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Experienced Primary School Teacher - Show me the Mon£y!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by WrightyBadger, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. WrightyBadger

    WrightyBadger New commenter

    Hey everyone! I appreciate this subject has probably been flogged to death and i've trawled the forums to death but wanted to just get an opinion/collective wisdom.

    This year has been a total nightmare so far, illness in the family, new baby and the Corvid-19 situation has all meant that at the blink of an eye, our finances might be totally depleted (my partner runs a small business that is all but in suspended animation right now).

    This has lead me to considering something I would not have considered in the "good times" - which is considering teaching abroad as an Educational Mercenary.

    About me
    • Primary School Teacher (SLT) - 10 yrs experience teaching KS2 and KS3
    • Myself and My Fiancee have a 3 month old baby - So not bothered about party lifestyle or anything like that. We're too tired/not alien to a night in in front of the tv as we seem to get on fortunately. We're just happy to be Just happy to be boring, diligent and save some cash for a year or two
    • My Fiancee runs a small business that can be run remotely (his 2 employees work remotely in the Netherlands)
    • Thinking about taking the plunge to start in 2021
    • I've taught in two schools in my career - really diverse - different cultures, different abilities etc so I'd say i'm reasonably adaptable.

    To be honest, I am a little nervous about the idea of moving abroad but I think the global situation has acted as a little bit of a pattern-interrupt and has woken us up from our suburban sleep-walk and the comfort blanket has been swept from under us - so as it stands, we're in a bit of a "Screw it let's do it" frame of mind at the moment.

    I'll bore you guys with more questions, but at this point. I just wanted to get some opinions on where would be the best place to go where I can make (and save) the most cash! Not keen on China and obviously aware that Dubai is the obvious option, but to be honest I don't really care!

    NB - Fully aware that Corvid-19 means everything is in the air so let's imagine we're in a post Coronavirus world where things sort of return to "normal"

    Any help/thoughts would be amazing!

    Thanks guys.
  2. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Sorry to say the "good" money jobs have disappeared with the exceptions of a few rocking horse schools.

    Salaries are offered to attract the minimum numbers of staff required to fill vacancies. The influx of unqualified teachers with PGCEi are also driving down the salaries on offer. Many schools regard a complete change of staff every 3 years an acceptable teacher turnover.

    Majority of teachers leaving the UK do so for a better life/work balance and warmer climates.

    The streets of Dubai are not paved in Gold, only the business cards of prostitutes.
    towncryer and WrightyBadger like this.
  3. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    And just FYI, we're not 'educational mercenaries'.
    towncryer, gulfgolf and WrightyBadger like this.
  4. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    When I lived in the UK I did a job and got paid for doing it. Ditto after I went overseas. It never occurred to me that changing location automatically made me more mercenary than I already was.

    So my best tip is: When you write your letter of application to that principal in golden Dubai be careful not to imply that both you and s/he are only in it for the money.
    towncryer likes this.
  5. WrightyBadger

    WrightyBadger New commenter

    oh no, of course not- But I certainly am (for specific reasons)!

    Of course everyone has their reasons for doing the expat thing. For me.It’s purely financial hence using the term. Didn’t mean to offend.
  6. WrightyBadger

    WrightyBadger New commenter

    To be honest, I’d consider elsewhere. Not too bothered about where, probably apart from China (Been there, it was great but don’t really fancy it) and crazy outliers like Venezuela. Not concerned about the gross salary more about the differential between salary and living costs that would allow me to play my part in getting us back on our feet should my partner’s business go kaput.
  7. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    You can get 3000 gbp a month plus housing allowance anywhere in CHina. Savings will vary enormously depending on where you live.
    You can get 3000 gbp tax free with free housing anywhere in the ME. So long as you can stomach the close proximity to slavery. Again savings will depend on location and chosen lifestyle.
    Forget most of Europe, salary / cost of living is a shocker. Eastern Europe, Romania, Slovenia etc.. have good savings potential but cost of living is rising. Forget Prague, rents have gone through the roof.
    Thailand, Viet Nam are good for savings but again the cost of living is rising.
    motorhomer likes this.
  8. HeroForTheDay

    HeroForTheDay Occasional commenter

    GBP 3k seems to be about the standard going rate these days. Country of choice is what will affect saving potential. SE Asia is a good place for cheap living but as Moscow has stated, costs are rising - but are still a lot less than UK living costs
    WrightyBadger likes this.
  9. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Just beware of what you wish for. If I were you, with a small family, I wouldn't shift from the UK. You know what you have there. You will have no Idea what you will be getting into for the next 12 months overseas. Better the devil you know.
    towncryer and T0nyGT like this.
  10. WrightyBadger

    WrightyBadger New commenter

    Of course. For clarity, so as not to cause any more offence...

    I used the term “Mercenary” to imply that I/we were happy to do whatever it takes - leave our friends and families etc and comfortable lives to undertake something that we otherwise wouldn’t have done in order to secure ourselves financially.

    My partner and I would not be considering this at all if not for the financial potential. Whereas this time last year, pounds, pennies and shillings were actually secondary to everything else.

    I was using the term Mercenary in a light hearted fashion to take the mickey out of myself, as living abroad has never crossed my mind really. By using that term, I didn’t mean for it to automatically imply that every other expat is a money hungry yuppie or anything like that..
  11. WrightyBadger

    WrightyBadger New commenter

    I guess the devil I know has the potential to disappear into dirt. For the last two years my partner started a business that was beginning to do really well. In late 2019 Overnight that business is gone as 100% of his clients cancelled their contracts in the space of 48 hours. In addition to that, it’s not as if he can actually go back to his old employer or a larger corporation as they aren’t hiring/have made major redundancies.

