What Recruiters and Potential Employers Say vs. What They Mean

"You'll be able to save tons of money!"

Definitely possible.  I certainly saved money while teaching abroad.  But, many teachers didn't.

There are a TON of factors that will affect this, so nobody can actually guarantee this.

You'll have to take into account:

  • Taxes, health insurance, etc.
  • Living expenses
  • Cost-of-Living in the area you will be living
  • Any traveling you plan on doing
  • Your own spending habits (I'm a bit of a shopper myself!)
  • Whether or not you will have the opportunity to make extra money (via summer camps, after school classes, etc.)


"You will have # days off a year!"


Ok, before you plan a family vacation, you will want to read the fine print here.  Often times, the promised "two weeks" off are limited to certain times of the year, like when the school is closed.  It's not two weeks that you can simply take off at your discretion.

In addition, some recruiters include National Holidays (when everyone would be off anyway) in this calculation.

Even sick days will sometimes have fine print.  You might have 12 sick days, but they will come with strings like: you cannot take more than two in a row, you cannot take more than 3 a month without a doctor's note, etc.

All of these specifications are quite standard in the ESL industry, so make sure to ask the right questions before agreeing to any of these numbers.


"We will pay for your airfare, moving expenses, etc.!"

Again, this is all about the fine print.  What they usually mean is that they will REIMBURSE you for certain expenditures.  You still have to pay for these things upfront yourself.  And, there might be conditions placed on these.  For example, some schools will reimburse your airfare only at the END of your contract.  (Understandable - they don't want to pay for your flight if you decide to bounce after a month.)


"You will only teach # hours per week!"

Be very careful with this claim, and do your own math.  Teaching hours and working hours are not the same thing.  Things like meetings, lesson planning, class preparation, and so forth won't be included in your number of teaching hours.  Also, some schools will squeeze in things like supervising student playtime or lunch hours, helping with arrival and dismissal, and other student-related activities that are not technically teaching.

Now, these are not tricks.  Most teachers are required to do these extra tasks.  But, you do want to know about ALL requirements ahead of time.  Make sure you are told exactly what will be expected of you.


There are a lot of honest, well-meaning, and reputable recruiters and ESL Businesses out there.  I've met some great ones!  But, in order to avoid the scams and cons that are unfortunately plentiful in our industry, be smart and read between the lines!

And, let ESL Passport help you!  Read and write reviews to create more transparency and accountability in the global ESL world!



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