Part-Time Teaching in Bangkok, Thailand: Advantages? Disadvantages?
In the last few years of living in Bangkok, Thailand, I’ve met more part-time English teachers than ever before. What ‘part-time’ means, however, isn’t always that these teachers only work a few hours a week. It can also mean a teacher that doesn’t work full-time for one school, but instead travels around Bangkok working on a part-time basis for a variety of companies and schools.
What’s interesting about these part-time or freelance teachers, however is, while it used to be most teachers who chose this lifestyle did so as they were having difficulties finding a full-time position that paid a living salary, nowadays it’s entirely the opposite. Teachers are now choosing to work part-time at various jobs as some of the benefits of doing so far outweigh the negatives.
If you are an English teacher in Bangkok that is thinking of going the part-time teaching route, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages you will experience to help you make up your mind.
Advantages of part-time teaching in Bangkok, Thailand
Flexibility – A lot of western teachers in Bangkok don’t like that the school they are working for mandates them to be on the premises from 7:30 am to 4:00pm, even if they are not in the classroom teaching. With a part-time job, however, this isn’t necessary as teachers are just expected to be on premises for the class they are teaching, and can leave as soon as the class is over..
The teaching is varied – In a full-time teaching job in Bangkok, more likely than not you’ll end up teaching either the same students or the same levels of student. If you decide to teach part-time though, you end up with a variety of students at a number of companies, meaning you rarely get bored teaching as your students are always changing.
Classes are paid per hour – While a full-time teaching position pays you a fixed monthly salary and the school expects you to be on school premises for all of the 40 hours they pay you for, a part-time teaching job only pays you for the hours you actually teach. That means you can make a pretty decent salary if you are willing to teach several hours a day, with salaries in the 60,000 baht ($1,960) range and above. Willing to work six days a week? You can make even more.
Excellent opportunity if you want to teach for a few months – While most schools in Thailand won’t hire you for on a full-time basis for just a few months, if you only have a short amount of time to teach in Bangkok some of these schools will hire you part-time. That means you can move to Bangkok and stay for as little as three months, and still be able to make a living salary while you do.
Working part-time teaching in Bangkok is also useful when it comes to going on vacation or taking time of as, in many cases, you can schedule vacations or unpaid leave as soon as the 4-6 week courses you are teaching are completed.
Disadvantages of part-time teaching in Bangkok, Thailand
A lot of traveling time – Most part-time teachers work at various jobs all around Bangkok. What that can mean is you start off your work day with an hour’s teaching in Thonburi only to have to get on the sky train and travel across the city for your next class around Ladprao — a distance of around 25 miles.
Sure, you might not be stuck in a school staff room all day, but being stuck on the sky train or in a taxi can be equally as annoying, particularly when you’re being paid to sit in the staffroom if you’re a full-time teacher but no part-time teacher is paid to stand on a train.
No payment for Thai holidays – Thailand has more public holidays than just about anywhere else in the world. What that means is, if you’re a part-time teacher at the time of a public holiday, while you will be mandated to take the day off as the school is closed, you more than likely will not get paid for it.
Class cancellations – If a class gets canceled, which will invariably happen during the course of a part-time contract, it’s rare that the teacher will be paid. With class cancellations extremely common in Thailand, that can impact your salary by several hundred dollars a month if cancellations suddenly start coming in thick and fast.
No stability – Part-time teachers in Bangkok are notorious for having unstable lifestyles. That’s because they spend a lot of time on the road traveling from job to job, jobs start up fast and shut down equally as quickly, and income fluctuates from month to month.
No work permit – Most full-time teaching jobs in Bangkok come with a work permit, and most part-time teaching jobs don’t, Without a work permit, you will be obligated to travel to the Cambodian-Thai border one day every month to do a visa run. It’s expensive, the travel time to the Cambodian border is mind-numbing, and you lose money as you have to cancel your classes while you go.
If you don’t need a lot of stability or a work permit, a part-time teaching job can work out well. If, however, you need a steady income, paid Thai holidays and vacations, and a work permit, full-time teaching in Thailand is probably the way to go.
As for where to find part-time teaching jobs in Bangkok, the teaching website Ajarn has an excellent job board that is updated every day.