Many are not aware of the many jobs available in TEFL and TESOL. There are TEFL teachers worldwide working in elementary and high schools, but there are potentially more opportunities for all TEFL and TESOL teachers in:
- language schools (from the SME (Small and medium enterprise) to internationally recognised chain schools
- international schools
- secondary/high schools
- government-sponsored programs (e.g. Peace Corps, JET, British Council)
- corporate in-house training
- freelance/private teaching
- voluntary work for charitable organisations/li>
Who will my students be?
They can vary. An excellent educational organisation or school will match an EFL/ESL teacher’s skills and experience with the appropriate ELL (English Language Learner). The more flexible you are, the more hours you will get. Based on your capabilities, expertise and your TEFL certification, you could be asked to teach:
- Students of all levels from the A1-A2 (Beginner) to C1-C2 (advanced or almost bi-lingual students) of all ages (toddlers to octogenarians)
- Group classes (from 2 or 3 in a language school to 50 or more in a secondary/high school)
- One-to-one (usually the high ups in the company hierarchy, the big bosses!)
- General English (4 skills – Reading, Writing, Speaking and Comprehension or Listening)
- Public exam preparation
- Academic English
- Business English or ESP (not Extra sensory power) – English for specific purposes
- English tutoring at the student’s home
What should I ask about during the interview? What other information should I expect to be given?
- How many teachers does the school employ?
- The number of years the school has been running
- Working schedule which will include classroom hours, meetings, lesson planning, travel time
- Class sizes
- Teaching resources and technology
- Photos of the school (the actual building that you will be working in)
- Continuous professional training
- Starting and finishing times (e.g. split shifts)
- What your working days will be
- Other duties (e.g. level testing, PTAs, sales)
Are there warning signs, or how I can tell if the job offer is a scam?
Some of the more obvious warning signs:
- Advertising for a suspiciously large number of teachers
- Too good to be true conditions (especially if the job is offered to people with no TEFL/TESOL certification or teaching experience)
- Jobs that don’t ask for qualifications or experience
- TEFL or TESOL job offers to teachers from developing countries who can’t usually get a working visa
- Job offers in the EU to Americans with little experience or no TEFL certification
- Asking for copies of university degrees too early in the application process
- Asking for original certificates
- The organisation uses email addresses from providers like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo
- No address or telephone number on the website
- The only contact detail is a mobile/cell number
- A poorly designed website
- The website is full of grammar, spelling and vocab errors (if they are advertising for English teachers, they should be well versed in English; otherwise, who does the interviewing?)
- No website
- Asking for money – The school will pay recruiters and agents, which will pay for all visa expenses. Only send copies of certificates. Original certificates can be presented upon arrival in the country.
I suspect the job may be a scam; what do I do next?
Here are some ideas:
- Contact them through all the email addresses, addresses and phone numbers that are on the website to check that they are genuine;
- Check that they are listed on the websites of any accreditation organisations mentioned on their website;
- Google the company name and maybe type the word “scam” next to the company name;
- Social network and ask about this school on TEFL forums;
- Ask them if you can contact present and past teachers;
- Check who is the owner of the website;
- Google the mailing address to see if other company names come up and to see if the address exists;
- Search for job ads from other schools in the same place to check that the processing, the conditions and the job descriptions are similar;
- Check whether the work visa information for the country you are being hired for is accurate.