So you've been offered a position to teach overseas; congratulations! You are understandably excited to travel to a different part of the world, experience a new culture, meet new people, get some teaching experience and make a difference in the lives of your students. But before you sign on the dotted line and accept the position, there are some important questions unique to international teaching jobs you should ask the agency who is handling your file.
The jobs offered by teaching abroad programs vary from teaching a group of young children in a large classroom, to teaching adults one-on-one. You could be teaching English, a specific subject such as math, or a variety of different subjects. To ensure that you are taking a job that fits with your skills, knowledge and comfort levels, ask your agency about the age level you will be teaching, the subjects, and what the average class sizes at the school are.
It is always a bit uncomfortable to talk about money, but it is critical to understand exactly how and when you will be paid when accepting a job with teaching abroad programs. For example, if the school pays its teachers on a monthly basis, you may not get your first paycheque until you have already been in your new country for a month. In this case, knowing the payment schedule will allow you to make plans to cover your expenses until the money starts rolling in.
Many international teaching jobs include accommodations for their teachers, but you will want to double-check in case you need to find your own housing. If you will be provided with a place to stay, ask about the location, type of housing and whether you will be sharing the space with other teachers or local residents.
Most international teaching jobs require you to obtain a work visa, however regulations may vary from country to country. If you are told by a school that you only need a tourist visa, be wary of signing up with them as this is not usually the case, and you could end up in legal trouble. Avoid getting into this situation by calling the embassy of your chosen country to verify visa rules, or by obtaining your job through a reputable agency that offers teaching abroad programs.
To get a clearer picture of the good, bad and ugly of any job, it helps to speak to people that have experience in the role. This is also the case with international teaching jobs. Reputable teaching abroad programs are happy to put you into contact with other teachers, so if you get push back on this question it could be a warning sign that you need to look elsewhere to find that perfect overseas teaching job.