What I know now about teaching abroad that I wish I knew then.

We all have moments where we look back on our past with new insights and think, if only I knew what I do now. Well, now you don’t have to experience that feeling because we have collected previous teachers “if only…” moments and put them together as valuable advice. Don’t leave home without it!

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Read how a teacher of ours experienced life abroad, here. 

What I know now that I wish I knew then…

“I wish I knew how different teaching styles and expectations can be overseas. Even though I’ve taught within the British curriculum (In Italy) , the cultural expectations in both Italy and Cambodia have been so  different to those in the UK.”

“Don’t over glamorise international schools. They can have just the same management issues, behaviour issues, parental issues as any other school back home. Don’t expect them to be perfect!”

“To go to more adventurous places in my 20s and more secure, well-paid locations later which are more family friendly.”

“How to be strategic in building an international career”

It takes planning and goals to create a career internationally that works in your favour. For example, if you get IB experience straight away you are in a position of more choice in place and school, down the line. “Visualise an end goal and work backwards to see how to get there.”

Priorities

Making a list of what your priorities are when choosing a school is a good start. That way you can focus your research on fitting the school with what you want.  Do your ‘due diligence’ on a school before accepting. Prioritising the schools over the location will open up doors, new experiences and take you to places that you may otherwise not consider.

“I wish I knew to be more open!”

“Say yes to opportunities even if they are daunting”

Working in a range of schools also helps you to learn from different people and cultures. Be open to learning the language and exploring the location you are based.

Browse our international schools for information and current vacancies.

What have you learned from teaching internationally that you wouldn’t have learned from teaching in your own country?

“How scary it can be not knowing anything about the different culture or language until your immersed in it. It’s really made me respect more the children that I taught and the families I worked with in the UK that were new to the country and the language. It can be tough! Also, it’s reminded me how amazing my job is that I am able to have these experiences!”

Our CEO Alex Reynolds has put together a succint and well versed summary of what he has learned from all his experience, and witnessing those around him take the leap towards an international teaching career.  Thanks, Alex!

However different cultures are, the fundamentals remain the same across the world – family and education is very important, parents are generally kind and concerned about their children. Children  want to learn but also to have fun, staff rooms are usually a place for teachers to vent like a big therapy session, the teachers who are happiest are those who appreciate what they have & where they are – not the ‘grass is greener’ types who suffer from a nostalgia of places and seem constantly unsettled.

Management is key – a genuine, strong leader with a vision for a school and genuine educational values can make a hugely positive impact on a school whilst a ‘leader’ whose heart isn’t in it can have the opposite effect.

The fundementals of teaching and education don’t really change – some things become trendy, go out of fashion and so repeats the cycle. It can make teachers cynical but the best teachers can ride these waves and will keep their own philosophy of education and values when it comes to international education.”

We would love to hear your own experiences! Feel free to reach out to us: editor@teacherhorizons.com

 

 

 

Written by Alexandra Plummer