(Exerpted from our forthcoming Guide to TEFL in Thailand - available in days.)
So you are considering teaching English abroad…
The thing about life in Thailand (and maybe this is obvious) is that it is different than what you know back home.
- perhaps driving on the other side of the road, and rules of the road being more like guidelines,
- minor variations in seasonality as opposed to distinct “seasons,”
- living under a monarchy, with its distinct class structures,
- geographical variation - Thailand is a long country, with a long peninsula (the the elephant’s trunk), and different areas are markedly different in economy, food and culture,
- having a choice between a water bum gun alongside standard western toilet paper,
- less Guinness or Budweiser available, but loads of Singha, Tiger and Chang and even Corona,
- the pervasiveness of the attitude of “mai bpen rai” meaning no big deal, the product of 1000 years of Buddhist culture.
Some of the differences are pleasant, some are fantastic, some can be a challenge - but isn’t that the reason for travel: to experience another culture and expand personal horizions; to examine your own beliefs and grow in understanding of others; to learn about how others live, the challenges they face and share their joys; and most importantly to open up, relax more and enjoy life.
Our purpose is two-fold:
1: to help you determine if this opportunity is for you, and to ensure it is a good fit. The methodology is to share some scenarios of life in Thailand as a teacher and fill in some details necessary to make it happen. If you can see yourself living one of these stories, then go for it!
2: for those chosing to take the plunge, we provide a wealth of experience on a range of topics including long-term housing, finances, entertainment, travel adventures and many hard-earned lessons.
To reserve your copy of our e-book, or sign up for a course, please drop us an email!
- You’ll familiarize yourself with the language difficulties that Thai students have, rather than having a mixed bag of random nationalities and abilities as students.
- You’ll gain some knowledge of Thai culture - you will never master Thai culture, but keep trying - as it will help you in the employment search.
- Thailand is a relatively safe place to travel and study in and it’s a wonderful environment - probably a nicer place to study in when compared to doing a month-long course in the rain and cold of January.
- Trainees are in a situation where they can research job opportunities and maybe even attend interviews. You’re on the ground, where job opportunities pop up and you can be first to take advantage.
- Cost of living is relatively cheap in Thailand - especially in comparison to other Asian countries.
- There is an opportunity to mix with teachers who are in the same boat, network for jobs, share info and teaching strategies.
- The opportunity to combine study with a holiday either before or after the course.
Reposted from the Phuket Gazette:
PHUKET: The Director of the Phuket Primary Educational Office has called for all people wanting to apply for positions as English teachers at government schools in Phuket Town to contact the schools directly.
Dr Jian Thongnoon announced the news in the wake of the Phuket Gazette posting online its story about the shortage of English teachers at Phuket schools reaching what local officials are calling “crisis level”.
Since posting the story online, the Gazette has received a constant stream of requests for contact information about where to apply.
“I would like to inform all foreigners who are interested and qualified to be a teacher to personally go to any primary school to apply for the position,” Dr Jian told the Gazette.
From a list of 15 ways to live locally when traveling.
Eat different cuisines than the country you’re in. And I’m not referring to the lasagna from your hotel restaurant. Thai food in India is different than in Thailand – obviously. But it’s also different than Thai food in Seattle. I’ve had great Mexican food in Athens, great Greek food in Bangkok, and some stuff I didn’t recognize on a Biman Airlines flight while over Pakistan. But more than good, these meals were interesting — and that’s what travel should be.
Thai food is great - fresh, healthy and delicious. While there, I had excellent Indian, Italian and even Mexican food. There are folks from everywhere in Thailand, and many get into the restaurant business.
The full list is here. Reposted from mylittlenomads.com
So, Allie has thus far made the decision to come to Thailand, and we’ve followed her through the course - now how about that job?….
Now, the ‘getting the job’ part…Remember before when I told you that I was neurotic? Things in Thailand, for some reason, happen at a different pace than in the western world…here they call it ‘mai pen rai’ – which means, ‘don’t worry about it!’ Well, worry I did. Having a degree in education, I basically thought I was a shoe-in…that schools would be begging for me to come teach. I had had a lead from a very prominent international school on the island who could not get organized enough to have me in for a demonstration lesson.
