Tag Archives: teaching in Thailand

Hear from Our Teacher in Thailand – Miss Alison

Before Coming to Thailand

Why did you want to teach in Thailand?
I wanted to teach English in Thailand to learn more about myself, the country, and the world. Teaching in Thailand would allow me to experience a new school system, delicious, food, and a beautiful country.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education Consulting?
On the Mark Education Consulting made it very easy for me to apply for a teaching position and quick to help me connect with my school in Thailand.

What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I booked through Expedia to find the cheapest flight.

Meeting new friends in Thailand
Meeting new friends in Thailand

Teaching Life in Thailand

What was your first impression of Thailand upon arrival?
Colorful! All of the temples are so beautiful. I love how even alleyways and buses are painted vibrant shades.

What was the biggest culture shock about Thailand and/or in your current city?
The biggest culture shock for me has been the slower pace of life and flexibility of schedules. I am still adjusting to having class cancelled as I walk through the classroom door or waking up early on a weekend to catch a bus that is an hour late.

What’s your favorite memory of life in Thailand?
I’ve only been teaching in Thailand for a little over a month, but my favorite experience thus far has been becoming friends with a Thai man who took my friends and I to the Phi Ta Khon festival in Loei, Thailand. We had lunch on a floating raft in the middle of a lake and finished the day with our first Thai BBQ dinner.

What do you like most about working for your school?
I love the energy of the students and the support and friendships I have with the other teachers.

My wonderful students in Thailand
My wonderful students in Thailand

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
I wish I would’ve known to bring less clothes- I brought way too much and now feel guilty when I want to buy some of the super cute (and cheap) Thai clothing. Instead, I would’ve packed a few boxes of mac and cheese, more bug spray, and more things to decorate my apartment with to make it feel homey.

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save each month?
I have student loans to pay each month back in America. This costs me half of my salary. Luckily, I am easily able to live off the remainder salary, although there is not much room for luxuries like travelling or splurging on expensive meals very often.

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Morning Assembly in Thailand

Morning Assembly and Your Shine

The morning assembly is part of the school’s culture and you get to be a part of it if you are teaching English at a public school in Thailand. It is a morning gathering of all the students, teachers, and other faculty members that occurs daily. It is a tradition you grow accustomed to and get to embrace. It will inform you of anything important that will be coming up but can also add a smile to our face depending on the activities presented. The information they provide can be very useful because it may affect your classes and/or schedule modifications.

Thailand School

The Beginning

Morning assembly starts at 8 a.m. when all the students are already lined up by class and mathoym.  My school consists of over 3,300 kids ranging from 11-18 years old (mathoyms 1-6) so, the students usually arrive around 7:50 a.m. to get in place. After they are all in place, the front student usually takes attendance. This may occur before or after the Thai National Anthem. The Thai National Anthem is a highly-respected tradition as part of the culture and is sung daily.

When they start singing this, no matter where you are, you stop walking and talking and place your hands to your sides until it is finished.  Following this ritual, there will be a Buddhist chant done by either a student or teacher.  During this time, you put your hands in a prayer stance and bow your head after each chant is completed. Follow the kids lead if you are unsure what to do and I know some of you may not be Buddhist, but most Thais are and it is a significant part of their belief system so, out of respect, I would encourage you to entertain it and follow along.

Thailand School

After the Anthem and Chant

After the Buddhist chant is completed, there is usually a teacher or student that will discuss what has been going on or what will occur. This part can include any upcoming activities, changes to the schedules, new faculty, and award ceremonies. The morning activities can be entertaining and really puta smile on your face, along with the kids. As part of this daily routine, the English teachers get to present on random subjects once a week.

At my school, this happens to be Tuesday and is known as Tuesday Talk. During Tuesday Talk, we perform a skit and encourage students to participate by either asking for volunteers to help us or by repeating some of the English words in the skit and demonstrating their meaning. We have also danced and sung which was funny to see but the students loved it by laughing and then following our lead. Thai students love to sing and dance so if you can incorporate this into your lessons, then you should. I understand that not everyone enjoys speaking in front of a larger crowd but, this is all a part of the wonderful package that Thailand offers and honestly after you do it a few times, you get accustomed to it just like teaching.

