Teaching in a bilingual international school in China.

After years of teaching in Australasia and Scandinavia, Adika’s international teaching experience has now brought her to China. What a contrast! A move to Asia has totally opened up her teaching experience. In this blog she tells us of her experience so far at EtonHouse International Pre-School, a bilingual school in Shanghai.

My husband and I moved to Shanghai, China in February this year after I got offered a job to work for a bilingual international school. My husband is French and for the both of us, it was our first time working and living in Asia. When we arrived, we didn’t know what to expect. Though we had read a lot, we kept our minds open. We had spoken to various people and asked around about China, and Shanghai particularly. We had mixed responses but we still followed through and came to China.


Tell us about the school group

My school is a great international school because not only it is international, it is bilingual. EtonHouse International Pre-School is one of the leading international school groups in Asia and originates from Singapore. The school group has more than 100 schools across 12 countries and promotes Reggio Emilia pedagogy with a strong emphasis on bilingualism of the Mandarin and English languages.

What about your school in particular?

Our school in Shanghai is actually in the process of becoming an IB PYP school. We have classes from Pre-Nursery to Year 3. We are fully occupied and our students range from a mix of expatriates, foreign and local Chinese nationals. Parents at our school choose us because we are bilingual and international. What I love about working here is that the experience has really supported and helped me settle into China and as a result I am learning a new language, culture and perspective on education. Both my husband and I were welcomed very warmly here by my school and everyone we have met here in Shanghai. The Chinese people are very generous and kind. China is a thriving, developing and fast-growing economy as most of its people value education as one of the most important assets, followed by family and success.


circleWhat is it like teaching in a bilingual school?

What is really amazing is that children as young as 2 years old are capable of learning English and Mandarin at the same time, and this is evident in my school. In every class, we have an international core teacher like myself, a Mandarin teacher and 2 assistant teachers, this drives the learning in the setting. Both the core and Mandarin teachers work collaboratively together to ensure that the planning and curriculum are in sync so that the children will benefit from a sound bilingual program. Then the assistant teachers help the core and Mandarin teachers in the classroom day to day. I have found this setup amazing; working and teaching in a bilingual setting definitely expands how I think and how I apply my teaching ideas.

Read about working at Yew Chung, another school group promoting intercultural collaboration.


How do the students benefit from a bilingual school?

What I have enjoyed most is that each time we collaborate and work together, it leads to new learning that is culturally influenced, or we benefit from each other through sharing our ideas and thoughts. This process of exchange keeps us open-minded and respectful at all times. The children see this intercultural relationship and learn from us as role models, because they are in a similar situation, learning and working together in a bilingual environment. The families here are also very warm, educated and enthusiastic about their children’s learning. They are often involved in activities such as Parent Teacher Conferences, school parties, fundraising events and fun days that are organised by the school.

Read another blog about teaching in China.


And finally…

I am really happy to be here and both my husband and I are totally loving being in Shanghai! We are learning so much each day through working in international and bilingual schools. I am so grateful to Teacherhorizons for another great posting that continues to help me grow in my career as a teacher.

As we say it in China, Zai Jian! (Goodbye).

Keen to move to China like Adika has? We have new schools signing up there all the time! Create a profile here and browse our jobs in China.

Written by Adika Kay, One of our fantastic elementary/primary teachers. Adika loves all types of sports especially rugby, netball, cricket, soccer, badminton, adventure, travelling, learning new languages, dancing, cooking, reading and anything fun! Her goal as an international teacher is "to make a difference in everyone I meet or teach as much as I can!"

Come and visit us at the IB conference

Teacherhorizons is proud to be attending the IB conference in The Hague this October, where we will be launching our new Explorer service and providing an introduction to interested schools. If you would like to find out more about how your school can save time and money on recruitment, come and meet us there – we have a special offer for anyone attending. Here is an outline of the service, along with our two existing services, and how to set up a meeting.


1. Basic – free profile and adverts (low impact)

This service allows your school to advertise as many positions as you like and we will direct applicants to your website. Whilst we have a small membership fee for this, we are happy to offer it free of charge if a school’s profile is over 80% complete. Schools tend to get a limited amount of interest from this service as we don’t proactively market their vacancies – only candidates that purposely come across the adverts will apply. Start here!

2. Explorer – you find candidates (medium impact) **Our new service**

This is a new service we are trialling with some selected schools. It allows schools to search and filter candidates who are actively looking (green), access profiles, CVs and confidential references. It puts the school in charge of contacting candidates, screening and shortlisting. There are no up-front costs for the service at all – schools only pay if they hire a candidate they like, and the fee for this service is about half typical recruitment costs – enabling your school to save significantly. Start here.

3. Global – we promote and screen intensively (high impact)

This is our most popular service at Teacherhorizons and is a recruitment agency approach. We advertise and promote schools and their vacancies extensively to our community of over 100,000 candidates. We also promote them via our networks such as Teach First and the IB, jobs boards and social media channels. We then screen, shortlist and interview the strongest candidates, and send the profiles that best match the school’s specific requirements to them to review (including CV, confidential references, supporting documents and profile summary).

