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How do headteachers view international teaching experience?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by the hippo, May 18, 2012.

  1. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Without wishing to be unkind or rude, KS4lady, I would say that this question of yours really should have been posted on the "teaching overseas" forum. However, since you have asked the question and you obviously want an answer, I will do my best to make the picture as clear as I can. However, I think that I should mention that I have taught in the UK, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Romania, the UAE and now Qatar, so I hope that what my thoughts and comments are based on some valid experience.
    Yes, it is true to say that some (perhaps many) headteachers in the UK do not think that international teaching experience has much value. Probably many headteachers think that teaching in an international school is just a tax-free holiday in the sunshine, away from "normal" things like bolshie parents, lazy students, Ofsted, more flipping paperwork, anti-teacher rhetoric from all of the politicians, absuse from the media who blame the teachers for everything that is wrong in the UK, unemployment, Council Tax, stupid government initiatives in education and all of the other rubbish that teachers in the UK have to put up with every day. To be honest, I do think that there are some significant differences between teaching an IB programme in a good international school and trying to teach poorly-motivated teenagers in a typical British comp. Teaching polite, hard-working and respectful students in SE Asia is not a good preparation for teaching many foul-mouthed and idle British teenagers. I am currently teaching at a school in Qatar where the students all go home at 1pm. How does that prepare me for teaching in a typical British school?
    So what should you do, KS4lady? Well, my advice would be to forget about returning to the UK. (What is so wonderful about Council Tax, rain and ridiculously expensive petrol?) Instead, you ought to be thinking about how you can make the most of the excellent career opportunities that available to you in international schools all around the world. For a start, you might think about getting some IB training at some point or you might want to think about doing a CELTA or maybe both. There are heaps of British-style schools all over the world and so you can always go somewhere else if you get a bit bored. Of course there are some dreadful international schools, just as there are some crummy schools in the UK, and that is why you need to read the reviews on www.internationalschoolsreview.com, as well as the posts on the "teaching overseas" forum.
    I hope this is helpful.
    The Hippo

  2. Hi there,
    I am currently overseas and have been since November. I wanted to go back to the UK- it is my home and so applied for jobs to start in September. I have secured a full time, permanent job. I think it totally depends on individual heads and if you can detail how your overseas experience has helped you and what you have learnt. It may also make a different how long you intend to be overseas (my stint is quite short).
    Hope this makes sense :)

  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, EmaleeG, you stand a fairly good chance of getting a teaching job back in the UK if you can demonstrate that what you have been doing overseas is directly relevant to what you want to do back in the UK. Fair point.
    Yes, EmaleeG, I would agree that some headteachers might even see overseas experience as a bonus, as a positive thing in your favour. However, careful reading of the threads on the "teaching overseas" forum will show that this is not always the case. With so many unemployed teachers chasing so few jobs, my guess is that headteachers in the UK are going to be more and more "picky" about whom they employ.
    Yes, EmaleeG, I would agree that overseas experience may not be a problem if you have only been away for a few months. However, why should an international school want to employ you for only a relatively short period? The standard overseas contract is two years.
  4. whereflowersgrow

    whereflowersgrow New commenter

    Hi EmaleeG, I just wondered how you applied for jobs for September did you go back to the UK to apply or did you apply from where you are (and if so, what did you do about interviews?)? I am teaching overseas at the moment but will be wanting to head back to the UK at some point.

    Also, just to note: I have a one year contract at a very good international school. So 'the norm' varies from school to school, as to be expected.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some international schools will give one year contracts, it is true, but the overwhelming majority give two year contracts.

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