Before we get started, I want to make it clear that I have never taught English in Thailand. I have friends who have taught in Thailand and all over the world – but I, myself, have never taught English abroad or at home.
I started to look into teaching English during my stay abroad after realizing it would make getting a long-term visa much, much easier. I know. Not exactly the noblest of intentions.
However, during my research I started to get more and more interested in the possibility. In the experience. I’ve read dozens of books, hundreds of blog posts, and more forum threads than I care to count in the past few weeks and I’ve made my decision. But I’m not going to tell you what it is!
Teaching is a major commitment – and I’m not just talking about the time involved. It’s emotionally taxing and often very stressful. Combined with a language and cultural barriers it might just be too much for some. I’ve compiled what I feel were the primary factors in helping me make my decision. I hope they help you as well!
The material I found most useful often came from books – in both paper and eBook form. However, there were some notable blogs/articles that I think are well-worth the read.
- Teaching English in Bangkok – Bangkok Stickman
This is a fairly popular destination for articles about life in Thailand. There are a ton of ads on the main site, but if you can ignore that, there is some really great information here (ignore the frequent editing errors!).
And that’s really it that I can recommend right now. Most of the blogs I read were either full of poorly written, difficult-to-read information or only contained one or two relevant posts about their teaching experiences.
There are a many quite a few eBooks about teaching English in Thailand and a couple that really stood out to me. The main things I look for in any book are:
- Good writing. Not great – but good. I hate re-reading sentences and staring at a wall of text.
- Relevance. Some books went off on wild tangents about their travels and gave only passing details about their teaching experiences.
- Unique insights. Have I read this exact same story somewhere else?
And here they are!
- How to Teach English Overseas – Matthew Kepnes
This book is extremely straight-forward and easy-to-read. It contains all the information you need to get a basic feel for teaching English abroad and not much more. Note that this book is not Thailand-specific and the last half contains information for just about every country you’re likely to consider traveling to. It’s PDF only and the table of contents is listed at the above URL.
- The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Thailand – Mike Fook
This is a really good practical run-through of what it’s like to teach English in Thailand. The writing is clear and enjoyable and contains a lot of useful information about planning for the trip (including how much money to initially bring, a pro/con look at each major teaching area within Thailand, and a great explanation of what “Thai Face” is). I think this book is an absolute must-read when preparing for the move.
- To Travel Hopelessly – English Teacher X
This book is not strictly about teaching English in Thailand. It can get vulgar (though not as bad as his other books!) and sometimes it’s pretty raw – but it’s honest. I include this book in the list because it gives you a good idea of what you’ll feel when you’re on the other side of the world, relatively poor, and living by the whims of authority figures in a culture you probably don’t understand. Highly recommended for both it’s practical and entertainment value.
I’ll be continually updating this list with any new resources I find and with suggestions from others.
Best of luck and happy reading!