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Am I being stupid? (Question about moving to Thailand to teach)

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by chris dino, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. O.K. I know I'm opening myself up for the obvious answer being yes here!
    I've decided after years of umming and ahhing about it, to finally apply and up sticks to go and live and teach in Thailand. I've applied to a couple of schools and would ideally like to work in a school in Bangkok (I'm a qualified primary school teacher, with 5 years experience).
    I've told my head, as I needed him for a reference and in my head I've already left the school.
    What I'm starting to think now is if I don't get a teaching job and i'm desperate to get out there I could teach English with some sort of Tefl type thing and then continue to look for proper jobs whilst there.
    What I'm worried about is if this will be frowned upon by any future employer? Will it effect my chances of getting a job? Am I just being impatient?

    Anyone have any ideas or comments? Feel free to call me stupid!
  2. I certainly don't think you are being stupid (especially since you are actually thinking about it!) but 2 things to consider.

    1. If you are there you will probably be able to pick up some supply work, get to know some of the schools and get known by them which will enhance your employment prospects (as long as you aren't ****) for when a job does become available.

    2. If you are living there already and do get a job you will probably be a local hire. That will mean a less cushy package.

    Goodluck with the hunt. With any luck you'll get one of the jobs you have applied for and then this won't matter.
  3. hsavager

    hsavager New commenter

    Hi there,

    First off: I would say that 'stupid' is not following through with a life-enhancing, rewarding challenge for fear of your long-term career prospects but that's just me.

    I moved to Bangkok in September in order to do exactly what you are considering. I have been supporting myself with teaching ESL in the meantime.

    Before you jack in your job and buy a ticket, here are a few things to think about:

    Supporting yourself with ESL will earn you approximately a quarter of what you're earning right now. Plenty of people will tell you that this is not equivalent to a living wage... I respectfully disagree (but of course we all have different standards). However, how will you cope with knowing that you're earning significantly less than your potential? Particularly as you will be doing it on the fly and have no visible end in sight?

    If you're teaching ESL in the interim, you will be working with people who have not had the benefit of the training and experience you have. They will almost certainly not have the same ideas as you about levels of professionalism or best practice. You may even find that you are viewed with resentment and suspicion by older, more established western colleagues. This can be incredibly frustrating.

    Do you specifically want to work in a school which teaches the British NC or are you willing to consider Australian, American or Thai schools? Your immediate options will be greatly broadened if you are willing to look outside the box but may impact on your long term career.

    Another poster mentioned the difference between local and overseas hire contracts: Don't overlook this. Some of the fringe benefits offered include free housing or a housing allowance, flights back to Blighty, shipping costs for your belongings etc. Any or all of these could be denied to you, depending on the school, if applying from within the country.

    Lastly (and please don't take offence), are you male? And single? I only ask because if your prospective employer thinks you're here for the honey, you've had it.

    Incidentally, I was, in fact, 'stupid' because I came out here straight after having completed induction so I don't have much experience. Six months on and I have still not found the job I am looking for here and am starting to feel a bit panicky.

    I wouldn't say that coming here to job hunt is a bad idea but then I'm unemployed so clearly it didn't work out too well for me (YET!). Why not approach schools directly from the UK? There are oodles of international primaries of varying calibre here in Bkk and you can find out most of the dirt with minimal digging online. With your five years of experience, they'll be climbing over each other to offer you an attractive relocation package.

    You can email them through their website with a CV, letter of application and (importantly) a photo of you wearing a shirt and tie and the biggest smile you can muster.

    I met the principle of a reputable Aussie primary a few weeks ago who was saying he had lost three teachers recently due to personal reasons - no reflection on the school itself (so he said, and I believe him). I'm sure he'd be more than happy to hear from you.

    Naturally, what I've written here is coloured by my own experiences and I hope I've appeared even handed rather than negative.

    Please feel free to PM me.


  4. hsavager

    hsavager New commenter

    What?! No paragraphs? I so put them in - promise!
  5. JimShortz

    JimShortz New commenter

    ESL, urmm.... I did it for a year and the hours can be horrible (evenings and weekends) + no sick pay/medical cover... If you are a qualified teacher you really need to look only at international schools.
    I work at a British international school in Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand where we actually have a lovely cool season for 4 or 5 months of the year.. See the thread in the Geography forum for the last vacancy we have for the coming year: "Anyone fancy teaching in Thailand?"
  6. Hi Chris,
    I've been working on the island of Koh Samui for the last 3 years and I have to say it was the best choice I've ever made! I think that if you want to find a good school, then they should only accept fully qualified teachers e.g PGCE or B.Ed. There are a lot of schools who accept TEFL teachers, but I am sure that you will find the school does not meet your expectations. As you are fully qualified, you shouldn't really expereince any trouble with getting a job in Bangkok at a reputable International School. I think our school is looking for people? Feel free to send me an email if you need any more support and good luck!
  7. Hi, Are you still working in Koh Samui? Do you know anything about The International School of samui (Blue Water?)

  8. Buttles

    Buttles New commenter

    Yes, I can warn you that the level of pay at this school is very low even by Thai standards.
    And resources are few.
    Owner is an ex-army officer who set up a school there with minimum budget for salaries/resources.
    Nice enough chap but he does not welcome questions from candidates at interview and relies on people who are sem-retired and attracted to living in Thailand.

  9. I like your style; that 'kick in the nuts subtlety' is a gift.


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