Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Lifestyle: Lights, camera, action – online teaching its rewards and risks



PHUKET: Before the internet, teachers were limited to face-to-face learning and eventually correspondence courses. But with innovation comes progress and now many web-based agents are helping connect teachers with students around the globe.

Matthew Nobel was a former expat in Thailand before moving back to the States to complete his master’s in education. Upon his return, Nobel turned to Skype to continue teaching.

“I’m just starting out. The idea is to see how much business it allows me to drum up. At the same time, I’m spending time on trying to market directly, targeting mostly Thai students for Skype classes.”

Nobel says that despite the distance, classes can still be productive.

“Schedules are flexible and you can really do a lot with the sights and sounds. It might seem counter-intuitive, but being on the computer with a headset and camera is comfortable for a lot of people these days.”

Teachers interested in working online will typically complete an informal application and wait for a reply. Once approved, the teacher submits a short biography and on some sites they’re able to record a short video as part of a sales pitch for prospective students.

Payment is almost always done via PayPal so an account is necessary. First lessons are typically offered for free and even after setting a rate, it seems popular for students to negotiate fees and discounts.

The Phuket Gazette recently conducted a survey of the most popular providers and came up with some mixed results: is sponsored by the famous Collins brand of academic texts and seems to be the best option. The site allows teachers to choose how much they want to charge for their lessons, with top teachers charging more than US$20 per hour. Students can pick their teacher according to price, experience or by satisfaction ratings. This site also offers classes and teaching opportunities for nearly every major language. suggests teachers can “gain financial freedom”. The site pays teachers US$12.50 (about 390 baht) per lesson, per hour, which is almost 25% better than what most language schools in Phuket are paying. This site provides some basic training as well as some structured lesson plans and suggests it has thousands of students waiting to learn with its teachers. encourages teachers to “chat for cash” and allows teachers to set their own prices for classes in English or Chinese. The site looks nice, but a quick read over its Facebook page indicates the management is slow to respond to teachers’ comments and has many complaints regarding a lack of students. is a terribly busy site with more bells and whistles than a Thai game show. It would be a minor miracle that anyone stays on the site for more than 30 seconds. After viewing the snippets of teacher introductions, one gets the impression this site is only there for a good laugh.

One Phuket based teacher warns of a lack of students despite the websites’ claims to the contrary.

“I’ve wasted a lot of time filling out applications and the introductory videos can take a lot of time to complete. I’ve done a few and waited for the students to come but got nothing in return.”

More concerning than a lack of students is that any foreigner teaching in Thailand should know that this job is technically illegal without a related work permit. The chances of getting caught are low, but the ramifications can be very serious. Depending on one’s propensity for risk, this could be a make-or-break factor.

Despite the drawbacks, most indicators suggest this is a growth industry and one to watch. Whether in Thailand or back in the teachers’ country of origin, teaching online represents a great avenue for earning income and connecting with a global community.

— Eric Haeg


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime14 hours ago

Court issues arrest warrant for Sia B’s father, the ‘real owner’ of Mountain B

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Tourism minister joins Full Moon Party on Koh PhaNgan

World15 hours ago

Monkeypox variants renamed to avoid offending people

Sponsored23 hours ago

British International School Phuket: Reflecting on 25 years of world-class education

Tourism15 hours ago

Thailand ranks as fourth most popular destination among Chinese travellers

Crime15 hours ago

Thailand sentences musician to 6 years for royal defamation

Central Thailand16 hours ago

Thai doctor slaps a 3 year old for swearing & refuses to treat him

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand records fifth case of monkeypox in Thai woman

Guides16 hours ago

Why you should visit a wellness retreat in Thailand

Thailand17 hours ago

Govt take a trip to the shroom to help Thailand’s depressed

Chiang Mai17 hours ago

E. coli contamination found at popular waterfall in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand

Travel17 hours ago

Impressive beachfront hotels to book in Phuket

Crime17 hours ago

Thai temple man charged with murder of alleged would-be robber

Travel17 hours ago

5 incredible beaches in Phuket to visit in 2022

Travel17 hours ago

Board game cafes in Bangkok to unleash your competitive streak

Cannabis18 hours ago

Cannabis is illegal on Khao San Road, officials call for crackdown

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11