5 maths study tips to give to your students

This week we gift to you a useful blog from Annabelle Fee; part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, who share valuable teaching content to their community… and now ours!

Mathematics is often considered to be the hardest subject by many students. Some of them won’t even make an effort because they’ve immediately decided that they are bad at it. Nevertheless, the level of mathematics that is required by the education standards should be achievable to most students if they prepare well. And while a lot of responsibility lies with the class work, the preparation at home is crucial. A good teacher should guide students through their home study by giving them advice and appropriate homework. Here are the top five tips to give to students.

teacherhorizons (2)1. Practice daily

Repetitioest mater studiorum.  This is the golden rule of student life, but especially when it comes to math. Unless the student is a math genius, they will need to practice daily until the rules they are studying enter their system, once they know the simple rules, they can get more creative with difficult tasks. Practicing is not something of which they should be ashamed. Make sure to tell them this honestly and without looking down on people who need more practice. You can help them by giving constant homework – better to have daily homework than once a week a handful of pages.

2. Incorporate all the previous topics, not just the current one

When students practice, they often concentrate only on the current topic. A good tip to give is to incorporate at least one or two exercises from different areas, just to keep them fresh in their mind. You can also add to this by having some of the old exercises in the homework you give them. After not doing a certain type of exercise for a long time, students tend to forget how to do it, which can be a problem with final exams. This tip and your diverse homework can make finals a lot easier and pre-finals time a lot less stressful.

teacherhorizons (3)3. Do as much as possible without calculator

This is a simple tip but in today’s world with so much technology around us, it is rarely followed. Students, away from their tutors’ eyes, use their phones for even the simplest math. Doing homework without calculators can help during exam time, when calculators are often not allowed. It makes us calculate quicker. This is not something you can control, since homework is done at home, but make sure you point of the benefit of final exams so they know it is not just your rebellion against the technology.

4. Feel free to ask for help, but first try to do it by yourself

A lot of students see a more difficult or creative exercise and decide they cannot do it, without even trying first. It is ok not to know something, and it is ok to go to a teacher or a tutor to ask for an explanation. But the student should first try their own a couple of times. Telling them to try to first solve the problem by themselves is good advice to give them because it will not only help them in exams when they cannot ask for an explanation, but also with their future lives when they won’t always have someone to explain to them what they don’t understand.

teacherhorizons (1)5. Verbalise

One of the best pieces of advice I was given in high school was “when you have issues with a certain topic, try to first verbalise what you think you should do, and then do the math. Sometimes the numbers are arranged in a new way and the situation looks so unfamiliar that it is hard to see where to start. Talking through the problem helped understand what the issues were and then it was easier to work around solving them. This is rarely told to math students because math is not associated with words, but for some, especially for people who are more word-oriented, this can be golden.


Hopefully this will help your students to study more efficiently for their exams. The best thing you can do is to show them that you expect them to succeed if they work hard. Believing in your students matters more than words can describe; it is one of the strongest motivators.

Want to teach Mathematics abroad next year? Sign up to Teacherhorizons here and check out all of our exciting Maths jobs here!

Written by Annabelle Fee, part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, sharing valuable content to their own community and beyond.

What happens when you arrive at your new international school?

We talk to hundreds of teachers each week who are thinking of teaching abroad. One of the main barriers which puts people off is the unknown. What is the school like? What will happen when I arrive? Will I have to find my own accommodation? What if I don’t speak the language? These are some crucial questions, and at Teacherhorizons we think you deserve to know the answers before you embark. So this week we asked Megan Grey to describe her experiences so far at Yew Wah International Education School of TongXiang.


UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b9I’m writing to you from my friend’s couch who lives on my corridor in TongXiang. My flight was early on a Friday morning and I met 2 fellow teachers in the airport who I had been talking to on Facebook beforehand. This reminds me: Good tip for anyone travelling to China… make sure you download a VPN before you get here, you won’t be able to download one once you’re in China as it will be blocked. As you probably already know, China blocks Facebook, Instagram, google etc. but with a VPN you can use your phone/laptop as you would back home (very important if you are a Netflix junkie like me!)

After a stop off in Abu Dhabi, we arrived in Shanghai at 10.30am on Saturday and were met by some members of staff who work at our school. After travelling so far, I was so grateful to have airport pick up and transport all sorted for us. The staff even took us out for lunch, all paid for by the school. I remember thinking that I had struck gold and already appreciated how much the school value their teachers by making sure we were looked after.

Read another of Megan’s blog posts for helpful tips on applying for a Chinese visa.


UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b3Once we had finished, I was taken to my own apartment. Giddy with excitement, I burst through the door and was over the moon my new home: a brand new, fully furnished and modern space, just for me! My apartment has a kitchen with a fridge full of food (including Oreos – bonus), a living area with a TV, sofa, desk, table with 2 chairs, coffee table and water cooler. The water cooler boils and cools water. I also have a bedroom with 2 x ¾ sized beds with a wardrobe and a bathroom. There is also a balcony with a washing machine and clothes dryer.

