How international schools recruit teachers in Thailand
The rewards of teaching at an international school in Thailand can be excellent and the experience life-changing.
International schools recruit teachers in Thailand in two main ways: broadly, British curriculum international schools recruit most teachers by advertising vacancies on the TES website whilst schools from other systems – in Thailand the second largest curriculum being American – often recruit through specialist agencies.
Before even considering applying to teach at an international school in Thailand though, bear in mind major international schools in Thailand will only accept applications from:
- teachers who have an appropriate degree
- a PGCE with qualified teacher status (QTS), or equivalent
- have at least two, sometimes three, years of teaching experience
- a clean criminal record check including for some schools an International Child Protection Certificate
- and have references from employers
Extra experience and qualifications, such as in boarding school, an English as a second language qualification or specialist teaching qualifications would also make your CV stand out.
For many British curriculum international schools, the majority of vacancies are advertised on the TES website, the go-to site for British education professionals. From as early as October the previous year, teaching vacancies will be advertised, much earlier than for teaching jobs in Britain. Being overseas means recruitment is more complex so has to start earlier. Take Harrow International School Bangkok’s recruitment process as an example. After advertising and shortlisting, senior leaders fly to the UK. There they observe these potential new teachers in action, ideally in person, otherwise on video, then interview them at Harrow School London. If the applicant is successful at interview there follows a lengthy and thorough onboarding process including checking references, criminal background checks, and visa applications, potentially for family members too. Candidates who are not in the UK sometimes teach an observed lesson at Harrow Bangkok or may be observed online. The process is clearly quite involved hence the need to start recruitment early. International school recruitment is also highly competitive so schools must start early to get the very best teachers.
Another popular way international schools recruit teachers in Thailand is through specialist educational recruitment agencies. There are many agencies but popular ones for international schools in Thailand are Search Associates, through who you’ll receive relevant vacancies once registered with them, and TIC Recruitment who advertise worldwide teaching positions. Teachers can then apply directly through the agencies.
Some international schools in Thailand recruit new teachers through job fairs. These take place every year in a number of cities, Bangkok included. Fairs aren’t necessarily in the region where the schools are; for instance, there are job fairs in London for teaching at schools in Asia. Attendance is often by invitation only and some only cater for teachers who already have international experience. Teaching abroad doesn’t work out for everyone so some schools prefer to employ experienced expat teachers. Candidates register with the fair organiser, may need to pay a fee, and then can look out for job fairs for the region they are interested in or may be notified by the organiser. Then they can request an invitation to a suitable job fair. Job fairs are a good way of finding out about a number of schools, mean you can speak face to face with staff from these schools and teachers can potentially be offered a job there and then.
Schools will also often advertise vacancies on their websites again from October of the previous year onwards. Some schools, such as the Harrow International Schools group, post opportunities at all their schools on the schools websites and teachers can apply directly. Some international schools in Thailand will accept speculative CVs for unlisted posts, some don’t. The school website should tell you this information. If you do apply directly this gives you the opportunity to really tailor your application for the school which again would make you stand out.
WORD OF MOUTH
The final way that international schools in Bangkok sometimes recruit teachers is by word of mouth. Teaching staff, particularly if they have been in that country for some time, will likely have a large network of teacher friends from other schools. This can be a good way for teachers to move schools, perhaps to more prestigious international schools.
Finally, when you do make an application for an international school in Thailand here’s some advice to hopefully help yours end up in the shortlist pile.
- Check your CV, application letter or covering letter meticulously. Read and reread it, make use of technology and ask someone else to check it for spelling and grammar errors
- Submit documents as PDF files. This eliminates any possible problems with formatting, removes Word’s red wavy lines under British English words (which are likely to stand out to people reading your application) and makes your documents more tamper-proof
- If there’s a letter of application, address it to the head teacher or principal
- If you know a teacher who already works at the international school in Thailand you’re applying to, consider stating this in your application. It could help your application if they put a good word in for you
- If you need to provide a photograph, make sure it is professional looking. First impressions do count. It should be well lit, with you looking straight at the camera, be in focus and you should look smart and be dressed appropriately. Contrary to the image of an easy-going country, parents who send their children to international schools in Thailand expect the teachers to be dressed conservatively in formal office clothes
- Thoroughly research any schools you apply to. This will help you at interview and may help with the next point
- Research, investigate and soul-search about whether the international school you are considering is the right fit for you and for family (if you have one). Moving and teaching overseas is a huge life change and doesn’t suit everyone
Expect to work hard, especially if it’s a top-tier school, but the rewards of teaching at an international school in Thailand can be excellent and the experience life-changing. Best of luck!