Don’t teach in Thailand if…

Don’t teach in Thailand if…

Every year, thousands of people fly to the “Land of Smiles” to teach English. The list of benefits this decision has to offer is boundless, so that instead of focusing on them, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why it may not be the best option for everyone. If you’re thinking of teaching English in Thailand, you may want to reconsider if…

You Want to Make A Lot of Money

If you’re reading this, then you probably already know the teaching salary in Thailand isn’t the best. In comparison to the cost of living, you can live very well—but when it comes to making those international bank transfers every month, it can be a bit painful. That said, jobs at international schools tend to offer more money and there is no shortage of private tutoring opportunities throughout the country. Many teachers, myself included, survive from their tutoring money and transfer their salaries home each month. You can save, but it definitely takes commitment.

You Want to Party 24/7

The Full Moon Party, Khaosan Road – YES, Thailand is a fun place to party. Alcohol is cheap and there is never a shortage of events to attend. However, if this is your primary reason for visiting Thailand, I think backpacking or a holiday would be a better option. Don’t get me wrong, over the course of my 18 months there I had an endless amount of raging weekends all over the country, but the focus during the week should be the job.

You Aren’t Willing to Embrace a New Culture

Many people assume life in Thailand is like the travel brochures and the backpacking blogs. Of course, it can be, but the reality is that the majority of teaching placements are located away from the ‘tourist hot spots’ of the country and in my opinion allow for a more authentic cultural experience. I think it’s important to note that in many locations you could be the only English speaker for miles. Also, outside of the main cities it can be impossible to buy those branded goods you love so much back home. Personally, I see this one as a positive, a chance to challenge myself and grow—but many are not prepared for the cultural shift and start to feel isolated.

You Don’t Like teaching

The heading of this may make you think ‘OBVIOUSLY DUR’ but unfortunately there are a few too many teachers in Thailand who not only hate teaching but dislike children. I understand a lot of people choose to teach in Thailand to see the country or for a gap year etc., but I think a little interest in teaching and not a dislike of the age group you’re going to teach should be a minimal requirement. You’re going to be in the classroom the majority of the week—taking a job you don’t care about just so you can party and see the sites will only make the kids miserable and the workweek seem like a chore. Care about what you do.

You Don’t Like Spicy Food

Ok, this one is a bit of a joke. Of course, you don’t need to like spicy food to teach in Thailand, but be warned – it’s everywhere. The words ‘mai pet’ (Thai for not spicy) can save your life!

This list is basically a compilation of the various complaints I would hear from fellow teachers around the country. Maybe if people knew what they were getting themselves in for before going, there would be a lot less critical and negative stuff written about teaching in Thailand online. Do your research, and try to find a place that is not only suited to your interests and strengths, but also consider your weaknesses.

If you’re thinking of heading abroad and teaching English, I recommend getting your TEFL certificate through PremierTEFL:

Premier TEFL

9 thoughts on “Don’t teach in Thailand if…

  1. Interesting post which does beg the question… What are people’s expectations when they set off for a teaching job here? We only volunteered as teaching assistants on our trip to Asia & loved the chance to embrace the following positives: learning is 2 way (we learnt so much about culture, history & life in each country); kids & adults were so motivated to learn (diff to western world), especially in Laos & Vietnam (where the food isn’t spicy 😉 ) & most of all forget about what you know, life is about exploring & trying new adventures so enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (Sorry if comments from my mobile are duplicates of this.) I think this is a great post since so many people are eager to travel the world and just look for an excuse to go somewhere “exotic” – without really caring about the children they teach. I hope this helps people to make the right plans to achieve their goals. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so true! But I’ve learnt you also need to have a creative side. Somethings also aren’t going to work so you’ve just gotta cop it on the chin and learn to adapt in the moment to help the kids learn! Thanks for sharing this!
    Also if you don’t like the food, you’ll have a tough time.

    Liked by 1 person

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