Tag Archives: TEFL teachers in Thailand

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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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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Hear from Our Teacher in Thailand – Miss Sophia

Before Coming to Thailand

Why did you want to teach in Thailand?
I want to teach English in Thailand because of the opportunity to travel to a place I’ve never been before and experience life like Thai people do. The food and beautiful country were big factors in my decision as well.

How was your experience finding a job through your agency On the Mark Education Consulting Inc?
On the Mark was extremely helpful in finding this job. I am so happy with the school, my apartment, and the town.

What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I used Expedia to book my ticket to Bangkok.

Teaching life in Thailand

Teaching Life in Thailand

What was your first impression of Thailand upon arrival?
My first impression was that Thai drivers are crazy! When I arrived, I was very sleep deprived after 20+ hours of flight time, so I was a little delirious. Also it was very hot. Bangkok is an absolutely massive city and once I got settled in to my hotel and took a much needed shower, I ventured out for dinner with some new friends. I found the Thai people to be very kind and helpful and the other teachers so nice!

What was the biggest culture shock about Thailand and/or in your current city?
The biggest culture shock to me has been the food. I had never eaten Thai food before coming to Thailand so I was really overwhelmed when I arrived. I live in a pretty small, rural community in Esan, so it’s tough to get Western food here. However, daily life is pretty normal, I just really miss Mexican food!

What’s your favorite memory of life in Thailand?
My favorite memory so far has been Loy Krathong. In our town there is a huge parade through the center and our school was in the parade. The Thai teachers dressed us up in traditional clothes and our landlady, Lin, helped us make our own krathongs! The parade ended up being four hours of dancing, chatting, and drinking with our Thai teachers and it was a real bonding experience. Once we arrived at the town lake, we released our krathongs into the water, which was an amazing experience.

What do you like most about working for your school?
My school is very relaxed and lets the foreign teachers really work with the kids and befriend them. I love my students because they are so creative, smart, and funny, even though they can be a little too cheeky at times! The kids definitely remind me why I came to Thailand in the first place. It’s so rewarding to see them grasp a new concept and enjoy a game or pronounce a difficult word correctly.

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
I wish I had known how to drive a moped or motorcycle! I’m teaching myself right now and it’s way harder than I thought it would be. I definitely should have learned more Thai before coming, but I know enough to get by now! I wish I had brought more shirts with sleeves. The temples are really big about women not showing shoulder. This should have been very obvious, and I did bring shirts that have sleeves, but most of my casual tops do not have them.

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save each month?
Yes! I actually save quite a lot of my salary every month because I live in a very cheap part of Thailand. It also depends on how much you travel in a month, but the cost of living in my town is very low. At most, I my first month’s salary.

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