7 truths that international job seeking teachers should know

Working abroad as a teacher can be an exciting thought. The prospect of living overseas, learning about another culture and language, meeting new people, and molding the minds of students from another country can really be fascinating. Your interest in working in another country may even be further bolstered once you know that the pay grade is often higher, and you will enjoy more benefits. But before you start editing your CV and submitting it to various online job sites, you have to know what you may be getting yourself into.  This week, David Mackenzie (Managing Director and Head of HR at Mackenzie Jones) gives some important facts you have to be aware of if you want to teach overseas…


1. You need to meet certain requirements

Different countries and educational institutions set various requirements for international job seekers. As such, you need to read up on what these are and check if you meet them.

Some of the general qualifications schools look for in international applicants are:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Two years of teaching experience
  • High level of fluency in English (especially if you will be teaching this subject)
  • Certification or license to teach for certain subjects or grade levels

Once you know what the specific requirements are and you meet all or some of them, you can then start applying for overseas teaching jobs you are interested in.


job 42. Knowing more about the countries you are interested in is a crucial step

To this day, numerous countries still look to international teachers to fill in their vacancies. But before you start sending your applications to different schools in various countries, learn more about your potential destinations.

Take the time to research the general pay ranges and benefits international teachers receive in all the countries you are interested in. Read up and get first-hand accounts on the average cost of living and quality of life in these countries.

Do some calculations as well. Keep in mind that even if some schools offer attractive salary packages, if the cost of living is high in these countries, you may not find the whole experience rewarding or satisfying.

We have so many blogs written by our teachers…have a read of this one about China.


3. It would work to your advantage if you start your application early

Once you already know which countries and schools you really want to work in, start your application as soon as possible. School terms begin at different months in different countries. As such, find out what the school year dates are in the countries where you might accept a job.

It is best to start applying for a teaching job abroad at least six months ahead of the time you expect to start. Bear in mind that there are several arrangements you will have to make before you begin your overseas teaching assignment such as getting an entry clearance visa, selling your home, etc. Be sure to take them into consideration during the job application process.


job 34. Making sure your application stands out is crucial

All schools and organizations looking to hire new employees always look out for applications that stand out for the right reasons. It is, therefore, important that you customize your CV to meet the particular requirements of a specific school.

Put to good use the research you’ve done before regarding the schools you are interested in. Make sure your CV highlights your qualifications, skills and experiences that align with the advertised job description. You should also explain in your cover letter what it is about the school that makes you interested to work with them.


5. You have to be prepared to undergo a stringent screening process

The internet has made applying for a job overseas easier and more convenient. However, it doesn’t mean that educational institutions have become lax with the whole hiring process.

Once a school shows interest in your application, get ready to undergo a meticulous screening process. You will have to go through several interviews by phone or video calls. You will have to pass certain tests as well.

Be ready to complete a lot of paperwork in support of your application and getting an entry clearance visa for your country of destination.

Your would-be employers will rely a lot on recommendations, too. As such, make sure the persons you provided as your personal references are aware that you are applying for an overseas teaching job and that your potential employer will be getting in touch with them.

Click here to read our blog: six reasons why schools might not respond after interview. 


job 26. It is important to scrutinize job offers

If you’ve passed the recruitment process and have just received the job offer, take the time to go over it carefully. Analyze the content and make sure everything advertised is in writing. Be on the lookout for legal loopholes such as whether promises are enforceable under the country’s laws as well.


7. Don’t take too long to get back to your would-be employer with your decision

Although you need to take the time to go the job offer and even have others go over it, don’t take too long with doing this. Your potential employer may get impatient and offer the teaching position to another candidate.


Applying for a teaching job overseas can be a long and tedious process. But pursuing your teaching passion in another country can be rewarding and a beautiful experience as long as you know what to do and expect before, during, and after the job application process.


Written by David Mackenzie, A recruitment professional with over twenty years’ experience in the field and a record of entrepreneurial accomplishment, David is Managing Director and Head of HR at Mackenzie Jones. In 2003, David set up Mackenzie Jones in the UK, growing the business across two offices in London and Birmingham. In 2005 David established Mackenzie Jones in Dubai to serve the Gulf region and neighbouring countries. As the Group MD, David is responsible for the overall

The impact of Teacherhorizons’ charity donations

Did you know that Teacherhorizons donates 10% of all our profits to support education projects that offer opportunities to less fortunate students in developing countries? This year, we have selected Tea Leaf Vision (TLV) as our charity due to the impact they are having on young people in the tea plantation region of Sri Lanka. Read more about the charity in this blog and read on to meet some of the individuals whose lives we have changed so far.


mahnMaheshwaran’s story

Hi, I’m Maheshwaran from North Cove Division, Bogawantalawa. I studied for my O levels at Lionarm T.M.V where I got good results. I then studied for my A levels at St Mary’s Central College and I chose the Commerce Stream (business, economics and accounting.) This new school, new friends and a new atmosphere changed me. During these two years I just spent time with my friends, I didn’t even touch a book. I didn’t stay at home, I didn’t study and I didn’t listen to my parents. So my A level results were very poor. After that I thought that I was useless.