As with our Explorer package, there are no up-front costs for our Global service – schools only pay if they hire a candidate they like. We have also ensured that the fee for this option (though higher than the Explorer fee as our team spends lots of time screening) is still affordable for our schools. Start here.
Pricing table - high quality


As you can see, there are no up-front costs for any of our services and it’s possible to use a combination of these services depending on the time of year. You can read our full T&Cs here and our Safeguarding policy here. In our next blog we will be explaining more about our Explorer package, giving schools everything they need to know to make an informed decision as to which service they would like to use. Watch this space!


How to find us at the IB conference:

During the conference, you will find us at Table Number 87 and we will be using this opportunity to launch our Explorer service. We will also be offering free demonstration and training session on how schools can make use of this really unique recruitment product. If you are a school or recruiter and would like to sign up to attend one of our product demonstration sessions, please register by clicking on this link.

We would also love to meet current and future Teacherhorizons members! If you are a teacher interested in booking a 15 minute time slot to speak to one of our on-site recruitment advisers, you can book a time by clicking on this link.


Can’t attend the IB conference but interested in the new service? Get in touch by emailing info@teacherhorizons.com. We will direct you to the right person to speak to.

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

Ten reasons why teaching in China is exciting for new teachers

Do you remember that feeling of being a kid in a candy shop? You were overwhelmed with excitement over all the sweet treats that awaited you.The anticipation of filling your bag up with sour gummy worms and eating your Skittles all the way home was just almost too much for you to bear…

Well, that is kind of what it feels like to be traveling to China as a new teacher. Between the new culture, the new experiences, and the new and excited children that await you – it can almost feel like you are that little child again walking into the candy shop. As a new teacher, traveling to teach abroad, you have so many exciting things to look forward to. Although your journey will be filled with nerves, of course, the excitement and the joy of your new experiences will quickly overcome the nerves.


The reasons why teaching in China is exciting as a new teacher are almost endless, but here are my top 10:

chinese food1) The food is nothing shy of incredible

As a self-proclaimed foodie, of course, food is one of my favorite aspects of traveling anywhere new. You are probably familiar with Chinese food back home, but the true, traditional Chinese food you will find in China is probably not like anything you have ever experienced. From the melt-in-your-mouth roasted duck to the unbelievable vegetable dishes – there is something for everyone’s palate.

2) The students are eager to learn.

In China, learning English is a very prestigious aspect of their schooling. Most of their parents have high hopes that they will be accepted into a university in the United States, and learning English is part of that journey. For the most part, the students you will encounter are entertaining, enthusiastic, and appreciative of your willingness to be there.

3) The culture is fascinating.china classroom

One of the best parts about teaching in China is that you become a resident, not just a tourist. Rather than having to see and do it all in one week, you have months – or longer – to explore your new city and country. From the imperial architecture of the historical sites to the breathtaking views of some of the most beautiful scenery you can find in parks and other surrounding areas, you will develop a great sense of appreciation for your new environment.

4) The life in China is fast-paced.

I don’t know about you, but I already feel like time is going incredibly fast…It seems as though I blink my eyes and somehow, I am five years older. But, living in China is more like living life in time-lapse mode… Buildings seem to pop up overnight and new subway lines open up left and right – giving the feeling that the whole city simply shifts in one day.  The fast-paced life will leave you in awe of all the change you can experience in the country during even just a short                                                                                                        time there.

mandarin5) You might even learn some Mandarin along the way. 

The good news is that for most positions teaching English in China, being fluent in Mandarin is not required. But, who doesn’t want to add fluency in a second language to their resume, right? While it might seem like an impossible task, you will be surprised with how much easier learning to speak and understand Mandarin will become once you are living in China and are engulfed in the language on a daily basis.

6) You will be well-respected.

The respect doesn’t stop with the students in your classroom. Western teachers are in high demand in China, and, therefore, are well-respected as well. Most Chinese people have a deep-rooted respect for the profession and teachers are seen to be very authoritative figures.


wall7) You have a variety of diverse locations to choose from.

Due to the size of China, there is no shortage of destinations for teachers looking to work in the country.  From Shanghai to Guangdong, and several other areas in between – you can choose the setting you are looking for and the size of the city you would prefer.

8) They offer generous perks and benefits.

Most teachers can find a position that offers great hours, good pay and great benefits. Oftentimes, a yearly salary is provided in addition to great benefits and some perks might include: Sick leave, paid holidays, a generous house concession or rent-free furnished local apartment, and an airfare allowance or even flight reimbursement.


teach china9) The teaching options are endless.

Depending on your salary expectations and your own personal preference, there are several types of teaching opportunities available: Teachers in China can choose from public schools, private schools, private language institutes, a university, international schools, kindergartens, or even tutoring. You can truly make the opportunity everything you want it to be.

10) The cost of living is generally affordable.

Of course, the cost of living will depend mostly on the area you choose to live and work in… Bigger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have a higher cost of living, but they also help compensate with a higher pay. However, teaching salaries are on the rise in China, so most of the time, you will have the ability to save the majority of your wages.


