Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

Baan Chumcom Public School are looking for an English Teacher. You will be teaching English to students whilst building the local teaching capacity of English teachers. As the school is located in a remote mountainous region on the Thai-Myanmar border, opportunities for quality education are limited and students will benefit from English language lessons that can lead to improved employment opportunities. You will also work with ethnic Karen students at the Oratory of Saint Francis Xavier.

The Location

Baan Chumcom School and the Oratory of Saint Francis Xavier are located in Umphang. Umphang is a mountainous district of Thailand on the Thai-Myanmar border and is home to Thailand’s largest waterfall, Thi Lo Su waterfall. Health facilities available in Umphang include a hospital, chemist, and medical clinic. Program Participants should be prepared for a wet and dry season, packing light clothing for the period May-October and warmer clothes for winter.

There are two highways connecting Umphang to the rest of Thailand and to Myanmar. The nearest main town is Mae Sot, 140 km away. By road, Umphang is 12 hours from Bangkok. Highway access may be affected by heavy rains during the wet season from May to October.

The Challenge

The Karen-Burmese conflict has been ongoing for seventy years, and in February 2021 a coup d’état in Myanmar saw a democratically elected members of the country’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy, deposed by the Tatmadaw—Myanmar’s military. Many Karen families, who have been victims of violence, have sought refuge in Thailand and have been welcomed in the nine Temporary Shelters for Refugees and Asylum Seekers along the border.  The opportunities for quality and comprehensive education are limited in the border region.

About You

The successful candidate will have:

  • Bachelor or Graduate Diploma in Education
  • Minimum of 2 years of teaching experience
  • Experience mentoring teachers or other adults will be beneficial
  • Personal attributes that will be vital include flexibility, patience and a sense of humour
  • Cultural sensitivity and openness to working within a different cultural context
  • Willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role
  • Willingness to work in Umphang for a minimum of 12 months, with limited resources and facilities.

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:

  • building effective partnerships with local staff
  • assisting local Thai & Karen teachers in developing English basic proficiency (phonics, grammar and conversation)
  • promoting gender equity
  • developing English proficiency in students, motivating them in their studies to the next level

In addition, local teachers will develop improved self-confidence in their English language proficiency, self-motivation, openness to new ideas and education methodologies, and classroom responsibility.


Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.


Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.