Chalkboard is i-to-i's TEFL community.
It is currently still in testing phase which could mean you find the odd bug!
Q: What is i-to-i Chalkboard? A: It's the online community of TEFL specialists
It’s tempting to get carried away with the excitement of going to a new country and being accepted for a job is a great feeling – but before you start packing your suitcase, make sure you check out the conditions – they’ll make or break your experience of teaching abroad! Here are 6 things to check:
Hours of work:
Sickness pay & health insurance
When you are abroad and away from home this is especially important – you don’t want to be ill and penniless and stuck in a foreign country! Some of the larger companies will pay you if you are sick and also supply you with free health insurance – but check what the policy covers before you go. A lot of companies, sadly, offer neither. In this situation it is sensible to have a bit of money saved for emergencies and to get health insurance before you go.
There’s no point in going to a country and having no time to explore! Ask how many holidays and public holidays you will be entitled to and how you can take them. Sometimes you cannot choose the dates, which can be a problem if you need to be back in the UK for that summer wedding you’ve already bought the shoes for! Also enquire about shift swaps….a great way to extend weekends away.
If you’re serious about teaching or you’re simply a new teacher, then you need to look for a school that offers training. Doing a good job will make you happier in your work life and you’ll stress less about the teaching in your free time!
The school’s reputation
It’s worth Googling the school and looking at past teachers’ comments. This will highlight things to look out for that you can ask your prospective employers about. It’s also a good idea to check with your embassy for warnings to travellers and expats. Some countries may have a reputation for not sticking to contracts.
Pay and accommodation
Is the amount they have stated for your wage net or gross? Also if they provide you with accommodation how much is it and how will you pay for bills? Bills should be in your name to avoid getting money deducted from your wage without your consent and more importantly to avoid being charged too much.
A lot of the above points may not be included in a contract, so it will be up to you to negotiate what you feel is a must! It’s always worth getting things agreed in writing, as it makes it easier to settle any disputes further down the line.
Remember that if you have been offered the job, the school wants you and doesn’t want to go through the recruitment process again. You are in a position to negotiate and if you don’t get what you want there are lots of jobs out there….