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How to become an Ajarn? Thailand is calling!

 Can I be an Ajarn in Thailand?

The question, “How to become an Ajarn in Thailand?” is a good one if you want to know how to become an English teacher. Teaching English abroad is becoming increasingly popular these days. Whether it be a student wondering what to do in their gap year to someone looking for a career change, there are opportunities abound for becoming an English teacher all over the world. One such place with a high demand for teachers is Thailand. Teachers in Thailand are known by two local terms, Kru and Ajarn. Thailand’s culture is very respectful of teachers, so it’s a great place to learn how to teach if you are new to teaching.

What does Ajarn mean?

more-than-one-student-per-seatGoing back to the two terms above, Kru is a teacher of children or students up to the end of high school or secondary school. Ajarn is a teacher of adults, usually students at university or adults studying in language schools. An Ajarn (or a kru) in Thailand is a highly respected position and your students will refer to you with this polite particle before your first name. Therefore you will hear students call you either just “Ajarn”, or “Ajarn David” etc. This will carry over to friends and acquaintances in other areas of your life. If they know you are a teacher, you will be referred to as Ajarn, even if you are not their teacher! This whole concept is multiplied in small towns and villages. If you are the  only foreign teacher, you will be known only as “Ajarn”. As a side note, Ajarn can also refer to anyone teaching an adult anything, whether it be about Buddhism, cooking or Thai boxing.

How to become one?

So, how does one become an Ajarn? Thailand is very welcoming of teachers and is actively looking for new teachers of English at all levels from kindergarten to high school and above. Most schools require a teacher to have a basic amount of training. This is usually 120 hours of TEFL training. The most convenient way to do this is by enrolling in an online TEFL certificate and getting your training at home. If you aren’t sure what TEFL stands for check out this earlier post on the topic. Not all schools require a certificate of higher education and you can teach TEFL without a degree in many places throughout Thailand. Don’t forget, once you have your certificate you can teach in many places as well as Thailand. The best places to teach English abroad are subjective and everyone will have his or her favorite, but that’s the amazing thing about your certificate it allows you to travel the world!
Once you are in Thailand, your first TEFL lesson will be a memorable one and you’ll have all your students calling you Ajarn in no time!
June 27, 2015

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