Teaching in Bangkok

Traveling in Bangkok is a world away from actually working here. There are social etiquette's and cultural clauses to tackle as well as actually finding a job. Here is a list of the 8 most valuable pieces of information I can conjure up to get you started!

Me with my lovely students on a school trip
1. Female advantage. Bangkok is crying out for young female teachers so don't get duped into thinking you need a dodgy agency to help you or to take a low paid job. Take your time to find an employer that suits you and your expectations. With the correct documents your looking at 40,000 B + a month.

2. Correct certification. If you want a job with a visa you need to have a degree and a teaching certificate. I did the CELTA which is a more comprehensive version of the TEFL. But having a TEFL is just as good when finding work here. If you don't have a degree but have a teaching certificate you can find work but you will have to do a visa run every 3 months to Lao or where ever. 

3. Do it your self. Don't be daunted by the prospect of just getting out there and finding a job. I found my job by getting a list of language schools in Bangkok, calling the reception and asking for the managers name and e-mail then sending a direct message. Also make a profile on Ajarn.com and let the schools find you. Simple. 

4. It's all about appearances.  In Thailand job descriptions specify age and weight and appearance is hugely important. So how you look on both your CV and during an interview is absolutely essential. For your interview you should wear a smart skirt (not trousers) and a crisp white shirt with the relevant accessories (watch, bag, necklace etc). Tie your hair into a nice neat bun and apply perfume, how you smell is important as they encounter too many smelly farangs. Before my job interview I went into a department store, found the most responsible smelling perfume and borrowed a few squirts.

5. Understand your hours. Think about the hours your potential employer is offering you before you take your job and how this could effect your other priorities. I love my job, but the hours are a disadvantage. I start at 12 and finish at 9 and my days off rotate so I can't make any long term commitments with regard to sports clubs or volunteering. Luckily I have made friends who I work with therefore we can accommodate each others crazy schedules. But for the friends I had with normal hours jobs... well I haven't been able to see them and it has caused the friendships to, regrettably, almost fizzle out.  

6. Thai rules. Working with Thai's is great, there smiley and happy and it's a fun working environment all round, and everyone gets a cake on their birthday! But western logic and efficiency have no place here. This is Thailand, a country which has never been colonised and is truly individual, sometimes it can be hard to understand where things are going. But whatever you do, don't get frustrated and lose face, just let it be.

7. Fat is funny. Thai people say it how it is, there is no avoiding it. Unless you are a UK size 2 to 6 you are fat, if you look tired they will tell you and if you have spots this will be brought up to. They do it to us, they say it to each other and its perfectly normal small talk.  Just last week my student cradled my belly in her hand and told me I should get to 'fitness' and I'm a UK size 8. My colleague is a respectable UK size 14 was asked if she was pregnant by a flamboyant member of staff who knew very well she's not pregnant. Don't get offended just laugh because it's either meant to be funny or said out of genuine concern.

8. The teaching bible. I bought books recommended for my CELTA, used them for that month and never opened them again. But the bible of all teaching books can help you make lessons, worksheets and  understand a lot too, I present to you Teaching English Grammar! Scrivener. J, (2010) Teaching English Grammar: What to teach and how to teach it. Macmillan.  

What advice do you have for female teachers in Bangkok? Is there any of my advice you think could be improved on or anything I have missed out?


  1. Great stuff Rosie. Miss you and the other guys. A very good (female) friend of mine is coming out there to teach soon, and I love it if you could take her under your wing..?!! Look forward to catching up again soon.

    1. Hay Chris glad you like the blog! yes I'd be happy to show her around, send her my details :)

  2. Great stuff Rosie. Miss you and the other guys. A very good (female) friend of mine is coming out there to teach soon, and I love it if you could take her under your wing..?!! Look forward to catching up again soon.