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Returning to the UK

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by ames1978, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. I have been teaching at the same school in Dubai for 5 years; prior to this, I taught for 5 years in two schools in the UK (3 years in one, 2 in the other) and held promoted posts in both schools. In the time that I have been teaching in Dubai, I can honestly say that my approaches to teaching and learning have improved significantly. I have been promoted to HoD, our results are consistently excellent (100% A* - C for English GCSE, 100% A - C for A Level) and I have been seconded to SMT; I have been part of focus groups on everything from teaching and learning, to assessment, to CPD, and have ad an input in many decisions made in terms of school development. In short, I think I am pretty good at my job (without wanting to sound full of myself!). I have now decided to return to the UK and I know that this is probably not the best time to do this with the economic situation being the way that it is, but I have applied for two jobs so far (I know, it is only two) and I have not been shortlisted for either of them. I also know it is early to be applying and that more jobs will come up as the academic year progresses, but I wondered if anyone else has had difficulty with securing a job after a stint teaching abroad? I appreciate that this might sound a bit like a rant (I suppose it is one, in a way) but I would very much appreciate some views/experiences from others who have been in a similar situation. Do UK schools see overseas experience as worthwhile/enriching?

    Thanks :)
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I absolutely agree with happygreenfrog. If you are so keen on returning to the UK, why did you get a job in an international school in the first place? Yes, you might not have any choice and you simply must return to the UK to look after your sick mother, but otherwise anyone in their right mind should stay overseas. Just thinking about the traffic congestion in London during the Olympics ought to persuade anyone to stay abroad.
    Have a look at some of the postings on the "Unemployed Teachers" forum and then perhaps you will understand how lucky you are to be teaching overseas. It seems that lots of teachers in the UK are finding it harder and harder to find any supply work, let alone a proper job!
  3. Thanks so much for the constructive feedback - I really appreciate you taking the time to belittle my decision.
  4. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I can see where the other posters are coming from when they say stay overseas because of the situation at home. You are (presumably) fairly young so being overseas should still be an adventure.
    However I also can sympathise with you completely when you say you want to go back to UK. You are in the minority, yes, when it comes to most o/seas teachers on this forum but that doesn't mean your need to go home is invalid or worthless.
    I have been overseas for 10 years, 5 in my present school. I also would like to go back to UK, but for different reasons to yourself.
    As far as UK schools/headteachers goes, I suggest that, if you aren't already doing so, you actually promote the fact that you have been overseas (broadens the mind, develops open outlook, multicultural understanding and empathy, confidence in unusual/foreign situations).
    Like another poster said, it will be down to the individual schools and headteacher as to whether they view your experience positively or not - but there isn't much you can do about that other than the above.
    By the way - which school are you in as this may also affect your chances
    Good luck
  5. Having been in your position a couple of years back, you have my complete sympathy. Having applied for any remotely suitable job in my chosen geographical area I found it dispiriting in the extreme to get no response to applications for jobs I'd effectively done a decade ago let alone those at the level I'd been at overseas.

    As has been said, a lot depends on individual Heads. Some are parochial in the extreme, some more open minded. In the end I got an interview a few days after I got back to the UK for a job in FE, a sector I hadn't worked in before, got the job and haven't looked back since. I spent over 10 years abroad in four different countries but had to return for family reasons. It can be done.

