Six safeguarding measures taken by Teacherhorizons.

Safeguarding and child protection is extremely important to us at Teacherhorizons. As a growing company, we are developing trusting relationships with new schools every day. One of the questions we have found cropping up more and more is  “what measures will you take to ensure the effective safeguarding of our students?” Whilst we have numerous internal policies and checks, we thought it would be useful to share some of our practices in a blog article so schools and teachers can understand the importance we place on this process.

 

It is no wonder these sorts of queries are becoming more of an issue, especially when articles such as this one in The Sun give terrifying figures of criminals attempting to enter the teaching profession. Of course, DBS checks are rigorous and new statutory guidance comes out constantly. But ultimately, to an extent, the final hiring decision remains the responsibility of the employer. We hope that, by reading this as a school or a teacher, that you will rest assured we are making things clearer and easier for you and safer for your students.

 

1) We activate our teachers

Before candidates can see the names of schools and the way to apply, their account must have been ‘activated’ by a trained member of our team. Our team log on to the website daily and consider hundreds of new teacher profiles, screening candidates based on their uploaded CVs. We only activate those who have a teaching qualification and suitable school experience.

Asian students 

2) We display candidates’ police clearance

Every candidate profile has a section where they can upload ‘supporting info’ such as their teaching qualification certificate, degree certificate, and recent observation feedback. They can also upload a recent CRB/DBS certificate. When we recommend a candidate to a school, all of this information becomes available to the recruitment staff at that school and should they wish to query or clarify any of this information it is absolutely their right.

Are you a school looking for teachers? Find out more about our recruitment services here.

 

3) We request confidential references

Our candidates must have three completed references via our website before we put them forward to a school. These references are a tick box exercise with a space for comments at the end. They are requested and filled out using a completely confidential online system. Candidates cannot see or request their references at any point, and schools can only view the references of candidates we have recommended to them.  We take this process very seriously and (as I am sure some candidates could tell you!) are very fussy about it. For example:

  • One of these references must be from a Head or Deputy of the candidate’s current (preferably) or previous school. This is something we check to be completely sure. Using the school’s website we check the names of current/previous Heads and Deputies.
  • We specify that wherever possible, references must be requested from professional email addresses rather than personal ones (such as hotmail or gmail). Often we will check the suffix of the email address used to complete the form against other email addresses on the school’s website.
  • Each referee is asked ‘Do you know of any reason that the applicant should not work with children?’
  • We follow up on references that ring even the tiniest alarm bells. Perhaps an interesting comment or an out of place box ticked. We would rather know the exact story than let the next school find out for themselves.
For more information on how our references work, click here.

 

Skype picture4) We do background checks

Similar to many employers nowadays, we perform a google search on candidates before we recommend them. We don’t go completely MI5 on them but we do check there are no red flags. It is a very simple and quick precaution to take, but it could make all the difference.


5) We interview our teachers

We don’t just screen our candidates once. If a candidate shows interest in a job we think they are suited to, we will arrange a Skype interview. This involves a video call where we meet and get to know a candidate ‘face to face’ and both parties can ask questions. We also use this as a chance to explain the Teacherhorizons process and the next steps. Our conversations with candidates are thorough and often include a specific safeguarding question. We use the information we gain here to create our recommendations which we then send on to HR departments and Head Teachers.

Interested in creating a free school profile page for your school? Start here.

 

 

6) We regularly train our team

We follow a range of safeguarding forums and blogs and keep up-to-date with current issues and practices. We also do regular training with our recruiters so that they are all kept aware of the latest practices and safest approaches to recruiting.

 

We are continually reviewing and developing our approach to safeguarding children. We are committed working with schools to ensure our candidates are thoroughly checked so their students can thrive in a safe learning environment. For more information contact info@teacherhorizons.com.

Written by Tiffany Kibblewhite, Teacherhorizons Blog Manager and Recruitment Adviser.

Wow, Look At Us Grow!

Here at Teacherhorizons we are tremendously proud of the international community we are building. In this week’s blog we want to share with you a few of our achievements so far and welcome some fantastic new members of our team.

When Teacherhorizons first launched in 2011 it began from scratch. By the end of year 1 we had 8000 teachers signed up to the website, and just 20 schools. With exceptional growth year upon year, we are now a community of over 2000 schools and 115,000 teachers. New schools are joining us every single week, we have an average of a thousand opportunities on our website and already in 2017 we have placed over 60 teachers in their dream schools. With all this going on, it’s no wonder our team of staff is also increasing by the bucketload!

Since the beginning of 2017 we have welcomed 5 new Recruitment Advisers to our team, taking the total to 12. We can truly call ourselves international too, given that members of our team live in Cambodia, Germany, England, Portugal, Zambia, The Netherlands and Sweden!

I hope our blog subscribers will hear more from our new RA’s soon as they have a wealth of experience in international teaching between them and can provide excellent advice; but for now, let’s just give them a big warm welcome…

Phil Latham, Recruitment Adviser for PE, Art and Design Technology

PhilPhil studied Environmental Science at the University of Southampton before going on to do his PGCE at the University of Birmingham. He began his teaching career in 2002 and has now amassed 14 years teaching experience, teaching in both the private and state sectors and also internationally. His recent post (of 6 years) was teaching Science and Maths at a central London prep school. The four years prior to this were spent teaching in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Phil is currently living in Germany – near Stuttgart – due to his partner’s work. He has started to learn German and is enjoying the local beer and food. He is also earnestly looking for a property to begin renovating which has always been a dream.

