So You Want To Teach In Thailand?
At the moment the writer has been staying in the kingdom for one year, seven months, and two days to be exact. You be the judge if yours truly has what it takes to give tips, though I honestly believe that with logic, breeding, and experiences I have had, I qualify.
I also have my quirks just like any normal being. But being born to a family of educators, my dad, a retired school principal in a government school of more or less 4,000 students, and my mom, also in a newly nationalized high school, teaching had always been the family’s bread and butter. Our family is not used to going out of the country but, two years ago personal circumstances drove me to look for not-necessarily-green-but-fresher pasture, It seemed the answer was Thailand so, the eagerness pulled me here.
I was supposed to teach in a province seven hours drive from Bangkok. But due to the exigency of the “offload” season at the time of my departure, I came a week later. The post was given to another Filipina. I felt like I wanted to cry however, I still pushed on with the idea of coming here to elephant-landia. The adventurous side of me knew that “I could make it”. To make the long story short, after brief experiences in two private schools in Bangkok (not-so-happy ones but it was worth it) here I am, teaching in a government school somewhere in one of the provinces.
So much for these, then. Let’s get to the real thing. What do we need to know before we decide to teach in Thailand?
- Be a real teacher, that is, practice honesty. For some reasons, teaching is a very complicated job for non-education degree-holders so, if you don’t wan to end up wishing to be a nanny or a maid instead, think not just twice or thrice whether you really want to teach.
- Have as many Filipino contacts as you can because our fellow Filipinos are the best sources of information just about everything you need to know from applying to processing your visa. There are mean guys, that’s true, but if you’re always in doubt, you will not find the “good guys” either. Friendliness is the key.
- Get the opportunity to speak the Thai language. Hey, I’m not referring to their language per se, but the way they speak English.
- Learn to smile, flatter, dress smartly, look young, sing, and dance.
- Politeness and courtesy are essentials. You can show them by practicing “wai” to your superiors and colleagues. You don’t have to do it more than once a day to the same person though. A humble, cheerful smile will make your day with the Thai people. It wouldn’t hurt to say ‘sawasdee khrap’ or ‘sawasdee kha’. This is their country. Not ours.
- Patience times ten. Thai learners are miles apart from Filipino learners. Since English is a foreign language to them, they find it really difficult to learn. The Thai alphabet contains 44 consonants, and 18 vowels. Thai students are already loaded with Thai language alone. Let us be considerate and understanding, because they need us and we need them likewise.
- Enjoy your work. Effective teachers are those who want to impart learning, get learning, and believe that all experiences are worth having. They will in turn be the best they can be in their workplace by inspiring students and all those who come their way.
Happy teaching guys!