Eric Haeg is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you have questions about teaching English in Thailand, he would be the person to ask. Besides his current role as Course Director of TEFL Campus Phuket, he is one of the trainers as well.
Who are you and where are you located?
“I’m the Course Director of TEFL Campus Phuket. Originally from the United States, I’ve been living abroad since 2004. I’m a husband to my wonderful wife of 10 years, and a father to two of the best kids a guy could ask for. All in all, I guess you could say I’m one heck of a lucky guy. I am located in Phuket, Thailand–specifically, Phuket Town.”
Why are you there?
“After trying to leave Phuket no fewer than four times since 2004, I suppose you could say Phuket has sunk its claws into me and won’t let go.
Honestly though, I absolutely love Phuket. I’m far enough away from the tourist scene, and Phuket Town has seen so many changes that it never gets old. The local community is a wonderful mix of Eastern and Western culture, which brings diverse food, entertainment and fun events/activities. Plus, I’m an active outdoor enthusiast and Phuket has no shortage of things to do. The food here is enough to keep me here, but then again, there’s the beaches, the weather, Thai culture, etc. Honestly, the only legitimate complaint I have is the chaotic traffic. So long as I’m not driving, I’m happy.”
How did you get to Phuket, Thailand?
“I took a TEFL certification course in Phuket in 2004. Shortly after that, I taught in South Korea for a bit before returning to Thailand. I found a job just outside of Bangkok in a coastal city called Sriracha, where I taught science full-time at a prestigious boarding school, while teaching EFL at a local language center in my spare time. In 2007, I decided to move back to the States to research TEFL job opportunities in Africa. That’s when the director of the TEFL center where I got certified asked if I’d like a job as a TEFL/TESOL course trainer. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity so I moved back to Phuket in 2007 and haven’t left…though I’ll get over to Africa one of these days. Teaching English in Thailand is amazing.”
Where are you going?
“For now, I’m staying put. I’ve got two young kids and they’re happy at school. They live a wonderful life, full of natural beauty and opportunities to travel. I love my job, and I’ve got certain things I’d like to accomplish professionally before I move on. “
Why did you decide to teach teachers and not continue teaching English Language Learners?
“I decided to train teachers because I saw what a positive impact my TEFL course had on my life and I wanted to be part of that. I remember finishing my course and feeling as if the world was my oyster. It felt as if the Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) cert was my ticket to live and work around the globe. Working with others who’d already been teaching in multiple countries only confirmed that for me. I still get to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes as part of my job, so it’s a wonderful compromise between teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) and training new English Language Teaching (ELT) professionals.”
What’s an important story from your work (something that has helped you)?
“There isn’t one story that stands out. What’s helped me the most is the collection of experiences I’ve gained by virtue of having trained such a diverse group of people.
Our trainees come from dozens of countries. Some are young, some are old; some are natural teachers and some have to work hard to understand what it means to effectively teach EFL; maybe some are academically gifted, while others struggle. Each person brings their own perspective, and the further away theirs is from mine, the more I have to adapt. Those adaptations challenge my own assumptions in meaningful ways and help me see things I wouldn’t have seen without them. Basically, my horizons have been broadened with the help of the people I’ve trained, and I hope that’s helped to make me a more effective educator.”
Passionate About Teaching English in Thailand
Eric will be writing for us. He will focus on topics such as Thai culture, classroom management, lesson plans, life as a teacher in Thailand, and Thai students. For those who are interested in learning more about Asia, or Phuket, Thailand, specifically, please read more about Eric and TEFL campus Phuket Thailand.