Existing Member?

Wander & enjoy the diversity...it feeds your soul “What is more miraculous than the moment?” Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh

Teaching English, Koh Samui, Thailand

THAILAND | Saturday, 17 January 2009 | Views [3824] | Comments [7]

Teaching English, Koh Samui, Thailand

12/1/08 - I had the pleasure of helping another teacher this last Saturday, in her class of 10, 5-yo's, for a 3-hr class.  We practiced introductions, sang songs, used clay & blocks for size comparisons, worked in activity books and played games with numbers, letters, shapes, & colors!  It was fun to be with them - they are eager, high-energy learners!  With my background in health care & nursing, I would enjoy  teaching medical English to adults too! 

1/18/09 - Co-teaching (see pictures in the photo gallery to the right - "Teaching English"):
After Chuck finished his TEFL course at ‘Island TEFL,’ he & I started co-teaching at an elementary school a few miles away.  We met with classes of 30+ students in grades 4, 5, & 6, several times a week.  It almost goes without saying that they were all pretty cute!  A few students did quite well with participation, while many seemed hesitant to speak or take part, even tho’ we used many group activities!  They were generally energetic & half-heartedly enthusiastic & on the whole, quite well behaved – except for a few who had trouble staying on task or as one boy did, when Kirsten was visiting our classroom –- he put a plastic bag over another boys head & looked as if he were trying to strangle him.   Kirsten, being a long-time TEFL teacher herself, immediately & effectively took charge of that situation – he was a model student the rest of the class! 

The difficulty in being a temporary-volunteer teacher is probably similar to being a substitute teacher anywhere!  It takes students time to trust you & there are always the ones to challenge your authority.  For instance, during the first class, there was student after student who came up to us - - politely asked to leave (something said in Thai) I guessed it was to go to the bathroom.  After a few minutes, they returned!  Seemed like a lot of kids that had the same need at the same time?

All of our classes involved a warm-up song or game, group dialogue, individual dialogue, worksheets & games!  They loved the timed & competition games!  Phil & Jane, our friends from Tasmania, also co-taught these same students & used an award chart.  We copied there idea & also found that the students loved the class teams competition – who had the most ‘smiley’ faces – individuals received a smiley face when they initiated an answer or finished an assignment ahead of others – contributed to the overall team success!   Wonder if this works so well because this is a collectivistic culture?  Does this still work in America’s individualistic society?

Although we enjoyed co-teaching in India, this confirmed that co-teaching works really well for us, especially in large classrooms.  However, Chuck & I prefer to work with high school students, adults, & smaller groups or one-to-one.  The classes we taught to resort staff was satisfying & fun – loved seeing them increase their comfort with English in a practical way that made sense to them!   We enjoy, at this stage in our life, challenges & activities that compliment our personalities, values, and facilitate ‘whole-person’ growth – we are challenged to live our truth and to make a difference!



I wonder if the draw-back to the younger students is the need for discipline. I would much rather deal with children or adults who don't need to be disciplined. It sounds like Kirsten had a good handle on how to deal with that. Kudos to her! How wonderful that you enjoy team-teaching!

  Vivian Childs Feb 2, 2009 4:01 PM


Yes, I really don't like to discipline - I would much rather teach to people who really want or need to learn English. The ones that are self-motivated - much different energy!

  Ann Feb 2, 2009 5:58 PM


Hi, Wondering if anybody out there has worked for or knows about a International English Company in Maenam on Koh Samui. What is your opinion of them?

  Anon Feb 26, 2009 3:54 AM


Sorry, I have not heard of them - probably better to ask on 'Dave's Cafe'? Just be careful about what kind of visa you have - schools may say that you don't need a special visa, BUT...if the government finds out, you can be fined, jailed, or deported. I wouldn't work without a written contract. Schools can help get you the visa you need if they provide a letter of employment intent - get the letter first before working. There are obviously legitimate companies with helpful staff & also those that appear that way...until one challenges them on why they are paying less than the initial stated salary. Be informed!

  Ann Feb 26, 2009 4:36 AM


How did you find your job? Are there many places to teach in samui?

  omiya Jul 30, 2009 1:49 AM


My husband did the TEFL course with 'Island TEFL' - so when he finished the course they found the school & the resort that wanted teachers. They find teaching opportunities for all their students. Teaching opportunities can also be found on your own, but you need to be cautious about who you work for - if it is for volunteer teaching, you won't be worried about payment, but if you want pay, there is the appropriate visa to get, etc. Some nice looking English schools can promise you a certain salary, but pay you less, etc. It is important to have a signed contract before you start - have everything in writing first! Good luck!

  annanderson Jul 30, 2009 2:39 AM


Yes, if you want to teach English in Thailand there are really plenty of jobs out there.

However a lot of the jobs on the islands like Phuket, Krabi etc are hard to come by or at least that is what I have been led to believe.

Apparently due to the fact that everyone wants to live on an idyllic island paradise! This I can understand.

You indeed can find jobs on your own. And one of the best and easiest places to get yourself a teaching job is the capital Bangkok. Why? Because there are lots of schools and private language centers that are crying out for teachers here.

Another little plus here is that if you don't like working in the city, you could ask your company for a transfer upcountry.

Most big language schools have branches all over so who knows you could end up working in beautiful Chiang mai :-)

A word to all, never pay anybody to find you a job! I've heard countless stories about this. Find a good job resource http://esljobs4teachers.com is free and updated daily.

With a little patience and a bit of searching you should easily be able to land a teaching job in Thailand and if you're really lucky near the beach!

Enjoy all :-)

  Mark Nov 26, 2009 10:04 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About annanderson

Where I've been


Photo Galleries


Near Misses

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Thailand

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.