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A thread for people considering teaching abroad

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

  1. Corrina_N

    Corrina_N New commenter

    @ejclibrarian thank you :) I really appreciate it. Are you and your partner teaching abroad then? There is hope for me haha.
    @the hippo indeed he wrote a poem about me, hence my nickname. Ovid is my favourite poet :) extra points to whomever figures out what the 'N' means. I also had to misspell Corinna as Corinna_N was taken hahaha.
  2. g2016

    g2016 New commenter

    I wonder where some of you get the courage from. I am kind of torn between moving back to my home country or doing another year abroad. Both options scare me, to be honest. The only thing I'm sure about is that I can't stay in the UK due to the workload. Sometimes I see vacancies I really like, but the thought of being somewhere all alone for a year phases me. Are you never scared?
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, g2016, there is no doubt in my mind that it is a lot easier for teaching couples than it is for singletons. Whenever the staff meeting has been even more boring than usual or I am wondering whether I will ever get all of those Maths homeworks marked, Mrs. Hippopotamus will cook something particularly yummy or else she will find some other way to cheer me up. In Shenzhen, we live next to a huge park and it is not much fun to go for a walk on your own, but it is so lovely to go for a stroll with Mrs. H. on a Saturday morning.

    When we were in Qatar, I noticed that single gals were usually okay if there was a school-based problem and they could cope if there were to be a home-based problem, but on a number of occasions they could definitely not cope if there was a school-based problem AND a home-based problem at the same time. It was too much and they would want to get on the next plane (and sometimes did just that). Perhaps this was also true for some chaps. I am not sure. Anyway, my advice is quite simple, g2016. Hurry up and get married!

    Another great thing about living overseas is making friends with some nice locals. We have some great Chinese friends and we look forward to welcoming them to Bulgaria one day!
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  4. Stillstayingjohnson

    Stillstayingjohnson Occasional commenter

    This has turned into a really informative post. Thank you everybody for your input!
  5. skeptucator

    skeptucator Occasional commenter

    Thank you for starting this thread, I'm in a similar situation and it's really useful.

    I agree that it's easier for couples than singles in moving abroad, but I guess that's only when both of you agree on moving countries! I am super keen to move to international posts, having spent 6 years in post and getting itchy feet. My partner teaches history in the same school and after spending several years on supply until securing this post, really values the job security and I'm not sure he wants to leave.

    I teach science and find the workload difference between the two of us is enormous, so I'm feeling that a lot more too.

    I've looked at joining ISS, just to keep an eye on openings and see if anything comes up that could persuade him. Is it worth the money? $195 I think.

    Thanks ☺️
  6. martydog

    martydog New commenter

    I am thinking of teaching abroad. I am married with an eight year old. Has anyone got any experience of moving with a family in tow. My husband works in hospitals so he could work in many of the places that are advertising. Also the adverts don't tend to say the salary so how can I find out before I apply.
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    $195? Yikes! I have to say that it sounds pretty blooming expensive to me, compared to the cost of reading an advert on the TES website: nothing at all!

    Mrs. H. and I have been in international schools since 1998, so I suppose that we are old hands in this game. Well, I have to say that teaching overseas beats teaching in the UK, any day of the week. Teaching internationally has given me to opportunity to live in some fascinating and very different places. No, I have not made a huge pile of cash and maybe you should not think about going overseas if money is your main motivation.

    To answer martydog's question, I would say that very often you just have to apply for some international posts and then decide, if and when you get offered a job, whether you really want to go there or not. Any international teaching post offers a "package" of benefits and sometimes the salary is not the most important factor. Accommodation, foreign exchange rates, cost of living, healthcare and whether or not you are expected to pay all or some of the school fees (if you have children) are just a few of the things that need to be incorporated into your thinking. Employment opportunities for your husband / wife can also be a deal breaker when applying for overseas teaching posts, not to mention the risks of getting raped, mugged, kidnapped or catching some horrible disease (malaria was not much fun in Kenya). In Saudi Arabia, you might make some serious cash, but it is not the most relaxed and tolerant of countries.

    Just to make things even more unclear and complicated, I would say that there is really not much point in leaving the UK if you are going to be teaching overseas for only a year. You might just as well stay in the UK and go for a foreign holiday or two. Or just watch a travel programme on the TV.
  8. martydog

    martydog New commenter

    Another thing is that we are considering having another child in a couple of years do the benefit packages normally have any maternity allowance or would it be a better idea to stay here have the baby then look at moving abroad. Both sets of family live over 4hours away so we are used to managing on our own with our child.
  9. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Search Associates is generally free if you are in the UK and has a database of school salaries/benefits and listings of job openings.
  10. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    It will vary widely from school to school and location to location. Ideally you would be looking for a school that offers a high quality insurance and a location that offers high quality health care. The database in Search will have some information about the health care offered.

    Many people do go overseas with children. Obviously the quality of the education offered will be a major factor in your decision making. Not to be a broken record but the database of Search will also show a breakdown of student and faculty demographics (i.e. what percent are from the UK, North America, local population etc). This is no guarantee of the quality of school but it can constructive.
  11. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some helpful comments from wrldtrvlr123.

