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Need Assistance w/ Job Search and the Entire Process

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Unconventional33, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. Unconventional33

    Unconventional33 New commenter

    ***Posted this elsewhere, but thought I'd give it a try here as well**

    Hello Everyone,

    I am new to international teaching, I had a very brief experience a few years ago where I applied directly to a school, interviewed with the principal (some hiccups with skype call), he followed up with my principal at the time, checked references - but the director had someone else in mind for the position (as per our conversation on Skype, but he would let me know) and I don't believe my principal at the time was too keen on letting me go. Anyway, I am looking into teaching specifically in Portugal. I am not in it to make a lot of money (I am aware Europe is not the place to do so based on a few comments I have read on the site). The reason I am choosing Portugal is related to family, moving closer, familiarity with language and culture, and just really wanting to live there.

    I have 6 years of teaching experience and I am currently on my 7th year of teaching Language Arts in middle school. My classroom experience has been 1-year Bilingual (English/Spanish) language arts teacher as part of an 18-month dual Masters/teaching program, 3 years 6th and 7th grade language arts teacher, and most currently 2 years of just 6th grade ELA.

    Considering the specificity of my search, I am wondering how to go about job searching and applying. Should I join any particular job sites? When is the best time to search for openings? Is it inappropriate to contact schools directly if they have no job postings currently? Also, would it be beneficial to get my Portuguese citizenship as my family are Portuguese? I also noticed there are many British schools but I am certified in the US with experience in American schools, would this be an issue as far as securing a job?

    I want to thank anyone who can help ahead of time.
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Having Portuguese citizenship is going to be a massive help as (I'm assuming you are American) it means you won't need to apply for a visa and work permit. This would then open up the British schools to you a bit more - they are used to employing British and Irish nationals who (currently) don't need a visa so aren't used to that process.

    There are some American curriculum schools in Portugal - one in Porto, I think - but there are far more British schools. Assuming Maths doesn't make you panic, you might want to look at applying to the Primary sections of British/English schools, especially Years 5 & 6 (Key Stage 2). Most of your experience would be parallel to Key Stage 3 English teaching in the English system... but very few schools would want to hire somebody just to teach Key Stage 3.

    It can't hurt to apply directly to schools. When I was job hunting, Portuguese jobs often popped up on the TH agency's website.

    Good luck!
    Unconventional33 likes this.
  3. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Contact every school in Portugal and inquire. Keep actively scanning job sites, including local Portuguese ones. Visit as many schools as you can and make your interest known in person. Use all your existing contacts, and make new contacts if possible. Apply, apply, apply.
    It probably wouldn't do you any good to join an agency given the limited scope of your search.
  4. Unconventional33

    Unconventional33 New commenter

    I love math. Most of the grade 6 students come to me for help, because they feel the actual math teachers don't do a good enough job at explaining the material.

    Thank you so much for the invaluable feedback, especially the information on Key Stage 2 and 3 - I was still a bit perplexed when seeing it on so many of the job postings and deciding whether or not I would qualify for that specific position. We use different terminology here in the US.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to give me great information.
  5. Unconventional33

    Unconventional33 New commenter

    Thank you. I will definitely try reaching out to some of the schools. When might be the best time to reach out?
  6. Unconventional33

    Unconventional33 New commenter

    Now that recruiting season is on full blast. I was hoping to get a little more insight. I know my situation might be a bit unique because the scope of my search is extremely limited and my reason for trying the whole overseas thing is a bit different too.

    Does anyone have any other advice that can guide me on this search. I applied to one school very recently, sent a CV through an automated email for another which didn't have any current positions posted, and reached out to one school which gave me a date to reach out again as they would know at that time if any positions would be available. However, I am thinking of reaching out to some of the British schools although I don't have experience in the system.
  7. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    Applying to one school is unlikely to get you far. Middle School language Arts teachers aren't particularly sought after, so you will need to just send your CV and a covering letter to every school in the country.
    Try to sell yourself as an English, EAL & Spanish teacher to the British schools. You'll be expected to teach up to Y11 most likely (Grade 10). Teaching one Grade is not heard of unless you are a primary (elementary) teacher.
    Good luck and let us know how it goes. PS - have you got your Portuguese passport yet ?
    Unconventional33 likes this.
  8. Unconventional33

    Unconventional33 New commenter

    I started assuming that it was uncommon for a teacher to teach only one grade when I was looking at the job postings. However, there is one school that I looked into where teachers teach one middle grade but teach both Language Arts and Social Studies for their specific grade. I do have enough credits to get a middle school social studies certificate, not sure if I should just take the test and apply for the certificate...I would gladly do it if it would open me up to some more opportunities.

    I don't have my citizenship/passport yet, but my brother has already gone through the process and he got it done fairly quickly. I guess it helps that our parents are both Portuguese - it's just a matter of presenting birth certificates and getting some documents translated.

    I do have certification to teach elementary, but I much prefer middle school. I guess I wouldn't mind 5th grade.
  9. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    Yes, that is quite common in American style schools. British style schools would require that you teach the whole age range - especially smaller schools. As a Spanish / EAL teacher, I found myself at some schools teaching the whole range from Grade 1 to 12 with everything in between. Now, as an EAL teacher in a much larger school I find myself generally just teaching 2 or 3 grade levels.
    Unconventional33 likes this.
  10. Unconventional33

    Unconventional33 New commenter

    How do you DM/PM someone on this site. I would like to ask a few more questions, if you don't mind.
  11. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    I've sent a 'conversation'
  12. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    My wife and I wished to settle in her home country. As gulfgulf suggests I contacted every international school located there - email, CV, cover letter - and a couple of months in, got the phone call, the interview and the job with the head admitting she simply looked through the pile of emailed applicants in her in tray without the need to advertise.

    Having a partner, previous experience living in that country, or the language skills, suggests you may stay longer than the average, so a win win for all. Good luck.
    yasf likes this.

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