I often get asked about working as an English teacher in Thailand.
How much will I earn.
Where will I get a job.
What age children should I teach.
How many hours will I work.
All these questions to answer, and not being a teacher myself, makes it a little hard to give a fair and honest answer.
Here is an article for those needing more information about teaching English.
English is the official language of ASEAN – The Association of South East Asian Nations. It is the language of international business and now it is the main language of the internet. This means that in Thailand there is a big demand for native English speakers to teach all age groups how to speak, read and write the English language. Coupled with that is the ever growing tourism industry and the need for language skills amongst those who service it.
Although in the past the regulation of the teaching industry has been relaxed, the only real qualification being that you are a native speaker. This has now changed not only in Thailand but elsewhere. Employers will insist on a bachelor’s degree. Oddly this is more important than either a specialized TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or a TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate. The subject of the BA is not important but it must be genuine. Anyone caught using forged qualifications are now subject to law and employers will run checks with issuing colleges and universities from which the qualifications were awarded.
If you are qualified then teaching can be a great way to get really involved with Thai society. ‘Sanuk’ or the importance having fun is a defining factor in social interaction. It may not always be easy, but teaching can be a rewarding and interesting experience.
When looking for work you have to decide whether you prefer to teach adults or children and what sector of the industry you want to cater to. International schools follow the curriculum of the country to which they are affiliated whether that is the UK, US or France. Teachers there would be qualified in the same way as they would in their country of origin so these jobs are in high demand since the pay is very good and employers can be very choosy.
All over Thailand there are private schools some being part of a chain whilst others are totally independent commercial enterprises. They range vastly in quality, the better ones having the pick of those they want to employ. This is another reason why being properly qualified is important. You will be paid more.
There is also a great need for teachers at high schools. The pay can be quite low but generally it is a less stressful job since class times are shorter.
Often considered the most prestigious places to teach are universities. The pay is not always as high as the prestige might suggest since rates are set by the government but there is plenty of opportunity for specialization if you already have an academic background.
Private one to one teaching is a market in itself. Some teachers hate it finding it very demanding, others prefer the freedom in hours and the more intense nature of the work. It can also be a bit more lucrative than teaching a class. People will want value for their money though from the one to one experience, so professionalism and preparation are vital.
Some teachers prefer dealing with adult students and some prefer children. It’s just a question of preference. With adults many experienced teachers specialize in one area whether that is business English, medical English, tourist industry English and so on.
Thailand is a country where appearance, respect and face matter. The profession of teacher or ‘kru’ or ‘ajarn’ is highly respected and certain levels of presentation are required. From men a shirt and tie at least and for women fairly formal clothing.
Teaching jobs are advertised in the Bangkok Post and increasingly on the internet. Whatever your training and however long you plan to make a life in teaching Thailand can be an enjoyable place to do it. Teaching those keen to learn who also want to have fun is a rewarding experience.
Alex Smith manages the website Cheap Thailand Travel and occasionally contributes to golf in Thailand and has lived in Thailand for the last 3 years.
Teaching English in Thailand will help a lot of children improve their standard of living and with a good education they will have better job prospects.
If you have been thinking about changing your life and Teaching English in Thailand, I hope this article has been beneficial to you.