How NOT to get a job as English Teacher

Posted by claudio on October 29, 2010 in English Language, Teaching in Thailand |

Recruiters and Teacher Agencies receive many resumes from English teachers looking for a job in Thailand. Some of them make one wonder if they were sent in earnest, or if they were sent as a joke.

Here is an example of an e-mail cover letter that most likely won’t get the candidate to an interview:

Dear sir/madam/Director,
Goodday.I am <name deleted>,a 32yrs of age British /French Cameroonian with a Masters Degree in Business Law and diplomas in Education and Child Psychology.
Dear sir/madam/director,I humbly wish to inform you that ,I’m verymuch interested to teach in your favourable, well recognised institution.I wish to inform you that, I’m very fluent in English,french and Thai languages.I have taught in many schools in Thailand,e.g samsennok ,Anuban Rayong e.t.c an in many Government administrative offices.
I am very smart,intelligent and dynamic same as Mr Obama(U.S.A).I am also a lover of sports.My contact numbers are <telephone numbers deleted>.
While waiting for a favourable response from you, I remain yours faithful applicant,
<name deleted>

A possible response to such an application letter may be:

Dear Sir,

Comparing yourself to the President of the United States of America is quite a stretch. President Obama certainly knows how to spell and how to apply the rules of grammar. Perhaps you should leave that part out.

Here are some tips which may increase your chance of getting an interview. If you are not a fan of unsolicited advice, please stop reading now.

  • “Goodday” is not a word. You should write “Good day.”
  • “32yrs” should be “32 years”. Leaving out the space and shortening such a short word makes you look lazy.
  • Repeating “Dear sir/madam/director” in the second paragraph is totally unnecessary and looks very much like artificial politeness.
  • “verymuch” should be “very much”
  • “I wish to inform you that, I’m very fluent…” There is no comma needed here – in fact, it is wrong to place a comma in that place.
  • “french” should be “French”
  • “e.t.c” should be “etc.”
  • “an” should be “and”
  • “Government” should be “government”
  • “I’m very smart,intelligent and dynamic same as Mr Obama.” should be “I’m as smart, intelligent, and dynamic as Mr. Obama.” (It is really recommended, however, to remove that part all together — for obvious reasons.)
  • “I remain yours faithful applicant” should either be “I remain your faithful applicant” or “I remain yours faithfully”
  • Your punctuation seems very odd for an English teacher. The general rule is to place a space after the punctuation mark (comma, period, etc.) You sometimes leave out the space and sometimes put it in front of the punctuation.

Viewing the above as constructive criticism and taking the necessary steps to correct your cover letter will most likely increase your chances in the job market.

Best Regards,


  • karel Noe says:

    Currently I am teaching in Thailand since 2007 . Don’t forget the good teacher are stil in Europe and Usa with much better salaries .Foreign teachers in thailand on a 30,000 bht salary are mostly backpackers working for some cash .
    I have seen it on several occasions

    Best Regards,


    • Claudio says:

      Indeed Charlie. It seems the number of backpackers has increased over the last few years. They attend a short TEFL course and then start their “teaching career” only to abruptly end it after no more than one semester. The truly qualified teachers often teach either in their home country or countries that offer more financial reward than Thai schools do. Nevertheless, there are some awesome foreign teachers in all corners of Thailand and my aim with this article was to help those to not disqualify themselves before even getting to a first interview.

  • charlie says:

    Hi Claudio ,
    Nice to meet you here in cyberworld . You made your point clear ,I surely agree .
    My experience tells me the best language teachers around are those who speak more than 1 language .
    Especially in Thailand because English is not a 2nd language but a FOREIGN language .



    • Claudio says:

      The pleasure is all mine. You’re making another good point. “Native Speakers” seem often overrated by Thai schools. I’ve met many non-native speakers who were excellent teachers, simply because they once were in the same seat as their students today. English is only my third language, but having lived in the USA for close to 20 years, I consider myself fairly fluent. However, I still remember some of the grammar rules that may be second nature to somebody whose mother tongue is English.

  • Pascal Schnyder says:

    Ha ha ha ha.
    The application from Obama’s brother was a good laugh indeed!
    Extremely entertaining to read that spread. Reminds me on a homework which I was given during my first year of English class back in Switzerland. And what concerns the “color of one’s body”,
    I always say: “you are what you tell…”
    Pascal Schnyder, the Asian…

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