But one day I got to know about an institute that was giving free English education and a chance to develop professional skills. In 2016 I joined as a Main Diploma student at Tea Leaf Vision, Maskeliya. There I studied very well and as a result I was awarded a Distinction pass. But my journey with that place didn’t end there; I am now an Advanced Diploma student!

When I look back at the year I spent at Tea Leaf Vision, I don’t regret even a single part. As a matter of fact I believe it was the most important year of my life.

There are numerous differences between my school years and that year at Tea Leaf Vision. I grew up in a rural background so I was not used to interacting with strangers. I had a very limited circle of friends and through that a very narrow world view and set of beliefs. I was comfortable with my small world and could not see it changing. Yet all of this changed the day I stepped into Tea Leaf Vision. I was amazed by my new surroundings; I met and interacted with people from across the Upcountry area. Many different beliefs, experiences and values were there but I made friendships with all of these people. We were encouraged to share our different stories and experiences and henceforth by listening we created new world views.

After a year at Tea Leaf Vision I was ready to embrace the world. If I had to work abroad or with different people I felt prepared, I was not scared. Tea Leaf Vision also prepared me well for employment; when I started there I had no idea what field I should pursue. Yet as I progressed through my diploma I realised that I wished to pursue a career in English and I am now studying to become a teacher. My dream is to become a teacher at TLV and inspire a love of English in others.

More than this I also believe that Tea Leaf Vision has made my life happier than before. I am now proud of myself and my achievements.  Tea Leaf Vision had given me the necessary tools to be a happy human being and contribute to the society and the world that I live in.


Lakmi’s story


Even though humans are different to each other, problems face all of us. I am a girl who has a lot of problems. Before I came to Tea Leaf Vision (TLV) my problems covered me, trapped me and I felt as though I couldn’t go anywhere. I was always frustrated about my life and sometimes I asked “Why am I here?” I was stressed and depressed all the time and I hated myself for being a girl. At one point I felt as though there was no way out and I considered ending my life.

When I came to TLV I felt different, I began to feel calmer and my problems began to lift from where they were crushing me. I still came to the class with many problems in my mind but I soon forgot them as I found myself in the care of TLV. It was as though she was my mother, giving her hands to help me overcome my difficulties. As a Main Diploma student my life was always filled with happiness and joy. Before I was a girl who was lost and alone on a road called “life”. Yet TLV was like my accommodation and my guide on that road, and I am so grateful to TLV for changing my path.

My aim is to find a job as soon as I can so that I can support and provide for my family. I am the next responsible person after my father and since my childhood I have seen how many difficulties he has faced to look after us. Now he is getting old and I can’t spend his money on unimportant things. This is why I chose to come to TLV for the Advanced Diploma and the opportunities, experiences and skills this course will provide me.

Thanks to TLV I am more responsible than last year and I am ready to accept new challenges. I am familiar with my barriers and will face them whether I will win or not.I am ready to work with new friends and the sharing, arguing, caring and fighting that comes with relationships.

These days I feel like a lotus flower, which is blooming out of the mud. I am a girl who is rising through her problems and barriers and now I will be a shining star which lights up the world. Like my shadow, TLV is always with me, supporting me and standing with me.

“I will win, not immediately but definitely!”

How to find out more

Twitter – https://twitter.com/tealeaftrust1

Website – https://www.tealeaftrust.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TeaLeafTrust

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tealeaftrust/

Video – https://vimeo.com/36237230

By using Teacherhorizons, you are helping us support important projects like TLV and providing opportunities for thousands of disadvantaged children in developing countries like Sri Lanka. Over the year ahead, we will share photos and stories of successes both on our Facebook page and our blog (subscribe down the right-hand side of this page). Want to get involved? sign up here and speak to one of our Recruitment Advisers.

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

Three Kinds of Counselor: Part 2

This blog follows on from Part 1 where we have been introduced to college & careers counseling. This week, James Bloom continues to explain to us the different types of international school counselors, what they are able to offer schools, and the part they all play in the smooth running of a school. 

ed psych22. Emotional & Behavioral Counselors & Therapists: Pay Out & Be Free from Sin

Whereas college and careers counseling (see part 1) can be learned mainly on the job and involves guiding students and their families in regard to single important decision, emotional and behavioral counseling is a multifarious minefield that requires serious specialized education since children and young people’s psychological, and sometimes physical, well being are at stake. I worked in a half dozen international schools over more than a score of years. Half of them had no social and emotional counselor, whether in house or outsourced. In only one of these three were there different counselors for students of different ages. Would the majority of teachers who work with upper secondary students be well suited or trained to manage an early years or lower primary classroom or vice-versa? Well, the same goes for school counselors or psychotherapists.

Therapy for young children and therapy for older teens are each pursued radically differently by quite different sorts of people with rather different training and personal qualities. Therapy for older children and younger teens is something else again from either of those poles. In international school recruitment ads, one regularly sees listings for ‘whole school social and emotional counselors’. Are you a school proprietor, or board member, or a senior leader hired to act on their behalf, at an international school where families have to pay out large sums in tuition and fees? Then do the decent thing. If you don’t think you need– or rather you can/will not lash out the cash– to offer appropriate counseling in house, then if your school is an Anglophone city, work up a list of good contacts and refer out to experienced, age appropriate therapists in the local area.

