Published 12th July 2018
Finding the right EFL school is like finding the right life partner. You want someone who is caring and compassionate, who listens to you and takes care of you, and who you can trust. Also you want to look forward to seeing them every day and you want to be proud of your relationship with them. You want to know where you stand in your relationship and know that you can talk to them when you have problems. You want to feel comfortable and happy enough to consider them a long-term prospect. Why would you waste your time and energy on anything less?
Is that too much to ask?
Here are a few tips for making sure an EFL school is really the one for you:
Speak to the EFL school directly
Using an agent or a recruitment agency is fine – as long as they are legitimate – but it’s always better to speak to the school if possible. Communicating directly with the school will give you an idea of how they deal with their staff. If you find communicating with them difficult from the start, there is no guarantee it will be any better when you work there.
Do your research on EFL schools
Find out as much as you can about the EFL school. In this day and age of the Internet there is no excuse not to do due diligence and do your homework. First have a look at their website and maybe they even have a Facebook page. If anything looks a bit dodgy you may want to dig a little deeper. You should also look at online review sites where it is usually easy to find any complaints or black marks against the school.
Speak to other teachers
Try and find other teachers who are currently working for or who have worked for the school before. Contact them via email or social media and ask them how their experience was. TEFL teachers are generally a friendly bunch and are happy to chat to others about their experiences.
Read the fine print
Look at the finer details of the contract being offered to you. A TEFL package is not only about the salary. Your contract may include housing or a housing allowance, flights, visa assistance – even food, so you need to consider the salary in relation to the perks you will be receiving. At the same time, look out for unpaid overtime or extra-mural expectations over and above teaching.
Don’t be hasty in choosing an EFL School
Finally, don’t rush into a decision. You should never feel pressured to accept a position. Take your time doing your background research and getting a feel for the school and the job. Make sure you feel comfortable with what you are signing. Starting a TEFL job is an exciting time. You should expect to feel a bit nervous but your excitement should overwhelm any negative feelings you may be having. If you’re still not sure, always remember what your mom used to tell you: When in doubt, don’t.