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Best place to teach in the world

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by worlo24, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. worlo24

    worlo24 Occasional commenter

    Okay, lots of people have experience of teaching in different countries but which country offers the best work/life balance in the world?
     
  2. Cairo is ok. Not perfect, but where is?
     
  3. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    Oh Please!
     
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    work/life balance is dictated by a school not a location.
     
  5. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    Let's have a heated debate...

    Can't really say it's the 'best in the world' as I've only worked here, the UK, Kuwait and Japan, but for me, after nine years here, I've fallen in love with battered old Spain.

    I'm in a small, non-touristy town, so I've had to learn Spanish (which was part of the plan). There are beautiful beaches 5 minutes away. The weather in this region (Valencia) is wonderful (July/August excepted). I play tennis outdoors throughout the year. An evening caña after school is an hour of bliss. The café culture is thriving, café con leche in the local bars is 1.20 euros (80p-ish) and miles tastier than anything sold by the 'popular' high-street chains, which don't seem to have made much of an inroad here, I wonder why? I can watch live football in Villarreal or Valencia whenever I fancy it. In fact, Barcelona and Madris are never sold out, unless they're playing each other.

    The food is terrific, I've even begun to make my own paella and while it might not be 'de categoria' (yet), it's not at all bad.

    The culture is also great, a lot of life is in the street, with processions, fiestas and (here) Fallas!

    Oh, and my classes, Delightful children, keen and buzzy, interested and up-fot-it. Spanish juniors doing all their subjects in English, fantastic to see how well they do. Great parents too, very supportive and appreciative of everything we do.

    So, one vote for Spain, but with a qualification.

    I'd disagree with moscowbore, I'd say work/life balance is dictated by a school AND a location. I know I could be very unhappy in a different school and/or a different location, while still being here in Spain.
     
  6. serverservant

    serverservant New commenter

    The problem with Spain though is it only works after you've been elsewhere and have a decent amount of savings to offset the low wages you get there. As a place to go when I hit 50 to sit in a job until I retire in a senior position with money behind me, yes, it can be idyllic. But teachers under that age, the money is terrible, you may even need a second job depending on the dodgy goings on over summer holidays pay, dinero negro and 10 month contracts. For me going to Spain was the worst thing I ever did as I did it early in my career. The best place Ive been so far is Germany. Brilliant healthcare, public transport and the most reputable schools give permanent contracts. I only left at the time to come home and do a masters and if I had the chance again and the right job came up, Id prefer to live in Berlin just about over anywhere else Ive been.

    That all said. The best place rather depends on what you are trying to achieve.

    Best for savings - Middle East and China and based on what Ive heard, Philippines.

    Best for good and motivated students - China, Malaysia and Korea (ME being worst)

    Best for quality of life - Europe generally, some SE Asian places.

    Best for travel opportunity and interest - Latin America, Japan

    Best at combining all of these together: ?

    There's always going to be compromise and what you are prepared to do dictates the best place for you as a person.
     
  7. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    I rather agree with Jeremy. I've been in Spain for nearly 40 years and will certainly stay here until retirement and beyond. I suppose we're lucky in that my wife and I both had jobs in good, honest schools -- none of this black money, 10-month contract nonsense -- so we were comfortably off economically and were able to save a modest nest egg.

    Serverservant mentioned public transport and the health service. Spanish public transport is excellent. Buses are cheap and plentiful, even in fairly rural areas. The commuter train service is very good, although it can get a bit crowded during rush hour. The long-distance trains are wonderful. Cheap, comfortable and fast.

    I've also found the national health service very good indeed. I was recently hospitalised with something quite serious and the treatment I received couldn't have been better. I rarely have to wait more than a day or so for an appointment with my GP and can often get one on the same day.

    It's true that there are many poor schools here which are aimed only at making a quick buck and often do so at the expense of teachers who are often hired in September and fired in June so the employers can avoid paying holiday pay. Salaries at some schools are too low to allow a reasonable standard of living, but others are much better. You have to look around and do some research.

    I also agree with Jeremy's views of the children we teach who are, in general, well-behaved and eager to learn. It was also a relief to escape the endless, mindless paper work that has, increasingly, sucked away at teachers' enthusiasm and their energy and time which should be devoted to teaching children...
     
  8. larathegiraffe

    larathegiraffe New commenter

    I had my first long holiday in Spain this year and loved it there. I loved the ambience in the towns and cities, the sunshine, the beaches, the food etc etc. I got back and started perusing the Guardian jobs section and other agencies' sites for ICT jobs in Spain and there are lots of adverts, all sadly offering pretty poor salaries. It is certainly cheaper to live there than the UK, but not by a huge amount, and certainly I couldn't live off the salaries on offer. I agree - if you are young .....

    The worst place in the world for me was Kuwait. I went with high expectations and ended up hating the lazy, constant cheating, no manners, show-off money, slave-owning, lacking compassion, lacking a world view, we-are-the-best-in-the-world gulf arab mentality. The students were with a few exceptions dysfunctional in all kinds of respects, but the parents were worse, thinking that by paying for a private education, they were somehow paying for their child to join the human race, which was about as far from the truth as you could get.

