Tag Archives: job

7 Reasons why you should teach in Thailand

1. The students are wonderful

One of my favorite students (not that I have favorites...)
One of my favorite students (not that I have favorites…)

It’s a bit of a culture shock walking into a Thai school. Discipline can be non-existent and it’s tough getting over the fact that student success and learning is not prioritized. Once you get used to the way things work, though, it’s so much fun.

Even working at an all-male high school, my worst nightmare in the US, none of my students are malicious. They worry about me, make a little fun of me, but they never try to hurt my feelings. And we have a great time together, making jokes and playing with words. It’s extremely rewarding and the English level does improve over the year.

2. Living and traveling in Thailand is inexpensive – really inexpensive.

Our apartment in Bangkok, Thailand
Our apartment in Bangkok, Thailand

Teacher wages are more than enough to live on comfortably. Apartments and condo rentals are extremely affordable. Food is less expensive than in Western countries, especially if you’re only eating Thai food (we’re talking 1$ meals here).

View from my bungalow at sunrise, Koh Chang, Thailand
View from my bungalow at sunrise, Koh Chang, Thailand

Travel is also super cheap, especially if you take trains and local transportation. Hotels and bungalows on a backpacker budget are easy to find and once again, food is very cheap throughout Thailand (being only slightly more expensive in major tourist areas).

3. The food is amazing

Vegetarian khao soi, my all-time favorite Thai dish
Vegetarian khao soi, my all-time favorite Thai dish

I assume this is obvious, but to someone who is not well acquainted with Thai food, you’re in for a treat. Thailand is renowned for having one of the best cuisines in the world. The food is very fresh, often bought that morning from a local market. The flavors are out of this world – sweet, sour, salty, spicy, everything you could ever want in a mouthful of deliciousness. The major ingredients used here are cilantro, spicy peppers, onions, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, tomatoes, papaya, and an assortment of spices and other meat and veggies.

4. The people are kind, funny and generous

A security guard getting in on the Songkran action in Chiang Mai (a festival involving a giant, city-wide waterfight)
A security guard participating in  Songkran in Chiang Mai (a festival involving a giant, city-wide water fight)

I don’t like to make cultural generalizations, but in this case, it’s a pretty solid one. Most Thais love to have fun and joke around, and they can be very open and generous to complete strangers (like me). Don’t get me wrong, some people are definitely put off by foreigners since they have a bit of a bad reputation in Thailand (thanks a lot, belligerent tourists). But I have had so many different experiences of people joking with me, being helpful, and generously offering meals and advice, that I have an overwhelming fondness and affection for the people here.

5. Getting a job is pretty easy

Source
Source

Probably the most attractive thing about teaching in Thailand is how easy it is to get a job. See my post here about how to go about it. The requirements are very minimal and teaching experience is not required. If you want to see if teaching is for you or you want a fun and rewarding job to support travels and pay off students loans, teaching is a great way to do it.

THAT BEING SAID, please don’t abuse it. Don’t be one of those teachers that just uses teaching as a means to an end and can’t be bothered to put effort in at work. Seriously, it’s not fair to the students. Be responsible or don’t bother.

6. Thailand is well-connected to many other countries

Angor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Thailand is right smack in the middle of some pretty amazing places to visit. Angkor Wat, one of my all-time favorite sites, is less than a day’s journey from Bangkok. Southern Thailand, Malaysia, and the Laos border are all accessible by train (beware, the train to Malaysia takes 24 hours!) Also, Bangkok has a lot of great budget airlines passing through to popular destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Indonesia, Borneo, the Philippines, etc.

7. Awesome festivals nearly every month

P1050596
Our krathong (float) for the Loi Krathong ceremony

One of my favorite parts about living in Thailand is that there seems to be some cause for celebration nearly every month. Songkran itself often goes on for over a week! New Years is a multi-day affair. Loy Krathong in the North goes on for days as well. At my school, we seem to have at least a day or two off a month for some holiday or another, usually accompanied with fun activities and delicious food.

What do you think is the best reason to teach in Thailand? What’s your favorite Thai festival? Did I miss anything important? Let me know! Comment below or email me here.

Advertisements

So how do I get a job teaching English in Thailand?

Me, correcting a math assignment
Me, correcting a math assignment

Whether you’re already in Thailand, ready to buy your ticket, or just considering teaching, check out this guide to get you started:

Step 1: Research Teaching in Thailand

Source
Source

Is this something you really want to do? Is this something you can afford? What’s it like? I highly recommend you check out other posts in this blog and do your own research to make sure teaching English in Thailand is the right thing for you.

Here is a great link to many questions people have about teaching in Thailand. It answers FAQ’s and debunks certain myths about ESL teaching. Check it out!

Step 2: Be Qualified to Teach

Source
Source

1. Be a native speaker: You must be a native English speaker to teach in Thailand.If your English is iffy and you have no degree or TEFL background, you will have a hard time getting a job.

2. Have a Bachelor’s degree: technically the only requirement you need to teach English in Thailand

*I have known teachers that don’t have it and their agency more or less lies for them. However, not having a degree means you can’t legally get a work permit to teach English which you WILL want if you plan on staying in Thailand long-term (and supposedly immigration is cracking down on repeat tourist visas, so you’ll definitely want that work permit).

