Teaching in an international school
international school teaching
Adventure junkies read here
People become teachers for many different reasons. Some because their parents were teachers, others because they've always had the deep desire to educate others, some for the stability of the profession. International school teachers might have originally enetered the teaching profession for one of the reasons above, but they enter international school teaching because they are adventure junkies who want to head out into the unknown, experience different cultures and see the world.
International schools often pay better than the state schools, classes are smaller, students are more open to learning and better-mannered, most international schools are far better resourced than state schools, the perks are much better...If it's all so hunky-dory and rosy, you might be wondering why more people don't ever venture out from the state school systems? Well, not everybody is an adventurer. Some are scared of leaving their comfort zones. And, there are many dodgy international schools out there and teachers brave enough to teach at them invariably get badly burnt. In some developing schools, so-called international schools are springing up a dime a dozen. All are for profit, conditions for teachers suck and you might end up having a very unhappy experience. If you want to enter international school teaching, you have to do your homework. You have to research countries and schools you are interested in. Most international schools have very informative websites.
The must reliable and established schools are accredited by the Council of International Schools. They send out a team to check out your school, make sure it meets certain criteria and then the school is permitted to advertise that they are accredited by COIS. COIS also holds job fairs at main centres where most of the top international schools do their recruiting. It is a bit like a cattle auction, and might be off-putting for some. COIS also advertise job vacancies at some of their member schools. There is no membership fee for teachers. Another organization which holds job fairs are Search Associates. You do have to pay a bit to become a member of them and get quite a few references which takes time. Their job fairs are usually held close to the time of the COIS job fairs in the same cities, so teachers are able to attend both if they choose. The person to contact at Search is Gez Hayden. If you contact him and develop a good relationship with him, he'll steer you clear from some of the dodgier international school which are advertising vacancies. Joy Jobs is another website where you can join as a member and have access to international teaching jobs which are posted daily. The Times Education Supplement online also has many international school teaching jobs. If you are wanting to work in a language school and teach ESL, then try Dave's ESL Cafe. International School's Review is a site you can join where you can read up what other teachers have said about particular international schools. Some of the comments are vents and are a little bitter and twisted and written by dissatisfied teachers and can be a little like personal attacks on their management. But, that aside, it does give you a good sense of what it might be like to live and teach in that particular country. Sometimes, a country looks beautiful and exotic in the Lonely Planet and tourist brochures, but it is actually the pits to live in.
When you start looking at jobs, you might see schools claiming that they are IB World Schools. IB stands for International Baccalaureate. The IBO also authorizes schools to use their program and send out visiting specialists to see if the school meet certain criteria. Usually, schools authorized to offer the IB Programs are above board. The three IB programs are the PYP (Primary Years Program), MYP (Middle Years Program) and the DP (Diploma Program). They are inquiry-based and great for developing a child's thinking. If you want to teach one of the IB Programs, it might be worth checking out to see if there are workshops in your area to do before you start applying. Once you are at an IB school, they will most likely send you on workshops in your subject area anyway. Besides increasing your subject knowledge, you get an all-expenses paid weekend away in a different country where the workshop is being held.
As a parent, I'd never want my child in the state school system again, not after having been exposed to the IB programs. If you have children and are a teacher, you might want to check out my hub on finding a family friendly international school. The recruiting season is just about to start. Brush up your cv's and resumes, write that personal statement and start applying!