Advice from teachers who’ve just started working overseas
This time last year, these teachers were working in their home countries, just thinking about teaching overseas. Now they’re there and have advice to share:
Adam Wunker is from Canada and now teaching at Harrow International School Beijing:
“I would recommend international teaching to anyone who wants a genuinely unique experience, or a wider view of the world. Since being here, I’ve been examining my own privileges as a citizen of a developed country and it’s pushed me to think more about what I am doing with my privilege, and what I have accomplished. To get the most out of teaching internationally, I would suggest having an open mind and a willingness to give up your usual comforts and to experience new things. Plan to bring with you just enough to be comfortable. In short, if you prepare for an adventure, then that's what you will have!”
Anthea Addison is from South Africa and now working at Greenfields Community School in Dubai as a University Counsellor:
“Ask the school lots of questions during the recruitment process. Specifically, ask questions about what is expected within the school culture. If I could go back, I would have asked more questions about the other aspects of my role at the school. For example, during the interview I was asked to teach an aspect of the Careers Related Programme. I agreed to a very time-consuming role without asking enough questions.
It’s also helpful to ask for a buddy in the school that you’re moving to, someone who you can contact before you move there. Once you’re at the school, my advice is to say ‘yes’ to invitations to do things with colleagues as this will help you to make friends.
Finally, find a reputable recruitment agency – if it had not been for TIC I would not be at a school I love, doing what I love, in an environment that provides me with resources and the support needed to serve students and families.”
Adam Ferns is from the UK and now teaching at Colegio Inglés Zaragoza in Spain:
“I would definitely recommend teaching in Spain to those considering teaching internationally. The school I’m working in in Zaragoza is very friendly and the staff are incredibly welcoming. I’ve never taken books home here, and I’m not expected to do much work at home at all. This is a huge bonus in terms of achieving a good work/life balance. I now wake up at 8am instead of 6am like I did back at home for work! Not that many people speak English so it’s a good place to come if you want to learn the Spanish language, as you have plenty of chances to practice speaking. There are also lots of opportunities for travel here, as Zaragoza is situated in a great place to get to other major cities. I’ve already visited Barcelona, San Sebastián and Bilbao.”