The Shocking Truth About One-Year Teaching Contracts in Thailand Revealed

“Find out what ESL job placement agencies don’t want you to know.”


teaching contracts in thailandAre you thinking of signing a one-year teaching contract with an online agency to teach English in Thailand? Before you do, let me tell you about my friend Chris.

Chris had just finished university. Not knowing what he wanted to do with his life, he chose to travel and teach abroad for a year.

He heard remarkable things about teaching English in Thailand. But he’d never been there. And he didn’t know anyone who’d traveled or taught English in Thailand.

Chris thought the only way to get a job teaching English in Thailand was through an online job placement agency. So without giving it much thought he signed up for one of their “Life-Changing One-Year English Teaching Programs”.

A few months later Chris boarded a plane. In 24 hours he’d be starting the experience of a lifetime, just like the online agency had promised him.

When Chris got to Thailand a member of the agency picked him up from the airport and brought him to his apartment. A few days later he started his TEFL course. Four weeks after that Chris was certified to teach English in Thailand. And the agency got him a teaching job, as expected.

Sounds great, right?

On paper, sure. But there was a problem. Chris didn’t get to pick where he taught English. When he signed the one-year teaching contract he agreed to go where the agency wanted to send him.

As Chris loaded his bag onto the bus he dreamed of his destination. Would there be beaches? Mountains? Nightlife?

When Chris arrived in Nakhorn Ratchasima Province he was shocked. No beaches. No mountains. And the nightlife was scarce. Chris found himself in an underdeveloped village filled with rice fields, buffalos, and a water canal where locals fished.

Day in and day out for an entire year Chris taught, Chris ate, and Chris sat in his one-bedroom apartment trying to stream videos over incredibly slow wi-fi. On occasion he took a two-hour bus ride into the city to socialize.

You probably heard horror stories like these before. They keep happening because people don’t know there’s any other way to get a job teaching English in Thailand. I didn’t even know there was another way until months after I got to Thailand. But luckily for me, when I got to Thailand I had someone warn me about signing a one-year teaching contract.

When I met Chris in Bangkok he just finished this one-year teaching contract. And he was hopeless. Having a tough first year in Thailand can turn even the strongest person away from this fascinating culture.

Chris thought about going home. But there was a part of him that felt his time here wasn’t finished.

When I told Chris there were other teaching options his face lit up. But as I explained he grew angry. Not at me, but at himself and the online job placement agency. He felt like the thousands of dollars he spent on airfare and teaching credentials went to waste because he didn’t prepare carefully.

But I reassured Chris this happens all the time. I told Chris if he wanted to stay in Thailand to teach English there are teaching jobs that would let him work and live on his terms.

  • He wouldn’t have to sign any contracts.
  • He could teach where he wanted.
  • He could teach when he wanted.
  • He could teach who he wanted.
  • And he could control how much money he was paid.

What I told Chris is a secret that job placement agencies don’t want you to know. Most online agencies want to lock you into a long-term contract because it guarantees THEM money every month. This is how they survive. But you deserve 100% of the salary paid by schools.

Keep reading to find out how to get 100% of your teaching salary…

For the past three years I’ve done one thing to maintain my freedom as an English teacher in Thailand. During this time I avoided signing any contracts. I kept a steady line of work coming in. And I made enough money to support a family of four in Bangkok and still have money to put away.

What is it?

Teach English in Thailand to adults through language centers.

Teaching contracts at language centers work differently than one-year teaching contracts at job placement agencies.

  • First, the contracts are based on hours, not years.
  • Second, you don’t sign a binding contract, but rather make a verbal agreement.

And because language centers don’t make you sign contracts, you’re free to work for as many language centers as you’d like. You make as little or as much money as you want.

The Specifics On Hourly Teaching Contracts

Multinational companies in Thailand pay language centers to provide them with English teachers. Language centers then find teachers who fit the needs of the company. The teacher is hired under an hourly contract.

When a language center hires you to teach at a corporation, you work for them based on hours, not years. Companies buy teaching contracts from language centers in 30-hour blocks. The minimum contract length is 30 hours. The maximum contract length is 120 hours.

Here’s how long these contracts generally run:

  • 30-hour contracts last 3 months
  • 60-hour contracts last 6 months
  • 90-hour contracts last 9 months
  • 120-hour contracts last 12 months

This means you won’t lock yourself into something you hate for an entire year. And it means you get to decide the length of the teaching contract you take.

What Are The Benefits Of Hourly Teaching Contracts in Thailand?

Shorter teaching hours. With hourly teaching contracts you teach two hours a day, twice a week. Some companies ask for three to six hour classes once a week. If you keep a few teaching contracts at once, you’ll teach two classes a day at least four days a week. Mondays and Wednesdays you teach at one company. Tuesdays and Thursdays you teach at another company.

Higher teaching salary. Working for two to four hours a day doesn’t sound like much work. But you get paid the equivalent—or more—of what your average teacher friends make in public school in eight hours.

Diverse work locations. Because you have multiple teaching contracts at once, you teach somewhere new everyday. You won’t spend eight hours a day in the same school, teaching the same people all day long. You get to use all of your best lessons and activities and games in the classroom again. And you get to refine what lessons didn’t work last contract.

Variety of students. You teach different subjects to all different levels of English learners. One class you teach a group of beginners conversation English. Another class you teach a group of pre-intermediates technical writing. You’ll never get bored because your students and subjects are always changing.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Hourly Teaching Contracts in Thailand?

Student progression. When you teach hourly contracts the company you work for expects your students to advance at the same pace. But this is unrealistic. Some students are more motivated than others. Some pick up on things quicker. But since your students are adults, if one or two of them don’t progress it’s a reflection of them, not you as a teacher. So if you are skilled in the classroom you have nothing to worry about.

Closing Thoughts

Most people who want to teach English in Thailand don’t know they can teach hourly contracts though language centers. But don’t be quick to sign a one-year teaching contract through an online agencies because You’re eager to start living in Thailand. You think you’re doing yourself a favor because you’re guaranteed at least a year of work. But with that guarantee you’re signing away a lot of personal freedoms.

Why do people put themselves is bad positions? Because people have few places to turn to for help when planning an exciting journey like teaching English in Thailand.

I remember when I was planning my move to Thailand and I couldn’t find any reliable information. Most of what I read online was completely different from the way things really were when I got here.

I understand the difficulties that you and guys like Chris face when planning a big move like this.

I was in the exact same position as you and Chris. I didn’t get sucked into a one-year contract like Chris. But I did make plenty of other mistakes.

You might think that making mistakes is the best way to learn. But trust me when I tell you it’s not. Here’s some of the mistakes I made:

  • I was underpaid
  • I was lied to and tricked by shady employers
  • I was passed up for high-paying jobs by less-qualified teachers

Because you don’t want to make these mistakes, you need reliable information about teaching English in Thailand.

P.S. In the Teach English in Thailand Audio Guide you’ll find out how to avoid making mistakes like Chris made plus much more. Download it today and find out how you can transform your life through teaching English to adults in Thailand.

By | 2016-11-14T22:03:21+00:00 November 14th, 2016|Blog|

Leave A Comment