Like gods and ghosts: Foreign English teachers’ personal accounts of challenges in the workplace in Thailand
Foreigners working abroad may regularly face a number of challenges that they may struggle to cope with. This study focuses on participants’ perceptions of the positive and negative differential treatment they receive while living and working in Thailand with Thai colleagues and students. This discursive study explores personal accounts derived from interviews with foreign English teachers at schools and universities in the Northeast of Thailand. All the participants considered that they received different treatment from their Thai colleagues and students. While all the participants recalled both implicit and explicit experiences of otherness in Thai society—regardless of their native or non-native English speaker profiles—white native English speaking teachers were more likely to report extraordinarily positive treatment compared to Asian non-native English speaking teachers of English. These findings may be useful for schools and universities seeking to improve their recruitment processes, working atmosphere, and teacher training, while it should also prompt larger scale research in this area.
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