We asked our teachers… “Tell me a funny story”

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” (read it here) and there will be more to read in the coming months!

This week I am going to let you in on some responses to: “Tell me about a funny or interesting moment that has happened to you whilst teaching internationally”. Enjoy!

 

“I enjoy little moments that are totally different from anything that would happen in my own country. For example, I remember looking outside my window whilst marking at my desk to see a snake chase and eventually catch a frog; it was like a real life David Attenborough episode! I later saw Archie the school pup chase a snake and think he had killed it, only to then watch it then wiggle away moments later.”

 

“I guess the funny things usually come from misunderstandings, due to accents or different uses of words. But the thing that makes it memorable is seeing students coming into a system with no knowledge of the language and just pushing through the fear. It is amazing when they finally start smiling as words begin to make sense. I still get a thrill from teaching science with an Australian accent and hearing the kids saying it exactly the same as me.”

 

“I love Asia: On one of my first days of teaching there was a funny noise coming from the AC, it seemed like it was wheezing and stuttering. Then, a dead lizard flew out of it and landed on the floor with scales falling like rain all over the students.”

laughing students

“My most memorable teaching experience is during a countrywide, three day storm, when I had to teach a lesson using the torches on students’ phones, covered by clear water bottles, as lamps.”

 

“I enjoy the cultural differences which can feel horrendously awkward at the time but are hilarious later. One example for me is when the Head Teacher of the school I worked at in Nepal wanted to hold my hand as he showed me around the premises. I politely declined.”

 

“My most memorable experience was when I was teaching the grade 4 pupils and one of them interrupted me saying he knew what I was teaching and told a completely out of topic explanation. I felt I had to let him finish but it was all so wrong.”

 

“A memorable moment for me was in December last year when I had to go briefly back to my country, Kenya, so I left school a week before it closed. My pupils became very emotional because they thought I was not coming back. I was really touched to see how much they loved and appreciated me.”

 

Do you have your own funny or interesting stories? 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.

The best international schools to teach at in the world.

We work with some incredible schools here at Teacherhorizons, many of which blow us away with the difference they are making to future generations; and they are looking for new teachers every year. In this blog we want to introduce you to a few of these.

So here are, in our opinion, some of the best schools to teach at in the world. Prepare to be amazed.

 

green schoolGreen School is a wall-less, natural campus that is located in the middle of the rice paddies and jungle in Bali, Indonesia. The school educates for sustainability through community-integrated and entrepreneurial learning. Open-air bamboo structures encourage the children to connect with their environment, chase adventure, and pursue their passions. Their holistic approach to education engages the four intelligences — physical, emotional, intellectual and intrapersonal — through the Three Frames of Learning. Children in the Primary School can take part in special activities that range from helping with the daily running of the school to learning about the arts and culture of Bali which are integrated into the school‘s festivals and assemblies.

Green School is a truly inspirational school whose founders state “we are building Green School to create a new paradigm for learning. We want children to cultivate physical sensibilities that will enable them to adapt and be capable in the world. We want children to develop spiritual awareness and emotional intuition, and to encourage them to be in awe of life’s possibilities.”
Interested in Indonesia? Browse our international schools in Indonesia to find your perfect position.

 

 

African Leadership Academy (ALA) is a unique school which seeks to transform Africa by identifying, developing and connecting its future leaders. The Academy selects exceptionally gifted young people from 35 countries across Africa and offers them scholarships to a world class education in South Africa. It welcomes teachers from around the world to inspire the students to become Africa’s leaders after attending Ivy League universities. The school combines an intense curriculum with a focus on ethical and entrepreneurial leadership skills, discussion-based lessons and strategic development, empowering its students to face these issues head-on. African Leadership Academy seeks to transform Africa, achieve extraordinary social impact and accelerate the continent’s growth trajectory. And we have no doubt that they will.

Click here to have a look at other opportunities in South Africa.

 


JPAJay Pritzker Academy (JPA)
is a Pre-K – Senior Year (3-18 year olds) co-ed day school, located approximately 10 miles from Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is an incredibly special school, made so by its student intake, mission and values. JPA takes academically talented and motivated students from the small villages in rural Cambodia and gives them a first class American education which enables them to achieve scholarships and study at top international Universities. The school’s mission is to maximize the potential of its students and enable them to build a better future for themselves, their families and their country. Many of us here at Teacherhorizons have visited JPA and found it to be a haven of peace and tranquility;  a description which refers both to its exterior and scenic grounds in the countryside as well as inside its beautifully behaved classes.

Want more info? Read this blog written by a JPA teacher.

 

 

????????????????????????????????????Prem Tinsulanonda International is a truly exceptional school, which is guided by its philosophy of “educating global citizens who strive for excellence, live sustainably, lead responsibly, celebrate diversity, and whose integrity champions a just and more peaceful world.” In line with this holistic approach to education, Prem is an accredited IB school, and teaches the IB curriculum at PYP, MYP and DP. Another of the school’s unique selling points is its location. Prem is just 20km north of Chiang Mai, and this attracts students and teachers from all over the world. Whilst Prem has facilities for full boarders, at the same time, it caters for local students from Chiang Mai.

Read this blog for more information about how to break into the world of IB!

 

 

Woodstock School is situated in a truly stunning and remote part of the world. Sitting in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, the school takes full advantage of this location by placing a strong emphasis on outdoor education, which they encourage through their partnership with the Hanifl Centre. Students study for an American High School Diploma, while the school also runs the iGCSE and AP programmes.
Woodstock is a Christian learning school, but this doesn’t mean that you have to be a Christian to apply. Instead, they’re looking for teachers who are ready to join a close-knit, supportive community, and become fully involved in the school’s pursuit of a holistic education for their students.
Interested in India? Browse our international schools in India to find your perfect position.

