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

Done two years overseas- what's it like to move back?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by missb87, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. missb87

    missb87 New commenter

    I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post this in but here goes...

    I'm a fully qualified teacher, I taught for 3 years in England and have spent the past one and a half years teaching in S.E.Asia.
    I'm now considering what to do in September. Part of me wants to return to England but I have two reservations- career and social aspects.
    Career- Has teaching abroad had a negative effect on your CV? Or do employers look on it favourably? Or does it depend how it's worded?
    When returning, did you feel 'out of touch'? And how did you handle the increased workload?

    As for the social aspect- I am slightly worried that I will find it hard to make friends again, in my experience, the expat community out here as been quite welcoming! I'm also worried that I may find England cold/boring (I'm used to going abroad for every school holiday!).

    I know this is quite a lot to ask but any experiences you can share (positive or negative) would be really interesting.

    Thank you!
  2. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    I think you'll find that most people on the forum, as they're on the forum, have stayed overseas.

    If you like the social aspect so much and are worried about the UK workload, why would you return?
    1 person likes this.
  3. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    Hi missb87!
    Not sure if I can't help much but just curious, why are you thinking of going back if you have these concerns? Have you resigned and are looking to move and this is one possibility?

    I don't think it's impossible to go back, though after leaving, it's surprising you'd want to. I think if you've only been gone a short time it might be easier to reintegrate work wise as schools won't see you as having been out of touch for too long. Obviously I'm no expert on this so I'm sure one of the more experienced posters will be able to give you a better answer.

    It sounds like you've got a lot of concerns about moving back. If things have gone well the last two years and you're happy, why make a change?
  4. missb87

    missb87 New commenter

    My main reasons are family. I do love living abroad and all the perks it comes with but missing out on my nieces growing up is hard (and I'm still not too old to miss my Mum!)
    I haven't resigned but my contract ends in the summer.

    I had a year abroad before I taught abroad so it's 3 years that I'll have been out of the system (2 of which I was teaching).
  5. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    I know what that's like. I've got two nephews (7 & 4) and I miss them a lot. I do miss my mum too but she comes to visit regularly and we go back most summers so it's not too bad.

    I think if you're really keen to go back then you should go. You'll just have to be prepared for all the nonsense that comes with UK schools these days and just put up with it.

    I'm surprised that you are thinking of leaving your job this summer and you haven't resigned yet. Here we have to give notice in December for June. If we don't it casues lots of problems as the recruitment period is Jan - Mar.
    tk212 likes this.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  7. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    I went back after ten years overseas, endured four years of car-washing, grass-cutting tedium before escaping overseas again a couple of years ago. I found I had a defining period in my life I seemingly couldn't refer to with new acquaintances as they just couldn't relate to my experiences and, in turn, I failed to understand the thrill of planning the block paving of drives or having 'new' kitchens or bathrooms. I also had ten years of TV and popular culture that had largely passed me by so I definitely experienced reverse culture shock.

    Going back after two years I imagine shouldn't be so bad.
  8. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I returned July 2015 after 14 years overseas (Middle East). I am more senior in age than the OP so some of my experiences back home may be different than the OP may experience. One thing to mention is that, over the 14 years, I travelled back to UK every Summer and at least one other from Christmas/Easter so pretty much clued up on UK culture changes and kept in touch with friends/family. I pretty much expected things to be fairly easy to adapt to once I got back.
    For what it is worth, the following observations:

    Negatives -
    • Finding a job after a longer period overseas, and in an older age bracket is well nigh impossible - even for voluntary work in schools and for lower level positions.
    • Even though I have become involved in other, non-teaching voluntary work, the tedium of daily life, in particular the lack of interaction with other people at best is boring and at worst totally brain numbing.
    • If you have limited financial resources, ie other than paying bills and the odd bit of entertainment, the above is further amplified.
    • Supply teaching is general a bag of the proverbial after working with great pupils overseas.
    Positives -
    • It IS nice to be around familiar people, surroundings and the positive aspects of British Culture (ie NOT the likes of Jeremy Kyle!).
    • As long as you adopt the correct mindset (and wear appropriate clothing) the weather, including rain, isn't half as bad as it is made out to be.
    • It is nice to be around such a varied countryside with lots of heritage etc.
    Don't forget, as another poster has said, just because you come back doesn't mean that has to be a permanent thing. You can always venture overseas again later.

    Post Script - Forgot to mention, I have been given another contract back at my first overseas school, so back in April...
  9. karel

    karel Occasional commenter

    I went back to the uk after 14 years away, mainly due to family reasons. I actually went back to work in the same school I taught in before I left. Now that was a very strange experience. Many of the same teachers were still there and it was as if time hadn't moved forward. I just about managed to do a year in that school, but it was very challenging. The class sizes, behavior of the students, mentality of colleagues some of who I actually used to be friends with. I had nothing in common with them anymore, and every time I mentioned anything about an experience overseas or a place I had lived I felt as if they were not interested and just felt I was showing off somehow. I missed terribly teaching in an international environment. When overseas I had not taught in any British schools so not only had a been away from the country for 14 years but also away from the system and away from british teachers for the most part. It was also the case that my 14 years counted for nothing as far as progression was concerned, I was put on the main pay scale in the same place I was before I left. After that first year I moved into the independent sector where my experience was recognized and the working conditions I felt were better. Anyhow, after giving it a go for 6 years I left again 5 years ago. Since you have only been away for two years though you will not suffer to the same extent a reverse culture shock and you won't have lost so many years as I had clearly lost. You could certainly leave again for a second time if you didn't end up wanting to stay. Sometime you have to go ahead and do something in order to realise that you weren't meant to do it, and you wouldn't had known that otherwise. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
    franggerrard and jomaimai like this.
  10. honestandy

    honestandy New commenter


    I went back to UK after doing years in Africa....I gained a job straight away to not-too-bad-school, I lasted 3 months, and decided UK teaching is not for me at all, I resigned in Term 2 and left completing only 1 year in the UK and headed back to the international scene....its been 7 years since I left for the 2nd time.....and NEVER EVER again will I ever work in the UK......I dont mind going back for hols though....it was an awful experience going back, classes of 30....behavior....etc...

