First of all, I’m happy to say that as of 11am or so local time today, Valerie and I are officially employed as teachers in Chiang Mai. We got hired in a really nice private school just outside the city. It’s about a 5-10 minute cab ride from our current apartment. And when I get a motorbike, knowing how I drive, It will be a 3 minute ride to work.
Looking for an English teaching job in Thailand was not really that bad. Certified teachers are definitely in demand and there are loads of jobs. You just have to make the effort to look. We had seen lots of postings online but the websites hadn’t been updated in a while (sometimes in years). Some of the postings are bullshit and you find out that they’re for a job in a little town 200 miles away.
First thing we did when we got here was send out tons of emails, resumes, cover letters, etc to every school we could find. And we followed up with some schools we had been in touch with before we left. It turns out that until you’re here in Thailand, nobody really wants to talk to you. It makes sense; there are just too many question marks as to where you’ll end up. Anyway, we got a few responses and 2 interviews out of over 30 emails and applications. This was needles to say, a little discouraging. I went to the first interview on Saturday. It was in a gas station. The lady offered me the job on the spot but I turned it down. We would have had to relocate to another town that’s not as cool as Chiang Mai.
So I knew that this trip would have a lot of firsts for me, but I didn’t expect to have a gas station job interview. In her defense, It was a really nice gas station. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a life-long trump for whenever I play “never-have-I-ever”.
I had another interview set up for late last week but the dude never showed up. When I walked in to the school, nobody knew who I was. So that was a waste of a day. That’s something you have to get used to in Thailand though. Things don’t always go according to plan. You just have to be able to play the hand you’re dealt.
Fortunately, we met some friendly Brits here in Chiang Mai, who weren’t holding any grudges over the Revolutionary War. They suggested the best thing to do is just hit the pavement and walk around in the sweltering heat, wearing our interview clothes, and walk up to schools. Hand in resumes and ask for interviews.
Picture this: It’s 97F by 10:30. 75% humidity. I’m in my sexiest long sleeve-oxford and some nice khaki slacks and black Pumas (because I’m an expert packer). Walking 2 or 3 miles around the city with the sun beating down on us. Walk up to a school. “Thank you Jesus for the aircon in here.” Now try to make a good impression and try not to drip puddles of sweat in the principal’s office.
But our timing was just right. The school term starts in mid-late May so jobs are hiring now. This was thanks to some good planning and a bit of luck on our part.
One of the first few school’s we looked at did have one opening left. We interviewed together and at first we thought we were going to be competing for the same job. They told us they wanted to see a demo lesson – Just a quick 15-minute lesson to make sure you know what you’re doing. When we showed up today to give our lessons, the department chair told us that she had essentially created a new position so there would be two slots available. Turns out she really likes working with couples. She said it was because couples are more likely to stay in one place for longer and she doesn’t want someone who will leave before the end of the school year.
*Disclaimer, to anyone reading this who intends to teach in Thailand. I can’t speak to whether or not interviewing as a team is a good strategy in general, though it did work well for us. 3 different schools offered positions to both of us. So take that for whatever it’s worth.
At any rate, we both got the jobs and we’ll be starting full-time tomorrow. Orientation and whatnot. The term starts on May 19 so we’ve got a bit of time to get settled in the school and get ready. I’ll take some pictures of the school and the kids soon and show everyone. I’ll be teaching elementary-aged kids and I think Val has middle/high school-aged. They have little uniforms and stuff. It’s pretty goddamn adorable.
This is starting to drag on a bit, so I’ll be wrap it up.
Interviewing for an English Teaching position in Thailand is not like interviewing for any job in the US. I think that I asked 90% of the questions. It was really like “Is this school right for me” and not vice-versa. Most government schools start next week and it seems like the private schools start the following week. So they’re running out of time to fill teaching positions. It seems like mid-late April would have probably been ideal, but this was still a fairly painless process for us.
Sorry for the lack of pictures. I promise the next post will make up for it. We hiked up the huge mountain just outside of town and got tons of amazing pictures. So just be patient a little while longer.