1. The first thing you should do when considering a job is to ask the employer for some contact email addresses of their current teacher(s). If the employer has a reason for not supplying the addresses to you, this should be a red flag.
Once you have the email addresses, ask the teacher's how long they have been there, why they are leaving (if it is relevant), what's a typical day like, how they found the job, how is their relationship with the school's director, about the materials used and the materials provided by the school, are they paid on time, have they fulfilled their contract, etc...
Thanks for the great list, Oreamnos. I wanted to add more specific questions to #1 because I think the MOST important part of the job search is talking to the current teacher(s). I think it's better to ask the teacher, because many of the people who do the hiring are not aware of what the teacher's job and life are really like. I personally much prefer to know this stuff in advance, than be surprised by it once I've signed up...
, here's my list of what to ask the foreign teacher at your prospective school:
1. What is the director of the school like? (helpful and personable, obsessively controlling, or somewhere in between)
2. How many English teachers are there and do they get along?
3. Do you have to work a split shift? (boy can this turn a 25 hour work-week into 40 hours!)
4. Do you ever have to work on Saturdays?
5. Are you always paid on time and paid for overtime?
6. Is overtime mandatory? Does it happen often?
7. Is housing provided by the school?
If not, does the school pay a monthly stipend, or help you find housing?
8. If housing is provided, what is it like?
Are there any serious problems there? If it's not to my liking, can I move out easily?
9. How far is the housing and what transportation do you use to get to work?
10. Is all the teaching done at one location?
11. What are the students like?
Ages? Levels? General attitude? (some schools have a large population of kids returning from life abroad who want to keep up their near-native speaker level of fluency, some have students who currently attend prestigious middleschools where English study is competitive, some schools are cheap and English class is more like a babysitting service, some schools are mixed)
12. How many students per class?
13. What books do you use to teach and are they good?
14. Does the school provide the materials for class, or do I have to make them? (I once discovered after I started a new job, that the teachers were required to MAKE the cards for the kindergarten curriculum EVERY DAY. It took a couple of hours per week of copying, colouring, cutting and laminating)
15. Does the school have many supplemental materials
(flashcards, activity books, resource files, professional development books, etc)?
16. Are there any extracurricular events that require work outside of class?
(weekend camps or trips, sports events, etc)
These questions come from my experience in Korea, I wonder what different questions would apply in the rest of the world...