As I mentioned in previous posts, teaching abroad can be an excellent way to travel and see the world. But how do you get a job teaching overseas? Simple. First you have to ask yourself, “What type of teaching do I want to do?”
If you want to teach English to those learning the language, click here. If you want to teach children in an international school, in most cases you have to be certified. I say in most cases because there are some schools out there that will hire you with a college degree and no certificate, but this is not as common. You can also find schools that will hire you as an intern if you are still completing your degree or teacher certification. To find teaching, administration or counseling jobs there are a number of hiring fairs all over the world run by companies.
This is the company that I used to find my first job overseas. I signed up with them (for a $225 fee) and was assigned to an associate that helped guide me through the process. They have a large database where you create a profile. Schools can see your profile and vice versa. Their profiles are complete with all of the school’s information, including current openings, how much you can expect to save if hired by them, housing and other benefit information. Based on the list of openings you can begin to contact schools and schools will contact you as well if they think you’re a good fit for them. Along with the online database, attendance at one of their hiring fairs is included in the price you pay for them to represent you. I signed up before I was really ready to move overseas and had a job offer without even attending a fair. When I decided I was ready to move, I attended their Cambridge, Mass. fair and received 4 offers in one weekend. It was a great set-up, as I got to meet the representatives from the schools (usually the superintendent), hear their pitch, and I had access to my search associate to ask questions. He was very supportive in helping me weigh the different offers and he also gave me his personal experience in some cases. Search Associates has fairs in Cambridge, San Francisco, Toronto, Melbourne, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Dubai, and London, and they help place administrators and counselors as well.
International School Services, or ISS operates similarly to Search Associates. I know people who have used their services and found placements, but I don’t have any personal experience. The cities where they have fairs differ, so that would be one reason to use them instead.
The University of Northern Iowa fair has a reputation for having a lot of newer teachers. But I know veteran teachers who have been to this fair as well. The location kept me from giving it a try, as I don’t know anyone in Iowa, but it has a solid reputation.
The Association of American Schools in South America fair was in Atlanta this year. It only caters to schools located within Latin America (the Caribbean, Central and South America) and is typically held very early in the hiring season. I haven’t been to their fair either but very much want to see what it’s like. The feedback that I’ve heard from friends who’ve attended is that it’s too early so some schools do not know all of their vacancies yet. But I believe it was a couple of weeks later this year, which may have been better for recruits.
Last but not least, you can look online. With more schools moving to hiring by Skype this is definitely an option. I was hired for my current job over Skype. I filled out an application online and they contacted me soon after to interview. It was great for me because I had already visited the school and knew what it was like, but this may be more difficult if you’re just starting out, as you may not know which schools to look for. The International School Review is a website dedicated to reviewing schools, so if you are interested in knowing what schools are out there, give it a try. You have to pay for a membership to see some reviews, but in my experience you can find some of their reviews just by Googling international school packages and reading through their discussion thread.
If you decide to go with one of the fair options, make sure to select a fair that has a lot of schools attending, especially the schools in which you are most interested. But in my opinion it’s most important to be open minded. I had my heart set on Latin America but would have went home jobless if that was all I was willing to consider.
Any readers out there who have been through the process? Share your experience with the process in the comments below.