From great food to great pay to exquisite scenery, the question should really be what reason is there not to be excited about teaching in China? The opportunity to teach abroad in China is one that will forever change you and one you will talk about for years to come. If you are a new teacher looking to teach in China, have look at our jobs here.

Let us know, which of these top ten reasons to be excited are you most excited about? Share your enthusiasm with us in the comments.

Written by David Smith, a blogger and world traveler, with experience in China’s manufacturing industry, as well as social media marketing in his hometown of Los Angeles, California. When not staring at a computer screen, David is an avid badminton player and photographer of natural landscapes.

Prepare yourself: Top international interview questions.

International teaching interviews can be terrifying. You often don’t have that face to face contact with your interviewer (rather screen to screen via Skype) which means there can be technical hitches involved, and you can’t read body language like in a regular interview. Also, your only judgment on what the school actually looks like is the wall you can see behind your interviewer’s head. For these reasons, you need to be even more prepared for this interview than you have ever been before. Research the school like crazy, and prepare yourself with some, if not all of the questions we have accumulated below.

General interview questionsSkype picture

Why did you apply for this particular role?

What do you know about the school? Why do you want to work here?

What are your main strengths/key achievements as a teacher?

How do you use data to inform your planning?

What does high-quality teaching and learning look like?

Describe your teaching style in 3 words.

What would you do if a child told you he/she was scared of going home?

How would you deal with bullying in your classroom?

How do you reward for good behaviour?

How will you ensure you meet the school’s ethos in your lessons?

For more tips, read our blog: Top tips for selling your teaching experience at interview.


International school questions

Do you have experience of working or living overseas?

What extra-curricular activities would you get involved with?

It can be challenging learning a new curriculum, being in a new country etc. How will you manage the workload?

How do you think you will fit in with the local culture in the city you are moving to?


IB specific questions

What might be the challenges of teaching the IB?

How do you use the IB style of teaching at the moment?

How do you make cross-curricular links in your lessons?

How will you support learners who are struggling to meet the demands of the IB?

Read more of our Skype Interview Tips here.


Subject-specific questions (this can be a separate interview sometimes)classroom

Is there an area of the curriculum you think you might struggle with teaching? How will you overcome this?

Why are you passionate about your subject?

Describe a good lesson that you have done recently.

Describe a lesson that did not go well. What were the reasons for this?

What can you bring to the role that other candidates may not bring?

Why do you enjoy teaching *your subject*?

How do you deal with disengaged learners in your classroom?

If I came into your classroom, what would I see?

How do you make your *subject* students independent learners?

What are the important things to consider when setting up your classroom?

How do you differentiate in your lessons?

What provisions do you make for special needs in your classroom?

We hope this helps! Let us know if you have any questions to add to the list by emailing editor@teacherhorizons.com. Now you are fully prepared for anything they throw at you, sign up to Teacherhorizons here, and browse our jobs here. Good luck!






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

5 maths study tips to give to your students

This week we gift to you a useful blog from Annabelle Fee; part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, who share valuable teaching content to their community… and now ours!

Mathematics is often considered to be the hardest subject by many students. Some of them won’t even make an effort because they’ve immediately decided that they are bad at it. Nevertheless, the level of mathematics that is required by the education standards should be achievable to most students if they prepare well. And while a lot of responsibility lies with the class work, the preparation at home is crucial. A good teacher should guide students through their home study by giving them advice and appropriate homework. Here are the top five tips to give to students.

teacherhorizons (2)1. Practice daily

Repetitioest mater studiorum.  This is the golden rule of student life, but especially when it comes to math. Unless the student is a math genius, they will need to practice daily until the rules they are studying enter their system, once they know the simple rules, they can get more creative with difficult tasks. Practicing is not something of which they should be ashamed. Make sure to tell them this honestly and without looking down on people who need more practice. You can help them by giving constant homework – better to have daily homework than once a week a handful of pages.

2. Incorporate all the previous topics, not just the current one

When students practice, they often concentrate only on the current topic. A good tip to give is to incorporate at least one or two exercises from different areas, just to keep them fresh in their mind. You can also add to this by having some of the old exercises in the homework you give them. After not doing a certain type of exercise for a long time, students tend to forget how to do it, which can be a problem with final exams. This tip and your diverse homework can make finals a lot easier and pre-finals time a lot less stressful.

teacherhorizons (3)3. Do as much as possible without calculator

This is a simple tip but in today’s world with so much technology around us, it is rarely followed. Students, away from their tutors’ eyes, use their phones for even the simplest math. Doing homework without calculators can help during exam time, when calculators are often not allowed. It makes us calculate quicker. This is not something you can control, since homework is done at home, but make sure you point of the benefit of final exams so they know it is not just your rebellion against the technology.