Caroline Heaton, Recruitment Adviser for Humanities, Social Studies and Religous Education
CH

Caroline has a background of working within both recruitment and the education sector. Having grown up and attended an International School in Kenya, and subsequently studying, and completing her Masters in Education and International Development in the UK, she has an understanding of different cultures, people and environments. Caroline has also spent her working life both within the UK and abroad, and through this understands both the benefits and challenges of living and working in diverse environments. She is passionate about travel, sports and photography.

 

Daniel Baker, Recruitment Adviser for Senior Leadership, IB Co-ordinators, SEN roles and Counsellers

DBDaniel is originally from Birkenhead in North West England. He obtained his PGCE in Secondary Science Education in 2004 and has worked internationally for much of his professional life. Daniel has taught Biology, General Science and Psychology predominantly in International Baccalaureate Schools and also had significant middle and senior leadership experience.  In addition to teaching Science, Daniel also works for the International Baccalaureate Organisation. He has contributed to the Exploring Science 7, 8 and 9 textbooks and to a number of articles about teaching abroad which have appeared online and in The Telegraph newspaper. To date, Daniel has worked in the UK, the USA, the United Arab Emirates and Sweden – where he currently resides.

Outside of work, Daniel enjoys going on long walks with his wife and two daughters, playing the piano and engaging in amateur cinematography.

Sarah Hartigan, Recruitment Adviser for English

Sarah for websiteSarah has worked as an English teacher and Head of Department in international schools in Malawi and Vietnam. Sarah trained as an English teacher with Teach First in the West Midlands and is currently studying for her MSc in London.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys yoga, hiking and learning languages. In the last three years, Sarah has travelled extensively throughout central Africa, the highlight of which was toasting her feet over the world’s largest lava lake in the DRC. Whilst living abroad she took the opportunity to explore southern Africa and east Asia.

 Interested in learning languages too when you are abroad? Have a look at our blog 10 Language Learning Tips for Travellers.
Camille Alsop, Recruitment Adviser for English as a Second Language

CamilleCamille is responsible for English and ESL positions. After graduating with a Politics with French degree from Warwick University, she began teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in 2005 in London and subsequently trained as a teacher of English through the Teach First programme. She has held responsibilities as KS3 Coordinator and a middle manager and taught in London and Zambia, where she currently lives.

Camille grew up as an international student having lived in Malawi, Namibia, Cote d’Ivoire, the UK and France. She is pursuing her MA studies in Education and is an avid reader, shameless gourmand and occasional mountain-biker.

 

 

To get in touch with our team, create a profile here and upload your CV, then browse our teaching opportunities. When you find a supported vacancy you are interested in, the contact information for your relevant Recruitment Adviser will be detailed on the advert.

Written by Tiffany Kibblewhite, Teacherhorizons Blog Manager and Recruitment Adviser.

Being in Bustling Beijing

Yew Chung Education Foundation is one of our leading groups of schools. Every Yew Chung school has the same unique model, where it brings together the East and the West and implements a bilingual and co-cultural programme through a Co-Principal and Co-Teaching system. As this amazing group of schools continues its recruitment drive, we find out some inside information from Megan Banerjee who has been teaching at Yew Chung International School, Beijing since September 2016.

 

Where are you teaching and what’s your school like? What made you choose that location/school?

I am teaching at Yew Chung International School Beijing. I was interested in staying in China having been at Canadian International School Kunshan before, and Yew Chung has a reputation for academic excellence as well as a reputation for looking after their teachers.

How did you get your job? What was the process like?

I started the process in the spring time. Maggie from Teacherhorizons was great. She was in constant contact with me and gave me advice to help me in the job hunt. It was a lot of work organising my materials, but it was worth it. I was not matched with a school right away, but as the hiring season went on, I got an email through Teacherhorizons about a job opening. I immediately sent out an email, and within the week, had an interview and was told I got the job. A big thank you to Maggie and Teacherhorizons!

My advice would be to start early, around November. It’s when most schools begin to know of vacancies they have. The job hunt is a waiting game. Teacherhorizons has a great staff, who are always looking out for you. You won’t be disappointed.545949_645162193048_1009169822_n

What is the city like? Is there an active expat scene? What do you do in your free time?

Beijing is an amazing city. It is bustling with expatriates, and because of that, foreign restaurants and groceries are everywhere. At my school, we have many teachers who have stayed with the school for over 10 years. This speaks volumes about the school management and Beijing itself.

In my free time, we enjoy riding our electronic bike around the city and seeing life in China. We often find unexpected treasures along the way. I also have to admit, I’m a shopaholic. I love spending my time visiting local markets and tailors to see the interesting things that are sold.

Which tourist sites or must-visit places are nearby?

I live in Chaoyang district, and that means everything is in your backyard. We’ve visited scenic areas of Beijing like Fragrant Hills, the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Llama Temple. We also enjoy shopping, eating and getting clothing tailored. Some great places to see are the Silk Market, Sanlitun, and Hongqiao Pearl Market. (Just remember to put yourself on a budget before you go!!)

What is the climate like? Is there any extreme weather? If so, how do you deal with it?

There is a saying that long-term expats of Beijing often tell newbies, “There is only one month of Summer.” Since we are usually only here for the school year, we only get a brief glimpse of summer weather before it gets cold. So far this year, it hasn’t been too bad, but I suggest getting thermal inner-wear and a nice winter jacket. If you do forget to pack winter essentials, you can visit a nearby shop and buy what you need.

The northern part of Beijing has central heating. You can walk around in socks during the middle of winter, in the apartment of course. I find that Beijing feels much warmer than the Southern part of China because of this.

