If you conduct some simple online research about teaching English abroad you might well come across teachers talking about bad experiences they have had with employers. Although the vast majority of schools worldwide treat their teachers well, there are always going to be a few badly run establishments that you will want to avoid. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure you ask the right questions during your job interview. So what are the right questions to ask the employer during an interview?
What tasks will I be expected to undertake outside of normal teaching hours?
Every school has its own expectations when it comes to the amount of extra work that is required outside of normal classroom hours. You might have to write regular reports on your students, attend staff meetings, meet with parents to discuss progress, present lesson plans to management in advance, and even undertake lunchtime duties. Some of these duties might include extra pay or they might not, so it is a good idea to know what is expected of you before signing a contract.
What is teacher turnover like at the school?
The level of teacher turnover is often a good indication of how staff are treated by an individual employer. It is common for ESL teachers to move jobs fairly regularly, however, if no one stays at the school for more than one contract it is probably not a good sign. The best thing you can do if you have any concerns is to ask to speak to current teachers at the school. If this proposal is denied then you might want to think twice about taking the job.
What kind of classes will I be teaching?
In order to get a full picture of your class environment you will probably need to ask a few questions, such as: - What is the average class size? What age are the students? Is the curriculum set or will I have to prepare my own? As there are many different possible scenarios and most teachers have certain preferences, these are vital question if you want to find a position that you are comfortable with.
What is the payment schedule?
This is often an awkward subject for teachers to bring up, but it is important that you are fully aware of your starting salary and what the school?s policy is regarding future pay increases. You also need to be aware of how and when your salary will be paid so you know how much to budget for while you wait for your first paycheck.
What teaching resources do you have?
How you plan and present your future lessons will depend heavily on the resources at your disposal. It is important to find out what the school has in the way of computers, printers, photocopiers and internet connection, and if they are all free for you to use as you wish. Another important factor is the type of equipment you have in the classroom. Whether you will be using an interactive whiteboard, overhead projector, or a plain old whiteboard will obviously make a big difference. Finally, you should be clear on what (if any) budget is available for extra materials that you might want to use in the classroom.
Don't forget to adjust your questions to suit each specific job!
The above are just an example of the more important questions that you need to consider before you have an interview. There will undoubtedly be many more questions that are important to you and specific to any individual job or potential teaching location. The most important thing to remember is that you should not be scared to turn down a potential teaching job if you feel it just isn?t right for you. It is always better to walk away and look elsewhere than to find yourself regretting signing a contract against your better judgement.