FAQ for TEFL Course & ESL Jobs Thailand
Will I be able to save money or pay off student loans while working with in this project in Thailand?
Managing a comfortable living off a salary of 30,000 baht/month isn't a far-fetched idea in Thailand. Besides fulfilling the basic needs, it is also possible to pay off loans out if this salary package. But the fund management is largely influenced by your standard of living. Adapting to the Thai lifestyle, weather, food guarantees a cheap living. However, if you continue to cling on to your western habits and needs, it would sit tight on your pocket. Television, stereo, DVD, personal computer, 24 hour air conditioning mean recurring charges. Therefore, if money is the primary concern in your teaching career you should rather look forward to countries like Korea, Taiwan, or Japan who pays much higher when compared to Thailand.
How much money will I need to build a set up and to live until I start receiving my salary?
The amount is variable, depending upon your lifestyle and adaptability. You will probably need accommodation for a couple of days before the TESOL program begins or in between the end of the TESOL program and the beginning of your teaching assignment. Bangkok displays an array of living options ranging from a truly basic 200 baht/night to a steeply priced 6000 baht/night. To choose a decent place, you will probably need to shell off 500-800 baht/month.
As salaries are disbursed at the end of the first month of teaching, it is wise to keep a provision of 30,000 – 45,000 baht (approximately $1000-$1500) for the first 6 weeks. PLUS and CIRRUS certified bank cards are used across all Thai ATMs.
What is it like to teach English in a Thai government school and Private schools?
Working in Thai schools is undoubtedly a different experience, compared to a more professional approach in western schools.
Benefits for a foreign teacher in Thai-schools -
Your presence in the school and community is accepted with enthusiasm and pleasure.
It is possible to develop favorable social and professional contacts
Sweeping appreciation from the students.
Opportunity to one with the Thai community
Be better enlightened about Thai culture and living.
The TEFL trained teacher will need to be an expert in the basic conversational skills like speaking and listening (you don’t have to be a grammar expert, although grammar knowledge doesn't hurt).
Weekend work is nominal
Enjoy a long list of holidays including semester breaks when even regular classes are replaced by entertaining functions and activities.
Impediments for a foreign teacher in Thai-schools
A grossly populated class of 40-45 students.
Fixed school timing from 8am – 4:30pm from Monday to Friday.
Frequent communication errors between the teacher and the school, which need to be resolved.
Inadequate teaching resources.
Generally a low salary package is offered.
Need to get involved in extra-curricular and administrative activities like staff meeting, morning assembly, gate greeting etc. which are not always warmly accepted by foreign teachers.
Do I have a choice of city and school?
American TESOL Institute tries its best to make both the counters happy. But, it is usually difficult to perfectly match the school and the teacher, satisfying the needs and conditions of both sides. Schools often set criterions related to age, sex, experience, behavior, looks of the teachers and the parameters vary from school to school. Moreover, higher qualification fetches finer options. Therefore, teachers are recommended to be flexible while stating their preferences and supporting reasons. The sooner that you can commit, the better your chances will be of acquiring a position that you desire.
The process of acquiring a Non-Immigrant B Visa and Work Permit. The documents required.
A. Documents to furnish -
Degrees, transcripts, certificates, diplomas, awards regardless of their relevance to teaching (both original and copies).
It is always better to have more paperwork down, more seals and signatures attached.
Rest of the documents like Health Certificate, photographs, passport pages will be provided and arranged by American TESOL Institute in Thailand
B. The process to be followed -
It is a long drawn, complicated process involving a lot of bureaucratic intervention. Though innumerable proceedings are involved, the basic steps can be traced as –
To acquire a 3-month Non-Immigrant B Visa
Apply for Work Permit at the Provincial Labor Office to match the Visa
Work Permit or the Receipt of the same to be taken to Immigration, applying for Visa extension
Carry the new Visa to the Provincial Labor Office, applying for extension on Work Permit
It is allowed to enter Thailand on a free 30-day transit Visa. The 3-month Non-Immigrant B Visa is the maximum that can be arranged for, prior to the teacher’s departure from the home country. In case of unavailability or delay, the teachers need to go on Visa Run to Laos, before they embark on their teaching assignments, to obtain a proper Visa.
