Teaching English in Phuket
One of the easiest ways to get a job in Thailand is to teach English. Ideally you should be a native speaker and hold at least an undergraduate degree. Teaching experience and qualifications are a big plus (see TEFL below).
Native English speakers with a minimal bachelors degree (in any discipline) and an ESL, TEFL, or other equivalent teaching credential will have priority pick of the better paying and more exclusive gigs at private and international schools, as well as luxury hotels and resorts. Though prior experience teaching English is a plus, it is not mandatory for most jobs.
To obtain a secure teaching position in Thailand, you will normally need to obtain a teacher’s license as well as a work permit. Your employer should apply for these on your behalf. Note that working without a work permit is illegal and punishable by fines and deportation.
It is not impossible for those without a degree or teaching certificate to find teaching work in Phuket (and Thailand in general), and most likely any work found will be illegal. In the past any one with white skin and a native English accent had no trouble finding work, though government crackdowns on unqualified foreign teachers (lacking credentials and work permit) throughout the kingdom are more common. If caught repercussions could mean hefty fines, deportation, being blacklisted, or all of the above.
Teaching jobs are usually advertised through the usual channels such as newspaper classifieds. Most teaching jobs will be in and around Phuket City.
The most common arrangement of teaching jobs in Thailand is with a language school-agency, which typically offer private tutoring and small classes-courses on the evenings and weekends. Classes range from primary level students to adults, and/or teaching weekly classes at one of various public and private primary and secondary schools in different locations throughout the week.
The agency or school which employs you may provide you with a set curriculum and materials and resources to assist you, but you may even be asked to develop specific lesson plans or in some cases, devise an entire curriculum. Often, teachers find themselves having to adapt-improvise with their own resources and materials, particularly when the provided curriculum consists of nothing more than a photo copied book. Generally, the younger the students, the more work, planning, and patience are required. Songs and dances are a hit with the young ones, while team games are popular among all ages.
Those who have had no prior experience or exposure to teaching may initially find themselves overwhelmed when thrown into a classroom full of 50 Thai students. A teaching certification course, which includes adequate teaching exposure and practice will not only increase your chances of a better paying job, but will also provide you with enough confidence and preparation to be ready for the Thai classroom.
If you decide to become a teacher, it is very important that you are conscious of how you present yourself in public. In Thailand, teachers are held in high regard, thus it is probably not a good idea to openly be seen bar hopping, particularly near your work place(s). Teachers who fail to adhere to the acceptable expectations of grooming, sanitation and mannerisms will be frowned upon and may even find themselves suddenly without a job. One such teacher was terminated simply for writing about her “party lifestyle” in her blog.
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