    Depending on how long this goes on for, we could be in a position where all of our hard earned savings and potentially our house deposit is gone. That could take absolutely ages to replenish so we’re in a bit of a jam.

    I’m not married to the idea of going abroad yet but I think we have to be open minded.
  12. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    For your first foray overseas, it will probably be a case of getting your foot on the ladder rather than picking and choosing the best paying place.

    You have 10 year's experience but a couple of things against you:

    - finding decent primary teachers seems to be easier than finding people for shortage secondary subjects. You're likely to have more competition than others.

    - You are a more expensive hire than a single person (flights, larger apartment, medical)

    - Every man and his dog will be applying for the tier 1 schools next year. Some people will have financial reasons, some will have lost faith in their current country following the handling of COVID. Some people will probably have been made redundant after the closing or shrinking of their schools too.
  13. WrightyBadger

    WrightyBadger New commenter

    Good points. Food for thought, thank you. :)
  14. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    My advice is to register for Search Associates and do your own research using their database of schools. You will soon get a feel for the salaries and saving potentials available in different countries.

    A lot of people on here are understandably pessimistic at the moment, in the current situation. However there are countries all around the world where you can make good savings, certainly enough to secure a healthy house deposit if you’re there for a year or two.

    If you’re serious about it, when you are serious about it, I recommend applying to any school in any country that interests you, and see what comes back. As others say, this is your first foray into international teaching and you’re not as cheap to hire as others, so you may not have the option of being too picky this time. This doesn’t mean you can’t find a position and situation that suits you really well, though.

    Also, as I’m sure you’re aware, the next 12 months are going to be more volatile than usual - so prepare to be flexible.

    Good luck!
    motorhomer and WrightyBadger like this.
  15. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Something that I have noticed about recent families and couples who have gone abroad is that pining for home comforts.
    Lincolnshire sausages, jaffa cakes and brands of sauces they recognise can really increase the amount one pays for shopping each week and I have seen it scratch away most savings potentials of different families incomes.
    To make decent savings (down to interpretation), and that being the whole reason you will move overseas, you really have to embrace the country you live in, eat local food in whatever form it is made and give up a lot of those home comforts. If you're willing to do that then that can help you begin to make an informed decision if teaching abroad is the right thing for you at this time.

    Check out Numbeo which will help you work out costs of living in different countries and you can pair that with advertised salaries to work out where will give you the best savings potential.
    Then when you have decided where you are interested in, you can take a look at Search Associates or get in touch with people who can help you look at positions.
  16. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Liking your openness about chasing the money. Who would say no to good money right?

    If rolling in the bank is your top, top priority then tax free destinations should be your first stop. But you keep saying partner, getting married especially with a baby will be easier for you.

    Of course, there are also the black gold schools in destinations like Angola, Nigeria, Brunei and Sakhalin (Russia). I worked for a black gold funded school back in its hay day. True the package has changed but it's still very generous. No bills, no rent, no tax, 10-20 ft cargo container and 2 return business flights per year just to name a few benefits that still exist. Furthermore, 90% all of thier schools are primary but IPC. You also have got to get into a candidate pool.

    There are significant challenges you will come across with. Many of which, previous posters have already outlined.

    But the good news is that destination doesn't bother you AND you're open-minded about it all. Best of luck on your search.
    motorhomer likes this.
  17. WrightyBadger

    WrightyBadger New commenter

    Thanks. That’s a good idea actually, luckily I’m Vegan so food-wise always cook from scratch, basic fruit and veg etc, so I hope that would be a minor adjustment.

    My partner’s parents are from Africa, and his dad’s family are from the rural areas, so he’s used to being away from the creature comforts.

    A usual 7-day week for us is basically waking up, looking after the baby/working settling down for the evening indoors with a beer and a meal and bed. I could be being optimistic but I hope that because we don’t get caught up in the BS of party lifestyle (Ibiza etc) and basically live a pretty simple life that an adjustment might be more of a soft(er) landing.

    We’ll definitely take on board what you’ve said. Toying with the idea of taking a holiday to check out whichever country we settle on and seeing it for ourselves rather than going in blind.
  18. WrightyBadger

    WrightyBadger New commenter

  19. greenn111

    greenn111 New commenter

    So by your own admission your sole reason for wanting to teach abroad is cash, not one word about wanting to experience other cultures, develop your world view, immersing yourself in the experience of learning and deepening your own perspectives on the world and our place in it. No wanting to develop your teaching and and play a part in working with and developing some of the most amazing children you will ever work with.

    No though of immersing yourself in and supporting that communities that will host you the only reason you are doing this is purely money and circumstances. We all want money, savings and the best package but if this is your only reason you really should not do this, just stay at home and look at a career change. The title show me the money pretty much says it all.
    T0nyGT and mermy like this.
  20. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Why is wanting to earn the maximum salary you can wrong. I am not in my job because I like the students and would happily pay the school to work their.

    Working in Shanghai is hardly experiencing a foreign culture.

    If you want to work for only the food on your table, visit cultural rich and undeveloped areas of the world, volunteer for the VSO!

    Teachers don't go to work in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia for the CULTURE!

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