Working in Bangkok?
Teaching English in Bangkok
Teaching English: How to Do It?
The English language is becoming more and more important for Bangkok’s growing urban middle class. Thus, teaching English as a foreign language is an attractive option for younger self-made expatriates who would like to immerse themselves in Thai culture. The rising demand for English teachers has led to an increasing professionalization of the fast-changing foreign-language industry in Bangkok, though.
If you are interested in spending a couple of years in Bangkok in a teaching position, you should have the following qualifications:
- English native speaker
- Bachelor’s degree
- definite bonus: proof of relevant work experience as a teacher or TEFL qualifications like the CELTA course
Potential Discrimination in the TEFL Field
According to some people who have worked in various educational institutions, it is also a sad reality that ageism and racism can lead to implicit discriminatory hiring practices. As becoming an English teacher in Thailand can be a bit of dead-end job, career-wise, younger candidates are more popular than middle-aged or older ones.
It has also been reported that farangs (i.e. white English native speakers) may be preferred to those of African or Asian descent. So, an African-American college graduate or a British globetrotter with Indian ancestry might find themselves at a comparative disadvantage with regard to their Caucasian peers, despite comparable qualifications.
Some recommend to conveniently “forget” the photograph that is common when applying for a job in Thailand from abroad. On the other hand, you can do exactly the opposite and make contact in person while staying in Thailand on a tourist visa.
Finding the Right TEFL Employer
Many teaching jobs are advertised internationally on Ajarn.com. However, you should make sure to apply from your home country. Teaching positions can be found at international schools and Bangkok universities (which require a far higher level of expertise). In addition, regular Thai schools and language institutes most frequently offer employment as an EFL teacher.
Useful Tips for TEFL Candidates
Before sending off your application, let alone signing an employment contract, you should take several factors into consideration:
- When applying to a language school, make sure to check whether it’s one of the big national chains. If it isn’t, you should find out how long it has been in business. Also try to find any foreigners who have worked there and can tell you more about it.
- Don’t go for contracts that require you to work more than approximately 25 hours a week on five days. You still need to prepare your classes and mark your students’ homework. If you want to have some time to explore Bangkok, learn more about the Thai culture, etc., you shouldn’t pack your schedule too tightly.
- High schools schedules usually have fewer periods, free weekends, and longer holidays than private language schools. However, teaching at a high school can mean poorer facilities, bigger classes, lots of tests to mark, and additional duties to take over.
- As far as your salary is concerned, 30,000-35,000 BHT per month are often considered the absolute minimum for getting by in Bangkok as a single foreigner without kids. However, the competition for high-paying teaching jobs is rather tough. Keep in mind that your Thai friends and colleagues are likely to earn a lower salary, sometimes considerably so.
- Whichever employer you find, do not get involved with an agency, do not agree to work without a proper visa, and do not give your official documents to your company. Even though most schools in Bangkok are perfectly respectable institutions, these unwritten rules can help avoid the few “bad eggs”.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.