Sunday, 22 July 2007

Teaching Abroad: Facts and Figures

When the weather is at its worst, a teaching job and a new life in the sun do sound appealing. So, I decided to read up on the matter.

According to a post on the Times Educational Supplement website

89 % of the respondents of a survey into international teaching concluded that teaching abroad is good for developing your career.

The respondents included international teachers past and present who revealed that the experience had enriched them as a person. 66% had learned a new language during this time and 20% of these had become fluent speakers.

The research, by international recruiting specialists Teachers International Consultancy involved teachers of nine different nationalities and was conducted during the summer of 2006 with the support of Bath University summer school, Fieldwork Education summer school and the Overseas School of Colombo in Sri Lanka.

What did teachers like about teaching in international schools?
*the level of international awareness
*the behaviour of the children
*the curriculum.

Many teachers are tempted to stay abroad for longer than originally planned, with 57% of the respondents having already worked for five or more years in the international system.

68% of the teachers researched said their overseas teaching experience has significantly enhanced their overall teaching skills. How? The survey did not mention specific skills but problem-solving and communication skills must be in there somewhere, particularly in the case of teachers teaching in countries with a different language and culture to their own.

What makes a good international teacher?
The most important characteristic was flexibility, with being a good communicator and having an international outlook were two other valued qualities, well ahead of having a high quality education and knowledge of a foreign language [although I fail to see how you can communicate effectively with no knowledge of the language spoken in your host country].

More tips from the TES:
Overseas teaching
Where to teach overseas

“Red flags when looking into a school abroad” is a thread from the TES staffroom forum. It makes interesting reading as the red flags are from teachers already in post abroad as well as teachers with experience of working abroad.

*Flights at beginning and end of contract only, not each year*Contract only in local language and no English copy given and/or different wording in each.
*"Good Local Salary". Plus "average stay of staff is …" type details. It could be that apart from a few exceptions to the rule, the average is a lot less than the figure quoted.
*Shared accommodation.
*Interview costs paid by teacher
*Recently opened for profit schools

*Blinkered interviews that feel like a sales pitch with no balanced information.*Promises at interview not backed up by contract.
*Complicated pay structure with pay rates shownnot being “money in the bank” rates or salary given to include the cost of the rental of apartment provided by the school.
*Maximum allowance-usually about 5 days- for sick leave.
*Teachers on different salaries but hired at the same time with the same qualification.

*No teacher Induction programme at the start of the contract.
*Pay for your own work permits
*For teachers with family, look out for schools that are only interested in you and not your family e.g medical cover, school places for your kids, air tickets…
*Large number of SEN pupils (in a non-SEN specialist school)

After reading this thread, I felt that taking a post abroad was probably not that different from getting a new job in the UK: there is the official, the unofficial and what the organisation changes into as soon as you join it!

1 comment:

Pencils said...

thanks for the great stats, however the link in your first paragraph no longer works. I was hoping to quote you on your article. Please let me know if you can find a working link to this article!