When most of us imagine what it must be like to teach abroad, we envision a magnificent life doing meaningful work with students in a faraway city, full of new and exciting cultural experiences, fabulous new friendships, and professional fulfillment.
Research the school to achieve your vision. If your goal is to teach abroad, you’ll need to check out many international schools and weigh all aspects of your employment before signing on the dotted line of your teaching contract.
What will it be like to teach abroad?
If you’re considering applying to teach abroad, you’ll want to determine the following aspects of the application process.
Can I afford to teach internationally?
An important question to ask yourself when reviewing a contract to teach abroad is whether you can afford to live comfortably on the salary in the deal. When offered a salary, you need to consider and research the cost of living in the host country.
Some countries have a low cost of living, allowing you to save money and live adequately. If you convert the salary amount into USDs (if you are from the United States), it sounds like a slight amount. It could still stretch quite far in the host country.
Many teaching contracts cover additional expenses such as housing, airfare between your home country and the country where you’ll teach, or health insurance. If a school offers a low salary, review the contract to see other non-monetary compensation factors to consider.
How long will I be teaching overseas?
Consider the implications of the length of the employment contract you are offered to teach abroad. Many contracts are for two years, although some schools will offer a 12-month commitment. The length of your contract is a crucial consideration because there is usually little room to negotiate. Once you complete your initial contract, schools will often offer you a further arrangement which is the stage where you would be able to negotiate.
What students will I be teaching?
It is essential to know the student demographics and classroom size. When dealing with international schools, determine whether the school is servicing an international clientele or catering to wealthy local families. The difference in this: you may end up with students from privileged backgrounds instead of a multicultural mixture of students from different environments.
If you are still trying to figure out what international teaching opportunity is best for you, we have a list of different options for people planning to teach abroad. As far as class size, you will want to know how many students you will be responsible for and need to plan lessons to meet all learners’ needs. Most schools will have caps on their class sizes, but they may use them more as guidelines than strict limits.
It’s helpful to know what age groups you’ll be teaching. For example, if you have experience working with high school-aged students, your dream job in your dream country is working with younger students. You’ll want to learn about both cultural and age-related differences in things like learning style and classroom management.
It is an excellent idea to have some correspondence with either the teacher you will replace or your future supervisor before you accept the position to teach abroad. Doing this should help you make an informed decision.
It will give you a chance to go over some of these questions about class size, student body, and living expenses to understand better what to expect.
Share your teaching abroad success story!
Have you taught overseas in the past? What advice and tricks helped you thrive? What surprised you about the teaching experience?
What advice would you provide to a teacher looking for a position in a new country? Please share in the comments, and let’s keep the knowledge flowing!
If you would like to find out how to make a career change to teaching overseas as stress-free as possible, contact me via email or call toll-free at 1 877 738-8052 and ask for help with resume and cover letter writing.
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