Hiring season had just ended for the other international schools and regardless of how many e-mails I sent, the responses were few and far between. Feeling dejected, once again, I started to wonder if I should pack it in and return to New York. Feeling desperate, I began to forward my resume and cover letter to recruiters, hotels and international hospitals regardless of whether or not there was a position posted…someone HAD to need an English teacher, right?
Well, as luck would have it, I managed to land not one but two jobs in one week. I was hired as a full time English teacher at a well-known government school in Phuket Town and on the same day, was offered a job as the full-time English coordinator at Phuket International Hospital, where I am presently employed. I chose this job because it offered more money, smaller classes and better benefits. And to think, just days before, I had been thinking that I might have to pack it in and go home without ever having accomplished what I set out to do.
In addition to my full-time job, I also teach private students at my home in Kathu.
I live in a three-bedroom house that I rent for the same price as my one-bedroom apartment and sometimes, when there is no water, I have to shower in a bucket. I am not where I expected to be leaving New York but it doesn’t matter. My time spent in Thailand has been invaluable and exciting – it has exceeded my expectations in more ways than one and I am grateful for every footfall, misstep and success that has come my way. Like they say here, ‘mai bpen rai’.
As you can see, persistence pays off again, as in any job situation!
Give us a ring, we’ll help you get started!
We pick up where we left off last week with Allie having made her decision to come to Thailand to take a TEFL course with us in Phuket. In this segment, she talks about coming to Thailand for the first time and the class…
I was able to get a one-bedroom apartment directly across the street from school for about 15,000 thb/month [US$500 -ed.]. This is expensive for Thailand, but not for Patong. Patong is a heavy vacation destination and the prices are for farang…not Thai. For its convenience and safety, I didn’t mind paying or staying for one month. I was able to occupy the spacious 1-bedroom for the duration of the course and actually, after asking around, my flat was cheaper than some of the hotels where many others were staying!
Traveling alone for the first time in my life, I was terrified. There was no reason to be, but I arrived in Thailand at midnight on a hot February (yes, February!) evening. The airline had lost my luggage, I was sick with a throat infection and wondering all along, ‘what was I thinking?!’ I had been in touch with a Thai girl named Noi via e-mail for some time before arriving in Thailand and the moment I met her, and she treated me so kindly, I felt better about my decision. She was kind enough to meet me at my apartment, show me around town on her motorbike, get my cell phone and internet set up so that I could easily communicate with family…four months later, she and I are nearly inseparable as friends. The first few days were not easy…not knowing anyone (aside from Noi, who had to go on a business trip after I arrived) I had to take everything day-by-day. I had to set little goals for myself. ‘Today, I will go across the street to buy food.’ ‘Tomorrow, I will go to the beach’. Everyday, a bigger step until eventually, I was comfortable enough to get around on my own.
After taking four days to settle in, it was time to begin class. There were eight of us. One had arrived from Krabi after discovering the school where he had booked his course didn’t exist! Having a smaller class environment encouraged camaraderie and interpersonal relationships. Our head instructor was able to give to us 100% and kept the eight-hour per day classes interesting and fun. We were always laughing about something, and coming from six years of undergraduate and graduate work, I can honestly say that ours was one of the finest teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning from. The course work was hard but rewarding and he never made students feel intimidated during observations. He still keeps in touch with many of us from TEFL to find out how our lives are progressing in Thailand.
Along with our instructor, the staff and teachers at the school were all, and continue to be, wonderful. They were always able to provide objective feedback and had an open mind to anything we could throw at them. They gave us with lists of the schools across Phuket and even have a jobs board. I have made wonderful friends as a result of my time at TEFL Phuket.
Next week, Allie finds a job!
(This begins a series written by Allie, a recent graduate, on her decision to take a TEFL course with TEFL Phuket, and follows her through the training and into her current job and adventures in Thailand. Her praise for the course and her experiences speak volumes, so we’ll move on to the story. Enjoy!)
