Did you know that you can teach English around the world? Many countries offer English speaking individuals an opportunity to teach the language in their schools. Whether it’s kindergarten, primary or high school, you can teach in any level of schooling. Popular destinations include South Korea, Chile, Japan and Thailand.
Thailand is where Liz found herself teaching and enjoyed it so much, it changed the course of her life..literally! Read on to learn more about teaching English in Thailand and what you need to start your teaching career on the road now!
Words of Warning:
1. If you plan to get rich, don’t do it.
2. If you want to learn the culture and become part of a community, then do it!
Types of teaching:
There are two types of teachers as a foreigner in Thailand:
You will usually be based at a school where the language spoken is Thai for the curriculum and you run the English program. You usually move from class-to-class bringing English lessons to the different age groups. The ages range from 18 months right through to 18 years. Much of your time is taken up with lesson planning. You will need to write lessons to follow the schools curriculum. Often there will already be set lesson plans for you, which can help you tremendously if this is your first time teaching.
Teacher at an international school
In this instance you teach the general curriculum at an international school. If you had a degree in Education this would be a wonderful opportunity, however you would be able to get this work with a bachelor degree in anything….it’s up to you if you think it’s ethical or not to teach in an area you may be out of your depth. At the end of the day, teaching should be about what you think you can achieve for the children’s education.
A day in the life of a teacher
Most of my day was spent preparing glitter, feathers, practicing singing, and finding new sources to organise lessons to fit with the curriculum.
I was lucky. I taught at a tiny kindergarten with children ageing from 18 months to 5 years old. My activities were early childhood activities mainly involving craft, singing, dancing and structured play. Lessons for the youngest children in the toddler rooms were only 15 minutes. Then the next age group up was 20 minutes, the next group after for 30 minutes, and lessons get longer as the children get older, up to one hour per lesson.
How I connected with the local community and thrived
First off, I loved being involved in my job. I came out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. I made Thai friends and became part of the community in the area I lived. If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m a super anxious person. I’m not scared to try new things, but scared to try them solo. Biting the bullet and putting my life in a back pack and going to Thailand was scary at first but then such an amazing time for me to grow. It made me so much more confident in myself, I managed to get by through a coup, curfew and live in a region of Thailand where no one spoke English. I took that opportunity to learn Thai and it was amazing.
How to start the process of becoming a teacher
I applied for work just by googling ‘teaching positions in Thailand.’ But if you’re in Thailand, a good way to do it is actually contact the schools before submitting your teaching resumes. A great website to check out for more info is teachinternational.com/
If you wanted to teach English in Thailand, all you need is a bachelor’s degree in anything and a 120-hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. You can learn more about the TEFL certificate on numerous websites and many courses you can do online. Visit www.teflonline.com to read up on the program available.
I had planned to teach abroad in Brazil, but things didn’t end up panning out, but that’s ok. I still got to travel the country for three months and learned a lot about myself. There are many opportunities to teach abroad around the world and once you get one job under your belt, you can apply for more jobs and better pay.
I’m planning on going back to South America after I finish my degree for Early Childhood Education in Australia. Through my experience in Thailand, I’ve realised my love for educating young children and want to continue to do so in other parts of the world.
About the author:
Elizabeth Sarah Lees is from Sydney, Australia. She traveled to Thailand and South America for the last couple years before returning to Australia to finish her degree. She’s currently a preschool room educator and nanny while she goes to school. When she’s not working she loves to run and be outdoors.