Teaching Abroad – Tattoos & Long Hair
So many of us are very attached to our sense of individuality – sometimes this means our long hair and tattoos. But you’d like to teach in Thailand and you’re thinking this might be an obstacle. Well, you’re half correct.
Thai people tend to be conservative in their dress, hairstyles and body modifications. In the professional sector, Thai’s are well groomed and make it a point to convey confidence and discipline. Business casual, long pants, closed-toe shoes and coiffed hair are the order of the day.
Don’t let this stop you if you happen to love your long hair and tribal tattoos. As long as your hair can be tied back, your tattoos covered up and your appearance made to look ‘neat,’ you’re OK. As native speaking English teacher you are the figurehead of that department. If you look like you just rolled out of some intentional community, you probably won’t get the job.
It’s important to understand this specific type of discrimination. Many parents have to pay large sums of money to have their children enrolled in school. Just like any other product, the packaging provides as much value as the product. For better or worse, your appearance reassures the parents that they are getting what they pay for.
To sum this up, if you have face tattoos and a mohawk, it’s going to be hard to find a teaching position in Thailand or anywhere else. (But then again, if this is your style, you’re probably not interested in teaching English in some formal setting.) However, if you have tattoos that can be covered by shirts and hair that can be neatly tied back, you’re in good shape.
Enjoy your individuality and your teaching gig – you can have your cake and eat it, too!