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Teaching abroad VS teaching in Britain?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by WTDT, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. WTDT

    WTDT New commenter

    Hello! I was hoping to find out more about what it is like teaching abroad. I am a teacher in the UK with one foot in and one foot out of the classroom. I left full time employment last April and have been doing some part time work since then. I have been exploring different options and wanted to know more about teaching abroad (Europe, Middle East etc etc) - It would be great to hear how workload, pay, hours, behaviour compare to the UK? Many thanks! M
  2. 576

    576 Established commenter

    In my experience every school is different .
  3. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    As is every teacher's perspective.
    bec_payne and 576 like this.
  4. WTDT

    WTDT New commenter

    I agree with both comments. There are trends over time and it clear that the current trend is that education in the UK is in crisis because of teacher retention. It can't be argued that teacher workload is directly related to it. Articles like this one from the Guardian:


    ...paint a rosy picture of schools abroad - but as you say, every school and teacher is different.

    So it would be great to get a range of personal experiences.
  5. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    I doubt if many people are going to lay it out for you like that. I would encourage you to read this forum for a few months. That'll give you the best insight. Personally, I've lived in north Africa, which was quite stressful at times. Then China, which was a bit chilly in the winter with no central heating. Now I'm somewhere in southeast Asia, where I have a nice house, a car, the weather is warm and I live 1 km from the beach. The money is a bit **** though. No regrets, but I probably wouldn't do north Africa again.
  6. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    Really? That word isn't that bad.
  7. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    I went from working in a school in the UK where I was sworn at and threatened daily to a school abroad where the kids are happy to see me, are kind, and want to learn. Obviously you have to choose where you move carefully, but for me it's night and day. My school isn't perfect by any means but Im much happier and actually look forward to work.
    Teachallover and T0nyGT like this.
  8. 576

    576 Established commenter

    On the other hand I received death threats overseas and felt very unappreciated in that school compared to the UK comp I left.

    In my 3rd overseas job now - workloads probably not very different to each other with the exception of the boarding school I was in.

    Pay has always been sufficient for me to live comfortably and travel during holidays.

    I've done overseas govt school, private boarding and private day and you can't compare them.
  9. Leonardo1983

    Leonardo1983 New commenter

    Different for everyone of course but I don't think there are many on this forum rushing to return to teaching in the UK.
    When teaching in Spain it was very similar to the UK but with smaller class sizes, lower salary and more enjoyable social life.
    In my second overseas location my current workload and stress are lower than when I was a HoD in the UK.
    More money is also a big draw so I've personally no plans to ever return to the UK for teaching.
  10. WTDT

    WTDT New commenter

    What do you teach?
  11. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Loved my time teaching in London with very challenging kids. My hours were long but went above and beyond my duties. Had a fairly lucrative pay as well and my pension was matched 3x. That was back in 2007 though.

    I love my job in general. Money was never an issue, never had to save money to go on a holiday when I was in the UK. In saying that my current posting is my most lucrative position. I work for it though.

    It's not all bells and rainbows. Each to their own and yes... Every school and location is different.
    WTDT likes this.
  12. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Had a truly awful time in Spain, but everywhere else i have been the UK just simply can't compare. Less working hours, more holidays, better kids, smaller classes, significantly better resourced. Then you add on an embarresingly better pay packet, accommodation, flights, medical, utilities etc.....i am NEVER EVER EVER returning to the UK.
    Leonardo1983 likes this.
  13. yasf

    yasf Occasional commenter

    Be careful not to compare apples with oranges. Most people's experience in the UK is the state sector, and they then move to independent schools overseas.
    That said, generally the money is better and the workload is less insane. However as people have pointed out, it's all very individual.
    thenamesnevers, WTDT and dumbbells66 like this.
  14. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    It depends not just on the school, but you too.

    My experience is long, but limited in scope and I would say that some schools abroad lack the rigorous level of scrutiny that you get in the UK state sector.