3. Have a TEFL certificate: Absolutely not necessary but will give you better options for teaching jobs and a leg up on the competition

*I know a lot of teachers who received teaching positions without a TEFL certificate but employers like to see it on a resume. It shows you have at least some training and experience. My TEFL course personally did not prepare me very well for teaching, but that’s not to say others wouldn’t be helpful.

4. Experience teaching: Definitely not necessary, but helpful. However, if you want to get a good paying job in Thailand, experience is the way to do it.

*Experience will also help you in the classroom as a teacher. Walking in on my first day was scary. All the students were going nuts, staring at us, yelling at us in English (remember, all-male high school). It was so overwhelming! I felt like I was going to get eaten alive. I didn’t, and I have a great time at school now, but experience would have been helpful. Now I feel like I could take on any class at any school.

Step 3: Apply for a Job

Source
Source

Get to Thailand first! Don’t try to get a job outside of the country – most (if not all) schools prefer for you to live in Thailand when you apply. Also, getting a job with an agency beforehand can be very iffy-I wouldn’t recommend it unless you know the agency has a good reputation for placements.

Where to apply: My go-to recommendation sites are Ajarn.com and Craigslist.com.

Ajarn.com is great for finding jobs. It’s slightly more competitive because most people look for jobs there, but if you send out many applications (via your virtual CV that you create) odds are you’ll get some responses. The website also has a lot of useful information about teaching and living in Thailand.

Craigslist is awesome for finding agencies. Agencies are less competitive because a lot of them will take just about anyone – but this can be to your advantage! Have no TEFL? No experience? Then an agency might be a great way to get your foot in the door. But beware; some agencies also suck, so do a little research, on here for example, before committing.

*Craigslist is also a good way to find tutoring opportunities and short-term English camps.

You can also check out Bangkok Post for job listings. I haven’t personally applied there before, but there’s a lot of great listings.

You can go into a school in person as well to give them your CV and potentially be interviewed. A lot of people online recommend this, but honestly, if you’re just starting out, then walking into a school can be super intimidating. I would recommend applying online unless you have experience teaching in Thailand.

Step 4: Interview

Source
Source

Interviewing is pretty much mandatory for any position. Be prepared for your interview with these steps

1. Look sharpprobably the most important. Sadly, a lot of Thais judge you immediately by your appearance. They can decide you’re not right for the job just because you look ‘messy’. Skirts and dresses for women with a collared top are the best bet, slacks and a collared button-up for men. Shoes should be close-toed and look nice, although it’s a bit more flexible for women. No it’s not necessary, but if you want to increase your chances, dress well.

2. Plan a mock lessonthis isn’t always a requirement but on many interviews I was asked to prepare a mock lesson. Sometimes they want to just look at it, but most want you to ‘deliver’ it. It’s very easy because you will give the lesson to English speakers. Better schools almost always require this. Also, one time they did not tell me beforehand and then threw me in a live class of preschoolers to see what I could do. Yeah, it was awful.

3. Have copies of your CV, degree, passport, etc. on handmaybe this should be obvious, but I foolishly walked into a couple of interviews empty-handed. They already had all of my documents, why would they need a second copy? Nope. A lot of my interviewers didn’t know anything about me, they just had my name on a list. Kind of ridiculous, yes, but it will be much easier for you to be prepared! And if you want to sign a contract right there and then, having all of your docs will make it easier.

Step 4: Accept a Position

Source
Source

If/when you are offered a job, make sure you take some time to think about it.

ALWAYS negotiate your pay. A lot of newbies are a bit naïve (like me) and don’t realize you should always ask for a little more. They offer you 32,000? Ask for 34,000. If the say no, then oh well, at least you tried!

Also, make sure these questions are answered, so you know what is expected of you:

1. Paid holidays? (public holidays at a government or private school absolutely SHOULD be paid, though summer and fall breaks may not be).

2. Teaching hours expected per week (this should never be more than 23-24)

3. Breaking contract – are there penalties? How much notice is necessary? This can get you out of sticky situations if you have an awful school and want to quit without being penalized

4. Sick days – how many? You should get at least 2 per semester. This means you can miss school with proper notification ahead of time and still be paid (in other words, don’t call an hour before school starts saying you won’t be there and expect to still get paid)

5. Is a work permit sponsored? Most places should pay for this and arrange it for you. However, in my experience, agencies really drag their feet, preferring you to pay for visa runs to stay ‘legal’ in Thailand (though illegally employed)

6. Hours per day that you are expected at school – obviously only relevant for government/private schools but definitely something that should be in your contract. 7:30-4:30 is pretty standard

7. Gate duty? A lot of schools want teachers to do gate duty, where you stand at the gate and watch the students come in. Not sure how standard this is, but it was in my contract (my school didn’t make me do it)

Chok dee, ka! (Good luck!)

Do you have a different experience with finding work in Thailand? Did I miss something important here? Are any of these way off base? Please let me know in the comments or in an e-mail here!