4. Feel free to ask for help, but first try to do it by yourself

A lot of students see a more difficult or creative exercise and decide they cannot do it, without even trying first. It is ok not to know something, and it is ok to go to a teacher or a tutor to ask for an explanation. But the student should first try their own a couple of times. Telling them to try to first solve the problem by themselves is good advice to give them because it will not only help them in exams when they cannot ask for an explanation, but also with their future lives when they won’t always have someone to explain to them what they don’t understand.

teacherhorizons (1)5. Verbalise

One of the best pieces of advice I was given in high school was “when you have issues with a certain topic, try to first verbalise what you think you should do, and then do the math. Sometimes the numbers are arranged in a new way and the situation looks so unfamiliar that it is hard to see where to start. Talking through the problem helped understand what the issues were and then it was easier to work around solving them. This is rarely told to math students because math is not associated with words, but for some, especially for people who are more word-oriented, this can be golden.


Hopefully this will help your students to study more efficiently for their exams. The best thing you can do is to show them that you expect them to succeed if they work hard. Believing in your students matters more than words can describe; it is one of the strongest motivators.

Want to teach Mathematics abroad next year? Sign up to Teacherhorizons here and check out all of our exciting Maths jobs here!

Written by Annabelle Fee, part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, sharing valuable content to their own community and beyond.

What happens when you arrive at your new international school?

We talk to hundreds of teachers each week who are thinking of teaching abroad. One of the main barriers which puts people off is the unknown. What is the school like? What will happen when I arrive? Will I have to find my own accommodation? What if I don’t speak the language? These are some crucial questions, and at Teacherhorizons we think you deserve to know the answers before you embark. So this week we asked Megan Grey to describe her experiences so far at Yew Wah International Education School of TongXiang.


UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b9I’m writing to you from my friend’s couch who lives on my corridor in TongXiang. My flight was early on a Friday morning and I met 2 fellow teachers in the airport who I had been talking to on Facebook beforehand. This reminds me: Good tip for anyone travelling to China… make sure you download a VPN before you get here, you won’t be able to download one once you’re in China as it will be blocked. As you probably already know, China blocks Facebook, Instagram, google etc. but with a VPN you can use your phone/laptop as you would back home (very important if you are a Netflix junkie like me!)

After a stop off in Abu Dhabi, we arrived in Shanghai at 10.30am on Saturday and were met by some members of staff who work at our school. After travelling so far, I was so grateful to have airport pick up and transport all sorted for us. The staff even took us out for lunch, all paid for by the school. I remember thinking that I had struck gold and already appreciated how much the school value their teachers by making sure we were looked after.

Read another of Megan’s blog posts for helpful tips on applying for a Chinese visa.


UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b3Once we had finished, I was taken to my own apartment. Giddy with excitement, I burst through the door and was over the moon my new home: a brand new, fully furnished and modern space, just for me! My apartment has a kitchen with a fridge full of food (including Oreos – bonus), a living area with a TV, sofa, desk, table with 2 chairs, coffee table and water cooler. The water cooler boils and cools water. I also have a bedroom with 2 x ¾ sized beds with a wardrobe and a bathroom. There is also a balcony with a washing machine and clothes dryer.

I’ve been here for nearly a week now and the last 6 days have been a blur. The school has already organised for us to all get new phones with Chinese sim cards. We already have a Chinese bank card and access to our new bank accounts. The school also ran a trip to Injoy which is a big shopping center in Tongxiang so we could get some food and other bits and bobs. We’ve been to Shanghai to have a medical exam done (you will need to have this done when you get here in order to apply for a resident’s permit). We’ve also been given our new laptops which we ordered before we arrived… a brand-new apple mac! The school even provided training to show us how to use the laptops. In the first few days, we had a welcome party lunch where we got to meet all the teachers at the school; everyone is so lovely and supportive of each other. As a single female coming by myself, I am so grateful and relieved that I’m here with such incredible people. I feel like I’ve already got a big group of friends!

Look at more perks of international teaching by reading our blog on international teaching salaries and benefits. 
yew wah


The tour around the school with the senior leadership team blew me away. It’s like nothing I had ever seen before; so modern and forward-thinking. The sheer size of the building was incredible, especially the auditorium – it can hold 1000 people! I couldn’t wait to get started with planning the year ahead.

I’m so excited for the next steps and to get stuck into everything going on in the school. I am so grateful to Teacherhorizons for getting me the job in the first place and so grateful to all the staff working at Yew Wah Tongxiang. How lucky I am to be here!

Like the sound of a Yew Wah school? Have a read of this blog from a teacher at Yew Wah Yantai.


So there is my arrival story for any of you worrying about what might happen when you get to your new school. I’m sure you will have a similarly excellent experience. I’ll leave you now, with my 10 top tips for surviving your first week:

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b71) Get to know people on facebook before you arrive. I actually set up a Facebook group once I got the job and it was so helpful having a support network to help me before I got here. I even managed to meet up with someone before we all set off.

2) Download a VPN before you arrive.

3) Bring lots of packets of tissues. The toilets here are mainly a squat and drop (as we like to call them) and are pretty much a hole in the ground and most places don’t provide toilet paper.

4) Bring things from home to make your apartment your own. It’s so important to settle in and create your own space to make you feel happy and relaxed.

5) Bring things to cook with like cooking oil, spices and sauces that you use at home. I brought a big box of tea bags and am so glad I did.

