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Primary School Teacher of 2 years looking to work abroad - advice needed urgently!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by naomihislop, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Hello, I was really hoping for some detailed advice on the best route to teach abroad and what the experience is going to entail in terms of quality of life and workload etc... I have been looking at various teaching agencies for certain parts of the world, international teaching jobs on the TES website and even thinking of teaching in a military community. I just don't know what the best way is. I don't just want to teach english, I would like to teach the whole curriculum so I am leaning towards international school vacancies. I wondered if anybody had any advice or experience themselves teaching abroad and if teaching in an international school is just like here pretty much in terms of workload and expectations? I do have my heart set on Africa and Asia, not really looking at Europe or America... Any advice would be greatly appreciated and because closing dates are looming I do need to get sorted soon so the quicker response, the better! Many many thanks in advance! Naomi
  2. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    So much depends on where you are going to, both country and school.
    In many countries you will live comfortably with an accommodation and salary package (less money in total than back home but possibly with more disposable income due to lower costs, lack of housing bills and cheaper standard of living). It may be tax free and you can even save money as well as live comfortably, including great holidays, but that depends on your lifestyle of course. You need to remember it is not like living at home and whilst some things you can replicate: join a gym, watch the movies; others you may not be able to: clubbing or pubbing. I ride a scooter to work and live in the community rather than near ex-pats, who I prefer to avoid. It was easy to find a local partner which of course helps tremendously with the language problems, though you'll find English speakers all over the place and shopping is pretty similar the world over and international stores are often found round about if needed.
    The work load is less where I've been. I still work hard and get up early but the demands on handing in planning or producing reams of paperwork which will never be looked at, are not as great, and you don't feel under as much pressure; it is hoped you can get on with what is expected really, and why experienced tecahers are valued especially in smaller schools. Further, kids in International schools are 'soft' and often lacking in attention at home. You can concentrate on the teaching rather than class management, aided by small class numbers. I'm also shocked at how much free time I get - the games and local language lessons are done by others - which is something i was not used to coming form a UK 'no time release' environment. More than likely you'll get a classroom assistant as they are cheap labour relative to your own salary.
    On the downside, you may have local kids join your class who cannot speak English at all. That can be challenging. Further, the resources are not always available for what you want to do: limited sports equipment, no art materials and even lack of english texts, books and no backing papaer or card. the internet maybe very unreliable or crawlingly slow. We have regular power outages too, just as your lesson is getting going and you lose all your smart board work. The parents also expect a little more communication and you may find it unavoidable to visit homes for meals or socialising, which can lead to other problems.
    On arrival you could find yourself well supported with a school helping you find accommodation, even if only for the first year. You'll probably realise which you've landed in before you set off as you will be kept informed. Again though, I must emphasise that experiences will be wide ranging on here (mine is based on 3 schools: one in Europe and 2 in the far east). A larger school may be a better option for a first time out post simply as you just get a little more support and are more likely to find a friend, with a small school maybe only having 6 expat staff
  3. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    p.s. regarding your username, you will find most on here don't give away much about who they are in fear of being outed. school managment will be on here and it is best to not allow them to identify you in case you put your foot in it.
  4. Have to agree with much of what HGF says. I would definitely use a different name for on here. Assuming you are female, just be aware that unfortunately this can affect your experiences. Nothing to do with you, but the way women are looked upon in certain countries (my experience is SE Asia based). You don't mention your family/relationship situation. Should you have a partner, they may struggle to get a visa to be where you want to go, unless you are married. Should you be single, you may have unwanted attention from the locals, or be ignored by expatriate males. This may be a problem for you, or that may be just what you want. I know of many who have found this particularly frustrating.
    I recommend you do searches about any prospective schools, find out as much as you can, search for info on here, about countries and schools if possible. Join International Schools Review, it's not that expensive. Read lots and lots of reviews, get used to reading between the lines and working out which ones are worth listening to. Join Search, should be free if you are in the UK, it's a hassle to set up, but you can research schools and their packages and get a good idea of what is out there. Many people move abroad each year, it might feel scary, but it is perfectly possible. Cast your net wide, don't be too picky about where you look to move to. Day to day work wise, I find there is less emphasis on collecting evidence to prove that you are doing a good job, and therefore you are allowed to do that job. Don't expect an easy ride though. There are plenty of challenges, parents being one of them. PM me if you want more specific info.

  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Dear Naomi,
    I have sent you a PM.
    The Hippo

  6. Many thanks for your advice, a lot useful information you may not tend to think about! What do you suggest to take out there in terms of resources? Is this something I would ask the school if I managed to get a place? Also, without sounding too pessimistic, if things weren't to go as expected or I needed to come home in an emergency, can you give notice on contracts for 2 years? Thank you again!
  7. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    I'm in primary KS2 and travel with everything I've ever made on the laptop. When I'm in the UK i scan scan scan anything I can. I've got every text from Year 3 to Year 6 scanned for 4 different literacy scheme book and photos of art activities I've had kids complete in the past. If it will help, scan it. In addition I've bundles of sheets, many adapted and improved after downloading from various online sites, which are always first port of call when looking for topic resources.
    Of course all that is backed up and carried on two differnt memory sticks. My bible of teaching if you like. [​IMG] Remember, sometimes you cannot assume the school will have photocopy facilities, a smartboard or reliable internet, though most have.
    I find schools are loathe to admit how little they have until you get there and many times those in charge of a school have little idea what resources a classroom teacher may actually need i.e. somewhere down the line they may have ordered some **** books - '100 Literacy Hours' - and thought they'd covered all their text needs. One school had NO TEXTS or READING BOOKS. It was unclear to me how they had taught English for the previous 3 years.

  8. rednelly84

    rednelly84 Occasional commenter

    In my experience, (I work in the ME), it is written into your contract that you are allowed 7 days compassionate leave per year for say the death of a blood relative. If you are required to be at home for a longer period of time, say to care for a sick relative, this is up to the discretion of the school.
    You forfeit any rights to end of year bonuses, flight allowances etc if you give less than 3 months notice on your 2 year contract. This also applies if you break your contract after 1 year, if you have signed a 2 year contract. In the ME you are not permitted to change jobs half way through the year. Employment law has changed about 15 months ago. Before, a professional employee who broke their contract to pursue another job was given a work ban for 6 months, meaning that you could not take up your new position unless your company was willing to fight for you. Now, that rule does not exist. The school with whom your original contract is with will more than likely request a work ban but they no longer stand up.
    Hope this helps a little.

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