Ask the Right Questions to Find the Right TEFL Job


Searching for jobs teaching English in another country can be daunting. In many cases, you’re asked to sign a 6, 9 or 12 month contract without ever meeting your potential employer face to face. Sometimes you won’t know what the conditions are like at the school, what kind of resources will be available, or what the students will be like. And in certain situations, you may not have ever even been to the city, or even the country, where you’re about to commit to living for the next year. How can you possibly ensure that you won’t regret your job choices, and that you’ll enjoy the next 12 months of teaching? It’s all in the questions.

An interview should be a two-way street. Not only is the employer evaluating you, you should also be scoping them out. Do they seem reputable? Do you think you’ll like working with them and the rest of the team? Do their values mesh with yours? For most traditional jobs, this is a bit easier, but for TEFL jobs, it gets tricky, especially if it’s your first time and you don’t know what to ask. The questions to ask before accepting a TEFL job should focus on not only the contract, but also (and maybe more importantly) what’s no in it The contract may call for 20 hours a week of paid teaching hours….but what about duties outside of the classroom? Multiple meetings each week, plus prep time between classes, can all add up and significantly increase your workload.

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Teaching English, to many people, seems like an easy way to make some cash while living aboard, but there are some ugly truths about teaching abroad, the biggest one being that it’s often not as easy as it seems. In some areas, language barriers and lack of supplies,  can make the job much more difficult. And most important to remember – it is a job. The benefits of teaching abroad often outweigh the challenges though: teaching abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in a local culture, sustain long-term travel, and challenge yourself in new and exciting ways. Just be sure to fully investigate any potential employers, and it’ll be much easier to find the job that’s right for you.

Photo by: Brian Yap (葉)