If you have done any online research into teaching English abroad you will probably have come across agencies that advertise guaranteed teaching positions in exchange for a fee. On the face of it this can seem like a great idea as it removes the need to apply and interview for jobs. However, before you choose to go down this route there are some things you need to think about.
Is there a strong demand for English language teachers worldwide?
It is no secret that the worldwide demand for TEFL qualified teachers is enormous. There are hundreds of millions of people learning English across the globe and it requires ten of thousands of teachers to fill even a fraction of the potential jobs on offer. Although demand varies from one country to the next, it is true that in some places there are far more jobs than teachers. Bearing all this in mind, most teachers are able to find and secure a good teaching position without the need to pay a fee to a third party.
What are the negatives of TEFL job placement schemes?
One of the biggest issues with job placement schemes is they seriously limit the options open to you. In most cases you will have very little say in where you are placed and your salary and working hours will be set without any negotiation. In some scenarios you could have a salary and working hours that are not enough to live a comfortable lifestyle in the location you are placed, or you could find you have too many hours and are paid less than some of your co-workers. Regardless of whether your TEFL adventure is for a short time or something more long term, if you are not happy with your working environment it can quickly become a chore rather than a pleasure.
What kind of employer do you want to work for?
Another question that job placements raise is are you happy to head overseas and work in a school that takes on teachers without even speaking to them first? If you want to work in a professional educational environment where the needs of the students are put first, you need to decide which jobs you want to apply for. By applying for multiple jobs in an area where you know you want to live and work, you should be able to pick and choose the right job to suit you. By going through a job placement agency you forfeit all freedom of choice.