6) Be confident and put yourself out there! Make sure you make connections with people and get out and do as many things as possible.

7) Expect to have jet lag and a dodgy stomach. Try not to let it get to you too much and ride it out. Your body will soon adjust.

8) Learn key phrases in Mandarin like hello, thank you, goodbye. The locals really appreciate it.

9) Download Wechat, it’s the Chinese version of Whatsapp and everyone uses it out here.

10) Give yourself a break, you are going to feel overwhelmed, nervous and homesick but it’s                                                                                                   okay! You’ll soon settle in.


Calling all new starters – what has your first week been like? Please let us know by emailing your story to editor@teacherhorizons.com. We would love to publish it. Thinking of following in Megan’s footsteps along with hundreds of other Teacherhorizons teachers? Set up your free profile here. Schools will be recruiting for next year very soon!

Written by Megan Grey, A 24-year-old primary teacher from Manchester. now working in Tongxiang, China at a Yew Wah school. She is beyond excited for the next steps in her teaching career, and believes that "if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!"

Seven secrets to social success in your new location.

You have made it! We hope you have arrived safe and well to your new school. Congratulations! Now comes the next step: Finding your place in this new (and frankly, terrifying) world. Being an international jet-setter myself, I moved my life to Cambodia last year, to begin working at Teacherhorizons. So having been in a similar situation to many of you international teachers, I wanted to share a few words of advice to help you find your feet, and navigate the social scene in your new home.


pub street1) Get out there

It might be the last thing you feel like doing in your first few weeks. It certainly was for me. As soon as I left my air conditioned room, the smells, the noise and the heat of Cambodia would hit me, and it was overwhelming. However, once I bit the bullet and got out there, I noticed how wonderfully different and exciting the place was, and began to get accustomed.

2) Find the place to be

The first thing to do is to find people who speak your language. Well, I started off in a hostel, so that was easy for me, and I began by asking the staff there where I should hang out to meet people. ‘Pub Street’ was the answer I got, so off I went to find friends. It took no time at all.

Interested in Cambodia too? Look at our Cambodia page here, and start applying for jobs there by creating a free profile. 
Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 13.51.553) Speak to everyone you see

I was stopped on my way onto pub street by a Turkish man selling pub crawl tickets… I very boldly replied “where do you live in this city? Where should I live?” I think he was a little taken aback, but he gave me some great advice on the places to look and the going rate for rent, and from that moment on, became one of my closest friends in Cambodia.

4) Join the facebook group

My new friend immediately added me to the expat Facebook group. There will always be one for the place you are living, no matter how remote. Ours was fantastic. It was the place where all expats in the whole city could meet, socialise and ask advice from others. It was used for buying and selling apartments, furniture, bikes etc and was a great way to feel part                                                                                                          of a community, no matter how far you are from your old one.

bikes4) Join a club

This Facebook group will be used for promotion too. Mine promoted all the clubs that you could join in the area, so all I had to do was pick a few hobbies that I was interested in pursuing over there. I picked CrossFit and wine tasting. Yes, wine tasting! Even in the most far off places, if there are expats there, there will be wine. The CrossFit club was at the local kickboxing gym, and was on three times a week. Through this I was able to meet like-minded people from the word go, and begin to structure my new friendship circle. Oh and if you are keen on fitness, join Strava. It’s an app which allows you to find friends who run, swim or cycle at your level, and contact them. An amazing tool if you want to meet like-minded people and have someone to exercise with.

5) Be a yes man!

“We are going on a bike ride, want to come?” YES. “I am going to do a city tour, join me?” YES. “Would you like to try this odd looking local food?” YES. Get my gist? You will never regret saying yes to these things. If they are enjoyable, you get a great experience to tell home about. If they are not, you get a funny story to tell home about. No one wants to hear about the time you said no to an adventure.

Read more of my advice on keeping fit and healthy abroad in this blog: Seven secrets to staying healthy that only expats would know!
IMG_16267) Speak to the locals

Your friends do not have to be expats. A good mix of both is healthy. I was lucky enough to find a complex to live in, which housed some locals and some expats, so I immediately befriended Cambodians as well as British, Kiwi, American and Turkish expats. The locals are amazing, as they help you navigate around and begin to learn the language, they help you order your drinks, they advise you on which market goods to buy and how much to pay for them, and best of all, they make you feel welcome in this place that is their home.

Read one of our teacher’s stories about learning the language of the locals here.


I hope these tips are helpful, and make the idea of building your new world, less daunting. It really takes no time at all to feel secure, all you need is a little confidence to get out there. Remember everyone else is just as keen for friends as you are, so go get ‘em!

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

Getting your Teacherhorizons profile and CV photo right.

According to psychology, a first impression is ‘the event when one person first encounters another person, evaluates them, and forms a mental representation of that person’. Now that word encounter is important, as it does not just apply to a face-to-face meeting. When you have a profile with us on Teacherhorizons, your photo is what gives potential schools that all important first impression.

