2016 is upon us and if you haven’t made any resolutions for teaching English in Thailand, here are some ideas for you.

Commit to classroom improvement – During the first few weeks of 2016, complete an honest self-evaluation of your teaching at least once a day so as to identify teaching skills that need improvement. If possible, ask a respected peer to observe your class and share their thoughts with you. Narrow weaknesses down to two or three teaching skills and commit to researching ways to improve.

Utilize social media – Improve techniques and build professional awareness by paying attention to the experts through blogs, YouTube and Twitter. Scott Thornbury’s blog, “An A-Z of ELT” is fantastic; sign up for Adrian Underhill’s newsletters for improving pronunciation, or subscribe to EngVid’s YouTube channel for fun and interesting lesson plan ideas. Free sources are virtually endless and utilizing these usually results in a renewed interest in teaching.

Earn a certification – A wide variety of reasonably priced, advanced-level TESOL courses are readily available online (International House, for example). Choose a discipline you’re most interested in or one that addresses a weakness you want to improve. Ensure the certification is recognized internationally as this might be especially good for those looking for jobs abroad after they’re finished teaching English in Thailand.

Build bridges – If you’re teaching English in Thailand and enjoy great Thai-Western relations, consider yourself lucky. Cross-cultural relations in most staff rooms isn’t great but how much of that can be eased by small gestures and proactive positivity? Smile more, bring in some fruit or snacks to share, exceed dress codes, volunteer for a task that only Thai teachers usually do. Such efforts don’t go unnoticed. Kill colleagues with kindness for a while. If nothing changes, at least you tried.

Learn more Thai – The easiest way to build bridges is to learn more Thai. If you’re not an independent learner, find a few co-workers and sign up for 10 hours of class (I recommend Brainy House) or find a Thai friend and do some language exchange. Thai isn’t nearly as difficult as many think it is. Just learning the basics of reading can significantly improve your tones and build vocabulary. Even slight efforts to speak Thai go a long way with most Thai colleagues and show you’re making an effort.

This helps to make life outside the classroom more interesting too. Before you know it, you’re sat a red light trying to read a sign or you’re able to read items on a menu. And let’s face it, if you’re going to be teaching English in Thailand, you’d might as well be doing all you can to learn the language.

Embrace one Thai activity
In my experience, the foreigners who do more of this enjoy life outside the office more and therefore appreciate the opportunities that teaching English in Thailand presents. Try venturing out by signing up for a course in Thai cooking, batik art, meditation or something else that interests you. If you’re more of an introvert, try getting into Thai music or pick up a book on Thai history. Share these experiences with Thai co-workers, students, parents and friends, and rewards will present themselves.

Here’s to a happy, productive and meainngful 2016. Make the best of it.

If you’re teaching English in Thailand without a TEFL certification, or you’re simply interested in attending our course, discounts are available by mentioning this article. Please contact us: www.teflcampus.com/contact-tefl-campus.