This morning I’m going to teach English. Something I did for the last five years. The places are changing. I taught at different schools, different ages. At the moment I teach at the tourist police. It is just a couple of hours a week and i do it on a voluntary basis (meaning for free).
All the children seem to learn English from an early age in Thailand. Still there are not that many people who can speak or carry a conversation in English. I met English teachers in Thai schools who themselves didn’t speak English. Often reading and writing as well as understanding simple texts are not a problem. It is the speaking part which seems to scare them. Sometimes it’s fear of "loosing face" when making a mistake, the fear of being laughed at, or the intimidation of the "farangs" (foreigners) loud voice and self confidence. I have sometimes similar problems when I speak Thai on a bad day. The tones would be wrong, people don’t understand what I’m saying and I would get insecure.
Living oversees shows me how important it is to know English. I cannot get around without. Of course even better would be to learn the language of the country (there are just so many). Specially when you stay in one country for a longer period of time. I encourage people who come here for up to a year to learn the basics of Thai language.