Hi everyone. I taught in Bangkok 10 yrs ago. It was possible then to Teach without a degree. I did not have a visa and did the monthly visa run. I am about to finish a TEFL course and get a TEFL certificate. I'm a U.S. native English speaker. I do not have a degree. Is it still possible to get a decent job in Bangkok with only a TEFL certificate and experience? I read several articles saying they are cracking down on this and a couple teachers ended up in prison for 3 months for visa fraud. My intuition was that there was more to the story than simply teaching without a degree. I'm hoping that if I teach and have only a tourist visa that the worst that might happen is I'd be asked to leave. So am I tripping out or will I have no problem finding work and staying out of trouble? Thanks in advance.
Visa fraud is more than working without a visa. It usually occurs when fake/false documents are used to obtain a visa and is a criminal offense.
There is work to be found. It won't be as easy since a large part of the job market is off the table but there are agencies out there who will take you on.
You'll need to be:
a) making 15-day runs (you only get 30 days if you fly) to the border or
b) actually getting 60-day-double entry visas from a neighboring embassy/consulate since you are unlikely to get a job with visa and w/p (lack of the degree thing).
I taught in Thailand from 2001 to 2010 and yes back in the good (or bad) old days it was possible to get reasonable jobs without a degree. Fake quals were more common, with certain schools/agencies even telling employees to go and get them. I got by for quite a while on experience and connections, did pretty well but in the end I knew that I had to bite the bullet and go home to get a degree. Sure I could still probably be there even now without a degree like some of my friends over there, doing border runs or working on a marriage visa (who me???) but it all gets old pretty quick. There will always be a little voice in the back of your head telling you that, the little voice in your head that told you getting a degree before going to Thailand had a very good point. Without it, unless you get lucky with a school with 'connections' or work through an agency you will be doing border runs untill kingdom come. Its fun at the start, but believe me months and months of forced visa runs ends up being no fun at all. Anyway, even if you do get lucky with a well connected school what happens if you want to leave them? Not all schools are in the same position. Do you really want to be restricted like that, to one school?
You will hear many stories about people teaching without degrees. They are still over there, counting down the days untill all other options are finally used up. I dont think it will get easier for them. I felt the pressure from 2007 - 2010 and could see the writing on the wall. If you just want to teach for a year then maybe you can get by. If you want to stay in Thailand for an extended period do yourself and everybody else a favor and do it the right way. A degree in Biology/psychology does not mean that you will be a good teacher but it does mean that you will be able to work within the law. As it stands at the moment a degree in any field is acceptable with the added requirement of doing a Thai culture course as well as a barrage of tests/ or perhaps a course dealing with teaching theory......as I said it aint getting easier.
Teaching successfully over there requires a lot more than a degree and a TEFL certificate, you need to be able to handle the culture, learn the language if you want to get out of the more touristy areas and really live in Thailand. A lot of it is pretty much common sense but that doesnt mean Joe the bricklayer should be where the bar is set. There were a lot of dodgy fellas working on fake degrees, basically stuck where they were for fear of going to another school and getting their quals more thoroughly scrutinised. Not worth it. Not worth getting yourself set up over there without being legit. Its a bloody big headache.
Hi guys yet another quick update. I have recently been evaluating our progressand exploring opportunities for our company and the English School OfLearning. I feel that the weekendcourses are well established for both courses are full. The feedback from the students and parents isvery positive and all feel that there has been a big improvement in bothconfidence and speaking ability. All thestudents have signed up for a reasonable period of time. We have also got six adults interested instarting a course in midweek and we are busy trying to recruit another fourbefore the start of the course on the 3rd September 2012. The adult’s course is more expensive (150baht an hour) but there have been no complaints as yet and this fee is stillvery competitive compared to what other schools charge.
I have come to the conclusion that if I am going to take thebusiness forward I will have to give up my post in the government school inorder to concentrate on taking the business to a ‘higher level’. This willinvolve marketing our courses to the corporate market and offering a packagethat will help prepare them for the launch of ASEAN. I will be very sad when I leave thegovernment school for I have really enjoyed my time there and both the staffand students have been excellent to work with. The school salary and the money we are making from our school equates toaround 70,000 baht per month. Thisventure was never about the money but more about the challenge and havingsomething to stimulate my mind. I lovethe teaching but this is not enough I feel I need a broader challenge and Ifeel I may have found it. I cannot gointo too much detail here but I think I have come across an approach that couldbe both attractive to our client base while being very lucrative for ourselves.
The ‘driver’ we will use in our ‘marketing campaign’ will bethe NEED for local business chains and or government departments to havecompetent English speaking workforces if they are going to be an ‘activeparticipant’ within the ASEAN community. Watch this space for future updates.