 

 

 

uwc thailand2United World College Thailand is part of the UWC movement which consists of schools and colleges in 17 different countries. UWC schools offer scholarship and bursary schemes and some accept a number of fee-paying students. The group has a dedicated and expert bunch of volunteers who form their ‘National Committee’ and select students from their home countries to join the movement. Students selected for UWC must fit the values of the movement by being internationally and interculturally aware and must have a passion for environmental sustainability. They have compassion, integrity and a sense of idealism. Finding these students and bringing them together in a celebration of difference is what UWC schools are all about, and with more than 60.000 alumni they are making an outstanding movement.

UWC Thailand is an IB community welcoming students aged 2- 18 years. Situated in beautiful northern Phuket, Thailand, they have students from 65 different nationalities making them a truly international community. Their mission is to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. The curriculum includes social-emotional learning and mindfulness.

We recently began working with UWC Dilijan, in Armenia! Find out more details here. 



schule schlossSchule Schloss Salem is one of the most beautiful schools we work with in the world. Located in an old German castle situated in the foothills of the Alps, it has stunning views over Lake Konstanz and the Switzerland in the distance. It’s unique in that it is both a grammar school and a boarding school offering an international education through the IB. Teacherhorizons teachers we’ve placed at SSS speak highly of the philosophy, the students and the support they have had from the school. The quality of life for teachers is also very good with an excellent package and benefits available. The school is a member of the prestigious Round Square network of schools which span across fifty countries.

To learn more about international school salaries and packages, read this blog written by one of our Directors, John Regan. John is also a former international Principal so knows his facts!

 

 

United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA) is also part of the UWC movement, and we rate it as one of the most inspiring schools to teach at in the world with its focus on developing its students into caring and principled future leaders. The school offers scholarships to students from all over the world giving the school a genuinely international, collaborative feel.  Teacherhorizons has visited the school a number of times and supported with recruitment since 2012. the facilities are fantastic and the package offered to teachers is one of the best around. Competition is always tough but feedback from teachers we’ve placed there is overwhelmingly positive. UWC has 17 schools and colleges across five continents so teaching at a UWC school opens doors to opportunities in other locations.
Nelson Mandela best described the UWC group when he said: “The striking thing about the UWC is that they embrace the entire world across all divides of race, history, culture, wealth, religion, economic status and political belief”.
Interested in working at this incredible school? Read more about the school and its opportunities here. 

 

As we grow, we will work with more and more of these exciting and innovative schools, so make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates. If you want to teach somewhere like GreenSchoolALAPremJPAWoodstock SchoolSchule Schloss Salem, UWC Thailand or UWC South East Asia then simply sign up here to get started.

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

The best international schools to teach at in the world.

We work with some incredible schools here at Teacherhorizons, many of which blow us away with the difference they are making to future generations; and they are looking for new teachers every year. In this blog we want to introduce you to a few of these.

So here are, in our opinion, some of the best schools to teach at in the world. Prepare to be amazed.

 

green schoolGreen School is a wall-less, natural campus that is located in the middle of the rice paddies and jungle in Bali, Indonesia. The school educates for sustainability through community-integrated and entrepreneurial learning. Open-air bamboo structures encourage the children to connect with their environment, chase adventure, and pursue their passions. Their holistic approach to education engages the four intelligences — physical, emotional, intellectual and intrapersonal — through the Three Frames of Learning. Children in the Primary School can take part in special activities that range from helping with the daily running of the school to learning about the arts and culture of Bali which are integrated into the school‘s festivals and assemblies.

Green School is a truly inspirational school whose founders state “we are building Green School to create a new paradigm for learning. We want children to cultivate physical sensibilities that will enable them to adapt and be capable in the world. We want children to develop spiritual awareness and emotional intuition, and to encourage them to be in awe of life’s possibilities.”
Interested in Indonesia? Browse our international schools in Indonesia to find your perfect position.

 

 

African Leadership Academy (ALA) is a unique school which seeks to transform Africa by identifying, developing and connecting its future leaders. The Academy selects exceptionally gifted young people from 35 countries across Africa and offers them scholarships to a world class education in South Africa. It welcomes teachers from around the world to inspire the students to become Africa’s leaders after attending Ivy League universities. The school combines an intense curriculum with a focus on ethical and entrepreneurial leadership skills, discussion-based lessons and strategic development, empowering its students to face these issues head-on. African Leadership Academy seeks to transform Africa, achieve extraordinary social impact and accelerate the continent’s growth trajectory. And we have no doubt that they will.

Click here to have a look at other opportunities in South Africa.

 


JPAJay Pritzker Academy (JPA)
is a Pre-K – Senior Year (3-18 year olds) co-ed day school, located approximately 10 miles from Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is an incredibly special school, made so by its student intake, mission and values. JPA takes academically talented and motivated students from the small villages in rural Cambodia and gives them a first class American education which enables them to achieve scholarships and study at top international Universities. The school’s mission is to maximize the potential of its students and enable them to build a better future for themselves, their families and their country. Many of us here at Teacherhorizons have visited JPA and found it to be a haven of peace and tranquility;  a description which refers both to its exterior and scenic grounds in the countryside as well as inside its beautifully behaved classes.

Want more info? Read this blog written by a JPA teacher.

 

 

????????????????????????????????????

Prem Tinsulanonda International is a truly exceptional school, which is guided by its philosophy of “educating global citizens who strive for excellence, live sustainably, lead responsibly, celebrate diversity, and whose integrity champions a just and more peaceful world.” In line with this holistic approach to education, Prem is an accredited IB school, and teaches the IB curriculum at PYP, MYP and DP. Another of the school’s unique selling points is its location. Prem is just 20km north of Chiang Mai, and this attracts students and teachers from all over the world. Whilst Prem has facilities for full boarders, at the same time, it caters for local students from Chiang Mai.

Read this blog for more information about how to break into the world of IB!