533881_645265635748_973381410_nWhat is the food like? Is international food available? Have you tried any unusual local dishes?

I think the food is very tasty. We enjoy Chinese food and there are plenty of options available for us. However, for our friends who long for Western food, there are great restaurants nearby. With Beijing being a major capital city it has many restaurants to appeal to its international audience.

How is the culture different from your home culture? Have you experienced any culture shock?

I have been in China 5 years already, so Beijing feels more like home than home. I think China can be a big change for someone who has not travelled before, however, Beijing is very Western friendly.

What’s the cost of living like? Are you able to save money?

Saving money is all up to how you budget yourself. You can save a lot of money, even with a more extravagant lifestyle, than you might in your Western country of origin. My husband and I love cooking, so most of our dinners are at our home. Eating out is our most expensive pastime. Excursions and travel also cost a little bit, but they do not have to be expensive. We save a considerable amount of money by creating strict budget goals and meeting them.

What’s the best thing about living and teaching in your chosen city? What have been your highlights so far?

I have really enjoyed interacting and learning from educators from around the world. I wanted to be involved in a school that followed the British curriculum. I have enjoyed learning more about the differences and similarities about teaching styles, curriculum and assessments.

Are there any drawbacks? What kind of person would not be suited to this location?

Everyone who leaves home or their previous placement deals with “homesickness.” You are not unique in feeling this way. You need to be able to go out and make friends, keep a positive attitude, laugh often, and explore. Don’t restrict yourself to the school and your apartment. Be a risk-taker!

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking of coming to live and work in your current location?

Bring warm winter clothes, be open-minded and excited to learn about a new culture, make friends, go out, explore, and make your apartment a “home.” Be sure to try new things, don’t get bogged down in work, and stay positive. Oh… and get massages!!

Another happy teacher, Julia Clegg, has taught in Qingdao; read her story. To find out more about international schools and general advice on China, read a blog written by our very own, Alexis Toye.

Written by Megan Banerjee, an elementary school teacher born in Indiana, currently residing in Beijing China. She is a great practitioner, licensed in many different curriculums such as US, IB PYP, OCT Canada and has QTS from the United Kingdom.

Seven Secrets To Staying Healthy That Only Expats Would Know!

I moved out to Siem Reap, Cambodia to join the Teacherhorizons team in September 2016. I have fallen deeply in love with the city, its bustling centre with busy markets and street vendors, the incredible ruins of Angkor Wat, the breath-taking countryside, so vast, flat and green, and of course the locals; never have I met more humble, kind and genuine people. However, my time here has not been without its pitfalls. Along with a beautiful expat life that others can only dream of, comes a hoard of potential health issues… bites, stings, rashes, tummy bugs, odd pains and itches that you never knew could exist and don’t know where they come from. It’s tough to stay totally healthy here, but along my way (and in most cases the hard way!) I have learned some secrets which are too good to keep to myself.

1) Coconuts

These are the food of Gods. Everything about a coconut is good for you. Mainly here they sell young, fresh, green coconuts and when you buy them (for less than a dollar) the vendor, who is often a tiny Cambodian lady or small child, will get a humongous cleaver and hack the top over and over, until there is the thinnest membrane left for you to poke a straw into. Each coconut is filled with around 700ml of clear, fresh, sweet juice which is fully sterile and composed of sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine, and phytohormones. They take one or two to get used to if you’re not a Whole Foods hippie who drinks cartons of the stuff back home, and they taste nothing like the mature coconut flesh that flavours your Bounty chocolate bar but they are magical. For any headaches, colds, dehydration or vitamin deficiencies, it’s your go-to drink. They are even thought to have anti-ageing properties, which might explain why my 24-year-old Khmer friends look 14!

2) Vitamin B

All vitamins are important while abroad, don’t forget your fruits and vegetables! Here, I enjoy a fruit juice or smoothie most days because the locals sell them fresh from their street carts. However, Vitamin B has a special importance that I never knew of before coming abroad – mosquito repellent! Trust me, I learned the hard (and very itchy) way, that you should do everything you can to reduce your mosquito bite count. Upping your Vitamin B can be done by a) taking supplements, b) eating marmite by the truckload, or c) coconuts of course! In addition to this, I would recommend checking your mosquito repellent contains a high enough dose of DEET. Buy it before you come, shops here only sell up to 20% DEET which is just a small challenge to the mozzies. You want hardcore stuff which makes you choke a bit when you apply it…That’ll keep them away. Alternatively, hang around closely with someone who always gets bitten. They’ll leave you right alone if they have someone tastier to bite!

3) Hotel pool membershipsangkor era

Here in Siem Reap there are no big leisure centres like back at home. The locals have such an active lifestyle that they don’t need a Fitness First on every corner! Fear not though, the key is this: Get a city bike for all your local journeys, it’s a great way to explore a city, get to know short cuts and get constant exercise. Once you have your bike, use it to tour all the huge, posh hotels. Most of them will give you an expat pool and gym membership for a really decent price and the hotels are always empty in the mornings when tourists are sleeping or sightseeing. Also, hunt out some local exercise classes; my favourite here in Siem Reap is aerobics on the riverside, where me and a bunch of middle-aged Khmer ladies do the grapevine and spin in circles to the latest Cambodian classics. It’s a great way to meet locals, get fit and feel good.

 

4) De-worming tablets

Sorry to lower the tone… It’s important though! You and your family should be taking these at least every 6 months in places where soil-transmitted worms are common. If you notice you are losing weight, feeling fatigued, have a constantly dodgy tummy or odd mix of hunger and nausea, it’s time to take your tablets. There is an interesting article by UNICEF that suggests de-worming children increases primary school attendance and significantly improves a child’s ability to learn in school.

