Teach English on an Island

Thailand

The government schools provide free education for children aged 4-12 years from the local areas.

The Teach English on an Island project runs English classes. Volunteers run supplementary lessons alongside local teachers. Lessons are fun and engaging and inspire the children to love learning English! This passion for learning and increased English skills help local children to gain access to better jobs and further education.

Stay in a beachside resort on the beautiful tropical island of Koh Phangan and explore the neighbouring islands of Koh Tao and Koh Samui in your free time.

Join the team to teach English in local schools.

Apply

Key Info

key info
  • Location: Koh Phangan
  • Start dates: Throughout the year - see role section
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (groups also welcome)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £1395 / €1630 / $1785 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

Volunteers live and work on the beautiful island of Koh Phangan, teaching at government schools for children aged 4-12. The students are taught English by Thai teachers in a traditional style, with more emphasis on reading and writing than on speaking and listening and so conversation skills tend to be weak. Your lessons will help the children to develop their language skills; including learning the alphabet, sets of vocabulary, basic verbs and tenses and other simple structures.

The emphasis of the lessons is to get the students speaking. The lessons should be as fun and engaging as possible, inspiring the children to love learning English!

Lessons will vary depending on age and ability but may include:

  • Interactive learning games
  • Arts and crafts
  • Listening or conversation practice
  • Games and songs - the children love karaoke!

To help you prepare for these lessons and get to know your local area, during your first few days on the island you will have:

  • A day trip to discover some of the island of Koh Phangan
  • An introduction to Thai language and culture
  • An overview of your teaching placement

Teaching experience is not a requirement, we simply ask that volunteers are enthusiastic and imaginative and willing to learn as you teach. You can choose to do a TEFL Course before you go which you may find helpful for gathering resources and building your own confidence in teaching English.

Working days and hours

A normal week will involve around 2 hours of English lessons per day from Monday to Friday. The school day starts at 8.30am and finishes at 3.30pm. On your day off there are a variety free time activities for you to get involved in.

Other volunteers

There are usually between 2-6 volunteers, with a maximum of 6.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award, including a minimum number of other participants.

Child protection

Pod is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults - please see our Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Policy.

All volunteers are required to have a criminal records check, which we will arrange with you.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Thailand Teach English on an Island reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Koh Phangan has rapidly developed over the past few years and many of the jobs on the island now relate to tourism. English language skills open doors to better jobs and access to further education and so English lessons from native English speakers are extremely valued. Volunteers are able to help children to gain confidence in speaking English and improve their communication skills.

Volunteers work alongside local teachers. Volunteer lessons are additional lessons in the curriculum and do not replace the work of local teachers.

“The teachers and pupils at the schools love having volunteers since they help improve their spoken and written English and share new games and ideas with them.”
Eiu, Volunteer Coordinator

Start dates

2018: 6 Jan, 26 May, 21 Jul, 3 Nov

Location, free time and accommodation

Thailand

Thailand is often referred to as the ‘land of smiles’ and is a huge attraction for travellers from around the world due to its glorious beaches, tropical climate, great food and fascinating culture. Thailand has something to offer everyone and popular activities include:

  • Visiting the tranquil mountains in the North
  • Idyllic beaches on the Southern islands
  • The bustling modern city of Bangkok

To find out more, see the Lonely Planet Thailand.

Location and free time

Off the South East coast of Thailand there are three populated islands; Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Heading north from Koh Samui, Koh Phangan is a dramatic mix of dense jungle and hilly terrain in its interior and granite outcrops and beaches along the coast.

A popular destination for backpackers and travellers, Koh Phangan has plenty of facilities to make it a comfortable and exciting place to live. Responding to the demands of tourism, parts of the island have developed quickly, but it still keeps its natural feel and has a strong Thai community. Koh Phangan is a laid back, friendly and fun island with an atmosphere that means people usually stay a lot longer than intended!

In your free time you can enjoy the beautiful island environment and its many beaches! An evening’s entertainment might consist of eating and having a drink on the beach, watching an English-speaking movie being shown in one of the bars, or going out with other volunteers.

There are also lots of activities to do on the island such as Thai boxing classes, outdoor aerobics at the pier, Thai cooking classes, yoga and even a gym! Or you could spend your free time relaxing by a swimming pool or having a traditional Thai massage.

Accommodation

Volunteers stay in a beautiful beachside resort in Sri Thanu, on the north-west coast of the island. Volunteers have their own ensuite room. There is a restaurant at the accommodation that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The resort also has WIFI, a TV area, space to relax, and is close to shops and bars.

Read volunteer reviews from the Teaching English on an Island project

Faith

“I had an amazing time working on the tropical island of Koh Phangan, teaching English in the local primary school. The locals and teachers were all very friendly and warm to me making the experience very enjoyable. The children were rewarding to teach, with a great sense of fun and enjoyed trying to teach me Thai as much as I tried to teach them English (which they picked up a lot quicker than I did any Thai!).

The area in which I was teaching was beautiful. The resort is on a beach fringed with palm trees and set within half an hour drive of a few towns where there are lots of markets to eat and shop. There were also many small restaurants meaning that I could easily walk to get amazing food nearby. The island of Koh Phangan is also within a short ferry trip of Koh Tao where I went scuba diving on a couple of the weekends which was amazing!”

Adam

“Eiu was an incredible host and always went out of her way to ensure that our stay was the best that it could be. She helped us to get involved in the local community and culture, whether it be buying the materials for us to make Krathongs with the children at the school or asking us to be involved in local parades she made us feel welcome from day one till the day we left. Plus her PadThai must be the best that I have eaten in Thailand.

I have never known a school to have such friendly staff and pupils alike, we were made to feel welcome from day one. I would certainly recommend this placement to anyone as not only is the school a joy and pleasure to teach in but you find yourself becoming part of the community and you are treated with so much respect from the locals. So all round this has been a pleasure to have had this opportunity and an experience that I shall never forget.”

Roosa

“I really enjoyed my time teaching in Koh Phangan. The island surprised me with its beautiful beaches, friendly people and a hippie, fun-loving atmosphere. Together with two other lovely volunteers, we taught at the nearby school, just a 10 minute walk away. We stayed right on the beach with our amazing (and super hard working) coordinator Eiu, who made us feel right at home and constantly full with her amazing, authentic Thai meals.

I found interacting with the students the most rewarding part of the experience. It was very touching to see them gaining confidence in their English language skills. We had a lot of fun in the classroom too, our students loved to play games. I connected well with the other volunteers and felt that we worked together really well as a team, which made the experience much more rewarding. I felt very privileged to experience the local life in such a comprehensive way.”

Ally

“I had an amazing time with the kids and the teachers were such a joy to work with as well. Wow, the beach we were on was incredible, there definitely was a magical quality about the environment. Eiu is also regarded as the best chef on the island so the food was always good. There were also no shortage of other great restaurants in the area including various vegan and vegetarian options as well.

The most rewarding part of the placement was the connections we made with the kids. It was so awesome how receptive and excited they were to see us and to have us teach in their class. I would advise others considering this to be open and receptive to every experience that presents itself during your time on the island. You will get out of it whatever you choose to put in to it!”

Read more reviews

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - Gemma is your dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • In-depth volunteering and planning your trip guides
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Help arranging criminal record checks
  • Discounted online TEFL course
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod

On your placement:

  • Teaching volunteering placement
  • Transfer Koh Phangan ferry port
  • Accommodation - your own room in a beautiful beach resort!
  • Daily transport on teaching days (where required)
  • Induction to your school, timetable and syllabus
  • Thai language and culture training
  • Budget for teaching resources
  • Activities: Koh Phangan island tour, night food market visit
  • Pod polo t-shirt
  • Thai SIM card for your mobile phone
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa, criminal records check, food. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
6 weeks £1395 GB Pounds
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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Discount of £150 per person for friends / partners sharing a room

450

children taught additional English each year

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder

Gemma

Pod UK Specialist

Gemma has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Thailand Teach on an Island – Abi

    “I had a fantastic, life changing time, definitely recommend to anybody with an interest in teaching! I definitely found the whole experience very rewarding. When a lesson goes to plan it's an awesome feeling!”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Teach on an Island – Faye

    “The most amazing experience and I am so happy that I plucked up the courage to do it. By the end of the experience you feel like and are treated like a local and really respected within the community.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Teach on an Island – Simona

    “If you are thinking of volunteering abroad then look no further. I had a fantastic experience... I loved the place so much I've stayed! The project is excellent. The island is fantastic. Thoroughly enjoyable 6 weeks.”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal