Evaluating Teaching Job Offers
You have decided on being a teacher abroad so you are off on the job search. Your done with your TEFL/TESOL certification and now you can start applying for jobs. Even though TEFL teachers are in very high demand in non-native speaking countries at the moment and you’ll get a few job offers pretty quickly. Aside from the obvious considerations such as what country to work in and what teacher training and qualifications to obtain; there are other things a teachers should consider when looking at potential job offers. There are many factors a teacher considers which will affect whether they accept a teaching position. The most obvious factor would be the content of the position (i.e. what is going to be taught). What is the school asking of you as a teacher? You must ask yourself if the teaching job is interesting and fits into your plans as a teacher. You’ll want to make sure to evaluate the job offer very carefully in order for you to make the right decision.
Some may say that the most important consideration would be salary and benefits but these should be a secondary consideration to what you want to do and who you will be working with. Regardless of the salary paid, most people will not stay at a position where they feel unsatisfied or have no growth. There are many factors a teacher considers which will affect whether they accept a teaching position. The most obvious factor would be the content of the position (i.e. what is going to be taught). What is the school asking of you as a teacher? You must ask yourself if the teaching job is interesting and fits into your plans as a teacher.
However, when considering salary and benefits, do not focus as much on the starting salary but rather on the potential for growth and increases. Does the school have growth potential for you as a professional? Benefits are other areas that can supplement a position where the starting salary is not as good as you would have wished. Get a list of benefits and formulate any questions you may have regarding them so that you can better discuss the position with management and other teachers at the school.
Learn More about Wai Teach’s On-Boarding and Teacher Support
It all starts with the interview. Most interviews are held over video calls, and usually you’ll have an interview with someone from HR department and then a second interview with the principal or a Head of Department/Foreign Teacher Manager. This is great because now you can actually see who you’ll work for/with.
After the employer has asked you many questions about your teaching style and why you want to move to that specific country, you’ll definitely get an indication whether they want to hire you or not. This is an opportunity for you to ask as many questions as you’d like about them.
What to ask:
- What is the average age of students I will be teaching?
- What is the average amount of students in a class?
- Are there any extra curricular activities I’m required to help out with?
- How many foreign teachers at your institution?
- How do teachers interact with each other and work together?
- Are there a lot of teacher support in the community?
- Are there any extra training or support with continuing education available?
- What is a typical day like for a teacher at your school?
- Why is this position open?
- Ask about the school – What kind of school discipline plans do you have in place?
You want to know if you’re a good fit for the school, don’t ask unnecessary questions, but do ask anything that you’re uncertain of.
Another factor that may come into play with many teachers when evaluating a position are the resources provided by the school for the teacher to prepare their lessons. Teachers spend a large majority of their time preparing for upcoming classes. This requires readily available resources such as teacher edition books, computer, printer, internet access, and preferably a reference library. In addition, there should be a work area set aside at the school for teachers to plan and prepare. Find what the school already has with regards to curriculum to be taught along student books for the class. The teacher may be asked to help to create these resources for the school year if they are not provided. I have known many teachers that have felt the need to move on because of the demands of planning for a school year without adequate resources.
The planning and resources needed will also depend on where/what type of school you work at.
Training center vs public school vs Kindergarten
Investigate the name of the school that invited you for an interview. There is a huge difference between the above mentioned kind of schools. Picking which one of these you’d like to teach in are going to affect your lifestyle drastically.
Class sizes range between 1-15 students.
Student ages varies from 2yrs-adults
You don’t get school holidays, but get all national holidays.
Your working hours will be after school, which is mostly from 2pm-9pm. And you’re probably going to have to work on weekends.
You have more freedom when planning lessons.
You are most likely to get a job from a training center because they don’t require a teaching licence.
Class sizes range between 25-35 students.
You’ll teach ages according to their grades.
You get paid school holidays.
Your working hours will be week days from 7am-ish to 4pm-ish.
You have to follow a curriculum set out by the governing body.
You probably have to help out with extra curricular activities like school concerts/sport coaching.
Most public schools require a teaching licence and experience in teaching.
Workload is much harder.
Class sizes range between 10-25.
Class duration isn’t as long.
Working hours varies from kindergarten to kindergarten, but mostly from morning to late afternoon.
You’ll be full of paint, glitter, mud or craft glue every night.
Most English teaching job requirements are basically the same. Here is a list of some of the requirements you’ll come across:
– Craft individualized lessons following the schools provided curriculum and materials
– Deliver an excellent standard of instruction in classes ranging from 1 to 15 students
– Teaching 20-25 classes per week, each class is 45 minutes
– Using electronic media and course ware to teach English efficiently and effectively
– Evaluating students progress and providing ongoing guidance for improvement
– Teach English lessons in coordination with teaching assistants.
Look carefully at the requirements, do you meet the requirements? Can you plan a 45 minute long lesson for 15 students? Can you plan a 45 minute long lesson for 1 student?
Some schools have up to 35 students in one class, Do you have the skills to control a classroom of this size? And will you be able to teach 4-6 of these classes each day without losing your patience?
If you don’t have any experience in teaching you could present any of the following skills to help you secure that job.
– Training or mentoring you have done for colleagues.
– Planning and organizing information (even though it wasn’t lesson planning).
– If ever you had to assess or evaluate performance in a job this is a skill that can help you assessing your students performance too.
– Leadership, communication and creative skills.
– Presentation or facilitation skills.
– Computer skills.
Benefits (looking at your contract)
Read through your contract very carefully. You don’t want to find yourself bound to something that is not beneficial to you in the long run. Look at the following things.
What is the base salary? Does it fit your expectation, will you be able to afford your lifestyle with it? Do you get an experience bonus? If you already have a few years teaching experience, you shouldn’t get the same salary as someone who will be starting their first year. Compare salaries on websites to have a better idea if it’s a good deal or not. Don’t forget that your salary is taxable, make sure you know what is the amount after taxes.
You can find more about Thai income taxes rate on our Thailand Country Information Page
Housing or housing allowance
You are going to move across the world to teach for this company. Some schools will give you a monthly housing allowance that can cover a one bedroom apartment’s rent. Or if a rural location, they’ll give you a small apartment/room on school grounds.
Are there opportunities for you to get extra money. Some schools give incentives for teachers who work extra hours or provide after school tutoring. This is normally calculated hourly. Some training centers can give you a monthly or quarterly bonus for performance, whether or not your teaching quality is up to standard or a little bit higher.
Does the company provide extra training? Do they pay for it or not? Some schools and training institutes give monthly in-house trainings while others don’t. If you want to grow as a teacher you have to make sure that the company you are going to work for will provide this.
Find out more about Wai Teach’s training options provided to all teachers we place:
Are there opportunities for you to be promoted to head of department or to a senior teacher? If you are looking for professional growth you have to make sure that you accept a job from a successful and growing school so that you can grow along with it.
End contract bonus
A thirteenth cheque has never hurt anyone, unless you find out that everybody else is getting one except for employees from your company. Is it a full contract bonus? Or do they only give you a 50% bonus.
Most schools have a medical insurance that you become a part of once you start working for them, just make what it covers and decide if you personally feel you need more coverage for your own well-being.
Visa fee reimbursement
Does the school apply for and pay your working visa or not? When do they reimburse you for it?
If you’re someone who likes to dress up or dress casual, make sure you understand the dress code. Some school have a set uniform – which can be anything from a T-shirt and tracksuit to a pencil skirt and blouse. Also remember that Thailand culturally has an expected dress code for both men and women to include no visable tattoos or open-toed shoes, etc.
Working hours/Work schedule
This is a very crucial part, make sure that there are set working hours. Some training centers may require you to work 35-hour weeks. But that doesn’t necessarily mean from 3pm-9pm. It can be from 9am-11am and then from 2pm-4pm and then from 6pm-9pm.
If you are not happy with the contract’s outline but you really like the school that interviewed you, you are allowed to ask them to change a few things. If they don’t want to or can’t change it, try looking for something else.
Searching for a teaching position is difficult. After spending many hours on a search, making a careful decision regarding a job offer is important. Getting a job offer does not necessarily mean you should take the job. Rather find something suitable and then sign on the dotted line. A one year TEFL teaching job can easily turn into a multiple year career. Most schools should not expect you to make a decision on the spot. You should reasonably expect to be given a few days to make up your mind. If they are unable to provide you with the time to make a decision then you should not consider this teaching job as a viable position. On the other hand, if you decide to go with a school without finding out the proper information, don’t blame the school when the position turns out not to be what you expected or wanted. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the job will help you make a more informed decision, rather than deciding on impulse.
Some other great information to help you prepare: