Ok, so Thailand probably isn’t on the phone for you. But chances are they will send you an e-mail if you are interested in getting in touch with the Ministry of Education. In fact, they will probably jump at the chance to respond to your e-mails because English speaking teachers are in high demand and they are looking to hire a lot of them over the next few years.
This topic is probably going to be most interesting to students currently at teacher’s college, completing concurrent education programs or are a recent graduate of either one of those aforementioned options. However there really are no limitations in age or education with this topic so listen up and pass this around if you know people who might be interested.
Why are we talking about Thailand today? Well other than the fact that I thought Cuba deserved a break, there are exciting opportunities currently available that people need to jump on right now to take advantage of before the chance disappears. So get ready to jump in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
The Thai educational system is growing at a rapid rate. The government in Thailand spends approximately 27% of their annual budget on education compared to the 14-17% that many other countries spend which gives you a pretty good idea of how strong their commitment is to the development of the next generations.
The Ministry of Education is building more schools, increasing class sizes and going on a hiring spree in order to cope. Both the public and private school systems are glutted with children and the demand is only increasing. This is causing quite a dilemma actually. The flux in the demand for teachers isn’t being met. Well actually that is only partially true. There are teachers for math, social studies, geography, history, and all those other lovely subjects that were the bane of my existence back in elementary school. I particularly wasn’t a fan of history. Remembering all those dates and odd names of dead people was never an interest of mine. What Thailand needs however, are English teachers.
Now I am not talking English teachers like we have here in high school where everything revolved around reading this really old book and writing a 20 page report on the different themes, prevalent characters and how the author was beyond his or her time. I am talking about English teachers that are more similar to our French teachers, where it is more like conjugate this noun and this verb and remember that the little accent goes to the left instead of the right.
I am referring to English as a Second Language.
Obviously your English is impeccable otherwise reading this article would be a bit of a tedious task. So already you meet one of the qualifications the Ministry of Education has for their teachers.
Due to the globalization of the workplace and international business boarders becoming obsolete thanks to technology, the business world is changing in favour of western culture. The use of English is most prevalent in media and the internet. The Thai government has long since realized the importance of the English language and is aggressively pursuing solutions to the language barrier, making English a core subject in the curriculum. So crucial is the implementation and incorporation of the English language to student education, many private schools and even some public schools are beginning to offer other core subjects such as math and business in English as well.
The Ministry provides twelve years of formal education for all Thai students. Six years at the primary level, and six years of secondary education. Students are required to complete at least nine years of schooling. The current education system is undergoing reform as class sizes are becoming larger with as many as 60 students due to the gross flux of demand and the underwhelming number of qualified teachers to fill that void.
Several thousand English native speakers are employed in the public and private school sectors. This practise is growing as it encourages the students to develop oral expressions and increase their knowledge of a foreign culture.
Why is this all so exciting? Well, as I have mentioned, they need teachers who speak English and as it turns out, you speak English. Therefore, you qualify for this experience.
Think about it. If you are a student teacher trying to get your degree then you understand the importance of getting classroom experience under your belt before you are launched into the fray of 30 some odd sticky and sweaty unruly 5th graders. My father is a teacher and has been for the past 25 years. The stories he comes home with would shock you at times as you wonder how kids can be so unreasonable. You have to respect the amount of patience and experience (and restraint) it takes to be able to deal with an 11th grader who decided he couldn’t wait to use the bathroom and peed out the back door of the classroom.
So what do most future teachers do in order to gain this valuable experience before they are tossed to the wolves? They volunteer in the classroom, get a job at a summer camp, find another teacher to be a mentor and a host of other activities all while going to school and trying to earn enough money to pay for said school since teacher’s college can take a minimum of four years.
Now we get to the really exciting part. The Ministry of Education in Thailand is offering teaching students a chance to come to Thailand and teach. They will provide you with accommodations, food, a job and a weekly stipend of spending money. They will train you, offer in-class experience dealing with students, mentor you, and share their culture, language and an endless supply of smiles.
If you accept an internship position in Thailand, it will not only benefit your future career (after all a teaching gig in Thailand is going to look great on your resume) but it will provide an amazing experience that you will be able to talk about for the rest of your life. Consider the fact that you will gain a global perspective for your career. You will be introduced to new teaching styles and practices that you would never have encountered if you stayed in Canada which will shape and round you out into a more effective leader of your classroom.
Like I said, get ready to jump. Ask your school advisors what international internships are available to you in the teaching field. Your experience might even be able to count as course credits. Thailand is not the only place offering teaching internship positions either.
Not a student? That’s fine too. Many seasoned and professional teachers that are looking to take a break from their normal classrooms are signing up for international teaching programs too. It provides valuable insight, a unique perspective and can prove to be quite the adventure.
Not a professional teacher? You are still welcomed to participate. The Thai government recognizes that English speaking natives without college or university programs also have a lot of knowledge to offer students. In fact, the only two requirements you need in order to apply for an international program with the Ministry of Education is that a) you speak English fluently and b) you are at least 18 years old.
Do your research. Below are links to general information on the Thai education system and some featured programs that you might be interested in.