Being a first-time teacher in Thailand can be challenging.
Aside from the stress of moving to a new environment and adapting to a new culture and customs, finding a teaching position can be challenging. Teaching agencies can provide valuable support, but they can also result in lower salaries and poorer working conditions. Here are some of the key aspects to assess when considering using a teaching agency in Thailand.
Benefits of using a teaching agency
1. Easier To Navigate The Bureaucracy In Thailand
There can be a lot of bureaucracy to overcome. From researching the schools and applying to jobs, to acquiring the necessary work permits and Visas, a teaching agency can help first-time teachers to make the process more manageable and less daunting.
2. Support Finding Work
There are many instances in which jobs are only listed in the Thai language, if at all. Very often, you actually have to physically visit schools and find out whether or not they are hiring. This can be an extremely tiring and long process. By going through a teaching agency, you have the potential to apply for positions you may never have known were available.
3. Provide Added Benefits
Many teaching agencies offer additional benefits, which can be especially appealing to first-time teachers. For example, employee benefits might include paid sick leave or personal days, with an added bonus if none are taken, as well as paid Thai holidays and two-week paid holiday leave.
Some teaching agencies also offer health insurance, new teacher referral fees and end-of contract bonuses. Depending on the teaching agency you work with, some also either provide teachers with lesson planning or support them to create it, as well as having a designated coordinator to provide ongoing support.
4. Provide Additional Support
First-time teachers may require additional support, including TEFL training or certifications, which they can acquire when working with a teaching agency. Additionally, teaching agencies can also help first-time teachers to find accommodation, as well as offering airport pick up for new arrivals. Some also arrange for transportation to your assigned school on the first day. More importantly, they can provide a valuable support network for new teachers, especially if you don’t have any existing contacts in Thailand.
Key considerations when thinking of using an agency
However, not all agencies work to the same standards and some are more reputable than others. Before signing a contract with a teaching agency, it’s important to consider a few key points.
1. Research Salaries On Offer
Make sure that you research the salaries on offer by the teaching agencies. For example, it’s useful to be aware that a 5 or 10-month contract means that you won’t be paid during the school vacations and your contract will end once the semester ends.
It’s helpful to research what the industry standard is in the area you are planning on moving to. Compare this with what you’re being offered from a teaching agency to ensure that you’re not being underpaid.
2. Check Testimonials On Other Websites
Look on different websites aimed at overseas teachers and read the testimonials about teaching agencies in Thailand. Avoid only reading testimonials on the teaching agency’s own website, as these are more likely to be highly biased or fake. If the majority of testimonials you find on other sites are positive, then you can be more assured that the teaching agency is in fact credible.
3. Avoid Any Agencies That Request Upfront Fees
Teaching agencies are paid a fee directly from the school and should not be requesting one from teachers. The only circumstance in which this might be acceptable is if the fee is being used to pay for a TEFL certification course. However, you should check that the course is internationally recognized and is being offered at an industry standard price before making any payment.
Moving abroad can be very challenging and, for a first-time teacher, a teaching agency can offer help and support to make the process easier to manage. However, it’s essential that you research the agency itself, as well as the contract on offer, to ensure that they are reputable and that you are receiving a fair and legal offer.
Kendra Beckley is a successful business development manager and editor at Write my thesis and. She specializes in supporting companies as they seek to enter new business markets and is especially successful at building long-term relationships with partners. Kendra also enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics. When not writing, Kendra enjoys travelling and learning new languages.