Teaching English In Thailand
I get so many questions about my time spent teaching English in Thailand so I thought that I would put together a post with the most frequently asked questions.
I did go through a program. I personally chose to go through CIEE, but there are several different ones out there. With most programs you pay a fee (it can be a bit expensive, but it makes the process a lot easier than doing it on your own). The fee generally includes (at least in CIEE’s case): Visa, travel insurance, placement and orientation costs. You are responsible for paying for your own airfare.
Are you TEFL certified?
I didn’t purchase my course through CIEE, but I am TEFL certified. I went on Groupon and bought a course through them for a fraction of the price (my friends who did the official CIEE course spent around $1000, while I spent $50). You don’t have to have your TEFL in order to teach English in Thailand, but some private schools prefer it. It’s also good to have if you choose to go and teach in another country after your time in Thailand. Most other countries do require it.
If you go through a program like CIEE, you will fill out a placement form and the organization will place you at a school. The form will have sections on what area you’d prefer to be in, what grade you’d like to teach and if you have any friends you’d like to be placed with. I wanted to be in the North because I felt as if I would get a more authentic experience living in rural Thailand as opposed to being in a big city like Bangkok. Placements are also generally limited on the islands.
Is Thailand safe?
I felt very safe in Thailand (it is after all the land of smiles!). The people who lived in my town were incredibly kind to the foreign teachers and made an effort to make us feel included. I took several long bus rides around the country by myself, and never felt uncomfortable. Thai people are some of the friendliest people that I have ever met. As always you just need to be smart. Don’t ever put yourself in a compromising position and you should be just fine.
Every school will be different, but the average starting salary of an English teacher in Thailand is around 25,000 baht or $700 USD (as of Oct 2015-March 2016). This number will change based on experience and hours that you spend teaching English in Thailand. I saved money since living in Thailand is super cheap compared to America or other Western countries. A delicious dinner will cost you no more than $1.50, while a beer will run you about $2. I ended up saving about two months of my salary. I used that money to travel for the two months following the end of my contract. Keep in mind, I saved this money and I traveled almost every weekend all around Thailand.
If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments and I will be happy to answer them! If you want to hear more about my experience teaching in Thailand, head over here.