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Classics/Latin in International Schools

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Adrift43, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    Hello everyone,

    First time posting to this board and I'm kind of posting on behalf of my wife. The two of us are looking to get into teaching overseas in International Schools. I am an English/History/Religious Studies teacher with 5 years (and a bit) experience in British Schools whilst she is a Classics/Latin teacher with 7 years experience (4 of which she was a head of subject) in British Schools. Both of us have worked in Grammar and Comprehensives. My wife is also capable of (And is currently teaching) English and History at her current school. So now with that introduction out of the way onto the main questions:

    1. Which schools on the International School circuit feature Classics/Latin on the curriculum?

    2. How frequently do Latin jobs spring up during the peak hiring season?

    Currently my wife is wishing that we wait till February for a Latin job to spring up and then I follow her (as I am more flexible). I however am a bit concerned that if we wait that long to start applying for jobs starting in August 2019, we'll miss out on some great opportunities. I thought it may be useful to gather more opinions facts on this matter from you, the international community here on TES.

    My wife is willing to teach English/History if Latin doesn't become an option I should note.

    Looking forward to hearing from the experts here!
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hello, Mrhopkins43. I am sorry, but in my experience there are very few Latin teaching posts in most international schools. Even if they are supposed to follow the British curriculum, most international schools do not teach Latin. Therefore I would gently suggest to your wife that she should look at other possibilities. How about teaching primary?

    I am sending you one of those TES Conversation things. Perhaps I might be of some help to you.
  3. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    The ''Tangy" school in Singapore has a Classical languages department. They teach Latin and Ancient Greek as well as Classical studies. There is another school in Hong Kong but I can't remember the name. I'll tell my husband to respond to this as he has connections with Latin teachers in international schools.
  4. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    That would be fantastic, I'm trying to compile a list of schools so I can check their advertised positions frequently.
  5. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    I'll share your contact details with my wife. She is wondering however if you ever taught Latin outside of the UK and what do you teach now?
  6. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    I know the Singapore school classics department has downsized. It's not going to be easy to find a job in this subject area.
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I did teach a little bit of Latin when I was in China, but it was only as an extra-curricular activity, not as a proper academic subject.
  8. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    While there are a few Latin posts out there, openings are even rarer. I'd recommend you to follow your Plan B, and have your wife search as an English/History teacher. There are openings for those by the bucket load.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  9. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    The European Schools have Latin and Philosophy (and maybe even Ancient Greek) on their curriculum, so I think you should start with those schools.


    As for your second question...how long is a piece of string?! :p
    You will obviously have more options if you don't mind where you go.
  10. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    My own thought is that if you wait to February 2019 for August 2019 jobs, you're going to find it very difficult to get anything - most are pretty much done and dusted by then. You really need to start the process now, I think.

    It will be considerably more difficult for your wife if she is just looking at Latin / Classics roles, and doesn't really consider the wider History / English possibilities. What she could do is go out to teach History, and then look at the possibility of introducing Classics or Latin at a later stage.
    Angelil likes this.
  11. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood Occasional commenter

    I'm a member of the small but merry band of classicists in South East Asia, I can confirm that jobs do indeed exist, but they are few and far between. Currently 5 schools offer Classics/Latin so you're looking at a very small pool of schools, and as people above rightly said, once they have a job in an international school, they don't often leave it.

    It's also worth noting that recently one of the major exam boards (OCR if I remember rightly) stopped overseas schools from offering their courses, effectively killing A level Classics/Class Civ/Latin as courses that can be taught outside the UK.

    Now, options are far more limited with IB Latin (1,340 students sat the exams in May 2017) or the even less common Classical Civ-like school-based subject Classical Greek & Roman Studies (33 students sat the exams in May 2017).

