10 things international schools look for when hiring new teachers

Published on 17th November, 2014 by Andrew Wigford. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

Are you considering teaching in an international school? Here's our list of the top 10 qualities schools look for in their teachers!

There are many international schools considered to be amongst the most progressive and well-respected schools in the world. But don’t be daunted by that. They need great teachers, and good schools will support their teachers to become part of their learning-focused ethos.  So what do these schools look for when hiring new teachers? Here are the top 10 qualities that most international schools look for in the teachers they hire:

Enthusiastic teachers who love working with young people

Nothing compares with your passion for learning and teaching. So if you’re enthusiastic and committed to meeting the learning needs of each and every student, you’re half way there.

Responsible teachers who do their research

Finding the right school is important, for both you and your employer. Show that you have done your research, that you know the school, its focus, its philosophy.  Demonstrate that you have thought seriously about the location, how you’ll respond to the move, and how you’ll cope with leaving home. Be prepared to explain why you want to move abroad.

Teachers who are internationally minded

You may be choosing to live and work in a location very different to your home country, and within a culture very different to your home culture. You will be working with students and families from many different countries and backgrounds, and with teachers and school staff who have very different training and experience to what you may be used to. You must be willing to accept and value differences, to respect the country you are living and working in and to be truly internationally minded, in and out of work.

Flexible teachers who are able to adapt

International schools vary dramatically – in location, size, student intake, staffing, curriculum, philosophy, and more. The best international teachers are willing and eager to adapt, and to embrace new circumstances and unexpected challenges.

Teachers who have much to offer

If you can teach a range of subjects or age groups, and have specialist skills, you’ll stand out from the crowd and be a real asset.

Teachers who want to be fully involved in the life of the school

International schools are more than just places of education. Many students and staff are expatriates and turn to the school as their ‘family’. It is the social hub and the source for extra-curricular activities; for the students, staff and their families. Schools are looking for teachers who are happy to get fully involved in school life and its community.

Teachers who can lead extra-curricular activities

Most after school activities for international school children happen through the school. This means that extra-curricular activities are an important aspect of international school life. Being able and willing to lead or support an extra-curricular activity is expected of international school teachers. It shows you have true commitment to the school, and more importantly to the children, outside of the classroom.

Teachers who are loyal

International schools are renowned for their short-term contracts, meaning that teachers can often move on to another school in another country after two years. However, international schools also value loyalty and often look for teachers who have commitment and staying power, who have extended their contracts in previous jobs and value the benefits that a more established teaching staff can bring.

Teachers who can work with second or third language learners

Many students at international schools speak English as a second or third language. This means adapting your teaching methods to help students fully engage in the learning. Teachers who have EASL or Mother Tongue training or good experience are valued.

Teachers who want to develop professionally and are lifelong learners

International schools offer great opportunities for both career and personal development and love teachers who show a desire to keep learning. Actively seeking professional development opportunities and sharing your learning and specialist experience with your colleagues is valued by schools, especially those that are isolated and where external training opportunities may be restricted.

You don’t need all of these qualities to become a teacher at an international school, but having some of them will help, particularly enthusiasm and international mindedness, and don’t forget to work with TIC who will help you find the best job for you!

If you would like to know more about teaching in an international school, you can read our Teacher Interviews and Blogs. Or, why not talk to a TIC recruitment specialist to find out about what opportunities there are for you to teach in an international school.

Don’t forget you can still download our brand new TIC App, available now for iPhone and Android!

You may also be interested in these informative blogs:
Writing a CV that counts when applying for an international job
If I could teach anywhere, where would it be?
How do you know if you’re applying to a good international school?

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Andrew Wigford

Andrew is Managing Director of TIC. He has been involved in international education both as a teacher and Headteacher for over 25 years and has worked in Germany, Colombia and Austria. He set up TIC recruitment in 2005 to help teachers find great jobs in great international schools.