So you’ve made the decision to begin a career teaching English abroad. Thanks to ESL recruiters, finding a job is easier than you think but, of course, not all jobs are created equal. Even if you think you’ve found an offer that you’re pleased with, before you sign a year contract you should do your due diligence and find out what the school is really like.
As you consider your options, make sure that you ask your recruiter every single question that you can think of. Better yet, if you can get touch with school officials or – even better! – other teachers at the school directly, ask them their opinion. If you can, here are our top three go-to questions:
1. How long have the current teachers been there?
If the position is so great, why is there an opening? Alternately, if the school other foreign teachers that have been at the school for more than one year then obviously some have re-signed for another year. This is a good indication that the working conditions at the school are good or better than most. Because most contracts are a year long, they obviously wouldn’t have signed on again if the position wasn’t worthwhile.
2. What are the exact hours working hours?
Often schools will discuss the total number of “teaching hours” for a position – a distinction which may exclude office hours (the time between classes where you prepare and grade lessons). Office hours can really add up, so when you are evaluating a position make sure you get the “total time” that is involved in your teaching English job.
3. Are there any extra duties I should be aware of?
In many teaching contracts, extra duties are simply taken as a given. Some schools will mandate going on camping trips with children, teaching summer camps, or offering after-hours lessons to the staff. None of these are unusual, but since these are above-and-beyond your usual teaching duties, they (and their compensation) should be spelled out in advance.
Of course, there are many more questions to consider. Check back with ESL Directory early and often for our latest tips!