Your Comprehensive Guide to TEFL Courses for Teaching in Thailand
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Last updated at 26/09/2023, 12:00
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From my observation, it appears that almost everyone can become a teacher in Thailand. All you need is a good appearance and a university diploma. Finishing a TEFL course for teaching in Thailand is not formally required by law, but it is worth having it especially if you do not have a passport from one of the countries where English is the official language. Schools look favourably at those who can present a certificate of this course completion and the chances of employment are much higher.
The abbreviation TEFL stands for Teaching English for Foreign Languages (note: do not confuse it with TOEFL, which is an exam in English) and this is a course that prepares you for the job of a teacher.
TEFL lasts for a month. During this time students review English grammar, learn methodology and discipline in the classroom. Classes also cover issues such as teaching listening comprehension, pronunciation, as well as preparing lesson plans, games and activities for the youngest students.
Completing the TEFL course allows you to work not only in Thailand but in countries around the world. It is definitely a good investment if you dream about traveling and living abroad.
Why do you need a TEFL course for teaching in Thailand?
The TEFL course increases the chances of employment in Thai schools. Institutions that are serious about education and the teachers they employ require TEFL certificates for their employees. Also, in major cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, most schools are more willing to hire teachers on a course.
There is a chance that you will also get a job without a certificate but finding it may take a little longer or you will be forced to move somewhere outside the larger urban centers and give up the entertainment and comforts you got used to.
The TEFL course for teaching in Thailand is especially useful for so-called non-native speakers or people whose English is not the first language. If you do not have a British or a US passport, you can have problems finding employment in Bangkok or Chiang Mai without a TEFL certificate. Your earnings will also depend on whether you have a TEFL certificate or not. The more qualifications you have, the better.
There are several ways to complete the TEFL course. You can choose a slightly longer and more expensive route and complete a full-time course or you can pay a bit less, save time and get an online certificate.
Stationary TEFL courses
You can complete stationary courses in Europe or in Thailand. I especially recommend the last option, because the course made on the spot will allow you to get to know the local culture, language, customs in schools, and also give you a chance to find a job sooner.
Courses in Europe
There are a couple of options in Europe, depending on where you live and what your budget is. The big advantage of them is that they usually teach you a lot and are of good quality.
MyTEFL offers courses in Spain for over 1,000 USD.
Stationery TEFL courses in Thailand
I did my TEFL course in Thailand at SEE TEFL, which was not always a great experience for me as a future teacher, but also gave me an opportunity to meet new people, get to know the city and Thai culture. I highly recommend it!
At the moment, you will find many online courses on the market that also guarantee the acquisition of the TEFL certificate. They contain the same number of hours of study and cost much less (from $200- $500). By doing this course, you save time and money.
The downside of online courses is that they do not include internships in schools and you do not have the opportunity to practice your newly acquired skills. Courses often offer care and an experienced teacher, but you have to convert a very large part of the material yourself. Such system is certainly good for those who already were in Thailand and know a bit about local culture and customs.
Check out these courses:
The TEFL Academy
TEFL vs CELTA
If you’re interested in teaching English, you might have heard of CELTA. In general, both certificates give you the right to teach English abroad, but CELTA is a bit more advanced.
CELTA gives you the full qualification and your job is pretty much guaranteed. TEFL certificate is a bit less important and if you’re planning to teach in other countries, not only in Thailand, you’ll need to remember that it’s not always accepted. However, TEFL certificate for teaching in Thailand is always enough.
How to choose your TEFL course
If you are serious about learning in Thailand and want to be a good teacher, then it is worth investing some time and energy in finding a good course. It took me a few weeks to find something that suited me. I know that making decisions is often stress-related, and because the cost of the course is quite high, there are always doubts whether the money is well-invested or not. That’s why I’ve created a short list of things to consider when choosing a TEFL course.
Ask yourself: What do I want?
Why are you going to Thailand? Why do you want to live there? Are you serious about teaching?
I think it’s important to realise that you’re actually going to be working. It’s not your holiday. Yes, it might be a break from your normal life, but you’ll be a teacher. Treat this decision seriously.
I would encourage you to think about the fact that this will be an experience that will change your life and it’s good to get the most out of it. To me it was important to learn as much as I could. That’s why I chose a stationery course in Thailand. I wanted my course to include teaching practices at schools as well as learn about the local culture.
If you’re serious about teaching and finding out more about Thailand, try to choose the best possible option.
Some TEFL courses for teaching in Thailand can be expensive, especially the stationery ones. Not everyone can afford them. Check how much you can spend and adjust your search to your budget.
Don’t only check the reviews on the company’s website, but go a little further and look online. Google for: company name, reviews. Maybe there are some Facebook groups you can join and ask there? Sometimes it’s possible to find contact for people who finished the course.
Message the company
This helped me to make my decision. I messaged a lot of companies, offering the TEFL courses for teaching in Thailand. However, only SEE TEFL answered me with an email that actually didn’t feel like it was a generic one sent to everyone who contacts them. John, the owner, actually took time to address my concerns and he put me in touch with people who had finished the course in Chiang Mai.
Don’t be shy and message the TEFL company, ask as many questions as you want and make your final decision based on their reply.
I decided to teach in Thailand and straight away I went online and started researching. I have a passport from the UK, but I’m not a native speaker. I also didn’t know that much about Thai culture. So, I knew I wanted to do a stationery course, which would teach me how to teach and how to navigate through Thai education system.
After a couple of clicks I stumble upon a few schools. A lot of them were based in the south of Thailand, luring potential students with beaches, sand and relaxed lifestyle. It seemed great, but I also knew that if I go there I wouldn’t learn much. I would spend all my time on the beach.
I message a few of these schools and got generic emails that didn’t really answer my main concern – am I going to get a job as a non-native speaker?
Finally, I found SEE TEFL. As mentioned before, John sent me an email back with a very nice reply and thanks to him I could contact another Polish woman living and working as a teacher in Chiang Mai. After a couple of weeks, I knew I would do my course there.
Learning with SEE TEFL was amazing. We had 2 weeks in a classroom, reviewing grammar and some English language rules as well as learning how to teach. Then, we had 2 weeks of observed teaching practices, which I remember being stressful, but rewarding and so much fun, too. After that, I was ready to look for a job, which I found after a month thanks to SEE as well.
Nowadays, I run my own online English school and I’m sure that it’s mostly thanks to teaching in Thailand and doing the TEFL course at SEE TEFL.
In conclusion, embarking on a teaching journey in Thailand through a TEFL course opens up a world of opportunities and cultural immersion. By gaining the necessary certification and understanding the intricacies of the Thai education system, you can confidently step into the classroom and make a positive impact on the lives of students while experiencing the rich traditions and warm hospitality that Thailand has to offer.
Whether you seek a fulfilling career change or an exciting adventure abroad, teaching in Thailand with a TEFL qualification promises to be a transformative experience that will leave lasting memories and open doors to new horizons.
So, get ready to embrace the vibrant energy, immerse yourself in the fascinating Thai culture, and create an inspiring educational experience for yourself and your students. Your teaching adventure awaits in the Land of Smiles!