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I'm an NQT - not enjoying it - thinking of working abroad - would like advice about where to go and whether teaching abroad is better than teaching in

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by springyboing, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. Hi,
    Title maybe says it all! I'm an NQT, but really not enjoying my job - partly due to issues with the school but also not really happy with teaching generally. I'm having a 'its new year so I'll sort out my life' moment! Anyway, I'm 28, and have been thinking about working abroad for a few years now. I did lots of travelling when I finished uni which I really enjoyed. My personal life has been a bit of a disaster for teh past couple of years but that does mean that I have no commitments so going abroad would be relatively easy! I used to work in environmental education which I really enjoyed, but it doesnt seem particualrly easy to get paid jobs in that field abroad. I'm also thinking of trainign to do outdoor ed, but dont have those qualifications at the mo. I could get a working holiday visa to New Zealand - but would have to do that next year as will be too old teh year after! However, I'm not sure that I would be able to find teaching work there with only 1 year's teaching experience. Does anyone know if I could do supply on a workign holiday visa - and teh likelihood of finding supply work?!
    I'd liek to go somewhere which has lots of outdoor stuff for me to do - eg - mountains - south america, nepal, new zealand, canada all appeal at the mo!
    I dont think I'm qualified to do much apart from teach, but I really hate teaching at the moment. So I'd like to hear from people who have taught abroad to see whether their experiences of teaching in other places have been better or worse than at home - and in what ways.
    If anyone has done any schemes - like tefl/tesl - how did you get on? how easy is it to fond work, how much money can you earn? My key concern is not to get into any more debt.
    Does anyone have any reccommendations of where to go?

    I realise that this is a long and rambling post, but any advice and pearls of wisdom would be appreciated!!
    H
    xx
     
  2. Hi,
    Title maybe says it all! I'm an NQT, but really not enjoying my job - partly due to issues with the school but also not really happy with teaching generally. I'm having a 'its new year so I'll sort out my life' moment! Anyway, I'm 28, and have been thinking about working abroad for a few years now. I did lots of travelling when I finished uni which I really enjoyed. My personal life has been a bit of a disaster for teh past couple of years but that does mean that I have no commitments so going abroad would be relatively easy! I used to work in environmental education which I really enjoyed, but it doesnt seem particualrly easy to get paid jobs in that field abroad. I'm also thinking of trainign to do outdoor ed, but dont have those qualifications at the mo. I could get a working holiday visa to New Zealand - but would have to do that next year as will be too old teh year after! However, I'm not sure that I would be able to find teaching work there with only 1 year's teaching experience. Does anyone know if I could do supply on a workign holiday visa - and teh likelihood of finding supply work?!
    I'd liek to go somewhere which has lots of outdoor stuff for me to do - eg - mountains - south america, nepal, new zealand, canada all appeal at the mo!
    I dont think I'm qualified to do much apart from teach, but I really hate teaching at the moment. So I'd like to hear from people who have taught abroad to see whether their experiences of teaching in other places have been better or worse than at home - and in what ways.
    If anyone has done any schemes - like tefl/tesl - how did you get on? how easy is it to fond work, how much money can you earn? My key concern is not to get into any more debt.
    Does anyone have any reccommendations of where to go?

    I realise that this is a long and rambling post, but any advice and pearls of wisdom would be appreciated!!
    H
    xx
     
  3. Sounds as if you have a lot of serious thinking to do. In fairness, going abroad is a temporary panacea and you may not like what you find if you are not enjoying teaching in general.
    It is not too late ever to contemplate a move abroad but you have to consider at this juncture whether you are going to stay in teaching long term. You have already identified that the best time in your life was while you were traveling but the difficulty here is that while you enjoyed that, you admit to the debt that it inherently runs up and on top of that, messing with your career prospects now in an increasingly competitive world could be a long term disaster! Technically you do have commitments in an economic sense- payment into your pension plan - paying off debts. Living for today is all well and good but (and I know I sound like a condescending old git when I say this) but there are many of this generation that are in your situation and don't think of the long term implications of changing career.
    The pluses are that you will have completed NQT - that means that you will be able to secure a teaching job when you return. If one of your key concerns is getting out of debt, you will want to go to a country where the exchange rate is favorable to the UK. Therefore Canada, New Zealand and Australia are out as their rates will not translate well for you no matter how much you earn. Cost of living in these countries is quite high and you will not find much of your paycheck making it's way to pay off your outstanding debt in the UK. However, a working holiday visa to New Zealand may be the way to go as a temporary solution but you will need to be applying to schools now there in order to secure work. Supply I would imagine would be difficult (not an expert here so NZ experts please feel free to chip in!) unless there is a company like Select that might deal in that area.

