After my Girls Love Travel takeover (If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my photos and stores here!) I’ve been getting so many messages from girls all over the world asking how they can do what I do so I thought it would make for the perfect post. I love speaking to all of you, so if you ever have any specific questions or just fancy a chat (and a virtual cuppa) then email me; firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me through my insta @wherekatiegoes_
Want to travel but don’t have any money? Want to go on a long-haul trip but can only afford a holiday? Bored of sitting in an office 9-5, 5 days a week? I got you girl! I was sitting exactly where you were only a year ago; I was obsessed with the idea of travelling but with my poor-girl bank account simply couldn’t afford to go long periods of time without working. Teaching English as a foreign language is my golden ticket and it can be yours as well. The internet can be a labyrinth of information, checklists and advice- I’m here to cut the bull and give you the lowdown; here’s how to become a teacher in Thailand.
Do I need teaching experience?
Nope. Before I began teaching in Thailand I had never taught before-ever. Other than my younger sister, I don’t think I’d ever even been in the same room as a child before.
Do I need a TEFL certification?
Technically no, although I would 100% recommend getting one, a classroom based on in particular. TEFL courses provide you with the basic knowledge of teaching; they give you ideas of activities and games, you get trainers on hand to offer constructive feedback and tips on improvement, you meet like-minded people in the same boat as you and some even offer guaranteed jobs at the end of them. I chose to do my TEFL course in Thailand; that way the course was specific to Thai school systems, students and culture which really has proved invaluable to me. Online courses are always an option but the classroom based learning really struck a chord with me- plus many job advertisements will only accept classroom based courses.
Do I need a degree?
Kinda. To get a Non Immigrant B visa and a work permit in Thailand you need a valid undergraduate University degree. If you don’t have one, you’re not completely out of luck- there are many English teachers here who don’t have a degree, they just have to do visa runs every couple of months and are technically working here illegally. It’s a risk but plenty of people do it.
Note-When I say degree, I DO NOT mean a degree in education. I have a degree in Fashion, yours could be in anything; the subject is truly irrelevant.
Do I need to be a native English speaker?
No. Granted, Native English speakers get the pick of the jobs over here; they’re desirable and most schools want to hire a native speaker but that doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs available to you, it just means you’ll have to look a little harder, be more open-minded and be more flexible. Further to this, many Non-Native speaking jobs are advertised specifially to Filipino teachers as they can get away with paying them less; if you’re not from The Philippines you’ll have an even tougher time- but don’t worry, I believe in you! You’re also going to have to come to terms with the fact that you it is likely you will be earning less than Native speakers, it sucks but it’s how it is out here. You may also need to complete an English speaking proficiency test prior to employment.
Note- Native speakers include; UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Sometimes native speakers from SA aren’t considered native here for some strange reason unbeknown to me.
How do I find a job?
If like me, you’re TEFL course offers a guaranteed job at the end, then you’re in luck, you’re done you don’t have to worry about it. Having said that however; these jobs aren’t necessarily the best of what Thailand has to offer (take it from my personal experience) and you are 9 times out of 10 better off finding your own job the following term…but how do you do that? Pretty much the same as to how you would find a job in your home country; through the magic world of the internet. Job search engines such as Ajarn.com are pretty invaluable to your search, you can even just google ‘English jobs in Thailand’ and you can scroll through the endless results (which is how I found my amazing job for next term). The only issue with this is that you have to be pretty flexible and open to moving anywhere for a job, if you have a specific location in mind it is better to physically go to that place and visit schools with your CV.
Should I work with an agency?
It’s entirely up to you; agencies have their pros and cons. Pros; they will guide you through visa and work permit information (or maybe pay for it), they may help you find an apartment and they will find a job for you. Cons; they take a pretty large cut of your salary (mine, I recently discovered take a whopping 50%!), they may not do any of the above (it totally depends on who your agency are), they may get you an apartment you don’t want to live in, they may find you a job you don’t like, you can’t leave until you have fulfilled your contract.
Being an independent person, I would happily never work with an agency again…and mine were okay. If you’re a little apprehensive about working in Thailand or visa applications etc. then it could be a good route for you. There is no right or wrong answer. If you do want to work with an agency, simply Google ‘Thai English teacher agencies’ and contact them via their website.
Will I be able to travel every weekend?
That my friend depends entirely on you. I am an excellent ‘budgeteer’ and great at saving when I put my mind to it so I am able to travel pretty much every weekend. However, a lot of my friends aren’t able to do so; their apartments are more expensive than mine, they have bills to pay off back home, they like to go out for nice meals and they drink or spend money on clubbing which means they can’t travel as often as they may like.
Do I have to teach English?
Quite the contrary, although it is recommended to begin teaching English if you have no prior teaching experience, you can teach any subject you like here. In International schools or schools with an English programme; most Thai students learn all of their school subjects in English; meaning that schools are looking for teachers for pretty much everything. A friend of mine teaches economics, my boyfriend Joe will be teaching Social Studies next term and I will be teaching maths. The world is your oyster.
So there you have it, top tips on how to become a TEFL Teacher in Thailand. Originally, teaching was simply a money making scheme for me; I never even dreamed I would enjoy it as much as I do- I’m incredibly lucky to do something I love in a country I love living in. You could be that lucky person too, stop dreaming and start doing..
Much love from wherever I am xx