If your school is in a country, or a part of the country, where outsourcing counselors or psychotherapists simply isn’t feasible, then do whatever is necessary to convince your paymasters to offer this essential service in house. If this poses a dilemma for you, try asking yourself this: “What if it were my kid who was self-harming, or had an eating disorder, or who’d been a victim of bullying at home or school, or about whom there were concerns regarding sexual abuse from someone somewhere along their brief life line? Then ask, “How would I feel if an administrator at an international school my kid was attending told me, ‘Sorry, we simply don’t have any qualified staff to help deal with that. There just aren’t the funds for it in our budget.’” And then answer yourself, “What a satire, what farce when, in the majority of developed countries, the free state school that kid would be attending if their parents weren’t expats would definitely have such staff!”

ed psych3. Ed-Psychs– Yes, They Do All that Training for a Reason & you Need Their Services

But what about school counselors of the third kind, namely Educational Psychologists? Once again, out of the half dozen international schools where I worked over nearly two dozen years, only one had an Ed-Psych on staff. Actually, there were two in succession, one British and one American. Each brought along her own battery of expensive, complex diagnostic tests for dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, visual processing disorders (VPDs), auditory processing disorders (APDs), ADD, ADHD, and so on and each had an array of techniques to offer to diagnosed students and their teachers. In other words, these people were pros who well and truly knew what they were doing. This does tend to be the case with Ed-Psychs, given that those with a masters level of specialist training have had two to four years additional specialized education, while those with a doctoral level of specialization have had four to six.

Obviously, hiring in someone who has shelled out the time and money to do that tends to cost even more than hiring a top-of-the-payscale teacher. Likewise it will cost a good whack to outsource such a person on a temporary, visiting basis. Alas, for the majority of international schools which do not wish to be burdened with the additional spending incumbent upon educational institutions that admit students who have additional learning needs, but who take tuition fees from the families of said students, the hard truth is that procuring the costly services of an Ed-Psych to correctly diagnose learning deficits, and set out effectual plans for circumventing and surmounting these, is pretty much the sole way to fulfill one’s more easily ignored or denied tacit moral obligations.

Conclusion, or Freedom from Confusion & Exhortation to Do the Right Thing

edpsych3Well, there we have it…the three kinds of counselors and psychologists employed in schools do hugely different jobs and schools, or school leaders, with aspirations to being ‘good’ should, in fact, make use of the services of all three. A college and careers counselor may, once in a blue moon, also make a supercallifragilstic accidental psychotherapist or vice-versa; while once in a blood moon, a psychotherapist may perhaps have acquired the expialidocious know-how of an Ed-Psych or vice-versa. However, this is not the usual crescent, half, gibbous, or full lunar status quo and trying to cut corners and save costs by insisting otherwise, or seeking to ignore the whole tripartite support services satellite thing will not redound well upon either you or the school you’re running. So, either hire in all three kinds of counseling and psychology services, or source them out, but be ‘a mensch’ and do one or the other because it’s the only genuinely honorable option.

Phew… I am glad we got that sorted. Thanks so much for your expertise James! If you are looking for a counseling job in an international school, we have plenty available. Set up your free profile now, and begin searching our jobs database.

Written by James Bloom, a freelance college counselor for international schools and families. He was a teacher, counselor and administrator in international schools for 18 years.

Three Kinds of Counselor: Part 1

Our blog this week is written by James Bloom, an experienced college counselor, teacher and administrator. We asked him to explain the enigma that is school counselors. Why do they all have different titles? Do they do the same thing or are they totally different? He has produced two excellent blogs which couldn’t be more helpful, witty and interesting to read. So read on for words by way of clarifying & curtailing counseling confusion & corner cutting…

hmmA Deceptively Lighthearted & Laughing Introduction to a Sort of Serious Topic

The following post is going to be about the three kinds of counselors and psychologists employed, or not employed, or ‘mis-employed’ at international schools. In a first for the T.H. Blog, it’s directed toward international school recruiters, administrators and proprietors in the hope they’ll become convinced forthwith of the wisdom of either hiring in or outsourcing all three varieties of support services to be discussed, thereby bringing a moral credit upon themselves and the schools they manage that will surely far outweigh the financial debit of doing so. Teachers and counselors are, of course, encouraged to read it too, that they may nod sagely in agreement, shake their heads slowly in dismay, giggle giddily with gumptious glee, or flagrantly file their fingernails with indifference, as they see fit.

Right then, it is has already been suggested that the kinds of counselors and psychologists employed in schools are three in number, reminding readers variously of the three persons of the holy trinity, the three types of house construction materials employed by the three little pigs or even the ‘Three Little Maids from School’ of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. These three kinds are: 1) College & Careers Counselors, 2) Emotional & Behavioral Counselors, who will ideally be Clinical Psychologists, a.k.a. Psychotherapists, at schools that are offering true blue chip support services, and 3) Educational Psychologists. Now let’s get straight what each of these folks does, and why someone trained in one of these areas does not necessarily possess the specialist knowledge or attributes of character to wing it in either or both of the other fields, although it is always possible, albeit unlikely, that they might.