I’ve been here for nearly a week now and the last 6 days have been a blur. The school has already organised for us to all get new phones with Chinese sim cards. We already have a Chinese bank card and access to our new bank accounts. The school also ran a trip to Injoy which is a big shopping center in Tongxiang so we could get some food and other bits and bobs. We’ve been to Shanghai to have a medical exam done (you will need to have this done when you get here in order to apply for a resident’s permit). We’ve also been given our new laptops which we ordered before we arrived… a brand-new apple mac! The school even provided training to show us how to use the laptops. In the first few days, we had a welcome party lunch where we got to meet all the teachers at the school; everyone is so lovely and supportive of each other. As a single female coming by myself, I am so grateful and relieved that I’m here with such incredible people. I feel like I’ve already got a big group of friends!

Look at more perks of international teaching by reading our blog on international teaching salaries and benefits. 
yew wah


The tour around the school with the senior leadership team blew me away. It’s like nothing I had ever seen before; so modern and forward-thinking. The sheer size of the building was incredible, especially the auditorium – it can hold 1000 people! I couldn’t wait to get started with planning the year ahead.

I’m so excited for the next steps and to get stuck into everything going on in the school. I am so grateful to Teacherhorizons for getting me the job in the first place and so grateful to all the staff working at Yew Wah Tongxiang. How lucky I am to be here!

Like the sound of a Yew Wah school? Have a read of this blog from a teacher at Yew Wah Yantai.


So there is my arrival story for any of you worrying about what might happen when you get to your new school. I’m sure you will have a similarly excellent experience. I’ll leave you now, with my 10 top tips for surviving your first week:

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b71) Get to know people on facebook before you arrive. I actually set up a Facebook group once I got the job and it was so helpful having a support network to help me before I got here. I even managed to meet up with someone before we all set off.

2) Download a VPN before you arrive.

3) Bring lots of packets of tissues. The toilets here are mainly a squat and drop (as we like to call them) and are pretty much a hole in the ground and most places don’t provide toilet paper.

4) Bring things from home to make your apartment your own. It’s so important to settle in and create your own space to make you feel happy and relaxed.

5) Bring things to cook with like cooking oil, spices and sauces that you use at home. I brought a big box of tea bags and am so glad I did.

6) Be confident and put yourself out there! Make sure you make connections with people and get out and do as many things as possible.

7) Expect to have jet lag and a dodgy stomach. Try not to let it get to you too much and ride it out. Your body will soon adjust.

8) Learn key phrases in Mandarin like hello, thank you, goodbye. The locals really appreciate it.

9) Download Wechat, it’s the Chinese version of Whatsapp and everyone uses it out here.

10) Give yourself a break, you are going to feel overwhelmed, nervous and homesick but it’s                                                                                                   okay! You’ll soon settle in.


Calling all new starters – what has your first week been like? Please let us know by emailing your story to editor@teacherhorizons.com. We would love to publish it. Thinking of following in Megan’s footsteps along with hundreds of other Teacherhorizons teachers? Set up your free profile here. Schools will be recruiting for next year very soon!

Written by Megan Grey, A 24-year-old primary teacher from Manchester. now working in Tongxiang, China at a Yew Wah school. She is beyond excited for the next steps in her teaching career, and believes that "if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!"

Seven secrets to social success in your new location.

You have made it! We hope you have arrived safe and well to your new school. Congratulations! Now comes the next step: Finding your place in this new (and frankly, terrifying) world. Being an international jet-setter myself, I moved my life to Cambodia last year, to begin working at Teacherhorizons. So having been in a similar situation to many of you international teachers, I wanted to share a few words of advice to help you find your feet, and navigate the social scene in your new home.


pub street1) Get out there

It might be the last thing you feel like doing in your first few weeks. It certainly was for me. As soon as I left my air conditioned room, the smells, the noise and the heat of Cambodia would hit me, and it was overwhelming. However, once I bit the bullet and got out there, I noticed how wonderfully different and exciting the place was, and began to get accustomed.

2) Find the place to be

The first thing to do is to find people who speak your language. Well, I started off in a hostel, so that was easy for me, and I began by asking the staff there where I should hang out to meet people. ‘Pub Street’ was the answer I got, so off I went to find friends. It took no time at all.

Interested in Cambodia too? Look at our Cambodia page here, and start applying for jobs there by creating a free profile. 
Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 13.51.553) Speak to everyone you see

I was stopped on my way onto pub street by a Turkish man selling pub crawl tickets… I very boldly replied “where do you live in this city? Where should I live?” I think he was a little taken aback, but he gave me some great advice on the places to look and the going rate for rent, and from that moment on, became one of my closest friends in Cambodia.

4) Join the facebook group

My new friend immediately added me to the expat Facebook group. There will always be one for the place you are living, no matter how remote. Ours was fantastic. It was the place where all expats in the whole city could meet, socialise and ask advice from others. It was used for buying and selling apartments, furniture, bikes etc and was a great way to feel part                                                                                                          of a community, no matter how far you are from your old one.

bikes4) Join a club

This Facebook group will be used for promotion too. Mine promoted all the clubs that you could join in the area, so all I had to do was pick a few hobbies that I was interested in pursuing over there. I picked CrossFit and wine tasting. Yes, wine tasting! Even in the most far off places, if there are expats there, there will be wine. The CrossFit club was at the local kickboxing gym, and was on three times a week. Through this I was able to meet like-minded people from the word go, and begin to structure my new friendship circle. Oh and if you are keen on fitness, join Strava. It’s an app which allows you to find friends who run, swim or cycle at your level, and contact them. An amazing tool if you want to meet like-minded people and have someone to exercise with.

5) Be a yes man!