 

 

Woodstock School is situated in a truly stunning and remote part of the world. Sitting in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, the school takes full advantage of this location by placing a strong emphasis on outdoor education, which they encourage through their partnership with the Hanifl Centre. Students study for an American High School Diploma, while the school also runs the iGCSE and AP programmes.
Woodstock is a Christian learning school, but this doesn’t mean that you have to be a Christian to apply. Instead, they’re looking for teachers who are ready to join a close-knit, supportive community, and become fully involved in the school’s pursuit of a holistic education for their students.
Interested in India? Browse our international schools in India to find your perfect position.

 

 

 

uwc thailand2United World College Thailand is part of the UWC movement which consists of schools and colleges in 17 different countries. UWC schools offer scholarship and bursary schemes and some accept a number of fee-paying students. The group has a dedicated and expert bunch of volunteers who form their ‘National Committee’ and select students from their home countries to join the movement. Students selected for UWC must fit the values of the movement by being internationally and interculturally aware and must have a passion for environmental sustainability. They have compassion, integrity and a sense of idealism. Finding these students and bringing them together in a celebration of difference is what UWC schools are all about, and with more than 60.000 alumni they are making an outstanding movement.

UWC Thailand is an IB community welcoming students aged 2- 18 years. Situated in beautiful northern Phuket, Thailand, they have students from 65 different nationalities making them a truly international community. Their mission is to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. The curriculum includes social-emotional learning and mindfulness.

We recently began working with UWC Dilijan, in Armenia! Find out more details here. 



schule schlossSchule Schloss Salem is one of the most beautiful schools we work with in the world. Located in an old German castle situated in the foothills of the Alps, it has stunning views over Lake Konstanz and the Switzerland in the distance. It’s unique in that it is both a grammar school and a boarding school offering an international education through the IB. Teacherhorizons teachers we’ve placed at SSS speak highly of the philosophy, the students and the support they have had from the school. The quality of life for teachers is also very good with an excellent package and benefits available. The school is a member of the prestigious Round Square network of schools which span across fifty countries.

To learn more about international school salaries and packages, read this blog written by one of our Directors, John Regan. John is also a former international Principal so knows his facts!

 

 

United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA) is also part of the UWC movement, and we rate it as one of the most inspiring schools to teach at in the world with its focus on developing its students into caring and principled future leaders. The school offers scholarships to students from all over the world giving the school a genuinely international, collaborative feel.  Teacherhorizons has visited the school a number of times and supported with recruitment since 2012. the facilities are fantastic and the package offered to teachers is one of the best around. Competition is always tough but feedback from teachers we’ve placed there is overwhelmingly positive. UWC has 17 schools and colleges across five continents so teaching at a UWC school opens doors to opportunities in other locations.
Nelson Mandela best described the UWC group when he said: “The striking thing about the UWC is that they embrace the entire world across all divides of race, history, culture, wealth, religion, economic status and political belief”.
Interested in working at this incredible school? Read more about the school and its opportunities here. 

 

As we grow, we will work with more and more of these exciting and innovative schools, so make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates. If you want to teach somewhere like Green SchoolALAPremJPAWoodstock SchoolSchule Schloss Salem, UWC Thailand or UWC South East Asia then simply sign up here to get started.

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

Happy Teachers in 2017

We have had a record-breaking year so far in 2017, placing more teachers than ever in some amazing locations. Our Recruitment Advisers have enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them, and sharing in their joy when they received that dream offer. In this week’s blog, we look at some inspiring feedback from a few of the teachers we have helped on their international adventure this year.

 

Harriet Kilvington-ShawHarriet is moving to Hong Kong!

“I uploaded all my details to the teacher horizons site. Then I had a short chat with Anisha about what I was looking for and who would be coming with me. Having completed this process it was really easy, as I could just say that I wanted to go for a job without having to fill in endless applications again. This is great when you are really busy with your current job at the same time!

Using Teacherhorizons was great because it took the tediousness out of applications. You just have to focus on making one good application for the site and from that, they can recommend you to many schools. You also have someone to help you chase up schools if they are being slow getting back to you.

I am so excited to move to a bigger school and live in Hong Kong.”

Check out the schools we work with in Hong Kong.

 

Donna WatsonDonna is coming to join us here in Cambodia!

“The Teachehorizons website was great to spark my interest in the opportunities that exist all over the world. It provided a lot of information on the school, the country and other details too. The response time was very fast and the registration process couldn’t have been easier.

Tiffany from Teacherhorizons was the most amazing support. She was friendly and approachable and was happy to talk through my thinking and provide assistance in links or other people to speak to. She was quick to respond and was fair in trying to sort things out between schools and me. She took a real interest in me as a person and finding the best place for me, not just finding me a job.

I am now looking forward to working in a positive environment in a beautiful country.”

Everyone in Cambodia is smiling, have a look here! Or read this blog about teaching here.

 

 

Chris SaundersChris is going to teach in China!

“My Recruitment Adviser, Maggie, was amazing. She had great knowledge of the area and the schools and she made me feel very comfortable and confident from our first email to our skype call and after that. TH worked really hard promoting my CV and getting me an interview at a wonderful school in Eastern China.

I recommend using Teacherhorizons 100 percent times 50. I have mentioned them to many of my current colleagues so that they can benefit from the excellent service.

The move can’t come quick enough, I would start tomorrow ideally. Every day I’m thinking about my family and our new life in China, watching YouTube videos about the local area and doing some light reading. I have also starting to plan some new projects to teach when I get there.”

Read more about working in China. 

 

 

Melissa Diehl (1)Melissa is moving to Lebanon!

“Caroline from Teacher Horizons went above and beyond, helping me identify appropriate roles and counselling me in times of doubt! I felt a high degree of professionalism that I haven’t experienced with any other agency. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to her for her patience and support throughout this process.

I would recommend Teacherhorizons to other educators, because of their positive and encouraging approach to teacher recruitment. I feel confident that they are representing excellent schools and they have the teachers’ best interest in mind.

