First time International School teaching

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Aoibhneas
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 23, 2024 3:49 pm

First time International School teaching

Post by Aoibhneas »

Hi There, I am an Irish primary school teacher with almost 20 years experience and I am also a qualified counselor and psychotherapist and considering going abroad teaching for school year '25/26(possibily 2 years) with my four year old son, we are a mum and kid family. I am looking at countries which would be good for saving money(but I don't want to go to UAE, China, Japan). I'd like to go to Thailand but it doesn't look like I'd earn a lot and I don't want to live in a Bangkok. I am also looking at Singapore-is the tax very low?Seems strong expat community and safe.I would like a sunnier climate and the chance to travel to interesting places as well as save money. I would be open to Africa as I spent lots of time there but I'm not sure about the money.Caribbean doesn't seem to offer accomodation and I would need school to offer an allowance for this and school place for my child. Do schools ask for IB training? Would my chances of getting a job be higher if I did some courses in this? Thank you in advance!
sciteach
Posts: 261
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:49 am

Re: First time International School teaching

Post by sciteach »

I'll add some general comments below. Take them with a grain of salt and others are free to add or refute as they see fit.

(1) Experience / Qualifications

You have 20 years experience, which means you know what you are doing. You do unfortunately teach a subject (elementary teaching) which has much more teacher availability compared to other subjects. If you are a male - then this should potentially give you a lift due to the lack of male elementary teachers in general. Every school is different though.

(2) Your living situation

So your married with a kid and only 1 of you is a teacher? This is probably the biggest thing which will go against you - as many international schools run as a business and they see the $$$$ needed to educate your child along with financially supporting your wife to be in country. Does this mean your unemployable? Absolutely not. It does however mean that teaching couples and singles (without kids) are more employable than you if they have the same experience.

As you have a kid - I would choose schools very carefully to make sure it's more of an international school with a mixed clientele compared to a strong monoculture for local rich kids. As kids get older - it can be rough when all the kids never speak in English and I just wanted to make you aware of that. This is rare - but check for schools which have "white faces" for kids on promotional material but 98% of the students are local? What does this mean? Well - then employ teachers with kids to use your kids as a way or selling spots since there are expat kids at the school. It's been a big bugbear of some of my colleagues in the past as they often used photos of teachers kids in promotional material without the teachers express consent.

(3) Location choice

This is probably the hardest one. Schools that pay well have more people that apply. I remember going to the London Search fair (the biggest job fair of the year with the most schools and teachers) and Kaust (Saudi Arabia) had a huge line due to the amazing package. Then - good schools in asia had small lines. So what am I saying or suggesting? I think that you need to be more flexible than working in what's considered the best and most desirable schools straight away. Do apply for them - but look more widely.

Singapore has low tax - but rents are astronomical. I was paying 1/3 of my wage at a reasonable school in Singapore for a 1 bedroom apartment - and that was before prices skyrocketed post covid. Many of my friends rent went up 50% in 2022 from memory and wages hardly moved. Alcohol is really expensive there if that's important to you.

Many schools often provide some type of IB training. That might be on the spot training or an online workshop. I personally find in person workshops better as it's not as much jumping of hoops over weeks when it can be completed in 2/3 days instead. Do note that there is no such this as an "IB qualification" needed as an international teacher. You either "have" or "don't have" PYP experience. A level 1 workshop can be helpful if you get a good instructor. I've had some workshops which I find it's better to just read the "Making the PYP Happen" guide than going to the online workshop.

If you have some free time - do a quick online search and download the guide and have a quick read to see if it's something that interests you. That will give you some ideas of how things work.

Others can add more.
Aoibhneas
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 23, 2024 3:49 pm

Re: First time International School teaching

Post by Aoibhneas »

Thank you very much for getting back to me. I am a single mother so I would be going away with my son. OK that's good to know it's so expensive for rent in Singapore.thanks so much for the advice. Could you tell me the name of the biggest fair in Lomdon to attend ? thank you! Aoife
Heliotrope
Posts: 1170
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: First time International School teaching

Post by Heliotrope »

Aoibhneas wrote:
> Could you tell me the name
> of the biggest fair in Lomdon to attend ? thank you! Aoife

That would be the Search Associates Fair. You would need to be registered with Search to attend.
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