Here’s a full list of 31 questions you might want to ask BEFORE you sign an ESL teaching contract overseas. Hope these help!
- What’s the teaching schedule?
- How many days a week will I teach?
- Which days? (some schools are open on Saturdays).
- How many teaching hours per day and per week? Are there split shifts?
- (early morning and evening) Is there overtime pay? How much per hour?
- 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?
- How far is the school from where I will be living?
- Can I take a bus, taxi, subway there?
Class Prep Time
- How many hours a day (outside of teaching hours) am I required to prepare lessons, quizzes, report cards for my classes?
- 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
- Is there a set curriculum? For example, only beginner conversation, TOEFL?
- Does your school use assigned textbooks? If so, which ones?
- Do I have to follow the main text all the time, or can I supplement with games and activities?
- Do you have a digital whiteboard and Internet access in class?
- Is there library of teaching resource books?
- Is there a printer and photocopy machine so I can print lesson copies for students?
- How many students will be in each of my classes?
- Will any classes have more than 15 students? (difficult to manage if it’s a kids class)
- What ages are the students?
- What is their English speaking level?
- Why are they studying English?
- How many years have they been studying English?
- Medical – Will the school pay for my monthly medical insurance? 50% or 100%?
- Vacation – How many weeks per year will I receive? Is vacation paid or unpaid
- Contract completion bonus – How much is it?
- Language classes – Does your school offer free language classes for teachers?
- Living accommodations – Is housing free, partially paid? Will I have a roommate? How many roommates?
- Utilities – Is water, heat, telephone paid for by the school?
- Flight Reimbursement – Will the school buy my plane ticket before I arrive or reimburse me after I arrive? If so, when?
- 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.