I can’t wait to work in Lebanon, in an intellectually challenging environment with forward thinking educators.”

Want to join Melissa? Have a look at schools in Lebanon. 

 

 

 

If you’re inspired, then why not browse our latest jobs in South America, Asia or Europe? Visit more of our happy teachers blogs to read more testimonials and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries.

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

Expat feedback: The truth about life in El Salvador

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, but has one of the biggest reputations. It is well known for its high crime rate, and gang violence headlines dominate your computer screen when you search it on Google. However, beneath this reputation there are luscious mountains and vast rainforests, broad valleys wedged between incredible volcanoes, and black-sand beaches with perfect surf.

So what is it really like there? Which of these two sides of El Salvador wins out? We asked one of our teachers, Matthew Sytsma, a few questions to find out.

 

Where are you teaching and what is it like to teach over there?

I live in San Salvador and work at The American School of El Salvador (Escuela Americana). I’ve worked here for 5 years now and have almost all good things to say about the school and the country. The students here are great, the only behavioural “issue” is general chattiness, but that is a very manageable problem. As in any school, there are dedicated students who perform well in all their courses, and the other “half” you need motivate with creativity and positivity. All of the students are generally good kids with positive intentions. They want to get to know you and are eager to have meaningful discussions in class.

 

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

Life in El Salvador is AMAZING! There is so much to do. The American School community has been great every year so far.. The current community has people with many different interests: from Dungeons and Dragons, to serious biking, to surfing, to ultimate frisbee, to travel, etc.

I feel safe living here. The neighborhood for international teachers is gated off from the school and has its own guards protecting the gate from the street. The school and housing are located in a very safe and beautiful neighborhood. The community is enriched by the very large US Embassy that is a 10 minute drive from the school, where a group of us play ultimate frisbee twice a week. There is also a great community of international teachers working at the British School, 10 minutes away. Between the American School, The British School, and the US Embassy, plus all of the other expats here for various other jobs, the community is great.

El Salvadorans are also some of the most welcoming people in the world. You will feel accepted immediately pretty much anywhere you go. I had the opportunity to play American football with a group of local El Salvadorans, some of my friends from the British school also joined a local rugby team. There are local cultural events such as a fireball throwing celebration in Nejapa and a day of the dead (they call it “La Calabiuza”) celebration in Tonacatepeque among many others.

Another happy teacher, Eldon Pascoe moved to Mexico! Read his first impressions here.

 

Atardecer_-_Salinitas_El_Salvador
Which tourist sites or must-visit places are nearby?

El Salvador has a little bit of everything and its all within 3 hours (most much closer). There are great volcano hikes (the best is Santa Ana), there are beautiful crater lakes (Lago de Coatepeque and Lago Ilopango), there are beautiful rainforests (Imposible National Park), excellent camping/hiking (Montecristo), Mayan Ruins (Tazumal), and some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see (Punta Mango, El Zonte, etc).

There are so many things to do in El Salvador too. It is probably the best country in the world to learn to surf. The water is warm, the waves are consistent, there are no sharks and the crowds are much smaller than in the rest of the world. Our expat group gets together over many weekends to rent out a beach/lake house. (The best one is at the surf point “Punta Mango”).

 

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

It feels like summer all year round. There is a dry season (November – May) and a rainy season (June – October). During the rainy season it rains pretty consistently in the late afternoon, but the rest of the day is still sunny. Overall, amazing climate compared to most places in the world.

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

The local food is pupusas (tortillas packed with ingredients in the middle), eggs, chicken, rice, local cheese, plantains, etc. It’s a tropical climate so you get all the fruit and veggies that typically go with that.

There is also a decent amount of other international options at a relatively cheap price. There are some good German restaurants, Indian food, Italian, Sushi, etc.

 

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

The biggest culture shock for me is always when I go back to the US. People are extremely nice and genuine here. You feel welcomed and are treated like you are special. Going back to the US people seem more stressed, less genuine, and as if they care less about others.

You will read a lot about gangs and violence in the news about El Salvador. The news is all true and it is very sad that ugly things are happening in parts of this beautiful country. Know however, that El Salvador is very clearly split into safe areas and not safe areas. There are a few places you do not ever want to go to in El Salvador, but most of the country is safe compared to other countries, even those with better reputations right next door. In my five years here I have never been robbed or heard any gun shots. The crime in El Salvador is gang related and rarely comes in contact with expats or tourists. I have heard many horror stories of robbings in Guatemala and Honduras, but very few in El Salvador. Again, it is horrific what the gangs are doing to the local poor and marginalized population, but those problems have not yet affected expat life in the country.

Another of our teachers comments on the culture in Quito, Ecuador.

 

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

It’s really cheap living in El Salvador, and it helps that the school sets you up with a house. The only cheaper country I’ve come across in Central America is Nicaragua.

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

There’s a big drawback if you are the kind of person who just goes home after work and stays there. The coolest things to do in El Salvador are outside of the city (there are some great things inside the city during the week that I mentioned before as well). For this reason either having a car, or having a close friend with a car is vital, as the public transportation isn’t very safe.

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

Come with an adventurous spirit and you won’t be disappointed. This school and this country has a ton to offer if you come with a positive attitude and are willing to throw yourself out there a bit.

Having written this I’m confused as to why I’m leaving… You would not regret coming to this beautiful country with its wonderful, welcoming people, and vast array of things to do. You would fall in love with it, and be happy in your work. I would full heartedly recommend working in El Salvador to my closest friends and family.

So perhaps, in fact, El Salvador could be Central America’s most underrated country! Are you keen to see for yourself? Why not browse schools and check out our current vacancies? You will have to be signed in to see them in full. Sign up to Teacherhorizons here!

Written by Matthew Sytsma, a dedicated educator, who has been teaching Politics, History and Geography at Escuela Americana in El Salvador for five years.

