Teaching Traveling: Curious what it’s like to teach abroad in Thailand? Let’s get the scoop from Casey O’Connell! Tell us about yourself, Casey.
Casey: Hi, I’m Casey! I’m 24 years old, and I’m from gorgeous Colorado. (How did I ever leave?) I went to school at the University of Northern Colorado for a degree in elementary education. Three days after my graduation, I was on a plane to teach in Thailand! I’ve had wanderlust since I was a little girl, and I’ve always known that I wanted to spend a few years of my life living abroad. One of the many reasons I chose teaching as a career is because it meshes so well with traveling. Teaching has given me many opportunities around the world, especially as a native English speaker. I’ve been teaching in Thailand for almost 3 years now. I teach second grade at an international school in Bangkok, and I have 32 adorable Thai English language learners in my class.
TT: Nice! What’s it like to teach in Thailand? What are the pros and cons?
Thailand is a great place to teach. Everyday life is enjoyable here; I love spicy Thai food, the availability of fresh fruits, ease of public transportation, and Bangkok in particular is a very trendy, happening city to live in. I’m lucky enough to work at a reputable international school, where I’m able to save money while still enjoying a relatively high standard of living.
There are several pros and cons to teaching in Thailand. As for pros, I enjoy a stress free lifestyle! There are several Thai and English classes during the day, so when I’m not teaching, I have time to create lessons, grade, and do everything I need to! I rarely take work home. I experience freedom with curriculum and lessons, as there is not pressure of standardized testing. I enjoy perks like, plenty of vacation time, a flight home once a year, and a monthly housing allowance.
As for cons, a schedule is never fixed; there are always last minute changes! Lack of curriculum in subject areas can also be a challenge for many teachers, though many quality schools do have curriculum in place. Lack of support from administration is a common complaint from teachers in Thailand. Additionally, Thailand has low levels of English, so it’s often hard to communicate with Thai coworkers, administrators, and the parents. Corruption can be evident in private schools, as Thailand is a country that sometimes experiences corruption. This is partially why Thailand’s political situation is unstable. I worked in Thailand during their most recent coup, and we missed several extra weeks of school due to protests.
Teaching situations really vary here! It pays to do research before coming to teach at a school to make sure that you’ll have all the resources and support you need to be successful. A reputable school will provide a quality curriculum, a good salary, additional benefits, and visa/work permit assistance.
TT: Excellent advice. What travels have you taken, amid your travels?