There are plenty of good TEFL or TESOL jobs out there for English teachers. But unfortunately there are also a few slightly questionable jobs. This article looks at what you should look for when applying for a job teaching English.
When applying for work, make sure you check out the school online. This means searching the net for any kind of comment you can find regarding them. Remember, however, that overtly negative or positive comments should be considered carefully; a disgruntled former teacher may well post exaggerations about their time in the school and the school owner themself may well post an “independent” review of their own school. If you read enough about the school you will get a general feeling for how it is.
A genuine school will offer you full contact details without hesitation. A questionable school will not. Likewise, you may also be able to get the contact details of teachers who have previously taught there although often this isn’t possible.
Make sure you can talk to the school on the telephone. If they refuse, red flag this job.
Make sure you have all the job details in writing before you leave. This means your teaching contract should state:
- hours of work including a sample timetable (look for split shifts which could turn a 5 hour day into a 10 hour day)
- days of work – are you expected on Saturdays or Sundays?
- classroom contact hours
- where you will teach (you may have to teach in different locations which can be difficult)
- accommodation details – usually the school will help you find accommodation or will have arranged accommodation for you; however you will pay for the rent
- how far is the school from the accommodation
Make sure that you have the right visa for the job. Run a mile from jobs where the school says you can work on a tourist visa when the local embassy says you must have a work visa. Make sure you can legally work in a country before even considering going there.
Nice to Know
If you can find out these things, it’s nice to know.
- how many other English teachers are there (can you have their emails to talk to them beforehand?)
- all about the students (age, ability, etc)
- teaching facilities
- books used
- students per class
- will you be expected to take part in any extracurricular activities?
Trust Your Instincts
If after all this you feel that something isn’t quite right, walk away from the job. There are plenty of good jobs out there so don’t risk everything if you have a hunch it’s not the one for you.