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Teaching English in Thailand

  • corvusblue

    Joined Travelfish
    1st December, 2009
    Posts: 6

    Hi,

    I am interested in teaching English in Thailand (especially at the primary school level). I was wondering if anyone can suggest English language centers in Thailand and/or share their experiences teaching.

    Thank you so much!

    #1 Posted: 1/12/2009 - 06:32

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  • idreamofdur-
    ian

    TF writer
    Click here to learn more about idreamofdurian
    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2008
    Location Singapore
    Posts: 576
    Total reviews: 4

    Hello. I spent a year teaching in Thailand. A few questions so I can help you better:

    - Age, gender and nationality? (some primary schools prefer to hire women)
    - Do you have a degree, TEFL, and/or experience?
    - How long do you want to want to work in Thailand?
    - Any preference where in Thailand you want to live and work?

    #2 Posted: 1/12/2009 - 17:24

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    Corvus,

    You might want to check out this story: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/178

    As idreamofdurian said, a lot depends on where you want to work, if you have experience and how long of a contract you're willing to sign.

    Bangkok pays the most but you can definately find work in other areas of the country. The going rate is about 30,000 baht per month, but I'm sure this varies.

    Some programs will give you a free TEFL certificate if you sign a teaching contract.

    #3 Posted: 1/12/2009 - 19:13

  • corvusblue

    Joined Travelfish
    1st December, 2009
    Posts: 6

    Thanks to you both. To answer your questions idreamofdurian:

    1) I am a 30-year old American female

    2) I have a B.A and an ESL certificate

    3) I would like to work in Thailand for at least a year

    4) I am interested in at first working in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

    Thanks for both of you giving me some advice!

    #4 Posted: 1/12/2009 - 23:03

  • idreamofdur-
    ian

    TF writer
    Click here to learn more about idreamofdurian
    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2008
    Location Singapore
    Posts: 576
    Total reviews: 4

    You should have no problem finding a job. Wages are significantly higher in Bangkok plus you have greater opportunities to do private lessons to supplement your income. Average monthly salary for a teacher in Bangkok is around 35,000 while in Chiang Mai it's only 25,000 B 'cuz everyone wants to live there and housing is a bit cheaper.

    www.ajarn.com is a great resource for getting an idea about salaries, the lifestyle, the expectations Thai schools have from their teachers, etc. There's also plenty of job postings from every corner of Thailand on that site.

    Teaching at an elementary school is fun and quite easy-going. Class sizes are typically large (30 - 40) but you'll get an assistant Thai teacher. That helps with the language gap (most public elementary kids will have a low level of English). They typically study writing/grammar with their Thai teacher, and the Western teacher does phonics, conversation, songs, etc. Lesson planning for elementary levels is pretty minimal, which is nice. But you'll likely teach the same lesson to multiple classes, so it can get very repetitive. I taught and sang the "Hello, What's Your Name?" song so many times it started appearing in my dreams!

    #5 Posted: 1/12/2009 - 23:27

  • corvusblue

    Joined Travelfish
    1st December, 2009
    Posts: 6

    Thanks so much! I noticed that you've also been to Vietnam. Have you taught in Vietnam, too? I'm interested in teaching in either Vietnam or Thailand and I plan on heading over there in January. I'm curious about how expat living and teaching English compares in each of these countries. Thank you again for your help!! I really appreciate your insight.

    #6 Posted: 1/12/2009 - 23:47

  • idreamofdur-
    ian

    TF writer
    Click here to learn more about idreamofdurian
    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2008
    Location Singapore
    Posts: 576
    Total reviews: 4

    Nope, I was just a tourist in Vietnam.

    I definitely wouldn't want to live/work there... but that's just my opinion.

    #7 Posted: 2/12/2009 - 14:31

  • mattocmd

    Joined Travelfish
    13th June, 2007
    Location United States
    Posts: 365

    The pay in Vietnam is much higher than in Thailand. You can make around $1,500 a month in Vietnam.

    Check out ILA Vietnam, they are always hiring.

    That said, I would much rather work in Thailand....

    #8 Posted: 2/12/2009 - 18:16

  • corvusblue

    Joined Travelfish
    1st December, 2009
    Posts: 6

    Thank you both for the heads up. How easy is it to find a place to live and on average what is the cost of an apartment in Bangkok (one that is cheap but relatively close to a sky train). I heard that most schools in Thailand don't handle the housing arrangements or cost as apart of the employment contract. Should I try to arrange a place to live prior to flying over to Thailand or just stay at a hostel/guesthouse? Thank you so much!
    P.S. Matt-what part of the U.S. are you currently living in?

    #9 Posted: 2/12/2009 - 22:01

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    If you can arrange a visit to Thailand - try t spend a few weeks in Bkk or chiang Mai and familiarise yourself with the scene. You could contact perspective employees and you may well end up with a job.

