Thailand, Travel

Q & A:  Teaching in Thailand

I’ve had so many questions come from family and friends regarding living and working in Thailand – specifically Teaching – so I thought I’d put a little Q & A together to answer any questions you may have.

teaching in thailand 1

Why did you select Thailand to teach English as a second language?

Honestly, my goal is to go to Bali and volunteer and live at a school, teaching people language and skills. I don’t currently have the means to finance myself to be able to afford ‘rent’, transport and food, nor the full teaching experience. I decided to pit-stop in Thailand first for the experience and learning of Asian cultures to be able to eventually save up and go to Bali for at least a month. Thailand is a great place to start as an English second language teacher, the salary offers you a more comfortable and affordable lifestyle, depending on your home stay. I can’t tell you how much I have began to learn in this country, I LOVE IT!

How did you go about teaching? You see so many things on the internet, how do you ‘choose’ what will be your best option?

I did my TEFL course online through LearnTEFL and it took me about 7 months to finish. I got a deal through Groupon which is a huge discount! Sounds crazy, but it’s completely legitimate. Instead of paying R6000/$400, you pay around R600/$40. Prices may vary now. Most of the online courses are very similar. Make sure they are Internationally Accredited.

You may ask for an extension if you need to. You can definitely do it at your own pace before the expiry date so when you finish the course, is ultimately up to you. It takes more discipline obviously and no procrastinating going this route.

What if I don’t want to study online?

Another way you could do it, is to do the course in Thailand itself or whichever country you are considering. This way is actually better for some as you get the practical experience too. It helps a lot if you have never taught before. The course is usually one month. Check out Samui TEFL for an idea on what to expect studying here. *Note that Koh Samui is an island just off Surat Thani, South of Thailand, and is a bit more expensive to live on than central Thailand.

So once you did the course, what else did you have to do…Did you just book your ticket and leave, or did you have to go through an agency?

Once I did the course, I could either apply for jobs through Learn TEFL but its best to look for work when you are here.
I just packed up and left and found part-time work easily by myself here and then went through an agency for full-time work which is much easier.

What all do the agencies assist you with?

They place you in a good school and organise a work permit and teachers license. I would highly advise finding a job that can provide you with a work permit then you don’t have to do visa runs every 2 months. Make sure you also do a TOEIC test which is basically an exam to test your English capability. Unfortunately it costs 1500 baht (+-R750/$50) and you have to do it in order to qualify for a work permit.  It is worth the money and you save big time in the long run! Visa runs can be expensive.

What about time off?

You definitely need to have enough money to come over and live off until you start earning money from teaching. In Thailand schools start in May and close in October and then again in December and there are too many public holidays to mention! In the other months you can either save, travel or work in summer schools, learning centres in malls, be a tutor or babysitter to gain experience and cash.

Is it safe to travel alone?

It’s completely different being alone and living here compared to when you are on holiday with friends or family! I felt that when I got here. But you will be A-OK, promise! Having a partner with you does definitely help, it makes things even more memorable I think.

Recently after a visa run, I had to walk home from BTS at 3am and it was perfectly fine, I didn’t have to always watch my back, so yes, it is safe to travel alone. Just be wary in general, there are scammers and pickpockets in every country.

How do you open a bank account here?

You would need a copy of your teaching contract or work permit, passport and not more than 1000 baht to open an account. There are 35 licensed banks in Thailand, so I cannot even begin to tell you where to start, but your work agency can assist you in that, and can even help with a confirmation letter to open an account. Just make sure with this before you go ahead with an agency. I am currently with Kasikorn Bank.

Are your teachings understood by the children?

In my humble opinion, I would say around 40% of students understand English conversation. Some students can tell you words around subjects taught but because it’s a second language, they struggle to string sentences together and spell correctly. Engaging with them requires lots of activities, arts and crafts, games and songs. They only learn through fun!

How long would it take to learn Thai?

Start off with learning the basics. Numbers, left and right, yes and no, please and thank you, hello. It is a sound language so each and every tone is a different meaning. It seems complicated but they basically have fewer words to use for one word, compared to English where for example, another word for ‘baby’ is ‘infant’. They don’t find that necessary. There are many Thai language centres where you can improve your Thai at a fee.


Let me know if you have any more questions or comment below!

The Lovist xxx



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