1. College & Careers Counseling– No, not Anyone Can Do it & Beware of Thieves


College & Careers Counselors are by far the least highly trained of our three. I should know; I am one. Nevertheless, their job is specialized and schools that fob it off on some member, or members, of staff who are untaught or uninterested in it, or both, are doing their graduates-to-be a great disservice by not getting them into the universities or courses of study, or both, that will serve them best. And in so doing, such schools are also doing themselves a disservice because, deny it though they may, this is the outcome of the secondary education process on which parents are going to judge them the most. Therefore, if you haven’t got a properly knowledgeable college and careers counselor in house, then outsource this important and handily seasonal job to a visiting college counselor like me who’ll do your graduates and institution credit by doing it properly. Although there are plenty of other outsourcing options for obtaining college counseling, here’s a link to my website by way of example https://jamesebloom.wixsite.com/website

Carrying out college and careers counseling correctly at an international school is a different pithos of ichthyes from doing so in a national school, whichever nation it may be in. The trouble is that college counselors tend to be primarily or exclusively familiar with higher education options in their own countries, and when they take to working abroad too many of them do too little to really get to know about other options elsewhere. In a school with a genuinely international purview of high quality English-medium higher education, the college counselor should be conversant with the application processes, and aware of a broad range of options in: the U.S. and Canada, Australia and ideally New Zealand, the U.K. and ideally Ireland, continental Europe (mainly northern Europe, but also a number of specialized choices in southern and eastern Europe), and the Far East (mainly Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, but also several in Japan, Korea and recently China).

Unfortunately, the world of independent international college and careers advising is full of scammers and sharks. In Shanghai and Mumbai, or in Istanbul and Moscow, there are independent college advisors who shamelessly ask and get between $5,000 and $25,000 from wealthy parents to take one of their children through the college admissions process, usually by lying or implying that they have connections at elite colleges in the U.S. But the fact is that much more seasoned and honest chaps, or chapesses, such as myself, will do a far more thorough job, for a school or a family, for a sum with one ‘0’ less on the right, depending upon the number of hours of support they have to provide.

In addition, a seasoned college and careers counselor will have a sound awareness of good options by sector; in other words, they’ll be able to recommend strong engineering, medical, business, law, or fine, performing and liberal arts alternatives in different countries. Moreover, unless all the families at an international school are wealthy enough that the price of higher education is no object, then the college counselor should also be conversant with tuition and living costs, as well as availability of scholarships or other financial aid at institutions in the above named regions. Finally, a good international college counselor needs to be sufficiently assertive to provide a clear, firm, persuasive reality check in regard to the interests and/or abilities of the student in the very frequent instances where parents’ are unable or unwilling to take account of this.

…To Be Continued

In part 2 we hear all about Emotional & Behavioural Counselors & Therapists, and Educational Psychologists. Make sure you check back in for that! If you are looking for a counseling job in an international school, we have plenty available. Set up your free profile now, and begin searching our jobs database.

Written by James Bloom, a freelance college counselor for international schools and families. He was a teacher, counselor and administrator in international schools for 18 years.

The wonderful world of document legalisation – Part 2

Here comes the nitty gritty…

In part 1 of this blog, I explained the basics of document legalisation, introduced you to some key terms and explained how Vital Legalisation can help you. In this part I’m going to try and cover the requirements for some of the more popular destinations for overseas teachers. There’s no real fun way to cover this subject in detail, so *adopting a look of seriousness and a general air of authority*… the best place to start is at the beginning…


The Hague Convention

In short, the Hague Convention is an agreement to standardise the legalisation requirements between member countries. If you are moving from one of these countries to another then all that is required is an Apostille from the country of origin. An Apostille is basically a statement that lets the authorities in another Hague country know your document is totally legit. Generally speaking, anything that isn’t a government issued document will also need to be certified/notarised prior to this.

One thing I can’t stress enough for those of you from the UK – notarisation is not a requirement in the UK. We get so many people coming to us who have already had their documents notarised thinking this will save them money. I totally commend you for grabbing the bull by the horns, but a Notary will charge you 5 times more than a Solicitor will for a perfectly acceptable certification. As a side note to this, if you use your own Solicitor, please make sure they are registered with the FCO beforehand to avoid complications.

So, that’s the easy bit done with. Below are a few country specific requirements for some of the more popular destinations. Deep breath, we’re going in…..

uaeThe UAE

Like most non-Hague members, the UAE will require you to jump through a couple of extra hoops for them to not laugh your important documents out of town. In addition to an Apostille they will also want to see Consular legalisation. This is carried out at the UAE Embassy in the country of origin after the Apostille stage. As with all the countries on this list, you will also need to have your attested document stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your destination country on arrival. In addition to this you may also need to have it translated into Arabic depending on where and for which company you will be working for.

