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Learning how to teach in Phuket

PHUKET: Welcome to the first installment of Ask the Ajarn – a new column dedicated to providing accurate and current information to the island’s foreign teachers, parents and everyone who is interested in local education issues.

Friday 28 September 2012, 02:43PM


To get things started, we’ve answered a few of the most commonly asked questions.

What types of teaching jobs can be found on Phuket?

The vast majority of teaching opportunities are found within mainstream education. This includes pre-school, as well as primary and secondary levels of education within government, private and international schools.

Language centres also employ a large proportion of Phuket’s foreign teachers. These centres offer a wide variety of classroom settings such as conversational English, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English for Specific Purposes (ESP), test preparation, business English and even positions in mainstream schools.

Phuket also has two universities that employ foreign teachers: Prince of Songkhla University (PSU) and Rajabhat University. In addition, Phuket’s technical colleges also employ some foreign teachers.

Corporate teaching is also an option, but finding employment directly can be difficult. These jobs are almost never advertised and almost always awarded through personal recommendations. While some of Phuket’s hotels will hire teachers directly, but these jobs are most commonly found through a language centre.

Finally, many of Phuket’s teachers work on a freelance basis. Please be aware that this type of employment is almost always done without a proper work permit. This means the work is illegal, and if you are caught it can lead to heavy fines as well as deportation from Thailand. While the chances of experiencing a run-in with the authorities are very low, the consequences can be severe.

 

What is the average teaching salary in Phuket?

Full-time mainstream education and university positions pay between B30,000-33,000 per month. This will include minimal health insurance, paid holidays and perhaps an end-of-contract bonus.

Pay at private schools is typically higher than at government schools, but private schools require slightly heavier workloads. Private schools such as Konjonkiet, Darasamuth and others offer extra lessons after school. Teachers at these schools are able to supplement their income by teaching extra classes.

The average pay rate for part-time work is about B250-350 per hour. Unlike full-time work, pay for part-time work is based only upon the number of hours actually taught and does not typically require any office hours. Unless teaching for a language school on a full-time basis, do not expect health insurance or any other types of remuneration when working part-time.

 

Do I need a degree to teach in Phuket?

The most accurate answer to this question is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

QSI International School Phuket

Thailand’s Ministry of Education (MoE) and its Teachers Council of Thailand (TCT or Khurusapha) oversee teacher licenses and if working in mainstream education, a bachelor’s degree or better is required as a minimum qualification for legal employment that will lead to a teaching license.

However, language centres and private corporations routinely hire teachers who do not hold degrees. Depending on the circumstances, this type of work may or may not be legal.

Ironically, the MoE does not require a bachelor’s degree for most post-secondary teaching positions in Thailand. However, Phuket’s two major universities do require degrees as part of their own employment policy.

 

When is the best time to find a teaching job?

Within Thai-curriculum mainstream education, March to April and September to October represent the best times to find work. International schools follow a schedule similar to those found in the West so most jobs are available from May to August.

For language centre work, employment can be found year-round. If looking for work in Phuket’s hotels and resorts, expect most vacancies during low season.

 

Do I have to speak Thai in order to teach?

No. While Thai language skills will help in relation to other aspects of teaching, speaking Thai and using a teaching technique known as direct-translation is actually frowned upon by most employers.

 

How can I get a question answered next month?

Readers who have comments or questions for the next column should email asktheajarn@gmail.com

Eric Haeg has a decade of teaching experience in Thailand and is currently employed as an EFL teacher trainer and employment consultant in Phuket Town.



 

 

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