1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

A thread for people considering teaching abroad

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Stillstayingjohnson, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    I had been looking for jobs abroad this year, but various circumstances meant, that despite a few offers from a variety of schools (in a variety of countries), I stayed grounded in the UK.

    Having completed my NQT, I have been given an additional responsibility/permanent contract by my school. So am keen to accrue the experience in a school where I am desired. Also, despite the woes of last year, a friendship has turned into a relationship. She is currently completing a TEFL in the hope that we can support/keep each other company for at least the first year (she is aiming to apply for pottery residencies after this period).

    My main reasons for wanting to teach abroad are:
    - To save! -
    I can barely afford to save a thing on M1 (and this is without having a life). I want to be able to buy a home to return to at some point. Despite my additional responsibility, I still don't think I'd be saving enough.
    - CPD - To develop my skills, not becoming out of date or obsolete, enabling me to travel around the world and make an impact wherever I end up
    - To experience something other than Cornwall! - 24 years is too many. I want to make my self more culturally diverse. I want to experience new things and alternative ways of living.
    - To make friends - Can you ever have enough? :)

    My ambition would be to start somewhere that would enable me to save, and develop my practice to a point where more exciting, but less well paid countries become an option.
    (i.e. Starting point ME/South Korea to Maldives, PNG, Bali) I am a keen surfer, skateboarder and cricketer, who plays cricket at a competitive standard. So one of these boxes will need to be ticked at all times.

    My main concerns are:
    - What happens to a UK pension? -
    Literally have no idea... I've done some research, but it's so confusing
    - How would I organise pay? - Into my UK account? 50/50 into a local account? Is it country dependent? School dependent?
    - Tax - Although some jobs are tax free, am I right in thinking that if I spend 183 days out of the UK per year that I am not subject to pay tax on monies earnt abroad?
    - What is the best forum for job searching? - I've already had some success applying directly from TES, but are agencies any good?
    - Socialising - How would you go about settling yourself in?
    - Exploration - obviously, teaching is full time. Is the attitude/workload any better than here in the UK? Is it a realistic expectation to think I will have time to adventure?
    - Employability - I have found that I am already quite marketable locally, and internationally. Will a move abroad have a negative impact on my employability in UK schools?
    - Curriculum - Is it worth applying for IB/PYP or other schools that do not follow the ENC? Is there much support on offer?


    I know there are a hundred more things that I would like to ask, but I'm currently writing reports and don't want to get too side tracked.

    If anyone knows of any decent blogs please forward them to me. I have found a lot of American international school blogs, but not many from the UK. There are also an abundance of TEFL blogs, but have written most off, as there are huge variables when compared to international school teaching.

    It would be great to have some answers and replies. Apologies if this sounds a bit 'waffley'. Maybe there are others in my position? I'd love to hear from you.

    All help much appreciated!
     
  2. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I am sure some kind and knowledgeable people will be along to respond to your questions. I am not from the UK and so do not feel qualified to provide you with some of the answers you are seeking.

    As for job searching, I would say apply to any school/location that interests you. It costs nothing but your time and energy and every application (and potential interview) will give you the chance to hone your application/presentation skills and fine tune your ability to both sell yourself and read whether a school might be a good fit for you. By all means apply to IB and non-NC schools. Many will likely give you due consideration if you present yourself as being able to fill their needs.

    As for agencies, I would certainly look into the larger recruiters (Search Associates being the one I have had experience with) and avoid the smaller, more dubious/desperate agencies that try and sell you on a position/location.

    Schools/locations will vary greatly but many/most schools would seem to offer a better life/work balance than seems to be currently happening in many UK schools. CPD is very hit or miss at many int'l schools and some heads at home may not truly value your time abroad. With others it will be a positive or at least not a negative. Even in a worst case scenario you are not killing yourself professionally.

    Socializing always works itself out. You will naturally find your group of people inside of school and if you put yourself out there outside of school as well. What that looks like will vary widely depending on the school/location but the vast majority of locations will provide the opportunity to meet people at the gym, club, pub, sports event, sports team etc.