“We are going on a bike ride, want to come?” YES. “I am going to do a city tour, join me?” YES. “Would you like to try this odd looking local food?” YES. Get my gist? You will never regret saying yes to these things. If they are enjoyable, you get a great experience to tell home about. If they are not, you get a funny story to tell home about. No one wants to hear about the time you said no to an adventure.

Read more of my advice on keeping fit and healthy abroad in this blog: Seven secrets to staying healthy that only expats would know!
IMG_16267) Speak to the locals

Your friends do not have to be expats. A good mix of both is healthy. I was lucky enough to find a complex to live in, which housed some locals and some expats, so I immediately befriended Cambodians as well as British, Kiwi, American and Turkish expats. The locals are amazing, as they help you navigate around and begin to learn the language, they help you order your drinks, they advise you on which market goods to buy and how much to pay for them, and best of all, they make you feel welcome in this place that is their home.

Read one of our teacher’s stories about learning the language of the locals here.


I hope these tips are helpful, and make the idea of building your new world, less daunting. It really takes no time at all to feel secure, all you need is a little confidence to get out there. Remember everyone else is just as keen for friends as you are, so go get ‘em!

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

Getting your Teacherhorizons profile and CV photo right.

According to psychology, a first impression is ‘the event when one person first encounters another person, evaluates them, and forms a mental representation of that person’. Now that word encounter is important, as it does not just apply to a face-to-face meeting. When you have a profile with us on Teacherhorizons, your photo is what gives potential schools that all important first impression.

So we want you to get it just right, and in doing so, give yourself the very best chance at getting an interview with your dream international school. Through our combined experience in recruitment, teaching, and international senior leadership, our team has a uniquely trained eye and can pick out problems in profile pictures at a glance. So here are our key DO and DON’Ts:


Maggie2IMG_0448DON’T: Take a selfie

Everyone loves a good selfie, we all know that. According to data from Samsung, selfies make up almost one-third of all photos taken by people aged 18-24! But it’s important to remember that this profile is on Teacherhorizons, not Facebook. Schools want to see a professional picture, not half of your arm and your face at an odd angle.




Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 14.28.59Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 14.28.59 DO: Ensure your rotation is correct

When you upload to your Teacherhorizons profile from a smartphone, we often find it rotates your picture sideways for some strange reason. Having a sideway picture definitely doesn’t give the impression you are tech savvy! Try to upload from your computer, or alternatively, the next chance you get, log in on a computer and check it’s upright. To rotate the picture is easy enough, just download it and rotate it, then re-upload. If you are struggling to do this, email our tech team at info@teacherhorizons.com and they will sort it for you.



Henry website20170302_132405
DON’T: Use a photo with kids or animals

Animals are cute, but schools will not be impressed by a picture of you and your cat or dog. This isn’t Tinder! Secondly, it is important to schools that you can build good relationships with your students, but don’t use a picture of you and your class, to get this across. Posting photos of students online is actually illegal without the permission of the parents, so do be careful!





WIN_20170816_08_10_00_Pro (2)WIN_20170816_08_08_49_Pro (2)DO: Wear something smart

If you went to an interview, what would you wear? Whatever it is, put that on for your picture. We suggest men wear a shirt and tie (jacket optional) and women wear a smart top or shirt. Feel free to wear pyjamas on your bottom half… no one will ever know!





DON’T: Be really far away

Take a head and shoulders shot. That way you are close up to the camera and schools don’t have to squint to see you. We suggest a similar shot to a passport photo, but smart, and smiling. You’re allowed to show teeth!




2017-07-31 11.13.57JBS Headshot photoDO: Check your background and lighting

Make sure you don’t have a window or bright light behind you, it makes you look like a silhouette. Similarly, if the light is right above you, it can make you look weary and tired. Test out the lighting in a few different places and use the best shot. In terms of background, a blank wall is good, but don’t feel limited to it, we also think a school or classroom background can be strong. Either way though, make it minimal, as you don’t want to detract from your lovely self!



DON’T: Be at a social event

The profile picture should be is a formal picture taken for the purpose of highlighting professionality. We find that lots of teachers put up shots of themselves at a wedding, since they are dressed smartly, but often that comes with a glass of champagne or surrounding family members. We would recommend taking that 5 minutes to delve into your cupboard and find similarly smart clothes, then ask someone to take another shot of just you.



DO: Ensure it is a clear, non-pixelated shot

This goes along with the social events issue. If you use a photo already taken, you often have to crop out that glass of wine, or the other people nearby. This changes the resolution of the shot and can make it blurred or funny shaped. Save yourself the hassle of Photoshop, and just take a new one!



Ryan1imageDON’T: Take a picture of a picture

Speaking of passport photos, we often see people taking photos of the photo page of their passport. This just looks a little odd, and is often bad quality. It also may come across as a bit lazy, so upload a proper one.




 DO: Smile!

Schools do love to see your personality shine through, so put on your best smile. Maybe imagine you got the job, use that face and that feeling, then 1,2,3 click!




For more advice like this, see our blogs on Skype interview tips and CV advice. To upload your photo and get started, set up your free profile here.

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

Important information for getting your Chinese working visa

Megan Grey has been in China for just over two weeks, at Yew Wah International Education School of Tongxiang. She tells us she is having an amazing experience so far, and has written lots of blogs about her experiences which we can’t wait to share with you. In this first blog she recounts her experience of obtaining a Chinese working visa, complete with the mistakes she made, and how to avoid them.