We asked our teachers… “Tell me something you have learned”

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. In various blogs throughout the next few months I am going to share with you some stories, some ups and downs and some true thoughts and feelings which have come directly from international teachers. I hope that these blogs will help answer your questions, perhaps give you the confidence to take the plunge, or at the very least, provide an interesting read.

This week I am going to let you in on some responses to: “Tell me something you have learned from teaching internationally that you wouldn’t have learned from teaching in your own country”.

 

globe“I have learned that education can be enjoyed by teachers and by pupils, and that school and learning can be seen by children as a choice rather than as an obligation. There doesn’t need to be so much pressure and stress put on staff and pupils.  I feel that this could be achieved easily if assessment was more formative.”

“I have learned just how small the world is. Teaching is teaching anywhere, just with a few differences in the syllabus or  teaching methods, and these are great things to learn from and reflect on.”

“Teaching abroad has given me more enthusiasm than I ever had back home, and I have learned that enthusiasm is infectious. It can make a difference to the atmosphere and morale within your classroom and within your department. When things are not going well, I have learned to avoid gossiping or sharing negativity. Try to be frank but think about when and how to convey issues especially to those in leadership.”

Have a think about these 10 reasons to teach internationally.

 

clapping

“I have learned that US spelling and punctuation rules are very different to those in the UK!”

“You learn so much from teaching abroad. It is much easier to become a learner yourself (which is important for teachers!). You see new things every day, and that is thought provoking, inspiring and life affirming. You think about new things, meet new kinds of people and see things from new perspectives. I think teaching abroad helps teachers keep an open mind – something that can get harder for everyone as they get older.”

“I have learned that children are far more resilient than we give them credit for.”

Click here to sign up to Teacherhorizons (it takes just 60 seconds but may change your life!)

 

 

laughing children

“I have learned that kids are the same all over the world. They mostly want to be happy and have fun and laugh with/at their teachers! They also all genuinely enjoy learning (even though some pretend not to) if they are taught well.”

“I have learned how important it is to see new things, get inspired and keep an open mind. Teachers at home suffer from stress and burnout – not just because it’s often tough but because they don’t have an open mind. Teaching abroad can be a welcome break for many teachers. Even if it’s for just a couple of years, they can return home and bring a fresh approach to their teaching.”

 

 

Please feel free to comment below, or to contribute to our teacher questionnaire by clicking here and answering the questions. I would love to use your answers in our next blog!

 

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

Top tips for selling your teaching experience at interview.

Congratulations! All the work that went into updating your CV and completing your profile has paid off. You’ve made it through the shortlisting, and have been invited for an interview at your dream school. Now, with the chance of a job offer within reach, it’s up to you to make sure that you nail the interview, and land that dream job!

 

Interviews are the time for you sell yourself and your teaching experience; to show the interviewer that their school cannot possibly pass up this opportunity to take you on on-board. At the same time, you must try not to come across as too arrogant, as this can quickly turn your interviewer against you. It is a balancing act that is tough to perfect.

At Teacherhorizons, we are proud of the fact that we support our teachers entirely throughout the process of gaining a new international teaching position. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of 6 interview tips that from our experience, will really improve your chances of success.

 

1) Be enthusiastic

This is perhaps the most important advice we can offer. You should be prepared to speak with passion and enthusiasm about your subject and your motivations to teach. How will you answer questions about what made you become a teacher, what’s the best part of your day? What examples can you give to tell the interviewer about your imaginative and engaging lessons?

Engage with your interviewer, show your passion for teaching, and make sure they’re listening to every last word.

For more tips on first impressions, read a blog written by John Regan, one of our Recruitment Advisers who is also an experienced international school Principal.

 

2) Know your curriculum.

So, it turns out your dream school teaches a curriculum that you don’t have experience of. Gulp.

If this is the case, and you’re being invited to interview, it’s highly likely that the school will be willing to train you in this new curriculum. Still, you can prepare by taking the time to research the school’s curriculum, and find out as much about it as possible.

Show that you understand how assessment works in the AP, that you know what the Theory of Knowledge course entails in the IB, and how GCSEs are now being graded from 9-1. Completing this research is a great way to show your interviewer that, even without experience, you’re ready to take on the challenges of teaching a new curriculum.

 

3) Dress to impress.

The interview may be via Skype, but make sure you are dressed appropriately. If it’s early in the morning before work, or in the evening after a long day at school, make sure you’re wearing appropriate business dress. These small touches can really help to impress a prospective employer.

For tips specific to Skype interviews, have a read of this blog.

 

4) Know your school

What values does the school hold? Does it place a particular emphasis on sports or the performing arts? When was it founded?

Research the school as thoroughly as you’ve researched the curriculum, and think of examples to show how you demonstrate its values in your own teaching.

 

5) Extra-curricular experience

Many schools are looking for teachers who can offer a contribution both inside and outside the classroom. If you have experience of extra-curricular involvement, make sure to bring this up in your interview.

Coaching sports teams, leading student bands, running debate clubs; all of these experiences will be of great interest to your interviewer.

Find more info about getting involved outside of school here.

 

6) Know your statistics

We’ve all worked hard to help our students achieve well in their exams. What track record do you have with results? These statistics can be a great way to showcase your impact in the classroom, whether it’s the number of students who you guided from a D to a C, or the overall pass rate of your classes.

What are international schools really looking for in a teacher? Find out. 

 

At Teacherhorizons we are here to provide extra help or advice at any stage, so please do get in contact with your Recruitment Adviser if you are feeling especially worried about your interview. We have taken the time to get to know our schools well, so can often give a little bit of extra inside scoop. The main thing is to relax into the interview, and try to bond with your interviewer. Make sure you ask all of your burning questions too because remember, interviews are also a chance for you to get to know the school and make an informed decision about whether it is somewhere you would like to continue your teaching career.

GOOD LUCK!

 

We hope this advice is useful, please let us know your success stories by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page. If you would like to write a blog to share your advice and experiences with other curious teachers get in touch with Tiffany on editor@teacherhorizons.com.