Some great examples of fun morning assembly talks include talking about the Olympics and asking the students about their favorite sports, singing You are my Sunshine and having them sing it with the motions too, teaching manners by saying please, thank you, sorry, excuse me, or I forgive you, and holiday festivities by singing Jingle Bells or showing the love that is shown on Valentine’s Day by demonstrating card giving or the love of a friendship. 

These morning English talks were successful in the way of getting the students to talk during the assembly and in the way of them remembering it and using it later on when they see you. Generally, the morning assembly and Tuesday Talk is a tradition that engages the students and teachers to come and start the day together and to let us all know of any important events that partake. It is moving to see the anthem sung and interesting to see the surprises that arise with each morning that I attend the assembly.

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Classroom Management in Thailand

Teaching is an Art

Teaching is an art that not everyone can be prepared to do. It requires someone that not only has a big heart but, also someone that is disciplined and ready for any adventure that may come their way. With teaching, you can prepare yourself for what is anticipated like, lessons, grades, events, etc. but, you can never prepare yourself enough for the unscheduled events or acts of students that leave you with your mouth open or you questioning what to do next. With moments like these, there are some helpful ways to help prevent some things thrown your way. Some of the things that you can expect are students being unruly or misbehaving and for this, you can prepare for some of it.

Classroom Management

Teaching in any country can be challenging but, also rewarding. In class, you can expect to have various characters for students. Some may be very good and listen while, others may be unruly and misbehave. I have found that the students that are unruly need just a little motivation to help keep them on track. I have had students come in 30 minutes late thinking it was ok, others not paying attention, and some just being talkative and disruptive. Though these students may be defiant, they are still good and just need some extra attention.

My class in Thailand

I have found that my misbehaved students do better when they are motivated and know that you take them learning sincerely. Which is why at the beginning of the semester, I first layout rules. Some of these rules include: coming to class on time, being respectful of their fellow classmates and myself, and that when I give them work to do, they need to do it because overall, it is for them and their bright future. As a teacher, you will need to figure out what ways work best for you and how to manage your class. I have come to conclude, that there is not a one way that fits all and for this you need to be creative. When it comes to classroom management, every teacher must consider all of their students and because of this, I do not believe in punishing the whole class for one student’s actions or having a disruptive student destroy another’s ability to learn.

A Technique to Manage

So, the question is, “what do I do when I have a kid be disruptive or disrespectful to prevent future issues?” Well, I believe in managing it and containing to prevent further disrespect which, is why I think physical exercise helps. When I have student that behaves badly to their fellow classmates or myself, I don’t give extra work and keep my fingers crossed that they do it but yet give a physical exercise. By physical exercise, I am referring to jumping jacks, burpees, push-ups and sit-ups. These physical exercises have worked wonders, and not only do they learn from doing it by counting in English, they also get mental stimulation by the endorphins going off in their brains.

My Students in Thailand

Depending on what we are doing as a class, will depend on when they do these exercises. I do not want to quit teaching to handout jumping jacks, etc. so, I wait for the best opportune time, may it be at that moment or be before the class ends. Based on what the issue was, will base my decision on how many of one exercise that they need to do. Sometimes, its only 20 while, others have been 50. It just depends on them and what they did wrong. This technique has helped my class realize that I am not a mean teacher but someone that has their best interest at heart. The class overall finds this funny when one of their own must do an exercise while, the student doing it learns they don’t want to do it again. This has been a well thought and proven technique that I have shared with my fellow teachers. They all thought it was great and have used it to help manage their classes. When you have classrooms full of 40 plus students, it can be challenging to keep them on task and behaving right but, this has helped. Moreover, being a teacher for the past few years, this has become quite productive.

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10 Helpful Strategies for Preschool Teachers

Over the last four months as a Nursery Teacher in Bangkok, I have learned some valuable strategies and lessons when it comes to teaching a class of two-year-olds. Here is my top 10 (hopefully at least one comes in handy for you!):

Safety comes first, no matter what.
Don’t worry about how much the children are learning or if they aren’t getting the hang of routines right away. As a nursery teacher, I would rather my students be safe, happy, and learn nothing rather than have an emergency medical situation on my hands.

