Teaching English in Bangkok
This lengthy article on teaching English in Thailand, with particular relevance to Bangkok, was written to provide an overview for those looking at pursuing a teaching job or career in the country. I have put together the sort of information that I wish had been available to me when I first moved to Thailand to teach. I've tried to answer all of the frequently asked questions and provide practical information.
As with other sections of the site, you will find no-nonsense, straight talking and no apologies are made for the forthright tone. As you read through, you may notice that I constantly remind the reader that many Westerners choose to teach in Thailand because it provides them with a work permit which in turn gets them a visa – meaning they are able to stay in the country.
I spent 9 years teaching in Bangkok. While I gave it my best, I do not profess to being either an expert teacher or an expert on the industry in Bangkok. Every effort is made to ensure that the information provided is up to date but please note that things can change and the odd thing might be out of date.
This article is neither a brochure nor an advertisement for the English language teaching industry in Bangkok but rather an honest opinion of the industry from a former teacher's perspective.
Before I moved to Thailand and started teaching English in the country, I had been reasonably successful in my professional life. I'd like to think that I am something of a purist, and I am somebody who likes do things properly, but at the same time it is important to me to enjoy what I do and also learn new things. I guess the Thai attitude of sanuk and that if something isn't fun then it isn't really worth doing resonated with me!
My experiences teaching in Thailand have been in various capacities. My first job was in a private language school but after a couple of years in what was a very well run, high-end language school I became somewhat disillusioned with the industry. In my time at there I also designed courses for corporate clients and went on to teach courses on the premises of various high profile companies, something I enjoyed very much.
I then spent some time away from the industry, funnily enough as a language student myself, studying Thai full-time for 7 months. I experienced what it is really like to be on the other side, to be a student of a foreign language, something which helped me as a teacher immensely. I was able to see things through the eyes of a language student and I think that really helped me as a teacher.
I returned to the industry and chose to work in a different sector – as a teacher at a high school. The high school had an international program and I taught in both the regular program and the international program.
While teaching at the high school, I was one of two foreign teachers on the staff who volunteered to teach English outside the school kids from poor backgrounds who had never had a chance to study with a native English speaker.
I never taught at a university. I did a little private tuition when I first arrived in Bangkok, but quickly realised that that was not for me.
Like so many things across Asia, the English language teaching industry in Bangkok is constantly changing, so information on this page could go out of date very quickly. I do my best to maintain it and keep it as up to date as best I can.
The bulk of this page is made up of questions and answers about teaching in Thailand. Towards the end I have written a few thousand words about my team in the industry in Bangkok, the different schools I taught at and some general thoughts. At the very end are some links to other sites and a few tips on getting a job.