5) Check your ice and waterice cube

Ice is one of the most common causes of illness in travellers. Sometimes it is made using the local water which in some countries can be unsanitary. One way I have learned to check is to scrutinise the ice (though try not to look too odd doing it). If it is misshapen and angular, it might have been hacked off a humongous block of local water, in which case avoid! If is uniform and contains holes you can tell it is machine produced, as they use short rods to grow the ice cubes on, leaving a hole in the middle. Drink crushed ice in mojitos and frappes at your own risk! As for the water, stick to the bottled stuff, but do check the packaging as most have been filtered so much that they are devoid of minerals. Eau Kulen here is the only bottled mineral water in Cambodia and is only a fraction more expensive than the others.

6) Minimise air conditioning usage

If you have a cold and don’t know why, or you constantly wake up sounding like Liam Neeson you need to calm it on the air con front! Use the fan instead, especially as an expat you should be getting used to the heat. You’ll notice the difference to your health and your utility bill.

7) Providone-iodine 

This stuff is magical. Again, I learned this the hard way, through a minor incident before I learned the unwritten rules of Cambodian roads (careful on that city bike!). Anyway, cuts and grazes abroad become infected quicker and easier than at home due to heat, dust and often less sanitary conditions. Buy a brand of Providone-iodine an iodine based antiseptic, sold under a number of brand names including Betadine. Clean wounds twice a day with that stuff and it will kill any germs that dare to invade. Keep wounds covered when out and about too, and let them breathe at night.

 

I hope these few little tricks will enable you to make the most of your time abroad pain free! For even more advice on staying healthy abroad, see our blog post How to Stay Healthy When You Move Abroad. If you have your own suggestions to share, contact me at editor@teacherhorizons.com to send your blog idea.

Want to join me in Asia? Have a look at our Cambodia page and vacancies in Asia to get started.

Written by Tiffany Kibblewhite, Teacherhorizons Blog Manager and Recruitment Adviser.

How to Find Out If Teaching Abroad Is for You

In this article Amanda shares her thoughts and advice about teaching jobs around the world. Join Amanda’s professional journey @AmandaWilks01.

 

Yearning for adventure? Want to see more of the world and earn some money in the process? Interest in teaching in foreign countries is at an all time high. There are many different types of teaching jobs available to fit every kind of background and every type of personality.

It’s never been easier to get a job teaching in a foreign country. Teaching provides a real chance to not only contribute to society, but also create your own cross-cultural experiences. Here’s an overview of international teaching to help you find out if teaching abroad is right for you.

 

Types of Teaching

There are basically three types of teaching positions available abroad. There are freelance teaching jobs, language institute teaching jobs, and school teaching jobs. They each have their requirements and fit different teaching personalities. As you examine each of these types of jobs, picture how it would fit your own personality.

The freelance teaching jobs are similar to personal trainer jobs and the paths to becoming a personal trainer are quite similar. Freelance jobs require you to develop one on one relationship with your students and find the specific ways they need your help to succeed. Freelance teachers are frequently employed to teach business English classes through language institutes. Competition can be fierce and teachers need to be able to market themselves to find success abroad.teaching

Language institutes are found around the world. These institutes focus on teaching English to children, teenagers, and adults at classes held in the language institutes. Language institutes are usually not the best-paying jobs and they usually aren’t strict on their requirements for teachers.

They often offer teacher training if they use a proprietary system. By having a variety of classes with different age groups, teachers don’t get as bored. Language institutes can be a very good first job opportunity for aspiring teachers.

Teaching at schools abroad is one of most lucrative ways to earn money teaching outside your home country. Teachers can teach at regular schools and universities or they can teach at international schools. For example, in Thailand, many schools have English programs where several classes like Maths, Social Studies, and Science are taught in English with native speakers.

The pay for teaching at a regular school is usually quite a bit less than teaching at an international school. International schools will pay teachers close to the same salary they would get in their home country but require teacher certification and a teaching degree while regular school may only require a Bachelor’s degree.

For help on moving from teaching English in a local school, to teaching in an international school, read these questions and answers, written by Sammy Tame who lives and works in Cambodia.

 

Places to Teach

If you want to teach abroad, the world is your oyster. Where would you be comfortable teaching? Are you yearning for new experiences or do you want to master a language? There are teaching jobs in just about every part of the world for native English speakers. To get a good idea about teaching abroad, you can check out the American English resource developed by the US State Department.

Afghan teachingAsia has the bulk of the good paying teaching jobs. China is a fast-growing market that has only recently been embracing the idea of English programs in their middle and high schools. These jobs offer higher pay. Korea has long provided decent salaries for language institute teaching. While the Japanese market is saturated, there are still teaching opportunities. Taiwan isn’t to be overlooked either with many language teaching jobs. Thailand is a saturated market as well and while wages are low so is the cost of living.

For a qualified teacher who is looking to earn and save a lot of money, the Middle East is a go to market. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates lead the market with language institute and university teaching positions that pay well.

Europe is a good market for British teachers, but because of EU work visa requirements, Americans are largely kept out of the legal teaching market, though some Americans are successful in finding jobs and visas in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Latin America is a growing market but their teaching positions are largely relegated to some universities and language institutes. It certainly isn’t a monolithic market, but generally, universities pay enough to afford a comfortable lifestyle and language institutes will probably pay enough to cover your bills. Generally, teachers go to Latin America to learn the language and absorb the culture rather than to save money.

