Matthew Pape

Teacher probationary periods

What schools don’t tell you when a teacher is hired

Being on YouTube I get subscribers asking me questions from time to time. One guy was telling me how excited he was about an interview that he had with a company here in Thailand. He wanted to come in March, but the employer wanted him to come within the next two weeks and he wanted to know what to do.

I told him to call their bluff. They were probably yanking his chain, and they needed him more than he needed them. He agreed that I had a good point and wrote back turning down the job proposal. In a move that wasn't shocking they wrote back and asked, "Okay so when can you come? Didn't you say March?"

Needless to say, he was smart and didn't take the job and decided he would keep looking.

So who's a probationary period for?

Something I never figured out until my second year of living this lifestyle is the deal with the probationary period. I'm a paranoid idiot who has been screwed by many jobs most of my life. So with my first two jobs I ever had with being a TEFL teacher I always got worried during the probationary period.

Then I made a realization. The probationary period isn't for me, it's for the school. That's why I made a youtube video lots of people were grateful for called, "What if my first year teaching job sucks?"

Don't get me wrong, you can't go in to the school and be useless, although if you did, since turnover is a pain in the neck, they might just keep you anyway. I just hope the people reading this has a hell of a lot more self respect than that.

Will you stick around?

The school gives you a chance to see how it's run. It tries to make you feel welcome as a new part of the team. This is how schools do things. Are you in it for the long haul and will you stick it out for the full contract year? If not, keep in mind, you're NOT beholden to that contract. If they wait for the 60 day period before setting you up with a work permit, you can easily tell them, "Sorry, this isn't going to work out," and in most contracts you can leave within a week.

If you decide to leave your job after you get a work permit, then that's another story where you have to report to them and they need to cancel the work permit. If they don't do that then you can't get another job. Hopefully you won't have a situation like that though.

That's it for my first blog, Please tell me what you think. Was this useful to you? Did anyone ever mention this to you before you got your first teaching job anywhere? What else would you like me to write about? Go ahead and leave it in the comments below.

Until next time

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel

Also please feel free to bookmark my website bloggity blog on that thing we call the internets (yes I wrote this wrong on purpose). I'm going to put lots of extra non-teaching type stuff that I think all of you will enjoy.


I've been caught up in two 90 day probationary periods. The one I'll address is I conceeded to a b3k lower wage during the period. It was a good school, I wanted the job.

Never again. No wage decrease and sixty days probation. WP in four months or they have my two weeks notice. The WP has never been an issue.

By Lou Mak, The Big Smoke (12th January 2017)

Interesting Topic.

I was nervous about my probation period but I think it isn't a big deal here.

I worked with one teacher who was often hungover, came in late most days, called in sick 2 hours after he was due to start work and he passed his probation. I also know of another person who the management said wouldn't pass his probation but in the end they didn't want to lose face and admit they hired the wrong person.

I get the impression that at most jobs here you would have to do something really bad not to pass probation.

By Richard, Nawamin (11th January 2017)

Hey Matt, great to see you on ajarn!

By Dan, UK (9th January 2017)

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