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Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai


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#1 lannachiangrai

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Posted 2005-04-15 09:26:48

Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai was started in 2000. It is a beautiful campus and appears at first glance to be a great place to work. However, after looking a bit deeper it is easy to see why the turnover rate among foreign teachers is almost 100%. First, there is very little respect for the foreign ajarns, they are seen as a replaceable commodity. There is no feeling of "self improvement" or positive encouragement, it is all stick and no carrot. Teachers who show themselves competent get loaded with more responsibility but without any corresponding thanks. Therefore the teachers that have stayed around the longest tend to be those who do the least.

Summer vacation is 3 months but according to university policy you are supposed to be working. Whether this is enforced or not depends on the coordinator. Currently it is not enforced but teachers are expected to do a 2 week summer course (which is supposed to be paid at an additional 400 baht per hour but as of yet nothing has been paid).

The problems seem to come from above in that the president is a dictator and rumors of corruption abound. Not surprisingly, anything that has kickback potential - be it grandious buildings, high-tech equipment or immaculate landscaping, is well done but it is difficult for teachers to get simple things like tape players or even paper for copies.

There are "teacher evaluations" done to "improve the teachers" but the teachers do not see these evaluations. If they are good, you certainly will never hear a thing as this would add value when you negotiate for a salary but if they are bad, they can be used as grounds for dismissal.

There is no insurance for foreign teachers and they are not allowed to stay in the university housing.

After all the negative, it does seem that things are changing but again, that is because of the coordinator. She is educated in a western university and understands a more democratic work environment. However, she is between a rock and a hard place in that decisions get made from above and she has to follow them, however unattractive they are.

MFL U, has potential but is currently not a first choice in terms of places to work.

#2 haha

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Posted 2005-04-15 10:33:41

I knew somebody who was offered a job at that university. they told him to come to the school to do an interview. so, we both boarded a bus to go there. spent our own money to get there with no promise of a job.

once there, he was offered a job on the spot. they promised him 2 support staff to help him set up the classes. so, he comes back to bangkok to do all the moving out stuff.

when he gets back up to chiang rai, and settles in, he finds out that the school folks backed out of their promise to provide him with 2 support staff. ..it doesn't stop there. then, they back down on what they promise to pay him.

you know, life is short. you don't need to make it shorter dealing with people like this.

people do change. this scenario happened to someone I know about 2 years ago. so, it's possible they have changed.

all I can say is - if someone promises you something, and then, they back down on the promise, leave - and don't bother saying goodbye. ..don't even expect to get your last paycheck. that's how bad it can get.

#3 PeaceBlondie

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Posted 2005-04-15 12:00:44

On the new forum, Thai School Watch, somebody says something similar about the province of Lamphun. If Chiang Rai's that bad as well, then only Chiang Mai has much experience with farang ajarns, and they pay lousy.

Hmmm...the South and its beaches are beginning to look better...

#4 Ajarn

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Posted 2005-04-15 13:03:11

On the new forum, Thai School Watch, somebody says something similar about the province of Lamphun.  If Chiang Rai's that bad as well, then only Chiang Mai has much experience with farang ajarns, and they pay lousy.

Hmmm...the South and its beaches are beginning to look better...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


My experience has been that the same basic conditions exist at all government universities... There is no such thing as a summer vacation for any teacher in them, and the only 'holiday' is having fewer classes, but there is always going to be summer school and special courses. Teachers without classes still are supposed to sign-in and sign-out like the Thai teachers. This part is not always controlled, so many simply sign in and out at the same time and go home, or whatever... But some schools do check, so that's just the way the ball balances. There are many other more positive aspects to working in a university system, but it still comes down to balances, in any case. Some places are certainly better for some teachers than others... I really liked CMU overall, but I still bitched plenty :D

PB, I also left CM with visions of the beaches. Sadly, I chose the contract in Songkhla because I remembered their beautiful beach on a previous holiday... Reality is, that's the only real value around... Prices for housing were higher, though the quality lower than CM, not much in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables compared to CM, and at far higher prices for lower quality... I lasted a couple of years before escaping. heading back to CM via a couple of more jobs in Bkk to replenish my savings...

Hope you have better luck. I feel sure you will :o

#5 PeaceBlondie

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Posted 2005-04-15 21:52:07

.............
PB, I also left CM with visions of the beaches. Sadly, I chose the contract in Songkhla because I remembered their beautiful beach on a previous holiday... Reality is, that's the only real value around... Prices for housing were higher, though the quality lower than CM, not much in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables compared to CM, and at far higher prices for lower quality... I lasted a couple of years before escaping. heading back to CM via a couple of more jobs in Bkk to replenish my savings...

Hope you have better luck. I feel sure you will  :o

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good points, as always, Ajarn. A brief holiday visit is nothing like living in the place. One man's Paradise is another man's Hades. But would the same conditions apply now as they did then? Some places never change.

Finances aren't so much of a problem - I'll be semi-retired and working half-time no matter where I live.

As always, thanks for the information and wisdom.

