Ten top tips to teaching abroad by Teacher Horizons

Competition for teaching roles at the popular international schools is tough. But it’s still possible – the key is your approach!

Last week, Alex shared the first five of his ten top tips for getting your dream job. Read on to discover the next five…

Alex Reynolds is Co-Founder of Teacher Horizons and has taught and led education projects in the UK, Portugal, Nepal, Canada, Uganda and the United States.

6. To marry or not to marry?!

Teaching couples can sometimes struggle to be recruited – it’s tricky to find schools that have the right pair of vacancies at the same time. Even if they have the vacancies, you both need to be the best candidates – tough when there are hundreds of applicants per position. On the plus side, many schools value teaching couples as they tend to stay longer. To increase your chances, be as flexible as possible. One strategy is for one person to accept a position and then their partner to apply for one later when the right position arises. It’s worth discussing this at interview from the outset. Alternatively, look for big cities such as Shanghai where there are lots of international schools, as there’s a greater likelihood of vacancies for your partner at other schools.


7. Fix up, look sharp, get serious

First impressions really do matter whether it’s the photo you choose for your profile or your first email to a school or your Teacher Horizons Adviser. Make sure you write in proper English and your CV is neatly laid out. If you have a Skype interview, look smart, test the video quality, set up good front lighting and a plain background. Don’t leave your pants drying on a washing line behind you.

8. The EQ test

Principals are busy and have thousands of things to do every day. If they’re not busy, you probably don’t want to work at their school. Whilst you are important, you may move down their priority list if something urgent comes up (which very often does…). So think again before writing them off because they can’t find your Skype address even when you’ve sent it three times! Positivity and enthusiasm will get you a long way.


9. Your rep in the global village

Even though it spans the world, the international school community is a small one and you will come across people over and over again (whether you like it or not!). This can be a fantastic way of networking and building relationships but can be tricky too. Remember that your reputation precedes you so don’t burn bridges by being indecisive or breaking contracts. Be good to your future self!

10. Be brave!

The idea of moving overseas is both exciting and daunting. It’s not easy to say goodbye to friends, family and a life you are familiar with and head off into the unknown. Teaching abroad is an amazing experience you will remember for the rest of your life. You will learn a huge amount both professionally and personally. But it’s also important to realise there will be all kinds of challenges – these are all part of the journey! In my experience, it’s the teachers that are ready for these and thoroughly embrace them who get the most out of international teaching, and have the most enriching experience.

photo of author
Written by Alex Reynolds
founding partner and CEO of Teacher Horizons.
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