Starting your first job as a Teacher of English as Foreign Language is a rewarding experience – your training and your plans have finally paid off. In order to make sure everything works out for you, though, you should make sure of a few things before you begin.
In the world of TEFL there are both crooked and honest organizations. Beyond that, you want to
make sure you are getting a fair deal. Therefore, finding out the following information is essential before you sign a contract. The ideal time to ask these questions is at the interview when you are invited to raise any issues you might have.
How many hours a week will I be teaching? (25 hours per week is the usual)
Are the teaching hours consecutive, or is it a split shift?
How many hours am I expected to be on-site every week?
Will I be expected to work evenings or weekends?
Is there the possibility of overtime work?
What is the holiday allowance?
What exactly will I be paid for? (Some companies deduct payment even for the 5 or 10 minutes break between lessons)
Are travel expenses reimbursed?
Is overtime paid or unpaid? Is it paid at the same rate as my regular duties?
Are National Holidays paid?
What do you offer in terms of sick pay?
What is the salary, and are the payments weekly or monthly?
Accommodation, visas travel and health:
Does my work take place entirely in the same location, or will some traveling be involved?
Do you provide, find or subsidize accommodation?
Do you provide health insurance? (Check the legalities of this – some companies are required to provide coverage for all employees)
Do you pay for my flight to the location from my hometown?
What support do you offer for obtaining a visa?
On the job:
What ages and levels of students will I be teaching?
Do you provide full course materials?
What do you offer in terms of professional development?
What period of notice is necessary and is there a probationary period?
How long has the school been established, and what is the number of teaching staff?
When does the contract begin and end, and is it renewable?
Get the details
Most of these areas should have already been covered by the interviewer, or in the materials and information sent to you prior to the interview. If they haven’t told you clearly about these matters already then you might want to be a bit concerned that they are hiding something. Asking plenty of questions is natural when you are making a move abroad, especially when you starting a new job at the same time.
Don’t be afraid to reject a contract if it’s obviously dubious. You might have to look for a new job, but it saves you the hassle and the bad experience of being caught up with a bad employer.