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Travel & Teach - Thailand


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Global English students are working all over the world with their accredited TESOL certificates. Find out how TESOL training from Global English has made a difference to their lives:


Prijie Moodley

I've just finished my first semester teaching 12 year olds (Mattayom 1) and 15-17 year olds (Mattayom 4,5,6) at a government school here in Bangkok (on contract with ECC, who have a government contract to supply native teachers to schools) and it's been quite an eye-opener thus far. No resources to speak of but the kids are fun to teach.

The interesting thing so far here is experiencing the divide between theory and practice. The state school system is entirely teacher-centred and the approach grammar-based. And the classes are huge, at least with M1 students; all mine (and I have 14 M1 classes) average around 45 kids per class. I'm gradually getting the hang of things - which classes work better in the mornings, when to introduce games, etc - so as to manage things as best I can, but some things are quite difficult to get going. For example, group work activities - the classrooms are so packed with desks that its impossible to reconfigure the seating arrangements. Another thing: Thai kids are very passive and will rarely venture an opinion or take the initiative in something. However, this is quite a learning curve and one that's proving to be great fun.

I got my job via the www.ajarn.com website. I basically just came over here on a tourist visa, sent off a few CVs and got offered a couple of positions fairly quickly. I took the ECC job as the school is fairly quick to get to from where I live (a big consideration in this traffic-congested city) and the fact that they are a large-ish concern with a lot of teachers on their books (and the likelihood of running a smoother operation than most). No problems so far other than having to deal with the Thai way of doing things (appointments cancelled at short notice, little information offered, things just sprung on you, etc.).

The pay is nothing special - 32 500 baht - enough to live quite comfortably by local standards, but not great if one wants to do a lot of travelling in SE Asia, specially to the more expensive countries like Japan or Taiwan. Places like Laos and Cambodia are more accessible on a Thai salary. However, from my perspective, this is a good place to launch one's teaching career: Thai kids are quite fun to teach (if not a particularly serious lot), and the system, though rather old-fashioned, is not overly demanding. This, combined with the experience of having to cope with large classes, does wonders for one's confidence! As I mentioned, ECC have a government contract to supply EFL teachers to state schools, and there do appear to be quite a few jobs available.


Kaj Jordison

I've been teaching in Bangkok for about two years now, and even trying to sum up those two years is impossible. Before I came here, and before I got my TEFL, I worked as a homeroom teacher in Sweden. And I can't even start to compare these two ABSOLUTELY different experiences. If you want to add something to your members’ area, it has to be this: Thailand is not easy, but exciting!!!


Liz Shepherd

My husband and I were interviewed in London for our jobs which we found in the TES for teaching in Thailand. We work in a Thai owned, British Curriculum International School which has an English Head Teacher. It's an all age boarding school (2 - 18) with about 600 students. Our school has over 30 different nationalities so teaching students where the majority have English as a second language has been an eye opening experience we would never have had if we had stayed in the UK. It has taught me to always think before I speak so I choose the simplest language possible without using slang. Thai students in particular often do not tell you when they don't understand! We signed a two year contract initially and had only planned to stay for that length of time but we are now in our third year and expecting our first child which will be born out here, so the experience has certainly been a positive one so far! The school pays nearly the same as a school in the UK and we receive our money in Thai Baht. We have a great flat on site with food included. Holiday lengths are similar to those in England so opportunities for travel have been fantastic. We have visited 9 different countries easily and cheaply so far!

Living in Thailand is an interesting experience. It's important to take a deep breath and remain calm when there's no water or electricity for an unknown reason or someone cuts you up on the highway. The Thais are placid people and do not lose their tempers, if you do then do not expect any response from them! Second hand cars are extortionate but if you live 15 kms in the countryside like us then they're worth every penny. International driving licenses are not recognised but it's easy to get a Thai one. For a small amount of cash anything is possible! Moving here was a big step but definitely worth it!


Vaughn Buxton

Finding work in a rural school in Thailand is very easy. Just go to the school in person and ask them if you can volunteer to teach. 99.9% will say yes straight away. It really is that easy. Although this is volunteer work, it can the first step on the ladder. You can go to events with the school and meet other teachers from different areas. I went to a meeting with the school I was doing volunteer work and was offered work from three different schools in the first hour, again volunteer work but if you want a month or so at different places the schools are begging for your teaching.

I did volunteer teaching at two schools in my area, went on several school trips and teachers conferences meeting lots of people from teachers to headmasters, directors and professors. After talking with them, I found that most will offer you work or put you in touch with someone who can find you work. They want the best for their schools and if you are only staying for a month at a time before moving on, volunteer work is probably all you will get. But if you plan to stay the story is very different.

I am planning to live in Thailand permanently. I passed my TESOL Global English course on Thursday 11th in the afternoon, and on Friday 12th in the morning I rang headmaster from the meetings I had been to. I arranged an interview at 9.30am the same day and started work at 10.30am. I now teach 20 hours a week at the top primary school in Surin with a very good salary.

I have a translator to explain things to the children, 6 year olds, with the emphasis on English pronunciation and vocabulary. Once the parents get you know you they will want private tutoring for their children. They pay very good money for their children to be taught by native English speaking teachers.

I am 51 years old and came to Thailand to "retire". Because of the demand for English teaching here I took my TESOL on line. The certificate is a must if you want a permanent position. Now I have a brand new career teaching in this amazing country.


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