Are you a teacher, backpacker, or digital nomad in Thailand and looking for an exciting opportunity? English camps are a great way to try teaching for the first time while also being rewarded for your time. If you are a backpacker or digital nomad thinking about teaching ESL then these English camps give you an idea of what teaching can be like before committing to a full semester or a full year required for most ESL jobs in Thailand. Non-native speakers can also apply for some of these jobs if their level of English is high enough and they can speak in a relatively clear accent. Here’s the rundown on English camps in Thailand and how I fared recently trying to find a job for the holiday in October.
English camps are a part of daily life for English teachers in Thailand and are most often ran by teaching agencies and the schools themselves. These events typically last for a day or two, or even three days. The English camps are ran by the teachers and sometimes agency staff who come up with a theme, activities, songs, rewards, etc. I have done a few English camps here in Thailand and similar style events in Korea and I quite enjoy them as a way to have some much needed fun outside the classroom.
As for your duties, these are quite light with teachers operating an activity station in a circuit with other teachers for one or two hours and taking part in other camp activities that incorporate learning English in a fun and entertaining way. For example, you may run a flashcard type activity for 20mins with a group of kids before the groups switch stations and a whole new batch of students stop by. But what I didn’t realise until recently is how big and popular English camps really are in Thailand.
Schools and agencies run English camps pretty much all year round. If you work at a public school directly you will probably do at least one English camp a semester. However, if you work at a public school through an agency, you might be asked to work additional English camps at other schools, which can include meals, accommodations, and additional payments. While you can find English camp job ads posted online most months, the most lucrative months are March-April and October as these are the months most public schools close for the holidays meaning lots of teachers are free to work at English camps. Wanting to earn some extra money, I looked online for English camp jobs recently.
Basic English camp jobs start at 1000THB ($30USD approx) a day and often include meals, accommodation, and transport. I went to my usual spot Ajarn.com and gave Craigslist a try. Sure enough, there were ads looking for English teachers to work at English camps in September and October. Pay for those jobs ranged from 1000-1500THB and lasted for two or three days meaning a Friday to Sunday camp could net at least 3000THB ($85USD) which is not bad considering you would have accommodation and meals taken care of. I thought of applying for them but then I came across the top tier English camp jobs.
Big private schools in Bangkok offer top money for English teachers during the peak months of English camps. The jobs that I saw were offering 2000-3000THB ($60-85USD) a day for 10 day camps teaching phonics while also playing games and singing with young learners under 10. 20,000-30,000THB ($570-860USD) for a 10 day job, with a weekend in between, is not bad at all especially when the starting salary for ESL teachers in Thailand is 30,000THB a/m.
There was no way I wasn’t going to at least try for the top tier jobs. With my past and current experience with younger learners as well as the English camps and big school events I have worked, I was able to snag two interviews in Bangkok. After a long ass day that involved waking up at the crack of dawn for a 4hr bus ride to Bangkok, having the first interview, and then hanging around Terminal 21 in Asok for hours before the second interview, I was pleased to be offered a position at the second school before even leaving the interview. It just shows how fast you can make an opportunity like that happen if you do a little research and line up some interviews
I hope this post helps teachers,backpackers, or nomads who are traveling or living in Thailand and looking to try teaching and be compensated for your time and efforts. The work is fun, the days are not that long, and a 10 day job at 30,000THB could cover a month of your stay in Thailand! Food for thought indeed.