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FAQs: Paid Teaching in Thailand

by Georgia Wilson

Q: What is the difference between TESOL and TEFL?

A: The qualification you will gain on this teacher-training course in Hua Hin is an internationally-recognised TEFL or TESOL qualification.  TEFL is probably the better-known term in the UK.  Essentially the training is the same, although TESOL may focus more on conversational English, whereas a TEFL can focus more on the grammar element of teaching.  But you will come away from training with an approved TEFL certificate that will allow you to teach abroad and have an international pass to teach in amazing countries all around the world!

Q: How much will I earn?

A: Applicants will get paid a starting base salary of between 25,000 and 35,000 Baht per month.  This works out at approximately between USD0-1200 per month, or approx GB£500-750 per month.  Non-degree holders should expect a starting salary of 25,000 Baht and degree holders around 30,000 Baht per month upwards.  There are plenty of opportunities to boost your salary quickly, and after the first month your salary could improve as much as another 10,000 Baht per month and this may continue to increase the longer you stay at the same school.  Schools in Thailand reward loyalty, so if you are prepared to work hard and commit to one specific school location they will make sure you see some great rewards!

If you want to supplement your salary, there is always a high demand for private English tutors in Thailand, and you can double your salary if you’re prepared to do tuition in your spare time.  The programme staff in Hua Hin can also try to find you either voluntary, or sometimes paid positions, during the school holidays if you want to take up a new challenge!

Depending on the school, some teachers are lucky enough to have accommodation or the use of a scooter included, but this is not guaranteed.  As the cost of living in Thailand is relatively cheap you should have plenty of money for living costs and to travel and see the sights of Thailand in your time off, especially if you are working in a rural school where the cost of living is cheaper.

Q: How much spending money do I need?

A: For a stay of around one and a half months the recommended spending money is around £1500. This is to cover your time during the TEFL course and before you are placed in a school. As soon as you have your teaching placement your salary will be able to cover your living expenses.

Q: Where are the teaching jobs?

A: Most teaching placements are on mainland Thailand.There are both urban and rural school placements available.

Q: Can I teach at the same school as my friend/partner?

A: Existing couples who travel to do the TEFL training together may be placed together.  You may not be placed at the same school, but it may be possible to place you in schools within the same town.  Every effort will be made to accommodate couples together while teaching in Thailand. If you make new friends while you are on teacher training it is not possible to guarantee a placement together.

Q: Can I choose the location of my job?

A: We can take note of your preferences, however we encourage teachers to be flexible in order for us to find you the perfect placement.

Q: What age are the kids?

A: Anything from primary school to high school. You are welcome to make preferences as to which age group you would prefer to teach but we do encourage you to be flexible.

 Q: Do I have to have a degree?
A: Both degree and non-degree holders can teach English in Thailand
Degree holders are able to get a job throughout the year.

If you are a non-degree holder, it is a requirement that you arrive so that you can start your placement at the beginning of the Thai term.

Q: Do I need to buy a return flight ticket to Bangkok?

A: Yes you do need to buy a return ticket because the Immigration office may ask to see your ticket when you extend your visa or switch your visa to a work permit. If you travel on a one way ticket your visa extension or new visa may be denied.

Q: What type of visa do I need?
Degree Holders

If you have a degree you can enter Thailand on a 60-day tourist visa, which you will need to get before you travel to Thailand. Once you have completed your TEFL course, you will then need to make a border run to an embassy in one of Thailand’s neighbouring countries in order to convert your tourist visa into a Work Permit, and then re-enter Thailand under your new Work Permit. Schools may sponsor your Work Permit, but only if you commit to a twelve-month teaching contract. Your school will be able to assist you with the arrangements for your border run.

Non-Degree Holders

Non-degree holders will initially enter Thailand on a 60-day tourist visa, which you will need to obtain before your travel. If you don’t have a degree you will probably be unable to convert your visa into a Work Permit, so you will need to work on a tourist or education visa.  Provided you have a return flight ticket you should be able to extend your initial tourist visa for a further 30 days.  From then on, your tourist visa will need to be renewed every 60-90 days by making a border trip.  These border trips are at your own cost.

60 Day Tourist Visa

You will need to apply for and obtain your 60 day tourist visa before you travel and should note that the applications process usually takes around a week. The cost for this tourist visa is not included into the trip price, and is usually around £25.

Both our in country team and the staff at Gap 360 will be there to assist you at every point along the way should you need help, so please give us a call if you have any questions.

Q: Do I have to be a native English speaker?
A: Yes. You may be asked to take a TOEIC examination to verify that you are a native English speaker.

Q: How difficult is the TEFL course? Can you fail?
A: The teacher’s will give you as much help as you need to ensure you pass the course. If you are struggling or not doing well, the course leaders will spend more time with you to help ensure you pass. The main reason for the rare occasions when people fail or are asked to leave the course is because of antisocial behaviour.

Q: What are the working hours?
A: Around 8 hours per day (4-5 hours spent in class), Monday-Friday

Q: What is the dress code for teaching?
A: Smart-casual. Typically collared shirts for men, and conservative dress for women.

Q: What about the language barrier?
A: On the TEFL course you will be introduced to the basics of Thai. Most Thai kids will have some basic English so you will be able to communicate. The reason for completing the TEFL course is to give you skill in communicating with non-English speakers.

Q: How much time off will I get?

A: Applicants will get all school holidays off; this could be as many as 60 days at a time. These are often paid holidays depending on the school. If they are not paid extra tutoring and holiday school can supplement your income. Typically Thai government schools have a month’s holiday in October for a mid-term break and two months in March-April at the end of the school year. You will also have your weekends off. Thailand also has 22 individual holiday days spread throughout the year.

If you really dislike the job and have a good reason, then you can be moved, but you need to be aware that it can take time to find a replacement job.

Q: Will I still have support once my teaching placement has started?

A: You will continue to be given ongoing support from the TEFL programme staff throughout your teaching placement, and they are always on hand on the phone, or by Skype, to answer and questions or concerns you might have.  You will have access to a database of 250 lesson plans, created by English teachers for Thai students, and which you can use to structure your classes while teaching, meaning you’ll never run out of great ideas for the kids.  There are monthly alumni meetings for all TEFL graduates so you can regularly catch up with your friends and you’ll always feel as though you’re part of one big Hua Hin happy family!  The Hua Hin staff can also help you find voluntary, or occasionally paid placements, in your school holiday times if you want to make the most of every spare minute in Thailand.

If, after you complete your Thailand teaching placement you have well and truly been bitten by the teach and travel bug, the programme team in Hua Hin can assist you to find a future placement in countries such as South Korea or China so your Asian adventure can continue!

 

If I haven’t answered your questions please email me on: georgia.wilson@gap360.com or call 01892 527392

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