Tag Archives: Teach English in Thailand

Traveling in Thailand in 2021

Quarantine and Finding an Apartment

Our first month back in Thailand had its share of ups and downs. When we returned to Thailand there was little to no local transmission of Covid-19 so although life wasn’t back to normal it was a lot more normal than back home in England.

We were able to apartment hunt freely, go to bars, enjoy rooftop parties and pool parties as well. Finding an apartment in a foreign country isn’t as daunting an experience as you might think. As we had 2 weeks in our quarantine hotel we had a lot of  time to research the different apartment complexes in the area we were staying. We narrowed it down to two that we liked and contacted agents through a local apartment hunting website 

They arranged a date and time for some viewings and took us to the complex we liked most. After looking at a few different rooms we settled on one and we were able to move in the next day.

Due to the massive amount of choice of apartments you have in Bangkok the prices are relatively low. Our apartment only costs around 9500 baht (£250) a month. Water bill costs are extremely low, around 150 baht (£4) and electricity is quite cheap too – around 1200 baht (£30).

Back to School During Covid

After we had our first week back at work we headed out to catch up with our friends who’d made the right decision to stay in Thailand throughout the pandemic. Bars were basically fully open and rooftop parties were able to happen – it was a far cry from being stuck in our homes for the past 7 month in England.

We had a great night at a rooftop party at the Novotel Sukhumvit 20 with our friends before returning to the same hotel the next day for a rooftop pool party on my birthday. This was definitely one of our best days/nights we have had in Thailand so far. It was like being back to normal life – pre Covid.

Traveling to Koh Chang for a Holiday

Our next week at school was a short one as there were two national holidays on the Thursday and Friday, we used the holidays to go to an island we hadn’t visited before – Koh Chang.

It is a six hour bus ride from Bangkok at the low price of 260 baht (£6) and a 30 minute ferry ride to the island but it is 100% worth it. Although the island has suffered quite a bit from the lack of tourism due to Covid it is still a beautiful place to visit. We basically had the entirety of Klong Prao beach to ourselves and this beach is one of the best beaches we have ever been to.

In normal times the island would have had a great nightlife scene too but because of there being no tourism there weren’t many bars/clubs to visit on a night. The island still had so much to do though. If you got tired of the beaches, you could go trekking to one of the many waterfalls. If that wasn’t for you, you could hire a bike and explore the island.

Klong Prao Beach

This is definitely one of the better islands to visit along this coast. It is large enough to be fun to explore but also not overly westernized with shops/supermarkets/chain restaurants everywhere. Unfortunately for us this was our last week of normality as a cluster of Covid cases were found in Samut Sakhon which has shut down a lot of the country while they try to regain control of the virus.

Hopefully with the strict measures in place it doesn’t get too out of control and life can begin returning to some sort of normality again soon. Until then, we are back to teaching online.

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Returning to Teach in Thailand During the Pandemic

Back in March, me and my girlfriend Rebecca made the difficult decision to return home during the uncertainty that was created by the beginning of the pandemic. We had only been teaching English in Thailand for 6 monthsbut we loved it. We lived in a small town in Chonburi around 45 minutes from Bangkok which was close enough to the city and a few islands we visited often. It made the decision to return home to England difficult but one we thought we had to make. However after seven months being at home we decided we had had enough of England and made the decision to return to Thailand to teach English– no matter how difficult it would be.

Where Things Get Real

After searching for jobs on various websites we contacted On the Mark Education and Mark arranged an interview and a couple of weeks later we had the jobs. We spent hours researching the ideal ASQ hotel for us (the cheapest with a balcony) and decided on The Cotai. A lot of paperwork and one Covid test later, we were finally on our way back to Thailand.

Without any doubt, the quarantine was difficult. As me and my girlfriend aren’t married, we weren’t allowed to share a room and the food wasn’t great to say the least. The days were boring but it was bearable and definitely worth being back in Thailand.

Two weeks of quarantine passed and we were finally allowed to leave our hotel and return to our lives of teaching in Thailand.

We took a taxi to another hotel we had booked for a couple of nights and hunted for the closest pizza shop we could find – quarantine had us missing the simplest things.

It Was a Smooth Start After All

The school had given us a few days to get settled and find a place to live before we had to begin our orientation. Luckily there are more apartment complexes in Bangkok than anything else so we were spoilt for choice. It didn’t take us long to settle on a place and we were moving in the next evening.

Things that are usually so boring back home like furniture shopping and food shopping are pretty much just as boring here too! It’s easy to get almost everything you want/need in the many malls/department stores/markets and most people speak English especially here in Bangkok. You won’t likely be missing any comforts of home because you can get a lot of that here too.

Teach English in Thailand

We headed into school on the Thursday morning with quite a bit of excitement, I had been unemployed in the UK for the past 7 months and Rebecca had been teaching online. We began our two day orientation and met our students before we made it to the weekend.

