Many people are wondering if it’s easy to get teaching jobs in Thailand. As it turned out, my first job in Thailand was not teaching English, not online, nor on Koh Phangan, as I had perhaps initially planned after finishing my TEFL course. The start was a bit sluggish (my own fault really) but I soon I landed on a job, and needed to pack my bags quickly. Here’s what happened…
A quick start after all
I felt that I wanted to get some experience in classroom setting first before considering teaching online, and KP doesn’t offer many opportunities for that. In addition, I felt that it was time to leave behind the laid-back island lifestyle which can suck you in quite easily.
I was first thinking of getting a teaching job in Vietnam instead of Thailand, but it turned out to be too much of a hassle because I’m not a native speaker. I started to panic a bit and wasn’t sure if I would get any work at all! But then I ended up having multiple offers here in Thailand and I think I made a good choice. I know Thai culture and people and don’t have to worry about taking Chase (my dog) overseas. I think my timing was also right because term one starts in May and many schools were in a rush to get teaching positions filled. I quickly packed my things and traveled to the other side of the country.
Teaching Social Studies
My first official teaching job in Thailand actually ended up being a Social Studies teacher in an English speaking programme in Rayongwittayakhom school, in Rayong. I chose this because I was promised a 6-month-contract (I didn’t want to commit to one year at this stage) and Rayong seemed a decent sized city. Plus it’s quite close to Pattaya where my Mum and sister’s family like to spend their holidays.
Rayongwit is a big public school with 3700 students or so. The English progamme is well-resourced and it’s a bit like teaching in a private school. So I consider myself very lucky. Classrooms have air-con and I have only 27-30 students/class. I heard that there are often 40 or plus on the public side and no air-con. It can get quite hot here and you can guess what that does to your attention span. Kids are funny and sweet but they can be quite noisy as well (yes, my patience has been tested at times). My colleagues are super nice and friendly, as is my head of studies. We have both Thai teachers and farangs (Thai name for foreign people) here. I am lucky to have a Thai co-teacher who helps me in the class but also provides general knowledge and guidance how to run things. She is not with me in all of the classes, but some. If there is a “volume” issue with a particular class she will try to help settle things down. When you have 30 talkative students in your class, all help is appreciated.
Some challenges on the way, yes, we are in Thailand after all. I ordered a police clearance from Finland but Thailand Post hasn’t got the most reliable reputation when it comes to delivering mail. No sign of the letter, even though it was registered mail. Hence, I rushed to Bangkok hoping the Royal Thai Police would do the clearance if I explained my situation. They did but I won’t be getting the paper before a week or 2. Which is a minor inconvenience since my visa runs out in a week. This paper is vital as they cannot make my Non-B Visa before I have it (which is basically working visa). So I probably need to do a border run to Cambodia to extend my current visa and after that -permitting I have received the police clearance from Bangkok- I need to leave the country and fly out to one of the neighbouring countries where they will prepare my Non-B Visa. Sounds complicated? It bloody is, and at times it’s making me irritated to say the least. Welcome to Thailand! Sabaii, sabaii (Fun in Thai)! If you want to read more about getting a Non-B Visa, check out this post.
Time to work
From Koh Phangan, I ended up on the other side of the country, in Rayong. Rayong is a very much Thai city. Not many farangs nor do the locals speak much English. I am practically forced to practice my Thai and I have to say I have made some progress in just a few weeks. Anyway, after more or less chilling 6 months on KP now it’s the time to work, study, evolve, practice yoga and Thai. Concentrate on making a better version of me, and less socialising and partying.