Once you have found a job and have been working in a country for a year, you will have a good idea of the work and employment environment, benefits, and norms within the industry. However, when faced with the process for getting a new contract, some teachers have trouble knowing what to ask for and how to go about arranging a new job.
Before your first contract is up, you should talk to you school about what your plans are. Most employers will be open to re-hiring you. There are several reasons why a school would rather hire a teacher who is already there over a new teacher.
The first and most obvious reason is that they already know how you work and have seen you in action. If they are not happy with your performance, they would not be offing you a new contract. Another reason is that the school has a better ability to negotiate your new contract terms with you. They may lessen the amount of money they offer as flight money since you are already in the country and the fact that they already have your resume and visa details on file, means they need to spend considerably less time processing your enrollment. The school can also save money by keeping you in the accommodation you already are. They also can assume that you remember the processes you need to fulfil your visa and this will make the transition to the new contract even easier.
A lot of these things are benefits for you also. It is difficult moving in and out of different places (and after a year or so, you start to build up more luggage). You don’t need the school to pay as much flight money, because you may not need to go home between contracts. The important thing is to think about your needs. There is no point to agreeing to something that you are not happy with. After a year, you should also have an idea of what to expect from the school and other schools in the same market. Depending on each individual school director, they going could be reasonable and flexible, or offer as little as possible and expect you to negotiate.
Remember that you can consider other schools, as well. In many cases, people find that they love the job of teaching, but have problems personally relating to their particular school director. Which is understandable, as everyone has a different personality, and some just don’t get along. Other schools might even offer you sweeter deals in order to lure you away from your current school. It is up to you what you do in this situation, but remember to follow your contract, and be respectful to your employer.
Be careful telling a school that you will be going to work for a competitor. They are only human and may get jealous that you feel like a rival can offer you a better deal. Remember that you are the commodity, and most schools will not want to lose a teacher who has been a good coworker. While schools will try and negotiate you out of flight ticket money or bonuses, you can ask for extra pay, bigger bonuses or longer holidays. Be sure you compare your old contract to our new one and question any discrepancies.
You will most likely have to leave the country to renew you visa, so think about your options. Some teachers are family oriented people and need to return home as often as possible. Others use whatever time they have to travel and experience more. A few months before you finish work, find out what your options are for flights and be prepared to bring this information to your school when you negotiate your new contract.
Overall, you want to improve your situation. Shop around and ask other teachers in the community if they know of any jobs that are available when you finish your first contract. Find out about the schools and which other teachers work there. Most of all, be positive about whatever choice you make. Going to a new school means having a fresh start with a new group of students and co-workers. Maybe a new apartment in a different part of town. Staying where you are means you get the comfort of consistency in a foreign land.
How did you decide where to work on your second contract? What benefits did you receive?