Want to Teach in Chiang Mai? – Part 2 (Kaycee Race)
Category : Teach
Our second guest post on teaching in Chiang Mai comes from a previous tenant and now good friend, Kaycee Race. She’s moved on to Korea now, but we still “lurk” on Facebook to see what she’s up to. Kaycee was nice enough to put her experiences on teaching in Chiang Mai into writing, so without further ado…..
Howdy! My name is Kaycee Race, I’m 33 and I was living at CMStay at Sethee Court while I was teaching in Chiang Mai.
Why I was teaching:
After going for my postgraduate degree and living in England for four years, I moved back home to Colorado in 2010 to find a horrible economy and stuck doing a mind-dumbing temp job because nothing else was available. Putting myself through a year of that torture, I knew it was time to pack my bags again to follow through with something I had always wanted to do: Teach English to wee foreign kiddos as a means to make money and see the world.
How I started:
I did loads of research on various TEFL courses and had it pinpointed to two different ones Thailand: one in Phuket and SEE TEFL in Chiang Mai. I decided with SEE because the course instructor, John Quinn, was very professional in answering any and all questions I had in a timely manner. I had a great feeling about the program. I went through the TEFL program in February 2012, just at the end of the Thai school year.
How I got the job:
After the course ended, it was time to find a job. I really wanted to live on the beach…I had envisioned myself living in a tiki hut, teaching in the morning and spending lazy afternoons sitting on a beach with a Mai Tai in my hand. So, I set off for Krabi to look for work. I dressed up (which for me is a feat! I’m a“live in t-shirts and jeans” type a gal), and walked around to the schools in the area, left my CV and waited with baited breath for a phone call. A girl on my TEFL course lived on KohNgai with her diver-instructor boyfriend, so I hung out with them for a few weeks waiting for the calls that never came. In panic mode (because the South is MUCH more expensive than the North), I headed back to Chiang Mai to look for work.
Not even 24 hours later (and with plans on heading to all of the schools in Chiang Mai the next day), I stopped by SEE TEFL to say hi. Ying, John’s wife who runs the EFL side of SEE (essentially acting as an agent by supplying SEE graduate TEFLers to trusted schools in need of English teachers), said she had an opening at a primary school…if I wanted it, it was mine. Easy peazy, lemon squeezy.
In hindsight, I wish I would have gone out as planned and looked for a job on my own. Going through an agency such as EFL, part of your compensation goes to them. Teaching at a public or private school in Chiang Mai, you should expect to earn about 30,000 baht a month. Using an agency, I was only making 25,000 baht. However, going through an agency, you do have more of a support system. They assist with visas and any problems you might be having with the school. A good agency is in your corner.
If you want to teach English as a foreign language, I would highly suggest getting a TEFL certificate. Take a course that gives you teaching practice as well. I feel that was the most valuable aspect of my TEFL program.
When looking for a job, DO YOUR RESEARCH on the schools in the area. Talk to other foreign teachers in the area, they will know the good schools and the bad schools (I was teaching at a school that I didn’t particularly like, and it was one of the lower paying schools at that, so I wish I wouldn’t have settled for the first job that came my way…by the way, after signing my contract, I got a call from one of the schools in Krabi, so again in hindsight, I would have backed out of my contract and headed south…but then I never would have met Stephen and King and lived at CMStay, which was a highlight of living in Chiang Mai – and no, they didn’t tell me to say that! I promise!).
Finally, if you want to teach at a public or private school, the schools that don’t use agencies generally start their application/interview process around January or February for the coming school year in May (although there are schools that hire all year long). GO to the school to drop off your CV, ask to speak with the English director, get their number and call the next day or so. Chances are you won’t need it. If they like the look of you, you’ll walk out with a contract in hand.”
To read more about Kaycee’s life travelling/teaching, check out: http://lonelygirlgw.blogspot.com/ . Also, a little known fact about Kaycee is that she is an AMAZING photographer. Take a look at some of her work at: http://www.artforconservation.org/artists/racephotography