Published 21st March 2019
Applying for a job is not an easy process, regardless of whether you’re a waitress or a CFO. For a job teaching English as a Foreign Language, the process can be a long one. You need to sift through thousands of jobs advertised to find one that a) is a match for your skills b) has an acceptable salary and c) is a job you want! Then you have to go through the application process, have an interview (or two) and maybe even do a demo lesson. When you finally get offered the job, it’s tempting to sign on the dotted line before the ink is even dry. But wait, there are still a few questions you need to ask before committing to a TEFL job.
Is this the TEFL job I need?
Even though a TEFL job is a way to make money, you should still be picky about what job you accept. Don’t accept any old job just for the sake of having a job and earning pounds. Make sure the job has a purpose for you. It doesn’t matter if you plan to do TEFL for the rest of your life or just for a year or two, make sure your job serves that purpose for you.
How do I feel about the school?
This is a tricky one. Think about how you felt during the application and interview process. Did you get good vibes or did you get that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach? For situations like this you really need to go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t take a chance, or you might end up in a dodgy situation in a foreign country, which will make Mum very nervous.
What do other people say?
Look up your school online. Find out what previous teachers have to say about the school. It’s unlikely that anyone would post an untrue review of a school so you may want to pay attention to what other people are saying about your future employer.
What are my hours?
A teaching job can be difficult to quantify in terms of working hours. Of course there are the teaching hours, but then there is the time spent marking, prepping and doing admin. Make sure you read the fine print on your expected working hours. What hours are you expected to stay at the school, even if you are not teaching? What extra events are you expected to attend? Do you need to take any extra-mural activities? Are these paid? Sometimes what can seem like a cushy job has a lot of added unpaid extras.
What is my living situation?
Knowing the ins and outs of the job is all well and good but your living situation can make or break your TEFL experience. Will you be able to find accommodation close to school or will you have to commute? Is public transport reliable or will you have to find your own way around?
Because accepting a TEFL job generally means uprooting your life and moving away from everything you know, you need to be doubly sure that you are happy with your job situation before you jump on that plane.