    Forget Canada short term - too many teachers there - no demand and takes years and money to even get near certification with the government. You have to be really committed to the long term move to entertain Canada.

    You say you really hate teaching at the moment. I don't think you would suddenly find the love just because you are on a different continent. I have dealt with the same issues, politics and problems in the two countries that I have taught in since leaving the UK system in 1999. I was not enjoying teaching and did go to the business world for four years as a PM. Enjoyed it - but found myself missing the classroom so went back. Was about your age - and the teaching job I went back to was in America! Ended up immigrating at the age of 33!

    So my pearls of wisdom - if indeed I have any for you is to sort out the career first and make sure that it is the pathway that you want to follow. You working life is a long one - too long to be miserable in it. If you are disgruntled with teaching now then look at other career pathways that you might pursue in the UK that might lead you to travel abroad in the pursuit of happiness. Beware - when I left teaching in 1998 I had to take a 10,000 pound pay cut to go work with an NGO. However, within a year I had gotten another contract job that earned that back. I would have not gotten the latter if it were not for the experience with the NGO. However, I only restarted my pension plan last year so now I am playing catch up in a world that will not fund you when you retire through your social security or National Insurance Stamps!

    In short - look at other career options and figure out what it is about teaching that you don't like - perhaps life might be better at a different school or in a different area of teaching and then look to foreign fields! Really does sound like you are hankering for the good old carefree student days of yore when life was simple and traveling just gets you away from it all. Had you said that you loved teaching and that you wanted to teach abroad I would have regaled you with all sorts of places to apply to and try. The fact that you don't like the profession right now concerns me that you will be turned right off by entering the international community where teaching holds the same, if not more challenges than the UK.

    All the best with whatever decision you reach! There are some great and experienced folk on this forum (Mainwaring, Yasimum to name just a couple) that will give you great advice about where to teach and the real pros and cons...if that is what you want to pursue!
     
  4. Thanks weewoman! Lots to think about!
     
  5. Everyone's experience is different, but I did my NQT year a couple of years ago and am now teaching abroad.

    I find teaching abroad so much easier in so many ways. I really wanted to leave teaching after my NQT year, but now I have an easier life, am saving money and travelling more often.

    Don't think it will solve all your problems, but if you're realistic, do your research and choose the place and school carefully you could end up having a great time.
     
  6. Thanks Tanorexic, whereabouts are you working?
     
  7. I'm interested to know where you're teaching too Tanorexic. I'm doing my PGCE in secondary Chemistry and would love to work abroad after my NQT year.
     
  8. Sound advice from weewoman to springyboing. I've been in teaching for 10 years and have worked in the UK, and abroad. Be aware that gaining a good (stress free) teaching job abroad does require some luck and you sometimes don't receive the support you require during difficult times. I've had my ups and downs in teaching all around the world, and some schools do get their pounds worth of flesh, however I do think that teaching secondary children abroad has been more rewarding (with a better lifestyle). I'm now back in the UK and can not believe the children's attitude towards learning and their standard of behaviour. There is no respect towards teachers or senior management and some days I do feel quite threatened by older students. I think you need to evaluate your career status and read many reviews about international schools (both on the TES and the website Review of International Schools), which will give you a good insight into what schools you should avoid. Hope this helps!
     
  9. I organise the supply teachers in my school in NZ. I am always short of teachers to call and it gets worse as the year progresses. Most of the teachers on my list are beginning teachers who end up with longer term relieving jobs later in the year. In our area you would have to register with each school and our problem is an undeserved bad reputation (our kids are lovely to teach) and because we are rural.

