What should I know about teaching placement options?
We offer one- and two-semester programs, lasting about five and 10 months, respectively. Your lesson plans will focus on improving conversational English skills, but many schools are also seeking someone who can teach an additional subject as part of the English curriculum, such as science or math. Although most placements are at the secondary level (grades 7 through 12), you may be assigned to teach students of all ages and there are sometimes openings at the kindergarten or primary level.
A typical schedule consists of about 20 classroom hours per week, with additional time devoted to class planning, grading, faculty meetings, and school-related extracurricular activities. You should expect to work about 35 to 40 hours per week.
There is a two-month break between semesters and teachers will not be paid during this time unless they teach English camps or extra classes. School coordinators will explain what work is required during the break.
Specific locations can be requested, but not guaranteed, as availability depends on the needs of schools at the time you apply.
What will I earn?
Depending on your experience you can earn 25,000 Thai Baht or potentially more, each month. As of March 2018 that's about $800/month, which means that you could earn as much as $8,500 when you add in the bonus for full-year teachers! That being said, we can also place one-semester teachers since many applicants cannot commit to a full year. You won't get the end-of-year bonus but you'll still earn competitive pay in a country where you can get a great bowl of noodles for under a dollar!
What happens after I apply?
After you submit your application, we'll make sure you've got everything in order and reach out for an interview before we start working on your school placement. We generally send you your teaching placement at least one month before your program start date, but this can vary depending on application review by individual schools. If you apply early, you may be able to receive your placement sooner.
How will I be supported on the program?
We're here to help you with your application, provide pre-departure support and guidance, find the right school placement match for your goals and needs, and pick you up at the airport! Once in Thailand, our international partner will be there throughout your program to help with any issues that might come up, and you'll have a coordinator at your school to provide guidance. We also have alumni resources for you once you've returned home.
What will orientation be like?
Following your airport pickup, you'll attend a week-long orientation (June participants will have an abbreviated three-day orientation) that includes activities and classes on TEFL theory, Thai language, and local culture. This is a great chance to get to know the friendly staff who are available for support throughout your program. They'll discuss everyday concerns and provide travel advice for weekend excursions. You'll also meet fellow teachers, who will be great resources for both teaching and exploring Thailand. The week ends with a transfer onward to your teaching placement.
What will my accommodations be like?
Throughout your teaching contract, whether that be for five or 10 months, you'll receive free housing! You might live in a studio apartment, a school dorm or a shared house (always with a private bedroom). Depending on the facility, sometimes internet is also available for an extra fee. You'll be responsible for utilities, although some schools provide a small stipend to help. Accommodations don't usually have cooking facilities.
What type of visa do I need?
You'll need a Non-Immigrant (Type B) Visa. After your school placement is confirmed, we'll send you a visa letter along with visa application instructions. Your FBI or State Criminal Background check cannot be more than three months old at time of visa application, which occurs four to six weeks prior to program start-date.
What kind of criminal background check do I need?
For visa purposes you must obtain an FBI or State Criminal Background Check on official letterhead with a stamp or seal and signature. The check must clearly indicate that you have "no record" and cannot be more than three months old at time of visa application, which occurs four to six weeks prior to the program start-date.
If you reside in Arizona, Missouri, or California, an FBI Background Check is required; Thai Embassies won't accept a State Criminal Background Check from these states.
What happens when I arrive?
Our international partner will greet you at the airport within the designated pick-up time and take you to the hotel for orientation.
Can I be placed with a friend or partner?
Yes, we have been very successful at placing friends and couples together at the same institution in Thailand. Please let us know about such requests upon applying.
Do I need to speak Thai to participate on the program?
No, but it's a good idea to work on your language skills before departure. Listening to language CDs, Thai radio, watching films and talking to native speakers are all excellent ways to do this. You'll learn some basic conversational Thai during orientaton.
Will I have Internet access?
Most schools have internet and sometimes WiFi available, but internet may not be available in your home. If it's not, there are many internet cafes where you can find cheap or free WiFi.
Will I have any time off during my contract in Thailand?
School holidays, vacations and semester end dates vary by school and you should ask your coordinator about your school's schedule. Generally, schools are closed for all Thai public holidays and other school-specific events and activities. If you sign-up for a 10-month program, there is a two-month break between semesters. During this time you may be required to teach some classes and will only be paid for the time worked.
Schools are very understanding if participants need to take time off due to illness. If there is an important occasion that you'd like to take the day off for, schools can also be pretty flexible, though as with any job, there is no guarantee that you will be allowed a personal day on the date you request. Most importantly, you should talk to your school coordinator about it as far in advance as possible.
Do I need a TEFL certification?
No, but getting certified is probably the right thing to do, especially if you don't have any classroom teaching experience. We suggest a TEFL course with International TEFL Academy. Mention InterExchange and get $50 off!
Are my flights and visa covered by the program fee?
No, please be prepared to pay the cost of your round-trip airfare and visa. The single-entry, non-immigrant (type B) visa costs $80 (as of May 2018).
How much money should I bring?
We recommend bringing at least $800 to cover expenses until you receive your first month's salary.
What vaccinations should I obtain before traveling?
There are no compulsory vaccinations or inoculations required to enter Thailand, but you should be up to date on routine vaccines (measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria-tetanus, chickenpox and polio). Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations are recommended by the Center for Disease Control. Please also consult your local doctor.
When does the school year begin and end in Thailand?
From elementary to high school, the first semester commenses mid-May and runs to the end of September. The second semester commences in early November and runs to mid-March of the following year.
Is it safe in Thailand?
Overall, crime is not a serious problem in Thailand, but you should take the same precautions you take at home and avoid unnecessary risks. If you intend to travel around Thailand, especially to remote border areas, you should do research to check for any trouble spots. In recent years there have been several instances of demonstrations by opposing political groups within Thailand, which are not aimed at foreigners. We strongly advise all participants to avoid any area of unrest and stay away from demonstrations/protests.