Helpful Tips: What You Must Know Before Teaching in Thailand
Thailand is one of the most popular country for foreigners to teach English regardless of the nationalities. It’s a nation rich in culture, foods, friendly smiles, outdoor adventures, white sand beaches, and so much more. Because of these, many people find it hard to leave.
So, if you’re planning to live and work in Thailand then do yourself a favor to consider some of my helpful tips that I would share with you based on my more than a decade of living and working experiences in this country that I call my second home. Sounds sweet and comforting, right? These truth-based tips will benefit you before you decide to position yourself to be an English teacher in Thailand.
If you’re coming all the way from the Philippines, never ever bring a piece of over-sized luggage as this might be one of the factors from offloading you during your interrogations with the immigration officers.
Tip 1: Do research of possible teaching jobs
Ajarn.com is the best online teaching place for foreign teachers to apply. When I was still in the Philippines, my friend (who invited me over) advised me to check on this teaching marketplace in Thailand. Though I could not guarantee you to get a possible job through this website while you are still in the Philippines, this guides you towards positioning yourself here as well as your expectations once set foot in the land of smiles. In this site, a myriad of teaching jobs posted daily from various public and private schools. So, first thing first, you should upload a powerful resume that will make you stand out among other applicants. Sell yourself as the best applicant. If you know already your flight schedule, I would suggest that you should put Thailand as your residence, as well as your phone number, should be in Thailand already. Most of the Thai schools hire English teachers when they’ve already settled themselves in Thailand.
Tip 2: Take a Test Of English For International Communication
When I first came to Thailand, TOEIC was not required yet. I still don’t have it until now because I already earned my teaching license here in Thailand. Besides, I have been working in the same school for more than a decade now ( I deserve a loyalty award hahahaha).
The TOEIC or ( Test Of English For International Communication), is perfect for both students and professionals seeking to broaden their CV by showcasing the extent of their English grasp. Your grasp of a foreign language matters as much as your diplomas and past professional experiences when it comes to catching the attention of your future employer. You would need to actually prove your English level for it to work, which is only possible during a job interview, often difficult to obtain. The best solution for you would be to certify your English level from the moment recruiters look at your CV. The higher scores you will get, the best impressions you will leave to your future employers. Therefore, start watching English movies and reading English books from now on. You can also practice the test via YouTube in order for you to have an idea on how the TOEIC would be done.
Tip 3: Join the Facebook Teachers’ Groups
Again, I didn’t know these groups before I came to Thailand.
There are many groups of Filipinos and other nationalities you can join to search for possible teaching jobs in Thailand. They post teaching jobs almost everyday. You can also post on their pages that you’re looking for a teaching job. Then, your post will be flooded of comments, suggestions and others will send you private messages about the teaching jobs they know. However, beware of the modus as well. Always confirm if the school really is looking for teachers to teach in their schools. If there’s money involved, then run away! Don’t play naive so you will not be fooled.
You can join in here:
Tip 4: Apply as many schools as you can
Being a newcomer to Thailand while searching for a teaching job is not a walk in the park. Many school employers prefer hiring teachers in a walk-in process. So, once landed in the city or area you are in, try applying for many institutions. Apply with confidence. There are about 76 provinces in Thailand with 32 city municipalities( town cities are not included here yet). Don’t be frightened to apply for remote areas. Use your connections or friends’ connections when opportunity knocks at your door that’s away from your landed area. You can use the Facebook groups and pages I’ve posted above if you desire to apply for teaching jobs outside the city you are in. Another secret tip in applying for a job is through your friends or relatives. Mostly, Thai employers prefer recommendations from the teachers who are already teaching in that respective school you are applying for. So, don’t be afraid to ask for some help.
Tip 5: Negotiate with your expected salary
Different schools vary in offering a monthly salary for foreign teachers. Some government schools offer a 15,000 baht for Filipinos especially if you are just new teachers. Some schools offer a bit higher than this amount. They also offer a salary increase after the probationary period of your teaching in their school. Another thing you need to understand is that most government schools in Thailand do not provide accommodations. It simply means that you need to pay for your own rent and bills. However, in some private institutions, they have free housing accommodations. These schools such as Assumption college, Sarasas school, and international schools as well provide decent benefits for their teachers.
If you know your qualifications well, you can bargain a decent salary depending on the schools you are applying for. If your target is international schools, then your request will be provided well. But take note that Filipinos do not have the same salary as the native speakers regardless of your higher qualifications. So, if you are Filipinos or Africans, or other nationalities besides native speakers, do not expect a fair salary as them. If you want to question why it’s because most of the Thai employers prefer white skin and blue eyes with a great accent to teach in their schools as their way to showcase their schools to the parents. I am not saying that all Thai schools are like that. There are still Filipino teachers who receive great benefits though. Just expect some turn downs from Thai employers. Some schools highly prefer Filipino teachers to teach in their schools because Filipinos are diligent and blend in well in their culture.
So, if you think you deserve a better salary than 15,000 baht then, I would advise you to not take that teaching position being offered to you. Find another school. In order for you to search for more teaching opportunities, you should come to Thailand during the peak season of applying teaching jobs here. It’s usually between January to April because the month of May begins the school year.
Tip 6: Learn the culture
Thai cultures are not so much different from Filipino cultures. However, there are some slight differences though that you need to apply once you have accepted the teaching position offered to you. First thing first, learn the dress code in the school you are in. You can’t just wear any dresses you like. If you do that, these Thai teachers will unpleasantly be surprised. To avoid such misconceptions, you should ask the employer about the dress code during the interviews. Thai teachers also expect some generous help from you even if it means outside your teaching responsibilities. What I meant with this is that, you cannot avoid finding Thai teachers who are also lazy in doing some of their specific tasks that they like to pass them on to you while they are busy on their phones 😀 I didn’t say that something is wrong with that attitude. But you can lend your extra help to them when necessary. But if you feel being abused while doing your own tasks and responsibilities, you can actually talk to the Thai teachers concerned and make them understand your whole situation and responsibilities. I am sure that they will understand you. Do not just say yes and yes then you’re murmuring in the corner. Just do it nicely.
Tip 7: Teach with care and love
It’s true that your main purpose of teaching in Thailand is to work for money. Maybe other foreigners are for adventures and love. But no matter what your purposes of teaching in Thailand, teach the Thai kids with care and love. Teacher’s achievement is based on the learning outcomes of the students. Because your influence as a teacher can never be erased. Thailand provides you a job to enjoy the country. In return, be a good teacher to the country. Don’t be stubborn by just doing your own things and your own way while the school is paying off your vacation or while you are earning good enough in this foreign land. Be a great teacher who can never be forgotten by the students. This is also a great way of flaunting your qualifications when you move to another school for better opportunities.
May God bless you!!