So we want you to get it just right, and in doing so, give yourself the very best chance at getting an interview with your dream international school. Through our combined experience in recruitment, teaching, and international senior leadership, our team has a uniquely trained eye and can pick out problems in profile pictures at a glance. So here are our key DO and DON’Ts:


Maggie2IMG_0448DON’T: Take a selfie

Everyone loves a good selfie, we all know that. According to data from Samsung, selfies make up almost one-third of all photos taken by people aged 18-24! But it’s important to remember that this profile is on Teacherhorizons, not Facebook. Schools want to see a professional picture, not half of your arm and your face at an odd angle.




Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 14.28.59Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 14.28.59 DO: Ensure your rotation is correct

When you upload to your Teacherhorizons profile from a smartphone, we often find it rotates your picture sideways for some strange reason. Having a sideway picture definitely doesn’t give the impression you are tech savvy! Try to upload from your computer, or alternatively, the next chance you get, log in on a computer and check it’s upright. To rotate the picture is easy enough, just download it and rotate it, then re-upload. If you are struggling to do this, email our tech team at info@teacherhorizons.com and they will sort it for you.



Henry website20170302_132405
DON’T: Use a photo with kids or animals

Animals are cute, but schools will not be impressed by a picture of you and your cat or dog. This isn’t Tinder! Secondly, it is important to schools that you can build good relationships with your students, but don’t use a picture of you and your class, to get this across. Posting photos of students online is actually illegal without the permission of the parents, so do be careful!





WIN_20170816_08_10_00_Pro (2)WIN_20170816_08_08_49_Pro (2)DO: Wear something smart

If you went to an interview, what would you wear? Whatever it is, put that on for your picture. We suggest men wear a shirt and tie (jacket optional) and women wear a smart top or shirt. Feel free to wear pyjamas on your bottom half… no one will ever know!





DON’T: Be really far away

Take a head and shoulders shot. That way you are close up to the camera and schools don’t have to squint to see you. We suggest a similar shot to a passport photo, but smart, and smiling. You’re allowed to show teeth!




2017-07-31 11.13.57JBS Headshot photoDO: Check your background and lighting

Make sure you don’t have a window or bright light behind you, it makes you look like a silhouette. Similarly, if the light is right above you, it can make you look weary and tired. Test out the lighting in a few different places and use the best shot. In terms of background, a blank wall is good, but don’t feel limited to it, we also think a school or classroom background can be strong. Either way though, make it minimal, as you don’t want to detract from your lovely self!



DON’T: Be at a social event

The profile picture should be is a formal picture taken for the purpose of highlighting professionality. We find that lots of teachers put up shots of themselves at a wedding, since they are dressed smartly, but often that comes with a glass of champagne or surrounding family members. We would recommend taking that 5 minutes to delve into your cupboard and find similarly smart clothes, then ask someone to take another shot of just you.



DO: Ensure it is a clear, non-pixelated shot

This goes along with the social events issue. If you use a photo already taken, you often have to crop out that glass of wine, or the other people nearby. This changes the resolution of the shot and can make it blurred or funny shaped. Save yourself the hassle of Photoshop, and just take a new one!



Ryan1imageDON’T: Take a picture of a picture

Speaking of passport photos, we often see people taking photos of the photo page of their passport. This just looks a little odd, and is often bad quality. It also may come across as a bit lazy, so upload a proper one.




 DO: Smile!

Schools do love to see your personality shine through, so put on your best smile. Maybe imagine you got the job, use that face and that feeling, then 1,2,3 click!




For more advice like this, see our blogs on Skype interview tips and CV advice. To upload your photo and get started, set up your free profile here.

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

Important information for getting your Chinese working visa

Megan Grey has been in China for just over two weeks, at Yew Wah International Education School of Tongxiang. She tells us she is having an amazing experience so far, and has written lots of blogs about her experiences which we can’t wait to share with you. In this first blog she recounts her experience of obtaining a Chinese working visa, complete with the mistakes she made, and how to avoid them.


This blog post is an attempt to help anyone out who is trying to go through the exhausting, frustrating and simply ridiculous process of applying for a Chinese visa. I know that when I went through it, I would have found it helpful to get some advice from someone who had done the same thing to explain the process in simple English terms.

Just bear in mind that everything I tell you was true when I started applying for a working visa during the beginning of 2017, but the regulations change all the time so might be different for you. You need to check with your school’s HR department for what you need and what steps they can do for you.


documentsStep 1: Send documents to your school

You need to email a huge list of documents to your school. For me this included the following:

  • A full colour scanned copy of your passport
  • Authentication of degree certificates, teaching credentials and DBS/police check form (I will explain this bit and how to get something authenticated, it’s a tricky process!)
  • A full colour scanned copy of university transcript
  • A CV
  • A reference letter from your last employer (this needs to include your full name and passport number, your period of employment and details of your teaching position)
  • Pay slips from your previous employer
  • The name and address of the Chinese embassy/consulate from which you will apply for your entry visa (there is one in London, Manchester and Edinburgh)
  • An overseas correspondence address
  • A health certificate (I’ll explain this bit again later too)
  • A signed letter of commitment
  • A signed employment contract
  • Full colour passport photos (tip: bring a few with you when you get to China, I had to get some more done when I got here)

There are more steps to do if you are married or have children but for little old me that was it.