    Savings will also vary widely with school and location. Organizations like Search with their large database of schools, packages and openings will come in very handy as you try and focus your energies (and their should be no fees as you are in the UK). Always pay close attention to savings potential and not necessarily the base salary as cost of living, housing allowances etc often make a huge differences.

    ISR's reviews and forum can be very useful (if you have not found them already). I don't know how TES feels about giving them a plug here so I will send you the link in a conversation.

    That's all I have at the moment but will chip in further at a later time. Enjoy and good luck!
     
    Stillstayingjohnson likes this.
  3. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    Thank you so much for taking the time to provide a really detailed answer.

    I have found that with each interview I have felt more confident. Skype interviews felt a little bit strange at first. I feel that interview is my strong suit, but I feel that without having a lesson observation it is hard to get a real feel for the school and it's pupils. One interviewer gave me a walking Skype tour of the school and was extremely helpful - I even got a hello from a class! Are there any tips to making sure I get a true representation of a school? Or is it all about building a bank of ideas and asking the right questions?

    I have been doing a little bit of reading up on the IB, as well as some other western curriculums. I suppose it's not you as a teacher that changes, just the materials. Are there any ways in which I can prepare myself for any curriculum changes? Is there anything I can do to ensure that I present myself as adaptable?

    I'm currently registering with Search. I'm glad to hear that they are decent! I've also signed up to teacher horizons and teachanywhere. Some of the adverts do read like a travel brochure. So you recommend it is best to avoid these?

    I have heard that the work/life balance is much improved, which comes at a great relief. Obviously, I expect to be working full time, but as mentioned I want to also broaden my horizons. I am also glad to hear that it is not viewed as a negative. I had read some articles/posts on other forums that made me feel as if teaching internationally was selling myself down the river in terms of working in UK teaching.

    I have quickly learnt that salary is no the measure of a saving. I have been using Numbeo as a basic cost of living measure. Does you know any good resources for ascertaining the cost of living in particular countries? Or is it going to be a case of forum hounding?

    Would you say that ISR is worth the signing on cost? I was about to join, then noticed a fee and did a u-turn. The forum had a few pieces of useful information. I'll check the link in the conversation to check we are talking about the same thing.

    Thank you so much for your time. Would be happy to hear as much advice as you have to offer! :)

     
  4. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    Hi - my responses to questions where I can add something are in blue italic below.

    Good luck with your future - wherever that is.

    My main reasons for wanting to teach abroad are:

    - To save! -
    I can barely afford to save a thing on M1 (and this is without having a life). I want to be able to buy a home to return to at some point. Despite my additional responsibility, I still don't think I'd be saving enough.

    A focus on saving will help narrow your focus as some places pay a lot more than others. Note that most schools will offer incremental pay raises and it can pay to stay more years than the initial, usually, 2 year contract.

    - CPD - To develop my skills, not becoming out of date or obsolete, enabling me to travel around the world and make an impact wherever I end up

    Varies greatly from school to school - ask at interview what you could typically expect.

    - To experience something other than Cornwall! - 24 years is too many. I want to make my self more culturally diverse. I want to experience new things and alternative ways of living.

    - To make friends - Can you ever have enough? :)

    My ambition would be to start somewhere that would enable me to save, and develop my practice to a point where more exciting, but less well paid countries become an option.
    (i.e. Starting point ME/South Korea to Maldives, PNG, Bali) I am a keen surfer, skateboarder and cricketer, who plays cricket at a competitive standard. So one of these boxes will need to be ticked at all times.

    My main concerns are:
    - What happens to a UK pension? -
    Literally have no idea... I've done some research, but it's so confusing
    - How would I organise pay? - Into my UK account? 50/50 into a local account? Is it country dependent? School dependent?

    School and country dependent. Some will insist on all of your salary going out of the country, some will have a split option, some won't mind as long as it is to a bank somewhere. Personally I prefer to send the money out of country as if something unexpected happens I don't have the worry of having to get out of dodge quickly and leave money behind.

    - Tax - Although some jobs are tax free, am I right in thinking that if I spend 183 days out of the UK per year that I am not subject to pay tax on monies earnt abroad?
    - What is the best forum for job searching? - I've already had some success applying directly from TES, but are agencies any good?