    P.S. don't be surprised to find yourself looking at the TES overseas vacancies with a wistful air every now and again though!
  6. A school in the UK will not (possibly can not) appoint you without a face to face interview. Do you say in your applications that you are willing to travel to the UK.
    I returned to the UK a few years ago (and went back overseas after two years). I had no success until June when schools knew I could come in for an interview. I had four interviews lined up in two days, went to two and was offered both and accepted one of them so didn't go to the others.
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    ames1978, a certain amount of ribbing and leg-pulling is par for the course on this forum.
    I was (and still am) trying to make the very serious point that the job stituation for teachers in the UK seems to have changed a lot (and for the worse) during the time you have been in Dubai. The point about interviews is also a valid one. On the other hand, you are ideally placed in Dubai to attend the Search jobfair, so why not go along in January (or whenever it is) and see what turns up? Your experience of teaching in international schools will definitely be valued and appreciated by the principals of other international schools, whereas in the UK it may not count in your favour quite so much.
  8. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    And, unlike many international schools in Europe, the tight-fisted bastards aren't willing to pay for a flight - and this includes the independents.
  9. Thank you - I had communicated to one school, who contacted me that I would be prepared to fly back but I will make this explicit in my letter. Your comments have definitely buoyed my confidence so thanks again for taking the time to respond: I really do appreciate it.
  10. Thanks for your comments, they are much appreciated :)
  11. Ribbing and leg-pulling I can take: your comments, as far as I am concerned, don't really fall into either of those categories. I came on here to ask for advice, not for my decision to be questioned and dissected. I have kept up with UK issues while I have been abroad so am fully aware of the job situation for teachers. I am glad to have received some helpful responses to my (very genuine) request.
  12. hi ames, I was in a similar position to you last year, I had been teaching overseas for 5 years and wanted to return to the uk, mainly to be nearer to family. I loved my time overseas but am also really appreciating being back.
    The job situation is competitive, as you know, but it is possible to get something. I focused most of my applications around May, just before half term, made it clear in my application statement that I would be in the UK between particular dates (no flight booked at that point, but made sure I covered the interview date for each school), and managed to get 3 interviews close together, I was then offered one of the jobs.
    As others have said, it depends very much on the individual headteacher, in my case (Primary, South of England) I seemed to have more luck either with multicultural schools with a higher proportion of children with EAL, or with independent schools. I had tried to keep up to date with curriculum developments by reading, some CPD within my international school, and paying for a couple of courses myself in the UK in that final year before returning.
    A colleague also successfully returned at the same time as me, to a different part of the UK, and in fact went to a promoted post. I think if you have been in a good international school and have done your research and sell yourself a bit- some luck definitely involved as well- you do stand a good chance of getting something. I was put off a bit by posters on this forum at the time, so I just wanted to reassure you that there is some hope! Good luck with your move.
  13. Thanks so much - that is very reassuring :)
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    If any of my posts were ever to go beyond the bounds of decorum, ames1978, then I am sure that those trusty guardians of morality, the TES moderators, would immediately delete them.
    If you post things on a public forum of this nature, then you really cannot expect everyone to agree with you and only to tell you what you want to hear. This forum is set aside for those who have an interest in teaching overseas, not for those who are trying to get jobs in the UK, so a certain amount of scepticism and critical comment is only to be expected.
  15. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    I hate to agree with a hippo but in this case I do. I have gone overseas with my eyes wide open knowing returning would be extremely difficult, however for me it is one way and I never want to live in the UK again unless I am forced to. I am not sure my fellow teachers (mostly new to international schools) understand the risk though of international teaching and the need to allow for a return jobless - so savings required! You need one year's worth of savings to return. Remember you need tp pay flat deposits etc if you don't own a house, or have parents to stay with.
    And on a public forum the obvious will be stated. Throw a pen out of a job centre window and you are bound to hit an unemployed teacher. I remember a Smith and Jones sketch where a tramp is on a rubbish pile looking for things to sell, and the punch line was he was a teacher trying to make do. That seems relevant today! Unless you are a physics or chem teacher of course! If MFL then join the long q (or get an office job), English longish q, Maths shortish q but still bad, and Biology (or "sports science" or whatever) Well get on the rubbish tip for food!

    It may change in a few years as trainee teachers have voted with their feet. And not applied for PGCEs. I think good advice, get another post somewhere fresh and wait and see. And of course ask yourself one question. Can you still teach UK kids after the delights of real children overseas? That is one's that act like children not teenage tearaways. And 100% A*-C sounds awful for an international school. Where I teach B is a fail. In UK a head will think the same!

    Good luck with your job search!
  16. ITA76

    ITA76 New commenter

    I myself returned from teaching abroad in 2006.I had been HOD and held various other positions of responsibility whilst abroad -sadly this counted for nothing when I returned and it took a very long time to get a job -I had to do supply etc.

    I thought I had kept up with what was happening in the UK but in reality I think this is impossible to do when overseas to a certain extent.

    The job Market here in the UK for teachers is awful at the minute. It is very difficult to get a job and a lot of schools want the cheapest person for the job. it does depend if you are a secondary or primary. Secondary is very hard at the min.

    Good luck!
  17. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka, "Lighten up, Francis".

  18. I don't like/use the modern abbreviations that some do, so this made me laugh out loud.


  19. I worked in the Middle East for eight years and was actually working part time after having my second child when I applied to the UK. I got a promoted post as HOD in a boarding school. It was a January start, so I was able to attend the interview in the UK. It is possible to return to a promoted post. Good luck. (Incidentally, now moved again and working Internationally! Still miss many aspects of Middle Eastern life and would return if the right jobs came up!!)
  20. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    On the whole, it does appear that independent schools in the UK are more likely to look favourably upon teachers who have gained some experience of teaching in international schools.
    Yes, helpfulnomad, it is indeed possible to attend some interviews in the UK when teaching overseas, but in my experience it really is a pain in the neck and absolutely exhausting to have a flight and then and interview and then another flight!

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