Many people who want to travel the world either during a gapyear or an extended trip think of teaching as a means to finance their adventure. But how do you go about it? Luckily Thailand offers you the opportunity to start your travels and do things the right way. Teacher training is good - even if you are only planning to teach/travel for a year.
For many people around the world the term 'teacher' and 'traveller' are, to some extent, synonymous. For years English language students around the world have seen entrepreneurs feed their desires for a 'native English teacher' to teach them 'real' English by offering backpacking westerners a haircut, a shave, an advance to buy a shirt and a pair of trousers, and a few bucks an hour. Fortunately, although the poster on the left (seen on Khao San Road last year) may suggest otherwise, things have generally got a bit more sophisticated over the last few years.
Although you can still get teaching jobs in Asia without a degree, any form of teaching qualification, or any experience, they are getting fewer - and they really are not worth having. When I first started teaching in Thailand I was pretty much in this boat. I did my best, and I got a good reaction from my students. I quickly became committed to teaching and decided to give it a go as a career. And over the months (and then years) I got better at my new trade. Fairly quickly, the Thai students at the schools where I was working asked for me to teach their classes. They were happy to see me; we enjoyed ourselves - in Thai terms everything was 'Sanuk' (fun). There was only one thing wrong: Although there was a lot of teaching going only, and sometimes I broke into a sweat because of the effort I put into doing it, there wasn't much learning happening. In these circumstances you leave a lesson recognising one thing - the bottom line is that you are a charlatan. I was a well-meaning amateur and my students were paying for a professional. Without training you can't claim to be professional and so I decided to get myself some training as soon as possible.
Back then teacher training was hard to find, but with persistence, I got myself onto a month-long Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) training course. The result was almost divine revelation - the techniques I learned put knowledge into my students' heads and kept it there. Suddenly, there was potential for my students to get real value for the money they were spending on my services. I enjoyed teaching from that point forward…
Well, that was ten years ago. I progressed through the ranks and ended up working for some of the best institutions in Thailand. Along the way I have seen new teachers come, and new teachers come (I have to admit… I haven't seen that many go) and all of those who prospered had some form of teacher training.
"But", I hear you say, "I am only travelling for one year during my year off - what a waste of time p**sing around with a teacher training course". Normally I would say you were right, but if you head over to Thailand first, you can start your travels by doing your teacher training right here in Thailand.
Teacher Training in Thailand
Over the last number of years Thailand has become a leading centre for teacher training, not only in Bangkok, but also virtually everywhere else around the country. You can do it all - in the city, on the beach - you can even take teacher-training courses in a temple! All lead to some form of certification and the skills that will give you the self-confidence to know you aren't ripping your students off.
It's important to do a bit of homework if you are going to do teacher training in Thailand. If it's your intention to use Thailand as a springboard for teaching around the world, only certain training courses will do. But if you are intending only to teach Thailand, a variety of qualifications are available to you.
Here's a basic introduction:
Teacher Training Centre ECC (Thailand)
ECC (Thailand) offers the Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) at three locations around Thailand – Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. The CELTA is the single most widely recognized TEFL qualifications in the world and a must for those serious about taking up English teaching as a career and would like to teach in many counties around the world (rather than just Thailand). The course is available to anyone with native-English level English language ability aged 20+. Click here for more on Teacher Training Centre ECC (Thailand).
Steve wrote in recently with information on the AUA's SIT TESOL course: "The School for International Training, Vermont, has been a leader in the field of teacher training for more than 30 years as is recognized worldwide. Their SIT TESOL Certificate Course is now being offered in Bangkok in conjunction with the AUA Language Center. This 130-hour, four week course provides participants with professional knowledge and skills in teaching English to speakers of other languages as well as tools for their own reflection and growth as teachers.
Chiang Mai University TEFL
This is the only TEFL course in Thailand (in fact one of the few worldwide) that is accredited by an actual university. Its on a par with other certificate-level courses in terms of depth and instruction, with a full 120 hours of instruction (over 4 full time weeks) and significant classroom hours with hands on experience. A shorter, cheaper online course is also offered. Both methodology and phonics are taught, along with classroom management, lesson planning, interactive activities and materials, textbook review and grammar refreshers. Their certificate is internationally recognised and Chiang Mai is probably the cheapest and, students tell us, the most relaxed place in Thailand to be studying TEFL - the campus is beautiful.
SEE Siam Educational Experience
Become an accredited TEFL teacher and teach English anywhere in the world. SEE's 4-week 120-hour TEFL certification is internationally recognized. In addition, participants receive accredited cultural awareness training, Thai language instruction and a job-interview guarantee. Click here for more information.
This is just a taste of what's available in Thailand... there really are many more courses. Click here for more information on English language (EFL) teacher training courses in Thailand ... Ask around, see what people think...This is just a taste of what's available in Thailand... there really are many more courses. Click here for more information on English language (EFL) teacher training courses in Thailand ... Ask around, see what people think...
If you hear of any other courses, send us the details... We'll post the information... Use the form below!