Wow, exciting stuff. You really seem to be well on your way, and I look forward to seeing how things unfold.
Have you set up a Facebook page yet? It seems impossible to do much business in Thailand without it.
Hi all and a Happy New Year to you all.
Thought it was time to give a very quick update.
The New Year has started with a BANG and the school is full ! Not a day goes by without us recieving more enquiries. We seem to have found our customer base which is school students all day Saturday and Sunday and privates throughout the week. We also have one or two corporate gigs on the go. These usually take up no more than two hours a week on average but pay well.
Two months ago I decided to really lower our one to one price, We marketted the privates at 325 baht per hour for conversation skills if students were prepared to book a block booking of 20 hour or more. This equates to 6,500 baht for 20 hours. Since then we have been unindated with students. We even have some students coming together and are still prepared to pay the 325 baht each per hour. Only yesterday we had three students book to study together and all are paying the 325 baht per hour. I am aware that the price for one to one tuition has been debated on this forum and some will say I am charging well below the recommended price, however good business sense has taught me get to know your market and ensure you price yourself at an affordable rate.
Just for those who have followed this thread and are often interested in the profit margin of a business like ours here are the figures.
Rent: 5,000 per month
Utilities: 1,000 per month
Internet, photocopying and cable tV: 1,000 per month
Income: 70,000 baht per month
^good on yer, mate.
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Well we are entering into our 10th month and I thought it was time to reflect on how the school is progressing. Saturdays and Sundays are 'ticking along' nicely with ten students on the beginner course (prathom age range) and eight students on the afternoon course (Matyhom/university age range). All of these students pay 1,500 baht for 16 hours a month. We have done reallty well with our 325 an hour for 20 hours promotion for private srtudents. What has happened is that students have initially enquired for one to one lessons but we have encouraged them to get a friend or join up with another student(s). The reasoning behind this is that the majority have been asking for conversation skills and we have explained that a small group would probably be more beneficial in regards to meeting their needs. The outcome has been that we often have two or even three students constantly studying together. Therefore, instead of 325 an hour we are sometime on 900 baht per hour (for when students study together we reduce the rate slightly) For example tomorrow I have four students starting on a writing course. They all made seperate enquiries and I have joined them all together and have given them a reduced rate of 4,000 baht each for the 20 course. This means that we will be on 800 baht an hour. We have also undertaken a few corporate gigs which have been an added bonus.
However, after an evaluation and planning session in regards to what direction we are going to be taking the school we have decided on the following the following approach.
In June we will be launching our ESOL ENGLISH BUFFET
We will be offerring 12 hours a week:
Saturday and Sundays 1300 - 15.00 hours and 17.30 to 19.30 hours.
Mondays and Wednesdays 17.30 to 19.30 hours. This gives 12 hours in total. Students can attend every session or just pick and choose in line with their availability. The buffet will be delivering session on English conversation skills and Grammar. The buffet will be for both Matyhom and adult students. The following pricing structure will apply:
1,500 baht per month giving students the opportunity of 48 hours of study.
4,000 baht for three months giving students the opportunity to study 144 hours. They also make a saving of 500 baht.
6,000 baht for five months of study giving students the opportunity of 240 hours of study. They also make a saving of 1,500 baht.
What is exciting for our current students is that they will be paying the same rate but will have the option of studying an extra four hours per week!
Why a buffet? We have found that the vast numberof students in Udon are not available Saturday or Sunday afternoons due to undertaking extra study around Maths and the Sciences (often offered as a package at a tutor school). Therefore, we wanted to offer different times and options. We have also had lots of interest from adults who have many other committment. We will also be able to over subscribe for just like joining a gym back home lots of people sign up and initially attend all the sessions, however after a while they reduce their hours or drop out all together. Believe me we have undertaken alot of research in regards to offerring a buffet and what would be the most appropriate hours. We have probablty spoken to around 200 students and adults around the new approach we planning to take.
Prior to starting the buffet we will be having as major promotional campaign with over 30 large bill board spaces being rented around the city, 20,000 leaflets being delivered door to door and all the schools within the city being leafletted. We are going to target local businesses and government officers for we see these as a potential new customer base. We will be very competative with our rates. In some cases we will be 10,000 baht cheaper than some of the other organisations offerring English lessons.
The school has also put together a proposal to deliver a few hours a week English lessons in schools that cannot afford to employ a full time native English speaking teacher. The proposal has been circulated to twenty different schools and at least six are extremally interested.
We will continue with our Saturday and Sunday mornings prathom course and our one to one private lessons at 325 baht an hour.
For more information visit: www.facebook.com/englishschooloflearning
Last edited by Firfox; 24th March 2013 at 22:55.