Should You Teach in Thailand?
Ten reasons why you should say, “YES!”
Plain and simple, the students are amazing in Thailand. Teachers are highly respected in Thai culture, just below Buddhist Monks. When Thai children pass you in the hallways, they stop and Wai (bow their heads with their hands pressed together in a sign of respect and honor). Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the students here really want to learn English. Through teaching you immediately become aware of their humbleness and gratitude. There is no sense of entitlement among the students you will teach in Thailand, and the parents are extremely supportive in the learning process.
Along with the students, your administrators, your fellow teachers, and your students’ parents all want you in the school teaching the children how to speak English. If you end up at a smaller school where you are the only western teacher, or even the first western teacher, you instantly become the pride of the school. Students see you in rock star status. You’ll be signing autographs and posing for selfies only just after your first day. Additionally, The Kingdom of Thailand has a national initiative to increase English skills for Thai students. They know this is best done in an immersive classroom with a Native-English speaking teacher.
Resume or CV Builder.
International work experience will definitely jump off the page when, (if), you return to your native country to find work. Your brave step towards coming to a completely foreign culture to help make it a better place will give you a great advantage in a large pile of resumes/CVs.
Friendships that will last a lifetime.
When you first arrive in Thailand and begin your TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) course, a good course like the one I went through with ProTEFL will organize students to work in teams, offer group excursions and even have the students stay in the same accommodations. This type of intensive relationship creates lifelong friendships, as people go through shared adventures and learn to rely upon each other. I am still in touch with many of the folks I met through the course with and the cool part is, I now have sofas to crash on all over the world. Because I know we are like-minded, adventurous souls, I have no doubt that there will lifetime bonds among my classmates. And then there are the Thai teachers, and the parents who are constantly inviting you to come over for meals. Accepting those invitations also offer ample opportunities for lasting relationships. It’s all a part of the experience, the amazing adventure of teaching overseas.
Affordable access to all of Asia and points beyond.
In a couple of weeks I’m flying from Chiang Mai to Danang Vietnam for $200 roundtrip. Singapore is cheaper. New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Malaysia, China, Japan, and all parts in-between are cheap and easy and affordable to access.
Any way you look at it, no one will ever become rich being a teacher. But Native-English teachers in Thailand do make four times the salary that Thai teachers make, and live comfortably. Teachers have money to be able to afford decent housing, affordable meals out every night, and weekend activities.
Going overseas and removing yourself completely from your comfort zone will truly test your limits. You learn more about yourself and your ability to cope with change then you ever would have before. Are you open-minded enough to live in a completely different culture? Can you be on your own? Can you teach? What grade?
Represent the good of Western Culture.
Let’s face it, between the news, the reality TV and even movies, Western Culture does not always portray itself in it’s finest light. By coming to Thailand and being a positive role model you can show the people in the East the exceptional side of our culture.
Develop and strengthen leadership and skills.
Feeling comfortable standing in front of a room is rarely a natural skill. Most of us could use a fair amount of work on it. Teaching in Thailand affords those opportunities. Teaching a foreign language makes it slightly easier because no one will know if you make a mistake. Teaching in Thailand, where students are eager and respectful is a perfect place to start and a great way to find your voice and learn to be comfortable standing in front of a room. Additionally, you’ll find quickly, students respond best to a teacher who is confident and commands respect.
Learn about the world.
The Discovery Channel will give you thirty minute snippets of the world that are made for TV moments. However, until you truly immerse yourself in different cultures, you’ll never fully understand them. The Thai culture is a great place to start. After all, the Kingdom of Thailand is nicknamed the Land of Smiles. Thai’s will try to make eye contact with you, only to nod and give you a wide grinned smile. These are gentle, kind people with vastly different beliefs. Getting your TEFL certificate can be your ticket not only to Thailand, but also to other countries and cultures where English teachers are needed. It’s like being paid to backpack around the world. But instead of rushing through travels, you’re stopping and truly making a difference in people’s lives and making deep connections that enhance your own journey.