A break from Britain, not from teaching
New research suggests that teaching internationally will reignite your love of teaching
New research has found that teaching overseas for a few years in an international school renews teachers’ enthusiasm for the job, inspires many to reconsider leaving the profession, helps young teachers build their experience in a positive and exciting way, and offers important skill development for teachers returning to teach in Britain.
Why teaching overseas helps
There are more than 4,300 British international schools across the world, offering opportunities for professional and personal growth to UK teachers. There are many other international schools that teach curricula like the International Baccalaureate or International Primary Curriculum, that also value and recruit British trained teachers.
Life as a teacher in an international school is, in many ways, similar to teaching at a state or independent school in the UK: you teach in English, you teach your specialist subjects and age range, you plan your lessons, work to rigorous standards and outcomes, and support extra-curricular activities. But you have far less bureaucracy, lower student numbers per class, more empowerment to teach creatively, a better work/life balance, the chance to work with different curricula and skilled teachers from many countries, good salary and benefits, and the opportunity to live and work in a new country and culture.
Many teachers love their experience teaching overseas; the research, published by COBIS (the Council of British International Schools), collected responses from 1,600 teachers and leaders, and found that 81% of international teachers were happy or very happy with their experience.
For those unhappy teaching in the UK, teaching overseas could be the answer: 47% of all the teachers who responded to the survey listed ‘dissatisfaction with the home education system’ as one reason for going overseas, and nearly a third were considering giving up teaching altogether before deciding to try teaching at an international school instead.
Why it helps when you return
The research found that over a quarter of teachers worked internationally for 3-4 years and 71% of teachers returned to Britain within 10 years, mostly because of family commitments or a desire to return home. When they do return, they bring with them a variety of experiences and best practice, including outstanding EAL, curricula and international skills, all of which are highly valued by UK state schools today.
“Teachers have the opportunity to work in some of the best, high-performing schools in the world to enhance and refine their British pedagogy” says Professor Deborah Eyre, Chair of the COBIS research committee. “We know that this can motivate some to stay in the profession rather than to leave, and for others it provides a chance to renew their enthusiasm and love for teaching. Many return to add immense value to the UK education sector,” she adds.
So, if you are disenchanted with the UK, or know others who are, don’t give up. Give yourself a break instead - not from teaching, but from Britain - and teach overseas. As so many international teachers say: you’ll rediscover your passion for teaching.
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Why teaching internationally is a dream lifestyle
From language student to world traveller and teacher
One year overseas contracts for language graduates