    Japan and South Korea were awesome. Great money, great extras for private tutoring, skiing, climbing, hiking, food, brilliant people, the women were the best in bed (a generalisation, I know, but ...) - they have it all.

    Malaysia was brilliant. Saved a lot, the best food in the world, great country to visit. thailand was pretty close.

    Saudi Arabia - see Kuwait, but it was worse.

    Cambodia - lovely people. Great place to do voluntary work.

    Been in the UK for a few years now. I loved it for the first few years but am sick of the constant 12 hour days doing stuff that has no bearing on teaching students or impact on their achievements. Behaviour in the UK is by a long way the worst in the world compared to anywhere I've taught and takes up a large amount of time. I've already decided it is time to work abroad again - I'm too old for the constant sh1t I have to put up with in my bog standard academy.
     
  9. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Having worked in a number of countries, for me the best two places have been Norway and Switzerland.

    If pushed to make a choice between the two, I would side with Switzerland. Norway, while stunningly beautiful and having a high standard of living, is a little isolated. Switzerland has all of the advantages of Norway but is located in central(ish) Europe with ready access to a number of countries.

    Students are generally great, salary is excellent and the quality of living is very high.

    The only downside - and it is a curious one - is that because people seldom wish to leave schools here, promotion is hard to find and the job market is extremely competitive. It can mean that one has to put ones career on hold to remain here or, at the very least, take a more long term road to promotion and seniority.
     
  10. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    Will second everything Mike says ref transport and health service. I've been treated a couple of times here, very short waiting times, excellent care, private room and a put-up bed for my wife to stay. (I'm not making this up, no it wasn't private.)

    Wish I'd come here 40 years ago too.

    I'll also accept serverservant's points against though. Like Mike, I think I've been lucky with my school and I am also in my 'senior years'.
     
  11. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    China is a big improvement on the ME (Saudi, Egypt, Qatar and the UAE). I cannot comment about some of the added advantages of South Korea and Japan because I am a happily married hippopotamus.
     
  12. nuts88

    nuts88 New commenter

    Cyprus is pretty great, with the exception of August (too hot). I finish school at 13.30 with enough time to have a day out with my family. I find the language difficult to learn, but everyone speaks english, so no big dramas there.

    The beaches are simply stunning, cost of living is more reasonable than the UK and it's a very safe place to bring up the kids. We're feeling very lucky to be here!
     
  13. BarryRiley

    BarryRiley New commenter

    I'm in Greece. I live a very comfortable life here and with a few private lessons a week can save a nice amount. I have an infinitely better life than did in the UK. Unless you just go by the news, then of course I'm starving to death and knee deep in immigrants.

    Weather is important to me so this is a great place to be. I live 5 minutes from the beach and love sitting outside a cafe/bar soaking up the sun.
     
  14. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    It's dictated by school and location. And the individual. And the time. And by a lot of luck.

    In one school in Latin America I could be out the door at 1.30 any time I chose. But in another the days were very long. However, the working life was very good. In another school in the ME the hours were more reasonable and the life outside of work was excellent but the working life was a crock of shait despite the fact that you could, if you wanted, turn up and nod your head and go home. The fault was partly school and partly country. The working life didn't make this excellent "work-life balance" worth the while.

    For me the working life is far more important than the work-life balance and actually is, in a way, the most significant contributor to the work-life balance. If you are looking for a simple black and white "work-life balance" then there are jobs out there that require less commitment and creativity than teaching and reward you with many more spondoolies. Or you could just job-pack around the world and chill on the beach.

    Ok, enough of all that. OP, be positive and apply for anything that looks like it will meet your standards. You are moving onward and upward and your next post will have a better work-life balance than your current one. That's the only way to look at it.
     
  15. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    It's dictated by school and location. And the individual. And the time. And by a lot of luck.

    In one school in Latin America I could be out the door at 1.30 any time I chose. But in another the days were very long. However, the working life was very good. In another school in the ME the hours were more reasonable and the life outside of work was excellent but the working life was a crock of shait despite the fact that you could, if you wanted, turn up and nod your head and go home. The fault was partly school and partly country. The working life didn't make this excellent "work-life balance" worth the while.

    For me the working life is far more important than the work-life balance and actually is, in a way, the most significant contributor to the work-life balance. If you are looking for a simple black and white "work-life balance" then there are jobs out there that require less commitment and creativity than teaching and reward you with many more spondoolies. Or you could just job-pack around the world and chill on the beach.

    Ok, enough of all that. OP, be positive and apply for anything that looks like it will meet your standards. You are moving onward and upward and your next post will have a better work-life balance than your current one. That's the only way to look at it.
     
  16. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

  17. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    There's a primary school on the cliffs outside Lisbon with glorious views out over the Atlantic. I could never teach there. I'd spend the whole day staring out of the window -- along with most of the kids...
     
  18. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    Ah, a room with a view.
     
  19. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    What are these 'lives' of which you speak?

    Actually, for me it would depend on the availability of my chosen (minority) sport, something which will weigh big with any future applications.
     
  20. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    [​IMG]
     

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