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The pros and cons of using a teaching agency in Thailand

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Stock photo via Wikivoyage

Teaching in Thailand can be quite a rewarding experience. From learning all about Thai culture to helping children learn, making your career as an educator here is a noble act. The road to securing a job in Thailand can be travelled in 2 major ways. Some expats use an agency in which to get hired at a school, while others contact the school directly. Here, we will go over the pros and cons of using an agency to find a job as a teacher in Thailand.

The pros

Using an agency to assist you, can actually start before you even travel to Thailand. Although getting hired directly by a school can also start before landing in the Kingdom, it can be easier to contact an agency while abroad, as they usually speak good English. Moreover, an agency can help you get hired at the schools that they have a contract with, making it easier to secure a job quicker. Along with the job, however, comes the need for a visa, which then paves the way for a work permit. As The Ministry of Education requires all teachers to go through a 90-day probationary period before issuing a work permit, many agencies can speed up the process. This is because they are the ones that actually hire you, not the school itself.

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Thai students

Furthermore, agencies can assist and usually complete the paperwork without you having to do much. This can help immensely when you are not fluent in the Thai language. Documents and other paperwork are also quite easier to complete and gather when an agency assists. And, agencies also mediate with the school to help you get all of the information you need to be successful. Additionally, if your job doesn’t work out, agencies can usually move you to a different school in which they have a contract.

Using an agency is also great for finding a good support system among the other teachers hired by the agency. Here, you can discuss your job, gather ideas and advocate for yourselves if the need arises. Although getting hired at an agency may be the best thing for you when commencing your teaching journey in Thailand, there are a few things to consider that may not fit your needs.

The cons

Agencies do all of the work for you, but it does come with a cost. And, that cost is usually a sizeable chunk out of your monthly salary. As agencies are hired by schools to find them foreign teachers, they get paid when they find a teacher. So, if a school says it can pay a foreign teacher a certain salary per month, the teacher usually does not see that amount going into their own pocket. Furthermore, agencies are known to hide the truth when it comes to situations and issues encountered by the schools.

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Foreign teacher and Thai student

Many teachers have walked away from agencies as there was a miscommunication between the school, agency, and themselves, with teachers usually coming out on bottom. From contract issues to the number of working hours agreed upon, it can be difficult to ensure you are being treated fairly. Moreover, many agencies shuffle teachers in and out to the point that they are made to feel like a number, and not a real person. From unexpected fees and costs to holidays being cancelled after booking a ticket home or elsewhere, teachers have complained about agencies’ inability to see that they, too, have a life outside of work.

Regardless of whether you choose to job search alone or use an agency, these are some of the very real pros and cons of using an agency to find a job in Thailand. Although there are many more things to consider, these details are the main issues and benefits that teachers all over Thailand have reported.

 

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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