Teaching English in Thailand

by Max

Question - This has been a really helpful website, my goal is to teach English in Thailand and possibly stay there long term. But there are so many different companies trying to recruit you onto their schemes. Honestly, what is the best, most simple advice you could give me to get on the right track? I have a degree in English, no TEFL qualification yet.

Answer - The simplest advice is:

1. Take a TEFL certificate course CertTESOL or CELTA if you have the money. These are the most serious certificate courses, and are useful anywhere in the world. If this is too expensive an option, don't worry. Consider a cheaper option. There are so many that I can't recommend one. Ask on Dave's ESL Cafe forum. If you don't find anything good, just move on to point 2..

2. Check out ajarn.com, tefl.com and daves esl cafe jobs pages. Apply to any jobs you see, but don't wait too long on this - remember that most jobs are not advertised abroad.

3. Buy a plane ticket to Thailand one year open is a good idea and go. March is a good time to look for English teaching jobs in Thailand. Prepare your CV before you go, and take your degree certificate and any references you may have. Be sure to take a set of smart clothes: shirt, tie, trousers and shoes. You can easily buy cheap clothes in Bangkok, but I think it's good to take one set of more formal clothes.

4. Once in Thailand, give yourself a day to get oriented, then look for work. Ask around and meet other teachers. Send your C.V., cover letter and photo to as many schools as you can. Find lists of schools by searching for 'list of english language schools in bangkok' etc. Go out every day and meet people - you will find work.

* If you didn't take a TEFL certificate, I recommend that in the future you think about it. It WILL give you more flexibility in the future, and will allow you to apply to some of the better schools. It will also teach you about teaching, which is obviously important. Some schools will give you training, but the quality can be mixed. You may get lucky. Read some TESOL books about teaching. See Top 10 TESOL Books for some ideas.

* The agencies/companies on the internet are middlemen who are not necessary. It's better to meet the owner of the school in person, speak to the teachers, and go with your feelings on this, although some teachers do have positive stories about using them. Again ask in an online forum for up-to-date information on this.

* Accommodation is cheap in Thailand. Beds are available from a few pounds a night. Obviously you won't get much for that. Rooms are not much more. Check out the Lonely Planet site for prices of hostels/hotels. These can be good for the first few weeks, as places to meet other teachers.

* Flats are not expensive. As far as I know, you can get a small flat from £100 a month and up. Studios for a bit less. You can easily spend much more for better places of course.

For more information read Teaching English in Thailand

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