Fancy yourself a TEFL adventure but confused about the endless warnings of scams and trickery? Never fear, the i-to-i TEFL team are here to put your mind at rest!
It’s true that scams do exist around the world – (sorry!) but these are very rare and, like everything, there are always signs to look out for. As a general rule of thumb, use your common sense, if it feels dodgy…then it probably is.
We’ve enlisted the help of our very own TEFL experts and have put together a guide for what to look for in employers and what to be wary of with TEFL contracts.
What a good employer will do:
- A good employer won’t ask you to pay money directly to them before arriving.
- Many TEFL contracts specify ‘airfare reimbursement’ as a great perk. Don’t be put off by the ‘reimbursement’ part – understandably, it would be a risky business for employers to offer pre-paid flights – what if an employee quit after a couple of weeks?
- There should always be
someone at the school who has a strong grasp of the English language ie. who runs you through the interview process. If they don’t have a fluent or near fluent speaker of English at the school – question it.
- In all formal contact, a good employer will always use letter-headed paper.
- A reputable job should be able to supply you with websites, blogs and links to speak with current/previous employees.
- A good employer will not pressure you into accepting a job – if something doesn’t feel right don’t feel you have to sign on the dotted line.
- A good employer will provide their full address – be wary if they only offer you a PO box.
- Be wary of an employer promising you a working visa after you arrive. For some countries, in South America, for example, getting a working visa in-country is extremely common but for others it is illegal and the repercussions can be steep.
5 things you should do for EVERY TEFL contract:
- Research your employer – a quick Google search should bring up testimonials and reviews. You might also want to search teacher forums (e.g. http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/) for honest information about people and schools.
- Be cautious with sending personal details
- Think of how you found the job – was it through a respected jobs board? Did the site feel safe?
- Get everything in writing!
- Ask people you know and talk to fellow teachers on Chalkboard about opportunities they know about and where they’d recommend.
All is not lost if you end up at a school you’re not happy with. Breaking a contract is possible, although you might miss out on an end-of-semester bonus and it could potentially affect your visa. This does all depends on the country – use a country specific site to get up to date country information. For example, for Thailand, read this article about breaking a contract.