Thursday, September 11, 2014

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Filipino teachers are worth more

Once again I am reminded that some of my fellow countrymen are getting a salary so low they barely have enough money to make ends meet. But don't get me wrong here if I tell you that it frustrates me knowing that other qualified Filipino teachers with experience and having related documents are accepting underpaid teaching stints across the country. 

Some say the schools doesn't have allocated budget for foreigners, hence, low salary. Then there are people who said they've been here quite long but unlucky to get decent jobs so they just grab whatever is available, disregarding the salary. 

These are just some of the reasons our countrymen have that cloud my mind. They make me feel what they feel and make me see what they see. Honestly, I hate it sometimes when empathy continues to play with me and shows no signs of stopping. The thing is, when it hits me, I let myself be drifted away in oblivion - blocking my reasoning and just go on with the flow.

But something woke me up. Let me share to you a post written by Pinoyguy at ajarn.com saying, Pinoy teachers are worth more. 
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Dear Ajarn, whenever I browse through your jobs page for the latest ads from various schools or agencies here in Thailand, I shake my head in disappointment with every ad that shows a salary of 15,000 baht for Filipino teachers.

I am a Filipino teacher too, I have been teaching in Thailand for more than 5 years now, and it seems that the salary price tag for my fellow countrymen, assumed by many employers or schools, seems very degrading to me. I even heard that some Filipino teachers in Bangkok area even go as low as 10k. That price seem very unfair especially for a location with a higher cost of living.

Luckily I have been hired by a school that pays me fair enough for me to live a life of luxury, security and peace of mind. But then I remind myself that there some who are unlucky and take up these low paying jobs just to stay in the country.

I mean, I understand your predicament, but to my fellow Filipinos, if we continue to take on these jobs with low salaries, without even bothering to haggle for an increase, we are making the Filipino teacher's value in this country lower. We do our best to be productive and work hard, even harder than native speakers (we go the extra mile at work like come in on weekends or go unpaid overtime without complaints, than any other foreign teacher nationality). We easily blend in with Thai culture than westerners, and understand Thai people better because of cultural and regional similarities. Yet salaries for Filipinos are being priced like unsold perishable items on sale in Tesco.

Yes, maybe because there are too many Filipinos in the country so therefore the supply is more than the demand. But then again 15k baht or below is an insult to many of us hardworking Filipinos. We deserve better. 

I write this letter in angst because one of these days, if I need to find a new teaching job in Thailand, most employers would not pay for an above or near equal rate from what I am currently earning. They will not consider my experiences, nor my accomplishments. They will just see another Filipino, worth 15,000 baht. How about a Caucasian? 30k or more.

Pinoyguy
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I am reminded that at the end of the day, if we continue to be quiet and won't sell ourselves correctly, we are so going down. Don't let yourselves be torn apart just to survive. I know my worth. It is high time you should know yours too. 

7 comments

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Dodz
AUTHOR
September 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM delete

Very well said.....There must be a proper representation of Fil Teachers to the Embassy then to the Department of Education and Department of Labor.

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September 11, 2014 at 10:09 PM delete

Holy mackerel! I've just converted that amount online. Yup, that's low. We have the same predicament here in Indonesia, Pinoys getting paid lower because employers know there's someone bound to bite it. The problem is for most that amount could be a step up already from what they get in the RP.

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van vener
AUTHOR
September 12, 2014 at 8:14 AM delete

Desperate Filipino's who don't have jobs will surely accept the 15k baht salary per month. When I was in Ph, I was paid 20k per month so that will be around 16k baht per month. So I will never accept the 15k baht because I am getting more in Ph. Then one school offered me 20k baht, that's the time that I went to Thailand. Now, I moved to another school and my salary is 25k baht.

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John
AUTHOR
September 12, 2014 at 1:53 PM delete

The amount is a total rip-off and it is becoming the standard amount because, as you said, someone out there is bound to bite it. And we know who.

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John
AUTHOR
September 12, 2014 at 1:59 PM delete

I remember during the outreach of PH Embassy in Phitsanulok sometime in 2010, officers said it was in the school's discretion how much they will or they can give to their foreign teachers. I think even if there is a proper representation, schools or employers have the power with regards to budget. It's just a matter on how we are going to sell ourselves sometimes.

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John
AUTHOR
September 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM delete

That's good to know, van vener. If you set and adhere to your own standards, you won't be ripped-off. If the offer is low, haggle for an increase. If increase is not possible, forget it and move on. There are schools who offer better. I'm glad you found yours.

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October 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM delete

How I wish our econmic and political conditions are similar to Singapore. I know it's a dream, but I have just attended a conference. The Singaporean speaker said that their workers are paid the amount based on their qualifications in the global market to avoid losing them to other countries. If only... Tsk.

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About the Author

Khon Philippine

I'm a full time travel and tourism lecturer at a university in the north who also loves blogging during my spare time. I blog about news particularly in Thailand, personal travel stories, and anything under the sun.