It’s not surprising that in a time of great uncertainty comes a myriad of questions. This blog post shares some common questions being asked among the international teaching community right now and our CEO, Alex, has some answers to put your mind at rest during this difficult time.
It is crucial to acknowledge that while Alex has answered these questions best he can on behalf of Teacher Horizons, it is a time of constant change with a lot of unknowns and situations vary from country to country. These answers are from our perspective. We hope they can offer some guidance and solace to all teachers at this challenging time.
* This article was updated on 3 May 2021 *
1. As global educators, what is crucial to remember in the time of COVID-19?
Perspective. We’ve never had to deal with this sort of situation before, but as teachers, we’re trained and well equipped to think on our feet and to be creative in thinking of alternative ways of teaching. Countries have already begun administering the vaccine and some have kept schools open, or are reopening, where it is safe to do so. During this time it’s our duty, as international educators, to be good role models – wherever we are in the world.
2. What words of encouragement do you have right now for the international teaching community?
Whilst times continue to be challenging and there will be a significant impact on the economy, we are fortunate that the education system is robust. Parents will always prioritise their kids’ education above any luxuries. So, while we are experiencing turbulence we should also appreciate that our work will continue. The sector remains strong in the face of this economic shift.
While we continue to be unsure how the year is going to play out, from what we have seen in the last 11 months points to an optimism around the number of schools still recruiting and the number of exciting vacancies around the world.
From our experience schools are being as supportive and accommodating as they can. Teachers should be mindful of respecting any contracts being signed to ensure no one is left in the lurch and no damage is done to either party.
3. Will it still be possible to teach internationally this year and are international schools still recruiting?
Yes, international schools are continuing to recruit. Some schools are still undergoing some remote working or blended learning.
It’s particularly important for teachers to say whether they’re prepared to teach online if they need to and to highlight whether they have experience doing this. Schools are looking for flexibility.
Regarding school recruitment, we continue to have schools and candidates. I recommend actively speaking to our Advisers to see what opportunities are available.
Many new schools have been approaching Teacher Horizons and they like our established online recruitment approach.
4. What changes can international teachers expect when schools start back up?
We urge teachers to remain flexible while schools are reopening. We will continue to post relevant information where and when we can so keep checking our blogs. We did a post on reopening schools which you can find here.
5. What changes can international teachers expect in regards to contract and salaries?
It really depends on the schools. Embassy schools etc shouldn’t have their contracts or salaries affected too greatly. Some schools we work with have even given their teachers a pay rise over this difficult time. New, private schools might struggle as parents might not be able to afford the fees as this continues. Of course, this is speculation at this time and it really depends on the place and the nature of the pandemic and economic situation in each country.
6. Will international teachers be able to get flights to their school?
Flights are gradually reopening. It might take a while for all flights to return to regular schedules. Your best bet is researching the specific country in question. The school will be able to support you with further information, too.
7. Will international teachers have to quarantine when they move abroad?
This depends on the country and the protocols they have in place at the time. It is likely to depend on what stage they are at with the pandemic. As flights and schools continue to reopen some countries have quarantine in place. These vary and it also can change quite often so keep checking in with the specific country regulations.
8. Will international teachers have to teach online?
Most teachers have been teaching online at least for some of the time. Plenty of schools are re-open, some are offering a blended learning approach. and it is likely that some form of online learning will become regular in a lot of places now. If you are looking for an international teaching job demonstrate the new skills you have built during this time. We suggest candidates are prepared to show how remote teaching has improved their practice, beyond coping and adapting, and how they’ve grown as educators. Remote or blended learning is likely to be around in one form or another as we move forward, so showing you are equipped in this area is important.
9. How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting recruitment?
Recruitment is picking up again, and in fact during December 2020, the number of new qualified candidates interested in joining our Teacher Horizons community grew significantly. International schools have also started opening up more vacancies, so we’re still successfully placing teachers in suitable roles, according to the country-specific regulations. This has continued throughout 2021 so far, as remote teaching has increased and schools and borders begin to reopen, supported by the roll out of the vaccine.
While some teachers are perhaps feeling a little cautious, this time has encouraged many to adopt a “live life to the fullest” kind of approach.
We are very fortunate that we are a remote company and have been functioning as such for years. All our recruitment is done online anyway and we see now how more schools are appreciating this as it is fast and personable. Face to face recruitment ‘fairs’ won’t be happening for quite sometime now. From our experience, schools want the best candidates as soon as possible and we can do this online and directly.
10. Who should international teachers be communicating with?
If you are already placed in a school for 2021 you should keep in touch with them directly via the Head or HR person. If you are still in the process of searching for a position, keep in touch regularly with your Adviser at Teacher Horizons.
It’s important to be understanding and flexible at the moment and aware that things continue to change. It still remains, that what might be true one day is possibly different the next. Be patient. If you don’t have your next placement set up, our Teacher Horizons Advisers can help you.
11. What useful resources do you have for International teachers?
We have written about ways to navigate remote teaching in uncertain times and more recently compiled some great resources for remote international teachers. In addition, the ISC has an updated list of international school closures by country, around the world. They have updates regularly so keep checking. The Council of British International Schools (COBIS) has information regarding COVID-19 and the impact on schools. For more general COVID-19 news the World Health Organization has daily updates.
12. What else would you like to share with the Teacher Horizons community?
On a personal note I would like to acknowledge, once again, the strength of the Teacher Horizons community right now. We have an incredible support system and I am sure that together we are building a better world as educators in the long term. One thing that stands out from all the accounts that we have heard is that community is important. In a time when teachers feel under great emotional strain, it is our community and ability to share our experiences with each other that remains incredibly important and valuable.
Speaking of community, we joined forces with Teach First and are excited to announce that Teacher Horizons and Teach First are collaborating to develop a network of Teach First ambassadors who are interested or involved in teaching overseas. Click here join this network if you are a Teach First ambassador! You can read more about our international teaching ambassadors collaboration here.
We will continue to update this as new questions and answers arise, so keep checking in.
Don’t let this uncertain time stop you from doing what you love, sign up to be part of our incredible community of international teachers.