The best thing about TEFL is the chance to work in lots of different places around the world. It’s one realistic way to live in Thailand, which of course is the sort of place where you come backpacking and decide you want to stay. More than two dozen countries have large ESL sectors, for example here is a list of all the countries where the TEFL International Organisation has operations:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Egypt, United Kingdom, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.
In fact, as a TEFL International alumni after finishing the TAP program, you are entitled to rely on any of their centres to help find you a local job at any time in the future. Long after people have left Thailand and MediaKids Group we continue to get postcards from China, Greece, Mexico, Bali… the list goes on. Some TEFL teachers simple get settled however, and stay on, Japan and Thailand are two of the most popular.
About four times a year there is usually a new frenzy of hiring as others move on or change schools. In Asia the school term begins in May, in Europe and North America it’s September, and in the Southern Hemisphere it’s January. That’s why the TAP Program begins either in April or September here in Thailand.
What are the salaries around the world?
So what’s the pay like? Well, here in Thailand a rookie teacher will start on 30,000 baht (About $1,000), some even go lower to accept plum jobs in popular areas (afterall we all want to teach at the beach right?) Most these jobs are in Bangkok which is an expensive place to live in, so you don’t save much for your travels. The ceiling is 45,000 ($1,500), in private schools if you’re super experienced. Of course, here in Thailand it goes a long way.
By contrast you can take a one-year contract in Saudi Arabia and save most of your $4,500 salary, but you’ll be bored as hell. There’s plenty of work in the Gulf states. Good salaries are also had in Korea, though it’s not a picnic, Japan is where many of the experienced teachers end up. Generally, the more relaxed and undeveloped a country, the lower the wages, but the experience far more fun.
Thailand is definitely a good choice to make your debut into teaching. The country is relaxed and unpressured when it comes to the classroom, and it’s very well set up for foreigners to fit in. The TAP program was specifically developed to attract first-time teachers to a comfortable gig.