There are some job opportunities available for expats but these are usually only available via internal company transfers or are jobs that are secured from their home country prior to arriving in Thailand. Many expats with a degree choose to teach English in order to fund their travels. Thailand has a low cost of living and if you have the credentials you will find the right job, it will just take time. You will also need to navigate your way around the visa issues.
Be mentally prepared
I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for before I accepted an offer for an English teaching job in Bangkok, Thailand. I didn’t hold a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Certificate and I have never worked with children before.
In all schools you are not allowed to wear footwear in the classroom. The foot is regarded as “unclean”. If sitting down, try to keep both feet on the ground. If you have to put one foot up on a knee, don’t point it at anyone or any sacred object such as a Buddha image or King’s portrait. You must have your feet covered and be prepared to sit on a cold hard floor all day.
The Thai wai is a prayerlike gesture of respect is ubiquitous in Thailand, and has a different convolution for each type of encounter. In particular, you should be sure to wai the principal of your school, no matter what you may think of them personally.
Attempt to learn their language
The citizens of Thailand are well known for their friendly nature and they are extremely proud of their rich cultural heritage. Once you’ve made the decision to settle in Thailand, it is probably useful to learn to speak some of the language. Although a large percentage of the Thai population speaks English I have found that being able to speak a few Thai words, phrases and numbers has benefited me greatly.
Plan your lesson the day before
Planning for a lesson is important so make sure you plan your lessons in advance to avoid stress.
- I always begin with the end in mind. What do you want the students to learn from this lesson? How are you going to assess that learning? Once I have determined this I write a quick description and list all objectives for the assignment.
- Introduction to the lesson is important for the students to understand what is expected on them. For example, a simple oral explanation for the lesson, an introductory worksheet or an interactivity of some sort.
- Once you have planned a list of objectives you want to achieve in the lesson you must determine how you will have the students practice the skill/information you have just taught them. Will you have them complete independent practice, use whole group simulation or allow students to work independently on a project? These three possibilities can help your students practice the information
- I plan the night before which materials I will use for a lesson such as; Bean bags, Dice, Flash cards. For example, children as young as three are engaged in a lot of singing and playing games is part of their lesson.
- The most important part of the lesson is ensuring there is enough time for the students to fill in their work booklets. Thai parents like to see evidence of how their children are getting on in your classes.
My first week
My first week was spent at Fun Language’s head quarters in Bangkok. This consists of training (Learning songs and phrases), lesson planning and learning all about Fun language.
The second week is work shadowing and teaching. You are assigned to an English Teacher who provides guidance on how to manage and plan for a class of 20-40 students.
Office hours are from as early as 7.00am – 4.00pm depending on your timetable and which school you will be teaching at.