    I have had only positive experiences with Search Associates.

    - Socialising - How would you go about settling yourself in?

    How would you normally do this? Your colleagues are an immediate social group - for better or worse. And then find opportunities to do the things you enjoy and meet people that way.

    - Exploration - obviously, teaching is full time. Is the attitude/workload any better than here in the UK? Is it a realistic expectation to think I will have time to adventure?

    Yes. Very much yes.

    - Employability - I have found that I am already quite marketable locally, and internationally. Will a move abroad have a negative impact on my employability in UK schools?
    - Curriculum - Is it worth applying for IB/PYP or other schools that do not follow the ENC? Is there much support on offer?

    Yes. Have a read up on the PYP through the IB website and see if you think it is a good fit for you. Also ask about what support the school offers for teachers who are new to this as part of your induction/first year.


    I know there are a hundred more things that I would like to ask, but I'm currently writing reports and don't want to get too side tracked.

    If anyone knows of any decent blogs please forward them to me. I have found a lot of American international school blogs, but not many from the UK. There are also an abundance of TEFL blogs, but have written most off, as there are huge variables when compared to international school teaching.

    It would be great to have some answers and replies. Apologies if this sounds a bit 'waffley'. Maybe there are others in my position? I'd love to hear from you.

    All help much appreciated![/QUOTE]
     
    Stillstayingjohnson likes this.
  5. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    The saving aspect will initially be a big driving factor. I already have a slight idea of some of the places which offer good saving potential - Any suggestions or experiences that others have had with places that offered a good climate for saving would be hugely welcomed!!!

    Varies greatly from school to school - ask at interview what you could typically expect.

    So there is a bit of a pot luck aspect here. Are some schools open to your own CPD desires, or is it mostly set pathways relevant to an establishment?

    School and country dependent. Some will insist on all of your salary going out of the country, some will have a split option, some won't mind as long as it is to a bank somewhere. Personally I prefer to send the money out of country as if something unexpected happens I don't have the worry of having to get out of dodge quickly and leave money behind.

    This is really helpful, thank you. I would anticipate keeping my home accounts open. If money is getting paid into a UK account does that mean they will be subject to taxation? Or is below correct?

    - Tax -
    Although some jobs are tax free, am I right in thinking that if I spend 183 days out of the UK per year that I am not subject to pay tax on monies earnt abroad?

    I have had only positive experiences with Search Associates.

    I'll get my profile finished and in action. What sort of support do they offer? Or is it merely a portal for jobs which are available?

    How would you normally do this? Your colleagues are an immediate social group - for better or worse. And then find opportunities to do the things you enjoy and meet people that way.

    If I have time to adventure, I'll have time to socialise. Thank you for clearing that up! I have this constant worry in the back of my head that it will be no different to the countless hours I put in now.

    - Exploration -
    obviously, teaching is full time. Is the attitude/workload any better than here in the UK? Is it a realistic expectation to think I will have time to adventure?

    Yes. Have a read up on the PYP through the IB website and see if you think it is a good fit for you. Also ask about what support the school offers for teachers who are new to this as part of your induction/first year.

    I will have a look this evening! A friend of mine has also said they would be able to help discuss the IB/PYP with me. If the support at induction is there, then it should be no problem.


    Really helpful comments Secondplace, thank you.

    If anyone has any experiences they would like to share, good or bad, please feel free to comment or message. Really helpful feedback so far :)
     
  6. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    Comments on your comments in green!

    Varies greatly from school to school - ask at interview what you could typically expect.

    So there is a bit of a pot luck aspect here. Are some schools open to your own CPD desires, or is it mostly set pathways relevant to an establishment?

    Some schools offer an amount of money for you to use on whatever you want, some take a more controlled approach. I would suggest raising the question and asking how they organise PD. There's various approaches but what you want to hear is that they have a system, and budget, for providing PD.

    School and country dependent. Some will insist on all of your salary going out of the country, some will have a split option, some won't mind as long as it is to a bank somewhere. Personally I prefer to send the money out of country as if something unexpected happens I don't have the worry of having to get out of dodge quickly and leave money behind.

