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Considering Thailand - Basic info needed!

 
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korunni



Joined: 12 May 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:45 am    Post subject: Considering Thailand - Basic info needed! Reply with quote

Hello all,

I'm considering teaching in Thailand in the future but really don't know much about the place. I can find out about weather, culture, food, etc myself, but am interested to hear about the job situation and what to expect. For the record, I'd be looking to live and work in Bangkok. I've got a TESOL and about 4 years experience in the UK, Spain, and Czech Republic, where I am living now.

Is it possible or even advisable to get a job before arriving in Thailand? Or is it better to turn up with a bit of money and look for work?

Do school's help with accommodation (providing or finding)? And is Bangkok a nice place to live or a bit mind-blowing?

What are schools like over there? At the moment I teach general and business English to adults in small groups (5 or less) or individuals - is it likely that I will find similar work in Thailand?

Do you get enough free time and money to enjoy the place?

Thanks in advance for your help. Any other info you think is worth knowing would be appreciated.
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EFL Educator



Joined: 17 Jul 2013
Posts: 457

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello there,

My advice is just buy a plane ticket and come to Thailand.....make sure you come with a 60 day double entry tourist visa so you can stay longer than the 30 day entry transit visa waiver you will recieve at the airport upon arrival. Apply in person directly to the many government and private schools here in Bangkok and you will get offers. Plenty of offers this month coming as the official school term starts next month in May. You will have a great time here in the LOS..the food is great and the people are friendly.. and the weather is always HOT...but savings is another matter. Don't expect to save munch (if anything) here as an EFL teacher...standard pay for newbie EFL teachers here is around US1,000/Month with few if any benefits whatsoever Good luck!
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korunni



Joined: 12 May 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, thanks for the advice. I could come over and take it from there...

One question about jobs - is it possible to get a job teaching adults or is it more young learners? I ask because about 90% of my experience is with adults and I don't really like teaching kids. I would do it - maybe I'd even like it - but I'd prefer to stick with what I know.

Thanks again
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EFL Educator



Joined: 17 Jul 2013
Posts: 457

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello there,

You are welcome. Actually teaching kids here is much easier than teaching adults. I also prefer teaching adults but find teaching kids and young learners to be much more fun here. Also most of the work here is teaching at government and private schools and you most likely will be teaching young learners. Adult classes can be found a plenty at language institutes (there are literally hundreds around)...mostly offering evening and weekend work, Corporate work is also plentiful aournd the Silom and Sukhumvit areas. Good luck!
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 304

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

80% of EFL work is teaching kids (K-12). Without connections you are unlikely to get much more than semi-consistent part-time work teaching adults.

The work here is NOT the same as EFL in Europe. The focus here is largely on "conversational skills" rather than "grammar / writing". You can probably leave your well worn versions of Michael Swan's and Scott Thornbury's books behind but might want to brush up on CLIL and CLT/CLL.

If you have a degree and a passport from an anglophone country then (legal) work is not hard to find. Legal work is defined as having a proper visa and work permit. If you have the wrong passport then a TOEIC score IS a requirement for the visa and work permit.

The best time to be job searching is from now till mid May (when schools reopen for the new academic year). The worst times are July-Sept and Dec - Feb (lots of holiday back-packers competing for the few jobs that do come open - it is the end of the academic year and many schools are laying off staff).

If you do NOT have a degree then legal work is NOT an option.
Illegal work abounds at various employment agencies and language academies. There is some risk.

You are better off working as a tourist (pay a fine and get an exit order if caught) than using fake documents (get charged with visa fraud and potential jail time).

.
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Aristede



Joined: 06 Aug 2009
Posts: 117

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

suphanburi wrote:
80% of EFL work is teaching kids (K-12). Without connections you are unlikely to get much more than semi-consistent part-time work teaching adults.



That is the reality of it. Finding full-time work teaching adults in Bangkok is comparable to fishing in a swimming pool. Whenever I see someone claim that such positions are plentiful, I wonder which Thailand they are living in.
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korunni



Joined: 12 May 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

suphanburi wrote:
80% of EFL work is teaching kids (K-12). Without connections you are unlikely to get much more than semi-consistent part-time work teaching adults.

The work here is NOT the same as EFL in Europe. The focus here is largely on "conversational skills" rather than "grammar / writing". You can probably leave your well worn versions of Michael Swan's and Scott Thornbury's books behind but might want to brush up on CLIL and CLT/CLL.

If you have a degree and a passport from an anglophone country then (legal) work is not hard to find. Legal work is defined as having a proper visa and work permit. If you have the wrong passport then a TOEIC score IS a requirement for the visa and work permit.

The best time to be job searching is from now till mid May (when schools reopen for the new academic year). The worst times are July-Sept and Dec - Feb (lots of holiday back-packers competing for the few jobs that do come open - it is the end of the academic year and many schools are laying off staff).

If you do NOT have a degree then legal work is NOT an option.
Illegal work abounds at various employment agencies and language academies. There is some risk.

.


Thanks for your help. I am English and have a degree so no problems there.

