How the OnTESOL Certificate Helped Me Survive The First Year in Thailand

OnTESOL certificate ThailandI was surfing the internet for traveling a year around the world after university, when I stumbled upon teaching English as a way to pay for my adventures. I sent my resume via e-mail to a recruiter and a few months later I was teaching English at a public school in Thailand. All they asked from me was that I showed up with my US passport and university diploma in hand. I didn’t have any teaching experience and never even heard of TESOL certification.

Everything was great in the beginning! I got picked up at the airport, I had a chance to speak face-to-face with the recruiter and thank him for getting me the TESOL job, and I met with a Canadian girl in her early 20’s and a Aussie man in his 30’s, who would turned out to be great friends and travel buddies. Then came the first day on the job, which was a nightmare.

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Teaching 50 Thai Kids without TESOL Certification

There I stood in front of 50 kids, most of who didn’t speak a word of English. I didn’t have a textbook and the school didn’t provide me with any technology to at least play a movie and let time pass by. I rounded the few kids who spoke a little English to ask them what is popular in Thailand and I survived the first week playing hangman and other silly games.

By the second week, the kids picked up that I was just another young teacher who wanted to travel and wasn’t prepared for the job, so they started to be trouble talking loud and not paying any attention to me. That’s when the Canadian teacher recommended the 120-hour TEFL certificate offered by OnTESOL that she had taken before coming to Thailand. My TESOL job in Thailand paid only 25,000 baht a month, so I needed to find a TESOL course that was affordable and I could complete quickly. I completed the OnTESOL certificate in less than a month and I was able to apply many of the activities in my own lessons while taking the course.

Using Songs and Movies to Teach English in Thailand

I am happy I took the certificate course with OnTESOL because I realized that I didn’t need a textbook in the first place to teach English. I created lesson plans using the Communicative Approach, so the students were able to form simple sentences and have short conversations as they learned grammatical structures. By the end of the month, I started introducing authentic material. The first time I introduced authentic material was when I brought my laptop and played ‘Don’t Give Up’ by Bruno Mars to teach the present simple. The next class I played the trailer of Grey, with Liam Neeson, to teach the present continuous. That was the day the kids realized that learning English would help them enjoy all the pop media that they love, without translations or subtitles. My English class became their favourite subject! Everyone turned in their homework on time and by the end of the school year every student was able to communicate in English using full sentences.

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Why get the TESOL certificate with OnTESOL? Learn more about lesson planning in this video: