Myanmar (commonly known as Burma) was once off-limits to most international visitors due to travel restrictions, and so had no TEFL business at all. However now, the country has welcomed millions of visitors each year who are eager to discover this Southeast Asian hidden treasure. It’s a country on the rise economically, with more prospects for EFL teachers. The market for TEFL teaching in Myanmar is predicted to increase.
Those who are fortunate to secure a good career in an international school can expect high wages and cheap living costs, with low rental costs or housing provided by their employer. Myanmar is mainly untouched by Western influence and has inadequate infrastructure, with regular potholes on bad roads, a lack of air conditioning in rental apartments, and a lack of internet access among the top issues. As a result, it is a country that provides EFL teachers with a more “off the beaten path” experience.
It’s a lovely country with plenty to see and do, and beachgoers will like the 2,250 kilometres of coastline. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, stay reading to learn more about teaching English in Myanmar!
Key things to note
Myanmar is primarily Buddhist, and instructors are held in great regard. As a result, you should dress modestly and formally conduct yourself. Students in Myanmar, according to TEFL teachers, are eager, well-behaved, courteous, and accepting. Because the majority of teaching employment in the country is either at international schools or as volunteer roles in disadvantaged communities, students will vary greatly depending on where you teach.
Myanmar has an illiteracy rate of 89.5 per cent, with boys being more educated than girls. School is required until the completion of primary school (when children are just 9 years old), however, it is compulsory until pupils are 15 or 16 at foreign schools. The government has a minimal budget for education, and education standards in public schools are low across the country, which is why there is a need for quality international schools for those who can afford them. Although English is taught in schools beginning in kindergarten, competency is low.
Myanmar places 86th out of 100 nations in the 2019 EF English Proficiency Index, which means the country falls into the very poor’ category. The study also discovered that the average number of years spent in school was fewer than five, indicating that the majority of children complete their education before entering high school. Those who have the opportunity to attend an international school are in a unique position, and their abilities will be far superior to those of their state-educated classmates.
EFL teachers in Myanmar can live well and save each month on a regular teaching wage. In comparison to the local wage, international schools pay well. Many businesses, although not all, will provide housing as part of your contract. Yangon is the most costly city to live in, with rents that are often more than in other regions of the country, so it’s best to find a teaching job there that includes housing. If you find a reasonably priced rental apartment, it will most certainly be in poor shape. It should be mentioned that Myanmar is lacking in basic infrastructure, however, this is developing all the time.
It does imply that there may be concerns with power outages and bad internet connections, as well as a lack of available homes. Property is in high demand since the housing sector has not been able to keep up with the increase in visitors and workers to the country.
Local cuisine is extremely inexpensive, but Western cuisine is relatively costly. Burmese cuisine is a fusion of Southeast Asian, Indian, and Chinese influences. The popular Lephet, a fermented tea leaf salad, mohinga (the unofficial national dish). As well as curries, samosas, and noodle meals are among the foods to taste in Myanmar. Myanmar’s cuisine has a reputation for being a little fatty and not up to the standards of neighbouring Thailand.
Travelling around the county is simple and inexpensive. There are lots of opportunities for adventure as more locations open up to foreigners.
In Myanmar, a private school teacher’s compensation ranges from $1,500 to $2,000. While volunteers are likely to earn a living allowance to cover basic expenditures. In comparison to high private school pay, the cost of living in Myanmar is quite low. Most instructors spend $750-$900 per month.
Do you want to work as a volunteer teacher in an orphanage or a non-profit educational programme? Myanmar’s government is currently promoting English language instruction as a means of assisting the country’s development and participation in globalisation.
Because many institutions cannot afford to hire a foreign teacher, volunteering may be the only way for these students to see the outside world. Volunteer teaching is a wonderful way to give back to these communities while also having a direct impact on the lives of the children.
International private schools
While state schools in Myanmar lack the financial resources to recruit foreign teachers, private institutions have a high demand for international ESL instructors. These jobs are usually well-paid and come with a pre-existing curriculum.
Non ESL jobs
There are also several teaching positions available in Myanmar for teachers who specialise in disciplines other than ESL.
How to find a job
Where to look
Applying through a teaching programme that will place you in a local school is the simplest approach to finding a teaching position in Myanmar. Before you arrive, these programmes will assist you in finding a job. They may even offer you orientation or additional teaching materials. In Myanmar, there are various rigorous TEFL training programmes. These will allow you to acquire your TEFL certification while also gaining teaching experience.
Private schools typically demand a bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, and citizenship as a native speaker. Because the requirements differ per position, it’s critical to double-check the details for each one.
Those who find work in Myanmar will be issued a 10-week business visa, which will necessitate frequent trips to Thailand to renew the visa. Some schools will cover the costs of these visits to Thailand, while others may want you to pay for them.
Classroom and work culture
- Teacher-student relationships: In Myanmar, teachers are held in high regard. Teachers are regarded as one of the “five gems” by the majority of Burmese people. Teachers are commonly seen as substitute parents. In the classroom, there is a distinct hierarchy, and pupils are frequently expected to be exceedingly courteous.
- Teachers are expected to dress conservatively and formally on the job. While formal attire is not needed, it is preferable to dress in a smart-casual manner.
- Greetings: To demonstrate respect, it is usual to use complete titles and names while greeting others. Even though many Myanmar names are long, It is considered rude to abbreviate or using them without their honorary title.
Food in Myanmar
Myanmar’s food is a delectable blend of Chinese, Thai, and Indian influences. The national food is mohinga, which is a fish soup with rice noodles. Myanmar’s diet mainly consists of rice. Rice is served with a delectable mix of meats, curries, soups, salads, and vegetables. Seasonings like ginger, garlic, and chilli peppers are popular. Guest help themselves, with each of these items served in a dish on the table. Traditional tables are low to the ground, and everyone sits on mats. However, when it comes to dining the elderly are given priority!
Travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar’s long-distance buses are plentiful, typically reliable, and frequently brand new. For a 12-hour journey, the VIP buses cost roughly USD 20. It includes blankets, TVs, air conditioning, and even supper. Aside from that, Myanmar offers a diverse range of transportation options, including horse carts, rickshaws, shared pickup trucks, and taxis. Taxis offer convenience and, unlike motorcycles, are allowed to enter Yangon’s city centre. You can rent E-bikes (electric bikes) for USD 5 to 12 per day in places like Bagan.
Myanmar is Buddhist, and teachers are held in great regard. As a result, you should dress modestly and formally conduct yourself. Students in Myanmar, according to TEFL teachers, are eager, well-behaved, courteous, and accepting. Because the majority of teaching employment in the country is either at international schools or as volunteer roles in disadvantaged communities. Students will vary greatly depending on where you teach.
Teaching English in Myanmar is for you if you’re seeking a truly raw and authentic experience. Especially on the route less travelled. You’ll be one of the first teachers to experience the vibrant local environment. Which is full of options for adventurous, long-term tourists. As well as your teaching position giving the Burmese people valuable English skills.