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‘I would burn in hell before returning’ – why British teachers are fleeing overseas

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by englishdragon, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    Yes, I really loved my school, but I was lucky. We had an extremely strong SLT. I've been back since and the Gove reforms wrecked what was a great community school - many of my ex-colleagues have either left education entirely or have followed me overseas. That said, I don't think that I had a great work / life balance and I'm not sure that I could have continued with the 60-70 hour work weeks into middle age.
    TeacherMan19 likes this.
  2. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    I also enjoyed working in the UK and left due to family circumstances and a desire to travel and see a different style of teaching (immersion) while living abroad. Having said that, I left 14 years ago and, having kept in touch with colleagues at my old schools, was never tempted to return. The life I found here suited me and, although my Spanish school wasn't perfect, it offered many positives, especially the lively and enthusiastic children.
    yasf and TeacherMan19 like this.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    According to lots of reviews on the ISR, it is quite possible to be thoroughly unhappy at an international school. You do not need to return to the UK to be miserable as a teacher.
    harpplayer, towncryer and T0nyGT like this.
  4. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    True, we talk about how terrible the UK is, but I'd rather be in a terrible UK school than a terrible Kuwait school
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Two of my colleagues (or former colleagues) were murdered while I was teaching in international schools. But I suppose that you could also get murdered in the UK.
  6. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    I do wonder how many of us genuinely believe we could hack it back in the UK (in a state school).

    I for one, don’t think I could. My sister says otherwise and that I would adapt again, but I reckon I’ve been spoilt for too long and would resent the micromanagement and never ending changing educational directives.

    I have no intention of risking it.
  7. shakes16

    shakes16 New commenter

    @rouxx Are you from Cheltenham Ladies College and Cambridge University then? Apparently, only these types can get good jobs abroad so I am led to believe.
  8. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Established commenter

    I think it depends on the school. I worked at a couple of great schools in the UK but the last one was awful - i'd probably have quit teaching if I hadn't moved abroad.

    The problem for me is not are there good schools in the UK it's how do you find one - all 3 looked great on the tour and through-out the interview day. You've got the same risk with an international school but generally the increased benefits offset the risk and it's more acceptable to change jobs after a couple of years.
  9. englishdragon

    englishdragon Occasional commenter

    Yes.......and in particular at these so-called pinnacles of British education in China, the rent-a-name schools, or is that rent-a-claim-to-be-British, where the Chinese owners do whatever they like, and the British partners simply duck and run with cash in hand......and the poor unsuspecting teachers get figuratively murdered in the crossfire. Hopeless-International-Kingdom-Sad-Values-School in Tianjin is a perfect example of this.
  10. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter


    Good point. I don't think I could survive in a UK school now. Apart from not putting up with pointless bulls***, workload and having to deal with dysfunctional behaviour, I value free time to have a life. I just don't get why behaviour in teenagers in Dubai is fabulous, but utter sh*** in the UK, even in 'good' schools. I suspect the root cause is weak, forgiving, lefty 'poor lamb' attitudes by management, instead of providing clear strict boundaries with instant sanctions. In the UK school I did work in, it could be weeks before a pupil was properly dealt with, and could use up hours and hours of a teacher's time pressing SLT to take an issue seriously. No wonder everyone knows they can just not turn up to a DT, not do homework, answer back to teachers etc.

    I can't ever see coming back to hell.
    alex_teccy likes this.
  11. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I suspect that you have been misled. Mind you, the old song does suggest that CLC may export the values that British schools bang on about:

    Our marks in French and algebra
    Were a series of disasters
    But at forging cheques
    Or at S-E-X
    We were absolute past masters

    Let’s give three cheers for Cheltenham
    Where the chestnut trees are shady
    Where I learnt of vice
    And all things nice
    Like a typical English lady.
    shakes16 likes this.
  12. worlo24

    worlo24 New commenter

    Don't forget parenting as well as a root cause. Some parents have no value of education which is sad and some do not follow up sanctions at home.
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hmm. So are you suggesting, worlo24 and harpplayer, that all of the teachers in the UK would be much happier if they were to get a teaching job overseas? I don't think so. There are plenty of dreadful so-called "international" schools and I have had the misfortune to teach at some of them.

    Robert Hayward was someone I knew quite well. I think that he did not deserve to have his throat cut while he was teaching in Egypt. Lauren Patterson was a kind and compassionate colleague from my days in Doha. It looks as though her Qatari killer might get out of prison next month, having served only six years for her appalling murder.
  14. worlo24

    worlo24 New commenter

    Definitely not Hippo. As you said, there are some awful international schools and with that, some really demanding parents as well (well, they are paying a lot of money for schooling). I am just pointing out one of the problems with behaviour in the UK is that parents do not always support the decisions of the school or follow up sanctions at home. This too also happens in international schools. Every school is different, be it in the UK or abroad
  15. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    i am really disappointed with the way teaching in the UK seems to be developing. I probably stand alone among the many on here who clain thay would never go back in that I would actually like to return to the UK and have some stability in my life...enjoy the home that I have been overseas working to pay off,be able to have a vote and be able to benefit form the things that you need to be a resident to benefit from.
    However I also see every time I do go back,a country which is more and more run down and I always leave with mixed feelings.
    If we do eventually go back for good I will not set ffot in a school if I can possibly help it.Fortunately I do not need to work full time anymore so I can consider anything...anything at all rather than stepping back inside a UK classroom.(and in my part of the UK the schools are notoriously poor)
  16. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter


    For those who'd rather burn in hell: make sure you have a mortgage free shelter and have a big fat savings account.

    For those who can actually teach (hack it) in UK schools brilliant! You'll still get school holidays and you can top up your international circuit savings getting paid £36,000 (M6) a year.

    Personally, if things go to plan. The husband is heading towards TfL to get free transportation and I'm off to M&S to get food and clothing discounts. Food, transportation and clothing - - - an A* post teaching plan! :)
    percy topliss likes this.
  17. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    check :)

    cant wait for retirement at 55, unfortunately, quite a way off for now.
  18. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    That’s what I said...retire at 55.

    Am 57 now and have no intention of retiring, although I could, (and it did actually take until 56 to be sure of it) I am enjoying being where I am. I hope to have a few more adventures and worry that were I to retire I would just sit around on my Spanish Costa and miss out on what life has to offer.

    The good side is, I do know that should I stop enjoying it, or should my health deteriorate I can retire. It also means that because I am still working, if I want to splash the cash on a treat, I can usually afford to do so.
  19. englishdragon

    englishdragon Occasional commenter

    And, there are those lovely rent-a-name so-called English curriculum schools opened by unscrupulous business people in China where misfortune befalls the best unsuspecting teachers. Read this thread for an example: https://community.tes.com/threads/p...advertised-today-by-a-school-in-china.772487/
    rideemcowboy likes this.
  20. rideemcowboy

    rideemcowboy Occasional commenter

    englishdragon -have you found peace and happiness back in the UK?

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