Pro tip 1: Know your visa and country limitations
Eligibility for a visa is the main hurdle for people getting teaching jobs overseas. If you have the experience and skill set then age shouldn’t be an issue. The issue, however, lies in visa restrictions for specific countries for people over 60. This is a good resource.
Unfortunately, a lot of non-English speaking countries have restrictions on age limit. Europe, Africa and Latin America seem to be less concerned about age whilst it is tricky for older teachers in Asia. Our Advisers at Teacher Horizons have experienced first-hand that countries within Africa are most likely to hire teachers over 60 and countries in Asia, the least.
Pro tip 2: Own your experience
Those with years of international teaching experience in their life are often open-minded and dynamic-with an ability for taking on innovative ideas in the classroom. We can break free from this idea that older teachers are going to be more rigid in their style and tradition. So use this to your advantage by demonstrating your dynamism through your CV and interview. Getting tech savvy will also help reassure the school that you are not stuck in the past.
Pro tip 3: Be flexible
As the visa restrictions may rule out some of your first options don’t rule out the opportunities completely. You may just need to be a bit more flexible about location. If you are already in a specific country you can go and visit a school of interest directly and get to know them, this way they can see your aptitude without the pre-judgement of age.
If you are unable to find a job in an international school in your subject, you could look at ESL teaching as an option as they are likely to be more open. In some parts of Asia, universities and public institutions tend to be more flexible on age than private ones. The age for school administrators in China is also older, so that could be another option.
There are also online options where you could teach through an online platform from anywhere. It is likely the same restrictions to age will not apply and you get to bypass the visa conundrum.
Pro tip 4: Weigh the pros and cons but highlight the pros!
Be realistic. Finding a job over 60 is no walk in the park, but with age comes experience so use this to your advantage. Highlight the wide variety of schools you have worked with, your experience with examinations, best practice, advice on careers. etc. You can work to destroy the myths around concerns in relation to age. For example, schools sometimes assume that the use of technology in the classroom or being unable to adapt are commonplace, so set about proving them wrong. Get savvy with your application and give concrete examples on your innovative and adaptable ways. It is also worth showing how you respect and fit into the culture. Focus on your excellent subject knowledge and your rapport with students, parents and colleagues.
To sum up: If you’re in your mid-50s or older, you have the best chance of finding an international school job in Latin America, Europe or Africa. Asia will be a bit harder but be flexible and look at the alternatives!
Demonstrate you are tech savvy with a great up-to-date CV, and covering letter, brush up your Skype interview skills and be prepared to sell your strengths and wealth of experience.