Be adaptable.
Each school day will be unpredictable and you have to be able to roll with the punches. Whether you are dealing with unruly children, unexpected accidents, or your activities don’t go as planned, being flexible and thinking on your feet is key to being a preschool teacher.

Always have backup games and activities prepared.
Creating weekly lesson plans and schemes of work is a super handy reference in times when you can’t think of what to do next. As two-year-olds have such short attention spans, you will need lots of games to keep them occupied (the more the merrier, as some may not be a hit).

Drill the routines- it is NOT a waste of time.
For many students, this will be their first time at a real school. Children need predictability in their lives! It helps them understand what to expect, what is expected from them, and will help them become relaxed, confident, independent, and more cooperative.

Don’t give up if an activity doesn’t work right away.
Push through! If children aren’t listening, that doesn’t mean you should just move on to the next activity. Rather than focusing on the end result (i.e. making a perfect craft), focus more on the process and exploration of the activity. Keep it short, let them explore the materials and if they are jumping around while doing so, then is that really so bad?

Being a Preschool TeacherBe animated.
Making silly faces, laughing, singing, making hand gestures, dancing, and using high and low pitches when speaking or reading stories will keep kids more engaged and excited to learn. If you don’t seem engaged, the children most certainly won’t be either.

Let them know who is boss.
It can be stressful when getting your students to settle down and follow instructions, such as lining up or tidying up. Connect with your children, build trust, create a safe environment, create classroom expectations, be consistent, and with time, children will respect you as the authoritative figure. You don’t need to be a stickler about all rules, kids just need to be kids sometimes!

Plan developmentally appropriate activities.
Keep things simple. Kids in a nursery class shouldn’t be learning anything too advanced or doing complicated crafts (this will just lead to frustration). My students learn about shapes, numbers, colours, the alphabet, animals, etc. Don’t forget- two-year-olds also need ample time to play! Also, get to know your students and understand that they are not all at the same developmental level. Each child is unique and will learn at their own pace.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty.
Remember, you are responsible for inspiring your students how to be creative and encouraging them to use their imaginations. This often means getting messy- glue, paint, sand, dirt, marker, you name it! Not to mention the snot and saliva that comes along during flu season!

Don’t lose your temper.
As a teacher, yelling will only just damage your vocal chords, cause stress, and portray a bad message to your students. They will feed off your negative energy. But hey, be stern. Try to emphasize positive reinforcement instead, such as giving out stickers for good behavior.

As exhausting and overwhelming as the job may seem at the start, it DOES get easier and boy will it all be worth it!

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Hear from Our Teacher in Thailand – Evan Kiley

Before Coming to Thailand

Why did you want to teach in Thailand?
I wanted the opportunity to travel, but more so I wanted to have a unique purpose and thought teaching English to Thai youth would give me a greater purpose than anything I’ve ever done. I have experience with children so if you like to impact young lives then it is an awesome career! I thought it would be great way to improve public speaking and to grow professionally and culturally.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education?
It was very easy. I received a call the day I sent my application materials to On the Mark and had a job lined up at the time I wanted one, which was a few months later. I would highly recommend using On the Mark to get the ball rolling and jump-start your ESL career.

What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I used SkyScanner to find cheap flights and ultimately used the Virgin Airlines website, which also connected us to a China Eastern flight.

Teaching Life in Thailand

What was your first impression of Thailand upon arrival?
My first impression was awe of how a country like Thailand could be mountainous while seeming so tropical at the same time (in Chiang Mai). I was mainly struck by the scenery and loved it. The first person we encountered was a taxi driver who got us to our hotel right at the doorsteps. We saw him in the city later on and we recognized each other leading to a friendly, smiley ‘hello’. I was also impressed with the amount of respect for others Thai people had – the classic ‘wai’ is the Thai handshake and says a lot about the kind of people they are.

What was the biggest culture shock about Thailand and/or in your current city?
The biggest culture shock has been getting used to the lack of variety in food. You really have to get used rice/noodles with curry, chicken, and sausage. Thailand uses so much plastic which is eye-opening and is not very cleanly but it’s something I’ve gotten used to. Some of the people aren’t keen on foreigners but those who are certainly make up for it with their respect and friendliness.

