In the more than a decade I’ve lived in Thailand, I’ve met a number of western couples who moved to Bangkok together to teach. Many of them planned on teaching English at the same school but, once here, realized quickly that may not be possible.
If you and your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, also plan on coming to Thailand to teach English and are wondering if couples can teach English in Thailand at the same school, here are a few things you’ll need to know.
Can couples teach English in Thailand at the same school?
I recently met a British couple in my apartment building who had moved to Bangkok to teach English. Before they left the UK, they spent many hours reading online articles about teaching in Thailand and posted in internet forums asking questions about couples moving to Thailand to teach in the same school.
While they were told by several people in various forums that teaching English in Thailand at the same school was easily possible, once they arrived in Bangkok they discovered that wasn’t true at all.
In fact, it’s rare to find a school in Thailand that will hire both members of a couple to teach in the same school. This is usually because they feel if there are any problems with one person, whether the person doesn’t like the school or the school has difficulties with them, it will often mean both members of the couple end up leaving at the same time.
Finding one replacement teacher in the middle of a semester is hard enough. Finding two can make life very difficult for the school indeed.
Should you move to Thailand as a couple to teach English?
If it’s not very likely you’ll get a job teaching English at the same school, should you both still move to Thailand to teach?
Of course, you should.
Just because you won’t both end up working at the same school, does not mean you won’t both find excellent jobs. There are so many teaching jobs in Thailand, no matter which member of the couple has the most experience, or even if neither of you have none, so you should both easily be able to find a job in a matter of a week or so.
You can still live together
Some western teachers think that most schools in Thailand have the teachers living on campus, so it would make it impossible to live with their spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend if that was the case.
That’s actually not true at all. In fact, the majority of schools in Thailand do not have on campus housing for their teachers, so you’ll be expected to find your own accommodation.
Just make sure when you do that it’s close to a bus route or other public transportation, and it’s not too far away from one person’s job. Right in the middle between the two schools would be ideal.
It’s often better to work at different schools
One of the western teachers at the first school I taught at in Bangkok had moved with her husband from Australia to teach. He had wanted to work at the same school as his wife. She didn’t. Not that it mattered anyway as both of the schools they ended up working for, when asked, told them that they wouldn’t hire their spouse anyway – and for the reason I mentioned.
The woman, however, told me she had no intention of teaching English at the same school as her husband, as she wanted something interesting and new to talk about over the dinner table, and not just rehashing what they’d both experienced during the day at the same school. She also felt, with working at different schools, they could learn more about teaching in Thailand that way as they’d each have differing experiences to compare.
Two schools means double the number of friends
Don’t forget, when you move to Thailand to teach you will probably know no-one. That’s why it can be advantageous for you both to work at different schools, as you’ll double the number of possible new friends you’ll make — both expat and Thai — and expand your social circle quickly.
If you are planning on moving to Thailand as a couple to teach English, you should. You’ll love it. Meanwhile, you can get started on your job hunt by checking out Ajarn’s daily teaching job list, and you’ll soon find you are both gainfully employed.