    these are my thoughts though....
  11. bethije

    bethije New commenter

    I spent a miserable 18 months teaching in the UK before getting back out to the international circuit. I don't know if working in a private school would be different than state. I was unemployed and doing supply for 6 months because schools weren't interested in skype interviews before I got home. I'm like honestandy and will never work in the UK again for similar reasons. The lack of support I received from management was also depressing.
  12. musikteech

    musikteech Occasional commenter

    What's wrong with working in UK schools? You get paid mighty higher than overseas schools, esp in Asia i would presume. And kids are kids anywhere. I bet they play up in Africa just as much as they do in the UK. And who cares about management. Just get on with the job. As for the OP, if you come back jobless, you could easily get supply agency work for a few months til you find a permanent job.
  13. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    I am presently working in Asia and am not one who will say the international scene is nothing but roses - musikteech makes good points.

    One we overseas teachers tend to overlook is lack of job security and lack of protection. Parts of Asia are horribly discriminative and racist, it is just done with a smile! Lots of tax and living advantages for locals only and you cannot stay unless sponsored or married. (So if the school decides to stop, you are booted out quite abruptly)

    To my real despair, more and more schools here seem to think doing things 'the English way' is best, so more and more are getting English head teachers and English staff....then it is like the worst of England AND no security!!! (At the moment you can still avoid these schools but the rot is setting in)

    The above matters not so much to the young but the longer you work overseas, the more you realise you are without security - unlike the UK.

    I would also say (as I intend to do, too) go back to the UK and start with supply work, then get some contacts and go from there.
  14. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I am not sure what planet Musikteech is on, but the difference between teaching internationally and in the UK is night and day. i save significantly more than what most UK teachers earn (pre tax), let alone earn !!! kids are not the same everywhere. apart from Spain, which was a living hell for me, every school i have worked at, the kids have been awesome. i can not honestly remember the last time i had to shout at a kid. in the Uk it was more like riot control in every class, very similar to Spain actually. the largest class i have ever taught internationally has been 22. compare that to the UK. the resources and budget i have available to me internationally would amaze most secondary schools back home !!! also add in the huge amount of free time i have to mark work and actually prepare lessons, compare that to the 5 lessons every 2 weeks in the UK.

    if the international circuit is not for you then go back, its not for everyone, but have you read the news lately, or some of the other forums on this website. it does not paint a good picture of what is happening in the UK right now....UK teaching is in crisis.
    flock1 likes this.
  15. flock1

    flock1 New commenter

    I agree with revan66. I taught for 14 years in the UK - nearly killed me, and managed to save about 3 grand in total. I moved to international teaching, and save just under 3 grand a month. It is, as the above poster says, night and day. Plus, the kids are great. I've never been sworn at or had something thrown at me.

    About four years ago, I returned to the UK to see if I could get back into teaching again. It was a horrendous experience - 34 kids in the class, daily swearing at teachers, contstant crowd control - I packed up and returned to the Middle East. Best decision ever.

    The kids I teach now are a delight. The money is double what I'd earn in the UK. I would NEVER EVER teach in the UK again. And I can't understand anybody who would.
  16. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    My experience much the same as above. Never going back and if I do I will not work in education again in the UK. I value my health and sanity too much.
  17. schmedz

    schmedz Occasional commenter

    I think if the OP misses family and 'home comforts' and has a desire to return, it is do-able. Just prepare for going back as a 'different' person than you were when you left - i.e. you can never really 'go back' as you've moved on personally and professionally and your friends will also have changed in their own way. Things which you used to love may no longer be so appealing (or maybe moreso because absence makes the heart grow fonder). Things which you never thought about will either suddenly seem incredibly annoying and irritating or absolutely wonderful.

    Maybe try applying for Independent schools - I was at an Independent school for many years before moving abroad, and several colleagues came to us after returning from the International Teaching scene. Perhaps the school was unusually progressive (in regard to Skype interviews etc...) and valuing overseas experience?

    Good luck if you return. My family would be very jealous of your relatives because I haven't been 'home' for 16 years (apart from the occasional holiday)
  18. musikteech

    musikteech Occasional commenter

    Revans66 in which part of the world are you saving up money like that? I doubt you could save much in Spain,as they offer low salaries. 24000Euros is what you get in Spain tops. I had my fair share of naughty pupils in music lessons but I just got on with the job as best I could. If you can't control a bunch of 30 kids, what can you do? I still think the OP should come back if she's had enough of asia. I'm thinking of GOING to asia myself if I can get work. But I don't teach at home anymore. I don't think there is any harm having international schools on your CV OP but some schools might prefer UK curriculum experience.
  19. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Im in Africa
  20. musikteech

    musikteech Occasional commenter

    I worked in Libya for some companies teaching English. Good money in Libya. There's no jobs going there at the moment though. That's North Africa though, you're prob in the south. Surprised you can make so much in the south.

Share This Page