Step 2: Get the medical check

In order to work in China you need to prove that you are fit and healthy to do so. I went to a place in Manchester called sameday doctor. You’ll need to get an ECC, a chest x-ray, and a blood test. There’s an official form to fill out, if you google it you might find it, my school sent it to me. You need to make sure you have a photo attached to the form and the doctor signs it and stamps it to make it official. You will have to pay for it and get it done privately, it’s expensive! Mine cost nearly 500.          *Important tip: save all your receipts so you can get reimbursed from your school.*


Step 3: Get your documents authenticated

Word of warning… this step is a long process so get it done as soon as possible. I needed to get my degree certificate, my teaching credentials and my DBS check authenticated.

  • authentThe first thing you need to do is take it to a solicitor, they need to sign a photocopy of the document to prove that it is a legal document. CAREFUL: for the DBS document you have to sign the original document but for the degree and teaching certificates, signing a photocopy is okay. I went to a solicitors in Manchester called Stephensons, they are really helpful. They saw me on the same day and only charged me a fiver per document. I went in about 5 times by the end! Learn from my mistakes and do it right the first time!
  • The next step is to send the documents to the Foreign Commonwealth office in Milton Keynes. You need to fill out a form online, google FCO documents authentication and it will take you to a .gov website. You need to fill it out and print it off. Then send it on tracked delivery to the address on the form. This takes about 2 weeks to come back to you. This costs £35.50 per document so it soon adds up! When it comes back it will have an A5 sized document stapled to it to prove it’s a legal document.
  • The final step is to take the documents to the visa office, I went to the one in Manchester on Denison Road. You will need to take a photocopy of the document too with all the things attached. Make sure you do the front and the back (starting to see all my mistakes yet?). You also need to take your passport and a photocopy of the passport. There’s a form to fill out too (such a massive faff!). They will take the document from you, you can pick it up 3 working days later and need to pay £15 per document. It will have an official stamp from the embassy.
  • Then you can scan and send all these documents to your school and they can apply for a work permit. You may also get an invitation letter, I didn’t need this when I applied but this changes all the time.


Step 4: Get your work permit

Once everything is sent in you can receive your work permit, this is basically a letter that says you have permission to work in China. You need this document and your school’s license (just ask your school and they can send this to you), then you can go to the visa office. In Manchester, it is near China town on Morton Road. You need to take your passport, your permit and the school’s license. I got seen really quickly and didn’t need an appointment, however, in London I heard it’s much harder and you need an appointment to do it. You hand everything in (they will keep your passport) and 3 working days later you can pick it up. It cost me £178 so be prepared to have to pay a lot for it! You’ll get a sticker in a page in your passport and with that, you can be allowed into China.


Simple as ABC… I think not! I hope that helps even a little bit! If you are applying for a Chinese Z visa (that’s a working visa) good luck! I hope the process is more straightforward for you than it was for me.


What a useful post, thanks so much Megan! If you have any useful advice like this, for other teachers heading abroad this year, please email  editor@teacherhorizons.com and we can discuss your ideas!

Written by Megan Grey, A 24-year-old primary teacher from Manchester. now working in Tongxiang, China at a Yew Wah school. She is beyond excited for the next steps in her teaching career, and believes that "if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!"

Ten reasons why our international teachers can’t wait to begin!

International teaching has many perks, which means that there are many reasons to do it. We asked every teacher we have placed this year to tell us what they are most looking forward to, and then whittled down the hundreds of responses we got. Here are the ten most common reasons why teachers this year are excited to go international.


1. Professional Development

International schools often pride themselves on their excellent CPD opportunities. They are able to provide effective training because they employ the best teachers from all over the world who can share with each other the skills they have learned back home. Have a read of our blog on professional development here. 

cpd ladder


“Having recently completed an MSc International Development Management, I am looking forward to taking a step towards education development in the senior organisational levels.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing to strive for best practice in vocation.”

“I am excited to be able to learn new teaching methodology and continue my professional development. You are never too old to learn.”


2. To teach the IB

As I am sure you are aware, many international schools run the International Baccalaureate as opposed to the local curriculum. It is a very different way of teaching and learning, which enables students to become holistic learners with an understanding of how they actually learn (‘the theory of knowledge’) and skills that are useful outside of the classroom. For teachers, it enables them to teach with more freedom. They are encouraged to make lessons interactive, investigative and can introduce some interesting projects. The IB is very interdisciplinary, enabling teachers to learn around their subject and collaborate with other departments.



“I am mostly looking forward to teaching the IB curriculum because I believe that it will develop my teaching skills further.”

“I am looking forward to teaching the IB Middle Years Programme. Oh, and less traffic congestion!”

“I am very excited about working with children from very diverse backgrounds and learning about how IB schools work.”


3. More money

International schools salaries vary from place to place (read our blog on comparing schools salaries) but as a general rule, they enable teachers to save more money. Some countries are tax free, others have a very low cost of living, and most salaries will be inclusive of accommodation, flights and free medical cover, saving you hundreds every month.



