So you’ve decided that you want to become an ESL teacher. Fantastic! The next question you’re probably asking yourself is whether you should use an ESL recruiter or whether you should try and find a job on your own.
There are always two sides to every coin. Just as there are good placement agencies out there, it’s just as easy to find bad placement agencies.
There is also a lot of misinformation on the web about what recruiters actually do, how they earn a living, and how their services will benefit you. ESL job boards and teaching forums, for example, are rife with stories regarding recruiter accountability and trust-related issues. Don’t believe everything you read, though.
A professional agency does not hold a portion of a teacher’s paycheck. A professional agency charges the school a fee, not the teacher.
There are some terrific agencies out there who have your best interests at heart, and Reach To Teach is certainly one of them! We’ve got a great reputation in the ESL industry amongst schools and teachers alike, so it’s really in our best interest to ensure that you have a fantastic year abroad.
Why Do Schools Use Recruiters?
Schools use recruiters for a number of reasons.
1. Reputable schools can be quite specific and very selective of their teachers. Interviewing numerous applicants for a single position is time consuming and expensive. This is why many schools rely on recruiters to find them teachers. They send their teaching specs to the agency, and the agency then sifts through their database to find teachers that are a match.
2. Many schools don’t have the time or resources to interview teachers on their own. Using an agency allows school managers to do what they do best, which is running the school.
3. Teacher placement agencies have access to various levels of teacher candidates, ranging from graduates with little or no experience, to those who have taught abroad for years.
4. Schools can also expect a lower teacher turnover rate. This is because recruiters will do their best to keep teachers happy. They have specific methods for matching teachers to job postings.
5. It’s expensive to hire a new teacher. Schools that use recruiters understand that the applicants that they have from their ESL placement agency are applicants that have already been taken through a thorough screening process. Teachers are less likely to leave their jobs when they have all the facts up front.
6. Recruiters reduce the need for schools to have bilingual HR staff.
Why Do Teachers Use Recruiters?
Teachers use recruiting agencies for a number of reasons.
1. Recruiters can help teachers find legitimate contracts and fair compensation.
2. Wading through a school employment contract can be daunting, especially when the school is located overseas. Recruiters have a good and thorough understanding of the types of contracts out there, and they will be able to go through the fine print with you in detail.
3. Experienced teachers also use agencies. While it’s possible for them to find employment on their own, many experienced teachers enjoy the additional benefits that agencies can offer.
Let’s have a look at what you can expect if you’re working with an agency like Reach To Teach.
Making the Match
We aim to ensure that our candidates are qualified, enthusiastic and capable of teaching abroad. We’re looking for teachers who can demonstrate an ability to transfer skills from one working environment to another.
Likewise, we look at education and work experience to determine whether applicants have the skills and abilities to tackle the challenges ahead.
Making a good match between a teacher and a school is an integral part of our reputation and it ensures the continued success of our business.
We look at a number of factors to ensure that our candidates meet the specific needs of our schools, including:
- Teaching experience
- Teacher personality
- Preferred teaching location
- The age and level of students
How do I know if a recruiting agency is legitimate?
A legitimate agency is a licensed company that deals directly with schools. It doesn’t rely on third parties to do their business. Look for companies with professional websites and experienced English speaking staff that have experience teaching in the countries you’re interested in.
- Look for hidden charges in your contracts. A legitimate company won’t ever charge you for a position or take a portion of your salary.
- Look for agency reviews from fellow teachers.
- Your agent should be able to answer specific questions about potential contracts, including information on the exact location of the school, the salary, the start date, the total number of teaching hours, and other job related questions.
Take a look at your job checklist. How many items do you need to check off? If your list is only a few lines then you haven’t done your research. As that deadline date draws ever closer you will find that this list grows and grows and before you know it you are buried under piles of paperwork and stress. When you work with a recruiter the worries and stress from this list are dramatically reduced. This is what the recruiter is there for; they aim to make the process of moving as smooth as possible by handling as much of the paperwork as they can.
Now, have you thought about where you are going to live? How you will apply for a visa? Do you know about the visa process? Have you set up any interviews or apartment viewings? All of this is covered by recruiters who use their expert knowledge to ease some of the stress in moving abroad. This gives you time to really focus on throwing that huge farewell party that will be the social event of the year.
Recruiters offer a wealth of support for ESL teachers, whether it’s booking your flights or what you do if you have issues with your landlord or manager. Remember recruiters are on the ground and they have been there for a long time, so they know the ins and outs of what can go wrong before, during and even after your ESL teaching experience.
