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Thailand English Teaching Q&A with Stephan Stansfield
Written by: Stephan Stansfield
Last Updated: April 22, 2021
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
My passion is to travel the world and educate others.
Video: Steven tells about his great time teaching English in Thailand
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
My friend taught English in Thailand for two years and had a blast.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
How did you like the course?
I took the online course. It took about 3 months to complete and two months later I had a job in Thailand. The course was perfect as I was still working full time. My practicum was done at the local community college outreach program.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
The most beneficial part of the TEFL training was the the course on different types of learners: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. This has helped tremendously in the classroom.
TEACHING ABROAD IN THAILAND
Which country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I chose to teach English in Thailand because my friend recommended it as a great place for beginners.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I have been here for almost a year. I plan on staying and teaching another year in Northern Thailand.
How did you secure your English teaching job?
How did you get your work visa? If you didn't get a work visa, please elaborate on working under the table without a work visa.
The agency I found through Dave's helped sort out my visa. They did a great job with providing me with the correct paperwork. All I had to do was fill it out and send it to the embassy.
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I work from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM on the average day. I teach 20 hours of class a week and the rest are office hours. I make about $1,100/month. I can save about $500/month if I am careful and do not travel consistently (which I do). I work for a government school. I teach high school students in grades 10,11, and 12.
For vacation time, teachers get all of March and April off of work. We get one week at the end of October for semester break and there are numerous four day weekends that one can travel to nearby cities.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
I found my apartment through an expat friend. He was a life saver. My girlfriend and I moved here together and we both teach English. We live in the same apartment complex together.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc. about your country:
Culture: The biggest difference in cultures is how the Thais view time. Westerners are typically punctual. Time is looked at in a different way in the East, especially Thailand. It is more of an abstract than a real thing.
Public transportation: Consists of motorbikes, motorbikes, and motorbikes. The motorbike is the primary form of travel within the city. We do have cars, trucks, and vans but these are primarily for the more wealthy locals. For long distance transport, minivans and tour buses are popular. Some of the larger cities in Thailand have train stations and airports.
Nightlife: Is between 9PM-1AM. Many locals and expats go to the local bars where there is always live music. Clubs exist in the more touristy areas of Thailand, but most Thais go to bars.
Popular social activities: Include the local markets, shopping mall, and movie theater. In larger cities, one can find bowling alleys, boutique shopping centers, and famous temples.
The majority of social activities in my town are outdoors including kayaking, mountain climbing, waterfalls, and going to the river.
Thai food: Is the number one reason to visit Thailand. Be warned, bread and cheese are a rarity, but Thailand is packed with other delicacies like sticky rice, curries, exotic fruits, and Thai iced tea.
Expat Community: In my small town we have a great expat community. Many teachers work together or hang out together at night and on the weekends. There is always a function going on and everyone is more than welcome to tag along.
As I am in a relationship, I do not keep up with the dating scene but, many of the expats are in relationships with Thais. It is great to see cultures mixing together.
Travel opportunities: Teaching abroad provides plenty of opportunity to travel. We get two entire months off from work to travel to nearby countries. Also, airfare to neighboring countries is so cheap. The best part of this year, besides getting TEFL certified, was traveling to Bali for 10 days during my semester break. It was amazing!
The last thing I would like to share is the urge to get out from behind your desk and see the world around you.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
Rent/Utilities: $180/month total
Food: $3 to $6/ a day
Social activities: Drinking alcohol is the most expensive social activity about $2 for a large beer or glass of wine.
Transportation: I rent a motorbike for $100/month.
Phone: Dirt cheap about $6/month
Travel: Traveling within Thailand is very cheap if you use the minivans, buses, and trains. Airfare is not even that expensive. Tickets are about $70 roundtrip. I spend about a $100 a month on travel.
For international travel to neighboring countries, tickets are also cheap about $100-$200.
Basically, everything in Southeast Asia is cheap compared to the west.
How would you describe your standard of living?
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS IN THAILAND
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
I would highly recommend teaching in Thailand. As for advice, be prepared to be flexible and open up your mind to learning another culture. It has greatly changed my perspective on life.
Want to learn more about Stephan's experiences teaching English in Thailand? Check out:
A native of Wilmington, NC, Stephan took his TEFL class online before heading out to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he taught English to high school students. His favorite part of life in Thailand was the food, but he also loved the great travel opportunities and the low cost of living.
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