Important note: As of the 4th of Feb this year, you are also now required to submit a Police clearance certificate (please see below for more info on these).



What can I say about Qatar? Lovely place, been there myself, the people are very friendly and accommodating. Unfortunately, the authorities are a little more uptight. Whereas the UAE will accept your hard-won educational certificate on its own merits, Qatar want to make you work that bit harder. Along with the certificate, you must also submit the related transcript and a confirmation letter from the issuing body. This letter must follow a strict set of rules and include some very specific information about your study. All 3 of these documents must then be attested separately but submitted together and any discrepancies will result in the certificate being rejected. If you happen to have obtained your certificate through online or distance learning, then I’m afraid it will be automatically rejected without exception or appeal.

Read about Qatar and other places you can teach tax free. 



Kuwait are more chilled out than Qatar and perhaps even a little more relaxed than the UAE. They have no issues with distance learning and seem to be happy to stamp anything with an Apostille on it. The usual MoFA/Arabic translation rules apply once the document is in country, however.



There’s a running joke in our office that’s probably only (debatably) funny to those who work in document legalisation. If anyone ever exclaims in frustration the phrase “Oh Man!”, some comedian will inevitably respond with “doesn’t need attesting, all done in country”. Both hilarious and topical I know… Still, it’s true though. Educational documents are dealt with by the authorities in Oman with no prior attestation required. For all other types of document, only an Apostille is needed as Oman is a Hague member.



China is such a popular destination for overseas teachers these days and we have certainly been dealing with more and more Chinese legalisations over the past couple of years. It’s not hard to see why, it’s a huge and beautiful country with a rich culture, friendly people and almost unlimited demand for ESL tutors. Similar to Kuwait, there is little that the Chinese authorities will reject. You will however need to fill in and submit an application form to support your documents. You will also need to sign a permission letter before the Chinese Embassy will deal with a third party such as ourselves. Nothing too demanding though. One thing that has come to light recently is the gradual tightening of restrictions regarding TEFL certificates (please see below).

So hopefully that explains a few of the more tricky destinations, before we end though there are a couple of additional points that are worth noting…

                                                                                              Read ten reasons why living in China is so exciting…

Police Clearance Certificates

It’s to be expected that your destination country wants to make sure you’re a model citizen before they welcome you in with open arms. In some cases you will be required to provide a background check to prove your credentials as an asset to society. These certificates need to be obtained from your previous country or countries of residence and usually need to cover the past 5 years. They can usually be applied for online through official sources, although in some countries you may be required to visit in person. Please note, they also generally need to be no more than 3 months old when presented in your destination country so make sure you get the timing right.

TEFL Certificates

Very recently we have encountered a number of issues with TEFL certificates issued in the UK. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have refused to apply Apostilles to several certificates due to new rules that are a little unclear at present. There is a work-around for certificates not meeting the criteria which involves attaching a Notarial cover sheet. As mentioned above though, those Notaries really know how to charge! A further issue is that some schools will not accept them as they are not a qualified teaching course and as such can cause insurance issues.

As with everything above, and as mentioned in part 1, you are always best off confirming things with your prospective HR department first and foremost. Once you are confident that you know your personal requirements, we can take care of the nitty gritty so you can concentrate on being excited about your awesome adventure.

And that’s it… Well done to anyone who made it all the way through! If this blog doesn’t answer your questions, please feel free to get in touch on andrew.howden@vitalcertificates.co.uk and I will do my best to steer you in the right direction. Remember to quote Teacherhorizons for a discounted rate.

Written by Andrew Howden, a Document Legalisation Specialist at Vital Legalisation with years of experience helping clients live and work in different countries.

Six reasons why schools might not respond after your interview

Too many of us have felt that creeping disappointment when we apply for a job and don’t hear back. It’s disheartening. What’s worse though, is not hearing back after going through the whole interview process. You took the time to prepare for that interview, what is an extra two minutes to the school, to send a quick ‘thanks but no thanks’ email?

As a recruitment agency, we know only too well how often this happens. Sometimes we can’t persuade the school to respond to us either! In order to find out why, we have grilled some headteachers and other recruiters, done our background research, and found some pretty interesting reasons. Hopefully they’ll offer some insight so if you don’t hear back from a school, you can better understand why.



1. The job might not be available after all

The recruiting process can start and stop and be interrupted along the way. Maybe the company started interviewing external candidates but then had a couple of internal people pop up. Or the funding for the position has come into question. Maybe the teacher that was leaving decided to stay, or the school changed their mind and decided to restructure instead of replace. There could be lots of reasons like this which have nothing to do with your suitability as a candidate.

2. You’re still in the running

At Teacherhorizons we might send a school up to 10 candidates for any one position. So could our competitors, and then there are those hundred candidates who apply directly. It takes schools a long time to sift through, and even once they have whittled it down to one or two people, it takes time to make a final choice, send over the package details and give the chosen teacher their week to decide. In the meantime, it’s in the school’s interest to ‘keep the other applicants warm’ in case their choice falls through. So don’t always give up the ghost…you could be in a final shortlist and still could end up with that job.