Our first weekend with very little Covid restrictions was amazing. Simple things like being able to play pool with strangers and celebrate goals being scored in bars were things we missed so much but never even realised.

We had all sorts of ideas lined up for the weekends to come including pool parties, island trips and catching up with our friends but for now it is Sunday night and we are prepping for our long awaited return to teaching English in Thailand.

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Travel Alone to Teaching English in Thailand

I decided to travel alone overseas for the first time to teach English in Thailand.  Anyone that has ever traveled anywhere knows the thrill and excitement that comes with it, seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, trying different food, meeting people etc. It is all great and once you start travelling it’s like the travel bug bites and you simply can’t stop. It becomes a way of life. It is however a whole different ball game when you travel alone. It is somewhat scary, entering the unknown all on your own. Airports become this big scary bustling place with people running everywhere and soon you can feel quite overwhelmed.

Saying goodbye to my family and friends at the airport was one of the saddest days of my life, not knowing when I would see them again. I felt very uneasy and I started doubting whether I had made the right decision to go work overseas, but I went along with it and everyday things got a little easier. Thank goodness for social media, it really does make it easier to keep in touch with people on the other side of the world. Thailand was amazing, it truly is the land of smiles and super spicy food! I met some of my best friends to date there.

My next trip was to Laos for a visa run and this was quite interesting as there is simply just a river and a bridge dividing Thailand and Laos. I thought these two countries would be similar but I was in for quite a surprise as things were very different in Laos, the people were not as friendly the bread was amazing though! (Bread in Thailand somehow always needs to be drenched in either condensed milk or some sweet sauce.)

My next adventure took me to Vietnam, we had the absolute best time, sight-seeing tanning on the beach, swimming in the sea, riding scooters without helmets until the cops stop you and realize you are a foreigner then letting you go. Again Vietnam is so different to its neighboring countries but it left me breathless and in awe a couple of times.

Travel in Cambodia

A few months later I decided I wanted to go see Angkor Watt in Cambodia which was also a solo trip and this holiday absolutely changed my life, it was the most calming and mind-blowing experience, walking around all those ancient watts and just taking all the natural beauty in at the same time. The people I Cambodia were so helpful and nice that I did not want to leave. I still reminisce about this place.

The fact of the matter is travelling solo is obviously very scary at first and a lot of people would rather go with someone than alone, but I feel like you learn so much more about yourself when you go on your own. You truly get to know yourself and get to reflect on life and all it has to offer. The biggest thing is leaving your comfort zone and once you have done that the world truly is your oyster!

In terms of my time teaching English in Thailand, I had a wonderful time at my school.  I found my job through On the Mark Education which was a very pleasant company to work with.  They helped me through the whole process, from getting a job interview to accept a job offer.  Teaching English in Thailand is relatively easier than other countries I would say as the program I signed up for was only a 4 month contract. This program gave me a glimpse of what teach English in Thailand is like and it turned out amazing for me. 

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Finding School Supplies in Thailand

When you start at your new school you may find that you will have to go shopping for supplies for your classroom. Not all jobs will provide you with all the essential materials for your classroom. Depending on your school and situation, all of the teaching materials may be provided, or possibly none at all. I cannot speak for other schools, but thankfully my school provides me with a monthly allowance to spend on teaching materials for my lessons, crafts, and activities. I am grateful that On the Mark Education found me a English teaching job in Thailand. Beijing in Bangkok makes finding school supplies in Thailand easier.

Finding School Supplies in Thailand

Planning It Out

I find it extremely helpful to plan out the majority of my lessons, activities and crafts the week before so I know what material I will have to buy over the week or weekend. I make sure to keep in mind what materials I already have in my classroom so that I don’t accidentally buy more of what I already have. I also try to keep the majority of my activities and crafts very simple so that I do not have to buy expensive materials. It’s good to keep in mind how many kids you have in your class, and to always buy a little extra just in case something goes wrong. I also make sure that the materials needed for my activities and crafts are age appropriate and safe for my students to handle, you don’t want any choking hazards.

Where To Shop

I was very surprised at how both easy and difficult it can be to find supplies for my classroom. Many of the supplies that are easily available back home can be non-existent in Bangkok, while other materials that you never knew existed are everywhere. When buying supplies for my classroom, I shop at a handful of different stores. Tesco and Big C are two of the main places that I find it easy to shop at, they don’t always have the most diverse selection, but they provide high quality materials for a moderate price. I also shop at some smaller local shops, such as Mr. DIY, where I tend to find the best prices. A store that many of my colleagues shop at is B2S, a major craft store where you can find basically anything you can think of, though I tend to think shopping there is a bit too expensive. Another great place to find materials are the many local markets around Bangkok, such as Chatuchak and China Town. Some of these markets have more than you could ever imagine, though if your school requires receipts for tax purposes, you may want to stick with the more established stores.

