TEFL Scams & Things to Watch Out For
When applying for TEFL jobs abroad there are several scams and general things you need to be careful of including bad TEFL courses and dodgy agencies/employers. View our guide to things you need to be aware of and also top tips how to avoid a TEFL scam.
Sometimes when something sounds too good to be true is usually is. If you see a dream positions advertised overseas with little experience required, a huge salary, flights and accommodation included be wary. Some international schools do offer these types of contacts but make sure again you research all recruiters before applying or go overseas.
None Reputable TEFL Courses
You need to be very careful and check all courses thoroughly as some are not worth the paper they are written on. Before booking a TEFL course check the website of the company, view independent reviews and try to speak to past participants on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be extra cautious with Online TEFL courses especially if they are extremely cheap.
Paying for a Job Upfront
Lots of unaccredited TEFL schools can charge over $1,000 for job placement assistance, when in reality it is fairly easy to obtain a teaching position anywhere in the world with a reputable qualification. Most TEFL employers will not ask you to pay any fees or money in advance, usually they pay any fees for you. Don't be fooled into handing over any money in advance.
On a monthly basis, there are over 10,000 TEFL jobs being posted worldwide. Additionally, there are hundreds of recruiters who will assist you to find a job free of charge since ESL schools pay them to recruit qualified teachers. Furthermore, it is the ESL school that hires you which will provide you with free or subsidized accommodation, a work permit, return airfare, transportation, and many other benefits and perks, so watch out for schools that promise these benefits as part of their “hassle-free” job placement package.
There are lots of dodgy agencies and institutions who also offer fake positions or bad placements. For example, make sure you get all your paper work and visa arranged because some recruiters in places like China have been known to hire international teachers on tourist visas and then the teachers have been arrested and deported.
Things to Check
- Always check the company name, staff and e-mail address
- Does the company have a physical address. It is very easy to set up a PO BOX address so this might set your alarm bells ringing
- How long has the agency been operational
- Does the recruiter also have a good quality website which looks reputable
- Are the company listed on popular social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
- Can staff speak good English
- Always request to speak to someone face to face via Skype. If they don't request a formal Skype/phone interview ask questions.
- When on a face to face situation you should be able to pick up any body language or attributes which might rouse suspicion
- Are there any reviews or past testimonials (not just ones on their website)
- Are references available from past TEFL teachers
- The majority of employers will always ask to see references and contacts to check up on your experience
Although these are some common TEFL scams and things to watch out for there are lots of reputable English teaching jobs abroad. As long as you are careful you shouldn't have too much problem pursuing a dream career working abroad as an international teacher.