There are many many websites that you can browse to find the perfect TEFL job, however the sheer amount can at times be overwhelming and what may be the perfect job can descend into a nightmare quite fast. Making sure you pick the right job is make or break for any teacher and sometimes the adverts, and what you get when you arrive in your destination, can be vastly different. All jobs come with a danger of not meeting expectations but having some knowledge of what to look for and what to avoid may just be the difference between walking into a disaster and walking into a damn good time.
My most obvious piece of advice is don’t let where you want to go cloud your judgement. I’ve heard it so many times:
“I wanted a job in Madrid, so I basically took one with any company that would hire me”
“oh, how did it go?”
Look around, keep your head and use common sense.
1). Be careful of ones that constantly advertise for new teachers. Ask yourself why is the turnover so high?
There is one school in my city, that will remain nameless, that advertises again and again and again for teachers, their turnover is high and from what I hear from the teachers who have worked there, the working environment is very difficult and they find themselves driving around to businesses on a timetable that leaves them little time to even have lunch. This and many other reasons cause teachers to stay for a few months then quit under the stress.
An Academy with a high turnover, in my opinion, raises questions. However, this doesn’t always mean you will hate it, after all, horses for courses but it is something to always keep in the back of your head when looking for a position. Don’t become another figure in their high turnover rate.
2). An advertisement without the basics, wage, hours etc
This could be a simple oversight but not knowing what you are getting into from the start is going to lead to trouble. You have to think, why don’t they want to tell me? Always make sure to ask at interview and get it out in the open what you will be doing and how much you will be paid for it. Transparency is key for any teaching position but don’t just not apply, if your really want the job, inquire and persist, until you find the answers. An addition to this is that you should always make sure that the wage can actually support you in your chosen country. Do your research and if the wage can’t support you then keep looking.
3). An advertisement that requires absolutely no experience or qualifications
These kind of advertisements always make me wonder, what exactly are they going to get me to do? Avoid these ones like the plague. There are plenty of jobs that require no experience and yes they help you to get on the ladder, but they almost always ask for some kind of qualification as well. Further afield in countries with lower teaching standards are where these adverts abound and it is exactly where the horror stories come from: where teachers have really suffered. Don’t be one of them and avoid these advertisements.
4). No interview= no application
I don’t know about you but I want to see my employer face to face or at least over Skype before I sign my life away. This one really goes hand in hand with no qualifications and no experience necessary, as these types of people want you on board fast and then God knows what they’ll make you do. The way I see it is.. No interview= no application.
5). They want you to pay them for the job!
Any money asked for upfront is a joke, quite frankly. Do I need to say more? Don’t send anybody, anything. And there are some sneaky ones out there.. people looking for ,deposits’, people looking for ‘small fees’ to cover this, that and the other. These are ones to avoid because they are outright scams, the ones mentioned above may not be scams per se but this one most definitely will be!
It seems that scammers won’t go away and bad/ odd job advertisements won’t go away either. Some academies and schools just don’t put together very good adverts and it doesn’t make them scammers but there is no doubt that if it feels odd and looks odd the job will probably be odd. Don’t fall for it, use common sense and good luck.
Add more things that people need to look out for in the comments below. Knowledge is power.