Don’t sign an ESL teaching contract until you get these 31 questions answered

Don’t sign an ESL teaching contract until you get these 31 questions answered


Here’s a full list of 31 questions  you might want to ask BEFORE you sign an ESL teaching contract overseas. Hope these help!

31 Questions


  1. What’s the teaching schedule?
  2. How many days a week will I teach?
  3. Which days? (some schools are open on Saturdays).
  4. How many teaching hours per day and per week? Are there split shifts?
  5. (early morning and evening) Is there overtime pay? How much per hour?
  6. Are there any winter or summer English camps (countries like Korea) that are optional or that I am required to teach? Are they paid or unpaid?
  7. How far is the school from where I will be living?
  8. Can I take a bus, taxi, subway there?

Class Prep Time

  1. How many hours a day (outside of teaching hours) am I required to prepare lessons, quizzes, report cards for my classes?
  2. How many “office hours” am I required to be present in the school office, or be available to speak to students? (Universities require fixed office hours)

Curriculum & Resources

  1. Is there a set curriculum? For example, only beginner conversation, TOEFL?
  2. Does your school use assigned textbooks? If so, which ones?
  3. Do I have to follow the main text all the time, or can I supplement with games and activities?
  4. Do you have a digital whiteboard and Internet access in class?
  5. Is there library of teaching resource books?
  6. Is there a printer and photocopy machine so I can print lesson copies for students?

Class Size

  1. How many students will be in each of my classes?
  2. Will any classes have more than 15 students? (difficult to manage if it’s a kids class)
  3. Students
  4. What ages are the students?
  5. What is their English speaking level?
  6. Why are they studying English?
  7. How many years have they been studying English?


  1. Medical – Will the school pay for my monthly medical insurance? 50% or 100%?
  2. Vacation – How many weeks per year will I receive? Is vacation paid or unpaid
  3. Contract completion bonus – How much is it?
  4. Language classes – Does your school offer free language classes for teachers?
  5. Living accommodations – Is housing free, partially paid? Will I have a roommate? How many roommates?
  6. Utilities – Is water, heat, telephone paid for by the school?
  7. Flight Reimbursement – Will the school buy my plane ticket before I arrive or reimburse me after I arrive? If so, when?
  8. Visa requirements – Will the school pay for my teaching visa fees? (immigration office, fingerprints, photo, etc)

Just a heads up…

Try not to save and ask all 31 questions for your Skype or in person interview because you’ll come across as being a very particular or potentially difficult employee and this may hinder your chances of getting hired.Here’s a suggestion on how to approach the list:

First – Try to get some of these questions answered when you’re corresponding by email with the recruiter. You won’t get them all but you can casually ask a few during your email correspondence…

Second – Try to get answers from other teachers who currently teach or have taught at the school or wherever you can connect with them.

Third – any unanswered questions can be asked or confirmed during your Skype interview.

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