If you are a non-native English teacher looking for work in Thailand, here is a guide to get you prepared for your new life and new career. There are many English teaching jobs for non-native speakers in Thailand as demand for teachers far exceeds supply.
1. Who counts as a native English speaker?
A native English speaker is a person who learned to speak English at an early age. That is, English was the first language that the child learnt in order to communicate with other people. That said, people usually assume that people from the following countries are native English speakers: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.
However, growing up in an English speaking country does not necessarily mean that you are a native English speaker. Some people grow up in a country that speaks English, but their first language is not English. For example, some parts of Canada learn how to communicate in French rather than English. Although Canada is an English speaking country, the people from Quebec can’t be considered as native English speakers.
2. Where can I teach abroad as a non-native English speaker?
Most countries accept native English speakers to teach in their schools. However, that does not mean that if you are not a native English speaker that you can’t be hired. You only need to provide the required documents and prove that you can fluently communicate in English.
Most Asian countries, such as Thailand, accept teachers who are not native English speakers to teach in their schools. After you show evidence that you can speak in English to a certain level and are able to teach, you can find employment.
3. Can a non-native English speaker get a teaching job in Thailand?
Yes, non-English native speakers are eligible to apply and teach in Thailand. You have to prove that you can communicate in English and be able to write and read fluently. Additionally, it would help if you studied using English to a high academic level.
4. Qualifications you will need
There are some qualifications that are most likely required for teaching jobs in Thailand for non-native speakers.
• Have a university degree
Have a degree from any recognised university and have all your papers in order. Having a degree in English language and literature is an added advantage as you can prove you know how to communicate in English. If you have a degree in education, it will be a bonus as you automatically qualify for a permanent teacher license. However, if you don’t have a degree in education or English having a degree in any subject is sufficient.
Related Article: 7 Things About Teaching English In Thailand Without A Degree
• Read, write and speak English proficiently?
English teaching for non-native speakers in Thailand is a great job if you have a passion for teaching. However, for you to land this job you need to be able to read, write and speak in English proficiently. You can take TOEIC or IELTS exams to prove you can communicate in English. For TOEIC, scoring at least 600 points proves that you are good in English and you can take up a teaching job. For IELTS, a minimum score requirement is band 5.5.
• Hold TEFL certification?
For you to teach English in Thailand, you are required to hold an undergraduate degree from any recognised university. If you have a TEFL certificate or other related certificates — a CELTA, an ESL or a TESOL, it is a great bonus as it will allow you to be comfortable in the classroom. Additionally, it will make your employer confident in your teaching skills. Although, the TEFL certificate is not a must-have when you are applying.
• Have a knack for teaching
Teaching requires you to be passionate about the job and for you to have interest kids. You can’t make a great teacher if your heart and mind are not into the job. You need to have a liking for the job and be great with kids. This will make your job easy, fun and enjoyable.
5. How non-native English speaker can boost chances of being hired to teach English in Thailand.
There are some tips for boosting the chances of getting English teaching jobs for non-native speakers in Thailand. Take a look at the list of tips below.
• Have a good looking CV along with a proficiency certificate
Basic mistakes such as incorrect spelling, grammar and punctuation happened all the time. These things ruin your first impression. So, be aware of that. Stick with the simple rules; keep it one page with appropriate highlights of your experience. Focus on what’s required for the job. For example, if you're going to teach young EFL learners, tell them why you're perfect for the job and list your teaching experience with younger students.
• You should be in Thailand
Interviews can happen online too, but being in the country while looking for a job is an added advantage. This will make the employer trust you and be confident that you are familiar with their culture, and won't be fazed or troubled by the new working environment. Additionally, on your part, it will be easier for you as you already know your way around the country and you won’t experience cultural shock.
• You should dress outstandingly well for the interview
Grooming is the key to everything; you need to make a lasting first impression on your employer. Going to the interview when you are neatly and smartly dressed will boost your chances of getting hired. Plus, you should understand that teachers in Thailand are quite respected. When you dress appropriately, it communicates to school officials that you respect their institution. You can find photos for reference on the school websites, see how the teachers dress and copy their dress code. For most female teachers, you will be expected to wear a skirt.
• You should be open-minded and ready teach other subjects too
Be open-minded and consider teaching other subjects other than English. Be ready to teach a geography or science class. This will show the school that you are a willing participant and you love teaching. Know that you will find some unique challenges for Thailand's education system and in learners due to particular local cultural values. You have to strive to be open and adopt some cultural respect that is shown to you.
• You should take advantage of your bilingual skills
Lack of previous experience in teaching EFL children can lessen your chance of getting hired. But since you are once a learner of English and a non-native English speaker, try to take advantage of your bilingual skills. Show schools that you can manage and control a class and can deal with students who have problems learning English.
Teaching jobs in Thailand for non-native speakers are plentiful as the country wants to educate their youth on how to communicate in English. Take this opportunity and apply for a teaching job in Thailand and explore a new country and new life.