Written by Henry Burke, our very own Maths, Business and Economics Recruitment Adviser. Henry works in our Siem Reap office and has successfully placed many teachers this year...He knows his stuff!

An insight into teaching at Maple Leaf in China

In this week’s blog, we find out some detailed inside information from Christoforos Kanakis, who has been teaching at Maple Leaf Foreign Nationals School in Dalian, China. His school is part of the Maple Leaf Educational Systems school group which has schools in 15 different cities in China.

 

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

I teach at Dalian Maple Leaf Foreign Nationals School in China, Kaifaqu campus. The campus is located outside the Kaifaqu city center, which provides a student friendly and relaxed school environment. The building is new and modern, with all necessary facilities for sports, music, art, a special pre-school and kindergarten playground, as well as an on-site cafeteria for both students and teachers, featuring a healthy balanced menu.
The campus was completely new when I started, so all new teachers like me were sent there rather than choosing the location. A real plus though is that Maple Leaf School’s group is constantly expanding in and outside of China, so teachers like me now have great internal opportunities and can relocate to other places easily.

 

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

The way I got this job was kind of unexpected; as soon as I saw the Teacherhorizons advert I was very interested. Teacherhorizons prepared me for a slightly daunting application procedure. This is because the Maple Leaf Schools are supervised and inspected by the British Columbia Ministry of Education of Canada, which has a strict certification policy. I was already qualified to teach in England, Holland and Greece, and I did not want to spend more time and energy becoming certified to teach for BC Canadian schools too. For that reason, my first reaction was to inform Teacherhorizons that I was not willing to go on with my application.
However, a few weeks later, Teacherhorizons contacted me again to inform me that the school was very interested in my profile, and encouraged me to go on with my application. I am very happy that I did! I finally had to go through the long (and painful considering all the extra paperwork) certification process, but at the end it was really worth it. Now I am very proud that I am a BC certified teacher. It is a lifetime investment not only for the position that I currently hold, but for all other teaching opportunities that Maple Leaf Schools can offer.

Another big school group in China is Yew Chung Education Foundation, to find out more about school groups like these sign up here, and have a look at our schools in China. 

 

Dalian China China Cities A Bird's Eye ViewWhat is the city like? Is there an active expat scene? What do you do in your free time?

Dalian is a beautiful place, the second largest city in Liaoning Province and the largest port in Northern China.
Although as a city it is quite young compared to other ancient capital cities in China, with only a 100-year history, Dalian is a major destination for Chinese tourists. Dalian’s scenic spots are the Downtown Area, the Binhai Road Area and the Xinghai Park. The general city’s feel is distinctly European.

Although I have not had a chance to explore it yet, I know from my colleagues that there is an active expat scene in Dalian. In my free time, I am busy composing and arranging music. I am also busy preparing for a Chinese driving test, since my own European driving licence is not valid in China.

Another happy teacher, Julia Clegg, has taught in Qingdao; read her story.

 

Which tourist sites or must-visit places are nearby?

The top 10 of the Dalian attractions are Xinghai Square, Laohutan Ocean Park (Tiger Beach Park), Bangchuidao Scenic Area, Dalian Discovery Kingdom, Xinhai Park, Sunasia Ocean World, Dalian Natural History Museum, Zhongshan Square, Binhai Road, and the Dalian Forest Zoo.
Other nearby must-visit places are Lushun and its strategic port (once known as Port Arthur), the exotic Bing Yu with its clean rivers and caves, the Changbai mountain range and Heaven Lake (quite possibly one of the most beautiful places in China). The Korean War museum (or, as it’s known in Chinese, The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea Museum) is also a must-visit place, and finally, the Harbin which is one of the most northerly cities in China, and so close to Russia that it is heavily influenced by its culture.

 

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

Dalian is in a warm temperate zone with a semi-moist monsoon climate and also ocean climate features. The annual average temperature here is from 8 to 11°C. Dalian’s spring begins in late March or early April when the warm southeast ocean winds bring the temperatures up.

Summer is maybe the best time to visit, with mild and comfortable weather which welcomes huge numbers of tourists from different areas of China and the world. The summer period from July to early September has an average temperature of around 20°C and in the hottest month of August thousands of people come to the southern seashore in the city to enjoy the sunshine, the sea and exciting water sports. Dalian’s summer is also the rainy period, however most rain falls at night.

In late September, Dalian welcomes autumn and the cold weather slowly begins with the average temperature around 15 to 20°C. From late November, the cold north winds become stronger and dominate the city until the following February. January is usually Dalian’s coldest month and can reach -5°C. For that reason, around the end of January, many people take the advantage of the Chinese New Year vacation period in order to travel to a warm place inside or outside of China for their holiday.

 

men ziWhat is the food like? Is international food available? Have you tried any unusual local dishes?

Dalian is famous for its fresh seafood: fish, shrimp, crabs, shellfish, sea cucumber, sea conch, echinus, abalone, sea bream and so on.
‘Must-try’ dishes in Dalian are:

  • Stir-fried prawns with ginger, spring onion and spices.
  • Steamed sea bream with ginger, spring onion, mushroom, ham pieces and bamboo shoots.
  • Steamed scallops with lima beans, shallots, wine and sauces, and served on tender, white egg pieces with vegetables and diced carrot.
  • Lantern-shaped Steamed Abalone with shallot, ginger and salt.
  • Men Zi – the traditional and most popular local snack with smashed garlic, sesame, and sauces.

International food is certainly available, however I am still searching for a place where I can eat Greek food, which I really miss…

 

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

Until now I haven’t really experienced any culture shock, maybe because I am working for a Canadian school and the Western culture is still very strongly present around my work environment. However I also like the Chinese culture. Chinese people are hard workers, open minded and they easily adopt the good things of the West. I do not notice differences between men and women and the society is quite free and modern. However it is remarkable that in China some internet sites are blocked. Google and all related applications, which are very popular in the West, in China are not freely accessible.