Read our blog on 10 things to ask a school at your interview


phones3. They feel the guilt

No one likes the thought of emailing or calling someone to tell them that they have not made the cut.  Especially after they’ve met and spoken to the person they are letting down. Although it seems like school administration can be brutal, they do have a conscience and may just be feeling downright bad about it.  Therefore they might just procrastinate for a while, and then maybe eventually tell themselves “that teacher was good so they would have found something else by now… I won’t bother them with a rejection”.

4. They don’t want to be asked for feedback

Well of course, any driven individual will want to know why they didn’t get a job, in order to improve for next time. This is a recruiters nightmare. Sometimes the reason is something that the teacher is not able to change like their personality, or even their native language or accent when it comes to teaching ESL students. A school does not want to offend you cause an argument, so might find it preferable to keep quiet.

Read our blog on getting your Teacherhorizons profile photo right 


reject5. The head is having to consult

In some schools, we find headteachers have to consult the board of governers before they are able to make a decision on any candidate. This involves sending off a request which can take days or weeks to come back, depending on how long the chain of command is. So it may be that the head has chosen you, but it takes a while for the board to OK their decision.

6. They are just too busy

Schools are filled with the most wonderful people on Earth, but they are hectic places. The position you went for could have had 300 applicants, and maybe 10 of you interviewed.  Without a mail merge, that’s an hour of email writing for a head, and sometimes it can just be too much time out of their day. From my experience this one is unlikely, but I felt I had to add it in as a final possibility to cover all bases. Fingers crossed this isn’t the case for you!


We hope this helps ease your pain if you are waiting for feedback! For more advice like this, see our blogs on Skype interview tips and CV advice. To get started with us, and hopefully have more success than before, set up your free profile here!

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

The wonderful world of document legalisation – Part 1

So you’ve taken the giant leap of accepting a teaching position overseas.

Congratulations! It’s a very brave and exciting move, but one that can be fraught with pitfalls for the un-initiated. Our purpose is to relieve you of one of the major headaches you’ll encounter when preparing for your move – document legalisation. I know, it doesn’t sound like the most interesting of topics, but trust me, this is one part of the process you’ll definitely want to get right!

This is a 2 part blog, read part 2 for more country specific advice.


signature-2003808_1280Lesson 1, educate yourself

An absolute necessity of going to work overseas is acquiring the correct visa from the country you will be teaching in. Without exception, you will need to submit a specific set of documents to the authorities in your destination country to obtain one. These documents generally include your highest qualification, a criminal record check, and if you happen to be working in education, possibly a teaching qualification. Other documents can be required if you are sponsoring a spouse or taking your kids along for the ride. These usually consist of a marriage certificate and a birth certificate for each child.

The first port of call before parting with your hard-earned cash would be to confirm which documents are required with your prospective HR department. They will be best placed to advise you as to what you will need, including any additional documents that they might personally want to see. Your HR department will usually take care of the visa application as well, so it’s always good to get to know them as early as possible!


documentsDocument Legalisation, the basics

Once you’re confident that you know what’s required, it’s time to get those documents legalised. And here’s where the real fun begins. Not every country follows the same process, and this applies to both the country of origin and your exotic new destination. There is the general rule of thumb though…

  1. Notarisation/Certification
  2. Application of an Apostille
  3. Legalisation by an Embassy

Each of these steps must be carried out in the country in which the document was issued (with a few rare exceptions). Then, on arrival at your destination, there will usually be a final stamp required from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to complete the process.

 Megan Grey has written a very useful blog on getting your Chinese working visa. 


time moneyDocument Legalisation, the dark side

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it can just as easily get incredibly complicated. A high number of non-Hague Convention countries (see Part 2) have their own additional steps or requirements specific to them. These can range from the fairly straightforward to the head-bangingly frustrating.

Also, not all documents are created equal. While certain documents require all of the steps outlined above, others don’t. Some might even require more!

One of the main issues with undertaking this process yourself is the time and expense involved. Many departments will not accept applications by post which means an unexpected road trip. Sounds like a fun idea in theory, but in reality is an exercise in tedium, and a waste of both precious time and money.

Like watching the movie Road Trip. Twice.


So, who are we and how can we help?

Vital Legalisation (New)Vital Legalisation has been in the document attestation game for over 10 years now. With three offices across the UK and Dubai and a network of satellite offices worldwide, we’re able to process documents from over 70 countries.

We take care of every step of the process so you don’t have to. All you have to do is send your documents over. We’ll take care of the rest. If you have anything out of the ordinary, chances are we’ve already come across it. If not, we have a team with over 80 years of experience that are dedicated to finding a solution that’s right for you.

We’re incredibly happy to be part of the Teacherhorizons community and can’t wait to help you adventurous folk get over there and get teaching!


Interested in learning more? Join us in Part 2 of our blog, where we’ll cover the most common (and not so common) issues that might arise during legalisation, as well as specific requirements for individual countries, one of which might soon be your new home!

To contact Andrew and his team at Vital Legaslisation, email andrew.howden@vitalcertificates.co.uk and quote Teacherhorizons for a discounted rate.

