With a pristine coastline stretching 2,250 miles, a dynamic mix of cultures, and delicious cuisine, Myanmar, also commonly known as Burma, has suddenly begun to attract thousands of visitors from around the world.
After decades under an oppressive military regime, the Burmese have finally won their freedom of expression and are extremely eager to express it. The country is much more open to the international community and has welcomed teachers from abroad into its local schools. If you have an itch to explore Southeast Asia and gain some teaching experience while you're there, go teach abroad in Myanmar!
Are you interested in volunteering as a teacher in an orphanage or non-profit educational program? Myanmar's government is currently pushing for English language education to help the country develop and participate in globalization.
Since these institutions do not have money to pay a foreign teacher, volunteering may be the only chance these children have to obtain a glimpse of the outside world. Volunteer teaching is an amazing way to give back to these communities, making a direct impact on children's lives.
International Private Schools
While public schools in Myanmar do not have the funds to hire a foreign teacher, private schools have a very large demand for international ESL teachers. These positions tend to be well-paid with a structured curriculum already in place.
Non-ESL Teaching Jobs
Myanmar also has a number of teaching positions available for teachers who are focused on teaching subjects other than ESL.
Finding a Job
Where to Look for Jobs
The easiest way to find a teaching position in Myanmar is to apply through a teaching program that will place you in a local school. These programs will help you find a position before you arrive, and may even provide you with an orientation or extra teaching material. There are also several intensive TEFL training programs in Myanmar that will allow you to earn your TEFL certification and gain teaching experience at the same time.
While volunteer positions have very few requirements, private schools tend to request a bachelor's degree, TEFL certificate and native speaker citizenship. The requirements do vary based on the position, so it's important to check the specifics for each individual job.
Those who find a position in Myanmar will arrive on a 10-week business visa, which will require teachers to go to Thailand frequently to renew it. While some schools will pay for these trips to Thailand, other schools will expect you to cover these expenses.
Classroom and Work Culture in Myanmar:
- Student/teacher relations:Teachers are highly respected in Myanmar. Since the majority of the Burmese people are Buddhist, teachers are seen as one of the "five gems" and often considered substitute parents. There is a clear hierarchy in the classroom, and students are often expected to be extremely respectful.
- Dress Code:Teachers should dress conservatively and relatively formally in the workplace. While business attire is not required, it is best to dress smart-casual.
- Greetings:When greeting others, it is appropriate to utilize full titles and names to show respect. Even though many Myanmar names are long, it is impolite to abbreviate them or use them without an honorific title.
Keep in Mind
Myanmar is a developing country, and access to amenities like air conditioning and reliable internet is extremely limited. While cell phone networks exist, the majority of the locals do not use cell phones and a used SIM card can run around $100 USD. Because of this, cell phones along with other technological advances like ATMs are rarely seen outside of the cities.
While most of Myanmar is stable and safe for foreign teachers, there are some areas of the country that are considered "unsettled" and are not safe to visit. Because of this, foreigners are not allowed to visit these regions, so as a teacher, you will be far away from any sort of conflict.
Salary & Costs
Salary and Cost of Living
The average teacher salary for private schools in Myanmar is $1,500-$2,000 USD, while those volunteering will likely receive a living stipend to cover basic expenses. The cost of living in Myanmar is relatively inexpensive compared to high private school wages, with most teachers spending $750-$900 USD a month.
Rent will be your largest expense, at about $500-$600 USD a month. Even with these costs, many teachers in Myanmar are able to save around $10,000 USD at the end of the year.
Prices in metropolitan centers tend to be much steeper than those in the countryside, as they may be adjusted for tourists. Below are some examples of living costs in Myanmar listed in USD for your convenience. Keep in mind that 1 USD is approximately equivalent to 900 Burmese Kyat.
- 1 bedroom apartment rent: $570
- 1 inexpensive meal: $3.5
- 1 way transportation ticket: $2
Contributed by Richelle Gamlam
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