I have been asked about teaching in Thailand countless times, so here is my little ‘how to’ on getting started…
Once again, these are opinions based on my own experiences.
Do I need teaching experience?
NO. I do not consider myself a teacher and I had moments where I doubted my decision but it actually comes naturally to most. I found that communication is not solely based on language. I connected with my kids as well as my young professionals and we could hardly speak to each other! You will need patience, a stern kindness and able to speak PROPER English. Leave your slang at the door, your students will most probably end up correcting you, leaving you red in the face!
What sites can I look at?
Ajarn.com is like the Holy Grail. This site is purely for teachers looking for work in Thailand. When looking for work, remember to address it as you would any other job – personalised cover letter attached to your CV. Follow up with an email one week later or immediately to see if your CV was received in good order. I worked for the British Language School and they looked after me beautifully, I will attached the link below.
Will I get a Visa?
Now this is when you ask yourself: am I keen to live dangerously? Working Visas are only granted to those who hold a degree and it entails a stupid amount of paper work! This will give you a visa for one year. If you live like I did; then you will be doing visa runs every 3 months. This is a pain in the ass. If you go to Malaysia for your visa, they sometimes give trouble to particular countries – South Africa happened to be one of them. They demand proof of funds (20 000 baht), a follow-on ticket and basically a blood and urine sample. SE Asia are tightening up on their Visa restrictions and it has become tough! It might be a lot of paperwork, but be clever and go the right route!
Where must I teach?
If you go through a company like BLS, then they usually place you where there is a position available. This is seldom in a postcard area. I was lucky and placed in Phuket, but the majority are in ‘rural’ areas and very remote. You might be the only expat living in that area, be prepared for this. To me, that sounds like heaven! It is your chance to fully embrace the culture and socialise with the locals. Research where you are going before making the commitment! Lets not waste anyone’s time now…
Your main cities in Thailand are Bangkok and Chiang Mai – look them up and decide if it’s where you want to live. On Ajarn.com they will mention where the position is – LOOK IT UP. Be a clever traveller and don’t go in blind.
Looking for accommodation
Can you drive a scooter? No, really. Can you? If you answered yes, you still won’t be prepared to drive in Thailand. In the rural towns, sure, but in the busy towns like Phuket and Bangkok it’s basically like the Hunger Games on two wheels. Make sure that if you are not Shaun White on a bike, that you find accommodation in walking distance to your school or on a public transport route. Scooter taxis are annoying and most of the time put you in a bad mood for the rest of your day!
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!
British Language School – http://www.bls-phuket.com/
Ajarn – https://ajarn.com/