Almost all of the people employed by ESL recruitment companies were once ESL teachers themselves so they can sympathize with any issues that you may be facing, because the likelihood is that it will be something they have faced themselves. This also means that they’ll have great advice on how to deal with certain issues that may arise during your year abroad. Not sure how to deal with your new school manager? Ask your recruiter! Wondering how to deal with a child in your classroom? Your recruiter might have some good advice for you to follow.
Developing a support network and meeting new friends isn’t always easy when you first move abroad. Life can sometimes feel a little lonely when you don’t know anyone in your new home country. Agencies like Reach To Teach can help you by introducing you to teachers that are already in country, so take advantage of your recruiter’s organized social events and make the most of your time abroad.
Naturally each recruitment company works differently, some offer more than others. For example Reach to Teach offers a very personalized service for its applicants. We don’t take in a massive amount of teachers into our programs every year. We want to ensure that our teachers are getting the time and information that they need to move abroad, and we believe that this is why we have such high teacher retention rates.
We invest a huge amount of time into preparing the ESL teacher for things such as interviews whilst also hosting monthly social events, such as shrimp fishing, KTV events, and bicycle rides, as well as local meet and greet events.
A good recruiter will be there for you. They are not there to just get you into the country and a school and then send you on your merry way never to be seen again. If there are any issues you are facing, as trivial as they may be, recruiters are just an email or phone call away, so you are never really alone.
So you are going to begin your big adventure, you’re so excited about getting on that plane and disappearing into a world of teaching adventures that you feel you could burst. However, an adventure would be nothing without knowledge.
In the run-up to your journey, recruiters will feed you with ongoing knowledge about your new home country, such as what the people are like, lively and quiet districts within the rural or urban areas, interesting cultural attractions, as well as essential information regarding things like accommodation, immigration laws, and the ESL job market. In addition to this you can rely on the knowledge that a good recruiter will safe guard you from any schools that you should be watching out for.
Using a recruiter is a guaranteed way of having a stress free move to a foreign country so you can enjoy what should be enjoyed when you are there. So the question isn’t why should I use an ESL recruiter? The question is, why not?
Advantages of using an ESL recruiter like Reach To Teach
Reach to Teach is a global company which offers more to ESL teacher applicants than other ESL recruitment companies.
- Personalized service – At Reach to Teach we invest a huge amount of time into our screening process for applicants, including mock school interviews to help you prepare with real interviews with potential employers. By doing this we acquire the very best teachers in terms of teaching quality, creating a high demand from only the top client schools. Evidence of this success can be seen in our very high retention rate of applicants fulfilling their year contract.
- Recommendations – Reach to Teach comes very highly recommended by the top most reputable schools and teachers within a number of different countries. You can read some of the testimonials here.
- High quality schools – We not only screen our candidates, but we also do an in-depth screening on all of our schools. If we feel a school is not up to our standards, then we simply stop working with them. We offer only the best schools to great teachers, creating a great working relationship for everybody.
- Regular social events for social support and networking throughout your contract
- Pre-departure information packages and resources related to life and work in a variety of foreign countries, including information on medication insurance, tax laws, and vaccinations, to name a few.
- Travel arrangements and legitimate documentation
- A good agency thoroughly screens schools in advance to ensure they are legitimate
- Gather and submit all application requirements to school
- Provide regular updates on job openings
- Airport arrival assistance, housing assistance, and transportation assistance
- Academic support (IE. lesson plans)
- We can connect you with other teachers at prospective schools
- Assistance throughout your year abroad, should you need it.
Disadvantages of using an ESL recruiter
If you’re with a good agent or recruiter, there really shouldn’t be any disadvantages to you. Just make sure that you’re working whoever you work with has called you and talked to you about the ins and outs of teaching abroad. And above all, never pay an agency or recruiter to help you find a job.
There are loads of small ESL recruiting agencies that are just starting out or that have inexperienced employees on staff. Furthermore, there are many companies out there who provide incorrect information just to make a placement and collect their commission fee.
Reach To Teach staff don’t work off commission rates, so you can rest assured knowing that your RTT recruiter isn’t trying to place you just to make money. We recognize the value in ensuring that our teachers have a great year abroad. Happy teachers are why we have such a positive reputation in the ESL industry.
So what are you waiting for? Apply for a teaching position with Reach To Teach today. We take the stress out of your move abroad!If you liked this article, please share!