This blog post is an attempt to help anyone out who is trying to go through the exhausting, frustrating and simply ridiculous process of applying for a Chinese visa. I know that when I went through it, I would have found it helpful to get some advice from someone who had done the same thing to explain the process in simple English terms.

Just bear in mind that everything I tell you was true when I started applying for a working visa during the beginning of 2017, but the regulations change all the time so might be different for you. You need to check with your school’s HR department for what you need and what steps they can do for you.


documentsStep 1: Send documents to your school

You need to email a huge list of documents to your school. For me this included the following:

  • A full colour scanned copy of your passport
  • Authentication of degree certificates, teaching credentials and DBS/police check form (I will explain this bit and how to get something authenticated, it’s a tricky process!)
  • A full colour scanned copy of university transcript
  • A CV
  • A reference letter from your last employer (this needs to include your full name and passport number, your period of employment and details of your teaching position)
  • Pay slips from your previous employer
  • The name and address of the Chinese embassy/consulate from which you will apply for your entry visa (there is one in London, Manchester and Edinburgh)
  • An overseas correspondence address
  • A health certificate (I’ll explain this bit again later too)
  • A signed letter of commitment
  • A signed employment contract
  • Full colour passport photos (tip: bring a few with you when you get to China, I had to get some more done when I got here)

There are more steps to do if you are married or have children but for little old me that was it.


Step 2: Get the medical check

In order to work in China you need to prove that you are fit and healthy to do so. I went to a place in Manchester called sameday doctor. You’ll need to get an ECC, a chest x-ray, and a blood test. There’s an official form to fill out, if you google it you might find it, my school sent it to me. You need to make sure you have a photo attached to the form and the doctor signs it and stamps it to make it official. You will have to pay for it and get it done privately, it’s expensive! Mine cost nearly 500.          *Important tip: save all your receipts so you can get reimbursed from your school.*


Step 3: Get your documents authenticated

Word of warning… this step is a long process so get it done as soon as possible. I needed to get my degree certificate, my teaching credentials and my DBS check authenticated.

  • authentThe first thing you need to do is take it to a solicitor, they need to sign a photocopy of the document to prove that it is a legal document. CAREFUL: for the DBS document you have to sign the original document but for the degree and teaching certificates, signing a photocopy is okay. I went to a solicitors in Manchester called Stephensons, they are really helpful. They saw me on the same day and only charged me a fiver per document. I went in about 5 times by the end! Learn from my mistakes and do it right the first time!
  • The next step is to send the documents to the Foreign Commonwealth office in Milton Keynes. You need to fill out a form online, google FCO documents authentication and it will take you to a .gov website. You need to fill it out and print it off. Then send it on tracked delivery to the address on the form. This takes about 2 weeks to come back to you. This costs £35.50 per document so it soon adds up! When it comes back it will have an A5 sized document stapled to it to prove it’s a legal document.
  • The final step is to take the documents to the visa office, I went to the one in Manchester on Denison Road. You will need to take a photocopy of the document too with all the things attached. Make sure you do the front and the back (starting to see all my mistakes yet?). You also need to take your passport and a photocopy of the passport. There’s a form to fill out too (such a massive faff!). They will take the document from you, you can pick it up 3 working days later and need to pay £15 per document. It will have an official stamp from the embassy.
  • Then you can scan and send all these documents to your school and they can apply for a work permit. You may also get an invitation letter, I didn’t need this when I applied but this changes all the time.


Step 4: Get your work permit

Once everything is sent in you can receive your work permit, this is basically a letter that says you have permission to work in China. You need this document and your school’s license (just ask your school and they can send this to you), then you can go to the visa office. In Manchester, it is near China town on Morton Road. You need to take your passport, your permit and the school’s license. I got seen really quickly and didn’t need an appointment, however, in London I heard it’s much harder and you need an appointment to do it. You hand everything in (they will keep your passport) and 3 working days later you can pick it up. It cost me £178 so be prepared to have to pay a lot for it! You’ll get a sticker in a page in your passport and with that, you can be allowed into China.


Simple as ABC… I think not! I hope that helps even a little bit! If you are applying for a Chinese Z visa (that’s a working visa) good luck! I hope the process is more straightforward for you than it was for me.


What a useful post, thanks so much Megan! If you have any useful advice like this, for other teachers heading abroad this year, please email  editor@teacherhorizons.com and we can discuss your ideas!

Written by Megan Grey, A 24-year-old primary teacher from Manchester. now working in Tongxiang, China at a Yew Wah school. She is beyond excited for the next steps in her teaching career, and believes that "if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!"

Ten reasons why our international teachers can’t wait to begin!

International teaching has many perks, which means that there are many reasons to do it. We asked every teacher we have placed this year to tell us what they are most looking forward to, and then whittled down the hundreds of responses we got. Here are the ten most common reasons why teachers this year are excited to go international.


1. Professional Development

International schools often pride themselves on their excellent CPD opportunities. They are able to provide effective training because they employ the best teachers from all over the world who can share with each other the skills they have learned back home. Have a read of our blog on professional development here. 

cpd ladder


“Having recently completed an MSc International Development Management, I am looking forward to taking a step towards education development in the senior organisational levels.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing to strive for best practice in vocation.”

“I am excited to be able to learn new teaching methodology and continue my professional development. You are never too old to learn.”


