When it comes to teaching in Thailand, there are several types of schools where a prospective teacher might find work.
**Firstly, it should be noted that legally, to teach at a government school in Thailand, one needs a university degree in order to obtain a work permit. This is not a requirement to teach at some language schools, or for example, to teach staff at a resort. There are also opportunities for non-degree holders in some other countries in SE Asia, and we do have contacts in these countries.**
Right, so that aside, you might have heard some terms referring to age groups, and not known what they are. Here’s a brief break down:
Anuban refers to what we know in the West as Kindergarten.
Pratom (P1 to P6) is primary/junior school, and is from age 7 to 12.
Matayom (M1 to M6) is high/senior school and is from age 13 to 18. From M4, school is not compulsory, but M4-M6 is required in order to get into university.
School is free for Thais at the government ‘temple schools’. These offer very basic facilities, and seldom can they afford foreign teachers. Some do, and such an English teacher would typically find themselves teaching big classes (up to 60 children), and won’t have air-con or many resources. There would usually be internet access.
Thailand also has government and private schools of a higher standard – parents pay in for their children to attend these schools. These can vary a lot with regards to facilities, but will most certainly offer more than temple schools. Lessons are taught in Thai, except, of course, for English as a subject.
English Program (EP) schools: These can be Government or private. What happens here is that ALL subjects are taught in both English and Thai and all classes will have both a foreign and a Thai teacher. Some schools offer both the regular syllabus, as well as the EP syllabus, so parents can pay in extra for their children to attend the English Program. TEFL teachers often find themselves teaching other subjects as well as English at these schools, and Maths and Science teachers are in high demand, so if your degree is based on one of these, you’ll have no problem finding work in an EP school. Facilities in these schools are usually very good.
International Schools: An International School needs to meet certain criteria in order to be accredited by various bodies. One might find a British International School (teaching a UK curriculum) or an American International School (teaching a US curriculum) or even a French, German or Canadian International School for example. These schools represent the schooling system in their respective countries, and so teachers here need to have a PGCE (post graduate certificate of education), Education degree, or equivalent.
Language schools: As the name suggests, these teach only languages. Some teach only English, others, teach Thai (for foreigners), Mandarin, or European languages too. Should you find yourself teaching at a language school, you may be teaching children (after school hours) or adult classes. Adult classes are often not only Thai students, but also Russian, French and other expats who want to improve their English skills. Hours at a language school would be more afternoons, evenings and weekends, with teachers often getting Mondays and Tuesdays off instead of weekends.
Universities: English teachers are often required at Thai universities, for English courses that they run. The level of English would usually (not always!) be of a higher standard, so you’d need to be confident in your grammar skills too.
Teaching in a business such as a resort: Many an English teacher has the dream of teaching at a 5-star resort on a tropical island – yes these jobs DO exist, but they’re not so easy to find! Samui TEFL has placed several teachers at resorts. You’d usually be expected to come up with your own curriculum, which needs to be focussed on the language that the staff members require in order to perform their jobs. The lessons you’d offer to the spa staff would not be the same as to the accounting staff, for example.
There’s also the opportunity to teach corporate staff, usually in Bangkok. English teachers who teach to a very specific field, such as corporate, hospitality or medical, would usually have a background in that field themselves, as they would know the correct terminology and jargon which would apply to the industry.
Online teaching: This is a fast-growing industry, with many teachers choosing to teach online rather than face-to-face. The same techniques apply as with a classroom, but lessons are usually to individuals. There are many websites offering online teaching, with most students being in China. It’s imperative that you still dress professionally, plan lessons, and have a strong internet connection. Pay is between 10-20 USD per hour on average.
So there you have it. The low-down on the type of teaching jobs you’d find in Thailand. If you’d like more info on the course, pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a detailed info pack.