1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

International school workload

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by 2393ka, Feb 15, 2020.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. 2393ka

    2393ka New commenter

    Hi all

    I am interested in working abroad and would like to move to the middle east.

    I was just wondering about the workload. The way I currently work is to work until 5 to 530pm and do some work on the weekends. I initially thought that working in international schools would mean a lighter workload, however, going from the international school reviews website, the better schools seem to have a very heavy workload, especially the IB schools.

    Is it just IB schools that the workload is heavy or all schools?

    How does the workload differ between British, American and IB Curriculum schools?

    I've heard the marking and making comments aspect of IB can be brutal especially for science subjects.
  2. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    every school is different but overall a half decent international school offers a much improved work-life balance. Watch out for poor schools and high-stakes schools, who can be the exceptions.
  3. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Not sure where you heard this from, but i work in the IB and my workload is a fraction of what it was back in the UK.
  4. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    I have to be at school at 8am and I'm usually out the gate by 4pm. I generally don't take work home, although I do a bit of planning from time to time.
    b7031475 and dumbbells66 like this.
  5. 2393ka

    2393ka New commenter

    Thankyou for the responses

    Helen back, may I ask which country and which curriculum you teach? If you dont want to answer this it's fine, I understand.
  6. 2393ka

    2393ka New commenter


    My friend taught at an IB school in the uae as a maths teacher. He's an experiences teacher and said maths is ok. He mentioned everyone else is really struggling. I'm a science/biology teacher, and he specifically mentioned that there science teachers have a lot of marking and comments to make.

    I am not familiar with IB so I'm not sure what that means. Would it mean that you constantly have to mark assessments but add loads of comments as to how they can improve work?

    I know someone else teaching at a school in jeddah which runs an 8 day cycle and he mentioned the IB curriculum is intense.

    I'm primarily gearing myself towards working in the middle east.
  7. Bentley89

    Bentley89 Occasional commenter

    I teach in the ME and my workload and stress levels have literally halved since leaving the UK. There are always going to annoyances or areas where even more time could be saved, but in short, you can expect around 5-10 hours non-contact a week and I have never worked in my evenings or weekends.

    Happy to answer any questions you may have.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. 2393ka

    2393ka New commenter

    Wow which part of the middle east is that?
    What curriculum do you teach?

    Would you be able to start a conversation with me?

    I'm not able to do so yet
  9. 2393ka

    2393ka New commenter

    May I ask which country you teach in and which curriculum you teach?
  10. Bentley89

    Bentley89 Occasional commenter

    I have started a conversation with you.
  11. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    You can ask anything.
    I am in leadership. I’ve worked in IB schools exclusively for most of my career. Six schools, six countries, three continents, over 25 years international.
  12. 2393ka

    2393ka New commenter

    That's solid experience.

    What would you say were your top 3 countries for working as an international teacher?

    How would you compare the workload between a teacher of IB and a teacher of the British curriculum?

    Is there more marking in the IB curriculum?

    What is the teaching style expected of IB teachers?

    What are the pros and cons of being a teacher of the IB curriculum?

    Is it true IB schools pay the most and British schools pay the least?

    What makes a good IB teacher?

    What reasons would sway you to recruit a teacher with no IB experience?
  13. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    I don’t generally recommend shopping for jobs in specific countries. It leads to a focus on the wrong things. Better to search for a school that aligns with your philosophy, and then check out the lifestyle to make sure that suits you. In any city or country in the world, there are tons of perfectly happy people; you could become one of them. (There are also unhappy people everywhere. Perhaps it has more to do with personality than location?)
    The 4 IB programs focus heavily on critical thinking, independence, originality and speaking multiple languages. Teachers are expected to teach in ways that foster these skills/attitudes. This generally means designing a fair number of bespoke learning experiences and resources, rather than sticking to a text. It can be more work initially but many come to be huge fans and would never go back to canned curricula. Personally I find it wonderful to have the freedom and expectation to be a real professional designing teaching learning and assessment to match my students’ needs. It doesn’t take me longer than my old pre-IB lessons did, though it did at first. Like any new endeavor, it takes an adjustment.
    I don’t know what is meant by needing to make lots of comments. Surely providing good feedback is a normal part of all good teaching these days?
    Workloads and pay depend more on individual schools than on program. It’s not like they coordinate these things.
    I hire at least one teacher each year who is just starting with the IB. Philosophical alignment is key, as is the demonstration that you’ve done some research and know something about what you’re getting into. Everyone starts somewhere. In all my years I’ve only known 2 teachers who started in IB schools; everyone else started in other kinds of schools and switched later.
    Good luck.
  14. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I worked in the ME for 17+ years. Workload can be excessive, but it can also depend on the school and to some extent, on the individual.
    In my last school, I was in for 6.30 am to do swim coaching, taught a full day, coached afterwards until 5.30 pm. 12x weekend swim meets. Paperwork and admin on top of this.
    There were people at the same school arriving at 8.00 am and out the gate at 3.00 pm
    As others have said, in general terms, good, fee paying schools have high expectations which in turn can mean a heavy workload.
    How long is a piece of string?
    2393ka likes this.
  15. 2393ka

    2393ka New commenter

    I dont mind working after school and also doing some work on the weekends. I dont mind actually doing some work during the holidays.

    I just hope if I make the move my workload doesn't increase too much
  16. Bentley89

    Bentley89 Occasional commenter

    The key point here with workload is NOT to do work in your evenings, weekends and holidays! If the work cannot be done during work hours, then something is wrong, no matter what the martyrs claim.
  17. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Martyrs? That's a bit unfair and disrespectful
  18. Bentley89

    Bentley89 Occasional commenter

    What?! :confused:

    How is it rude and disrespectful!? Please elaborate.
  19. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Martyrs? Please elaborate
  20. 2393ka

    2393ka New commenter

    That seems like a dream for me right now. To keep work at work

    I understand where stopwatch is coming from. When you enjoy it you seem to go above and beyond. I also see where Bentley is coming from, you cant do your students justice in school if you are unhappy and overworked.

    I think the key is to work in such a way that you are happy in the classroom and the students get the best version of yourself.
    Bentley89 likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page