    Last year there was a charming American boy in my Year 5 class. He spoke fluent Mandarin and it was so wonderful to see him arguing, joking amd playing with his Chinese friends, using Mandarin as easily as English. On the other hand, his parents were divorced soon after arriving in China. (Quite a few Chinese girls are keen on getting a foreign husband, even one who is already married to someone else, alas.)

    Many times on this TES forum I have read posts that just assume that, once you have been teaching overseas for a few years, you can easily return to the UK once again and pick up your old life just where you let off. I have to say that this is often not the case, in my experience. Teaching in international schools is a Pandora's Box. You cannot always put everything back again, once you have opened the lid, so maybe the sensible thing to do is to leave it locked and forget all about it.
  12. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood Occasional commenter

    Salve! @ejclibrarian's other half here. There are indeed a handful of international schools that offer Classics, though it's an even smaller slice of the pie than it is in the UK. Each year I see one or two Classics jobs posted here on TES, and I do remember seeing one posted way back when on Search Associates - I'd recommend registering with them just because it's free & well done. Even if you don't get a job you see more jobs than you would just checking TES.

    Being able to offer a second subject may be beneficial, and the strongest department I've seen is a member of the languages faculty, rather than humanities. Being able to offer another language may well be beneficial.

    Hope that helps!
  13. Corrina_N

    Corrina_N New commenter

    Thank you @jpgreenwood and sorry for the late reply. For some reason I didn't get a notification about this and only just saw it today :)

    I shall follow your advice about Search Associates. As for a second language, apart from the obvious (English) and my own native language (which is even less popular than Latin and ancient Greek lol) I don't think I have much else to offer :(
  14. alinahelen

    alinahelen New commenter

    Hi Stillstayingjohnson, From experience of my husband, an British citizen who was teaching abroad since 1998 till now. As he started his career teaching abroad, it was difficult for him to get job back to UK, the best he's got was a temporary admin job that required little time and the salary was minimal. (Employability)
    About pension- as he did not contribute to state pension, he will get the minimal for his age, he has additional from private companies, but in reality, if you read carefully their contracts, finally they will pay him far less money as he paid them for years- it's better to keep money at home or invest somewhere (in some business) as even banks are paying too little interest now, that is much smaller than inflation numbers.
    "To develop my skills, not becoming out of date or obsolete..."- you can do it in Britain, some schools are keeping the same books for over 15 years- is that a progress?
    "To save..."- unless you live only on coffee and biscuits, yes, you can save, and sometimes a lot, but looks you are young person- you will entertain yourself-wouldn't you? Some schools are renting properties for staff, but often they are deducting money for the salary, so in reality YOU are paying rental, and often that rental is too high compare to what you can find yourself for these money. The properties out of date, old and uncomfortable, but the rental is huge, so if you will have time to look around with a local friend/agency, surely you can find something twice cheaper and more modern, and then tell school you will pay rent by yourself- that way you can save at least 300 dollars=£250/months? It's not difficult to sign an agreement with a landlord, in that agreement if you mention you are renting for small amount (not the real one), then landlord will pay small taxes- usually this works well and landlords are very happy. And the other agreement only between you and landlord where the real money you pay are mentioned- this is for your own record. When going out- be careful- some locals are hunting for "rich" foreigners, so don't get drunk and you will be safe. Start to study their language asap, so you will understand what people are talking about around you. Some locals are offering translating help- in reality they can be dangerous.
    How to organise pay- usually the school is doing this, but school does not care about teachers-only about money- this is business at the end, we were told many times. Need to find out if the school will pay taxes to the local authorities. I think, if you will not pay local taxes, you will be looking for trouble- finally they will find you and will claim taxes through international collectors. Additionally, if school will not legally register you as an employee - you will have no prove you worked for them so many years. They did not register me, although the Head of school gave me a letter with position and salary mentioned, but this did not work. Be careful about paying taxes in the UK and abroad. Some countries, if you worked certain amount of years, will let you have their pension and they are shortening working years for getting pension, and if you are not happy with the amount they pay, you always can return to the UK pension.
    Medical check- some countries are bribing doctors, so they even does not look at you, but some are doing thorough check.
    Curriculum- schools are claiming they are following British curriculum, but they are mending it if the school is teaching two curriculums at once, so it easy to loose the track of real curriculum. There are some tricks teachers are using in this situation, but by doing that for long time they really become out of date and obsolete, as you mentioned.
    The other your questions has been answered, I believe. If you want to be employed in the future, it's better to look for a school with very good rating. On the other hand, some schools who don't care about rating are making lots of money and are bending the local laws- you choose. Good luck to you.
  15. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, alinahelen, the problems that teachers encounter when returning to teach in the UK could perhaps be avoided by not returning to the UK.

    As for the idea that it is "better to look for a school with a very good rating", I think that you will find that many schools rate themselves very highly and then they write all sorts of positive and complimentary things on their school websites. Or are you suggesting that someone else should be doing this all-important "rating", alinahelen? The ***, perhaps?
    revans66 likes this.
  16. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    My mum was diagnosed with cancer while I was living abroad. I came back to the UK within a couple of days of being told, and remained here looking after her. She had two years of treatment (she went into remission, then relapsed, now remission again - touch wood). It won't stop me going abroad again, but I will always come back to the UK if her cancer returns, or anything else happens. It's a difficult balance - I want to live abroad, my husband is foreign, but if my mum needs me then I need to be with her...

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