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

How do I check the reputation of a TEFL school employer?

A more recent version of this page can be found at:
Check Your TEFL Employer's Reputation

Is a contract worth the paper it is written on?

It's important to check the reputation of your employer.  You can ask directly on the ELT World discussion board, but they can't know every school in the world, so your best bet is to talk to the other foreign teachers at the school where you intend to work. 

Remember, everyone has a different experience and while one person loves the job and employer, others may not.  Ask more than one person if you can.  Ask specifically what they like or don't like about the employer. 


Some employers, in some countries, are well known for not paying on time, or paying less than was originally agreed to.  Be sure to check this issue with the current employees. 

A friend of mine once worked for a school with these problems, but stayed for three years - knowing - from talking to others and over time seeing it - that the employer always made good on amounts owing - at the end of the contract.  Problem?  Yes, but she loved the job - so tolerated it, knowing the money due was coming.  And she was paid in full at the end of her employment there.


In some parts of the world, particularly Asia, contracts are looked at as "flexible" instruments - quite a different understanding from how we view them in the West.  Once again, ask the current employees if the contract is followed - and if not, why and how it is violated.

This should not always be the kiss of death for a potential job.  Some small issues are not so important in the big picture if you really like a job, its location and what you will be doing - and getting paid.

On the other hand . . .

Know that probably 95-98% of schools pay on time, treat their employees fairly and follow the contracts that they have signed.  You just don't hear about them. Their happy employees are out enjoying their new world - rather than grumping on the Internet.

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