What are Thai schools like?

Watch this video to get a taste and feel for the Thai classroom.

Do I need to be able to speak Thai?

In the EFL classroom, the use of Thai is discouraged. The EFL classroom should be an English-only environment. SEE TEFL’s training equips teachers with universal skills that allow our trainees to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) without ever using the students’ first language. These skills are transferable to any EFL classroom anywhere in the world.

Outside the classroom, most Thai people will know a few English words. However, few are fluent so learning some basic words and phrases is advisable. SEE provides 10 hours of Thai-language instruction during training so that communication is easier outside the classroom. In addition, all SEE’s Program participants receive a free self-study language pack during their training to enable further language development.

How can I check that a TEFL school is complying with all legal requirements regarding school licensing?

It’s difficult, but here are a few warning signs:

A TEFL school claims it doesn’t need to be licensed by the Thai Ministry of Education (MoE). Thai education law clearly stipulates that any formal or non-formal (This includes TEFL) school that has enrolled over 7 students since the school was established must be registered and licensed by the MoE. Legal schools should provide evidence of their permission to run TEFL programs on their website. If they don’t or can’t, why not?

Does the website give names and show photos of it’s trainers, graduates and staff? A Contact page without school and personal information is a red flag.

Google the address of the school. Some schools are actually virtual addresses. They don’t exist other than as a letterbox to receive mail and messages. They run courses from hotel rooms. There is no school and there is also no accountability if things don’t go as promised.

If courses are run from a couple of rented office rooms, a hotel or a residential house or apartment, it’s an unlicensed course.

Do I need a Bachelor’s degree to teach in Thailand?

A degree isn’t a training requirement; however, a degree is normally needed to obtain a non-immigrant B (Business) visa and work permit. A non-immigrant B visa and work permit is normally required to work legally as a teacher in Thailand.

However, there are legal loopholes some formal schools use to work around this. For example, classifying the teacher as a classroom assistant. In addition, agencies are often non-formal schools, so they can provide non-immigrant B visas and work permits for teachers without degrees; they then sub-contract their teachers to formal schools.

Non-formal schools, such as language schools, are less strict. However, they often do not provide non-immigrant B visa and work permit support for their teachers. Teachers are employed as part-time employees and paid cash at the end of each pay period.

Teaching EFL online doesn’t normally require a degree. There are several companies based in Thailand that offer online classes to students in China and other countries around the world. A few SEE graduates have even set up their own online schools and teach from their homes.

Some teachers on every course head to Cambodia after training. There’s lots of work, it’s well paid and a degree isn’t a legal requirement.

Teacher licensing affects all teachers at formal schools. Read more about Teacher Licensing in Thailand.

What’s the difference between CELTA and TEFL?

CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. It’s one brand of a 4-week TEFL training course and focuses on teaching adults in a language school environment. It’s popular in Europe where the majority of EFL/ESL teaching work is in language schools teaching adults. In Asia most teaching work is in formal-education schools teaching students aged 5 – 18 years or language schools teaching children and adults. SEE’s program equips trainees with the necessary skills and classroom experience to teach students from kindergarten to adult.

Why don’t you offer an online course?

Teaching English in a non-native speaking country requires skills and cultural awareness that cannot be acquired through correspondence courses. In addition, few reputable employers recognize the validity of an online-only TEFL training program.

Will I need any vaccinations before I arrive?

There are no special health requirements for Thailand.

What are the Healthcare facilities like in Northern Thailand?

Hospitals, dentists and doctors are plentiful. Many medical professionals have graduated from western universities and speak English. Some hospitals have facilities which are a match for many western hospitals.

How easy is it to travel around this part of the world by public transport?

It is simple and cheap.

What are the dangers and annoyances living and working in Chiang Mai/Thailand?

Thai people are very gentle and easy-going. Most people are Buddhist and non-violence is emphasized through their education and culture; violent crime towards foreigners is nearly non-existent. Common sense and caution will ensure participants have no negative experiences.