It boils down to autonomy, in the end. Thats the crucial difference.
I started teaching again today... in Thailand. But what a difference from the McEnglish school in Japan. At McEnglish, I was a clock puncher. I was told exactly how to teach. I had no say over my schedule. I was worked ragged. I was dictated to.
But here? I have complete autonomy in the classroom. My only mission: teach the students English and prepare them for the exams. HOW I do that is up to me. The school said, "You've got a Masters in TESOL, you are a professional, we know you know what you are doing".
What a difference that makes. In Japan I shuffled to work with dread. I stretched my classes... watched the clock, couldnt wait for the time to end. I did the minimum to get by; because I had too many classes and because I had to use methods I hated (and which, according to research, are inferior).
Here Im a bundle of energy. Ive been planning for my classes like crazy. Ive bought movies to use with each class. Ive scoured the internet for articles. Ive written lesson plans for weeks in advance. Ive written customized stories in order to teach key vocabulary. Im itching to get into the class and dazzle them.
Thats the power of autonomy. Thats the power of quality over quantity.