The Kingdom of Thailand, “the land of smiles,” is home to a population of approximately seventy million. Peace Corps has been in Thailand for 61 years and during this time our projects have evolved to meet the needs of our partners. Volunteers should expect to work in rural communities, not in big cities or sunny beaches. Every day will be dynamic and the more you are able to let go of your expectations, the more you will be able to contribute to Thai communities in the spirit of service with others.
The Teacher Empowerment for Student Success (TESS) project aims to build the capacity of Thai English teachers through co-teaching, collaborative planning, and periodic teacher training. Volunteers will work closely with 1-3 Thai English teachers, spending approximately 16-20 hours/week co-teaching at schools focusing on grades 1-9 in medium to small sized towns or villages. The school size is around 150-350 students with an average of 15-35 students per class. Volunteers are expected to be in school Monday-Friday from around 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The project focuses on incorporating participatory learning approaches and encouraging the integration of TEFL techniques. Volunteers will be seen as school staff and will work with their co-teachers to develop lessons, classroom resources, and classroom management. Volunteers may need to support classroom learning by tutoring those in need of additional support. Being seen as part of the staff, volunteers will respect all rules and regulations of the school. Along with other school staff, Volunteers will attend/support all activities arranged by the school such as the morning assembly, gate duties, events, and other duties assigned. Volunteers will also attend community events which are hosted by the school or the community.
While classroom teaching is the primary work of TESS Volunteers, they will occasionally provide teacher training to other English teachers in neighboring communities. Volunteers will conduct community outreach activities aimed at increasing parental engagement in their children’s study of English as well as support overall English language learning in the community through teaching and tutoring interested community members. In addition, Volunteers are expected to empower community members with projects the community has identified as needed. These may include clubs, camps, extracurricular activities, or other community development projects.
All Volunteers who accept an invitation to serve as a TESS Volunteer will participate in Peace Corps’ TEFL training program which allows them to earn a Peace Corps TEFL Certificate upon successful completion of program requirements. This program provides 120 hours of standardized training and practice teaching along with two years of supervised teaching experience. The certificate program is validated by the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C. Those that earn the certificate will find it a recognized credential for teaching both in the U.S. and abroad. Participation in this TEFL Certificate is required for all TESS Volunteers; even those who already hold a TEFL certificate will be required to participate.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
• Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English
• Bachelor of Arts/Science in Teaching in English, Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), foreign language, or Applied Linguistics or higher
• Experience or an interest in curriculum and resource development
• Classroom teaching experience, tutoring experience, and/or teacher training experience
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
All Volunteers will be provided with comprehensive and intensive Thai language training during their 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST). Trainees will dedicate 4 hours a day, 5-6 days a week to language learning as well as informal learning with host families and community members. Trainees will be placed in a small language class of up to 5-6 Trainees who are at a similar language level to themselves for focused learning. The Peace Corps Thailand staff will assign you to a language group at the beginning of PST, taking your skills and knowledge in your primary assignment area into consideration. Trainees must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in Thai by the end of PST. Language learning is critical to your success as a Volunteer as there will be very few English speakers in your community and speaking Thai facilitates your successful integration. Showing that you are making an effort to learn the language shows respect and goes a long way towards earning respect in your community.
Nearly all Volunteers will be working and living in rural Thailand, located in all provinces except the southernmost four where there is unrest. During Pre-Service Training (PST), Trainees will stay with Thai host families identified by Peace Corps staff. Once at their two-year assignment, Volunteers will live in one of the villages in their assigned municipality. Volunteers will live with a host family, and situation dependent, might live independently. All Volunteer housing must meet Peace Corps’ safety and security requirements.
Volunteers typically live in a basic single house, school dormitory, two-floor house, or one-story house. The bathroom may have a squat toilet and a cold-water shower. The kitchen area is usually partially open-air. Volunteers who stay with host families have their own bedrooms and share common space in the house. All Volunteers in Thailand have electricity and some form of running water. While it is possible to maintain a vegetarian diet, strict vegetarians or vegans may find it difficult to maintain diets that don’t allow for flexibility, especially within some social contexts.
Most towns have internet cafes and schools, and offices are very likely to have regular internet service. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop to complete required TEFL assignments off-line and upload them later.
While Peace Corps prohibits you from driving vehicles and riding on motorcycles, you can use a bicycle or travel by car with a co-worker. Public transportation is sometimes inconsistent, so you will need to be patient and flexible. All invitees must be willing and able to ride a bicycle for at least up to five to seven miles in very hot conditions. Trainees will be provided a bicycle at PST, Volunteers will receive a stipend for purchasing a bicycle to use at Site. Be aware that some individuals will find the heat and humidity in Thailand to be a difficult adjustment; especially during the first few months in the country.
Thais take great personal pride in appearance so dressing professionally as a Volunteer will increase your effectiveness and credibility. Appropriate professional dress at school for men includes slacks, collared short-sleeved shirts and clean neat shoes. For women, collared blouses, slacks and skirts or dresses reaching below the knees are appropriate. Some schools where Volunteers work may only prefer skirts or dresses be worn.
Volunteers should understand that many Thai schools and offices ask their staff to conform to certain norms of dress and appearance, and it is often gendered. For both men and women, tattoos are often required to be covered and body piercings, excluding the earlobe, may need to be removed. Also, they may prefer that males not have long hair, beards, or earrings. As one of Peace Corps Thailand’s core expectations is to respect Thai culture, it is important that you are willing to learn about and follow the norms of your work place. Concepts of time, punctuality, and communication styles may be different from American cultural perspectives and norms but with patience and flexibility, Volunteers find they are able to adjust and work successfully with their communities.
Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. While this is usually based in ignorance and a lack of education it can be taxing and frustrating. During Pre-Service Training (PST) and well into your two years of training, multiple sessions will be held to discuss safety, security, diversity, inclusion, and how you can stay safe, find common ground with people different from you, and serve as an ally for your peers and community members.
Serving in Thailand
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Thailand: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Peace Corps Thailand can accommodate couples teaching the same or different subjects. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions:
• English Co-Teacher
• English Co-Teacher and Teacher Trainer
• Youth in Development Volunteer
Couples live and serve together throughout their service. This includes living with a host family during the 9.5 -week Pre-Service Training, as well as a Host Family in a village for the 2 years of service. Housing requirements stipulated by Peace Corps for couples are the same as those for single Volunteers because it would be unusual to find houses that are much larger than the standard small house.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit:
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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