Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is It an EFL Teaching Scam or Not?

Recently, a reader wrote, “… I recently came across your blog on ESL teaching scams. I am considering a move to Korea to teach English for a year. I have been in contact with this program, ESL Park. I have spoken with a women (sic) their (sic) named Asia and she has been guiding my (sic) along the process. My only concern, is that they want me to send all of these documents for my visa processing to Korea. How do I know I am not just sending my life away? Anyways (sic) was hoping you could give me a little advice.

Name Withheld for Privacy

Here’s how I responded:

Greetings … ,

So far, the scenario you've mentioned is not necessarily an EFL teaching scam - yet. I think that you do need more information from them. For starters, I'd ask them what are the next steps after sending the documents. I'd also contact the nearest Korean consulate and outline your situation. They'll be able to tell you if there have been any other complaints against this school (or agency). The embassy or consulate can also check on the legality of the organization. Even if you need to spend some money for a long-distance call to the consulate or embassy, it's worth it for your peace of mind at least.

If at any point before starting to work in Korea, you are asked to fork over any serious funds - then I'd balk. This is not normal in the teacher hiring process of most countries I'm familiar with. You should also be able to get a copy of the contract to review while you're still in the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia (or your home country, whichever it may be).

Be sure to check on EFL teaching forums and sites for any information other ex-pat teachers may have on this organization or on the process of teaching in Korea.

Finally, if you really are uncomfortable about dealing with this or any other organization, then just let it go. There are literally hundreds of thousands of ELT jobs worldwide. To say you'll get several other good offers if you go after them would be a moot point. Don't let yourself fall victim to EFL teaching scams. The school or organization where you got your ELT certification should be foremost in helping you land a good overseas position where ever you may want to go. You can have jobs coming out of your ears if you need some selection to prod you on.

A Post Note: You haven't mentioned whether or not you do have a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA English teaching certification. If you don't, then that's FIRST on your agenda before you do anything else. Uncertified ELT prospects are almost always the very first people to fall victim to EFL teaching scams.

I hope I've helped. Please let me know if you need anything else. For your added information, I'm attaching a copy of my free e-book, "If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know". This free e-book is available to any practicing or prospective EFL teacher on request by e-mail.

ATTENTION, Please: If any readers have information or knowledge of this organization or procedures for applying for an EFL teaching position in Korea, please contact me ASAP.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 125 countries worldwide. Get your FREE, pdf format report on CD or via e-mail, "Creative, Dynamic Ways to Motivate and Teach English as a Foreign Language to Diverse Groups of Reluctant Learners" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com


Anonymous said...

Very good advice. Might I add that it isn't usual to have to send documentation before having a proper telephone interview and being provisionally offered the job.

btw, would you like your free e-book reviewed on the review pages of TEFL.net?

Eric said...

This is a smart, solid practical article. Many inexperienced, often unemployed or underemployed people turn to teaching English abroad. Unfortunately, their naivete makes them more vulnerable to scams.

Unknown said...

They are very legit. I know that woman. My co-worker has her for agent. It is normal for them to ask for that stuff. At first I thought it was odd, but all that stuff is required by the education bureau.an

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