I moved to the other side of the world…to teach English…what am I, nuts? Probably, but that doesn’t mean my decision was nuts. It was a long time coming, as a matter of fact. A laid-off English teacher trying to survive one of the worst economic climates since The Great Depression, I was running out of options. I could work at the same job I’d been working at off and on since I’m sixteen, or I could do something big. I opted for the something big.
I remember researching places I might want to live someday and for some reason, Thailand spoke to me. Maybe it was the tropical climate that led me here, or the allure of spicy food and friendly people… after all, Thailand is ‘the land of smiles’ – but regardless of what it was, I’m glad I took the leap.
Already being an English teacher, becoming a TEFL teacher seemed obvious, and finding a place to become certified in Thailand was not difficult. I simply Googled ‘teach English in Thailand’ and a myriad of choices were returned…but which one was the right one? Some people describe me as cautious…and I am, I’ll admit that…but with loads of ‘fake schools’ advertised on the net, I needed to be sure exactly WHERE my money was going, and exactly WHAT I was going to get for it.
I stumbled upon teflphuket.com and noted that they had the option of a ‘call back service’. This, for a start, put my mind at ease. I contacted Chris, and was pleased when he took the time to answer my (often repeated) questions, to share his experience, and to allay my fears. Yes, it is a real school. Yes, it is backed by the Thai Ministry of Education. Yes, he enjoyed Thailand and had spent a great deal of time there. He was able to provide me with valuable information about cost of living, Buddhist culture, farang (foreign) culture in Phuket, health care, visas etc. This process of asking and answering questions went on for days until I was FINALLY and exhaustively convinced that both TEFL Phuket and Thailand were right for me.
(to be continued…)
In our last article, we talked about some of the doubts that hold people from taking the leap into the bright new world of TEFL/TESOL. But beyond the initial fears that everyone overcomes, there are deeper lessons available to you on your travel abroad.
A broader perspective.
This may seem obvious, but you can’t actually put to words exactly what it means to move away from your home country and fully experience another culture by working and interacting within it. The lessons learned (both perceptible and more subtle) will be with you the rest of your life, enhancing your experience and interactions with others going forward.
Going with the flow.
Grace in the midst of change is a quality we all admire in people. However, this is a learned quality, not genetic. Quite often things don’t go as planned in travel abroad, and you come to realize that the picture in your head rarely fits what you experience. Knowing this, you learn to make plans and prepare, and also how to be flexible when things don’t go exactly as planned. With this balance, you gain a level of maturity and flexibility that will help you in your future work, whether it be in education, business, or any other area.
So - don’t wait for these wonderful learning experiences to just happen - take the reins and start immediately in this great opportunity! Enroll now.
TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a gateway to the richness of life experiences available to you while on an adventure in a foreign country. Making memories is not a problem - taking the plunge can be. So marshal your courage, set your course and don’t let these three things get in the way…
1 - The culture will be too intense - too much of a change for me…
Thailand is amazing and the more you explore, the more you will experience. At the same time, Thailand is a fairly modern country. Mobile phones, internet access and coffee shops can all be a regular part of your life in most areas of Thailand. Things aren’t exactly the same, and accepting that is part of the adventure.
2 - I won’t be able to communicate…
In the course, you’ll learn to speak enough Thai to be polite and get by. This too, is part of the adventure. Learning a little of a foreign language is very rewarding, the Thai people will appreciate and respect you, and you’ll have a lot of laughs with locals if you take yourself lightly. Plus, you will learn a little of what your students are going thru and it will make you a better teacher.
3- Maybe I’ll be lonely…
Everyone is concerned that they will find themselves all alone in a foreign land. This is completely ridiculous, as the Thai people are so friendly and inviting, you’ll have no problem getting out, going to local events, festivals or concerts. There also are gyms to join, you can continue to improve your Thai, or explore the local holiday areas and connect with expats in the area. Accept invitations - when folks invite you to go somewhere, remember it’s a great way to make new friends and connect with activities in your area.
We will train you to be a good teacher, your future employers will appreciate your richness of experience and confidence, and you will have the time of your life. Why wait - join us now for a teaching adventure in Thailand.