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Moving back to UK from abroad

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by miaht2, May 22, 2019.

  1. miaht2

    miaht2 New commenter


    I am considering moving back to the UK.

    I taught 2 years in the UK and then 4 years in Dubai, UAE as a Secondary Mathematics teacher.

    If I got a job in the UK as a Mathematics teacher again, do they take into account the years of teaching abroad?

    Can I go into a UK school expecting the pay of a teacher going into my 7th year?

  2. 576

    576 Established commenter

    There is no pay portability anymore.
    Any school can choose to pay you what they want within the bounds of a minimum and maximum, in accordance with their pay policy.

    Everyone else will be along shortly to tell you why you shouldn't go home, the hippo will undoubtedly mention council tax.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    There have been quite a lot of posts on the subject of returning to Dear Old Blighty on this TES Teaching Overseas forum, so maybe you should do a "Search", miaht2.

    Yes, sometimes elderly relatives need some TLC and family situations can change. If it is the right thing for you to do in terms of looking after the members of your family, miaht2, then I sincerely hope that it will work out well for you.

    In theory, it might actually be possible for someone who is currently teaching overseas to be homesick and miss some things back in the UK, such as Council Tax, OFSTED, bad weather, useless SLTS, pointless government initiatives in education, insane house prices, and losing all of your free periods because you have to cover for colleagues who are off sick for the next three months with stress-related illness or mental breakdowns. In reality, however, very few international teachers return to the UK. Why might that be, I wonder?

    Will you get a job in the UK? Well, not many schools seem to value international teaching experience. Most of them see it as a tax-free skive in the sunshine, away from the harsh realities of teaching in the UK. A lot of state schools in the UK seem to have problems balancing their budgets, so it is a bit unlikely that they will give you a job on a higher salary if they can find someone cheaper.

    Secondly, most schools in the UK expect you to attend face-to-face interviews and that might be a tad difficult if you are in Dubai.

    Wouldn't it be much more sensible to go somewhere else in the world? How about China? Or Bulgaria? Dubai is perhaps an exciting place, if you like motorways and shopping malls, but I have to say that there are one or two other countries that you should consider, instead of returning to the UK. If the UK is so wonderful, why did you leave it and go to Dubai?
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    xtra and Bentley89 like this.
  4. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    I don't think everyone leaves because the grass is greener. It is almost easier to return to the UK if you liked it in the first place and we do. We went overseas for the experience and travel opportunities. We returned to the UK, found jobs and are now considering returning to the international scene a few years on. If you are young and not on the UPS and competent at teaching maths you are likely to find work. You may even find a nice state school or private school - they do exist! Have you considered Europe as a half way house so you can access the UK easily or do you just want to return to the UK.
    I don't think you have been out of the UK for long enough for it to be a problem but you may find you are only paid as a third year teacher. I would say it depends on whether you are in a mickey mouse international school or not.
    If your heart says you should return to the UK and you will be happier there, then maybe you should consider it. International school teaching is just a different lifestyle and this varies from school to school and country to country. Your UK lifestyle as a teacher will also depend on where you live and which school you are in, so choose your school wisely. If you can live with parents and do supply for a while you will get a feel for schools. I think you already know all this in any case as you only left 4 years ago.
    By the way, I have heard of UK schools doing Skype interviews for very strong candidates, particularly in the private sector.
  5. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    Hairdo is spot on.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  6. MrsCurious

    MrsCurious New commenter

    Also agree with Hairdo. We lived abroad several years ago and enjoyed it, but came back to the UK because we like it. I worked in a private school, liked it and it wasn't the hellish experience described above by any stretch of the imagination. You can negotiate your pay in the private sector too - state schools have big budget problems and would be likely to pay as low as they can get away with.

    We are going overseas again, for 2-3 years for the financial benefit and the overseas experience for my young children. then we will return like we did last time, because we enjoy being around our families, would like to pay into UK pensions and value life in the UK too.
    Redparrotfish, hairdo and 24hours like this.
  7. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    this is my big problem with returning to the UK.... i dont actually like my family o_O
    T0nyGT, xtra, binaryhex and 3 others like this.
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, I went back to the UK fairly frequently while my Mum was alive, but after she died it seemed a bit pointless. I am writing this in the kitchen of our house in Bulgaria, listening to the birds singing in the trees at the end of the garden. I would not mind having a nice country house in the UK, but how much would that cost?
    welshwales likes this.
  9. MrsCurious

