Questions to Ask About Overseas Teaching Jobs
Are you considering taking a teaching job abroad? For many, teaching abroad is a great opportunity to see the world, but while it is exciting and full of adventure, it is important to keep in mind that teaching, whether it is locally or abroad, is a huge responsibility. Before your eagerness to escape your mundane life takes over and you accept a job too hastily, consider asking the following questions, and use your future employer's answers to determine if the job is really something you can commit to, or if you should keep on searching:
How many international teachers are employed at your school?
Are you comfortable being the only foreign teacher in a school? If not, make sure you select a school that employs a number of international teachers. This can be particularly important if you are working in a country where you do not speak the local language. It could be quite lonely to spend extensive periods of time without communicating with others who speak your language, so be selective in your choice.
Do you require that your teachers speak some of the country's language?
Some countries in which English is not the official language insist that any teacher from abroad speaks the local language, and in other cases, there is no such requirement. Make sure that you are clear on the policy of the school where you may potentially work, so that there are no surprises down the line.
Do you provide housing?
There may be housing available for visiting teachers, especially if the school where you are going to work specializes in appointing teachers from abroad. This is often offered as a perk, but if the school does not provide this benefit, be sure to research housing costs and ensure that you can afford them before you sign a contract.
What types of students make up your student body?
It is important to know what types of students you will be working with. Do all of the students come from local farms, or are they all city-raised children? As you have surely learned in your teacher education, students from different geographic and socio-economic backgrounds respond quite differently to various styles of education. Don't assume that your students abroad will all be little angels, as every country has some bad apples.
How many students do you have in a typical class?
Particularly in countries where over-crowding is rampant, class sizes can be quite large at times. Be sure to inquire about the average class size so that you can prepare yourself. If you won't be comfortable teaching 40 students at a time, make sure that you select a school where you know this will not happen.
Do students take any standardized tests?
Every country has a different standard of education. In most countries, students are required to take some type of standardized test to ensure they have a sufficient understanding of the material. Be sure to ask about the types of tests your students will have to write, so that you can do your job and prepare them adequately.
If you are interested in teaching abroad, the key to success is knowledge. Make sure you look before you take the leap. Don't allow your excitement, over the promise of an exotic new land, to cause you to miss asking the right questions. Ask questions now so you can ensure that your experience is everything you wanted it to be and more.
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