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How to Become an English Teacher at an International School

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by tamarine, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. tamarine

    tamarine New commenter


    I am looking for advice on how to become an English teacher at an international school as I am at a crossroads in my career.

    I am a mature teacher and I completed my degree in Education Studies and English in 2010. I then worked as a cover teacher for a number of years. In August 2013, one of the schools in which I worked asked me to join their permanent support staff. I worked there for one year and during that time I was also timetabled to teach English to students in years 7 to 10. This teaching opportunity allowed me to successfully attain QTLS.

    In September 2014, I decided to undertake a Master’s in Education as I wanted to move overseas and I believed that this would make it easier for me to find work. By January 2015, I had completed 70 credits when I was offered a lucrative position in the Middle East at a vocational college. Originally I was told that I would be teaching English literature and language, however when I arrived I was given EAL classes to teach. Since January 2017, I have been teaching accountancy and business courses.

    Having been in the Middle East for three years, I am now looking to fulfill my ambition of teaching English. I appreciate that international schools will not employ me at this present time as I lack experience; I am therefore looking for suggestions as to what I can do that will enable me to teach this subject.

    Thank you in advance for any advice that you are able to provide.
  2. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I'm no expert but if you are considered a qualified teacher and you have a Master's in Education then I would wager that there are certainly int'l schools that would employ you as an English teacher. Yes, many of those schools might be in less than ideal locations and/or be less than ideal working environments but there would likely be some wheat among the chaff.

    Honestly, it sounds as though the only thing left to make you more attractive to future employers is to actually get experience. The only real way to do that is to get a teaching job in a domestic or international school (almost any teaching job), start paying your dues and gradually work towards better schools, better locations, etc.

    Maybe someone else will have more sage advice but I would say start looking around and sending out some applications. You never know what might happen.
  3. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    Get applying. You can still get a job without experience and you've got QTS.
    Just do it!
    giggler32 likes this.
  4. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    This is a difficult one. As an English HoD I would consider your application if you could demonstrate a passion for Lit and a knowledge of current specifications, requirements, and teaching strategies in the subject. I know I could be shot down for saying this; but if you have shown excellent classroom management in your employment (behaviour, innovative planning, a proven track record of good results) then the subject-knowledge we can help you with, particularly as you have a degree in English (or, at least, part of your degree). However, mine is a desirable international school and we receive lots of excellent candidates, so you'd need to stand out. What is your extra-curricular experience like? Have you ran clubs in drama, journalism etc.? My question in interview (and when sifting your application) would be how would you stretch a very able student in Literature at IB or A Level? If you find this is an area that is difficult to overcome, why not study a module or two online at Masters Level (like with the Open University) that relates to texts or foci from the current IB and A Level syllabuses? However, I know from being a long-term habitué of the English forum on TES that not all HoDs share my perspective: some are very strict on subject-knowledge; others (like me) look for the potential - the way I see it is this, I can help a teacher with technique and knowledge, what I can't give them is that natural aptitude to build successful relationships with students, to lead a class and to intuitively know what does and doesn't work for the students in front of you.

    I know dumbells66 will be along in a moment to tell you that English teachers are ten-a-penny on the international circuit; but from my own experience as an English teacher on the international circuit I can say I have never struggled to find a post (touch wood!) and plenty of interesting jobs in great locations come up ALL THE TIME. In fact, there has never been a time on the TES, COBIS and COIS where there hasn't been at least fifteen posts advertised internationally; at peak times this can increase to 10-12 pages worth (like on the TES at the moment). wrldtrvlr123 is right when they say that top-tier schools may not consider you just yet, but find a mid-tier school that wants to take a chance on you as a way in to long-term Lit and Lang teaching internationally.

    One more thing you may want to consider (although I am no expert): some countries have a very rigid view of qualifications for teaching (and the visa you'll need to get there) - there is lots of debate on here about first degrees and their relevancy (there was a discussion about China I think here last year) and some schools/countries will only accept a PGCE rather than other graduate/Teach-First type routes.
  5. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    why is it always me !!!! when it comes to telling the truth about Spain i can see your point ;)

    but you are right, english and humanities teachers...ten a penny ;)
  6. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Do some research on the curriculum offered by the schools you want to apply to, e.g. GCSEs, AS/A levels, MYP, IB or other (I don't know anything about Australian or American curriculums - sorry!). See if you have knowledge and experience of the elements of that curriculum, which is something you could mention in applications. If not, improve your subject knowledge through self study.

    If you have no experience with Y12/13 (I'm referring to UK school grades, I don't know which country's grades you were referring to in your message) then you would be better off looking for a middle school perhaps.

    Some schools teach ESL qualifications as well as non-ESL ones, so that could be a way in, i.e. if a school offers both iGCSE Second Language English and iGCSE First Language English.
  7. makhnovite

    makhnovite Occasional commenter

    'english and humanities teachers...ten a penny'

    Average ones maybe dumbells, but not good ones!

    As for the other point - 'why is it always me !!!! when it comes to telling the truth about Spain' - because you seem to have made it your life's work!
  8. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Its more of a calling ;)
    To save as many people out there from the horrors of working there
  9. miketribe

    miketribe Occasional commenter

    dumbbells66 likes this.
  10. tamarine

    tamarine New commenter

    I would like to thank everyone for their replies to my post.

    I appreciate all of the advice and suggestions that you have made. wrldtrvlr123 and roamingteacher thank you for your positivity and giving me the belief that I can achieve my ambition. blueskydreaming, you have made a wonderful suggestion: that I could teach IGCSE Second Language English.

    As englishtt06 has implied, I do lack the knowledge regarding the requirements, current specifications and strategies to teach IB and so I have decided to undertake further study to remedy this.

    You have all given me inspiration.

    P.S. good to see that dumbbells66 made an appearance too!
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  11. makhnovite

    makhnovite Occasional commenter

    'P.S. good to see that dumbbells66 made an appearance too!'

    It's a Pavlovian response: mention Spain. . . . . . . ?
  12. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Established commenter

    and Woof!
    JL48 likes this.

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