 

 

Pay Expectations

Unless you are teaching in an international school or in a few select countries like Korea, you probably won’t be savings thousands of dollars a month. Expect that your pay will allow you to have a nice standard of living in the country where you are teaching.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule though. There are teaching couples who teach in regular schools in Thailand who are able to save more than half of their combined salary each month and use it to pay off school loans. There are teachers in China who do lucrative freelance teaching in addition to their school teaching jobs. Some teachers in China are able to save more than $1000 a month at a regular school.

One thing to always keep in mind when looking at teacher pay is to realise that it will almost always be more than what a local teacher would earn doing the same job. In order to really take advantage of the salary, you’ll need to learn to live like a local person.

You’ll probably take public transportation, you’ll probably eat street food, you’ll probably eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and you’ll probably do more walking. It’s almost guaranteed that you will build lifelong memories and appreciation of life that you probably couldn’t otherwise. These experiences can’t be bought for any price.

For more advice on salaries, check out our related posts on salaries and benefits in international schools, or comparing international school packages.

 

Going Home

Some people go abroad for a teaching job and never go back home. They either make the new country their home or they bounce from country to country seeking out new experiences. Many teachers will spend a year or two as a foreign teacher, while others will fall somewhere in the middle. Unless they fall in that first group, most teachers share one thing in common and that is going back home.

When it comes time to returning to your home country, you may find that relocating back home is not such an easy experience. Reconnecting with your friends will be especially difficult. It may be that your interests are not the same or that they’ve simply moved on.

Thankfully technology has improved things considerably. You will have probably been streaming movies on Netflix using a VPN. You will have probably been following all the family drama on Facebook and you, unfortunately, will know all the about the latest political news. Nevertheless, some things will be different and if you are like many teachers who have taught abroad for more than five years, you will probably hit the road once again. Are you ready for that?

For more info and other experiences of returning home, read our blog on relocating back home.

This may be a lot to take in but hopefully, this overview will give you the answers you are looking for. Take in this information and examine yourself. Then you’ll be able to find out if teaching abroad is for you.

Browse our international school job vacancies to find out more about the schools we work with and set up a profile here. If you’re interested in registering your school with Teacherhorizons, check out our FAQ for schools and request your free profile page.

Written by Amanda Wilks, a former Boston University student and a Contributing Author for the extensive Quality Education and Jobs project. She’s mainly interested in online education, job-searching advice and entrepreneurial development.

The benefits of being an international geography teacher.

Looking for a new start this new year? Wondering whether teaching abroad is your next step? Hear from Chris Lyons, an adventurous geography teacher who moved to South Korea back in August. He tells us why he is pleased to have taken the leap and explains how moving to one country opens doors to so many more.

Like most geography teachers you will probably meet, I love to travel. It quite honestly doesn’t matter where the destination will be, as long as it’s somewhere I haven’t been before then I’m likely to want to see it. From the city views at the top of the Empire State Building to an abandoned volcano anywhere in the world, I find being able to study a different part of our planet, both the human and physical aspects, particularly fascinating.

I’ll admit to not being the most outdoorsy of geographers. I only own one pair of walking boots and one waterproof coat. I’m no Bear Grylls; I prefer a cooked meal and a sturdy bed for the evening, but if it enables me to discover something new I can probably put up with a bit of ‘roughing it’ for a while. A short while at least.

Even before joining the international teaching circuit through Teacherhorizons, I’d done my fair share of school trips. Highlights included zip lining across the Costa Rican rainforest, touring around Alcatraz, trying to sleep during the midnight sun in Iceland and getting caught in a hailstorm at the top of Mt Vesuvius. The last two might not necessarily be highlights but it was all part of the experience!

Travel Pic 2Taking the leap

My love of seeing the world out there led me to looking into the international circuit. I loved my school in London but felt that it was the right time to move on. With a whole world to choose from, narrowing it down was a bit of a struggle, but the team at Teacherhorizons helped me realise that Asia was the best choice for me, Korea in particular. When a great opportunity came up at North London Collegiate School in Jeju I decided to go for it, and here I am.

No time to waste!

If you have an international mindset then adjusting to living in a new country isn’t too much of a big deal. Learning about a new culture first hand can be both fascinating and frustrating, but as our school constantly reminds us ‘It isn’t Korea’s fault’ when you encounter something that you don’t understand or find exasperating. It’s excellent advice, but in all honesty the general lack of driving competence on the roads here has to be someone’s fault!

Within a few weeks at my new school I realised the opportunities for further exploring the planet are excellent. Already in my first term I had travelled to various other parts of Korea and the Philippines in my breaks and holidays. The lack of monthly outgoings that limited my travel in London are not an issue here and it really is great to know that I can afford to do the things I want to do, which for me often means travel. If you are someone who prefers to travel with friends then I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll meet like-minded people where ever you go.

 

Travel PicOther ways to travel as an international teacher

There are also likely to be opportunities to travel with school, and not just for geography teachers. Students at my current school are constantly flying off around the region for sports competitions or debating conferences. A great way to get travelling is to get involved in a sport or society. I’m currently writing this post from a Model United Nations Conference in Singapore (a good location choice if you like the heat and humidity) and I know that next term my involvement with the rugby team will see me travelling to other parts of Korea, as well as China and beyond, for fixtures. I’m also currently arranging a school geography trip to New Zealand for next year which should be full of both fun and educational activities, and I’m looking forward to seeing another new part of the world. International School teaching really is an excellent way to see the world, you just need to be willing to work hard and get involved.

