Tips To Become A Teacher In Thailand: Dos and Don’ts
The magnificent beauty and culture of Thailand attract many teachers across the globe each year, to pursue a teaching profession in the “Land of Smiles.”
Thailand is popular among foreign teachers for numerous reasons. In the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand boasts a diverse culture, an amazing array of culinary treats, and picturesque landscapes. The country is home to some 200,000 expatriates, including a large teaching community. But it is essential to note that common practices in one country can be a major source of offense in another. Below are some useful pointers that can help you keep on track while pursuing a teaching career in Thailand.
Do: Dress modestly
In Thailand, as a rule of thumb, your shoulders should be covered and dresses or skirts that are worn to work should reach your knees. Thais are fairly conservative in their dress standards. Schools usually prefer male teachers to wear full button-up shirts. If you are unsure as to what you are expected to wear in the classroom, ask someone.
Don’t: Touch anyone’s head
In Thai culture, a person’s head is considered the most spiritual part of their body, and to touch someone on the head can be very disrespectful.
Do: Wear certain colors
Some schools in Thailand expect teachers to wear outfits corresponding to the color of the day. If you are told to wear certain colors on certain days, do so. Note: Monday is yellow, Tuesday is pink, Wednesday is green, Thursday is orange, and Friday is light blue. There are other days where you may be asked to wear certain colors; For instance, on the King’s birthday, you will be expected to wear yellow, regardless of what day of the week it is, as the King was born on a Monday.
Don’t: Discuss religion or the Royal Family in classes
Buddhism and The Royal Family are both highly revered in Thailand. It is best to avoid these topics altogether in the classroom. Also, be aware that speaking badly of the Royal Family is a criminal offense and punishable under the Lese Majeste Laws.
Do: Use the Wai
The ‘wai’ is a sign of respect and is used to greet people, bid farewell, apologize, or show gratitude, and in a whole host of other social situations. If somebody wais you, you should return the gesture. If you see someone in your school who is older or holds a more senior position than you, you should wai them first.
Don’t: Act disrespectfully near Buddha images
Images of Buddha are sacred in Thailand. You should not climb on statues for pictures or act inappropriately near statues or images of Buddha. Always remember to point your feet away from Buddha images.
Hopefully, these tips will stand you in good stead for your first few weeks of working as a teacher in the Land of Smiles.