    This is really helpful, thank you. I would anticipate keeping my home accounts open. If money is getting paid into a UK account does that mean they will be subject to taxation? Or is below correct?

    - Tax -
    Although some jobs are tax free, am I right in thinking that if I spend 183 days out of the UK per year that I am not subject to pay tax on monies earnt abroad?

    No idea on tax. Whatever you do, don't close your UK bank accounts. You can't open one if you're not resident - as I have found out through experience.

    I have had only positive experiences with Search Associates.

    I'll get my profile finished and in action. What sort of support do they offer? Or is it merely a portal for jobs which are available?

    I feel that they are a reassurance of a certain level of quality in terms of the schools they work with, and indeed with the teaching candidates they work with. As a teacher you'll need to get several references completed that schools look at when they view your profile. From being on the hiring side of things this has helped us to sort candidates. The information they give on schools helps you to get a clearer picture of each school. The people who work for them also have an extensive knowledge of a lot of schools. The job fairs are hectic but good.


    How would you normally do this? Your colleagues are an immediate social group - for better or worse. And then find opportunities to do the things you enjoy and meet people that way.

    If I have time to adventure, I'll have time to socialise. Thank you for clearing that up! I have this constant worry in the back of my head that it will be no different to the countless hours I put in now.

    - Exploration -
    obviously, teaching is full time. Is the attitude/workload any better than here in the UK? Is it a realistic expectation to think I will have time to adventure?

    Yes. Have a read up on the PYP through the IB website and see if you think it is a good fit for you. Also ask about what support the school offers for teachers who are new to this as part of your induction/first year.

    I will have a look this evening! A friend of mine has also said they would be able to help discuss the IB/PYP with me. If the support at induction is there, then it should be no problem.


    Really helpful comments Secondplace, thank you.

    If anyone has any experiences they would like to share, good or bad, please feel free to comment or message. Really helpful feedback so far :)[/QUOTE]
     
  7. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

  8. lottee1000

    lottee1000 Occasional commenter

    A few words of caution (but don't doubt that I LOVE working overseas):

    Wages: I would generally recommend d having a local account which your wages are paid into. Many schools insist on it anyway. Sendin your money to th UK will cost you twice: you'll lose on the exchange rates going into your account, and again on withdrawal fees when you take it out. Have a local account for day to day and transfer a sum every month to the UK for saving instead.

    Secondly, you mention your relationship. Without being married, you are hugely limites about where you can go and both get visas. You will both need to get jobs in the same place in advance, which can be difficult for tefl jobs. If she goes without a job, she will be on a tourist visa which can then be tricky to convert into a work permit. This is different country by country, and doesn't apply in the EU (for now), but be prepared to do your research.

    Just two things to think about, but don't let them put you off!
     
  9. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter


    Thank you Lottee1000.

    We are currently looking at countries in which we would like to work together. With each one having so many differing rules it is quite challenging!

    I assume it would be easier to find work in a similar location if we were both to use an agency?

    Thank you also for your information RE: bank accounts. I have heard of schools paying in a variety of ways, but paying a monthly allocation home seems the logical thing to do. I assume that the rules/exchange rates are again subject to country of work?
     
  10. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Surely the only countries in which you couldnt work as an unmarried couple would be strick muslim countries, and that list isnt that long in the context of the world. I have worked with many unmarried couples around the world. I am not sure that agencies will be anymore useful as you just applying yourselves.

    Re: bank accounts. It is dependant on the schools, but some schools will arrange and pay for your money to be sent home (everyone of mine have). But a local account is very useful. I usually keep 20% in country and send 80% home, i do live alone though.
     
  11. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the reply revans66

    My main concern would be finding two jobs in the same place. One of the reasons I didn't progress with some applications this year was a result of this.

    She is not a qualified teacher, and would be looking at TEFL, would many schools be turned off if I was to mention this at interview?


