One of the most common concerns people have about teaching English in Thailand, is whether or not they can teach with no previous teaching experience. At TravelBud, we strongly believe that the best way to get a clear understanding of what to expect from teaching English in Thailand, is to ask the people who have had first-hand experience with it. We chatted to some of the teachers we placed in Thailand to get their opinion on teaching English in Thailand with no experience, and whether previous teaching experience was essential.
Emily (South Africa) said that adapting to new methods of teaching for some of the teachers with previous experience was more challenging as “they had become used to their teaching methods from before”. Teachers with previous experience do find it easier to adapt to creating lesson plans, but ultimately the education system in Thailand is very dissimilar; whether you have had previous experience or not, it does not make a huge difference to your teaching capabilities.
Melanie (USA) had spent some time working as a camp counsellor, but had no previous experience with working with children in an academic setting. She observed how in Thailand, “there is less concern about academic progress and much more emphasis placed on the entertainment value of an English teacher.” Kimiko (USA) shared how she expected it to be quite easy as she had “previous experience with teaching adults and high school students”.
She noted how the way she gained control and disciplined the class in Thailand was completely different to back home. She stated how her “expectations and teaching style had to make a quick, subtle shift in order to really reach the students”. Some of the teachers we have placed in Thailand with no previous teaching experience admit that initially, they were concerned about their lack of experience but within the first week they settled in.
“As time went on and I learnt that some of my fellow teachers had degrees in Education and plenty of experience, it dawned on me that yes having experience and years of formal training would help, but ultimately it came down to personality and how passionate I was about teaching these kids.
I feel that if my personal goal was to help them be able to speak English, I didn’t need years of training – just passion, patience and perseverance, and I could get the job done as well as anyone who had previous experience.” – Alex Viana, South Africa.
All the teachers agree that previous teaching experience was not essential and that our TESOL course thoroughly prepared them for teaching English prior to being placed at a school in Thailand. Our 4-week (120 hours) TESOL course takes place in Hua Hin, Thailand and is tailored specifically for foreigners wanting to live and teach in Thailand. The course not only prepares individuals as English teachers, but also includes a comprehensive cultural orientation, which covers lessons on Thai language, culture, society and politics, as well as many awesome excursions.
At TravelBud we pride ourselves on the fact that we only offer teaching, volunteering and work abroad programs that our staff or trusted friends have personally experienced first-hand. We strive to create a platform which helps you understand exactly what to expect from each of our programs.
We are still in contact with most of the people we have placed, and this allows us to continually grow our community of participants on the ground who can share their first-hand experiences of our programs with others.
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Or learn more about our Teach English in Thailand program