As for teaching kids - I guess it would be something different. But I'm very used to business / general English with adults who want to study grammar, soft skills, new vocabulary, etc. So I doubt that would be of much use over there. I have some experience with kids in Spain and teenagers from summer schools in UK - neither of which I particularly enjoyed as it was more about crowd control than actual being useful. Either way, I'm not really going for the teaching, just like I'm not living in the Czech Rep for the teaching - it's just what I do to get paid. I'm up for a new experience and culture more than anything else. Oh and somewhere that isn't -15c during winter.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 862

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

suphanburi wrote:


If you do NOT have a degree then legal work is NOT an option.
Illegal work abounds at various employment agencies and language academies. There is some risk.

You are better off working as a tourist (pay a fine and get an exit order if caught) than using fake documents (get charged with visa fraud and potential jail time).

.
There is risk regardless of working legal or illegally. There is no risk whatsoever from the police or the government in working illegally, only if you ever provide false documents. You don't ever want to provide false documents no matter how abundant they are in Thailand.

Most of the teachers in Thailand work illegally primarily due to the crap you have to put up with to get a teaching permit for the pennies more that they will pay you. The risk of firing is the same. "The students refuse to come to your class goodbye". Laughing This is no matter how good of a teacher you are. You caused a student to "loss face", or maybe you aren't providing edutainment. Who knows? The reasons for firing are abundant.
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MaiPenRai



Joined: 17 Jan 2006
Posts: 380
Location: BKK

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Most of the teachers in Thailand work illegally primarily due to the crap you have to put up with to get a teaching permit for the pennies more that they will pay you.


Not true. SOME do. Compared to many other countries, getting a Non-Imm B Visa and work permit is relatively easy if you and your employer know what you need. It isnt advisable to work for any school or agency that will not organize your Non-B Visa and work permit paperwork for you. If they cant be bothered or dont know how to do at least that, then there will be a lot of other things that they dont know how to do OR cant be bothered to do for you.

Quote:
"The students refuse to come to your class goodbye
"

Might be best to ask yourself why your students dont want to come to your class first.

Quote:
This is no matter how good of a teacher you are.


If your students are refusing to come to your class, my guess would be that you are not a very good teacher or at the very least are unable to adapt your teaching to fit different classes, situations and styles.

Quote:
You caused a student to "loss face"


Whether or not you agree with some aspects of the "culture", you have to be able to work within it. As a low level foreign EFL teacher, you will most certainly will not change it.

Quote:
you aren't providing edutainment


Again, a dedicated, passionate and "good" teacher will find ways to make the learning environment interesting regardless of the situation.


TO THE OP:

Outside of Bangkok or Chaing Mai it will be difficult to find FT work teaching adults. Best bet would be to find work at a College or Uni. Pay is not great in most cases, but hours will usually be fewer than 20/week. Dont expect the EFL and maturity levels to be great, but at least higher than teaching kiddies. After you make some connections in any city, you should be able to find some PT private work, especially if in and around Bangkok. Im pretty sure most Colleges and Unis will start new school year in May or June. Maybe look for language school work in BKK until then.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 304

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaiPenRai wrote:
Im pretty sure most Colleges and Unis will start new school year in May or June. Maybe look for language school work in BKK until then.


Many (most, all?) of the universities are changing their calendars ... the next term will start in Aug or Sept.

Lots of "technical colleges" and the "vocational schools" will still be on the May-Feb calendar this year.
They MAY be changing next year.

Mainstream schools (K-12) are still on the May-Feb calendar this year as well.

.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 862

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plumpy Nut wrote:
The students refuse to come to your class goodbye
"

MaiPenRai wrote:
Might be best to ask yourself why your students dont want to come to your class first.


Or maybe its best to look at it the other way around, Perhaps a group of Thai students like to come to your classes because they feel unchallenged by the materials. Also when they are not being entertained by you in the classroom they feel that they can sit back in talk within their groups to each other. This appears to be what Thais like to do best along with playing football.

And if you want to make the class exciting with activities try getting the students up out of their seats to participate. All they want to do is sit and talk and hurry up and get the class over with and have a nice easy test to take so they don't have to pay off the head teacher to pass them.

If you haven't ever really talked to foreign teachers teaching in Thailand, you really should try it. Your insinuation does not fit in with what most people who have taught in Thailand actually know about Thai students. I have talked to many teachers most of them very good ones.

Plumpy Nut wrote:
This is no matter how good of a teacher you are.


MaiPenRai wrote:
If your students are refusing to come to your class, my guess would be that you are not a very good teacher or at the very least are unable to adapt your teaching to fit different classes, situations and styles.


How would you be able to ascertain that? Are you one of these shallow nutjobs that pop up every once in while to extoll how much better they are than everyone else. Instead of doing that why don't you sit down and listen to what people are saying to you? You either never have taught in Thailand or you are good at Edutainment (which is not education).

Plumpy Nut wrote:
You caused a student to "loss face"


MaiPenRai wrote:
Whether or not you agree with some aspects of the "culture", you have to be able to work within it. As a low level foreign EFL teacher, you will most certainly will not change it.