    You will need to then get you visa and work permit sorted - any reasonable company will sort all this out for you, but you will need to do the visa OUTSIDE Thiland.

    #10 Posted: 2/12/2009 - 22:28

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6377
    Total reviews: 10

    Corvus
    The Mukdahan MEP program is always looking for native speakers and the pay is pretty good (starting at around 30,000 baht a month - and cost of living is cheap out here). This is a small city - recommend you google it and take a look. I've lived here for over two years and love it, but it's not for everyone.

    #11 Posted: 3/12/2009 - 16:39

  • bedu

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 58
    Total reviews: 15

    khunwilko

    'You will need to then get you visa and work permit sorted - any reasonable company will sort all this out for you, but you will need to do the visa OUTSIDE Thiland.'

    Actually you don't always need to leave the country to get the non-immigrant B visa. If you have at least 15 days left on your tourist visa (used to be 21 days), and the company is organised or should I say has organised all the paperwork (tax statement from the company and the invitation letter from the Ministry of Education), you can get the visa
    changed at Chang Wattana (Bangkok) Immigration office.

    corvusblue

    As for the original post, accommodation near to a BTS is pricey. If you find a small side soi (side alley) and walk, take a bus or motorcycle taxi to the BTS, the price is much cheaper. Many Thai only condos are for as little as 1,800 baht per month (you may not want to live there though), but in general a nice place can be had for about 6,000 baht, not inc. bills.

    2) I have a B.A and an ESL certificate

    3) I would like to work in Thailand for at least a year

    With these, you should be asking for a little more than just 30,000 baht a month. It does depend on the level of experience you have and what you actually end up teaching.

    Good luck, contact me further if you need more help.

    Bedu.

    #12 Posted: 3/3/2010 - 21:34

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    I am in a similar situation; struggling with a long running mental debate of whether to take the plunge into teaching english as a foreign language. I really wanted to go to China but recent Visa changes make me ineligable. I considered Vietnam too but i've been to Thailand, i like Bangkok, people are generally very nice. Even if the pay isn't as good i think it will be a better fit for me.

    I'm probably going to shell out for a CELTA. I know some say you don't need to etc but the way i see it is i want to be as prepared as possible. Also, i sympathise with the argument that often these childrens parents are paying a fair amount of money to private language schools and just because someone is a native speaker, doesn't make them a good teacher. I'm aware that a CELTA doesn't either (learn by doing, afterall). This is a debate that i don't really want to get into though. I do have a pre-CELTA interview next week, its two hours long, not really sure what to expect??

    I would ideally like to work at a private language school, purely because i think it would be a better way to 'ease into it' with a class of 15 rather than of 40.

    If you look at ajarn and type in 'julia's story' it is a great little e-mail to-and-fro between the 'ajarn guy' and, not suprisingly, a girl called Julia. Essentially it details her journey to Thailand and how she finds it etc. It is a morale boosting tale, especially when you read people slagging off Thai schools, Thai kids, Thai teachers...etc

    Anyway, its been a fun rant! sorry if it doesn't exactly tie in with the above. Thanks

    #13 Posted: 4/3/2010 - 02:51

  • bedu

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 58
    Total reviews: 15

    christay2009

    'I'm probably going to shell out for a CELTA. I know some say you don't need to etc but the way i see it is i want to be as prepared as possible.'

    You probably don't, but with the current Thailand immigration regulations, i.e. no on-line TEFL is acceptable, (and plus it's quite a good intro to teaching methodology) it is probably not a bad thing to have.

    'I do have a pre-CELTA interview next week, its two hours long, not really sure what to expect??'

    The pre-interview is tough, it is too make sure you're committed to learning and doing lots of assignments, to check you understand the hard work, but also a chance for you to ask any questions you might have about the course.

    BTW some course providers now offer the part-time CELTA, which is good if you want to work and study and a bit less intensive, I should think so anyway.

    In most language schools, the average max no of people appears to be 10. Be aware some language schools have contracts with schools, and if place in one, you could well have 30-40 children to teach.

    Any questions, contact me.

    #14 Posted: 4/3/2010 - 10:42

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    "The pre-interview is tough, it is too make sure you're committed to learning and doing lots of assignments, to check you understand the hard work, but also a chance for you to ask any questions you might have about the course."

    oh really? i had read it was mostly a formality.

    I am not 100% i WANT to teach. Maybe being abroad is more attractive than teaching. Untill i work this out i don't know whether i'll do the course or not to be honest. I have a week to decide (before the interview).

    As far as language schools with 30-40, i would avoid taking that job if i could!

    Thanks again

    #15 Posted: 4/3/2010 - 19:24

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