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A Practical Guide to Teaching English Abroad

 
Frank and Friendly Advice written by a Retired Teacher-Trainer, Experienced EFL Teacher
& Former Peace Corps Volunteer Living & Working Abroad since 1989

Accepting that first TEFL job overseas!

A more recent version of this page can be found at: Your First Job Abroad

What to ask - How to decide

Getting that first serious job offer is a very exciting thing!  But, after you dance around a few moments - stop and catch your breath - and start to think about things you must know before making a final decision. 

This section is designed to help you know if you should take that job - or not.

Some important questions to ask:

Don't be shy - these are important things to know before moving yourself halfway across the world.   But, don't ask all these questions in one shot! You'll scare your potential employer! Spread them out a bit!

What is expected of me on a daily basis?

How many classes a day will I be expected to teach?

How long is each class?  Is each class considered "one hour" even if it is only 45 or 50 minutes long?

Will I be expected to stay at the school even when I don't have classes?

Will I have responsibilities other than teaching? (like cleaning your classroom or the school, recruiting students, evaluating students for placement, handing out flyers for the school, etc.)  Will I be paid for that time?

Does the job provide housing?  Is it furnished?  What does "furnished" mean?  How are the bills paid?  How far is it from the school?  Is it easy to get to work from there?  Do I have to pay a deposit for it?  How big is it?  Will I have to share it?

Who is my boss?  To whom do I report?  Who evaluates me?

What criteria is used to decide if I am successful?

How much sick and vacation time do I get?  Who decides when I can use it?  Can I use it all at one time?  Does it accrue monthly or can I only use it at the end of my contract?

Is there a bonus or gratuity payment at the end of my contract (this is common)?  How much is it?  How is it determined?

What teaching resources does the school provide?  Teacher's manuals?  Photocopy machine? (who regulates its use?), OHP?  Internet? (great for lesson plans and finding activities), Computer?  Printer?  Paper?  Chalk/Markers? (really!)

Is there air conditioning and/or heating in the classrooms? (this could be important!)

How many students are in a class?  How are they placed or evaluated for placement?

How do we decide if the students are progressing or successful?

Will I have a work space available at the school?  A desk, an office?

Are there other foreign teachers at the school?  Can I talk to them before I make my decision?

That's just a start - but I am sure you've got the idea by now!

Here's the directory for this section:

Accepting a Job

What questions should I ask when trying to decide whether to accept a job?

What are “visa runs” all about?

Are contracts worth the paper they are written on?

How can I check the reputation of a potential employer?

What is “Western-style” housing?

What are split shifts?  Should I accept working them?

Should I accept weekend work?

 

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