P.S. I had to edit the word to "Hades" to get it past the swear filter. I mean, it's a sad day for the religious when the name of Perdition and the short verb for 'condemn' can't be mentioned in its original context anymore.

Edited by PeaceBlondie, 2005-04-15 21:54:11.


#6 Ajarn

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Posted 2005-04-15 22:49:46

.............
PB, I also left CM with visions of the beaches. Sadly, I chose the contract in Songkhla because I remembered their beautiful beach on a previous holiday... Reality is, that's the only real value around... Prices for housing were higher, though the quality lower than CM, not much in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables compared to CM, and at far higher prices for lower quality... I lasted a couple of years before escaping. heading back to CM via a couple of more jobs in Bkk to replenish my savings...

Hope you have better luck. I feel sure you will  :o

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good points, as always, Ajarn. A brief holiday visit is nothing like living in the place. One man's Paradise is another man's Hades. But would the same conditions apply now as they did then? Some places never change.

Finances aren't so much of a problem - I'll be semi-retired and working half-time no matter where I live.

As always, thanks for the information and wisdom.

P.S. I had to edit the word to "Hades" to get it past the swear filter. I mean, it's a sad day for the religious when the name of Perdition and the short verb for 'condemn' can't be mentioned in its original context anymore.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If I was feeling a bit more mobile, I'd be tempted to hit the road, too, So many interesting places one can settle into here.. PB, where are you feeling drawn to, at the moment?

#7 PeaceBlondie

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Posted 2005-04-16 05:16:04

The beach, to go visit sons of beaches. :o I don't know; maybe Hua Hin, Songkhla, even Pukhet/Puhket/Fuhket - oh, puck it.

Somebody mentioned that the Gulf of Thailand is murky during the stormy season around October, but isn't the Andaman Sea too rough to swim at that time? It's got to be about 75 to 80 degrees even in winter. The beach has to be more than 20 feet wide, and the water clean (both those requirements rule out Jomtien Beach in Pattaya). Decent sand, good slope from the beach, no bad animalitos in the water. Actually, a great beach for swimming is quite rare, anywhere in the world.

#8 paully

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Posted 2005-04-16 10:07:17

PB, I also left CM with visions of the beaches. Sadly, I chose the contract in Songkhla because I remembered their beautiful beach on a previous holiday... Reality is, that's the only real value around... Prices for housing were higher, though the quality lower than CM, not much in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables compared to CM, and at far higher prices for lower quality... I lasted a couple of years before escaping. heading back to CM via a couple of more jobs in Bkk to replenish my savings...

Hope you have better luck. I feel sure you will  :o

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Interesting views, Ajarn. It's not always what we hear from the "South of Thailand is an absolute paradise and everywhere else is the pits" brigade on ajarn.com. I'd certainly assumed that it was, at least, cheaper to live there than elsewhere.
Good hunting with your next venture, and also to you, PB, wherever you go next.

#9 Ajarn

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Posted 2005-04-16 11:15:10


PB, I also left CM with visions of the beaches. Sadly, I chose the contract in Songkhla because I remembered their beautiful beach on a previous holiday... Reality is, that's the only real value around... Prices for housing were higher, though the quality lower than CM, not much in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables compared to CM, and at far higher prices for lower quality... I lasted a couple of years before escaping. heading back to CM via a couple of more jobs in Bkk to replenish my savings...

Hope you have better luck. I feel sure you will  :D

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Interesting views, Ajarn. It's not always what we hear from the "South of Thailand is an absolute paradise and everywhere else is the pits" brigade on ajarn.com. I'd certainly assumed that it was, at least, cheaper to live there than elsewhere.
Good hunting with your next venture, and also to you, PB, wherever you go next.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Paradise...mmm.. I just had a little discussion about that... :o

We all have differing ideas about that. Some of us are more tolerant of some things than others, though we know patience is a key survival skill here. I truly love traveling the south, but the south is quite varied in terms of what's on offer. The southermost part of the south is vastly different than, say, Phuket, Surat, Samui. In those places, there is lots of nice housing available (though rarely considered 'cheap' anymore, it seems) and tons of infrastructure for tourists or foreigners living there.

Around the far south, you'll see very few farang restaurants and such simply because there are very few farangs. Most of the farangs in Songkhla, for example, are oil workers who are quite satisfied with a couple of sleazy go-go bars and one or two spots where you can get some farang food. Prices are higher partly because all these guys bring in over 200,000 a month at a minimum.

Songkhla is still a great tourist area. Besides the beach, there is a ton of history going back hundreds of years, especially from the early Chinese settlers. But living there when you're used to CM was difficult. I missed so much from the North, especially fresh vegies, which were difficult to find outside of hat yai. The local villagers just eat very basically, so their markets reflect that... I also missed the mountains, and the hilltribe culture, from the north. And it gets cool once in awhile in the north. It never gets cool in the south, it seems :D

If you like to drive, the south is as great as any place in the Kingdom, in my experience. If you like beaches, the road from Nakornsrithammarat all the way to the border passes along hundreds of kilometers of beaches with nary a soul to annoy your peace. Great biker roads, to, like the road from Phattalung to Trang...