What I would think you would want to say is that you have to consider the culture when teaching, however nobody in their right mind would justify aspects of a culture that severely damages an education system. Also nobody reasonable would judge the adequacy of a teacher using a severely dysfunctional educational system as the standard. Nor would a reasonable person accept and use a culture that almost stands directly opposed to education in judging whether or not a teacher is a good or bad teacher.

Plumpy Nut wrote:
you aren't providing edutainment


MaiPenRai wrote:
Again, a dedicated, passionate and "good" teacher will find ways to make the learning environment interesting regardless of the situation.


Again the worthless condescending of a person who has likely never actually experienced the Thai educational system.

So ESL activities that make the students practice and produce language goes against the sensibilities of Thai students and I suppose that Edutainment does? Any way you look at it, the student has to work, practice and experience difficulty or he doesn't learn. When a student can have any teacher that makes him work or practice or experience some kind of difficulty removed, there is something wrong.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 862

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:34 am    Post subject: Re: Considering Thailand - Basic info needed! Reply with quote

korunni wrote:
Hello all,

I'm considering teaching in Thailand in the future but really don't know much about the place. I can find out about weather, culture, food, etc myself, but am interested to hear about the job situation and what to expect. For the record, I'd be looking to live and work in Bangkok. I've got a TESOL and about 4 years experience in the UK, Spain, and Czech Republic, where I am living now.

Is it possible or even advisable to get a job before arriving in Thailand? Or is it better to turn up with a bit of money and look for work?


Although it's possible to get a job prior to coming to Thailand, most people will come to realize that you have to be in Thailand to get a job. As far as the money issue, I would come with no less than $4000 US. You have to consider that you very likely might have to hunker down while you're finding a new job, because they can fire you at the drop of a pin within a couple of weeks on your first job. Second adverse conditions (medical, injuries and other problems) can arise. Third you have to have money to buy a ticket out of Thailand and resettle somewhere else, if the your adventure fails.

korunni wrote:
Do school's help with accommodation (providing or finding)? And is Bangkok a nice place to live or a bit mind-blowing?


Occasionally a school will provide accommodation, however onsite accommodation provided by schools is usually not a pretty picture. Worse than your typical guest house that you find in Banglamphoo. As for Bangkok being a nice place to live, the majority of teachers don't come to Thailand for the enjoyment of teaching. So the answer is yes, Bangkok can be quite enjoyable and interesting.

korunni wrote:

What are schools like over there? At the moment I teach general and business English to adults in small groups (5 or less) or individuals - is it likely that I will find similar work in Thailand?
I don't need to say anthing about that, it's already been discussed.

korunni wrote:
Do you get enough free time and money to enjoy the place?


You will make enough to see around Thailand some, if you come with enough money to begin with.
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MaiPenRai



Joined: 17 Jan 2006
Posts: 380
Location: BKK

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although this is getting a bit off topic, it is important so people looking for accurate information can see from where that information is coming. I also think this info can be valuable for someone thinking of coming to Thailand to teach EFL, such as the OP.

Quote:
If you haven't ever really talked to foreign teachers teaching in Thailand, you really should try it. Your insinuation does not fit in with what most people who have taught in Thailand actually know about Thai students. I have talked to many teachers most of them very good ones.


B.Ed, M.Ed. 10+ years experience in Thailand. Worked with all levels and ages. Worked in poor rural schools, language schools, privates, businesses, English programs and at International schools. I have done professional development and training work in EFL education for the Thai gov and have visited hundreds of Thai government schools and spoken with, observed and provided feedback and/or training for hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign and Thai EFL and English teachers.

Quote:
Are you one of these shallow nutjobs that pop up every once in while to extoll how much better they are than everyone else. Instead of doing that why don't you sit down and listen to what people are saying to you? You either never have taught in Thailand or you are good at Edutainment (which is not education).


See previous answer

Quote:
nobody in their right mind would justify aspects of a culture that severely damages an education system.


Justify means to prove right. I don't believe I ever said Thai "culture" was "right". What I said is that if you choose to work in a foreign country and you want to be successful you need to be able to work (and possibly eventually change from) within the confines of your chosen country, whether it be culture, laws, religion, immigration, government, etc. Moaning about it will not help anybody.

Quote:
Also nobody reasonable would judge the adequacy of a teacher using a severely dysfunctional educational system as the standard. Nor would a reasonable person accept and use a culture that almost stands directly opposed to education in judging whether or not a teacher is a good or bad teacher.


A poor carpenter blames their tools.

Quote:
Again the worthless condescending of a person who has likely never actually experienced the Thai educational system.


See first answer

Quote:
So ESL activities that make the students practice and produce language goes against the sensibilities of Thai students and I suppose that Edutainment does?


We teach EFL here in Thailand.

Your continual lumping of ALL Thai students together as one type of learner is worrisome.

So to the OP. If and when you choose to come to Thailand to teach, please remember that there will be difficulties like every job. Lots of decent info in this thread for you to get a start ere in Thailand. PM if you want more specific advice.

Best of Luck.
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