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Being an English teacher in Thailand 2023 – What is it like?

PHOTO: Teaching via Freepik

Have you ever considered teaching English abroad? If you’re looking for an adventure and an opportunity to make a positive impact, then being an English teacher in Thailand might be just what you’re looking for.

First things first, why Thailand? Well, it’s a beautiful country with a rich culture and warm, friendly people. The food is amazing, the beaches are stunning, and there’s something for everyone here. Plus, the cost of living is incredibly low compared to Western countries, so you’ll be able to save money while living comfortably.

Now, let’s explore what it’s like to teach English in Thailand and why it might be the perfect opportunity for you.

Benefits of Teaching in Thailand

Being an English teacher in Thailand 2023 - What is it like? | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Teaching via Freepik

Being an English teacher in Thailand is a unique and rewarding experience.

1. Cultural Immersion

One of the biggest benefits of teaching in Thailand is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. You’ll have the chance to learn about Thai customs and traditions, taste delicious local foods, and explore all that this beautiful country has to offer. Teaching in Thailand is a great way to experience a new culture and make lasting connections with local people.

2. Meeting New People

Another benefit of teaching in Thailand is the opportunity to meet new people. Whether you’re teaching at a public school or a private language school, you’ll have the chance to work with other teachers from all over the world. You’ll also get to know your students, who are often eager to learn and excited to get to know you.

3. Trying New Foods

Thai food is famous for its bold flavors and unique combinations of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. As a teacher in Thailand, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try new foods and expand your palate. Whether you’re dining at a street vendor or a fancy restaurant, you’re sure to find something that tantalizes your taste buds.

4. Making a Positive Impact

Teaching in Thailand is a great way to make a positive impact on the lives of others. By helping your students improve their English skills, you’ll be giving them the tools they need to succeed in their academic and professional lives. You’ll also be helping to bridge the gap between cultures and promote understanding and goodwill between people from different parts of the world.

The challenges of teaching in Thailand

Being an English teacher in Thailand 2023 - What is it like? | News by Thaiger
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Of course, teaching in Thailand isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are a number of challenges you’ll face as an English teacher in Thailand.

1. Language Barrier

One of the biggest challenges of teaching in Thailand is the language barrier. While many Thai people speak some English, not all of them are fluent. This can make communication difficult, both in and out of the classroom. However, with patience, perseverance, and a willingness to learn, you can overcome this challenge and have a rewarding experience.

2. Paperwork and Visa Process

Another challenge of teaching in Thailand is the paperwork and visa process. To work legally in Thailand, you’ll need to obtain a work visa, which requires a lot of paperwork and documentation. This can be a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process. However, many schools and language centers in Thailand are experienced in helping foreign teachers navigate the visa process and can provide support and guidance.

3. Classroom Management

Managing a classroom of students can be challenging, even in your home country. In Thailand, there may be additional challenges, such as cultural differences and language barriers. It’s important to establish clear rules and expectations from the beginning, and to be patient and flexible as you get to know your students.

4. Adapting to Local Culture

Thailand has a unique culture that may be very different from what you’re used to. For example, Thai people place a great emphasis on respect and politeness, and may have different customs around social interactions and personal space. It’s important to be open-minded and adaptable as you navigate these cultural differences.

The Application Process

Being an English teacher in Thailand 2023 - What is it like? | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Job Application via Freepik

Getting a job as an English teacher in Thailand is relatively easy, but there are a few things you need to have in order before you start applying.

First, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in any field. Secondly, you must be a native English speaker, and if you are not, you must have a TOEIC score of at least 750. Additionally, a TEFL certification is preferred, but it is not required. However, having a TEFL certification can give you an advantage in getting hired and also prepare you for teaching English as a foreign language.

If you do not have a TEFL certification, you can take a course online or in-person. The course typically takes about four weeks, and it includes both theory and practical training, which will give you an idea of what to expect in the classroom.

The Working Environment

Being an English teacher in Thailand
PHOTO: Teaching via Freepik

Teaching in Thailand can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. The students are eager to learn and generally very respectful. You’ll have the opportunity to work with students of all ages, from young children to adults.

The teaching style in Thailand is generally more laid-back than in Western countries, and you’ll have a lot of autonomy in the classroom. This can be a double-edged sword, as it can be difficult to adjust to if you’re used to a more structured teaching environment. However, it also means you have the freedom to be creative and try new things in the classroom.

One thing to keep in mind is that Thai schools often have very high expectations for their teachers. You’ll be expected to dress professionally and arrive at school on time every day. You’ll also be expected to participate in school events and extracurricular activities.

