. With upcoming job fairs and stuff going on at work, I felt it was best to withdraw.
    Also, I felt the recruitment process really gave an insight into how management MAY operate there. If they are requiring multiple interviews, power point presentations and all sorts now, what will they be requiring from you once you start the position?

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