What should I look for in my contract?
- Split shifts – Some ESL teachers do not work straight through the day but may instead work in the morning from 8am-12pm and then in the evening from 4pm-10pm.
- Sick days - Schools that pay by the hour do not often pay for sick days. If you are paid a salary then you should expect a certain number of paid sick days.
- Reimbursement for airfare - It is important to know which countries typically supply this benefit and ensure that it is included on your contract if it is standard.
- Overtime - The contract should detail how many hours you will be expected to work and should state an hourly rate for any additional teaching time.
- Accommodations - Your contract should state whether or not the school will provide you with paid accommodations. If they do not, then it is common for a school to provide you with help finding accommodations.
- Key money (mainly in Japan) - In some countries, landlords will ask for key money which is often the equivalent of anywhere from three to six month’s rent. This is not a security deposit, but rather a form of gratitude.
- Transportation - It is important to know how far away your accommodations are from the school in which you will be teaching. If your housing is relatively far away, many schools will subsidize a scooter or a bus pass.
- Preparation time - The school may require that you prepare for your classes during office hours held at the school.
- Extracurricular activities - Compensation is not usually provided for extracurricular activities. Many contracts will state a maximum amount of extracurricular hours you are expected to work and may pay you overtime for additional hours.
- Healthcare - If healthcare is not included in the contract, it is a good idea to look into private health coverage prior to departing.
- Holidays - Your contract should state the holidays during which you receive time off. Depending on where you go, there are many different and exciting local holidays to celebrate!
- Transportation from airport - Your contract should indicate if a representative from your school will meet you at the airport or if you will be responsible for arriving at the school on your own.
- Private tutoring – It is important to confirm with your employer whether or not private tutoring is acceptable.