Teaching overseas 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 plus a mind-broadening adventure – but what do you need to consider before you take the leap?
Is Teaching Internationally Right for Me?
The dream is definitely seductive, especially for those without ties in the UK. In 2014-15 an estimated 100,000 teachers from the UK were working in the international sector. And, with demand for a ‘traditional’ English education among the middle classes in countries like the United Arab Emirates, as well as an increasing number of British expats making their home there, research suggests their number will only grow moving forward.
And, it has to be said that teaching internationally does have a lot going for it, including 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 teaching in the English language, small class sizes, motivated students and high standards, schools range from host country schools to schools catering mainly for expatriates and everything in between.
- Healthier Work-Life Balance: In addition to longer holidays many international teachers benefit from up to 7 hours per week planning and preparation time. There is also more freedom to plan and deliver lessons with creativity and without the usual restrictions.
- 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 areas of the world 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, teaching can be more difficult when most of the class have English as a second language, and as parents are funding their children’s education, parents quite rightly have certain expectations so can be significantly more demanding. In addition to this, teachers overseas need to respect local laws regarding co-habitation, dress code, etc., or serious consequences can occur.
International Teaching Checklist
As with all things, research and planning are key to success. So before you dig out those flip flops, check out our infographic below detailing our seven top tips to help you find that perfect international teaching position:
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 that leaving party and get packing!