The Wonderful World of International Teaching
The amazing thing about being an educator is that you can live and work almost anywhere in the world. No other occupation comes even close to the multitude of opportunities that teachers have!
Some of your choices are: American, British, Canadian and independent international schools, US Dept. of Defense Schools, Christian schools, corporate / company schools, foreign private and public schools.
Most International Schools are PreK-12/ K-12 private entities. They serve the needs of the expatriate, business and diplomatic communities in their countries.
A typical international school will have teachers from a dozen nationalities!
The international schools are located in virtually every country, some big cities have several international schools of various flavors and caliber (American or British international, IB World Schools, etc.)
Usually, these schools employ a North American or UK curriculum, sometimes a blend of the two; with the IBO programmes being the most popular in the recent years.
In addition there are US Department of Defense School (DoDEA) in 14 foreign countries. The DoDEA also recruits many support personnel ― secretaries, office workers, technicians. The British Ministry of Defense (MOD) also operates a network of overseas schools. Since no Canadian overseas bases exist any more, all Canadian international schools are private.
What subject areas are in demand?
Educators are needed in most subject areas and all grade levels:
- ESL (ELL, EAL, EFL)
- General Science
- Social Studies
- PE / Health
- Learning Support
- Modern Foreign languages (MLF) - French, Spanish, German, Chinese
- Classroom / Homeroom Teachers
- Special Education Teachers
- Language and Speech Pathologists
- Counselors (Guidance and College)
- School Nurses
- Activities Coordinators
- Athletics Directors
- Directors of Sports
- Curriculum Coordinators
- Assistant Principals
- Houseparents (boarding) and other positions.
People who want to teach English also have a wide range of options, including private language schools and English academies, summer schools, private tutoring, etc.
Generally, if you are a certified teacher (administrator, psychologist, librarian, etc.) you will have more options and better contracts. Your best strategy will be to research schools (not countries!) and target specific employers of your choice.
When you research a potential employer, pay attention to the following:
Curriculum Type: For example, if your qualifications and experience are related to the US school system, a school that employs a British National Curriculum (NC) will not be your best option.
Fortunately, most international schools have switched to the IB curriculum, which eliminates the differences. Once you are hired, the IB training is usually provided by the school.
Accreditation: you will want your prospective school to be accredited by one of the major international organization. Why is it important? Because accreditation guarantees that your employer is not a cowboy school! Those who neglect to do their homework are more likely to end up working for a questionable employer under an illegal contract.
Students: the schools that hire many local students are very different from those who serve the international diplomatic and expatriate communities.
Ownership: most international schools are non-profit organizations governed by an elected School Board. Whatever money they make they spend it on teacher salaries and school development. For-profit proprietary schools may differ, depending on the owner's policies. Some may offer even better conditions than non-profits but it's more common to operate them as commercial ventures.
Size and location: urban or rural
Facilities: campus information, accommodation options, etc.
To sum it up
Rather than researching countries, research schools.
Apply on a global basis.