Just be aware that you’ll have to put up with your family and friends from back home asking whether you actually do any teaching!

Has Chris answered some of your questions about teaching abroad? If you still have more, have a look at our FAQ by Teachers blog. To get adventurous like Chris, just create a profile here. 

Written by Christopher Lyons, a geography teacher at NLCS Jeju in South Korea. He had been teaching for 5 years in London before he decided to indulge his love of the world and go international.

A Quito Christmas And An Exciting New Year

Kathleen Cordeiro and her family have been dreaming of living abroad for many years, and are now living in Quito, Ecuador, where they have enjoyed the past five months. Kathleen writes to share her experiences of this incredible opportunity so far.

A quick process family

I was applying for English positions in South America through Teacherhorizons and had two interviews, one in Argentina, the other in Columbia, before being offered the position here in Quito. I am now working at a private school called Liceo Campoverde.  It was a very simple process and before we knew it we had packed up our life in Canada, and with 8 suitcases moved our little family of four to South America.

Highs and lows so far

The beauty of teaching internationally is that I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who share the same vision of living abroad and experiencing new cultures and languages. It has been an adjustment learning about this new school and its routines and procedures, but the people here have been so helpful and understanding. The most difficult part has been my lack of Spanish. Growing up in Canada, we learned English and French, so I have had some trouble with communication, but there is always someone who speaks both languages willing to help, and Google translate comes in handy! I have been learning Spanish through a tutor which is funded by the school and am picking up the language little by little.

Interested to learn more about the many languages of South America? Read this blog, written by Rodolfo Roger, an English teacher from Brazil.

The Ecuadorian environment

Quito is a wonderful city to live in and my family and I always have something to do. There are a lot of outdoor parks and green spaces here which are great for exercise and for my two children. We have also experienced earthquakes for the first time. They have not been major ones, but they are fairly common here. The weather is beautiful the majority of the time with temperatures reaching up to 27 and as low as 10 degrees Celsius. It does take a bit of time to adjust to the altitude, but as long as you drink a lot of water and get the rest your body needs, it doesn’t take long. They call Ecuador the land of eternal spring and we have not been disappointed by the wonderful climate.

The city of Quito

histo centre

Centro Historico

Some essential sites to see here are Centro Historico, Parque La Carolina and Parque Metropolitano. Also worth doing is travelling to cities like Otavalo where they have one of the largest indigenous markets and of course visiting the coast that includes miles of beautiful sandy beaches, palm trees and ocean breezes. With Centro Historico being named one of the first UNESCO world history sites, it is an exciting place to explore. Quito also has numerous museums and galleries to peruse and there are various areas of the city that have superb shopping. There are so many markets here that you can find whatever you need. There is also a highly active expat community that puts on events and trips that anyone can participate in and not feel alone in a new city and country.

Eating in Ecuador

The food here is amazing! Everything is so fresh and devoid of chemicals. I remember the first time I bit into a cucumber, I couldn’t get over how fresh it tasted. The cultural foods here are also delicious and we eat them a lot, despite the easy access to North American chain restaurants such as McDonald’s, Tony Roma’s and Papa Johns. There are vendors on almost every street selling fresh vegetables and fruits and even little Tiendas (small stores) where you can pick up anything you didn’t get at the supermarket. The typical dishes vary depending on where you travel in the three geographic regions of Ecuador (the Amazon, the Sierra, and the Pacific Coast). Here is a great introduction to Ecuadorian food. 

 

 

I am a big fan of ceviche, a cold soup served with shrimp as well as fritada, a combination of fried pork, corn and whole boiled potatoes, mote or cooked corn, pickled onions and tomato, and fried ripe plantains.

 

Adjusting to a new life

As with any major move, there are a few drawbacks. The salaries here are not as much as in North America and moving with a family can pose its challenges as you try to adjust to the new wages. Anything imported here is fairly expensive and because of the taxation on shipped items here, it makes it very difficult to order things from abroad or ship anything out of the country. The cost of living is lower and once adjustments are made, a teachers’ wage is one of the highest in the country, so there is an opportunity to save.

Teaching abroad has allowed me to meet so many new friends from all over the world. There are teachers from the U.S.A., Canada, France, Italy, and the UK. It is exciting to not only learn about Ecuadorian culture, but the culture of other teachers who have travelled here to teach.

 

Liceo Campoverde

school view

The view from the school

The school has been very accommodating helping us with getting our visas while covering the costs and providing additional days off for us to complete our paperwork with the ministry of foreign affairs. We have also received discounts for our children to attend the school and they helped us with finding accommodation and a place to stay when we first arrived in Ecuador. The school offers health benefits and free school transportation and meals for teachers. Working at Colegio Liceo Campoverde has been a great introduction to working abroad as well as international education. The school is set on the side of a mountain with all the hallways outdoors and top of the line facilities for staff and students.

 

Want to know more about this? Check out our related posts on salaries and benefits in international schools, or comparing international school packages.

 

Christmas in Quito

We have just finished our first Christmas and New Year’s celebrations here and have been able to experience the different traditions native to Ecuador. Some of the particular New Year’s traditions include eating twelve grapes (good luck for each month of the year), walking around the block with a suitcase (for travel throughout the new year), men dressing up as widows and collecting money from anyone on the street (including stopping traffic), and burning small hand-made dolls called “año viejo” to represent getting rid of the old year and issuing in the new year.

 

How did this happen?

