A Guide To Teaching Abroad in Thailand
From incredibly affordable, yet delectable, street food (pad thai from a food stall is no joke) to majestic Buddhist temples and beyond, Thailand is a dream destination for all types of travelers. In fact, Thailand is so deliciously amazing that many wish they could live there permanently. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to do just that: teaching English in Thailand! There are hundreds of schools to choose from, and with its prominence in Southeast Asia, English teachers are in high demand. So pack your chopsticks and sunscreen, get your TEFL certificate, and head to teach abroad in Thailand!
Thailand is massive, so the culture and atmosphere varies from north to south (and east to west to a lesser extent). Choosing the right location to teach English in Thailand will impact your enjoyment, so decide what you want and then look for the right place.
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is a popular option for international teaching jobs in Thailand. I you don’t like massive cities, then this is definitely not the place for you to teach English in Thailand. With millions of people and a variety of diverse neighborhoods, Bangkok is a place to both enjoy and be cautious of at the same time.
Chiang Mai is a smaller city in the north. It has a cooler climate and more historic charm. There are plenty of ESL teaching jobs in Chiang Mai to choose from. Chiang Mai offers premium access to the coveted north, to cities like Pai and Chiang Rai, which are more heavily influenced by Chinese culture and are unique to northern Thailand.
Cities like Surat Thani and Krabi have some teaching job opportunities, as well as access to the beautiful coast, but options will definitely be more limited and salaries will most likely be lower as well.
Before starting teaching jobs in Thailand, many schools will conduct interviews over webcam or telephone so that you can have your position secured before you fly over. Since it can take a bit of planning, it is important to consider which type of school you'd like to teach English in Thailand with.
Public Schools. Education is compulsory in Thailand so there are free public schools where children learn English, amongst other subjects. Those looking to teach English in Thailand should be willing to improvise and be creatively flexible with how they handle their resources and classrooms.
Private or International Schools have better facilities and smaller classes. The pay is higher for teaching jobs at these schools, and there are more resources available to teachers than at public institutions; however, a TEFL certification and sometimes actual teaching experience is needed.
Other options for teaching in Thailand include private tutoring, language school positions, or volunteering. These options are inconsistent and have lower pay; however, there is more flexibility and variety. Private tutoring will earn you extra pay and you’ll be able to dictate your hours more freely. And finally, teaching at a language school has hourly pay, so you can work there as a side job to earn more money.
Salaries. Salaries vary from school to school and place to place. In Bangkok and Chiang Mai, teachers can expect higher pay than from what they would receive in smaller towns or in the southern region. As for the different types of schools, language schools tend to pay the least, public schools have a modest wage, and international and private schools pay the most.
Accommodations. Housing will change per situation, but most teachers get nicely furnished apartments with air conditioning for that ever blistering Thai heat. Thai accommodations will vary based on where you decide to teach in Thailand, with nicer housing usually more widely available in the bigger cities.
Visas. All individuals who want to teach English in Thailand will need a nonimmigrant visa, but the process and requirements will depend ultimately on your nationality. Visas are required on your passport before entering the country. Make sure to look at to find the closest Thai embassy to you.
Safety. Generally Thailand is a safe place for travelers. While teaching in Thailand, you’ll often be met with smiles. To keep your own smile, always be aware of your surroundings and follow your gut!
Keep in mind that some employers prefer candidates who are in Thailand already, because they know that you are committed and that you are much less likely to change your mind and dropout (which does happen). So you may want to consider traveling to Thailand first, which also gives you a chance to get to know Thailand and even to explore different areas and different cities before you make a decision regarding where you want to teach.
There’s something to be said a place where the people don’t normally cook at home, but instead go out for every meal. The affordability and the deliciousness of every meal on the street or in a restaurant in Thailand is downright astounding. Many people coming home from Thailand say that the hardest part is leaving behind the food.
Thailand is one of the most popular countries in the WORLD to travel to for so many reasons. If you teach English in Thailand, you’ll have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Thai culture for a longer period of time than most will ever be able to. Take advantage of it and not only make money and help kids learn English, but have the experience of a lifetime.
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