Working as an ESL Teacher in a private school or college

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As a novice ESL teacher you may be looking forward to being recruited by some private school or college; however, before you commit yourself, here are a few things you should take into consideration to help you decide whether the particular school or college that you have your heart set on is the ideal ESL post for you.

1. You should make sure that it is a well-established educational institution: one way of doing this is by contacting the Department of Education in the country in which the school is situated. They should, at least, be able to tell you if the school is a legally recognized educational institution. Alternatively, you can search online for any reviews and articles posted by previous ESL teachers who may have worked at the school. If you found the post through a reputable online ESL recruiter, you should have no problems.

2. Read the school’s website carefully. Although no educational institution is going to willfully publish any adverse literature concerning itself, you may discover that the school’s ethos does not conform to your attitudes, habits, and beliefs. Pay careful attention to any pictures that are posted on the school’s site: this will also help you in deciding about the school’s ethos.

3. You should pay careful attention to the location of the school: Is it in an urban or rural area? What sort of area is it, exactly: industrial, residential, or commercial? Are there any interesting cultural or historical sites worth visiting? If it’s not in a city, how far away is the nearest city? If you can, use ‘Google Earth’ and make a ‘virtual trip’ to see what it actually looks like. If this is not possible, you can check the location by using an online encyclopedia or travel site.

4. You should also pay attention to any general comments concerning the school day and extracurricular activities: What are the basic working hours? Are members of staff required to take part in unpaid extracurricular activities?

5. Accommodation is another important consideration. Assuming the school provides accommodation: Is it a single room with communal toilets and a kitchen? Is it an en suite room with a communal kitchen? Is it a self-contained one-bedroom flat? Is it a dormitory with communal toilets and a kitchen? Accommodation is a very serious concern for most people – if you don’t like sharing, this could mean the school is not for you.

6. Finally, you should carefully read what benefits the school provides for its ESL staff: medical insurance, subsidized accommodation, and travel expenses (especially air tickets) are three important things you should definitely take into consideration before you sign the contract.

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