Types of Teaching Positions

Being an English teacher in Thailand
PHOTO: Teaching via Freepik

There are numerous places around Thailand where you can teach English. Here are some of the most common:

1. Public Schools

One option for teaching English in Thailand is to work in a public school. Public schools usually have a higher level of structure and organization than private language schools, and you’ll have a set schedule and curriculum to follow.

Public schools in Thailand are a popular option for English teachers, as they offer a relatively stable job with a fixed schedule and a reliable income. These schools typically hire foreign teachers to work with students from kindergarten to high school level, with a focus on improving their English language skills.

If you choose to work in a public school, you can expect to have a structured and organized work environment. You will be given a set curriculum to follow and you will be expected to adhere to strict guidelines and teaching standards. This can be a great option for those who enjoy working in a more traditional educational setting.

One advantage of teaching in a public school is that you will have more job security than if you work in a private language school. Public schools are typically funded by the government and are required to hire a certain number of foreign teachers each year. This means that once you have been hired, you can expect to have a job for the entire school year.

Another advantage is that you will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of students, from young children to teenagers. This can be a rewarding experience, as you will have the chance to make a real difference in the lives of your students.

2. Private Language Schools

Another popular option for teaching English in Thailand is to work in a private language school. These schools are often smaller and more flexible than public schools, and they cater to a wide range of students, from young children to adults.

Private language schools typically offer more flexibility in terms of teaching hours and curriculum. You may have the opportunity to create your own lesson plans and teaching materials, and you may have more freedom to tailor your teaching style to the needs of your students.

However, working in a private language school can be less stable than working in a public school. These schools are typically run as businesses, and may be subject to changes in ownership, management, or enrollment. This means that there may be less job security, and you may need to be more proactive in finding new teaching opportunities.

3. International Schools

If you are looking for a more challenging and rewarding teaching experience, you may want to consider working in an international school. These schools are often located in larger cities, and cater to a diverse student body from around the world.

International schools typically have higher academic standards than public or private language schools, and may require teachers to have additional qualifications or experience. However, they also offer higher salaries and more benefits than other teaching positions.

One advantage of working in an international school is that you will have the opportunity to work with highly motivated students who are eager to learn. You may also have the chance to work with other international teachers, which can be a great opportunity for professional development and networking.

4. Teaching Programs

If you are interested in teaching English in Thailand but don’t have any teaching experience or qualifications, there are several programs available that can help you get started.

One popular program is the Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program. This program is designed to give you the skills and qualifications you need to teach English in Thailand, and may include classroom instruction, teaching practice, and certification.

Another option is the English Program in Thailand (EPT) program. This program is run by the Thai government and is designed to improve the English language skills of Thai students. As a teacher in the EPT program, you will work in a public school and receive additional training and support.

Living in Thailand

Being an English teacher in Thailand 2023 - What is it like? | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Freepik

Living in Thailand is an experience like no other. The country is full of stunning natural beauty, from the lush forests in the north to the crystal-clear waters of the south. The food is delicious and incredibly cheap, and there’s always something to see and do.

As an English teacher in Thailand, you’ll likely be living on a modest salary. However, the cost of living in Thailand is lower than those of Western countries, so you’ll still be able to live comfortably. Rent is cheap, and food and transportation are also incredibly affordable.

There are also plenty of opportunities to travel within Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia. Flights to neighboring countries are often very cheap, and you can also take buses or trains to nearby destinations.

Tips for Success

Being an English teacher in Thailand 2023 - What is it like? | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Wat Arun via Freepik

If you’re considering teaching English in Thailand, here are a few tips to help you succeed:

1. Learn some Thai

While you don’t need to be fluent in Thai, it’s helpful to know some basic phrases and vocabulary. This will make it easier to communicate with locals and navigate day-to-day life.

2. Embrace the culture

Thailand has a unique and fascinating culture, and it’s important to embrace it as much as possible. Try the local food, participate in festivals and events, and learn about Thai customs and traditions.

3. Be patient

Teaching in Thailand, or anywhere else in the world, can be frustrating at times, but it’s important to stay patient and positive. Remember that you’re making a difference in your students’ lives, and that can be incredibly rewarding.

4. Stay organized

The visa and work permit process can be confusing and time-consuming, so it’s important to stay organized and keep track of all your paperwork.

5. Network with other teachers

There’s a large expat community in Thailand, and networking with other teachers can be incredibly helpful. They can offer advice, support, and even job leads.

Teaching English in Thailand is an amazing experience that offers a unique blend of challenges and rewards. If you’re considering it, we highly recommend taking the plunge. With the right attitude and a bit of patience, you’ll find that teaching in Thailand can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Good luck!

Ready to start with your journey of being an English teacher in Thailand? Take a look at our guide on how to land an English teaching job in Thailand.

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi.