I did a little three-month trip after I finished university but never did the whole year. Maybe I wasn’t adventurous enough and also I think it was just too expensive for me. However, looking back at it, I think coming to work in Thailand for a year would have been the ultimate gap year experience.
The main reason I did just a three-month trip was that I didn’t have enough money to do more. I would have loved to have visited more places and gained more experience.
Most gap year teachers in Thailand will probably work for an agency at a government high school. The 30-40,000 baht a month would have made a huge difference to me and I think it would make a gap year great.
In general, if you’re planning to come here for a teaching gap year, you can get by and have a little trip every month based on your salary. If you plan to travel frequently then maybe budget to have an extra $200-400 a month saved before you arrive.
Imagine coming from your country and arriving on the first day of your initiation to find a whole room full of people on the same journey. I can only imagine the energy and excitement on that first day! The chance to meet people from all around the world with whom you can meet up with and exchange ideas and advice. It would be a great networking opportunity.
You will be placed at your school with at least one other foreign teacher from your agency but more likely there will be a small group of you together. This means planning weekend trips and dealing with life in a new country is much easier than you would think.
With the huge number of tourists in Thailand you will meet others - whether it is just for a few days on your trip or other foreigners who live near you.
Location, location, location
Some schools are by the beach, some are in the city, while others are in the countryside. All have their positives and negatives. Sometimes your agency will let you choose a location, sometimes you will get given a random location.
Many people dream of being by the beach but wherever you end up working, you will have an interesting environment and nearby places to explore. Transport in Thailand is pretty good. so even if you fancy a weekend by the beach, it isn’t hard to get there.
Work / travel balance
Some people worry that they will spend a lot of time working whilst on their teaching gap year in Thailand but that isn’t really the case.
21 hours a week is the most you’ll have to teach and with set working days and term times, it is simple to plan your travel time. You will have office hours for sure but you can use these to do admin and planning for trips away! By most days you’ll be home at 4.15pm and ready to enjoy the amazing sunsets and food that Thailand has to offer.
Teaching in Thailand
Perhaps you’re nervous about teaching in Thailand. The good thing is you will get training and most people who work in a school for their gap year really enjoy their work!
Most agencies will put on a training and induction weekend for their new teachers. These sessions will give you ideas on how to teach, cultural issues and travel tips. For those who want to do more teacher training before arriving have a look at the teacher training guides on Ajarn.com.
A lot of times the students will be super excited to see foreign teachers. Some schools find it difficult to get foreign teachers so they will really appreciate you being there. You will get to do a wide range of activities and might be asked to take part in shows, sports events or school trips.
Your agency or school will normally provide you with what to teach and you can create your own lessons and develop as a teacher over time. The good news is your agency will always be there to support you as they want you to enjoy your time in Thailand.
Real world skills
Teaching in Thailand for a year will give you so many real-world skills which employers will love. Working in a foreign country is great for your CV because it shows your flexibility, understanding of other cultures and possibly the ability to speak a foreign language.
Teaching also promotes a number of skills which are useful in many other jobs.
Firstly you will have to do a lot of admin work on your teaching gap year and using photocopiers, fixing the printer and writing reports are all things you will need to do in any office job. You’ll fill in spreadsheets and create posters which are useful skills to have. Teaching in front of 50 students is also a great public speaking experience for you.
An important part of teaching is planning. Planning is a transferable skill which can be used in many professions. Creating lesson plans and a syllabus will put you in good stead for your future job.
Nine or ten month contracts
Whilst you are in Thailand for a year it’s important to note that many schools are only open for 9 or 10 months a year. This means plenty of time for you to travel - a key part of your gap year!
A lot of full-time teachers in Thailand complain about 9 or 10 month contracts. Basically some schools don’t pay you whilst you’re on term breaks so check this out with your agency first to find out what the deal is. For these full time teachers, they miss out on money but as a gap year student you’ll already have savings put aside for your trip to help you get through these unpaid months (if your school doesn’t pay).
Thailand - the country
Thailand is an amazing place to visit. On a standard tourist visa you won’t have enough time to see everything. With a teaching gap year you’ll have a one year visa and enough time to see all Thailand has to offer.
Thailand is also a great hub for South East Asia. It is so simple to visit other neighboring countries so don’t worry that you’ll miss out on these places by working in Thailand.
Thailand for gap year teachers
A year spent teaching here in Thailand can be a valuable experience. The real-world skills you’ll learn will be useful. The friends you make will help you through the tough times and lifetime bonds can be forged. The chance to see real Thai towns and villages off the tourist trail will show you what the country is really like.
Overall I think if you’re planning on coming here for a year to teach you won’t be disappointed!
If you enjoyed this blog, check out my website - Life in a New Country
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