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Prospects for an Experienced Teacher Couple New to International Teaching?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by TeacherMan2019, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. TeacherMan2019

    TeacherMan2019 New commenter

    First off - kudos to everyone on this board for creating the best overall international teaching resource that I've found online. Sincerely appreciate folks taking the time to genuinely answer questions and let others benefit from their experience.

    After lurking around for a few days, I decided to put my questions directly to all of you. Unfortunately, given my lack of international experience, I'm not sure what I can offer in return other than my gratitude. If anyone has any questions about coming over to Canada, I can probably get those answered for you!

    So here's the deal. My wife and I are both 31-year-old Canadian teachers (no children, no plans for any). She has five years in teaching early years (primary). I've got nine years under my belt teaching a variety of senior years (secondary) humanities courses, with a unique focus on personal finance and entrepreneurship in recent years. Without boring everyone with the rest of our CVs, I'll just say that we have extensive extracurricular backgrounds and I have an M.Ed. My questions are:

    1) What can we do in the next year to shine up our CVs to make ourselves as attractive as possible? I'm hearing that paying for a couple of IB courses out of pocket would help us check that "IB box" to a small degree, despite the fact we won't actually have taught an IB course when we apply.

    2) There are obviously some excellent, well-paying jobs all over the world. (I've looked at them on SA and ISC!) We believe that we'd like to focus on Asia (given that I don't think I could do the Middle East's climate, and the decent-paying European jobs are incredibly competitive). Without any international experience, is it reasonable to think that we would have a crack at some of the top schools in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, or Japan? Perhaps the "2nd tier" of schools just under the very top-paying options in those countries?

    3) Would anyone care to PM me in regards to what teaching in various parts of China is like? I have a friend that teaches at a non-international school in Shenzen and while he liked the city, wasn't a big fan of the school. I'm thinking the pollution levels in Beijing might take that one out of the running for me, but how about say Guangzhou or Shanghai? Are the pollution levels similar there? Compensation relative to the front runners I listed?

    Thanks again for your help and expertise!
  2. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    Cannot really answer your questions but think you will be much in demand. Schools love teaching couples as it saves them money. With your masters, you'd even have a crack at headships is some of the smaller schools too. It's a pre-requisite for the visa in the country in which i live but . . . sadly doesn't guarantee you can do the job if the last 3 Principals i've worked under are any guide. Put simply, out of their depth and lacking the skill set. ;)
    TeacherMan2019 likes this.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hello. One or two misguided people try to contact an ancient and smelly swamp-dwelling beast that is rumoured to wander around this TES forum. (No, I am not referring to my froggy friend.) Anyway, TeacherMan2019, I have sent you one of those "Conversation" thingies and so you need to click on your avatar and you will find it in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  4. TeacherMan2019

    TeacherMan2019 New commenter

    @frogusmaximus oh no worries I'm under no illusions that academic credentials are any indicator of competence. Simply a way to get my foot in the door. Thanks for your sentiments. Good to know that the lack of IB experience won't necessarily hold us back!
  5. mummalea

    mummalea New commenter

    Hi there, you might like to try some of the 'international' schools in Malaysia if you're looking at South East Asia. IB experience seems to be getting more popular there, but they also love A levels in KL for foreign university applications. Either way, if you're not up to speed on either discipline, the schools often buddy you up with staff who are, pay for courses or let you just dive right in anyway. All the best!
    TeacherMan2019 likes this.
  6. TeacherMan2019

    TeacherMan2019 New commenter

    Thanks @mummalea - It's not that I'm worried about being able to teach any particular curriculum (or maybe more accurately: withing a specific curriculum framework). It's more to the tune of what do I need to get on my CV to get a foot in the door. Maybe it sounds pompous, but I don't think that teaching inquiry-based education to a room full of motivated students will be all that difficult relative to what I've been doing the last ten years - it doesn't really matter what we label it haha.
  7. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    Surprised any of us know what we're doing to be honest given the even changing demands and latest 'mumbo jumbo' (Hippo will like that term) i've been fed at in house 'training' sessions for the last decade.

    Anyone ever heard of 'butchers' paper? Apparently if i'm not using it, i'm not doing things right by my kids, or so I was informed a year or two ago. Funny as I thought their were more than two ways to skin a cat but i guess being trendy keeps some on the 'captains deck'. o_O
    TeacherMan2019 likes this.
  8. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    OK so in terms of getting a job, Singapore can be very competitive, but your other suggestions less so. I've been in Beijing for 2 years and TBH although the pollution's not great, it's not as bad as many make it out to be and has improved in the last couple of years (though I notice that the next few days are not great!) I would suggest focusing on the 'tier 2' schools but don't be afraid to try the top ones too - after all, it's just an application and your time.

    For your courses, I would focus on your teaching in Economics & Business Studies, as these tend to be more popular in the Far East and Middle Kingdom than in, say, Europe or the US, so there are less teachers around. If you have on top of this the ability to teach, say, History or Geography to middle school / MYP / Key Stage 3 kids, then, as we might say in Scotland, "yer dancin'" and you are more likely to get a job. Even better if you are able to add a bit of Maths to it too.
    TeacherMan2019 likes this.
  9. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    Fully qualified and experienced Canadian teachers are generally well respected on the circuit. Business / Humanities and early years seems like a good balance. For you, have you ever taught AP or similar ? That can help.

    I wouldn't count anything out. I've known a few teachers go straight into 'top tier' (whatever that means) international schools from their home country. I'd sign up with Search and aim to attend one of their larger job fairs. Best of luck :)
    TeacherMan2019 likes this.
  10. TeacherMan2019

    TeacherMan2019 New commenter

    This is excellent feedback, @amysdad thank you very much. Got the M.Ed. and history is actually my major. Advanced maths is likely beyond my capability unfortunately. Economics and business is definitely where my heart is. I also have a bit of a unique curveball in that I've created and taught a personal finance course for the last five years. I doubt anyone will list a job for a personal finance teacher, but maybe it will pique someone's interest?

    You'd say that Taiwan and HK are slightly less competitive than Singapore then? So many great schools in HK from what I'm reading.
  11. TeacherMan2019

    TeacherMan2019 New commenter

    Thanks @yasf, appreciate the feedback. Haven't taught any AP or IB courses unfortunately. I think my wife and I will pay our own way for a couple IB courses next year just to be able to talk the jargon and check that box to some degree.

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