Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) has become an enormous part of the education sector in Thailand. There is barely a school in the world now that doesn’t have an English teacher, and the demand for native English speakers is growing in Asia in particular. Tens of thousands of people already live and work abroad as English teachers. The best part of it all is the international demand, meaning you can move from one country to another with relative ease, usually with co-operation for work permits.
Most TEFL teachers are ‘auxiliary specialist’ teachers, meaning you enter the classroom specifically to assist with English teaching. Most often in Thailand this will be in a formal school where you float between classes, typically spending one session a week with each of the grades. Often the students already have a local teacher as their English instructor, and you are responsible for working on pronunciation, the finer points of grammar and correct usage.
Some TEFL teachers assume full responsibility for the English teaching, and those in language schools teach extra-mural English independent of any help from a local teacher. Typically you will be working out of course books over a set curriculum, employing your own lesson plans that include exercises and games to help make the learning effective and interesting. A good TEFL course will teach you this.
Once experienced you can aim for a higher level of ESL teaching;1 the EP teacher. These are full time home-room teachers in the popular English Programs of private schools, whereby most of the teaching is done in English, including math, science, social, geography and so on. English will be a second language to the students, and you will likely be required to first qualify with a diploma in teaching.
Many ESL teachers also supplement their income teaching after hours in private lessons at premium rates, which calls for a different style of teaching. There are also jobs teaching adults, either privately or in corporate environments. Often this will be advanced English, such as IELTs or TOEIC preparation, tutoring to college bound students.