I am planning a feature article about how TEFL teachers – in particular, those new to the profession – can avoid some of the typical pitfalls that await the unwary teacher when (s)he starts a new job.
I’m looking for personal case studies, stories or general advice about where things can go wrong (and did!). This could include unscrupulous school owners, bad working / living conditions, no health cover, social isolation (through remote housing, lack of native speaker community in the area), terrible / tyrannical DOSs – in fact, any experience you’ve had that could, with hindsight and more experience & research, have been avoided.
I’m not just looking for the negative stories – I’d also like to hear from people who have had a great experience because they did their research into the school / city / country before they went.
Anyone who contributes can do so anonymously if they wish, but obviously I would prefer it if people went on the record. No individual school, school owner, DOS or fellow teacher will be named at any point, and contributors will be given copy approval over how their quotes are used.
The feature is being written on spec, and will be pitched toward G2, Times 2 and education media.
A little bit about me – after getting my TEFL qualification after I left school, I taught for three years at summer schools in London during the uni holidays. In 2006/7 I spent a year in a school in Siberia, which was a scrupulously well-run operation. I will be drawing from my positive experiences at that school (happy to share the details with anyone who’s interested – Siberia’s a fascinating place!), but would appreciate stories and advice from others to make it a more complete guide for the first-time TEFL teacher.
Anyone interested in contributing can email me at rob_jessel [at] yahoo.co.uk, or can of course reply to this post.
Thanks very much for your time – I look forward to hearing from you all!