Thoughts On A Job Post #14
The purpose of this is to share the thoughts of an experienced teacher (me) – who’s found her own jobs before – on a random job ad, the details of which I’ve removed to make it unidentifiable. In this case, I’ve also cut out some of the more neutral parts of the ad in order to save space. Know that I don’t mean to endorse nor slam this particular job, but rather to use it as an example of how to think critically about a TEFL job ad.
…[normal requirements given first but cut out by me…]
Why teach in this city?
This is a city that is striving to enter into the international business community…. [This is straightforward information; what may not occur to new teachers is that a focus on business may mean plenty of early morning hours with a long break in the day and then evening hours, at off-site locations, making the school’s central location less of a factor.]
Why teach at this school?
We are the language school who sets the “benchmark” for our profession here… The local and foreign staff here are dedicated professionals. [It is good that they make a point of saying this, and to me shows that they do actually value it] Our DOS is a mature Canadian who works “with” our foreign teachers [“with” in quotes makes me giggle. It also makes me think the Canadian director probably was not involved in writing this ad. However, there are benefits to having a boss from your home country or a country more similar to yours than the host country, such as fewer cultural misunderstandings, so this may still be a good thing.]
What are our obligations?
The contract… is a guideline for behavior between our school and you… we will stand by our final signed document, if you chose to be a contracted teacher [I wonder if this means you work without a contract or any obligations on their part if you become a freelancer? This is worth inquiring about in great detail]. Also our staff will give you a supporting hand. If it is registration or arranging work papers, we will try to make this process as easy as possible [they do not mention paying for this; many schools don’t, but just be aware that there are costs…also notice there is nothing said about providing accommodation, helping you find it, or how much it costs relative to your salary. Ask about these things and also investigate what you can about costs on your own.]
What are your obligations?
When our school hires you, you will have a contract to sign that will set guidelines of what is expected of you. There are many forms this contract can take [it’s good there is a contract, but this is an odd way to put it – I suppose there is some element of negotiation], for example: maximum number of hours a week, which days of the week you want to work and what language level you prefer to teach. We have enough students in our peak time of fall/winter/spring that we can be flexible [this makes some sense and it would be nice to have your preference met; however, my inner skeptic is always looking out for situations where it is presented to you that you have many choices, but financial necessity later means otherwise]. If you are a freelance part/full-time teacher, you have one obligation to us, to be a professional teacher, but of course your pay rate is lower. [schools regularly have different conditions for freelance teachers and this is simply a business reality; sometimes freelance teachers make more per hour but full-time teachers get other benefits such as housing or guaranteed hours. That doesn’t seem to be the case here, so I would be cautious about ending up in a situation where you either have to take whatever they offer in a contract or accept a lower hourly rate…and work without a contract?]
For other thoughts on job posts, see the Finding a TEFL Job table of contents.