Experiencing new traditions, visiting cultural historical sites, travelling, learning a new language and meeting friends from all over the world are all part of becoming an international teacher. My family and I would not be here if it weren’t for the friendly and helpful staff at Teacherhorizons and I make sure to recommend them to anyone looking for educational positions abroad. If you are seriously considering international education, simply take the first step, fill out your profile online and talk with a representative. They will be happy to link you with a school and country that fits your needs and desires.farmland

 

Are you an international teacher? Do you have hints and tips on teaching abroad? Would you like to share inspiring teaching stories from anywhere in the world? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us and share your knowledge and views with the community of our readers!

Written by Kathleen Cordeiro, a Canadian mother, wife and teacher living abroad for the first time. Kathleen has been teaching for 10 years and is enjoying teaching English Language Arts to students in Quito, Ecuador.

Moving to Yantai and Yew Wah International Education School

Are you thinking of moving to China but have questions about the life there? Phil Rishton recently moved to Yantai to begin teaching at Yew Wah International Education School. Here are his first thoughts on the school and on China.

Arrival and apartmentme and liz in Hongcun-min-min

My wife and I were collected from the airport by the school driver and taken to the apartment which was to be our new home. The time was very late, therefore we did not expect to meet anybody from the school just yet.  The apartment is nice and overlooks the beach! It has two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and a dining/living room. It is certainly big enough for me and my wife. When we arrived we found that the school had bought all new utensils, bedding, towels and even enough food for us to use for a whole week. Thankfully the apartment was also equipped with a washing machine. The next day we were collected again by the driver and taken to Yew Wah International Education School of Yantai to look around and meet our new colleagues.

The school

The school is located approximately two kilometres away from our apartment. My wife and I have both bought bikes so travelling to work every day is very easy. I had a three-week induction period before my classes started. This induction period introduced me to the Chinese culture, Yantai the city and policies and procedures of the school. The week before school started was for lesson planning. The school has everything you need to teach, the classrooms are modernised and procedures are in place to allow you to plan effectively.

Want to know about other schools in China? Read a blog written by Co-founder of Teacherhorizons, Alexis Toye.

Colleagues and workforce

The school’s teaching staff is made up of approximately 50% westerners and 50% Chinese. It is a good mix of different nationalities and interests. Everybody is very approachable and helpful in providing useful information for you to have the best start to China. A few teachers will play sport on a Friday after school and there is usually a social event every weekend. I have made some great friends already.

Yantai and the cost of living

Yantai is a lovely city. It has everything you need to live a very normal life whether you choose to embrace Chinese culture or stay with your western comforts. The school is located about 30 – 40 minute drive away from downtown in a very friendly and beautiful district of the city. Downtown has a couple of western shopping malls and a bar street that is worth a visit one in a while. There are also a few landmarks dotted around the city that must be seen.  Everything is new and quickly developing; I have only been here four months and two shopping malls have opened a bike ride away from my apartment! Western restaurants and bars are opening up all the time in our district. The school will pay you more than enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle here in China. How much you spend depends on your lifestyle of course, but you will have enough money to buy yourself some nice clothes, eat out a few times a week and have money to send home every month. Local food is ridiculously cheap in the supermarket and restaurants charge exactly what you expect to pay in China. Do expect to pay more for your western comforts…especially cheese!

Thinking of joining Phil in Yantai or somewhere else in China? Sign up to Teacherhorizons, and then have a look at our schools and vacancies across China.

Written by Phil Rishton, the Sport and Activities Coordinator at Yeh Wah International Education School in Yantai, China. He climbed the ranks from his role of Secondary Teacher of PE in Mexico and wants to share his experiences with other international teachers.

A Time For Change In Maths Teaching?

 

Remember maths lessons? Well, if you’re anything like the 50% of adults who can’t do basic maths, the very idea of the subject might leave you with sweaty palms and a dry mouth. This is a feeling many children have when they’re learning maths at school, finding it a typically challenging subject and one that school children are eager to turn their back on as soon as they’ve made their way through their GCSE’s.

But this could all be about to change.1024px-Samraong_classroom

 

A new style of teaching maths in schools is being used in a handful of schools in the UK – the Singaporean ‘Maths Mastery’ approach. This approach appears to be benefiting our children, with a study by the UCL Institute of Education and Cambridge University showing that children taught using the Singapore ‘Maths Mastery’ approach learn faster than children using current British methods, averaging an entire extra month of progress in a calendar year.

School children in East Asia have been performing highly on the Programme for International Assessment rankings for some time using the Singaporean approach, so it’s no surprise that schools in the UK have started to see if it could have a positive impact here too.

But what is the approach, and why does it work?

Well, the Singaporean approach to teaching maths involves studying fewer topics than children in the UK currently do, but in greater depth. There’s also a greater emphasis placed on problem solving skills. In the UK, there’s a strong focus on mental arithmetic, but the Singaporean model instead equips children with props such as building blocks to help find answers to maths questions. This requires teachers to have well-equipped classrooms, using props and educational aids from suppliers such as this one here.

Also, the Singaporean model requires that every child reaches a certain level of understanding before the rest of the class progresses. That way, no one gets ‘left behind’, and instead the class waits for pupils who are struggling to catch up before everyone moves on, together, to the next part of the syllabus. This has two benefits. Firstly, there’s no need for remedial one-to-one teaching for those children to struggle to keep up in class, and secondly, pupils who have grasped a topic can spend some time mastering it to a greater depth while pupils who are struggling have time to get up to speed.

Emma Valerio, a maths teacher in the UK, has been using the Singaporean ‘Maths Mastery’ method in her classroom. She told the Independent that the Singaporean method is preferable because: “Now [our] focus is on enrichment, not acceleration. We give [high flying children] extra tasks to enrich their skills. True mathematics aren’t the ones given the next level of maths; they develop on their own”.

