Tag Archives: teaching 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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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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“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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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.

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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.

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