When it’s time to find your first or next job as a teacher, the sheer number of ESL companies recruiting can feel somewhat overwhelming. Finding the right ESL company to teach for can seem like a difficult choice. If you’re in this position, it’s important to research every company before you start the application process.
Are there ‘bad’ companies?
Sometimes what we might label as “bad companies” are employers that will create stressful situations for you during and after your application. Initially, everything may seem completely normal to you, but as time goes on you may notice something doesn’t seem right.
ESL companies with bad reputations have a tendency to not pay their employees or treat their employees poorly. They don’t respect their teachers, and you’ll be lucky to get teaching hours and get paid for those hours if you end up with a company like this.
Unfortunately, they do exist. They exploit the skills of their teachers to pull in more clients and make more money.
Check their reviews
We aren’t going to “out” any companies or their practices here. Instead, we can easily point you in the right direction so that you can avoid bad companies that put their teachers in negative situations.
A good starting point is to check the reviews of any company that you’re interested in working for. There are plenty of review websites with good reputations that can help with this. Glassdoor comes to mind, as does Indeed and even Reddit.
A quick way of finding out the real deal about an employer is to type their company name into a search engine, followed by the word “reviews”. Doing this should bring up plenty of sources. This includes reviews, blogs, forum posts, and even videos about the company. You may even find reviews about one of their ex- or current employee’s experiences.
Any of these sources can be extremely revealing and show you the truth behind a company. Of course, that’s not to say that ex- or current employee’s experience is going to be the same as yours. However, it’s worth bearing in mind while you make your decision.
You should also ensure that you’re checking recent reviews etc. and not complaints from several years ago. ESL companies are almost always adapting and updating their practices.
If you apply and get offered an interview, you should write a list of questions to ask during that interview.
ESL companies will typically send one of their own teachers to interview you. This is usually over Skype or a similar video call platform. These are current employees of the company, and they are paid to recruit and interview applicants.
Their job is to make sure that you’re a good fit for the company and that you have all of the qualifications and requirements that they need. You’ll more than likely be asked to prepare a short English lesson with provided material, too.
After this, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Come to your interview armed with good questions that they won’t have heard time and time again.
Questions that might trip up your interviewer and get them to reveal more about the company could be enquiries like these:
- How often do you recruit new teachers?
- How does your system or booking team divide classes between teachers that are scheduled to work that day?
- Are there any penalties for cancelled or missed classes? What are those penalties?
- What is the payrate for a standard class?
- How are teachers supported in their role? Is training available?
These questions will give you a good amount of insight into the company and its practices, as well as what it’s going to be like to teach with them.
Read your contract
Before you sign anything, read it, question it, make sure you understand it. Check for cancellation policies, penalty policies, payrates, uniform requirements – everything and anything that you can think of that could affect you as an employee.
The better you understand the inner workings of a company, the more likely you will step into a role feeling prepared for anything the company might throw at you.
Prepare for your job the way you would prepare to teach a new English student. Go in with a clear mind, a plethora of information, and enough resources that you know exactly what you’re walking into.
Finding the right ESL company to teach for might seem like a daunting task but by following these steps you'll be on the way to working for a reputable company.