HoW thE FuCk Do I FinD A JoB?
So basically, you have two choices.
One, get on a plane and go to the city of your choice. Once you are there, find some English institutes and go around with a big smile and some resumes and hope you can find a job.
That's how a real badass does it.
Second choice, get on the Internet and send out lots of resumes, and hope you get some job offers.
That's how the losers and pussies do it. Which is to say most people these days.
Now apparently, there's actually a third choice -- you can apply by regular mail. Man, that sounds shitty, and it would probably take forever. Surely any respectable employer would not want to hire someone too stupid to operate email.
Regarding the badass method, it has its advantages and disadvantages. It requires some considerable testicular fortitude on your part, to arrive in a place where you have no friends and don't know anyone, and hope you'll get a job. There'll also probably be a considerable outlay of money for hotels and such before you find a job.
The advantage is you can thoroughly check out a place before you get a job. By "place" I mean both the school and the city. Way too many people see a movie about a place, or read about it somewhere, and think it sounds great, and when they get there they find it's a pestilent hellhole. And of course getting to look the school over and speak to a few teachers first hand might well save you a lot of grief.
If you happen to have friends in a place, or if you know a place well, that helps the process along considerably of course. Finding English schools is usually no problem -- just look in the newspaper. Or of course on the Internet.
But lets face it, there's always the chance you won't be able to get a job, since all the positions will be full of losers and pussies who got their jobs off the Internet. Basically the bigger the city, the more likely you will be to find a job quickly, as English teachers are a flighty bunch who come and go quickly. "High staff turnover" as they might refer to it on a more reverent website.
So probably, you'll try to get a job on the Internet. At least then somebody will meet you at the airport, put you up somewhere, and you can start whenever agreed upon. I'm not going to recommend any particular place to look for jobs -- any search for "tefl jobs" will probably get you hundreds of choices, all probably equally as unreliable as the next.
Sounds great eh?
The disadvantage of course being that YOU KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE GETTING INTO IF YOU ACCEPT A JOB ON THE INTERNET! YOU'RE LEAPING BLIND INTO A FIERY PIT, WITH ONLY FAITH AND A GODDAMNED WORTHLESS TEACHING CERTIFICATE TO PROTECT YOU!!
Ahem. Excuse me. I grow passionate.
My first advice of course, if: KNOW AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ABOUT BOTH THE SCHOOL AND THE CITY YOUR ARE GOING TO. If at all possible, visit the city you want to teach in on a vacation before you accept a job teaching there. I mean, everyplace SOUNDS cool and just about anyplace LOOKS cool in pictures or on film. . . but. . . but. . .
So you put in your application. My advice is dress your resume up a bit. If you have no experience give yourself a year or two of "private teaching in an informal setting" in some country or the other. More than likely you'll eventually be offered a job. What next?
Research the school thoroughly. That can be done on the Internet easily enough. Look on the various EFL chatrooms and boards, and of course the various black lists and such. Of course, probably you're going to find about eight hundred different messages about why the school sucks and nobody should work there.
Now here is something important -- how to separate legitimate gripes from pathetic whinging. As I have said many times, the profession is now full of losers who got into teaching with no proper idea what it was about, had a horrible time, and went back to working at the Kinko's and spending all their time crotching on message boards.
So basically, look at the nature of the gripe: is it whining about split shifts? Well, unfortunately split shifts are AN ABSOLUTELY NORMAL PART OF THE PROFESSION. Whining about working on weekends? Unfortunately, that is too. Paychecks weren't on time? That one is borderline. Staff lied? Well, then you should try to email the person who made the complaint and find out EXACTLY what was lied about. That can be serious.
Accusations to be concerned about include the following: salary not paid/paid less than promised, promised work permits or visas not gotten or paid for, fewer or more hours of work given than promised, living conditions not as promised, promised airfare never paid. In short: watch out for broken promises.
Basically, after you get a job offer, GET IN WRITING from whoever the DOS or manager is a list of the things you are offered. I mean, it has no legal value, it's just so you can bitch at the place when they don't provide them.
Here are just a few VITAL questions.
1) EXACTLY how many hours per week will I be working? What is the maximum hours worked per week? (Absolute maximum class teaching time should be 30, and more like 22) Is an hour a real 60-minute hour, or a class hour of 45 or 50 minutes?
2) Will I be expected to work on weekends?
3) How many holidays will I get a year/ a semester?
4) How many days off will I get per week/per month?
5) How much will my take-home salary be after taxes?
6) Will I lose salary if students cancel lessons? (This is especially important if you'll be teaching business private classes.)
7) How many students will be in each class? Will I ever be expected to teach children?
8) What are the general hours worked each day? Will I be expected to work split shifts? What's the earliest I might begin, and the latest I might expect to work?
9) Will I be expected to "substitute" for other teachers? How often? When?
10) Will a flat be provided? Will I have to share it? Will the cost of it be deducted from my salary in any way? Will it have a kitchen, bathroom, stove, refrigerator, telephone, TV, etc? (Don't expect a TV, but at the very least you should have an equipped kitchen and a bathroom) If I share the flat, will I have my own room?
11) Will I have a legal work permit? What kind of visa do I need, and will the school get it? (If they won't provide you with a work permit, ask about the possibility of getting arrested.) How long will it take to get the work permit? Will I have to (and this is all too common) leave the country to get it? Will the school pay for this?
12) Is airfare provided? How much? When will it be paid?
What answers should you expect to the above questions? Well that depends on you. At the very least, you can compare the positions you're offered with more perspicacity.
Now naturally, it would be nice to speak to some teachers currently working at the place you want to work at. And the school will probably be happy to give you an email address or two. Unfortunately these will probably be the addresses of brain-damaged sycophants who would never dream of saying something negative about their employer.
So basically, between the pollyanna yodelings of these asslickers and the hysterical griping of the others, you'll have to sift out the truth. Good fucking luck.
NEXT MONTH we'll look more closely at job interviews and how to pass yourself off as a pro.
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