Considering changing your teaching role to teach in an international school in another country? Make sure you’ve thought about the following before you hand over your letter of resignation.
Teaching in different countries is a great way to explore new cultures and traditions, while maintaining the elements of the teaching profession you know and love. You could benefit from a healthier work-life balance, less pressure, greater autonomy and have a mind-broadening adventure of your own at the same time – but what do you need to consider before you take the leap?
Is Teaching Internationally Right for Me?
It has to be said that teaching internationally does have a lot going for it. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Career Opportunities. Most international schools offer excellent professional development.
• Great Working Environment. International schools sit at the heart of a diverse and multi-cultured world. With small class sizes, motivated students and high standards, schools range from host country schools to schools catering mainly for the children of the international business community, and everything in between.
• Healthier Work-Life Balance. In addition to longer holidays, many international teachers benefit from up to 7 hours planning and preparation time per week. There is also considerably more freedom to plan and deliver lessons with creativity.
• Additional Benefits. Many international teachers are able to live comfortably and make significant savings, depending on their location. Many international schools offer attractive (and in many places tax-free) salaries and other excellent benefits, including free or discounted accommodation, annual home leave with round-trip air fares, health and life insurance, free or discounted places for dependent children, and good pensions.
• Adventure. Living in a different part of the world opens up whole new geographic areas to explore, as well as a totally new social circle of potentially like-minded people.
It’s not always without its downsides, however, and as with all adventures into the unknown, caution is required. The longer holidays, smaller class sizes and reduced workload can come at a price. It’s a very competitive market which can drive salaries down rather than up, and teaching can be significantly more difficult if you’re communicating in a foreign language or when some of the class are operating in a language which is different to their own. What’s more, as parents are funding their children’s education, parents can be significantly more demanding than in the state sector. Then, there are the local laws regarding co-habitation, dress code, etc., that need to be respected or serious consequences can occur.
What to Do Next?
Once you’ve properly researched the opportunities that exist, wowed the interview panel, and got all the paperwork in order, you’re all set for the adventure of a lifetime. Now just to sort out that leaving party and get packing!