What Are the Expectations When Teaching Kids in Hong Kong

It is said that “the creative adult, is the child who survived”. Whatever the status of your inner child, working with kids will certainly nourish that. It is a great privilege and even greater responsibility to be able to work with children and making sure you’re doing it right or at least try to is important. In order to get your working visa in Hong Kong as a teacher for young kids, it is a prerequisite to have prior teaching experience with kids. Although I did have that, a very new experience awaited me.

Working with kids of various ages from 3 to 11 may sound easy but it’s not. It’s not difficult in a stressful way by any means, it just require lots of preparation, energy and understanding.

Preparation is Key

In my current role I teach specific classes and have the same kids for every class. I have my own classroom and that’s great because it becomes your space and home away from home. You get to decorate it and make it suitable for your students and yourself. Preparing ahead of your lessons is a must. There are some ESL Teachers at our center who wing it but in time this catches up with you and is not the best approach. I find that preparing and mapping out how I will achieve the objectives for that semester at the beginning is so helpful and makes my life much easier. I go into my classes knowing exactly what will be covered, have all the materials ready and try to cover everything a few weeks ahead of schedule so that I have time in case there are any glitches. This is especially important when working with really young kids because they need your constant attention so preparing anything in class can be a nightmare.

Children can also be extremely unpredictable and finish tasks fairly quickly, however badly or wonderfully they do it…to them, it’s done and they wait for what’s next. As a Teacher, it’s best to anticipate this and already have other tasks and activities lined up so that they are not left to their own devices. Preparation also helps when dealing with Admin or parents because if there are any questions or concerns, you are ahead of the game and are able to provide suitable responses.

A side note, Hong Kong does have many T3’s (typhoon warnings) and this will cancel kindergarten classes (hooray! for a free class) but not so much when you lose countless days and can’t catch up when their portfolios for international school applications are due – this is where preparation and working ahead of schedule can save you!

Personality: Keep it Light

When teaching kids you have to constantly possess high energy in the class, be full of expression, fun and playful. Children are eager for stories and if you can make your instructions fun and animated, you will be a winner with them. We are adults and sometimes life happens and you cannot always be full of enthusiasm but if you can at least start your class on a high, it sets the tone and pace for the kids and gets them excited for the rest of it. Being stern may be a must to ensure discipline and rules are adhered to but this needs to be done in moderation.

Children are extremely sensitive and if they fear you, they won’t like coming to class and eventually won’t. This affects business and ultimately you. Aside from affecting your professional role, it just isn’t kind to be too stern with kids to a point that they don’t want to attend class. We have to remember, they are kids and we have no idea why some of them act out the way they do. Best thing to do here is, breathe, count to ten, wear that smile and try again…softly.

A Visa Run in Thailand and What to Expect

What to Expect When Doing a Visa Run in Thailand

Your first visa run will be after your initial tourist visa runs out. This may be one month or three months after you arrive in Thailand. It all depends on if you came to Thailand without one before or if you got it while being in your home country prior to traveling there. Either way, you will eventually need to do a visa run which can be time consuming but also an adventure if you choose to make it one.

Things that are Needed

Prior to you doing your visa run, you will need a few things that your consultant agency will provide you. This includes copies of your passport, university degree(s), Thai contract, background check, and the Thai visa paperwork that needs to be signed by various individuals stating you are working there. This paperwork will line you up to go to the Thai Embassy in Laos or another country in order for you to obtain your Non-B Immigrant working visa that you will need to get to continue working there.

In addition to this paperwork, please note that you will want to save at least 6,000- 7,000 Baht ($175-200) for your visa run. This money goes towards your Thai Non-B visa cost (usually reimbursed), Laos visa cost for your visit there (visa plus entry fee that differs on the country you reside in), hotel and transportation costs, and the most important one of all, fun.

Visa Process

The Thai Embassy process consists of you dropping your paperwork off first thing in the morning one day and then retrieving it the following day after 1 pm. passport was placed. You will receive a number from them and this number just tells them where your passport was placed and has nothing to do with the order of the line of drop off or pick up.  You should be in Laos overnight at least one night but sometimes two. This all depends on your schedule and your visa status. After you drop off your paperwork in Laos, your time is spent how you want it and this is why I say to bring enough money to have fun with. Depending on the area of Laos, will determine what options you have surrounding you. Another teacher and myself went to Savannakhet, where the second friendship bridge was built connecting Laos and Thailand. In addition to seeing this sight over the long-bedded river, we also experienced the city of Savannakhet. We walked along the streets, went to the local market, went to a local place for lunch on a lake and fed fish, swam (which is a treat where we were in Thailand), and went too the White House for dinner. To go super crazy, we went to the casino in Laos and tried our luck for a couple hours. Gambling in Thailand is illegal so this was a nice treat. I didn’t win but my friend won some Kip which, paid for his dinner.