2. To teach the IB

As I am sure you are aware, many international schools run the International Baccalaureate as opposed to the local curriculum. It is a very different way of teaching and learning, which enables students to become holistic learners with an understanding of how they actually learn (‘the theory of knowledge’) and skills that are useful outside of the classroom. For teachers, it enables them to teach with more freedom. They are encouraged to make lessons interactive, investigative and can introduce some interesting projects. The IB is very interdisciplinary, enabling teachers to learn around their subject and collaborate with other departments.



“I am mostly looking forward to teaching the IB curriculum because I believe that it will develop my teaching skills further.”

“I am looking forward to teaching the IB Middle Years Programme. Oh, and less traffic congestion!”

“I am very excited about working with children from very diverse backgrounds and learning about how IB schools work.”


3. More money

International schools salaries vary from place to place (read our blog on comparing schools salaries) but as a general rule, they enable teachers to save more money. Some countries are tax free, others have a very low cost of living, and most salaries will be inclusive of accommodation, flights and free medical cover, saving you hundreds every month.



“I am excited for professional growth, experience and of course some more money is always a nice plus.”

“I am looking forward to being able to afford to do exciting and wonderful things at the weekends and in the holidays. I will have a better salary in Thailand AND the cost of living is lower!”

“I am looking forward to being able to provide better for my family. My children will join me at the school, and get a great education for free, and as a family, we will be able to afford some lovely holidays and trips.”



4. To experience a new culture

Outside of the school walls, there is a new culture to dive into. A new language, new food, new religion and a new way of life. This is one of the most exciting things about teaching abroad. Read my blog about Cambodian culture, or a teachers experience of living in El Salvador.



“I’m looking forward to experiencing a new culture and way of life, doing a job I’ve been doing for many years but in a totally different setting. I look forward to meeting different people and am excited about the different opportunities that this will provide me.”

“I’m excited for my family and me to explore a new country and culture.”

“I am so excited for my children to experience and understand different cultures. I think it’s so important for their development.”


5. For the students

Teaching an international cohort is an amazing experience. Students may have different motivations, different learning styles, and very different opinions to those students you taught back home, and in fact, from each other. This can make every day and every lesson exciting and challenging.



“I am excited about teaching Art to Chinese students, it will be worlds away from teaching students at home.”

“I can’t wait to teach students who are more motivated to learn.”

“I am very excited about working with children from diverse backgrounds,  it is a chance to learn from the students as much as they learn from me.”



6. To work in a renowned school

Some of the top schools in the whole world are international ones. Just have a look at the blog we wrote on the best international schools to teach at in the world.  Many are very well established independent schools, and many belong to fantastic school groups. Either way, these schools can provide exciting opportunities and an unforgettable experience to teachers lucky enough to work there.


uwc thailand2“The International School of The Hague is a well established and renowned international school that offers amazing opportunities for pupils and staff. I look forward to learning more about international education through working there, and making likeminded friends of colleagues.”

“I can’t wait to work with a principal who is so experienced, enthusiastic and down-to-earth.”

“Working at an established IB school with new career opportunities. Being in Africa also offers numerous travelling opportunities during the holidays!”



7. To work in a developing school

On the flip side, because of a sudden boom in international education, there are many new international schools popping up all over the world. Being part of a growing and developing school can be a great learning opportunity. It can provide experience in curriculum development and can enable newer teachers to climb the ranks quickly. Alternatively, it can provide a challenge for more experienced teachers who may be feeling too comfortable!



“I’m looking forward to teaching in a relatively new school with a small staff and getting to have a real input into curriculum design and hopefully taking on some more responsibility.”

“I am excited to be part of a school in the early stages so that I can be part of its development.”

“I am really looking forward to joining a school that is just starting out and being able to grow with it. I am excited to learn from other professionals, meet new people and of course, discover what life is like in Myanmar!”



8. To meet new people

Moving to a new school means meeting a whole load of new teachers. Moving to an international school means meeting a whole load of likeminded, adventurous teachers! International schools can have a fairly high turnover too, meaning that if you stay for a long time, you get to meet lots of new people every year.



“I am really looking forward to getting back to Thailand to reconnect with old friends and to meet new ones, too.”

“I want to share my new experiences as a teacher in East Timor with others wanting to do the same thing and hopefully inspire other teachers to work and travel.”

“I can’t wait to be part of an international school community, where so many people will have the same motivations and values as me and my family. My children will meet students from all over the world, and I will meet teachers from all over the world.”


9. For a new challenge

Teaching can become stifling and stagnant back home. International teaching provides a new challenge for those who have come to a standstill perhaps, or who just know there is something more out there for them. Have a read of our blog 5 signs you need a new teaching job!

challenge“Jeju will be an amazing adventure for my family and me. The school sounds really amazing, and the position is the challenge I was looking for.”

“I am looking forward to leading the secondary division of a relatively new international school and taking it through the next stage of its journey. After spending a brief time as a classroom teacher, I am equally looking forward to the challenges which senior leadership in schools bring.”

“I have lived and taught overseas for about 20 years. I am really looking forward to going to Egypt for another experience and the challenges of which a new country can bring. I am also a diver so being able to go diving in the Red Sea is very exciting.”


10. Travelling opportunities

What can be better than being able to pop to a tropical island on your week long half term? Or taking a trip to a new city every weekend? International teaching provides endless opportunities for travelling and exploring the world.  Have a read of this blog by Chris Lyons, about the opportunities he has had since going international.

travel“I am excited to get back to a seasonal climate in a culturally rich part of the world. I can’t wait to explore South Korea and get over to Japan, the Philippines and all the other incredible spots in South East Asia. Not to mention trying Kimchi and eating seaweed soup on my birthday!”

