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Trailing teacher spouse - has this worked out for anyone?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by hairdo, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Please could I have advice of people who have experience of this, either themselves or friends?

    We are looking at Singapore or Malaysia. But, at the moment it looks like there will only be a job for one of us.

    What happens if you are both teachers but only one works, especially when it comes to moving on to another international school?

    Have any trailing spouses found a way of using their time or finding local employment so there is a second income?
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As regular readers of the pachyderm's online ramblings will already know, Mrs Hippo did get a bit of piano teaching in China. Then she got some modelling work.

    Sometimes there will be opportunities for private tutoring and that can be enjoyable and very lucrative. Sometimes an unexpected teaching vacancy pops up and hey presto! Your husband / wife is living round the corner and is available. This might save the school a lot of time and / or money.

    These days, the principal may well think that all of his or her ducks are in a row, but then they have two or three "no shows" in August and someone needs to think of something quick!
    Kartoshka likes this.
  3. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    It does work out for many, though not for all. I recommend thinking it through thoroughly. What will the trailing spouse do with their time? Home and child care first, to make life easier for the employed spouse, and provide lots of quality time on weekends that used to go to errands? Volunteer work to keep life meaningful? Attempting to find work? Filling a day can be tricky unless one has goals and intentions. And if the two partners don't agree on what the trailing spouse "should" be doing... that's a recipe for disaster.
    An unhappy trailing spouse is also a pretty good indicator that the couple will move on as soon as the first contract is up, if not sooner. Schools will want to avoid this, so they'll want to see that you have a plan to make it work.
    Our family did it for one year. For us, it was great. We knew what we wanted, and we knew it would just be one year. It probably could work for us long term too, if money didn't matter, and the employed spouse was happy in their job.
  4. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Thanks Hippo. Is local hire teacher pay usually ok in international schools?
  5. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Thanks gulfgolf. The trailing spouse would be happy doing voluntary work, or being a spouse who lunches or learns a new skill. The trailing spouse would also be a positive thing initially to take the pressure off the working spouse while moving and to settle the sprogs in. In the long run though the TS would want to have some work to bring in some money and not feel like a spare wheel!
  6. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    My mother went overseas as a trailing spouse in the 70s and 80s - Sudan, Yemen, Kenya. She'd previously been a sales manager, but after doing some voluntary teaching work at an orphange, she qualified as a Montessorri teacher by correspondence. She ended up setting up a very successful nursery school back in the UK 20 years ago. She started out-earning my Dad in the early noughties, so when my grandmother needed full-time care, he was the one who quit work to do it.

    So, yes, it can work out for a trailing spouse...
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    There is no easy definition of what is and what is not "local hire". If you are an expat teacher, then you ought to get the expat apy and benefits. Some scummy schools will try to cut corners, of course.
  8. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    There is a lot of opportunities for volunteering in refugee schools in KL, my husband is doing that and is finding it very rewarding. We feel very fortunate that my wage is enough for both of us to live on comfortably, so it frees him up to do volunteer work. It's something we'd have both liked to do in the UK but we didn't have enough free time and living off one salary wouldn't have been possible.
  9. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    It is possible for your wife to work in SG easily if she can find a suitable job and a few hurdles to jump for the work visa. Several of the large international schools in SG are advertising for supply teachers at the moment and many want full time teachers.
  10. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Thanks all. Feb31st we are not sure whether we are looking at Malaysia or Singapore. Is Singapore better for work?
  11. hairdo

    hairdo Occasional commenter

    Thanks Lucy ...volunteering in KL would be appealing.
  12. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    Feel free to send me a message if you'd like me to put you in touch with my husband, he'll happily answer questions about it if that's any help. The refugee schools are desperate for volunteers, even ones with no experience of teaching, so getting a "real" teacher would be incredible for them.
  13. cristapper

    cristapper New commenter

    I'm currently a trailing spouse based in New Delhi, posted here due to wife's job with FCO. Have had zero joy in finding a local teaching job, which has been tough and I think I was a bit naive coming into the move, thinking it would be straightforward to pick something up.

    Have managed to secure a job in my wife's office, but it's not teaching related, however, it's better than nothing at all! Also doing private tutoring. Hoping for better teaching job prospects in our next posting in 2020, although I'll have been out of teaching for 3 years by then, so don't know how easy it'll be to break back into it....
  14. HelloWanderlust

    HelloWanderlust New commenter

    I have known quite a few spouses who were in a way “local hires” (I.e moved to the country for their spouses work-whether it be teaching or something else- then got hired while in the country). They still got the correct pay and most of the benefits as an overseas hire but they didn’t get a housing allowance if their spouse already had one. I’ve also known non-teaching spouses who ended up doing EAL, library, or teaching assistant work or running after school clubs.
  15. Timetofly

    Timetofly New commenter

    What country was this in? I’ve not heard of many places giving local hires any benefits.
  16. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    I have to say in my experience it's a matter of pot luck, as to what is available. Having said that there are other caveats:

    Firstly what are the labour laws in the country and the visa rules; i.e. it wasn't that long ago that even green card holders spouses in the US could not work, now they can.

    The their is how much the school want you and how far they are willing to go to get you!

    In addition it will also depend on how much the trailing spouse wants/needs to work; i.e. I have a friend who is happy to watch rugby and cricket on TV most of the day and does not want to work!!!

    All of these variables apply differently in every locality and every school. Ultimately it will depend on how much you want the job and how much the trailing spouse is prepared to put up with.
  17. HelloWanderlust

    HelloWanderlust New commenter

    China. I guess it might be unusual. It was a good package and I know those in country hires were extremely happy they got it- including two free school places for their kids for one of them!
  18. MrsCurious

    MrsCurious New commenter

    I was a trailing spouse in Singapore a few year ago. My husband is not a teacher but I was his dependent. To be honest, it was very easy to find work as a supply teacher and most of the large international schools that I asked were keen to offer me supply work. In the end I did regular supply at one of the big well-known schools and was able to stick to my subject specialism most of the time (although had to teach across the age range which I didn't mind anyway). I was also offered a part time local contract at another international school, but I didn't take it as I had tiny kids then and preferred the flexibility of supply. I don't know about any other country but it's no big deal in Singapore.
    HelloWanderlust likes this.
  19. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    Subject? In KL there are so many schools and so many no shows it isn't that hard. If a maths, English or science teacher then quite likely work can be found.
  20. Timetofly

    Timetofly New commenter

    Mrs Curious do you mind if I PM you about Singers?

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