Teaching English Overseas Part 1: Thailand

Hey what’s up people, I am back with another special blog. Talking about teaching English abroad, but in this blog specifically, Thailand. I taught a little bit of English in Thailand, and the city of Chiang Mai is where I took my TEFL course. TEFL course is the certification you get after you take the course that teaches you how to teach English to children and adults as a second language. I am not sure whether I should touch on my experience in the course or not in this blog, but I will tell you what to expect if you do decide to teach in Thailand. I honestly want to  jump into my life and experience living in China because I ran out of pictures to post of Thailand, so I just might breeze through this real quick or post of pics of other countries but still talk about Thailand.

The children in Thailand are very respectful. Of course children will be children and they like to play, but they do not give you a hard time. When they greet you they bow, and when they leave your classroom they all say “Thank You Teacher” together. Even though on the list of countries that want to learn English, Thailand is at the very bottom, some of the children honestly wanted to get to know me and wanted to know what it was like in America. It was fun teaching them and I think they had a good time, especially since towards the end of every class we always played a learning game. 

The conditions of the school were ok and clean but you can tell the buildings were old. They still use chalk boards, rarely did I see a dry erase board out there. Dry erase boards are much better to teach and if you need to stick anything on the board it is better to stick it on a dry erase board then a chalk board. They let animals roam around on school campuses. Every school that I went to had a dog or a cat just laying down anywhere it felt, wasn’t a lot just one or two. The restrooms were ok, old, and there were no toilets in the restroom. So if you had to take a dump, you would have to squat above the hole that they had in the stalls. That is something that is very normal to them but not something I would do lol. They had the old school wooden desks with the cubby hole at the bottom. I remember in the 4th grade I had a desk like that, and the cubby hole stayed messy lol. 

The pay isn’t that much to teach English in Thailand, but it is enough to get you by. The average salary that English Teachers are making in Thailand is around 30,000 Thai Baht, which around $1,000 USD. That is enough to live comfortably in Thailand, but I think it is important to always make enough to where you have a rainy day stash because you never know what could happen to you. For some reason you may get caught up in some quagmire and you have to leave the country to go back home immediately but you can’t because you don’t have enough money. There are other ways to make more money on top of your salary, but me personally, $1,000 USD is enough to get you by but not enough for me. Let’s say you are still contact with your family back home, and you want to do something nice like buy gifts, you would really have to live like a slave in order to save up for something decent for your family on the holidays. Hell, what about stuff for yourself? Let’s say you want to go away to Hong Kong for a little while, you would have to live like a slave to save because HK is more expensive. That $1,000 USD would easily be flushed down the drain out there in HK if you went there for about a week.

The schools hook you up with a work visa, I do not believe you need a college degree in order to obtain a work visa. A lot of countries out there require you to have a bachelors in order to obtain a work permit, not so much for the job, but that is just their standards when it comes to getting the permit. To be honest, you don’t even need a TESL certificate to teach, but it is good to have it. Be ahead of the game when it comes to dealing with the paperwork, because if you slack or you overstay your time on your visa, you could get in trouble or end up in the chicken coop like I mentioned in one of my other blogs. But for the most part, they are on top of things. There are two types of schools, Government and Private Schools. It would be best to teach at a Private school because you would get paid more and the facility might be better and the person running the school more then likely is a native English speaker. Only bad side about a private school is that your schedule might require you to work odd hours, you might not have two days off in a row, but everything can be negotiable. Government schools you work the regular Monday thru Friday shift, no nights and no weekends, but the pay is very low and you will probably be the only foreign teacher at the school while everyone else speaks little to no English. So taking two or three days off to go to another city in Thailand might be out the question for you if you work at a Private school.

If you do decide to teach in Thailand, learn to speak Thai. If you decide that you love the country you moved to, learn to speak the language because it will put you at a level above all the other teachers looking for jobs. I had a friend who taught English in Korea for close to 20 years and he spoke the Korean language very well. So when it came down to get a job, he ended up being an English Professor at Seoul National University, which is the top prestige school in Korea. That’s like telling someone in America that you teach at Harvard University. So as you see, when you master the countries language, you get better offers then someone who doesn’t. You don’t want to have an assistant talk for you, number one you don’t know what they are saying and number two they get in the way. I will tell you about those Teacher assistance in another blog. You want to be able to communicate with the parents and talk to them in case you may have an issue with the student. You do not want the school to talk to their parents because either they won’t or they are going to act soft towards the parents. You want to be able to explain yourself perfectly clear when it comes to how you handle your business. 

I think that is pretty much everything that I have on my mind at the moment about teaching English in Thailand. If something else comes up, I will let you know in another blog post.

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