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

The cost of living in general is lower than in Europe, USA, Canada or Australia. But renting a house is not really cheap in China. However, food, energy costs, transport and fuel are generally cheaper compared to those of most of the Western countries. Teaching couples, who are always welcome to work for Maple Leaf, are able to live quite comfortably and save money as well.

Another of our teachers Helen Weir has written a blog about learning Mandarin, read it here.

 

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

Maybe the best thing about living and teaching in Kaifaqu, the city where my campus is located, is that the house rent costs are in general almost half than when living downtown Dalian. And still reaching Dalian city is very easy by metro, and quite inexpensive too. Kaifaqu also gives a more of a cozy “smaller town” feeling compared to other busier cities in China.

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

The drawback of living in Kaifaqu is the access to certain things. For example as a musician, if I need to go to a music instrument shop for accessories or instrument repairs, I always have to go to downtown Dalian as the possibilities are limited in Kaifaqu. People who like to be in the heart of the city should choose to live in Dalian.

 

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

I would certainly encourage teachers to come and work in China, because there are many international school opportunities here right now. China is a very big country, it is constantly growing and expanding all over the world, and in general the Chinese population does not speak English, so there is a big need for international teachers.

For teachers that would like to work for Maple Leaf, I would certainly tell them that it is really worth spending the time and energy to get BC certified because it gives rise to plenty of great working possibilities.

Finally, 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!

 

Are you keen to join a Maple Leaf School in China? Sign up here and have a look at their many schools including Maple Leaf School, Dalian. To find out more about international schools in China, read a blog written by our very own, Alexis Toye.

Written by Christoforos Kanakis, a talented music teacher, who qualified in the Netherlands and is currently teaching at Maple Leaf Schools in China.

Learning the language of the locals

A major concern of many international teachers is their ability to pick up a local language and be able to get by in shops, bars and restaurants. Mandarin is arguably the most difficult language in the world for an English speaker to learn, but Helen Weir’s experience proves it can be done with a little determination. We hope Helen’s story inspires you to get involved in learning your local language, as trust us, it makes all the difference to your cultural experience.

 

Ashamedly, despite being an English teacher, languages have never been my strong point. Attempts to use my textbook learnt German when travelling on the autobahn in Berlin led to withering looks by the locals who replied in perfect English; my broken Spanish got as far as a gargled please and thank you in tapas restaurants in Barcelona, and I am still (only semi-ironically) under the assumption that if I add ‘le’ to any noun I am speaking French. As much as I understand the cultural import and credibility of learning another language-I really do- I just can’t muster up the motivation because, as I remember saying to my agonized German teacher: someone always speaks English so why bother?

 

A Harsh Reality

IMG_1864This all changed five months ago when I moved to Chongqing. Chongqing, is a sprawling metropolis situated right in the heart of China, and, having recently been christened the world’s fastest growing city, its already colossal population of 30 million is rapidly expanding. With statistics like these you might not blame me for falling back on my lifelong mantra: why bother? True to my word, I barely learned ‘xie xie’ and ‘ni hao’ before taking up my job as a Secondary English teacher at Yew Chung International School. Having done my research a little more thoroughly, I might have stumbled across some facts that may offered something in the shape of forewarning. YCIS is Chongqing’s one and only International School, and as expatriates make less than a percentage of this incomprehensibly huge city, even fewer people speak fluent English.

My inability to prepare, or even conceive, of a place in which ‘cappuccino, please’ is met with blank stares and panic, did not lead to an easy transition period. During my first few days in Chongqing leaving my flat was an ordeal. My anxieties stretched from being scared to get in the lift in case one of my earnest neighbours attempted to greet me, to a fear of buying, and consequently eating, one of the infamous local delicacies in the supermarket. As far as I was concerned at that point, the labelling for pig rectum could have had the exact same characters as fried tofu. It soon became apparent that my illiteracy was not the only thing that made me stand out. Shocked and delighted to see a ‘wai guo ren’ (not local person) in their neighborhood, wherever I went my presence would be met by the stares, exuberant hand gestures and the far from subtle photographs of the curious local people.

Keen to help local students learn our language? Sign up here, and then browse our ESL positions here.

 

IMG_1872Survival Instinct

A week into my China experience and a lifelong mantra was disposed of. Survival instinct kicked in and I got on the phone to a Chinese tutor. Despite having what I now know is the best, most patient, Chinese teacher known to humanity, my first Chinese lesson left me with a feeling I was staring into a black abyss of incomprehensibility. Four tones, each with the uncanny ability to change the meaning of a word, aerobically challenging mouth shapes, words made up of squiggly lines- how could I ever begin to understand something so alien to ABC?

As the weeks passed, it didn’t get easier but it became bearable. Stories behind the shapes of the characters helped me remember them (my favourite- the character for women and the character for son make the character for good because it’s good for a woman to have a son), and the sheer necessity of knowing Chinese just to get a hot meal, meant I not only had to retain the vocabulary but I had no choice but to do the unthinkable and put my broken Chinese to use.

 

Putting It To Use

The positive reactions of locals when I ordered a small portion of noodles and cold water spurred me onwards- and with an increased knowledge of the language there inevitably came an increased knowledge of the culture. I learned that when my Chinese colleagues asked me ‘chi fan le ma’ this was not a question about how canteen lunch, but more an question of my wellbeing and that the cries of ‘Jiāyóu’ (add oil) during the sponsored Founders Day Run had absolutely no relation to automobiles.