    If you'd like to know the specific schools, drop me a conversation.
  12. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood Occasional commenter

    This is absolutely true. I'm always surprised how many classicists come out of the woodwork who are teaching social studies, history, etc. Some school heads (especially in "traditional", British schools) seem to have a favourable view of classicists, even if they can't put the subject on the curriculum.
    Angelil likes this.
  13. mk_sh_de

    mk_sh_de New commenter


    I trained as a Classics and Latin teacher originally and after 5 years left the UK for Germany. I took a TEFL before I left and have found this to be invaluable. Even if schools have a Latin department, it may not be enough for a full timetable. Anyone with a Latin background has a very strong understanding of grammar which can be easily transferred to teaching EFL, especially to a higher level, where schools really value someone native who has this knowledge under their belt. Training students for Cambridge exams etc really calls for someone who can help students in this way.

    As others have said, a Latin department is extremely unlikely in international schools. I have experience teaching Latin and Human Science in the European School system, which I loved, so you can look there, but again this limits you to the 14 original European schools, plus about 6 or 7 new ones which may not even have a Latin department. These schools are also struggling to keep Latin going. In the European system, no British teachers are being seconded anymore (this was the case even before Brexit) so only one year local contracts are available. The European system also values flexibility, I have taught Latin, English as a Foreign Language, Human Science and History in this system and I loved it but it does require teaching in English to non native speakers, and so an EFL qualification is very useful.

    I have heard that universities will offer Latin teaching to foreign teachers, and there are certainly many families abroad who will intend to return to the UK/USA and want their children to keep up their Latin.

    Best of luck!
  14. mk_sh_de

    mk_sh_de New commenter

    "there are certainly many families abroad who will intend to return to the UK/USA and want their children to keep up their Latin"

    ....I say 'many families'...this might be wishful thinking :)
  15. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

  16. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Look for a school that teaches the French Bac. Latin is an option there. Of course, you would have to be fluent in French...
    Angelil likes this.
  17. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    So in rather exciting news, I actually DID manage to find an international school which had classics on it's curriculum and was in need of a classicist (As well as a History teacher). I interviewed with my wife on Tuesday 23rd of October and received an email from the Principal on Saturday offering a History position for myself and a Classics position for my wife. We emailed back stating our interest. Does anyone know what kind of ETA I should expect in regards to receiving a contract/next steps? I haven't received any correspondence from the school since then and I assume they'll want us to get all sorts of things done such as work visa's. I guess I am probably just feeling anxious as this is our first time pursuing teaching work overseas, but I was wondering if anyone in this TES community could give me us some sense on how long to wait before badgering the school for a contract/next steps?

    As you can imagine my current school would really like to know whats going to happen next and as it currently stands, I'm not entirely certain!
    jpgreenwood likes this.
  18. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Can vary significantly from school to school and location to location...so can’t really offer any advice apart from check all terms and conditions carefully, make sure you know what they are offering to pay for, what your obligations will be, and what paperwork you will need to start getting in place for your visa.

    Meant congratulations. If it’s the right place you are in for a great adventure and probably a lifestyle you could never imagine.

    Welcome to international teaching.
  19. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood Occasional commenter

    Congratulations! It's a niche field as you know, so you've done very well to secure posts, especially so early in the year.
    As above, it's entirely down to the school's procedures, how they operate, and the requirements of the government in that country as to when you can expect the contract.

    I was appointed in February for this job and a contract was FedExed to me by May, which considering where I was based was pretty good going, but I've known other people not receive a contract until well in to the first term at their new school.

    As someone new to the international circuit, you're perfectly entitled to ask (not badger - certainly not yet!), but I'm not 100% sure how receiving your contract would affect your current school. If it's an August 2019 start, you'll both be leaving your current schools at the end of this academic year, surely?
  20. Adrift43

    Adrift43 New commenter

    Well it's not entirely clear to me when the positions are meant to start. During the interview we spoke about July (For training) but I know some schools want people to start as soon as possible. I guess for me, without the contract or any documents specifying what the job is, the position still feels up in the air/nebulous. I want to get the wheels turning towards preparing my self and my wife for moving over to China, but I guess I'm still paranoid that it could all fall through.

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