Behind the scenes of recruiting an English teacher


If you have no teaching experience, reading job advertisement after advertisement asking for one year or more teaching experience can be disheartening. It’s the old Catch 22 situation.

Don’t be disheartened. Recruitment isn’t as straightforward as it looks.

You would think it’s a recruiter’s market right? All they have to do is advertise a job and then sit back and watch the applications flow in. Right?

Not quite.

Take for example, the imaginary case of BSR’s (Barcelona School of Rock) search for an English teacher.

School of Rock thinks about the ideal profile they want to fill a teaching position. They want a teacher with at least one year of teaching experience, who is available to teach classes from Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

They receive applications from Bob, Rachel and George.

Bob has ten years of experience in teaching English and was a primary school teacher in the U.K. He is available for all those hours.

Rachel has one and a half years of teaching experience, but is only available to teach the morning hours.

George just completed his TEFL training. He has no experience and is available for all those hours.

Who gets the job?

Bob? No. Bob charges around 37 Euros per hour for his classes. The client is only willing to pay 20 Euros. Minus the school’s cut, the pay is around 16 Euros.

Rachel? No. For billing purposes and to make the position worth while, all the hours need to be taught by one teacher.

Looks like it’s George’s lucky day. Congratulations man!

Add in an emergency deadline, and George finds himself teaching his first class, two days after he first applied for the job.

If you are a fresh graduate, keep applying for jobs and don’t get disheartened, landing your first teaching job is really about being in the right place at the right time.

My first teaching job came to me because the teacher who was meant to teach the two month intensive course sprained her ankle while playing beach volleyball on a Friday. The course was starting on Monday. I got the call on Friday evening.

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