Thailand:5 Ways to Assure a Job as a black teacher
When you think of the hiring process and practice in this day and age we’d like to think that everyone has an equal opportunity to be employed. This is, of course, given you have the required qualifications. Usually the first thing people interested in coming to Thailand ask me about is getting a job and how difficult it is to get one.
Traveling half way across the globe to a foreign country where you don’t speak the native language is a big step. It’s important that you find a good job with a positive environment to help you settle in. I was lucky enough to have that as I’ve told you before on the Teaching ESL page I have about 25 other friendly foreign teachers in my office.
Now, before I get into it I just want to say that this is only my opinion. I’m basing this off my 3 years of working various teaching jobs in Thailand. You may agree or you may disagree, but at the end of this I hope that you can take something away from this. Ok, so lets get into it:
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have the required qualifications. To find a job(or any job for that matter) in Thailand you will need to at least have a Bachelor’s degree from an internationally accredited university. There are people who do get hired with no qualifications but these people are few and far between. Also these people that do get hired usually fit the description of what an English teacher should look like…Hmmm. That means they can show up with little questions being asked about their credentials. You’ll have a much harder time trying to find work here without a 4-year degree. So at the minimum make sure you have a B.A. in any subject.
The Ministry of Education(MoE) is getting more strict about teachers having TEFL qualifications. TEFL, stands for teaching English as a foreign language. They require you do a 120-hour TEFL course with a company accredited by MoE. For most language schools they will check to make sure you have this. It’s essential to you being issued a work-permit(Visa runs will drive you mad).
When I first got hired I didn’t have a TEFL certificate but I was doing an online course. I eventually dropped that course because it was so ridiculously time-consuming and the course was only 60-hours! I now have a 120-hour in-class TEFL certificate and it cost a bit more but the quality outweighs the quantity(price). The good thing about having a TEFL is you can take it anywhere in the world with you! Besides that, it will definitely set you apart from other candidates who don’t have one. Most TEFL companies guarantee to find you a job as well. Since I already had a good job I didn’t need the job assistance but it was really assuring to know that a job was waiting for me if I wanted it.
If you plan on coming to Thailand but don’t have a TEFL read my review on SEE TEFL. These guys are the best TEFL company in Thailand and are definitely the real deal. If you can show you have reliable quality it will be impossible to refuse you!
As Kendrick Lamar once said,”If I had to sugarcoat you’d die of diabetes”. A lot of Thailand’s values exist on the surface level. In other words,Thai people believe what they perceive. If I show up to work clean shaven and well fitted what more can one say than,”This guys looks on point!”. Compared to the teacher who has a scraggly beard and wears an over-sized dress shirt that is half way tucked in… If I’m not being clear enough then let me just say this… Appearance is everything!
For guys I’d recommend you do something with your dome piece. If you have a lot of hair try to tidy it up. If your hair is short then a simple shape-up will do the job. As for the beard, if you prefer to rock the beard it’s best you show you take care of it. Try not to show up to a job interview looking like Tom Hanks from ‘Cast Away‘. There are loads of barbers in Thailand that can do this for you for next to nothing. I usually get my hair cut to a size 1 and have them razor my beard. This cost me 70 baht.
As for females I noticed that most of the Thais women at my school wear skirts that go a little below the knees. They also tend to have a dress shirt to go with it. Try not to show too much knee,arm or chest as it is certain you will be getting the,”why would you wear that?” look.
3. Find a foreigner to interview with
You may have heard this before and it’s true to a good extent. Interviewing with/ or being hired by a foreigner will assure your job. Most Thai people can’t really access how good your English speaking skills are let alone what country to accent is from.
Thai is still ok!
This is why most companies hire foreign management to do this for them. You still may find yourself in an interview with a Thai and just because you are, doesn’t mean you won’t get hired. I just feel there is a certain connection that can be made between native English speakers that allows for clear and concise understanding. you can also relate on the fact that both of you’re foreigners which is the one thing many of us have in common.
One of my many stories
I was once interviewed for a job by a Thai lady who told me they would be glad to have me join their team. She asked me when I could get to the school and start working. I told I would need no more than 2-3 days to move all my stuff and sort out traveling. We had agreed on terms and she e-mailed me the contract. I then in signed and scanned the contract and e-mailed it back to her. Job in the bag?
Guess again… Right before I was about to take off for the job and buy my tickets I asked her if everything is confirmed. She never responded… I kept e-mailing her and it was as if she disappeared. 3 days later she e-mails me saying,” Sorry mr. mike we fill your position because a man come who can work right away”. No love lost but could you imagine if I went flew all the way up north to find out I don’t have a job anymore? That won’t happen with a foreign boss, in most cases they will be straight up with you.
4. be a native English speaker
This goes without saying. If you plan on being an ESL teacher in Thailand your chances of getting hired are slim to none if your not a native English speaker. You don’t have to be from a English speaking country but you do have to speak like you are from one. USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia are the main countries companies consider native English speaking.
I still find it amazing how English is so widely spoken. In Thailand there are people from all over the world living, working and traveling. I have not met one foreigner who doesn’t have at minimum a decent command of English. This is one of the reasons why Thailand invest a lot of money into learning English. It’s truly the worlds language.
5. Be friendly/kind
Above all, be friendly. It will go a long way if you are a pleasant and kind person to be around. Your bosses aren’t just looking for people who will show up to work and take a paycheck. They want someone who will mend well into a professional environment. I’m not saying walk into the interview as if they’re beautiful butterflies following you while the sounds of a harp are played.
Just show that you can be kind and understanding. How far are you willing to go out of your way to help someone? Don’t do it if you expect something in return, you may be disappointed if you don’t recieve what you’ve given. Saying stuff like,”Good morning!” and ” How’s it going?” can help build a relationship with your co-workers that can make work a much more friendly place to be at.
As you can see(or not) these guidelines fall in line with what just about most jobs hiring want. They prefer you be qualified, appear presentable, have good speaking skills and be kind and friendly. The only thing that makes a big difference as a black teacher is interviewing with a foreigner. Foreign bosses, in my opinion(and experience) are much more likely to give you the thumbs up and keep there word on it.
What do you think? Is this accurate? Do you think I got it completely wrong? I’d love to hear other peoples thoughts on this subject. Leave a comment below.