The Case Against Signing A Contract Before You Arrive

contract.jpgNew teachers interested in finding jobs online may be starting their searches right now. Should you sign a contract with a school before you arrive?

The evidence for:

  • If all the details are in place, it generally means you have a job and a set of conditions guaranteed, and you can be sure of that before you pack up and move to another country.
  • It may well mean you have a place to move into upon arrival, if that is part of the contract.

The evidence against:

  • It is not always simple establishing that all the details are in place.
  • Norms will vary by country, but schools usually find it risky to promise a job to someone they have never met, and for this reason prefer to hire in person. Schools depending on online hiring may be those who cannot recruit locally…because teachers who see the school in person or know the local reputation do not want to work there. So by limiting yourself to schools which will hire online, you may be limiting yourself to a pool with a higher likelihood of sketchy schools.
  • On a similar note, you are making a commitment to a school before you visit in person. An in-person visit can tell you a lot, and signing a contract in advance means forgoing that first hand impression. You’d be unlikely to do this at home.
  • So should you sign a contract before you arrive?

    The Verdict:

    Think and long and hard before you do this. Get other opinions if you can, from past teachers at that school and other teachers who work in that country. If you are considering a particular school, certainly have a look at the contract before you arrive if you can…but don’t assume it’s always a positive that they are “willing ” to sign a contract with you in advance.