Teaching English in Thailand ~ Guest Post
Hi! My name is Jos and I’ve been teaching English in Thailand for almost 6 years now. This is fairly unbelievable as my original plan was to come over for a year. I got TEFL certified when I was 27. At the time I was working a big corporate sales job in downtown Chicago and it just really wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life so I took the leap and made a big change. I teach at the oldest most prestigious language school in Bangkok and it has been an amazing experience. In 2015, a co-worker and I noticed that online TEFL certifications were seriously lacking in quality so we started TEFLPros.com in order to provide a high quality, accredited online TEFL certification course. Now, on top of teaching, I also own and run TEFLPros.com so I am certainly keeping busy over here! I will always love being in the classroom, but it has been such an amazing experience to transition into a teacher trainer position and help other people to pursue this amazing lifestyle just like I did in 2012.
Teaching jobs in Thailand
When I moved here, I didn’t know anything about Thailand. I had only eaten Thai food maybe once or twice in my life (Pad Thai) and I quickly learned that American pad Thai is not the same as the real thing. I had a backpack, a laptop case, a TEFL certificate and that’s it. No friends, no job, no language skills. I interviewed with 4 schools in my first 3 days in Bangkok and was offered the job that I still work at now. Typically, Thai schools prefer to interview in person. This was the case in 2012 and seems to still be the case. Most people come in on a tourist visa with some interviews lined up. If you’re qualified, you’ll get hired pretty quickly and your school can help you in the visa process so that you can be legal. Typical contracts are a year but can be broken if necessary. Usually, if you break a contract, you can’t get your bonus and your school revokes your work permit and your visa becomes invalid. It REALLY varies, but teachers in Thailand can expect 35,000-50,000 baht; obviously higher pay and higher cost of living in the cities.
Demand for teachers is high here so there are typically schools looking. If you are a native speaker with a BA/BS and a TEFL/CELTA, you are almost guaranteed to have a job within 10 days of landing. If you are missing one of those pieces, there are still jobs, but you’re going to have to hear a few more no’s before you hear a yes. Legally, you can work as an English teacher in Thailand if you are not a native speaker but you need to be very fluent. There are jobs at public schools, language centers, universities and lots of opportunities to supplement with private lessons, assuming you are already working here legally. My advice would be to ask to speak to other teachers at a school before accepting a position.
Teaching in Thailand is a lot of fun. Thai people are very smiley and eager to learn. Of course, you will always get a few bad eggs, but overall, I have enjoyed my experience here very much. For new teachers, Thailand is a great place as Thai people are generally very forgiving so if you make mistakes, they seem to understand. Of course, you want to learn from these mistakes, but you don’t need to be afraid of harsh criticism from Thai people in the beginning. Their culture is VERY strong and you will need to learn about the concept of ‘losing face’ in order to be a successful teacher. In a nutshell, this means that you should never cause public shame or embarrassment in any way whatsoever, even in jest. This is something that can be very challenging for Westerners to learn. Even after 6 years, I sometimes make mistakes with this.
To get ready for your move, at the bare minimum, you should have a TEFL certificate. TEFLPros.com has been a fantastic course for a lot of people who want to relocate to Thailand because all of the in-classroom videos are filmed in Thailand. The skills being taught are transferable across all countries/cultures, but our grads who are now teaching in Thailand thought it was cool to see real Thai classrooms. You don’t need to know Thai. Facebook groups are a fantastic place to look for housing. It’s inexpensive and widely available. I suggest staying in a cheap hostel or Airbnb at first and then picking a neighborhood that you like. You don’t need to set this up before moving here. Bangkok is incredibly friendly to expats. It’s a really easy city to move to as the expat community is so active and helpful.
If you have any questions about relocating to Thailand, please feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] and I’m happy to help. Maybe I’ll see some of you on the TEFLPros.com course! Happy travels and sawatdee kha.
Note from Eliza: If you’re interested in signing up for the TEFLPros course you can sign up here ~~ Free Two-Day TEFL Training Course
For more information, you can also connect with TEFLPros on Facebook!!!
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