How To Get a Paid Teaching Job in Cambodia

by Nick & Raychel
Man looks over the water in Koh Rong, Cambodia
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If you’re thinking about moving to Cambodia to teach English, but don’t know how to start applying – OR if you’re already in Cambodia, and you haven’t found a paid teaching job yet – you’re in the right place. Let’s talk about getting a paid teaching job in Cambodia. 

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You must be in the country to get a teaching job in Cambodia. True or False?

Well, it’s kind of true.

Cambodia is (currently) one of those countries where, in most cases, you just have to be there to solidify a teaching position. This is unlike some other countries in Asia, such as China, South Korea, Japan, or even Taiwan, where some schools offer to pay your flight/accommodation. Cambodia is much more, well, DIY.

When we first learned this, we were shook. Before we moved overseas for the first time, we were not the most adventurous people – but we had to change our mindset. 

We started to treat getting a English teaching job in Phnom Penh just like a regular job in our home country – simply moving to a new city to work and live.

That said, you don’t have to show up completely in the dark. We always recommend applying to schools before your arrival to set up interviews. That way, when you get off the plane, you have somewhere to go!

This is what we did, and we were working in 24 hours after we got off the plane in Cambodia.

Writing your cover letter / CV for teaching jobs in Cambodia 

To apply for English teaching jobs, you’re going to need a solid application. Take some time and review your resume – even if you have no experience teaching English, you can still always reformat your CV to turn it into a teacher’s resume.

Here, we made a video on that one too.

Which schools to apply to in Cambodia 

People ask us this all the time: “which school is the best to apply to in Cambodia?” or “what are the best schools in Phnom Penh?”. The truth is, we don’t recommend any schools. This isn’t to say there are no good schools – actually we mean quite the opposite.

Because foreigners are travelling to Cambodia to teach English all of the time, many of the schools have a revolving door where the English teaching staff is constantly changing. That said, a school that was good 3 weeks ago might not be good now, and a school that had a terrible reputation 6 months ago might be great now.

What we recommend to do: search the international schools in Cambodia and apply to a lot of them. Hint: we applied to 20+ schools each! 

Once you’re on the ground, don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer tons of questions, talk to the locals, talk to other expats that are teaching English at that school, and do your research.

There are also English teaching job postings in the Facebook group Foreign English Teachers of Cambodia. 

How to apply to be an English teacher in Cambodia 

So in short, here is our “to-do” list to get an English teaching job overseas:

  • Send your CV/cover letter upon arrival 
  • Set up interviews for when you arrive
  • The schools will want you to be there in person immediately 
  • Not getting any bites? Hand deliver your resume to schools
  • Dress professionally! Don’t forget to pack a professional outfit for job interviews

Teaching demos & lesson plans in Cambodia 

Now, you’ve made it past the first interview. Hooray! Most schools in Cambodia will ask you to do a teaching demo if you’re applying to be an English teacher at their school. Hopefully your TEFL course has prepared you for this moment, but here are our main tips for teaching demos in Cambodia:

  • Go in to impress the kids – don’t worry about the adults too much! The staff may sit at the back of the class and watch you. Guess what? If the kids love you, so will they. Focus on making genuine connections, and you’ll be a-okay.
  • Have a lesson plan ready! Even if it’s something small. Be prepared with a lesson plan, song, and game all under the same theme. 
  • Relax! Breathe. Remember they are searching for English teachers. They want you, and you want the job. Perfect match, right? Now, have fun.

Negotiating salary

How much should you get paid as an English teacher in Cambodia? Before we dive a little deeper into answering that question, remember that almost every price is negotiated in Cambodia – so it’s time to whip out those negotiating skills and get the salary that suits you.

We recommend to always ask for $1,400.00 USD/month if you are a new English teacher in Cambodia.

Many new English teachers will settle on $1,200.00 USD/month in Phnom Penh.

We say to never settle for less than $1,200.00 USD/month – especially in Phnom Penh.

Public Holidays for English Teachers in Cambodia 

One of the perks of working in Cambodia is that there are so. many. public. holidays. There were some months of the year where we only worked 10 days!

If you are planning on teaching English in Cambodia, be prepared to sign a one year contract. In that year, be prepared to visit many beautiful places! From Phnom Penh, you are only a $20 bus ride away from Thailand or Vietnam. You are $8 away from the beautiful beaches of Koh Rong, or the ancient temples of Siem Reap.

We took so many weekend trips while teaching English in Cambodia, it was priceless. If you ask us, adjusting was well worth it.

Thinking of moving to Phnom Penh? Read up on our 8 tips (what we wish we knew before we moved to Phnom Penh).

& here is our step-by-step list on HOW TO move to Cambodia to teach English.

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1 comment

Peter Goudge February 21, 2020 - 3:32 am

Great article. I think it’s also noteworthy that Phnom Penh affords a number of opportunities for people to volunteer in areas such as teaching English to Monks to working in Animal Rescue. Thanks for sharing….

Kind regards, Peter


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