What’s your favorite memory of life in Thailand?
Teaching my first class. I remember being extremely nervous, but it flew by and gave me a newfound confidence. Thailand has the most opportunities to experience nature at every level too: mountains, forests, lakes, countryside, beaches, metropolitan areas and more! Beyond that, I would also recommend going to a 4D movie – you won’t be disappointed.

My First Thai Class

What do you like most about working for your school?
I like how relaxed the atmosphere is and the amount of freedom the school gives us to work with our students. Seeing the students start to understand and enjoy your class is rewarding too. I think the relaxed approach is the best part, and coming straight out of college to this position it made the transition smooth.

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
– I still need to know how to transfer my baht to my American bank account before going home
– I would recommend a light sweater and one pair of jeans but that’s it for winter/fall wear
– Don’t be afraid to hassle prices if you think something is overpriced! Especially if the prices aren’t listed

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save?
I’ve been able to save about a third of my salary per month which is about 300 USD. Most of what I’ve saved so far will be spent on travelling during the break but next semester I will save about the same and bring back with me.

Beach in Thailand

 

A Day in the Life of a Nursery Teacher

Most expats who come to Thailand to teach usually end up teaching English. However, as a Nursery teacher at an International Kindergarten in Bangkok, I am fortunately able to teach a range of topics to my students in my very own classroom. I enjoy being able to teach a broad, fun, and engaging curriculum to students of different backgrounds. A typical day as a Nursery teacher goes something like this:

Waking Up/Getting to Work

I wake up to my alarm at 6 AM, although I don’t usually get out of bed until the last possible minute.  After I shower and eat breakfast, I head out and catch the Skytrain to work for 29 Baht ($1 Cad). Packed in like sardines, it’s a good thing the air conditioning is on full blast to keep sweating to a minimum. I pick up some local fruit and hop on a moped, which gets me to work by around 7:30 every day. If it’s raining, that makes getting to work a whole different kind of adventure.

BTS in Bangkok

Starting the School Day

My day officially starts at 8 AM, but I like to set up activities in my classroom beforehand and plan my curriculum for the days ahead. I also enjoy the peace and quiet, aka “the calm before the storm.” At 8:30 AM, I greet the students. I currently have 10 two-year-olds in my class and a teaching assistant who does more of the “dirty work” such as changing diapers.  By 9 AM, we head back to the classroom where the children put away their bags and settle down. We sing good morning songs, fill out the weather and days of the week board, and sing simple nursery rhymes. The children have an alternating Mandarin/Thai lesson, followed by snack time.

Depending on the day, we then take the children outside to play either on the playground, on bicycles, in inflatable swimming pools, or in the sandbox. After cooling off, the students do arts and crafts related to the theme of the week. For example, this week the theme was “Stories We Like.” We read The Three Little Pigs and made paper plate pigs and a straw/wood/brick house. The students also play games to improve their fine and gross motor skills, learn the alphabet, numbers, and shapes, do puzzles, painting, as well as pre-writing practice.

Finishing the School Day

At noon, both the students and I eat lunch together. Fortunately, I am provided with a delicious lunch at school every day. Following lunch, the students have “nap time” where they relax on foam mats with stuffed animals.My classroom in Thailand

Around 1 PM, students engage in music class where they can sing, dance, play instruments, and move their bodies to the rhythm! To wrap up, we read stories together and sing goodbye songs. I quickly fill out each student’s “Communication Booklet” with their eating habits, toilet habits, and mood from that day, as well as any reminders or special notes for parents. The school day ends and children are picked up by 2 PM. Occasionally I will chat with parents about their child’s progress or upcoming events.

I usually have from 2-4 PM to prepare crafts for the next day, update my weekly blog post, plan lessons, or socialize with teachers before heading back home on the Skytrain. Fridays are the exception, as I lead an after-school Painting Class for a few students from 2-3 PM.

Sounds fun to  you? Thailand is full of adventure and for me to teach English at an International Kindergarten in Bangkok is very rewarding. 

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