Many western EFL/English teachers when planning to teach in Thailand start looking for a teaching job before they come here. Not only is that not a good thing to do, in some cases, it can even be disastrous. If you’re planning on moving to Thailand to teach English, you should wait until you get to Thailand to look for a job, and here’s why.
Many Thai Schools Don’t Tell the Truth to Western Teachers – Many a western EFL teacher has arrived in Thailand and gone to the job they accepted on the internet, only to find the salary is $500 a month less than was offered, the school is not near a town but in the middle of nowhere, they’ll be teaching 10 hours a week more than promised, and the apartment the school organized for them isn’t somewhere they would ever live.
Most teachers who come to Thailand wait to get a job until they get here. There are thousands of teaching jobs available in Thailand, and most Thai schools want someone to start tomorrow. Once in country, you can take your pick of jobs, but not until you’ve at least seen the schools and what they have to offer.
School Location – As I said, school locations are often lied about, with schools telling prospective teachers on the Internet, “the school is near a major town and supermarket”. When you get there, you find out the ‘major town’ is a teeny tiny village in northern Isaan, and the supermarket is a small corner shop that sells packet instant noodles.
Especially in Bangkok, because the city is so huge, you want to get a job first and then start looking for an apartment – so come to Thailand, scout out the locations of the schools that are offering you jobs, pick the one you like the best (and it is as simple as that!), and then find a place to live.
There Are So Many Teaching Job Opportunities in Thailand – Many prospective western English/EFL teachers panic, thinking they won’t be able to get a job when they get here – so grab the first one that’s offered.
Thailand isn’t like America, there are teaching jobs everywhere. With hundreds of ads on local teaching websites every week, and more offered through word of mouth, you’ll find, if you wait to choose a job until you’re actually in Thailand, you’ll have the pick of at least 10 jobs. No kidding.
Thai Schools Always Want You To Start Yesterday – Western teachers often choose jobs on the Internet before coming to Thailand, because they worry about making money right away and don’t want to wait a few months for a job. Seriously, you’ll be lucky if you can wait a few ‘days’.
Thai schools are notorious for waiting until the last minute to place job vacancy ideas so, if they’re advertising for a teacher, you can guarantee they needed one last month. I can’t even remember how many jobs I’ve applied for only to have a school call me, with no interview, and ask “Can you start tomorrow?”
The Best Jobs Are Word of Mouth – The best teaching jobs in Thailand are almost always word of mouth. I got my first teaching job through someone I met online and ended up being paid 15,000 baht ($400) a month more than the average Bangkok teaching salary. Come to Thailand, meet a few teachers and find out from them what job vacancies are at their schools.
Coming to teach in Thailand is the best thing I ever did. Two days after finishing my TEFL course, I had four job offers with three other schools promising to call me the following week. I actually didn’t work for the first three months, but when I did decide to look for a job, I started job hunting on Wednesday and accepted a job on Thursday evening. Easy peasy. Really.
For current teaching job openings in Thailand, check out Ajarn, the website for teachers in Thailand. A font of information and with new job openings listed every day. And, as far as the best and worst months for looking for a teaching job in Thailand, every month you will get a job, it’s just that some months might take a day or two longer than others.