    I think I will plan to do something similar financially. It is good to hear that schools are helpful when it comes to having money sent home. My brain is overloading with research at the moment; it has a lot more space for fun than finances :p
     
  12. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    My partner and I are unmarried and we got jobs at the same school. I was first employed as a TA and now as a librarian (which is what I am qualified as). It can be done and our school was happy to find me a role.
     
  13. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Many schools are very accomodating when it comes to traveling partners. I would suggest you have it written on your CV let alone tell them at interview. Many schools will pay for them (and any other dependants) to fly over, pay for baggage etc. Make sure you let them know as this can have financial costs to your prospective school. If its a half decent school they wont care.
     
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I must disagree with revans66. In my experience, many schools are not very accommodating when it comes to offering jobs to teachers who want to live with someone with whom they are not married. In many Muslim countries, this is of course illegal. Yes, it might indeed happen, from time to time, especially in some of the less reputable schools, but some heads of international schools would much prefer to hire a married couple or two single teachers.
     
  15. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    In my experience schools outside the ME will happily recruit unmarried teaching couples when they want to employ both as full time teachers. Cynically I would say that is simply because treating them as a married couple rather than two single teachers saves the school money.

    Whilst it sounds a good idea not to leave the UK until you both have contracts, in practice I am doubtful it will happen. Why would an international school risk recruiting an unmarried couple without international experience and one of whom is not a fully qualified teacher? Most of the reasons I can think of are consistent with, this is a school I do not want to work at!
     
  16. Corrina_N

    Corrina_N New commenter

    Hello everyone,

    I have a question about the different subjects one can teach abroad. I teach a subject that is rather in demand in the UK, yet not so much abroad as not so many schools offer it (classics). However, I wonder if it would be possible with some experience working in the UK as a classics teacher to then go abroad to teach Humanities or any other subject that might be similar to an extent. I really want to go work abroad, simply because I like experiencing different countries. What would you advice me to do to broaden a bit the spectrum of subjects I could teach? My native language isn't a popular one either, so I can't teach that :(

    Having said that, there are on occasion some jobs for classics teachers. This year alone I saw one in Hong Kong, one in Malawi and one in the ME. So I guess there is some hope, but I'd like to be pro active and see if I can improve my chances somehow.
     
  17. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Corrina N, didn't Ovid write a poem about your parrot? Well, I am sorry to say that I have never come across any Classics posts in the countries where I have had the pleasure to teach (Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Romania, the UAE, Qatar and now China). Eheu!

    At my present school in Shenzhen in southern China, I have started a Latin ECA, introducing sweet Chinese children to the delights of Caecilius, Grumio and that naughty doggie Cerberus.
     
  18. fairyclaire13

    fairyclaire13 New commenter

    That took me right back to my 13 year old self Hippo!
     
  19. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    @Corrina_N I know of international schools in Asia where Classics and Latin are taught. Let me consult with my other half who is a Classicist and might be able to assist.
     
  20. Looseseal

    Looseseal New commenter

    You generally don't have to pay tax on overseas income. But if you earn an income in the UK still (e.g renting a house) you still have to pay tax on that. No one is going to take tax from your UK account just for teaching overseas. If you have a student loan you should let them know and they will tell you how much you gave to pay each month based on the country you're moving to and wage.

    At my last school we had a good arrangement with wages. We could split it however we wanted between our local and home country accounts each month. The school would pay whatever percentage we asked into our local account and the rest to our home account. Not sure how common that is but it was ideal.

    Most people I've known with non-teaching partners/spouses were married so the spouse still got some benefits from the school- flights, visa, medical. I did however know a couple of people who brought unmarried non-teaching partners. In this case, I think the school knew about it but couldn't/wouldn't do anything to support them. Therefore they either had to just "visit" on temporary visas and leave every 3 months (easier in some places than others) or find their own job and visa. Your girlfriend is interested in TEFL so if you move to a country where there is a high need for efl teachers then she could just arrange her own job in the same town/city and get her own visa that way. Some countries are actually very easy to arrange TEFL jobs before (e.g South Korea). Otherwise she can go on a temp visa and look for work when you get there- not something to be done with international schools but it's more widely done with TEFL.
     

Share This Page