1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Teaching in India

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by masreyya, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. Dear all, I am thinking about applying for jobs in India at the moment. Could anyone share their experiences of this please?
    Many thanks,
  2. Dear all, I am thinking about applying for jobs in India at the moment. Could anyone share their experiences of this please?
    Many thanks,
  3. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I worked in India from 2001 to 2005 and am in almost daily touch with friends still working there. I'd be glad to try and answer your questions but first I'd suggest a forum search as quite a lot has already been posted.
  4. Thanks Mainwaring I did a forum search and found out some interesting things. I think my basic questions are:
    1) What are the schools like there in general? Private? Not-for-profit? International? Reputable?
    2) Do teachers enjoy living there/working there?
    3) Any particular places you would recommend?
    4) What are the best/worst things about living/working in India?
  5. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    The older international ?hill? schools such as Woodstock and Kodaikanal are non-profit and generally professionally run but don?t pay big bucks. The UWC and Merc School in Pune are good. The best resourced/ best paid truly international schools are probably the Americans in Delhi and Mumbai.

    There are many new for-profit schools with very plush campuses run by rich business families who may have very little educational background and interfere at all levels, often with very unpleasant results for teachers. A number of them offer IGCSE and/ or IB but education tends to come a long way second after glitz and glamour. Some of them, such as one I know in Bangalore, give the impression of being very ?reputable? and aren?t. They often don?t have proper salary scales, which results in inequality and backbiting. Beware of any school which asks you what your ?expectations? are.

    With regard to enjoyment, I can only speak or myself. Sakara will probably give you his view and he?s had far more traumatic experiences in India than I have. I have a love-hate relationship with it, more so than any of the thirty-odd countries I?ve travelled in. Culturally and historically it is fascinating and the restaurants (including quite a lot of ?western? ones) are superb. In every sense Indians run the whole gamut from A to Z. Some are the gentlest people on earth and some the most violent; some the staunchest allies and others the slipperiest snakes. Outside my own family one of the three very closest friends I have is Indian.

    Impossible to say where would suit another person. Delhi and Mumbai are stimulating but frantic places. The traffic and pollution are horrendous, crime is a problem and the extremes of wealth and poverty constantly in view but there is always a lot to do. After four years in Delhi I now live half way up a hill in Andalucia above a village of 50 people.
  6. Totally agree with the Captain - India is 110% in everything, good and bad. We made some genuine friends for life, met open, generous souls who would share what little they owned, lived more vibrantly, excitingly and traumatically than I would have believed possible, as well as encountering some of the sneakiest, vile people one could imagine.

    Thing is - we both absolutely adore the place and (given sufficient failsafes re. money, stability and school management) would go back tomorrow.

    Except of course, we're now committed to the project we're with here in Egypt and will see it through because we're working for decent people who have been so good to us we couldn't dream of letting them down.

    It has also occurred to me that perhaps it isn't always a good idea to return to a place where you have lived and experienced life to the fullest - maybe subsequent sojourns there could only ever be an anticlimax and sour the memories.

    Just copied these notes from my diary which give some feel for what it was first like, a month or so after our arrival.


    Sitting in the passenger seat of the car, taking pictures with the auto focus camera I wish I?d never got, even though the zoom lens is a beaut.

    ?Ah look at that little girl squatting by the roadside!? I exclaim, ?what a sweetie ? can you just hang on while I get this camera sorted??

    ?I don?t think that she?ll thank you for taking her picture? I was told, ?since she?s having a sh1t?.


    Been here for a couple of weeks and, after a particularly long and arduous day decide to get an early night so I?m asleep by 9.45 p.m.

    Of course this means that I wake before dawn and so I quietly get up, shower and have a cup of tea looking out from the 9th storey window as the sun announces its intention to rise over the distant ghats.

    Below, a few people are stirring in the fishing village, the women draped in block colour saris while the men mainly wear only a pair of shorts or perhaps a dhoti. Nobody moves very fast, the temperature is already 30 Celsius and humidity levels remain high, but even so everything they need to do gets done with minimum fuss and effort. The resident Brahminy Kite, a splendidly red fellow with white head feathers circles above the tiny village looking for fish scraps whilst the mynah birds squabble over perches and the rock pigeons coo songs of love to each other and those of us who can speak their tongue. The egrets are already searching for small fish or other creatures among the pools and the pie dogs are forming their packs early ready to assert their territories and steal a few snacks here and there before the sun becomes too fierce.

    Life, I reflect, can be quite cool at times.