Written by Andrew Howden, a Document Legalisation Specialist at Vital Legalisation with years of experience helping clients live and work in different countries.

Life Hack – International Teaching

Have you ever envied the jet-setting lifestyle of other people’s career paths but resigned yourself to the steady commitment of a teaching job back in your home town? Have you ever wanted to extend yourself through your career but seen the teaching field as a one-track system with no upward mobility? If so…read on and find out how Hannah escaped these feelings and is now living the dream.


20776457_10102431465994695_541212699333288274_oThese were both ideas that I carried with me throughout my initial 7 years as an educator. I would travel on my school breaks and I would lead professional development for colleagues, but I always felt that I had hit my limit as far as shaking up my career. Teaching was incredibly interesting from year to year because of my students, their challenges and changing grade levels but my career path always felt pretty stagnant. This mindset shifted very drastically one day while I was watching House Hunters International.

Yes, I admit it. I now live abroad as a Literacy Coordinator in subtropical China doing what I love thanks to HGTV…

While an oversimplification, I was first exposed to the idea that I could use my expertise as a teacher to travel the world through an episode of House Hunters International. The couple on the program were moving from the Caribbean after teaching in South East Asia for a few years. As I watched the episode, a pipe dream started to form, stewing under the surface until, a few days later, I mentioned the possibility to my husband. “Did you know that there are international schools that will pay for your housing and you just get a visa and go teach at them?” It still seemed to be an impossibility, something I hadn’t been trained for, and something that people from other places and countries did.

Find out if teaching abroad is for you by reading another of our blogs at Teacherhorizons.


21743501_10102485163998465_7137192521090901020_oAs the idea continued to rankle in my mind, the magic of google brought me to Teacherhorizons. I initially looked at several websites for international teaching but the safety and care that Teacherhorizons seemed to have with teacher candidates and the schools really stood out to me. As I filled in my information and began to look at teaching locations and positions, I was boiling over with excitement, to be sure. But I also could not see it as an actual possibility. Who would have known this all existed and I had never known it was a possibility? Could I move to Egypt? Hungary? Turkey? China? It seemed too good to be true.

As I perused and sent out emails, I soon heard back from the Teacherhorizons team to do a pre-interview in order to vet my application and help match me to schools that fit my lifestyle. Honestly, the farther you delve into the maze of the international teaching field, the more it consumes you and creates more questions. However, after skyping and emailing with Steve and later Maggie and Tiffany, I was really able to quell my main concerns and unknowns. They helped guide me toward the positions I was most qualified for and that fit my goals as an international educator. Step-by-step, the crumbs of possibility turned into a solid path toward moving my entire life abroad.

Read about the salaries and benefits of teaching abroad here.


21586604_10102476582361135_4315322646946293348_oA month or two more of research, applying and interviewing and I had my first job offer in Shenzhen, China as a PYP Literacy Coordinator at International School of Nanshan Shenzhen. It honestly did not feel real until an envelope was delivered to me with my work invitation letter and I saw Chinese characters across the front of it. After weeks of communicating solely through email and Skype, to hold something in my hand that whispered of my new life about to start, felt extremely surreal.

It has been a whirlwind of an experience as I settle into this new culture, position, and lifestyle. Throughout the transition, my husband and I have been able to pay off all of our student debt, travel throughout the world, and I feel more appreciated and excited about my career than I ever have before. I’ve attended exciting professional development opportunities, worked toward honing my skills to coach both children and my teaching colleagues, and started learning Mandarin. Honestly, I’m aware that this all sounds like an infomercial with no drawbacks and this cannot really be how it works out (all except for the Chinese work visa process—general suffering and several tears). Maybe it has been pure luck, but we truly are living our best life now. I don’t need a bucket list—I’m living my bucket list every day.


If you’d like to check out more of our travels or ask me all the dirt, feel free to follow me on Instagram as @theraptorlady. Sign up to Teacherhorizons here and start the balling rolling for your new life. To share your story like I have, please email  editor@teacherhorizons.com to discuss your ideas.

Written by Hannah Fernweh, an international educator who values humor, curiosity, cheese, and new cultures. She currently resides in Shenzhen, China as a PYP Literacy Coordinator with her husband and is fulfilling her New Year's resolution of eating her weight in dumplings.

Why every international school should hire someone over the age of 60 – and why it should be you!

This week we have an inspiring blog for you, written by our very own candidate June Harvey, who has just accepted a position at Cairo English School to teach Psychology. Candidates over the age of 60 can sometimes struggle to succeed in the international teaching world due to various restrictions, but not June! In this short but fun blog she outlines four of the main reasons that schools should consider a candidate like her over a young whippersnapper… Go for it June!


Let’s face it – if you are over 60 many employers are going to assume that you are either a) infirm, b) incontinent or c) a technological dinosaur – and that, strangely, you won’t be able to form relationships with young people….how bizarre! Apart from the fact that, to every 15 year old, anyone over the age of 25 is ancient, older candidates have some amazing qualities to offer. Here are but a few…


Guatemala1) We won’t let you down

We are likely to be well-travelled, independent and survivors of at least one major life-crisis. We have got by in Guatemala, done Delhi-belly and watched the plane leave without us – we are not going to have a meltdown if the internet doesn’t work for a month or no-one in the bank speaks English.

