What is a foreign teacher’s role in Thai Public schools
A foreign teacher’s role is pretty simplified in the eyes of the Thai public school staff. The regular Thai teachers would be usually fascinated at the foreigner. The Farang teacher is expected to teach “conversation” in the right “accent” leaving the grammar to the Thai teacher.
The first few months would be very warm and welcoming. It is common to be invited to a meal with other teachers. Sometimes it is a daily event. Depending on the school, there can be some variables. Some schools would have a casual approach to schedules. Most things are relaxed and never taken seriously. Meetings are abrupt. Internal communication may be non-existent. One thing you will find in plenty is paper. Thai office environment is still heavy on the use of paper.
How many classes does a Foreign teacher teach?
Workload can be anywhere between 15 to 20 classes a week on an average. 3 to 5 periods a day is common. A foreign teacher is also expected to do other duties. Any competitions held at the school would involve the expats. Many times the schools ask teachers to show up on the weekends to assist with school events. I must be fair in mentioning that lunch breaks are extravagant – You get 1 hour!! If you are from the USA or India you may find it a bit excessive. At my school in Sakon Nakhon, it is like this. Public schools in Thailand normally start at 8:00 am and close by 4:30 pm.
Schedules are made once a year and teachers are expected to stick to them. A printed time-table is given with timings, location and classes on it.
Conducting class tests and entering scores
Foreign teachers have to conduct tests and enter their scores in an online portal (https://epp5online.net) for schools in Thailand.
Teachers have to submit lesson plans for the semester
Making lesson plans is the most critical part of a teacher’s job. A teacher has to come up with enough lessons for the semester lasting about 4 months. Each student can score up to 100 marks. The total score is derived from a break up of 100. In my school they follow a 4 tests pre-mid term, then the mid-term test, 3 post mid-term and final test. This is repeated for the next semester.
Is teaching in Thailand worth it?
It is a difficult question to answer. I would say yes it is worth it. But if you have never experienced the heat of the tropics, never had work pressure then it may be an uphill task.
Let us look at a fair assessment. Thailand is probably one of the better places to be a TEFL teacher considering the opportunity to live quite an independent life. If you went to China you will probably be more restricted. Certainly, teachers say South Korea and japan are very good. Middle-east pay the best. overall, it is an individual take on if it is worth it.
It is not difficult to see many struggling foreign teachers barely able to make ends meet while there are some who strike it rich.