    Oh how I miss that country!!
  7. Thanks Sakara and Mainwaring, very interesting information. Sakara, I'm also in Egypt right now. So my next question would be - how does India compare to Egypt (if they are indeed comparable!).
  8. Oh that's a tough question. India is changing so rapidly now that anything I say may already be out of date regarding some areas, even though I was there only 4 years ago. But....

    Presuming you are in Cairo, you will be familiar with the traffic and the necessity to bargain over taxi fares and knick knacks, as well as the fact you can go to a Carrefour or Metro to get almost anything you can find in Europe.
    Our India wasn't quite like that. Some friends left Cairo last May to go to Mumbai and have followed up on some leads we gave them regarding shopping and eating out. My conclusion from their mails is that it really hasn't changed too much, but reports from friends elsewhere tell me it really has moved on, so we have a real division with reports of what it's like right now.

    India is more "in your face" than Egypt, as far as I'm concerned. Since one of the many official languages there is still English it's not too hard to make yourself understood, and Hindi is a lot easier to learn than Arabic, so if you go there you will be able to talk with the locals reasonably easily. But - it's less well policed and secure than Egypt, so it takes time to get to know the rights and wrongs of how to behave as a foreigner in India. If you go to an established school the guys working there will surely help you avoid the silliest mistakes or gaffes. It is also too easy to make the mistake of assuming, as we often do with Americans, that because someone has perfect or almost perfect English, they will think in the same way you do.

    They don't.

    When we arrived here direct from India our impressions were of cleanliness, good quality roads and that our school-supplied apartment was sumptuous (although smaller than the one we'd left) - plus, the local supermarkets were larger and better stocked than the ones we had to travel to in order to shop. Also - where were the aggressive beggars we had got used to?

    In essence - because India is a land of extremes, Egypt seemd to us to be a haven of civilisation, so as Mrs S just said, aspects of life in Egypt that might have been shocking if we had come here directly from the UK were simply not shocking at all - we'd seen much worse.

    Mrs S just read what I wrote and wanted to add some comments:

    If you love fabric, if you love colour, if you want life full-on then GO! It's like Marmite - you either love it or hate, but you'll never know until you try it.

    Besides, if you hate it you can always move on......
  9. Thank you Sakara for taking the time to reply in such detail. I have been to India a couple of times but on holiday you obviously don't get a feel for what it would be like to live there. Having said that, I loved what I saw. I would agree with you that India was far more intense than Egypt. I found Colaba in Mumbai quite depressing in terms of the poverty, chaotic traffic, pollution, but these factors are present in Egypt too. I have found lots of reasons to love Egypt despite this, and therefore I see no reason why India would be different in this respect. I don't think the time is right for me just now due to a lot of personal circumstances, but its useful to know for the future.
    Many thanks, maybe I'll bump into you one day at the BCA (just read your "soul food" post)! I haven't been there for a few years now (used to live near Nadi Sid) but you never know!

  10. Having spent three months in 2010 working in and around Indian schools for the less-privileged in Kerala, South India, I am interested to read what the contributors to this forum have said. I agree with everything. India is a maddening place and yet SO incredibly addictive. Organisation can never be said to be their strong point - inefficiency and chaos are the usual state of affairs. But it is SO full of paradox - colourful and exotic yet shoddy and makeshift, slovenly and yet spiritual, earnest yet corrupt, childlike yet world weary. Utterly fascinating!

    Education in Kerala is a strong social and political value which all strata of society yearn for and manage to access. The ultimate is the English medium school - schools where the language of teaching is English. Not all families can afford this type of education. Also the English levels of many of the teachers is not at a universally good level. There is such a thing as Keralan English which it takes several weeks to comprehend!

    There is a wide range of educational facilities depending on children's aptitudes but also on the depth of their parents' pockets. There is a world of a difference between the top rung international stye schools - well-endowed and thriving - and the charity-funded institutions for the less fortunate, which in Kerala often means coastal fishermen's families.

    There are quite a few opportunities for English speaking teachers wishing to take a grown up GAP year (or 6 months) to volunteer as Native English Speakers. Spoken English is the greatest need that all of these schools experience.

    One can access these teaching opportunities either through GAP organisations or directly with the schools - through their benevolent intermediaries - UK based people who have lived and worked in Kerala and are "friends" of various institutions. There is a network of contacts who can put a teacher in touch with schools looking for volunteer teachers in various subjects, not only English.

    For more information, please contact Madeleine Wheare mad@wheare.org
  11. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

  12. I liked the car school in Pune, small school but good place to work and better than most Int schools in India.
  13. I'm considering taking a job at <avoiding name but it's a school that offers IB that is NOT an American School in NDelhi and very close to AES> but despite requests, they are avoiding giving me the email address of an expat working there and they want a 3 year contract. Do you happen to know anything about this school?

Share This Page