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International Schools in Bangkok...

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Joined: 23 Jun 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:14 am    Post subject: International Schools in Bangkok... Reply with quote

I will be graduating with my PGCE next June and I want to come and teach at an International School in Bangkok. Will I be able to do this with no experience (as an NQT)? My area will be Business and IT at the post-16 level (ie sixth form and FE). Is there a need for this subject area out there? How much can I expect to make starting out? How would you go about contacting the international schools out there? Is there a time of year when they do their recruitment drive?

Thanks for your help!
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Posts: 661
Location: Wengehua

PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think its highly unlikely an international school would take you without experience. If you had three years experience at home and another couple teaching abroad you might be in with a slim chance against all the other hundreds who would also be applying.

I would scale down your hopes at first. Stick it out at home (where ever that is) and teach at a governent school. Then if you still want to teach abroad consider something like the JET scheme in Japan, which has a slither of respectibility.

After all that you maybe in with a chance at an international school.

I do know a person in Taiwan who went the private school route (an English school chain). She worked at the school for 6 years and spoke fluent Chinese before she finally got a job at Taipei American school.
She was very dedecited to her job I might add.

Would anybody care to disagree?
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Joined: 17 May 2004
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Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have to second what Mark says. Real international schools will want at least a couple years experience in the public schools in your home country, a teacher's license or certification from your home state or province - and they will recruit from there not here.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 8:04 am    Post subject: International schools Reply with quote

Thanks for your help! I've decided to go the ESL route by taking my CELTA in Bangkok.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 3:14 am    Post subject: Getting a job at an international school Reply with quote

Hi Lance,

I wanted to mention a few things because some of the responses to your initial post could do with some elaboration. I thought I might go through your questions and help out as best I can.

Firstly, though, you should consider the fact that there are several different types of international school in Bangkok; the last figure I think I read mentioned that the figure was over 70. Only a handful of these schools are what you might consider on par with schools in the public sector in the UK. A few that fall fall into this category are: ISB (International School Bangkok), Bangkok Patana, Harrow International School, Shrewsbury International School and NIST (New International School Thailand). All of these schools are internationally accredited by external governing bodies like ECIS (European Council of International Schools) etc.; these governing bodies operate in a way similar to OFSTED in the UK and some of the panels that visit schools have OFSTED officers as part of their contingent. Only consider a job with a school that has official and independent accreditation. If you work for a school without, then you can face all kinds of short-term and long-term problems - don't even consider it!

OK, here are your questions:

Will I be able to do this with no experience (as an NQT)?

Yes. But the chances are slim and you will need to rely on luck more than anything else! I know of an NQT who had no contact with the school before she applied for interview, was accepted and subsequently offered a full-time contract with all the bells and whistles by one of the aforementioned schools. On the one hand, NQTs are cheap and can be bossed around a bit but, also, international schools of the stature mentioned earlier have money coming out of their ears, so they can employ whoever they like. This can make finding a job in the international sector challenging if you have no experience.

My area will be Business and IT at the post-16 level (ie sixth form and FE). Is there a need for this subject area out there?

There is certainly a need for these subjects at this Key Stage; most of the aforementioned schools educate pupils from kindergarten/primary through to post-16. The British-affiliated schools follow the National Curriculum for England and Wales (although modified for an international context) and exam papers are sent back to UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate - where I used to work, incidentally!) for marking and moderation. In this respect the students are required to gain subject knowledge equivalent to that of their British counterparts. All subjects are covered: English, ESL (English as a Second Language), Maths, Sciences, Geography etc. Business Studies is a relatively minor subject only by the fact that it is taught to few students at A-level. This, obviously, means that there are less jobs on offer. IT, however, may be taught across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5, so finding vacant positions may be easier.

How much can I expect to make starting out?

This will depend on the quality of school that you apply to. There are many schools in Bangkok that advertise themselves as 'international', but are, in fact, not. To be a true international school, the student population must be comprised of no more than 40/50% (I am not entirely sure about this figure!) of the home nation, in this case, Thai. Anyway, this will have no bearing on the salary offered. Some schools, unaccredited mickey mouse outfits, will pay as little as 30 - 50,000 baht a month and that's it. Some of the aforementioned schools pay, as a starting salary, the equivalent of 18,500 pounds sterling (about 110 - 115,000 baht per month) plus flights to and from Thailand (beginning and end of contract, usually 2 years, initially), plus free luxury accommodation (swimming pools, jacuzzis, maid service, beautiful apartment etc.) and other bits and bobs. Obviously, there is a mid-range of international schools such as St. Stephen's and others who pay around 70 - 80,000 baht a month. If you are making over 50,000 baht a month you can live, but will find it difficult to save anything. Logically, the schools that pay the major salaries have very high expectations and will only employ those that they consider to be the best. Remember, however, the woman I mentioned earlier, the NQT, as she landed a job paying the 18,500 pounds, apartment etc. Basically, you can earn, as an NQT, the same as an NQT in England and have a luxury apartment thrown in for free. Not bad!

How would you go about contacting the international schools out there? Is there a time of year when they do their recruitment drive?

There are several ways to contact schools. A word-processed formal letter of introduction and inquiry would be appropriate and most likely find a response of some sort, even if the Head writes to you in acknowledgment; best to include a CV, too. Another way is to find out when and where international recruitment fairs are being held and contact the school for an appointment. I am unsure of how to proceed with this as I have never done it! Most international schools, at least the ones that you should concern yourself with, recruit around Christmas and Easter, so it is worth contacting schools around these times. You can also look on the schools' websites as they usually have a section where they advertise any available positions.

A couple of other things:

1) Think carefully about which certificate course (TEFL/TESOL) you will do in Thailand. The RSA/CELTA at Siam square has the reputation of being like a boot camp! I have done a TESOL certificate and it is hard work. Nothing compared to the PGCE though! I did mine in Thailand, too, but at Ban Phe (about 2 hrs from Bangkok). The course provider was TEFL International. They used to part of the Trinity group but split with them in 1999 because of increased affiliation fees. I would personally recommend this course as it is a lovely location and I had a blast, despite it being tiring and very intensive. However, the RSA is considered to be the benchmark certificate. The TESOL certificate is similar, but the focus is not on teaching adults (as is the CELTA, hence the 'A' at the end). The course components are almost identical, too. Up to you, but look into both properly before committing yourself.

2) You will not be able to complete your NQT induction year in Thailand.

I think that should be enough!

Good luck with everything Smile

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