    MrsCurious New commenter

    aha, if that was me I'd stay abroad forever too but I quite like mine :)
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  10. MrsCurious

    MrsCurious New commenter

    This is our aim. About 600k which is why my husband and I are off to earn a lot (and have a nice time too!) in Singapore!
  11. 24hours

    24hours New commenter

    It depends where you decide to live in the UK really doesn't it - certainly, it's within the financial reach of teachers who have spent a decent amount of time working abroad.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  12. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Depends on where you live in the UK. You could get a nice house in the country for 200 000 if you stayed out of the expensive parts. You don't have to live around London or in the South.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  13. MrsCurious

    MrsCurious New commenter

    Agreed. My friends and family are in the South East though and my husband’s job is very London-centric so we will have to find the money!
  14. SineField

    SineField Occasional commenter

    My 2 cents....

    This forum has a lot of plus points in terms of sharing experiences, but the absolute reality is that the views here represent an infinitely small sample and should not be taken as some kind of gospel.

    Teaching in the UK has its problems no doubt but when people paint teaching abroad as some kind of utopian paradise it is deeply misleading.

    In the UK there is a significant gap between the 'best schools to work at' and 'the worst schools to work at'....... no question. However, this gap is paltry when compared to the gap that exists in the international circuit. The best schools are great to work at and will match if not exceed the teaching experience that can be gained from the UK. But make no mistake these are few and far between and can be extremely picky when it comes to candidates. You may have read stories about teachers earning $100K in country X..... but in many cases there is a very good reason for that, and often it isn't "We are the best school on the continent and can afford to charge accordingly"..... it is far more likely to be "There is very little to do here for Westerners and so we have to compensate for it somehow" or "If you step outside of the confines of the Westerners teaching/living bubble your life expectancy can all of a sudden take a turn for the worse."

    Crucially, the worst schools on the international circuit will make teaching in an Inner London school that failed its OFSTED seem like all your birthdays and Xmas have arrived at once. Whatever you say about the UK, fundamentally there are laws and procedures in place that can be relied upon and provide protection. The same can very rarely be said about schools abroad.... we all know about the Middle East countries that can bar your passport and prevent you from leaving the country and/or threaten you with fines or possibly worse. There are many, many countries that if any child protection issues arose against you, could easily result in you finding yourself in the 4th level of Hell itself!!

    Interested in teaching abroad?..... Good on you, it can be great and you can meet some great people BUT do not under any circumstances set out with your rose tinted glasses on assuming that you are about to enter Nirvana and find the meaning of teaching again.
  15. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I had never thought of my life as teaching Nirvana before. Thanks @SineField thats put a smile on my face
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Teaching overseas is definitely NOT a utopian paradise. Yes, I would agree with that SineField.
    Redparrotfish likes this.
  17. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    Definitely not a utopia. Can be good fun and rewarding though. My school isn't perfect and I don't think it's even close to being the top 100 on the continent but it's a pretty good place to work that pays a fair wage and where you can have a nice life. Manage your expectations and you can have a great time overseas/abroad.

    No regrets here, I moved for the adventure and the challenge even though I was enjoying teaching in a lovely state school in the UK so it was a risk. I won't get rich where I am but I am having a lot of fun.
    24hours, hairdo and dumbbells66 like this.
  18. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    My advice. Get a friend and a large wet fish. Watch the man hit by fish Monty Python sketch as training. Get said friend to slap you across the face with said fish until you get some sense in you.....

    Joking apart, although above is worth a try, why? Some people can't hack expat life (regardless of career) as they miss home, friends, family and home culture. Expats need to be resilient, self sufficient and confident in themselves. Relationships are far harder, friends come and go like a carousel until you may well give up making many friends.

    Of course some get guilty over teaching rich spoilt kids and simply miss being spat at, punched, verbally abused and treated like a slave dog by an insane government in a London comp (some might!) But whatever it is work that out first. Why? Can the problem be made better? Is it just you work in a toxic school? Muppet SLT (very common in international schools)?

    Going back isn't easy, reverse culture shock is far worse than culture shock.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  19. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    You can choose to be an Expat and then not an expat then an expat again. People who can choose either according to stage in life show confidence and resilience. Not everyone falls apart or is lacking resilience because at one time or other they may come home. There is nothing big or clever or more superior about being an expat teacher. In my experience some expats are just too scared to come home even though that is really what they may wish to do so.
    24hours, clovispoint and hallsa1 like this.
  20. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Too scared? No, I just cannot afford it.

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