TEFL Thailand – Our Experience Getting Certified to Teach English

Finding a legitimate TEFL course online can be tough, as we found out during our research.  Some TEFL Thailand courses are a bit of a joke, with no real content and the certificates aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Others ask for all the money up front, and then you may show up for the first day of class and no school exists! We have actually heard stories about this happening before. Luckily we found TEFLWorld based on Koh Samui, Thailand.  As it turned out, this was a great place to earn our TEFL while in Thailand.

Teacher Darren - TEFL Thailand - Peanuts or Pretzels
Earning our TEFL certificate while in Thailand

TEFL / TESOL Certification

Coming into the class we didn’t know much about getting a TEFL/TSOL certification, other than some countries require it, while others just recommend it. After researching all the pros and cons to the certificate, we figured that it couldn’t hurt to have it!

The first leg of our Around the World Adventure would be in Thailand, so we figured that would be a good place to get certified to teach.

After more research regarding specific TEFL Thailand courses, we found TEFLWorld.  Their reviews were all quite positive and we were impressed with the resources on their website.  We sent them some questions online and they were super responsive, so we figured we would give it a go.

Besides, we figured that if we were going to do a full 120 hour month-long course, it might as well be on a tropical island in Thailand!  It turns out that this experience was one that we will never forget, not just for the teaching and class experience, but for the friendships that we made.

Morning Coffee - TEFL Certification Thailand - Peanuts or Pretzels
Having our morning coffee during our TEFL Thailand course

TEFLWorld Made It Easy For Us – Including Arranging Accommodations for 1 Month (Included in Course Fees)

TEFWorld really helped make the process easy. As soon as our ferry to the island of Koh Samui arrived from the main land, we were greeted by the “TEFL Mom”, Ying. She was a sweet soul that made us feel at ease right away. She picked us up from our ferry and drove us right to our hotel. After helping us get our room situated (which was covered in the course fees), she told us that she would will be there in the morning to pick us up and take us to school.

The fact that our month long accommodation on Koh Samui was covered as a part of the TEFLWorld course fees, made the choice easier. Not only was it cost effective, but it took the burden off of us to find a good hotel for a month.  It was also convenient to the school, and we were staying at the same hotel with all of our classmates (which made for some great times!).

Break Time - TEFL Certification Thailand - Peanuts or Pretzels
Our TEFL Thailand class on Koh Samui was memorable – in more ways than one!

Our First Day of School – TEFLWorld in  Thailand

After settling into our new digs for a month, we awoke the next morning and met some of our new classmates in the lobby while we waited for Ying to pick us up. I don’t know if this is common in the TEFL courses, but we all immediately hit it off.

We first met Mark and Max, two buddies that recently graduated from Oregon State (Go Beavs). Mark and Max would soon become our dear friends on the trip, and I’m sure lifelong buddies of ours.  After all, you bond when you eat maggots together (yeah, that happened).

Next we met Su, who was from China. She wanted to get her TEFL to further her English education and to teach. Next we met Chris, from the UK. Then we met our New York brothers. Vic, Kurt, and Aron were recent grads from Albany University and all grew up on Long Island. These guys made the class extremely entertaining, to say the least.

We also had a Kiwi from New Zealand in the class, who was one of the coolest and most interesting people we have ever met. Dave had been traveling all over the world, and wanted to teach children. He proved that you can never be too old to achieve your goals and dreams. We also met Teacher Lim from Chaing Rai.

We had such a diverse group of people in the class.  But at the end of the month, we found it hard to say goodbye to each other.

“Teacher Darren” Our TEFLWorld Instructor Was the BEST!!!

Teaching Darren teaching TEFL - Peanuts or Pretzels
Teacher Darren wasted no time putting us in the “hot seat” — he was fantastic at helping us improve our teaching skills!

After meeting some of our classmates, Ying took us to our first class and to meet our instructor, Darren. Darren is a UK guy who left the rough and tough life in the steel mills to live in beautiful Thailand and help others achieve their goals. His cheerful personality along with his immersive teaching style and English knowledge, made him a great instructor for a course like this.

His goal was to make us the best teachers possible, and we were impressed with our growth over the course!  We had no idea we would learn as much as we did during our TEFL Thailand training course.

TEFLWorld Gave Us Real World Teaching Experience

The class was no joke, and it took work to get through it. We didn’t just pay money to get a certificate, nor were we just there to party (as many other TEFL programs are about).  We really learned a lot during the course! And that is exactly what we wanted, because Liz & I aren’t trained teachers.  The whole point of taking the TEFL Thailand course was so we could know what the heck we are doing so that we can do a good job in the future. 

Josh Teaching TEFL - Peanuts or Pretzels
Teaching private school kids English on Koh Samui Thailand as a part of our TEFL Thailand training course.

The one thing that I was so glad to walk away with was practical experience teaching in a foreign country. Of course if you are going to get a job teaching English, you need to have experience.  Going into the course, we knew that we would get the chance to do some teaching (which was part of why we chose this program).  But our instructor Darren made sure we got a LOT of experience, in a variety of settings.

Teacher Liz - TEFL Certification Thailand - Peanuts or Pretzels
Liz and her English students in Thailand!

They wasted no time putting us to work, and the second week of our TEFL Thailand course was nothing but teaching lessons! Darren gave everyone 5-7 teaching assignments for both private school kids and government school kids, and it was up to us to make sure the kids were learning.

TEFL World is actually accredited and affiliated with the Paynadee Private School on Koh Samui. It is a Cambridge UK accredited private school. So we actually had to follow their lesson plans, which was a bit intimidating to a newbie teacher.  But we had free reign with our lesson planning for the government school kids.  Not only was the experience practical, it was valuable to see the different learning environments, and gave us an idea of what to expect with future jobs.

Our first teaching experiences are definitely something we won’t forget!

Experience Teaching English to Hotel Staff

Josh & Liz Teaching TEFL - Peanuts or Pretzels
Teacher Josh & Teacher Liz – Coming to a Hotel Near You!

The next week, after we polished our English Grammar skills, we were scheduled to teach a few lessons to staff at a local hotel. In particular, we were teaching the housekeeping staff as well as the food & beverage staff.

This is what Liz and I were most excited about, because it is right up our alley with our professional experience in the tourism and hospitality industries. It was also interesting to see the differences in teaching young learners versus adults.

TEFL Thailand Class with Hotel Staff - Peanuts or Pretzels
English teachers and our students on Koh Samui, Thailand


Getting our TEFL Certification in Thailand with TEFLWorld = Right Decision

TEFLWorld Group

The TEFLWorld course in Thailand was such a wonderful experience for Liz and I.  The staff was fantastic and really cared about us becoming great teachers.  Not only did we learn a lot during the TEFL Thailand course, but we had lots of actual teaching experience that we could already put on our resume!

Also we got more than just certificates, but made lots of new friends from all over the world.  We really enjoyed getting to know everyone during the class.  They made it a lot more fun, as well as all the memories outside of class!

To our classmates, thank you for making this course special.

If you are thinking about getting your TEFL Teaching Certificate (and particularly TEFL Thailand courses), we definitely recommend checking out TEFLWorld on Koh Samui.  From our first hand experience, it was a quality course and definitely worth it.

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