Teaching English in Thailand - What you need to know

I love Thailand. Although I haven't had the chance to teach English there yet, I was lucky enough to visit this beautiful country a couple times when I lived in Korea. With it's rich culture, friendly people, amazing food and breathtaking scenery, it's no wonder why this country is such an attractive place to live and teach. In this blog, I'll want to discuss somethings you need to know if you want to teach there. Much of this info comes from my friends who taught there and passed on their experiences with me, and my own research, as a couple years ago I had seriously considering going there to teach.

To teach in Thailand, you must have completed a university degree, and although not necessary for all jobs, a TEFL or TESL certificate or diploma is highly recommended (For reasons why you should take a TEFL program read this entry). Past teaching experience is not necessary as well, but very beneficial if you have it. If you want to teach at a university in Thailand, a Master's degree is required.

To teach in Thailand legally you will also need to get a Non-Immigrant Visa "B". If you have arranged your teaching job in Thailand before you go, hopefully your future employer will be able to help you with this, and the process is not too difficult. You can also enter Thailand on a tourist visa, find a job there, and make a "Visa Run" to a neighboring country to get your work permit. From my friends' experience, getting a work permit on your own can be a real struggle as you'll need to fill out a ton of paperwork and you need to have a lot of personal documents to complete this process.

Finding a Job
If you are looking for a job before you head to Thailand you may want to check out these sites:





If you are planning to find a job when you arrive in Thailand, you can of course check out these sites, the local English newspapers or one of these Facebook sites which regularly post job opportunities



Teaching in Thailand
If you want to work in Thailand for a period of 6 month or more, public schools, universities, and private language schools are your best bet. You can expect to work 5 days a week in Thailand for approximately 20 to 30 hours per week. Most of the teaching jobs will involve teaching children, although there are some jobs that involve teaching adults.

Lesson planning will really depend on the school you work at. Some schools will have set curriculi and textbooks, while in other schools what you teach will be completely up to you. You should ask about planning before accepting any job.

There are many opportunities to do some private tutoring in Thailand, so if you wish to work more to save money, you can do this by tutoring in your own time.

Salaries and the Cost of Living in Thailand
The average salary starts around 30,000 Thai Baht per month (about $1,000 USD), which in Thailand is enough, especially for people teaching in rural areas. If you are planning to go to Thailand to save money or pay off loans, you may want to consider another country to teach English. As the cost of living in most places is inexpensive, teachers can live comfortably, despite the lower salary. Accommodations will cost around a third of your salary, and food and entertainment come at a very reasonable price. While you may not earn enough money to travel around Asia while you are teaching, there is so much to see in Thailand, there is no reason to go anywhere else.

Where Should You Teach
There isn't one answer to this question that will satisfy everyone, as it really depends on the person. Here are the places that I have heard are the best and why:

Bangkok - Big, busy city with always something going on. Great food, lots of shopping and entertainment, and many other foreigners. 

Chang Mai - More rural area than Bangkok. Amazing scenery and nature. Tons of culture and also great food. 

Phuket and the Islands - PARADISE. I love the Islands in Thailand. Amazing beaches, outdoor activities, and a fun nightlife. Not as many jobs though as the other two locations

Thai Culture
Thai people are friendly, warm-hearted and fun loving people. I only had great experiences with the people in Thailand and I've heard the same story from many friends. The culture is still heavily influenced by Buddhism, which can be seen in the importance of hierarchy or respect. There are a never-ending amount of Buddhist temples and ceremonies to visit during your time in Thailand. One thing to get used to in Thailand, if you're coming from a Western country, is "Thai Time." Things are not exactly punctual in Thailand, as most people like to take their time and enjoy life. Learning the language is definitely not an easy task, but knowing some Thai will definitely make your experience much better.

One thing you must consider before going to Thailand, is that it is still a developing nation. The majority of people are not wealthy, so you should expect to see a lot of poverty there. It is very important to be considerate of this and try not to stand out because of your wealth.

Although, in recent years there has been much political unrest and protest in Thailand, it is still a relatively safe country for foreigners to teach in. That being said, it is important that you use your common sense and perhaps do some research about "what to do" and "what not to do" in Thailand before you go.

The Weather
Thailand’s climate is subtropical throughout most of the country, leading to year-round hot and humid conditions.  During the hottest months of the year, temperatures regularly top 40° C (105° F). Even during the cooler “winter” season you can expect daily highs to be around 30° C  (86° F). If you do not like hot weather, Thailand is not the country for you. The rainy season can be from May to October, depending on where you live. During this time you can expect periods of heavy rain and thunderstorms, which are nice because it cools down during these times. It usually does not rain for long periods, as many days go from Sunny to heavy rains, back to Sunny in a period of a couple hours.

Alright, so those are just a few of the main things you should consider before teaching in Thailand. Like I said earlier, I love Thailand and would encourage anyone to go teach there. I also realize that Thailand is not for everyone, so do you research before you go.




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