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Why applying for jobs in Thailand by e-mail can be such a minefield
Applying for teaching jobs in Thailand by e-mail can be a frustrating process at the best of times.
I remember years ago, Ajarn used to post job ads for a school where the contact person checked her e-mail once a week, between 9.00 and 10.00 am on a Monday morning. If you sent her an e-mail at 10.30, tough luck, you would then wait a whole week for a reply. And the school contact person saw nothing wrong with this.
While this extremely odd approach is probably an exception to the rule, Thai schools are still notoriously poor when it comes to communicating by e-mail. To compound matters, using email is becoming far less popular.
Thailand, like many other countries, relies almost totally on messaging apps such as LINE and Facebook Messenger these days.
This short blog is mostly aimed at Filipino teachers, who seem to be the main nationality looking for teaching jobs right now. At the time of writing, Ajarn has 1032 resumes (from all nationalities) in its online database (I have never seen the number that high) However, if you use the filter function, fewer than 300 of those teachers looking for work are currently living in Thailand.
The harsh reality is that if a teacher is not in Thailand and available for an interview immediately, schools, employers and recruiters simply aren't interested in you.
Employers are not interested in going back and forth, answering numerous questions, to a teacher whose plans may change at the last minute and may or may not take them up on the job offer. Employers have been bitten too many times. They simply view it as a waste of time and effort. It's far better for them to recruit a teacher who is already here and has some experience of Thai culture and Thai students, and is used to the environment and how things work.
Even top-paying international schools get bitten.
I remember an international school recruiter telling me a while back, 'many teachers do a staggering lack of research before they arrive from halfway across the world to take up their 150,000 Baht a month position with benefits'
"After a couple of months, they are complaining the weather is too hot, the food is too spicy and they can't seem to make friends. The list goes on. Then they leave a couple of months into the term and we're scrambling around to find a new teacher. It's far easier and far less of a gamble to take on a teacher who already knows the ropes"
Want to get a teaching job in Thailand? Do your research and move here first*.
*This may not apply to high-level international schools who sometimes still recruit directly from abroad, but it will certainly apply to the vast majority of the more 'regular' teaching jobs.
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In my experience, things look like this:
1) Agencies mainly collect resumes to find naive native speakers who will accept their embarrassing job offers. This can be seen especially on Facebook groups and sometimes on Ajarn. The goal of the agency is to find naive, inexperienced native speakers ready to accept the worst conditions.
"You live in a paradise, mate, so accept 30k and 10 months".
2) If a Thai teacher is in charge of recruiting, most often we will not get any response and if we do, it is 1-2 sentences long. Thai English teachers are afraid to write in English.
3) If a Filipino is in charge of recruitment (because a Thai teacher had the ad placed on the Internet), we will get answers to all possible questions, in a very short time.
By Jason, World (23rd February 2023)