    You would need a Ministry of Education number to get paid. i don't know what you have to do to get that but it is a pain getting qualifications recognised (judging from people's comments on this forum) so you may have to accept a lower pay rate as an unregistered teacher.

    If you are travelling around NZ you would need to contact as many schools as you can in each area. The big cities may have agencies. The first term (Feb - Easter) would be the slowest as teachers are generally well rested and healthy.

    Good luck
     
  10. You do not say 'why' you are not enjoying teaching at the moment.
    If it's because you are sick of 'crowd control' then a move abroad is a good idea - pupil behaviour is, in general, much better in most international schools - you may like teaching once you have had the opportunity to teach!
    If it's because you do not feel respected as a teacher, again, you will be held in higher regard in most schools/countries abroad.
    If it's because of the money - it is possible to earn more / have a higher standard of living as an expat teacher in many postings abroad.
    However, if you don't like teaching because teaching is just not for you, then change career - it is not the job for the half-hearted.
     
  11. Thanks everyone for your thoughts!
    There's a few reasons why I'm not enjoying teaching. Part of it is the behaviour management - the behaviour at my school is quite challenging and generally its not a part of the job I like anyway! I also think that there are a few other issues at my school which may not be such a problem in other schools - politics, organisation and suchlike. So those are things which could be improved by moving to a new school.
    However, I also resent the amount of time that teaching seems to take away from the rest of my life. I'm at school from 8am-6pm most days and still usually bringing work home. I realise that we get lots of holidays which sort of makes up for that, but a lot of holiday time also gets taken over by planning! Maybe this will improve as I get better at teaching, but lots of experienced teachers I've spoken to also seem to work crazy hours. I also feel like I'm constantly trying to get things done at the last minute and thus always feel underprepared. In my previous jobs, I went to work feeling confident that I knew what I was going to do, not stressed, completely prepared for whatever activities I was running. Teaching just seems like constant stress! And I dont feel that I'm actually any good at it or bringing any benefit to teh children by spending hours preparing lessons etc.
    Lots of people have said to me that I might feel a lot happier in a different school. Several staff at the school I am working at have asked me whether I've started looking for new jobs yet so I think there is fairly low morale at the school anyway. Either that or they are aware that I am not fitting in to the school very well!

    At the moment I'm thinking that teaching abroad is not going to solve these problems. Moving schools after I've completed my NQT year would allow me to find out whether it is teaching or just the school that is the problem. It would also give me time to get some outdoor ed qualifications done in the UK. That would mean I could go and work abroad the year after either doing outdoor ed or teaching.

    However, 2 days ago I was sure I was going to go away somewhere so i think I still have a lot of thinking to do!!! And two years of doing something I really don;t enjoy really is quite a long time!
     
  12. invincible

    invincible New commenter

    All the things you mentioned in your post there also exist in internaitonal schools. It's not a piece of cake compared to back home and in many cases can be far worse. At least at home you are dealing with a known quantity. Of course there are good and bad schools abroad but you may just end up in a comparatively bad one which could put you off teaching for life. You may also equally end up in a good one (like my first one) and have the time of your life. Teaching abroad is a risk though, wherever you end up and it's certainly not an easy ride. You have to be pretty tough to get what you want.
     
  13. to teach in NZ on a WHV you need to get your skills assessed by NZQA and then register with the the teaching council before you can supply teach. it takes a while, why dont you finish off your NQT year (which SUUUX btw) while sorting papers out for NZ then you could travel (magic bus!)and work around NZ, fantastic place! was going to do that myself but now am looking into a masters in Sydney - in the hope that someday i can teach in Oz (a 3 year uk degree isnt enough apparently! d'oh!) good luck with whatever you do.
     
  14. I don't know how it works in OZ/NZ, but in Canada you need a four year degree. A three year plus a masters will not cut it here. You need to do an extra undergraduate year.

    I appreciate you are in a different country, but have you looked into the possibility a Masters does not count for the extra year?
     
  15. Hi there!

    A word of advice, if you are going abroad to teach make sure that you have a school that is willing to support you and if going through an organisation, one that will also support you and be there when you need them.