“I can’t wait to be able to explore a new country and see what the world has to offer.”

“I am looking forward to working and living in a new climate with such a wide range of biodiversity and natural beauty.”



If you want to experience the same excitement as these lucky teachers, sign up to Teacherhorizons and create your profile. Then you can browse our list of jobs. Schools will be starting to recruit for August 2018 very soon, don’t miss out!

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

Three reasons schools value Teacherhorizons and our recruitment service.

At Teacherhorizons, we’ve had another fantastic year and we’re proud of the feedback we’ve received from teachers. We’ve helped over a thousand teachers secure positions in over fifty countries. We also support hundreds of schools – all over the world. This blog is to share some recent feedback from Headteachers and recruiters that we work with…


1. Our personal service

One of our unique attributes at Teacherhorizons is that our Recruitment Advisers all have a background in education. Many of us have been through the Teach First programme, been international teachers or even been members of senior leadership in the international sector. This background enables us to understand the needs of teachers, the needs of schools, and to empathise with the trials and tribulations of recruiting.

Every single one of the schools we work with has a designated Lead Recruitment Adviser (LRA). That Adviser will take the time to either visit the school or, if not possible, speak to the main recruitment contact over Skype. They will learn and make a note of everything there is to know about the school itself (facilities, intake, curriculums, the surrounding area) and also that school’s specific recruitment needs. The rest of us can then tailor our search for teachers with that in mind.

excellent“Maggie has worked tirelessly to match candidates with our needs and expectations. It is never easy to find the perfect teacher/school match but Teacherhorizons’ personal and tailored  approach has always been highly valued.” – Bebegarten Education Centre

 “The service was very personal and the person I was liaising with had a good understanding of my specific needs, which meant that she could link me with the most suitable candidates.” – Traill International School

“Teacherhorizons is a highly professional teacher recruitment agency, whose consultants go the extra mile to understand our specific needs as an organisation. This has helped us to recruit some excellent new teaching staff. A huge thank you!  Tiffany has been an amazing point of contact, highly professional, very responsive, and has done a great job for us, finding candidates for ‘hard to recruit for’ Cairo and some difficult subjects.” – New Cairo British International School


2. Our communication

We pride ourselves on our quick and effective communication with both schools and candidates. We Skype every candidate we place and, if possible, every school we work with as well. As for emails, even during peak time, our turnaround for answering queries from schools is within one working day. When schools inform their Adviser of a new vacancy, that Adviser will ensure it is advertised on the website within 24 hours, and a marketing campaign is sent out to suitable candidates that week.

This year we beat our record time for finding an English teacher. The school got in touch on a Friday and we had a candidate interviewing for the position by Monday. It was successfully filled by Tuesday!



“I was impressed with the support and swift responses. An extremely helpful and professional company to work with.”- The Britsh School of Tashkent

“I have been impressed by the speed and efficiency of Teacherhorizons’ services. We needed a Mathematics teacher at short notice and were able to make an appointment within a week.” – UWC Thailand

“Teacherhorizons is prompt, thorough, and professional. They do a great job screening and recommending candidates for Woodstock’s unique requirements as a residential school in the Indian Himalayas.” – Woodstock School




3. Our talented teachers

As we discussed in our blog on safeguarding, our candidate recruitment and vetting procedure is rigorous, and as such, we only put forward the best teachers. We look at each candidate’s CV, qualifications, experience, personal and professional background and 3 confidential references before we invite them to interview. If you are one of our teachers you will know only too well the importance we place on verifiable references which have been sent from professional school email addresses! We also treat our interviews as professional school interviews, both so that we can identify strong teachers, and so that we can prepare them effectively for the next step.



“We use Teacherhorizons as our preferred provider as we find their service to be very responsive, the quality of the candidates to be consistently high and the fees very reasonable.” – ACS International, Singapore

“Teacherhorizons has provided me with some of my most experienced and versatile teachers and academic leaders this year. The recruitment team really go the extra mile in trying to listen to our school’s needs and providing candidates who will be personally and professionally fulfilled in our school and fulfill the high expectations we hold for our teachers and leaders.” – Yew Wah International Education School of Yantai

“We’ve worked with Teacherhorizons for three years now. They’re very responsive and patient. Teachers we hired through Teacherhorizons are excellent.” – Léman International School

“A very efficient service with a high proportion of suitable candidates” – The Koc School


In summary…


“Recruiting was a pleasure when working with Teacherhorizons; the drag and dross was removed, and it became quite exciting!” – Kivukoni School

“Teacherhorizons is the most effective recruitment service I’ve worked with this year.” – New Cairo British International School

“We have been using Teacherhorizons for a number of years now, they have been consistently providing us a very professional, very personalised service. We are very happy and will continue to use them for many years to come.” – Sekolah Victory Plus




Does Teacherhorizons sound like something you would like to be part of? If you are a Principal or school contact interested in creating a free school profile page, then start here. If you are a teacher looking for a new international position and want to create a free teacher profile, start here. For any questions or just to get in touch, contact info@teacherhorizons.com.

