Teaching English in Thailand
Jobs teaching English in Thailand are quite easy to find. There is a strong demand for English teachers, particularly in Bangkok. Finding the right job will take a little more persistence. As usual, when looking for work teaching English overseas, it's best to search for jobs once you in the country. However, some jobs are advertised online.
One of the most common questions asked about teaching English in Thailand is 'Do I need a degree or TEFL certification to teach English in Thailand? I think the best answer is yes, you need a degree - and a TEFL certificate will help.
Actually schools can, under certain circumstances, apply to hire teachers without a degree, but they seldom have to, as the vast majority of applicants are graduates. For all practical purposes you need a degree - unless you wish to work illegally, which I do not recommend. This has the usual hazards of working for a low quality employer and the risk of being caught.
TEFL certification will help you in a number of ways, and I recommend it, but it is not absolutely necessary. Likewise, experience teaching English in Thailand or elsewhere will help, but is not a requirement. Being a native speaker is also usually desired by employers and students. It's well known that a few people buy fake degrees in Bangkok. Apart from being dishonest, unethical, and unfair to the students, it's also illegal, and there have been crackdowns on this.
Types of TEFL Jobs in Thailand
There are many jobs available in private language schools, especially in Bangkok, which had hundreds of language schools. These are with the large chain schools and many small independent schools. There is work teaching English to children and to adults. You can also find work teaching English in Thailand in public elementary and high schools. Many people find work teaching privates, which is good way of supplementing your income. There is also work teaching English at universities.
Private language schools are often open everyday, and teachers are expected to work 5 or 6 days a week, often including Saturday. In fact, the weekend is often the busiest time. Many teachers also work split shifts; teaching early in the morning, before people begin work, at lunchtime, and again in the evening. Classes may continue until 9.30pm.
Check these kinds of details before accepting a job. If you don't want to work split shifts, say so. It will mean some schools won't hire you, but if you keep looking, you stand a good chance of finding a school offering a better - but not perfect - schedule. The better schools will give teachers 2 days off a week, but these will probably not be at the weekend.
Public schools offer an alternative, and will give you the weekends off. But you will be working a full time schedule, from early morning, until late afternoon, Monday to Friday. You will also be teaching large classes. You may also be required to teach on summer camps.
Private language schools hire all year, when they need to find new staff. However, April/May and October/November are often the best times - with more schools hiring then.
There is also work teaching English in Thailand at universities. They will usually be hiring from March to May. You will usually be teaching 10-12 hours a week - as opposed to a typical language school contract of around 25 hours - but the pay is correspondingly low. Public universities only pay around 25,000 baht a month. Private universities pay a lot more - over 40,000, sometimes a lot over.
Good places to find further information on teaching English in Thailand are Ajarn.com and Dave's ESL Cafe Thailand forum Dave's also has job ads for teaching English in Thailand, as does the Bangkok Post.
Salaries for Teaching English in Thailand
Salaries for teaching English in Thailand range from 20,000 and up. In Bangkok 30,000 baht a month is too low, and it would be hard to live. Although some teachers do. 40,000 baht would still be a low salary in Bangkok, but it's possible to live on this amount. It would be easy to spend 60,000-70,000 baht a month, if you wanted to go out a lot, have weekends away, and eat and drink whatever you wanted to.
A few teachers do earn 60,000 baht and more a month, but this would be very unlikely for a new teacher. In the countryside, the costs of living are much lower, and 25,000 baht a month is possible. Often because there is nothing to spend it on, but also because the cost of accommodation is much lower. Teaching in the countryside here could mean living well away from other foreign teachers, sources of entertainment, bookstores, and the western food outlets of the big cities. For a few teachers this would be good, but for many it could be painful.
Further Information on Teaching English in Thailand
Teachers are generally respected in Thai society, even more so if you work in one of the better universities or more famous schools. Appearance is also very important in Thailand. Teachers in Thailand are generally expected to look smart and wear a shirt and tie, long pants and shoes. Female teachers will be expected to wear a skirt, and often shoes which do not reveal too much of their feet.
As I've mentioned above, most of the work is in Bangkok, but there is work in other parts of the country. The salaries are lower however. In the case of very popular destinations like Chiang Mai and the islands, the competition is high and the wages are low, because so many people want to teach English there, despite there being relatively few jobs.
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