“I am excited for professional growth, experience and of course some more money is always a nice plus.”

“I am looking forward to being able to afford to do exciting and wonderful things at the weekends and in the holidays. I will have a better salary in Thailand AND the cost of living is lower!”

“I am looking forward to being able to provide better for my family. My children will join me at the school, and get a great education for free, and as a family, we will be able to afford some lovely holidays and trips.”



4. To experience a new culture

Outside of the school walls, there is a new culture to dive into. A new language, new food, new religion and a new way of life. This is one of the most exciting things about teaching abroad. Read my blog about Cambodian culture, or a teachers experience of living in El Salvador.



“I’m looking forward to experiencing a new culture and way of life, doing a job I’ve been doing for many years but in a totally different setting. I look forward to meeting different people and am excited about the different opportunities that this will provide me.”

“I’m excited for my family and me to explore a new country and culture.”

“I am so excited for my children to experience and understand different cultures. I think it’s so important for their development.”


5. For the students

Teaching an international cohort is an amazing experience. Students may have different motivations, different learning styles, and very different opinions to those students you taught back home, and in fact, from each other. This can make every day and every lesson exciting and challenging.



“I am excited about teaching Art to Chinese students, it will be worlds away from teaching students at home.”

“I can’t wait to teach students who are more motivated to learn.”

“I am very excited about working with children from diverse backgrounds,  it is a chance to learn from the students as much as they learn from me.”



6. To work in a renowned school

Some of the top schools in the whole world are international ones. Just have a look at the blog we wrote on the best international schools to teach at in the world.  Many are very well established independent schools, and many belong to fantastic school groups. Either way, these schools can provide exciting opportunities and an unforgettable experience to teachers lucky enough to work there.


uwc thailand2“The International School of The Hague is a well established and renowned international school that offers amazing opportunities for pupils and staff. I look forward to learning more about international education through working there, and making likeminded friends of colleagues.”

“I can’t wait to work with a principal who is so experienced, enthusiastic and down-to-earth.”

“Working at an established IB school with new career opportunities. Being in Africa also offers numerous travelling opportunities during the holidays!”



7. To work in a developing school

On the flip side, because of a sudden boom in international education, there are many new international schools popping up all over the world. Being part of a growing and developing school can be a great learning opportunity. It can provide experience in curriculum development and can enable newer teachers to climb the ranks quickly. Alternatively, it can provide a challenge for more experienced teachers who may be feeling too comfortable!



“I’m looking forward to teaching in a relatively new school with a small staff and getting to have a real input into curriculum design and hopefully taking on some more responsibility.”

“I am excited to be part of a school in the early stages so that I can be part of its development.”

“I am really looking forward to joining a school that is just starting out and being able to grow with it. I am excited to learn from other professionals, meet new people and of course, discover what life is like in Myanmar!”



8. To meet new people

Moving to a new school means meeting a whole load of new teachers. Moving to an international school means meeting a whole load of likeminded, adventurous teachers! International schools can have a fairly high turnover too, meaning that if you stay for a long time, you get to meet lots of new people every year.



“I am really looking forward to getting back to Thailand to reconnect with old friends and to meet new ones, too.”

“I want to share my new experiences as a teacher in East Timor with others wanting to do the same thing and hopefully inspire other teachers to work and travel.”

“I can’t wait to be part of an international school community, where so many people will have the same motivations and values as me and my family. My children will meet students from all over the world, and I will meet teachers from all over the world.”


9. For a new challenge

Teaching can become stifling and stagnant back home. International teaching provides a new challenge for those who have come to a standstill perhaps, or who just know there is something more out there for them. Have a read of our blog 5 signs you need a new teaching job!

challenge“Jeju will be an amazing adventure for my family and me. The school sounds really amazing, and the position is the challenge I was looking for.”

“I am looking forward to leading the secondary division of a relatively new international school and taking it through the next stage of its journey. After spending a brief time as a classroom teacher, I am equally looking forward to the challenges which senior leadership in schools bring.”

“I have lived and taught overseas for about 20 years. I am really looking forward to going to Egypt for another experience and the challenges of which a new country can bring. I am also a diver so being able to go diving in the Red Sea is very exciting.”


10. Travelling opportunities

What can be better than being able to pop to a tropical island on your week long half term? Or taking a trip to a new city every weekend? International teaching provides endless opportunities for travelling and exploring the world.  Have a read of this blog by Chris Lyons, about the opportunities he has had since going international.

travel“I am excited to get back to a seasonal climate in a culturally rich part of the world. I can’t wait to explore South Korea and get over to Japan, the Philippines and all the other incredible spots in South East Asia. Not to mention trying Kimchi and eating seaweed soup on my birthday!”

“I can’t wait to be able to explore a new country and see what the world has to offer.”

“I am looking forward to working and living in a new climate with such a wide range of biodiversity and natural beauty.”



If you want to experience the same excitement as these lucky teachers, sign up to Teacherhorizons and create your profile. Then you can browse our list of jobs. Schools will be starting to recruit for August 2018 very soon, don’t miss out!

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