The people, like all people everywhere, vary tremendously, and your experiences may vary greatly from mine, but I generally found southerners to be among the nicest and warmest folks I've met- once you get to know them. Not a lot of big smiles at first (except among the kids) but this is one of those places where your smile can change the world around you in an instant :D

PB, you won't have any problem finding good swimming beaches, either. On the Andaman side, some of the more southern beaches are not so great due to the mud flats that extend pretty far out in places, but a little searching up or down the coast will always come up with a gem. On the Gulf side, the waters are much calmer and warmer, I think. I can't remember ever stopping at a beach that I didn't think was a great swim spot on that side...

If I was to travel to the south, I'd probably setup my scene for a week or so in one place, then explore somewhere else for awhile before moving on again. I've always been a bit of a nomad because I love the changing scenes. In the past, I had a job and other responsibilities, but now I'm completely free to follow my heart and I don't have to check with anyone. But I've also since created a Paradise within my home, so leaving it seems foolish now :D

PB, I still envy you. It feels like you're going on PB's Next Adventure... :D

Edited by Ajarn, 2005-04-16 11:18:33.


#10 otherstuff1957

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Posted 2005-04-16 12:48:10

I'm seeing and hearing about similar problems all over. I think the issue here is that Thai administrators are treating farang's the same way that they treat their Thai staff! I'd say that both Thai and Farang staff dislike the nonsense that administration usually puts out, the big difference is that Farangs know that useless )(&)(& like showing up to work when there is no work to do isn't really necessary and wouldn't be required in a western run company!

A friend of mine, who had a non-teaching job, said that he had to take the attitude that he was a Farang and he didn't have to put up with the usual nonsense. I thought that his behavior sounded a bit over the top, but apparently it worked! When I first heard about that I thought that I would never do anything similar, but I've already had to refuse to do a time card punch-in and punch-out. I'm salaried and I'm going to get paid for the work I do, not the number of hours I work.

#11 fiveyears

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Posted 2005-04-17 10:00:49

[quote name='otherstuff1957' date='2005-04-16 12:48:10']
I'd say that both Thai and Farang staff dislike the nonsense that administration usually puts out, the big difference is that Farangs know that useless )(&)(& like showing up to work when there is no work to do isn't really necessary and wouldn't be required in a western run company!

Only monkeys do that.....

A friend of mine, who had a non-teaching job, said that he had to take the attitude that he was a Farang and he didn't have to put up with the usual nonsense.

We can think because we're not Thai, that'll make them hate us but if it's up to the Thai administrators, nothing will ever change. Stupidity as goal of organization policy. As I said before, only monkeys do that. And suffice to say, badly paid monkeys too...

#12 Ajarn

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Posted 2005-04-17 10:33:44

Of course, the fair alternative for university teachers under contract would be to take a pay cut or a vacation day for any of those days when they feel they shouldn't have to show up because they feel 'there isn't any work to do'. I'd be willing to bet teachers would really be screaming if that happened....

Come on , you have a contract that you signed. For university teachers, the 'summer' period is to give teachers the extra time many need to prepare their courses and do any research projects or other material preparation projects that trypically groups of Ajarns are involved with. There is a lot more to teaching than just showing up to teach. And there is almost always something you could do, if you are serious about being productive...

Government universities are some of the most laid-back of all the teaching gigs in Thailand. If you can't stand their system, try teaching in a Prathom or Mathayom school. It's a whole different scene, I think you'll find...

Edited by Ajarn, 2005-04-17 10:42:43.


#13 haha

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Posted 2005-04-17 19:03:09

just out of curiousity....

can anyone recommend any thai lawyers who can assist you if you are cheated out of your paycheck?

I'm not a teacher myself. but I know many people who are. most of the guys I know just chalk it up to experience if they get screwed by a school.

..and please, no lawyer jokes, ok?

#14 Rumpole

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Posted 2005-04-20 21:03:00

My experience has been that the same basic conditions exist at all government universities... There is no such thing as a summer vacation for any teacher in them, and the only 'holiday' is having fewer classes, but there is always going to be summer school and special courses. Teachers without classes still are supposed to sign-in and sign-out like the Thai teachers.

Hope you have better luck. I feel sure you will  :o

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


My experiences at two Thai so-called "universities" were exactly the same. I have never encountered employers who demand so much, yet offer so very little in return. The lack of holidays, and having to sign in and out like some blue collar factory worker are particularly demoralising. And then there are the xenophobic Thai ajarns and administrators to contend with ....

The best "luck" I had was in getting out of Thailand. Will shortly be looking forward to three months of paid holidays, with not a classroom in sight. This presumes that I will be able to survive my twelve academic hours of contact per week - with no office or administrative time required! :D

I would rather dine on powdered glass, than teach in Thailand again.

Edited by Rumpole, 2005-04-20 21:25:01.


#15 Rumpole

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Posted 2005-04-20 21:14:05

..

Edited by Rumpole, 2005-04-20 21:24:14.


#16 up-country_sinclair

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Posted 2011-12-19 05:44:05

Does anyone have recent information about working at Mae Fah Luang University?





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