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Landing a job without 2 years experience

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by nicholascourselstoll, Jul 13, 2020.

  1. englishiteacher1700

    englishiteacher1700 New commenter

    Hi all, I'll be graduating from college (USA) in two years time with the intent of becoming an international school teacher. If all things go to plan, I'd like to make a career out of this., and want to do a substantial amount of time in China/SE Asia before later transitioning to Europe when money's less of an issue.

    I've recently discovered, however, that China requires 2 years post graduation experience to get a Z visa.

    Quick stats about myself:
    I'll be 23 upon graduation, licensed to teach English 5-12, have coaching experience (soccer and basketball), and have done student teaching (one semester) in the US.

    Where would I be able to work, assuming I'm very open to location (though I'd prefer Russia, Vietnam, or Thailand since China's out of the picture until I get more experience) and the only stipulation is the school has to be accredited (for licensing reasons).

    Thanks in advance!
  2. spanboy

    spanboy Occasional commenter

    Hi. I think with no experience, the job (and location) will probably choose you rather than the other way around, to a certain extent. So be flexible and treat any offers as getting a foot on the ladder.
    Remember you'll be competing against teachers with 5, 10, 15-years-plus experience and possibly experience with many curricula, so bear that in mind when looking at salaries and packages offered and be realistic. You will be attractive to some schools as they will get you cheaply compared to more experienced teachers.

    I've heard of some newbie teachers who have, quite aggressively, tried demanding top dollar with zero experience!

    Good luck when the time comes around. But who knows...2 years down the road and we may ALL be full-time ONLINE teachers if a vaccine is not forthcoming pretty soon lol!!
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  3. englishiteacher1700

    englishiteacher1700 New commenter

    That's more or less what I was thinking (in regards to location). I was just hoping to get an idea as to what countries typically (or at least legally can) hire new, inexperienced teachers out of the gate.
  4. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    Agreed, you can only try and see if you get scooped up. You will be putting yourself up against others with more experience, so cast your net wide and be prepared to start with a small step on the ladder.

    The key issue, visa aside, is that a teacher with no post-qualification experience can still have a lot to learn - my first few years in the classroom were more intense than any part of my training - and going through this in a foreign country can make it even harder.

    Schools know this, which can make employing a newly qualified teacher a bit of a risk for them. Parents can be extremely demanding, staff might not have the time or opportunity to support a newly qualified teacher (while in the UK, new teachers have to be given extra time out of the classroom for training and support in their first year) and depending on the school, there might be a solid curriculum and behaviour policy or you might be left to sink or swim.

    So apart from having that oft-quoted 2 years experience on your CV (I don't think I've seen many adverts that don't ask for it), it's also about making sure you have enough experience and know-how to manage what can be a very demanding role in a setting which you may find challenging.

    I'm not saying don't do it - I know people who have - but make sure you're ready, as it'll be quite a learning curve.

    Good luck!
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. englishiteacher1700

    englishiteacher1700 New commenter

    In America, we only "student teach" (the closing thing to your NQT year, I think) for a semester, then, in some states, are thrown into the deep end as full teachers.

    What countries did the people you know get their first jobs in? I'm open to pretty much anywhere, but if I have to stay stateside I'll just move to a more desirable place here and work it out.
  6. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Lots of jobs on TES in middle east, africa, khazakstan etc.. Give them a go.
  7. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    One little used route is to do your student teaching in an international school. Depends on the state, but often the requirement is simply that it must be done in an accredited school. Unis usually work with the same dozen public schools in their neighborhood, but that’s just convenience and habit. If you do the legwork, you could find an international school willing to take you. Possibly offering free housing if they have it. That experience could give you a leg up and maybe even lead to the school hiring you afterwards if you conduct yourself well.
    Another option is to start as a local hire. Obviously less money to be earned that way, but it gets you started up the chain and allows you to get overseas experience for those first couple years of teaching. Then you move on to another school as a recruited hire. Also ISS used to do an intern option for people in your position. Perhaps they still do?
    It’s good you’re thinking about this now. Too many people get sucked into the lowest level schools as they get started and actually make it harder for themselves in the long run.
  8. englishiteacher1700

    englishiteacher1700 New commenter

    I looked into the intern thing on ISS, but didn't know how later schools would view. Let's say I do my 2 years as an intern somewhere, anywhere, would I be able to parlay that experience into a bigger, better job somewhere else?

    I'd like to end up in China as soon as possible, and, if they'd accept that experience, the intern option might be the way to go.

    As far as the student teaching at an international school goes, my university actually offers that (two options: one at a DoD school in Germany, one in a number of different international schools). Would doing something like that help me find a job a lot?
  9. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Going the intern route gives you international experience that schools value (lots of people try to claim that their tourist trips give them international experience, but schools don’t value that at all). It’s an extra bonus when you’re competing with other young teachers. And it could lead into a “real” job at the same school, since schools like to hire the known quantity over the unknown. Or straight to another school.
    Very similar with the student teaching route. It gets you into the international world and lets you start learning how international schools function, so it’s the same bonus as the internship. Stay on there for your first full-on job, or move to an internship somewhere. It’s one more piece in your cv that puts you ahead of other young teachers.
    Not to mention the networking aspect. Meeting people who can share insight into how to make good career moves and who can say nice things about you when you apply to other schools where they are known.
  10. PhuMyHung

    PhuMyHung New commenter

    I completed my PGDE teaching cert in 2019 and just completed my first year of teaching (NQT). My goal was to go out to SE Asia after this year (COVID-19 put a swift stop to that).

    While applying for jobs this year I managed to secure two offers in tier 3 schools, which I would've taken under normal circumstances. However, I received little to no feedback from the more established schools. So, I would say it's possible but you have to temper your expectations. It does seem like getting the 2 years post qualification experience is worth it in the long run - as difficult as it may be.

    Looking on the brightside, I'll have this 2 year UK experience when I otherwise I wouldn't have.

    A question for the more seasoned teachers: When I apply for 2021/22 jobs, will I be viewed as having the required 2 year's experience even though I will be currently carrying out my second year?
  11. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    Yes :)
    PhuMyHung likes this.
  12. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    In the UK, your NQT year is a full year of employment. You're a fully qualified teacher (with about 10-12 weeks classroom experience) following your PGCE, but you can't teach in UK state schools without passing your NQT year within 5 years of qualifying (or something like that).

    Think of it as a probationary year.

    Generally, smaller, newer schools which don't command the same level of prestige as "tier one" schools may consider you. Unpopular countries and cities too.
  13. englishiteacher1700

    englishiteacher1700 New commenter

    What countries did you get the offers in? Was the pay similar to what UK teachers would make with similar experience?
  14. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Pay is often lower than back home, but once you adjust for cost of living, free housing, no taxes, free flights, etc, then disposable income and lifestyle are higher. Trying to do a direct comparison is misleading. Use numbeo.com as one tool to assist you.
  15. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As usual, gulfers is absolutely right. The only thing that I would add is transport. Buying a car and keeping it on the road can take a big bite out of your salary.
  16. PhuMyHung

    PhuMyHung New commenter

    Cambodia and Vietnam. The one in Cambodia would have been a fair bit less than what I'll be making in the UK this year and didn't have the full package of benefits. The one in Vietnam would have been the best of the three all things considered.

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