The decision to teach English in Thailand brings with it a significant advantage which the majority of tourists miss out on: there is no time limit, allowing English teachers the opportunity to fully embrace the culturally rich and diverse experiences that this ‘Land of Smiles’ has to offer. Part of this cultural experience is the opportunity to learn how a different education system operates, and to experience the differences of teaching in the eastern world. Many of the English teachers in Thailand have taught in other parts of the world, mostly western parts. We were interested to find out how our teachers’ experiences of teaching in Thailand differed to teaching back home.
Isabel (USA) shared how teaching in Thailand was definitely very different to teaching back home. She acknowledged that her experience was unique as in Thailand she has a class with thirteen students in comparison to Chicago where she had thirty students. Besides this, one of the biggest differences she noticed was how well behaved her Thai class of two-year olds are.
I believe that the Thai culture plays a large part in that there is a conscious effort between the parent, teacher and student to instil Thai values.
Thais put a great value on courtesy like politeness and respect and a huge emphasis is placed on respect in hierarchal relationships.
Local customs, societal norms and the education system in Thailand are heavily influenced by eastern philosophies. Thailand’s most prominent religion is Buddhism 93.6% of the population is Buddhist. One of Isabel’s favourite differences about teaching English in Thailand versus back home is the incorporation of meditation in the classroom’s daily routine. The experience of teaching in Thailand exposes western teachers to different techniques, which are useful in the classroom.
The Thai government provides most of the education in Thailand through the Ministry of Education from pre-school to senior high school. A free basic education of twelve years is guaranteed by the constitution, and a minimum of nine years’ school attendance is mandatory. Kristen (USA) shared how in Thailand there is a definite “sense of family and compassion” towards the teacher. She admits that it is difficult to compare two very different education systems however, it is clear that the Thai education system is still far more in its developing stages in comparison to the States. Kristen believes that no matter what country or culture you are in, being a teacher requires a passion and devotion, which encourages the students to strive to their fullest potential.
At TravelBud we pride ourselves on the fact that we only offer teaching, volunteering and work experience that our staff or trusted friends have personally done. We strive to create a platform which helps you understand exactly what to expect from each of the Travelbud programs. We are still in contact with most of the people we have placed and this allows us to continually grow our community of international citizens who can share their first-hand experiences of our programs with others.
Stay tuned for part two of our Teachers Talk Series where we pose the question: can I teach English in Thailand with no experience?
Find out more about our Teach English in Thailand program.