If you’re planning on coming to Thailand to get a job teaching English, be aware some times of the year are better than others. Of course, there are thousands of teaching jobs available Thailand-wide every month but, if you want a good job and not just any job, make sure you arrive in Thailand during one of the best times of the year and your job search will be easy.
Worst Times to Look for a Teaching Job in Thailand – Just like any country, there are some times of the year that are the absolute worst if you’re looking for a teaching job.
Songkran – Don’t expect to find a job during the Songkran holiday. Songkran is the Thai water festival and is held every year for a week around the 13-15th of April. Every school in the country closes down and Thais go home to their families for the holiday. You can also expect nothing much to be going on for the last few days before the Songkran holiday and a couple of days after it. Thais travel all over the country and some take extra time off, so getting a job interview the Friday before Songkran or the Monday after isn’t very likely.
Christmas and New Year– Yes, to some extent, Christmas is celebrated in Thailand. Many private schools close down and even the government schools sometimes get a half day off. The private bi-lingual school I used to work at closed down on December 23rd so, even though Thailand is a Buddhist country, looking for a teaching job around Christmas isn’t a particularly good idea.
As for New Year, it’s one of the biggest holidays of the year. Schools usually close a couple of days before the end of the year and don’t open again until the 3rd, 4th or 5th of January. Like Songkran, most Thais travel home to see family so, if you arrive in Thailand in late December, put off job hunting until the end of the first week of January. You’ll be wasting your time.
Best Times to Look for a Teaching Job in Thailand – International schools are on a different calendar to Thai schools, which means what I say here doesn’t apply to them. However, most international schools in Thailand only recruit outside the country, so you wouldn’t be likely to get a job with them anyway.
For Thai schools however there are two specific times of the year that are the best.
End of March to Early May – The school year in Thailand ends in mid to late-March and begins again in early to mid-May. During the holiday time is when most Thai schools are looking for new teachers, with many waiting until just a week or two before school starts in May.
You’ll find though that, during these two months, there are more job advertisements on Thailand’s online job boards than at any other time in the year. If you want to begin teaching in Thailand at the beginning of the year, then this is the absolute best time of the year to look.
End of September to Early November – The first semester of the Thai school year ends at the end of September and the second semester starts in late October to early November.
During this time, some teachers will leave the school they’re teaching at after the first semester and the school is left frantically looking for a new teacher. Other schools will have discovered they need more teachers as their student enrollment has increased, and they too will place advertisements.
While many jobs available during this time might not always be the best simply because it is mid-year, some are some of the best jobs in Thailand. It’s all a matter of luck and good planning.
Remember too, the second semester is the ‘easy semester’ (more vacations and more Thai holidays), so if you want to ease into teaching, starting to teach at the beginning of the second semester can be a good idea.
Any Other Time – Of course, there are always teaching jobs available in Thailand and, no matter when you arrive, you should find one easily enough. But, if you want the best job you can possibly get, the above two time periods are the best times of year to get one.
Photo copyright – Songkran (not a good time to get a teaching job in Thailand) – Wyndham, Creative Commons License