    I went abroad teaching in Kenya before I went to uni, so I wouldnt worry about being newly qualified! They are desperate for teachers over there. (although with all the violence at the moment, not such a great place!) I went with no teaching qualifications and had only completed part of my tefl course. It was hard work. I went with the expectation that all the children would be really willing to learn and really good and the school really supportive...how wrong I was!

    I was put in a year two class where the teacher just left me with a pile of books and told me to teach! In Kenya if you fail the year you stay back a year and have to repeat it again. Alot of the children in my class had been on the streets and therefore were of low ability and therefore I had 7 - 14 year olds dumped in my class and due to the content of the lessons which were aimed at 7 year olds, they really did not want to be there and messed around. alot. I would actually say it was worse than being in a UK sc because they did not know much english! But I managed to get through it and in the end really enjoyed myself. Some of the kids were great and alot of fun and really did want you to be there even if some didnt.

    The trouble for me was that the headmaster of the school was rarely there and left the school to its own devices so no one really knew what was going on and the organisation did nothing to help either. Kenya is a great place to teach if you get the right school. I had other friends in another town who absolutely loved it and ahd very supportive schools. Even with my bad experiences it made me decide that I do want to go into teaching. It is also great for travelling. I went on safari, swam in the reefs in mombassa, climbed and old volcanoe in Nakuru and made some great friends. All at non bank breaking prices!

    What ever you do go for it but check everything before you go!
    good luck!
     
  16. hello holmes5668,

    would be v greatful for your advice as i am currently doing my uk PGCE and thinking about going to canada in 2 years (2010) (NQT year + 1 year experience), I teach Design Tech, have a-levels, foundation art qualification, 3 year degree 2:1, MA and in july hopefully a PGCE all before turning 28yrs in august (but in 2010 i'll be 30yrs-will that make a differnece)Do you think i still wont be qualified enough to move to Canada, thinking Toronto or some where on east coast... not too sure what else i can so to make myself more attractive, please offer any suggestions...
     
  17. Hi,

    I am in my first year of teaching abroad and in some ways it is good, and in others bad. I used to really enjoy teaching in the UK, even if it was challenging some days - I worked in an all boys comp - but it was quite a good one. I was really busy, but didn't begrudge it that much.

    Here, I find it all so different. The school is OK, but not managed half as well as at home and I feel that most people don't really know what they are doing in management, whereas in England my experiences were really good and really supportive.

    The parents are excessivley demanding and think I should be able to drop everything and deal with them, I can have up to 10 emails a day from parents, whereas at home I maybe had a phone call every month.

    What I teach is based on the Uk currciculum but not the same and I actually miss learning outcomes etc which they are not that into here. I also have to teach the American AP instead of A-level and it is a joke.

    I have a HUGE amount more marking here than in the UK, because of what they expect.

    However, the kids are generally nice and they work well and behave themselves generally.

    But - to be honest - I would rather teach in the UK.
     
  18. purplevicki - is your marking wordload representative of most international schools that you know of or just the AP system?

    I work in an independent school in the UK and seems that I have way more marking (and all afl) than friends at maintained so hoping it isn't even more than that!!!
     
  19. nickinooski - What is a foundation year? Is that further or highger education. If it is higher, then that may be classified as four years of undergrad. I would have to say that there are very few jobs here and the chances of getting one without a Canadian provincial teaching qualification are slim to none.

    Do a search, as this topic comes up again and again. Failing that email me holmes5668@hotmail.com with questions.
     
  20. thanks very much holmes,
    i am not too sure if i should start looking into it as i have not yet finished my pgce let alone started my nqt year before i get too down hearted or even hopeful.

    just glad to hear of some realistic advice about how teaching dosent ensure you with the ticket to go anywhere and be free, this thread had really opened up my eyes before i get ... hmm back to the drawing board maybe

    just out of interest where are you working? does employment of qualified teachers variey all over canada, or is it pretty much standard throughout?

    p.s. the foundation was a BTEC diploma, done between a-levels and degree, like a pre-degree course...
     

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