2) We are canny and resourceful

Our hand luggage will contain a toolkit, a travel kettle, bug spray, blister plasters, sewing materials and painkillers – every new young teacher will be knocking on our door during the first few weeks for a loan instead of pestering the administration.


Discover more things that our candidates have learned through their international experience by reading this blog. 


Istanbul (1)

3) We are passionate

The reason we are still teaching is because we love young people and still get a buzz from building relationships with them. The exchange of experiences and ideas is mutually beneficial. We help them to understand the vagaries of the examination boards and they reveal the mysteries of blogging and vlogging to us (who knew?)

4) We are very cheap

We will not need a family-sized villa, free school places or four sets of air fares. We will not need time off work for hangovers, childcare, relationship crises or because we stayed up to watch the Cup Final. We are the bargain basement of the employment world.


Teaching Qatar (1)

So- For every head teacher or recruiter who binned the application from the older candidate – shame on you! Look at the person behind the chronology and get excited about the wealth of experience they can bring you.

And for every potential overseas teacher who is over the age of 50 – go for it! If you have the energy, passion and enthusiasm to start a new life, remember all the amazing things you have to offer and send in those applications. I took my first international post at the age of 54 and have just secured my next one at the age of 62. International teaching has given me the chance to work with amazing students and colleagues, to live in and explore new cultures and to travel from Peru to Cambodia – what have you got to lose?

Read more advice for older teachers in our blog ‘Am I too old to teach abroad?’



Thanks so much June! Whether you are over 60 or not, if you have strong teaching experience and a passion for travel, create a profile here, and then browse our jobs here.  Good luck!

Written by June Harvey, aged 62 is a Psychology teacher. She started international teaching in Qatar at the age of 54 and has worked in Qatar, Amsterdam, Mexico and Abu Dhabi. Her next job is Cairo...she can't wait!

Teaching in Beijing: What is it like?

Beijing is a smoggy and chaotic city. You either love it or you hate it. For brave and curious souls, Beijing presents a magnificent adventure, an opportunity to experience all the good things that China has to offer. We work with many schools in Beijing, and recently helped Scott Hannan on his way to one of them, Chaoyang KaiWen Academy. Tell us about it Scott! Are you a lover or a hater?


kaiwenWhere are you teaching and what’s your school like?

I work at Chaoyang KaiWen Academy in Beijing, China. I chose to work here as I have always wanted to work in China and the opportunity to work in a brand new school that is now an IB candidate school appealed to me greatly.

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

Caroline put me forward for positions at a few schools, and this one came up trumps. The school made contact with me and said they would like to interview me. So we organised a time that worked for both of us and I was interviewed one Friday morning by the Head of the School and the Deputy Head. The interview went well and I had a job offer that same day! In terms of being organised with what I needed to get my visa the school was great, the only slow part was actually New Zealand getting the documents that were required!

Read a first hand experience of getting a Chinese visa.


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

Its a great place with so much to see and do. There is an expat scene but as our school is a little out we tend to socialise more amongst ourselves. It’s easy to get around and go out though with cheap public transport and ‘Didi’ which is the Chinese version of Uber being great for getting anywhere.

Which tourist sites or must-visit places are nearby?

The obvious ones like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Olympic Stadium. Other ones worth seeing are the Botanical Gardens especially in autumn… they were really spectacular.

 Another happy teacher, Mike Mantelow, has taught in Beijing too; read his story



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

It was really hot and humid when I arrived but by October the temperature had dropped and since December its been negative temperatures all day every day, just no snow. No rain since October either. But you get used to it, even on days like yesterday when with the wind felt like minus 22!

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

It’s very cheap. I’m able to easily save a decent amount of money and still have plenty left over to do what I want when I want.


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

The food is great. Being China there is so much different food to try, but I do recommend Crispy Duck in Beijing as well as the Famous Beijing Hot Pot where you get all the vegetables and meat bought raw to your table and you cook it yourself in a big hot pot of flavoured broth. International food easy to get as well. Eating out is very cheap to do.

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

Its massively different from New Zealand obviously but as I’ve been living away for over a decade now I’m used to that. Having come from the Middle East where English is more widely spoken being somewhere where it’s not as widely spoken has its challenges but once you learn a bit of Mandarin its ok and there is plenty of translation tools available!

Have a read of our Happy Teacher Archives, for more happy teachers in China and other locations.


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

Working with great kids and great people at a new school is refreshing. And knowing so much undiscovered stuff is still out there in Beijing is super exciting.

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

People who want things to be just like home would struggle. There is a western area in Beijing with shops and food like home but its much more expensive and why would you work overseas if you just wanted it to be like home!

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

Definitely do it. I’m glad I’ve done it and to be honest, now I wish I had done it a few years earlier!

Want to join Scott in the big smoke?  To find out about this school and others, sign up here and have a look at our schools in China.

Written by admin