Teaching English in Chiang Mai / Thailand

One way of entering a part of Thailand normally excluded to tourists is teaching English. Foreigners can legally teach in formal schools, language schools and even become volunteer teachers.Away from the bars and restaurants of tourist areas, most Thais have never had a face-to-face conversation with a foreigner before. Hence, students and Thai teachers tend to be a little reserved initially.

However, a big smile, a positive attitude and a smart appearance go a long way in being a successful teacher. Full-time jobs can be found in just about every town and city in Thailand. Indeed, working and living in a small provincial town is an amazing cultural experience. However, for some people it can also feel like you are living in a goldfish bowl. You become a provincial town’s celebrity.

If a more relaxed experience is preferred, teaching in Chiang Mai offers just the right balance of Thai and Western cultural exposure – most of us need a pizza or burger occasionally. Full-time salaries in Chiang Mai range from 25 to 35,000 THB per month which can go along way when you look at the cost of living in Chiang Mai. This won’t make anyone rich but it does cover most monthly expenses and means savings can be left alone to grow by themselves. To work legally, foreign teachers need a non-immigrant B (Business) visa and a work permit.


Schools provide these. To facilitate the paperwork process, a degree is required. However, this is Thailand and there are many ways for teachers without degrees to become legal.Schools also require TEFL certification and/or previous EFL teaching experience. A good TEFL course provides invaluable teacher training, grammar knowledge, cultural awareness training, Thai instruction and observed teaching practices with real students in real schools.

One TEFL course that fits this bill perfectly and also receives rave reviews from its trainees is SEE TEFL (http://seetefl.com). In addition, they have made some fascinating YouTube videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/seetefl) which take a journey into a Thai school and show a ‘typical teaching practice’ and teacher respect (Wai Khru) day. Most foreigners living in Thailand wish to function independently. To do this, and to show respect to our Thai hosts, learning at least the rudiments of the Thai language is essential.

There are many reputable schools in Chiang Mai which offer regular group classes at affordable prices. These include AUA, YMCA, Pro Language and Walen. These schools also usually offer 1-year non-immigrant ED (Education) visa support. However, the one disadvantage of these schools is that each class contains students with a range of abilities and aptitudes. Therefore, learning tends to be less productive than studying one-to-one or even two-to-one with a friend or partner.  A school that designs classes around the student’s skill level, objectives and schedule and offers individual and small group instruction is Study Thai Chiang Mai http://effectivethai.com/. They also provide 1-year non-immigrant ED visas. Sincerely, John Quinn


SEE TEFL 208/2 Kaewnawarat Road, Chiang Mai, 50000, Thailand. Website: https://seetefl.com E-mail:    info@seetefl.com Phone:   +66 53 242 945,  +66 53 242 946,  +66 53 242 947 ,   081885414(within Thailand)

SEE TEFL: certified ISO 9001:2008 by Bureau Veritas, accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and Licensed by the Thai Ministry of Education.

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One thought on “Teaching English in Chiang Mai / Thailand”

  • John Wickenden

    i met a charming educated Chinese lady yesterday at Sinet. We chatted. I said I had heard some Chinese were sending their kids with mum to CM to avoid pollution all year in their city…..that the Chinese really are coming.She said it’s true I’m one of them. I said but there are only so many schools. She said there are now eight there will soon be ten and the schools themselves are expanding their ability to subsume Chinese kids. It seems to me the Chinese, as they expand their horizons inevitably, may come to N Thailand the same way the British and Germans went to Spain. Much cheaper, nice weather, and a quick flight.


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