Finding School Supplies in Thailand

Be Creative, Use Resources, Save Money

Sometimes being creative about your materials can save you a lot of money and time. Use recyclable materials from your house for crafts. Try and save a lot of your cardboard, toilet paper and paper towel roles, anything that can be used for future crafts. Try and keep a lot of scraps and un-used materials from previous activities and crafts, they can definitely serve a purpose in the future. Use the Internet! Google and Pinterest are your best friends when finding fun, cheap, and creative crafts. Finding School Supplies in Thailand shouldn’t be too troublesome if you know where to look.

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How to Talk to Preschoolers?

For the last year, I have been teaching a class of two and three-year-olds at an international kindergarten in Bangkok. The students in my class come from a variety of backgrounds: Korean, Japanese, Nepalese, Thai, British, Vietnamese, Chinese, German, American, and Indian. I feel that the best thing I did to help my students develop was to TALK!

It can be challenging to keep their attention at times, so here are a few ways to talk to your preschoolers in school so that they will listen.

Teach in an International kindergarten in Bangkok

Make Eye Contact

When disciplining your children, get down to their level, look them in the eyes (not too intensely!), and say what you need to say (you can even get them to repeat it). I find that yelling, especially from afar, is very ineffective and can become a bad habit because your students might also model this behavior.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement rather than just saying “No, no, no.” First of all, saying “no” all the time is just exhausting! I found that giving praise and small rewards such as stickers or being first in line for snack are much better motivators. Using positive reinforcement for good behavior will encourage them to do more of the good behavior and less of the bad. You could also say things like “We use our walking feet inside. You can use your running feet outside, okay?”

Keep Instructions Short, Simple, and Direct

To help your students follow directions, keep it short, simple, and direct. Children are more likely to follow instructions if they have a sense of control. Try using one or two-step directions such as “First take off your shoes then go wash your hands.”

Use an Appropriate Tone of Voice

My verbal tone was key when teaching the two and three-year-olds in my class. Whenever I welcomed a new student, I found that a calm, soft, gentle, and affectionate tone to be most effective in helping the child feel comfortable. However, it did NOT work when trying to guide or discipline my students—Instead, a firm tone worked much better. Try to match your facial expressions to your tone- children are more sensitive to nonverbal cues than you think!

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Did you know it takes 21 days to create a habit? Repetition is key for learning and mastery of new skills to take place. I like to repeat explanations so that my students know what will happen next. For example, I say “In 10 minutes, we are going to tidy up for lunch!” then “5 minutes until clean up!” This also provides them with a sense of time. As well, I’m a strong believer in kids having manners so I get my students to repeat words such as “please,” “thank you,” “sorry,” and “excuse me.” The more you repeat instructions or general rules of behavior, the more your children will accept them. Don’t give up!

While it is challenging to teach a bunch of 1 to 3 year old kids, it is very rewarding and such a learning experience for me as a nursery teaching in an international kindergarten in Bangkok.

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“Weird” is Just a Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective

Thailand is country that is full of many weird and strange things, but it’s good to remember that “weird” and “strange” are a matter of perspective. These things may seem different to you, and may make you think “What in the world? That’s something you don’t see every day!” However, these things are completely normal to Thai people. I can’t even count how many times something has turned my head, made me take a second glance, and made my jaw drop, but that’s the fun of it. These weird things are part of the culture shock- some are exciting and entertaining, while others can make your stomach turn. I got a chance to experience it while teaching English in Thailand.

Surprisingly Delicious
deep fried frogs in Thailand

One of the most enjoyable and interesting things that you will not only see in Thailand but eat as well, is the food. This is the case in most foreign and exotic places you travel to, but for me Thailand and all of South East Asia has definitely taken the cake. Since I’ve been here I have seen all types of insects that you can eat, from grasshoppers to scorpions, with stingers, pincers and all. On a daily basis, I walk by markets where they sell live toads, eels, and even turtles, all for the purpose of consumption. The driver for the school I work at offered me some of his deep fried frogs for a snack at lunch, which to my surprise was very delicious. However, there are still many things here that I haven’t gotten around to trying. Next on my list… rat?

It’s Not Always Easy

Though many things in Thailand are exciting and unique, not everything has been easy to look at. This is partially due to my personal background and morals, which I understand are not the same across the world. It can be difficult sometimes to see something you don’t ethically agree with on a personal level, but have to understand the different cultural norms. One day we were riding in the back of a tuk-tuk when I looked to my left, and to my disbelief I saw around twenty-five live chickens tied down to the back of a moped. It took me by surprise that they weren’t in at least a cage of some sorts, but tied down in a heaping pile of feathers. As I looked in aw, taking out my phone to try and capture this bizarre moment, I realized that everyone around me was staring as if I was the strange one!

Weird food in Thailand

Sometimes I forget that “weird” is a matter of perspective, that here in Thailand I am the one who stands out as strange and different. That is the beauty of the world we live in! It is full of so many diverse and unique cultures and no matter how far you travel, I guarantee you will find unique and beautiful things (Thailand will not disappoint!)

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