 

A Professional Advantage

helen chinaThe most significant advantage of finally mustering the courage to learn another language was not, however, purely personal but professional. As in any school, many of my students in Chongqing are also second language speakers, but when I found that I would sometimes be teaching entire classes made of entirely of EAL pupils- some of which had just begun to learn the English language- I knew I was in for a fresh challenge. Fortunately, learning mandarin has given me a completely new perspective on language learning. Some of the struggles I face with my pupils’ pronunciation, retention and tenses are very similar to the ones my own mandarin teacher faces when teaching me. She has been an incredible resource and the techniques and strategies I borrow from her are as effective on the pupils as they are on me.

The pupils (some of which have mandarin as a first language) are well aware of my quest to learn Chinese as they learn English, as many of the students within my school are required to learn Chinese alongside English from primary school, I have found many of my pupils are my best teachers. Stopping me in the corridor they will ask me what I learned in Chinese this week, eager to correct my pronunciation and confident in the knowledge that even teachers need to study and review when it comes to language learning.

Hear more of our teachers’ experiences teaching ESL learners, read this blog written by Caroline Scott.

 

Looking Back

Six months in, and I have slowly begun to see the lack of English speaker in this city as a positive. Would I have had the motivation to learn a language if I had chosen to move to a more ‘foreign friendly’ city such as Shanghai or Beijing? Given my idleness in this area in the past I can admit it is highly unlikely. Is my Chinese pretty good now? It’s diabolical. I am still met with blank faces when I mispronounce the word ‘wǒ’ (I) or get my ‘fàn’ (meal) mixed up with my fèn (portion) and with a knowledge of just 25 characters, I am categorically a functioning illiterate. But can I order a coffee? ‘Wǒ xiǎng yào yībēi kāfēi, xièxiè’.

 

We love to read and share inspiring stories like this one, thanks Helen! If you are interested in telling yours, contact editor@teacherhorizons.com with your ideas.

Written by Helen Weir, a secondary English teacher from Scotland who trained in Birmingham. Although she misses the struggles and hilarity of the British classroom, Helen is enjoying completely different challenges in Chongqing, China.

Three questions to ask yourself before teaching internationally

It is easy to consider international teaching as simply ‘teaching in an international school’, but until you start to look into the idea for yourself, it is hard to understand how broad the concept really is. There is, literally, a whole world of aspects that need considering before you can make a decision on taking an international role. In this week’s blog post, Katie Lockett tells us her top three.

 

ONE weekend, my boyfriend and I were having a conversation about how we had tired of our jobs in London.  We were both looking into jobs outside of the city.  TWO weeks later, I was asking my Head of Department for a reference and she was telling my Head Teacher that I might be leaving the school. THREE days after that, I was having my first of three Skype interviews with the Senior Administrators at the International School of Beijing – where I now work.

Prior to signing up to TeachersHorizons and deciding to teach abroad, I had done extensive research about international teaching and I had asked myself these three questions: 

 

1) Which curriculum?

katie lockett pic 2 There are essentially two types of international schools: IB World Schools and Foreign Curriculum Schools (e.g. British International Schools). 

The advantage if you are, say, British, and then go and teach in a British international school, is that the transition to the new school will be easier as the curriculum and examinations will be familiar. The advantage of an IB World School is that this is a program that is offered in schools all around the world, and thus experience in teaching an IB curriculum gives you a lot of flexibility to move to different schools and countries in the future. However, the challenge is that it really is quite a different way of thinking if you haven’t taught in that way before. The IB curriculum is also considered to be a prestigious program and thus international schools are often hesitant to hire teachers who have not taught it before.

Personally, I didn’t want to teach in a British International School, despite coming from the UK. I wanted to experience the challenge of a new curriculum. For others though, it may be more about the experience of living in a new country and that’s the enjoyable challenge, so no need to change curriculums too!

Click here to find out more about the International Baccalaureate curriculum

katie locket pic 32) What school?

There are many different types of international schools; small start-up ones, large, well-established ones, academically selective ones, ones with a more comprehensive intake, those serving the expat community of the area or those that are more like bilingual/immersion schools and serving local students. There are plusses and minuses of all types of schools obviously…it just depends on what you’re looking for. 

Are you looking for a small school where you can really make your mark at a whole-school level? Or a ‘well-oiled machine’ where you have the structures in place allow you to really develop your classroom teaching? Do you enjoy the challenge of teaching large numbers of EAL students or of stretching very able learners?

Personally, having worked in inner-city London before, I was already quite confident about my skills to support EAL learners.  I wanted international teaching to give me the opportunity to teach in a very academically focused environment, so I chose a school that serves expat and diplomatic students rather than local students.

Our Recruitment Advisers can help you decide which type of school is for you. Sign up here and get in contact with us.  

 

3katie lockett picHow do I want to develop professionally and personally?

As I’m sure is clear by now, my decision to teach abroad was very much a professional decision. I wanted to develop my knowledge of curriculums and of teaching a different student body. My decision making was also led by my desire to develop my craft as a classroom teacher.  Hence my decision to choose a large, well-established and well-resourced school which offers generous professional development.  

If I was looking to focus on personal development, I would have chosen a smaller school, where it would be easier to have more interaction will colleagues outside of my department and where I could make more of an impact at the whole-school level.  My strong focus on the professional development aspect of international teaching meant that my job search focused heavily on the right school, and the location mattered significantly less to me. 

For some people it is a specific country that they want to live in, or a specific continent that they want to travel around so the area, over the school, becomes the focus of their job search. That said, although I ‘accidently’ ended up in Beijing, as it happened to be the location of the perfect job and school for me, it turns out that Beijing is a fantastic city and I would definitely choose this location again!

Read this blog written by another of our teachers who recently moved to Beijing.

 

So my final piece of advice is this. Whichever curriculum, type of school or location you are offered for your first international post, make sure you do your research, know your motivations and be patient until you find the ‘perfect match’. Good luck!

Written by Katie Lockett, a French and Spanish teacher at the International School of Beijing, China. Katie qualified as a teacher in the UK and taught MFL in London for 4 years. Before that she taught English in Quebec, Canada and France. She is enjoying her first taste of teaching at an IB World School.