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

What to expect when you’re moving to a new country to teach or study abroad

Moving to a new country for an extended period of time can be difficult. They call it ‘culture shock’ for a reason! There are a lot of things we take for granted in our native countries, such as eating customs, colloquial language and social norms. Knowing what to expect when making the move to teach abroad can make the transition much easier. That’s why guest blog writer Punyaa Metharom from Bromsgrove International School in Thailand, has put together some advice.


                                                                                                         Eating and ordering habits

mealOrdering and eating food is one of the first and most common things you will need to do in your new country of residence. Keep in mind that different cultures do things differently. For instance, in your new country:

  • Utensils may or may not be used with certain food items
  • It may be considered impolite to touch food at produce stands prior to purchase
  • Gratuity for servers may be expected or included in the bill
  • You may be expected to ask for the bill, or it might be considered rude to do so
  • You may have dinner much earlier or later than usual, or find meal sizes vary

Learn what you can before you leave in order to avoid awkward moments. You won’t be able to avoid them all, so be polite and be prepared to learn by example.



New languages 

girlYou may already have a good grasp of the language spoken in the country you are going to, you may know nothing, or it could be your native language. Either way, expect to be surprised.

If you already know a fair amount, expect to learn quickly, and, if you spend a lot of time with natives, to start to see your new language affect how you speak your native language. Certain phrasing will creep in when you speak to your friends back home. You may even forget a word! Don’t worry, it’s all still there and waiting for you.

If you are traveling to a country that speaks your primary language, expect it to be very different. Residents in your new country of residence are likely to use some words differently than you do, and phrasing may also vary.

If you have little knowledge of the language in the country you will be traveling to, hang tight! You may be in for a bumpy ride. Learn basic phrases before you go, such as greetings and questions; for example, to find out where the bathroom is!


Social customs

Related to eating habits, social customs vary widely from country to country. This includes greeting styles, in which you may expect, a kiss, double kiss, triple kiss, a hug, a handshake, a bow, or nothing. The customary distance between individuals may be different from your native country, so you may find that people stand at a closer or greater distance from you in social settings.

Depending on the country to which you travel, there may be different customs specific to your gender. Learn what habits you may need to adopt in order to remain safe and respectful.





Health and safety

Before traveling to a new country, research if any vaccinations are recommended prior to travel and if the water in the country is safe to drink.

You should also research how to get in touch with emergency professionals, locate the nearest hospital and police station, and learn how to contact your native country’s embassy.


You may be surprised to learn that readjusting to your life back home can prove to be a bigger challenge than leaving your native country in the first place. For some people, getting re-acclimatised in their native country can be a more jarring experience. Expect that your horizons will be broadened and your perspective may have become enriched. You may see things differently and should be patient with yourself as the new you gets to know your native customs again.


You stand to learn a lot from your time in another country and studying or teaching abroad is a wonderful experience. Help yourself to transition into your new surroundings by keeping an open mind and doing a bit of research before you jump in! If you are keen to take the plunge, sign up to teacherhorizons and browse our jobs board.  Schools like Bromsgrove International School are advertising now!

Written by Punyaa Metharom, who has been teaching English as an Additional Language, English, and writing blogs at Bromsgrove International School in Thailand for eight years. When he isn’t teaching, he loves to travel around the country and beyond. Punyaa wants to have a firm grasp on the world so his students can as well.

Teaching at Dili International School, Timor-Leste

Greetings Teacherhorizons viewers! I am Matthew Spooner from Melbourne, Australia. In January 2017, I packed my bags, left the land from down under, and flew to South East Asia’s best kept secret: Dili, Timor-Leste. I want to share with you the experience I have had so far.


Why I am here

After teaching for seven years in Melbourne’s Catholic Archdiocese primary schools I decided that I needed a new professional adventure. I had assumed leadership roles, taught three grade levels in two schools, took on extra-curricular activities and even had a brief stint as an emergency teacher. Yet, there was an emptiness. I knew that I wanted to combine my love of travel, with my love for teaching. My wife, Jaklin (who is a qualified high school teacher) knew that this challenge would benefit our careers and our lives. So… to Timor-Leste we went!

timor leste
Learn more about teaching in Indonesia and find any Indonesian teaching positions here.


Dili International School

DIS is a certified International Baccalaureate (IB) school. The schools consists of a Junior School (Pre-school- Kindergarten), a primary school, a high school and Year 11/12. The school hours are 8:20am – 4:30pm, though this time can vary depending on meetings, extra-curricular activities, planning, marking etc. Within the primary school the class sizes range between 18-24 students per class and every primary teacher has a full-time Learning Assistant. The presence of the Learning Assistant in the classroom is advantageous as he (or she) is productive and helpful.

The leadership team here are both approachable and supportive. In particular, the principal and manager of the school are aware of the challenges of living in a developing country and being away from family and friends. Their open door policy is reassuring, and they are there to listen, offer advice and assist with our concerns. I believe that when good will is extended to another, it is received back. This is the case at DIS. They employed my wife as Year 8 Individuals and Societies Teacher, Grade 2 PE Teacher and she is on standby for relief teaching when required. Furthermore, they understand the importance of a work/life balance. This has resonated well with me. The overseas staff

Furthermore, the leadership understand the importance of a work/life balance. This has resonated well with me. The overseas staff are encouraged to have an active social life away from school in order to come back refreshed and energized.

dili international
Interested in working in an IB school too? Read advice on getting IB experience here. 