In conclusion, the visa run is not stressful but yet kind of like trying to find a treasure. The reason I state that is the process to get there can be quite challenging depending on if you have any directions. It requires taking the minivan to another station to get another minivan to get a bus to go over the border, then the visa to get into Laos followed by getting a tuk-tuk to take into the city. Make sure to negotiate with your tuk-tuk driver and don’t settle. After this portion, you then go to your hotel and have fun until you can drop off your paperwork first thing the next morning. After that’s dropped off then it comes back to having fun and relaxing and then finally you pick it up and you are set free to start the process of getting there backwards. If there is any advice that I can give, it is to pick your minivan seat wisely but, other than that have fun and enjoy the time off making it an adventure.

Apply English teaching jobs

How to Spend Free Time While Teaching in Thailand

Free Time, YIPPEE

Free time and what is it? As a teacher teaching in Thailand, you won’t teach 24 hours around the clock but, yet probably only teach five days a week from 7:30-4:30 pm depending on your school. The rest of the time, you can be asking yourself hmmm, what next? Well, don’t worry, there is plenty to do in Thailand and you may not get to do it nightly during the week but that is your call. It overall depends on you and your balance of life but, just in case you want more of insight let me help you with your options because moving to a foreign place in general can be somewhat nerve racking.

First Term – Travel / Explore

My first semester, which I thought was going to be my only semester and it wasn’t, I did a lot of venturing out to see the sites at every chance I got. It seemed like every weekend I was hopping on a plane, renting a car with friends, taking the minivan, or bus somewhere to explore what Thailand could offer. This landed me in places such as; Bangkok, Ubon Ratchathani, Pataya Noi, many national parks, the Candle Festival (held in June), and so much more. Exploring like this really occupied my weekends but, I found myself during the weekdays either working out at either the privately-owned gym or the free outdoor gym or hanging out with my new friends until I found myself in a state of needing sleep. This was at times very rewarding because I was in good shape and allowed me to get to know the others quite well but, this also could get boring to where you want more. 

Thailand is very peaceful place so depending on where you are placed will depend on your surroundings. I found that a lot of teachers were not placed in the high end touristy areas and it took them some time to get used to it coming from a busy western lifestyle but in the end, they loved it and really engaged themselves more within the communities or got to know themselves more. With all that I did the first semester, I really took a different mindset before my second term begun.

Second Term – Different Options

Prior to my second semester starting and returning from more overseas travel, I decided to try to reach out more to the community to see if I could get more involved by teaching more. I really wanted to get more teaching experience and become more with where I was living than just another foreigner. I wanted to show them how they have impacted my life and see if I could help them, which for me I was right. Luckily for me, I had a friend that knew of a private language school that might be interested so, I got her email and inquired about an interview. This was the best decision I made. The interview went smoothly and I got the job. I was going to be the head English teacher for the private school initially teaching two nights a week (adults) and then teaching on Saturdays (kids starting at 5 years old and up).

Teaching in Thailand

In addition to that, I was also able to continue working out because I also personal trained Thais twice a week. The second term really kept me busy but, I learned so much while teaching. For the private school, I used a completely different curriculum and I could explain more because the class sizes were significantly smaller than that of a public school.

The Truth – What Do You Want And Go For It

So, by now you might be asking yourself, why would I want to work more but, the truth is, you must determine what suits you. In reality, living in Thailand you won’t get paid westerner wages but, the cost of living is a lot lower and you can do a lot with what you do get, as long as you budget wisely. So, it’s up to you if you want to save money, explore, or whatever you choose. I decided that I wanted the best of both worlds and am more thankful for doing it because teaching more my second term helped understand the differences between the private and public but, I was also closer with the community with the students, their parents, and grandparents which was ultimately what I wanted. When you engage yourself in getting to know the Thai community around you, then you will truly understand the culture and why they are peaceful individuals.

Apply English teaching jobs