Thursday 7 February 2008

Things to Consider Before Accepting a Job

Updated 8 September 2013

TEFL Jobs Aren't Just About Money
Remember that money's not everything. If you budget and supplement your teaching income then you should do pretty well. Who you work with, potential for professional growth, pay rises and other benefits are also important. If money's an issue, there are grants out there for people who work abroad, such as the Christianson Grant.

Recommended Questions

Basic Questions To Ask About TEFL Jobs

  • Who makes the quizzes? How often are they?
  • What other responsibilities are there?
  • How much freedom do teachers have over the syllabus, lessons, curriculum, etc?

  • Is there reimbursement for flight? When is it given?
  • Is there airport pickup?

  • Paid or unpaid? Can you take them when you want? How many days do you have?
  • How many sick and personal days are given? Do you need to have a doctor's note to be excused?
  • Do you have to make-up the classes for holidays or are they cancelled?

  • What's the maximum hours a day/ week you'll have to work?
  • Do you have to keep office hours?
  • Will you ever have to make up classes on your days off?
  • How many days a week do you have to work?
  • Are extra hours / relief compulsory? If so how much notice is given?
  • Morning or afternoon shift? Split shift? Weekend work?
  • How long is each class?
  • What's the maximum number of students per class?
  • What about overtime?

  • Is the water and electricity in your housing reliable? Does it get turned off often?
  • Is there helping find a flat? How much is the rent / utilities typically? Is it necessary to put down key money? How much is it usually?
  • Is there housing or a housing allowance?
  • If housing is provided what's included? How many bedrooms? Is there a balcony/parking/AC/internet?
  • Will you put new wallpapering up and new flooring down? 
  • How far is the housing from the school?
  • Is it shared housing?
  • Is it close to stores, bus stops, etc?

  • Is medical insurance provided? Is it private or public? If you're going to be paying into insurance, make sure you get proof of that insurance. Many teachers have found their "insurance payments" go directly into their boss's pockets.
  • How much are taxes?
  • Is there help with opening a bank account? What documents are needed?
  • Can you freely exchange money?
  • Are there bonuses? What are they based on? Student surveys / re-enrollment / hours / qualifications?
  • How is salary decided? How will it differ with a certificate/degree and/or work experience?
  • Are there raises? How are they given?
  • How often is the pay?
  • Is there a contract completion bonus?
  • Is there relocation allowance?
  • How are you paid? Cash/direct deposit?
  • Is there overtime? How much is it?
  • Is transport provided or is there a transport allowance?
  • What other facilities are provided? Pool/library/gym/internet?
  • Is there a pension plan? How much does your employer pay? If you're going to pay make sure you get proof. Some have found their "pension payments" to go directly into their boss's pockets.

  • Are there books or are teachers expected to make their own material? What books are used? Do they come with the teacher's resource book, workbook, and CDs for listenings?
  • How much freedom do teachers have over the syllabus, lessons, curriculum, etc?
  • What's the photocopying system? Is there a copier or do you have to request copies to be made?
  • What facilities are available? Library/Computers/Interactive Whiteboards/Video camera?
  • Is there a mentor or buddy system for new teachers?
  • Is there a particular methodology or pedagogical philosophy to be followed?
  • How is management structured?
  • Will you have to teach a summer or winter camp? Is it optional or mandatory? Is there extra pay?
  • How old is the school?
  • Is there training? Is it paid?
  • Are there free or discounts for language lessons for teachers?

  • What’s the typical student like?
  • How many students are enrolled at the school?
  • What level are they?
  • How many per class?
  • What is the school's discipline policy?

  • How long do teachers usually stay at the school?
  • How many foreign teachers are there?
  • What percent sign on for a second year?
  • What percentage of teacher renew their contract?
  • How many years of experience do they have?
  • What qualifications do they have?

Vacations: see Holidays

  • How long does it take to get the visa? Will you enter the country on a work visa?

In-depth Questions To Ask About TEFL Jobs
  • What are the three best things about working at your school?
  • What are the long and short term goals of the school?
  • What's a typical day like for a teacher at your school?

Go to their website and find specific things that to ask about. If they don't have a website, look over their advertisement again.

Questions To Ask Teachers At The School
Keep in mind that the school isn't going to put you in touch with unhappy teachers. Some schools go as far as to offer cash bonuses for teachers they recruit.

  • Are duties fairly divided between foreign and local teachers?
  • What's the hierarchy like? Can foreigners hold management positions?
  • Do you often have to work overtime? (meetings, English corners, subbing). Are you paid fairly?

  • Can you teach private students/work at another school?
  • Are you given the benefits you were promised when you were promised?
  • Do you always get paid in full and on time?
  • How modern is the school?
  • Is student limit maintained? (if they have a max of 25 do they add more?)
  • What percentage of teachers complete their contract? renew? quit?
  • Are students divided by level?
  • How involved are the students' parents? Do they pressure you outside of class? Can they sit in on classes?
Also published in . . .
This article has also been featured in the ELT Times.


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