Published 16th February 2018

If you’ve been doing your research on TEFL, you may have stumbled across a few stories which haven’t painted TEFL in a very good light. We’re not going to lie – some TEFL teachers have found themselves in some not very attractive circumstances. Thankfully, they are the exceptions rather than the rule so don’t let these horror stories put you off your TEFL adventure.

Instead, take these simple steps and safeguard yourself against any EFL scams.

But first, what exactly are we talking about when we talk about EFL scams? Well, there are a few different scenarios. One is that a teacher is offered a job, signs a contract, arrives in the country and then the school and the job is not what was promised. Another is that a teacher uses an agent to find a job only to find out the agent is taking a huge cut of their salary every single month. The worst of all, though, is a teacher is offered a job, pays money to the school or the agent to organise the visa or book their flights (or any number of things!) and the school or the agent suddenly magically disappears with their money.

Sounds awful? It is. Here’s what you can do to make sure you don’t end up in any of those situations:


You might not need reminding but check out your potential employers on Google. Doing a quick search on them should bring up any negative feedback they might have received, for whatever reason. Have a look at their website to make sure it looks legitimate and reputable. Even if it’s in a foreign language you should still be able to tell a lot just from looking at the site.

Ask Facebook

There are loads of Facebook groups for TEFL teachers, some even for specific countries. Join these groups and ask the members if anyone has had any experience with your employer. The TEFL community is big and friendly, and people will happily answer your questions.

Speak to a current teacher

Ask the school to send you the contact details of one of the teachers who already work there. You can tell them you want to find out more about living in the area, but they shouldn’t have a problem with it. Then you can email the teacher and find out what working at the school is really like.

Use a reputable TEFL provider

Use a well-known TEFL provider to find a job for you. Look for jobs on jobs boards like The TEFL Academy jobs board. This way you can feel more comfortable applying for jobs because the ads are more likely to be authentic and the employers trusted.

As in any industry, there are undesirables in the TEFL field. Fly-by-night schools, greedy agents and con artists are around to prey on unsuspecting victims. Don’t think you’ll be able to tell a scam a mile away; sometimes they can be very difficult to spot so make sure you follow these tips to make sure you don’t become an unfortunate victim.