What are the students and schools like?
The schools, all over
the major cities of Thailand, where the teachers are placed by American TESOL
sports plush campuses. They are expected to have a commendable resource base
with classrooms provided with blackboard or whiteboard, audio-visual teaching
aids like TVs, CD/DVD players, OHPs etc. Classrooms in government schools are
often fitted with A/Cs. Computers with net connectivity are thankfully constant
feature across most Thai schools. It is possible to grab cheap grub at the
school cafeterias. However, the schools in remote rural areas are less
privileged but have the potential to provide a challenging and enriching
Thai students are characteristically respectful towards teachers and are rarely rude or malicious. In smaller cities and towns, this respect transforms to awe and reverence to begin with. Thai children tend to shy off from foreign teachers and can be pulled back only by creating an atmosphere of warmth and friendliness.
How may I earn extra during my free time?
What happens after I land in Bangkok?
Do I need inoculations to enter Thailand?
Citizens of US, UK, Australia and other industrialized nations do not require inoculations. Precaution can be taken for hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus and polio though chances of infection are generally nil. Those planning to stay in the rural areas can carry Malaria pills with doctor's advice, for use in emergency. Malaria isn't a threat at all in the cities or beach resorts.
What should I pack for a trip to Thailand?
Teachers in Thai society are highly esteemed. Thus professional attire for even the foreign teachers should strictly conform to the Thai culture of dressing. Men, while in schools, are expected to wear formal trousers, shirts and closed shoes while ladies should necessary keep their shoulders and knees covered.
Beach wear is perfect on the sandy stretches. But elsewhere, the Thais prefer to respect those who are not under-dressed or clad in revealing clothes. Staying decently clothed is a reflection of Thai culture.
Western clothing the sizes small, medium and large is available in Thailand at a cheap rate. A T-shirt can be as lowly tagged as $2.50. But it is difficult to lay your hands on the size XL or larger. Trial is suggested before every buy. Generally something that says XL is much smaller and there isn't any standardization. Large sized shoes and sandals are difficult to find.
Why do people visit Thailand?
What is the exchange rate and should I get baht before I go to Thailand?
What customs and manners should I be aware of?
Thai society is strongly particular about certain norms and codes of conduct, which even a foreign teacher is expected to follow.
Primarily, one’s behaviour should express respect towards Thai Royalty, Thai people, Buddhism and the country.
Greeting through the posture of ‘Wai’ (putting two palms together as if praying) and also responding to a ‘Wai’ is appreciated. However, the Thais are considerate and tolerant and prefer to overlook unintended mistakes done by foreign visitors.
Shoes need to be left outside, while entering a Thai house, temple or school.
It is considered extremely impolite and improper to point or show the bottom of your feet towards any person. It can happen when you cross your legs, sit on the floor or rest your feet on something. Pointing fingers at someone should also be replaced with gestures with your hand palm up, if you need to indicate anybody in particular.
Head being the highest part of the body commands ultimate respect in Thai society; thus nobody should be touched on the head.
Public expression of anger, agitation, or jest is not welcome in Thai society where the people are necessarily soft spoken. A mellowed and modest attitude is more acceptable.
Kissing publicly is dismissed in Thai society.
All should dress appropriately and formally for the occasion and formal or official venues in Thai community.
Is it safe to leave valuables like tickets or laptops in the hotel room?
Is tipping a common practice?
Are there Internet cafes in Thailand?
Is there a safe, secure place to store my luggage?
Are credit cards accepted in Thailand?
How much will I need to spend per day to survive?
What kind of food is available?
What if I need help from the police?
How can I have money sent to me in Thailand?
Is it safe traveling alone in Thailand?
What are Thailand’s visa requirements?
Tourist traveling to Thailand can enter on two main visas:
A "visa free" stay of 30 days,
A tourist visa valid for two months.
Both the options are allowed extension for varying lengths, varying number of times and varying costs. The nearest Thai embassy or consulate or www.thaivisa.com is able to furnish you with related details that vary with varying nationalities. Work visas are generally the employers’ responsibility.
FAQ – Teach and Travel Project
The frequently asked questions regarding the Teach and Travel Project are noted below. The answers should work towards your decision making.