More research will need to be done to determine whether it’s the best way to teach maths across the country, but it certainly appears to be worth helping teachers to learn basic Singaporean problem solving principles.

 

Interested in teaching maths abroad? Create a profile here and upload your CV, then browse our maths teaching opportunities to find your perfect position.

Already teaching maths abroad and want to share inspiring stories? If so, we would love to hear from you! Contact us and share your knowledge and views with the community of our readers!

Written by Naomi Webb, an experienced freelance writer specialising in the latest teaching and education trends. She hopes her work provides a valuable insight for both experienced and newly qualified teachers.

How Teacherhorizons works

Are you the kind of teacher who loves applying for jobs? Don’t worry, not many of us do  – especially when we’re busy focused on teaching! Teacherhorizons is designed to make exploring jobs and applying to schools overseas easier and hopefully, more enjoyable!

Here’s how Teacherhorizons works in ten steps…

1/ Join!

It’s free to become a member of the Teacherhorizons community and it only takes two minutes to create your profile page. Make sure your latest CV is uploaded so we can review it and ‘activate’ your profile. Click here to join. Are you still not sure? This might help – Why join Teacherhorizons. By joining us you become part of the biggest free platform in the world for teachers to access trustworthy advice about international schools, in an ever-growing community of international teachers. See this article for more information on this community.

2/ Get activated

Once you have created your profile and uploadAA Blog 1ed your CV, one of our specialist Advisers will review it and be in touch within two working days. If you have the training and experience our schools are looking for, your profile will be activated. Whilst you’re waiting to hear from one of our Advisers, it’s worth completing as much of your profile as possible, this way you’ll be ready to move quickly once activated.  

We work with top international schools that can be very selective and have very specific requirements. For this reason, your account may not be activated if you do not have the right training or experience yet. You may need to gain an extra qualification or some international experience before reapplying.

On the other hand, if we feel that you are an outstanding candidate you might be invited to become one of our ‘endorsed’ teachers. Please note, only about 15% of our teachers get endorsed.

3/ Access more

Once your profile is active, you can fully explore teaching opportunities. You can access more information on schools, such as details on salaries and packages offered, how to apply for opportunities and you can get access to our specialist team of Advisers.

4/ Apply anywhere

When you find an opportunity that interests you and you would like to apply, you need to check what type of vacancy it is. At Teacherhorizons we have two types of vacancies and the application process for each is slightly different:

1. Supported positions

If you are interested in a ‘supported position’ you mAA Blog 3ust email the Adviser that is listed at the bottom of the job advert. The school have requested we recommend TH teachers so your Adviser can fast-track your application and recommend you directly to the school’s principal.

2. Job listings

If a vacancy is a ‘job listing’ the school are just advertising with us and we cannot recommend you directly to the school. To apply, follow the instructions on the job advert.

Learn more about ‘supported positions’ and ‘job listings’ here.

5/ Advice and interview

If you apply for a position and you are shortlisted by your Adviser, s/he may offer you a skype interview. This will be an opportunity to share your experience and strengths and for him/her to find out more about what you are looking for. S/he will also be able to provide guidance about which positions are suitable and how to approach them. NB – make sure your profile is complete and you have researched the school and location thoroughly before moving forward. You will also need at least one reference from a Head of Deputy Head – complete this via your profile (use their school email address). Referee’s are usually busy people so be sure to get the reference request sent to them quickly so they have some time to complete it. Learn how to complete your Teacherhorizons references.

6/ Get fast-tracked

Once you have had a Skype interview with one of our Advisers they will tell you about the next steps. We only recommend tAA Blog 2he strongest candidates who best fit the school’s requirements. As we work with very good international schools, the competition can be tough so don’t be disappointed if you aren’t shortlisted. There will be plenty of other good opportunities. If you are shortlisted, we will recommend you directly to the Headteacher. We will also share your profile, CV, references and additional documents – so make sure they’re the best they can be. Here’s some advice about writing a good CV and how our confidential references work.

7/ Adviser communication

Once you have been recommended by your adviser to the school, it might take a few weeks for the school to respond. Response rates vary from school to school, depending on how they recruit, the time of year and how many other applicants they have. Your Adviser will keep you up-to-date on any developments and if the school would like to interview you (or not..).

8/ School interview

If a school would like to interview you, we encourage the Head or HR team to write to you directly. If they do, it’s very important you inform your Adviser immediately so s/he can provide guidance and be kept in the loop. Your Adviser will be able to provide more information about how to approach the interview, what to research and other advice. Many schools have at least two interview stages that could be held via Skype and sometimes in person.

9/ Receive an offerAA Blog 4

Hopefully, the interview goes well and you are offered the position. Make sure you receive the offer in writing (not just verbally). This is your last chance to ask any final questions (eg your timetable, the package etc) before signing the contract. The school should send you a formal contract directly. Notify your Adviser immediately as they can liaise directly with the school on your behalf if necessary and answer any last minute questions you may have.

10/ Board the plane!

Wherever you go, we are sure you will have a valuable experience, meet some great people and learn a great deal yourself. Most teachers who find position through us come back again and again. It’s always a daunting step into the unknown but the feedback we get is resoundingly positive. Don’t take our word for it – read stories from teachers we’ve placed.

Ready to give it a try? Click here to join our community of over 100,000 inspirational teachers looking to enrich their teaching in an international context.

Not sure yet? Here are ten reasons to join Teacherhorizons.

Written by Alex Reynolds, founding partner and Director of Communications at Teacherhorizons.