    This can be a blessing and a curse. If you are experienced and flexible, you can enjoy the freedom while still being able to work. If you are less experienced, you may feel the rug has been whipped out from under you and feel lost.

    Likewise, coping with life in a new country. It can be exciting and invigorating, but also lonely and tiring. The weather matters hugely. Depending on where you are, you might feel locked indoors for periods of the year.

    Pay depends on cost of living and benefits package. Some places offer generous packets, others don't. Small print matters: barebones medical cover will do you no good if you suffer a health crisis.

    It's different. It requires a lot of other things from you. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything.

    I love it, but not everyone does. I feel more valued out here.

    If you're really considering it, I would do some research. Choose some geographical areas, find out what the general packages are like, what individual schools are like. Find posts in this forum about that area. You'll be in a better position to judge then. Lumping the whole world together makes it hard to get into specifics.
  15. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    Second this. Maybe my view is skewed as I taught in a particularly awful LEA but my worst day overseas would have been an average day in the UK. Behaviour for me is a big issue. I didn't train to be a prison guard so I don't want to do that. Having students who listen and take part even if your subject isn't their absolute passion makes a huge difference. On top of that, the constant threat of OFSTED hanging over you and being told your worse than you were when you walked through the door 10 years ago is a massive stress reliever. I'm sure it's not the case of 'the grass is always greener' everywhere though.
    Mr_Frosty and WTDT like this.
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, the grass is often greener - over the septic tank. There seems to be an assumption on this TES Teaching Overseas forum that it is always better to be teaching just about anywhere except the UK. Although I am a great fan of teaching in international schools, as regular readers of the pachyderm's online ramblings will already know well, there are some downsides too. There are quite a few scummy so-called "international" schools and if you have the misfortune to teach in one of them, then your life can be pretty miserable.
    WTDT and T0nyGT like this.
  17. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    I started as middle school. Currently in primary.
  18. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    There are some great state schools in the UK where people are really happy. I wasn't lucky enough to work in one. If you read the comments in that article, many people seems to think we're traitors who probably can't teach anyway. They clearly have no idea how the system in the UK can utterly break you.

    Money wasn't a factor for us moving overseas. We just didn't want to the in the UK anymore. I'm earning significantly less than I did but I actually have a life and can enjoy it.

    Working overseas isn't for everyone and I think we really struck it lucky ending up in a school and country where we are happy. You really have to do your research before taking the leap. Due diligence and all that
  19. ToK-tastic

    ToK-tastic New commenter

    I taught for 12 yrs in UK state sector before leaving for Asia, I have now taught for 14 years in IB Schools in Asia (HK, KL & BKK). I love teaching in IB schools, I love teaching in Asia, and I am very happy to have 'escaped' the UK. However, the UK vs 'rest of the world' is not really the question you may want to ask yourself.

    I got a lot of satisfaction from teaching in the UK, I was committed to making a difference, and saw my role as having a wider social function. I left for all of the usual reasons (push factors from UK, pull factors to Asia). I have absolutely loved the last 14 years in Asia (I hope that there's a few more to come), and have never once regretted the decision to leave. The 3 IB schools that I have worked at in Asia not only have a clear mission but are also actually able to put that into practice as they are free from political control, Ofsted and govt. funding. As such I get even more fulfilment from my job. The students that I have taught in Asia have been incredibly friendly, hard working & well meaning. I have never experienced a moment of aggression here as I did every day in the UK. The work ethic of the students is light years ahead of those I worked with in UK.

    Finally my lifestyle in Asia far outstrips anything that I ever had in the UK. School is far less stressful and demanding, therefore my energy levels & mood allow me to do more in my own time than to work at home, or retreat to the pub. My teacher's wage goes much further than it would in the UK, the travel opportunities are better, the the vibe of HK & BKK is more dynamic than even London. This is not about teaching abroad, this is about changing my life, my horizons and experiences. The location of teaching is just one small part of that decision. The question I ask myself is 'do I want a more colourful, exciting and unexpected life ?'
  20. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    Yes! This! *points up*
    yasf and suem75 like this.

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