The lifestyle of an international teacher

The lifestyle of an international teacher has really appealed to me over the past six months. Jaklin and I thoroughly enjoy the down time away from school. We hire a car every couple of weeks and spend the weekends exploring Timor-Leste. Our favorite district is Liquica. Liquica is a 45 minute drive from Dili and takes us away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. We also spend time at a local orphanage during the week, and the school has supported our voluntary work by making this our extra-curricular activity on Friday afternoons.

In my own time, I have taken up Portuguese lessons, however, in a country such as Timor-Leste, Tetum and Bahasa Indonesian are other languages worth pursuing. We have travelled to Bali and Singapore twice during this six month period. There are three flights a day to Bali, so whenever there is a long weekend or term holidays we are off to the travel agent to book our trip. Dili-Bali return flights cost around $200 US per person and the accommodation/spending money in Bali is reasonable. In Timor-Leste the official currency is US Dollars and the exchange rate adds value to your trip away.

The scenery of Dili, Timor-Leste.
Like the sound of the international teacher lifestyle? Read more about it first hand from teachers such as Christopher Lyons, in South Korea. 


The development of my professional approach

This way of life has benefited my teaching practice. My planning with my Grade 3/4 Team are professional and pleasant times. My colleagues and I come back to work wanting to get the best out of ourselves as well as meeting the needs of our students entrusted in our care. The IB framework has challenged my thinking nevertheless; I have adjusted and tweaked elements of my practice to embrace this style of learning and teaching. The professional reading is necessary to deepen my understanding of the IB model and the texts that I obtain are reader-friendly and practical. Moreover, I still read other educational topics that I am interested in. These topic include: Grit by Angela Duckworth and The Fixed/Growth Mindset or The Power of Yet by Carol Dweck.

My own professional standards have improved as I am working with teachers who have taught all over the world and from different countries. Their stories and commitment to the school has enabled me learn a lot from them. My students are from Brazil, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines and the USA. They bring their own experiences, talents and gifts to the classroom and I am delighted to see them grow in their learning on a daily basis. Truly, they are a joy to be with. I have had positive experiences with their families who trust my capabilities and are willing to work with me on their childs’ development.

dili kids
Read about how other international teachers have developed their way of thinking and teaching in this blog.
Final Thoughts

At the end of my teaching career in Melbourne I was burnt out, disengaged, and frustrated with the profession. If I have to be truthful, I was prepared to walk away from teaching. Teacherhorizons and Dili International School both helped me fall in love with teaching once again. Timor-Leste and its location in South East Asia has allowed me to travel domestically and internationally on a regular basis and I am hopeful that there are many more voyages ahead. I am forever grateful for this opportunity. The way of life for an international teacher was something that I had always dreamt about, and now… I live it!


Has Matthew answered some of your questions about what it is like to teach abroad? If you still have more, have a look at our FAQ by Teachers blog. To get adventurous like Matthew and Jaklin, just create a profile here. 

Written by Matthew Spooner, an Australian primary school teacher, who has ventured to Timor-Leste to teach PYP at Dili International School.

We asked our teachers… “What advice would you give to others thinking of teaching abroad?”

At Teacherhorizons we love to get feedback from teachers about their experiences all over the world. We recently sent out a questionnaire to get some of this inside scoop. We have already shared with you the answers to “tell me something you have learned”“tell me a funny story” and “what are the misconceptions about teaching internationally?”. Here are the answers to our final question. It is an important one for those of you who are teetering on the edge… it’s your last chance to take the leap!


This week we asked “what advice would you give to someone who is umming and ahhing about teaching abroad?”


“Do it! But get in touch first with the teachers who work there already; they tell you how it really is.”

“Just go for it. You will always have doubts but the experience is worth taking the risk.”

“100% do it. You will come back with stories to tell, characters you’ve met, adventures to share. You might think you can imagine what it will be like but you will never know until you’ve taken that leap of faith.”

“Just do it! It is always possible to do it in the way you want to, for example there are more comfortable options (places, schools, roles) or more adventurous ones. There is something for everybody out there.”

“If you’re thinking about it, do it! Whatever happens it will be a life experience that will develop you as a person. And who wants to hear about the time you nearly moved abroad?”

“Take the leap. If it isn’t what you wanted, you always have a home to go back to, but if you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder what it would have been like.”


“Try it! Even if you don’t like every part of it, you will come back a more rounded person, with some amazing experiences you wouldn’t have had otherwise. I have loved every minute of my last 7 years abroad!”

“Do it….but choose the school wisely! The school is more important than location as you spend most of the time at work!”

“Go for it – you only live once! Do as much research as you can about the school as well as city and country you will be living in so that you get a sense of what your professional and leisure experiences and costs of living could be like. Seek out people who live in that environment, or have done so, and ask as many questions as you can.”

“If you are worried about the change or about being so far from home, don’t! Embrace the new experiences but also, it is important to recognise time when you need a break – whether that means going home for the holidays, or visiting a different city or country.”

“Take the leap! It’s not scary once you are there…You will likely gravitate towards others who are like you and quickly become part of an expat community – but be open to connecting with others beyond this bubble if possible: sports, culture and the arts, religious affiliation are some of the ways you will meet new people.”

“Did you know, 73% of teachers say they would like to teach overseas at some point but only 9% ever do. Which group do you want to be part of?!”


Do you have your own advice to give? Please feel free to comment below, or to contribute to our teacher questionnaire by clicking here and answering the questions. We would love to use your answers in our next blog!

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