School holiday countdown and dreading going back?

Published on 15th August, 2017 by Gemma McSweeney. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

(Photo Credit - Mississippi Education blog)

Leah, a primary teacher in London’s Tower Hamlets is relishing her summer break. “I really appreciate waking up during the holidays, having two cups of tea in bed and being able to get stuck into a good book,” she says. “I love my profession but I don’t have as much free time as I would like during the school year. It would be so great to have a better work-life balance.” 

Leah is not alone. The 2016 study by the Education Policy Institute says that one in five teachers in the UK are now working around 60 hours or more each week, and less than half of this time is spent teaching.

For some teachers, the work-life balance gets too much. David Atkinson was one of them. He struggled so much with the bureaucratic demands for planning and data collection, inspection pressures, classroom management, and the many other demands teachers in Britain currently face, that eighteen months ago he was planning to leave a profession that he loved.  Instead he found a solution, and last September moved overseas to teach at St. George’s School in Luxembourg. It’s the best move he could have made, he says.

So, if you are on the school holiday countdown and dreading going back, what can you do about it?

Teaching overseas provides the opportunity to escape pointless bureaucratic paperwork, dedicate more time to teaching rather than managing behaviour, develop new professional skills and experiences…and, at the same time, enjoy the thrill and benefits of living and working overseas. There are well over 8,000 international schools, in over 70 countries of the world, where all subjects are taught in English, so opportunities are extensive.

Here are five of the favourite benefits that British teachers say about working overseas:

1. A better work-life balance: Claire Woodhouse is an English and Drama teacher from London who has been working at ACS Doha International School in Qatar for several years. She’s seen a big difference in the amount of free time she has to enjoy. “My teaching timetable is easier than in the UK, so I’m able to socialise far more with my colleagues, which makes for very effective ‘down time’ from work” she says. “I spend a lot less time lesson planning and marking than I did before, so I try to use that extra time fully."

2. Less Stress: Adam Masheter moved from London to teach at Edron Academy, an international school in Mexico, and hasn’t looked back. “I would recommend teaching overseas, especially for those who are feeling stressed-out or overworked” he says. “The children are lovely and easy and the job comes with a lot of teaching freedom! The workload is easier and I’m not bringing work home in the same way I was in London.”

3.  A chance to get out and enjoy a new place: Headteacher Bruce Ashton is living the dream; working close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world at the International Preparatory School in Mauritius. “I live in the pearl of the Indian Ocean,” he says. “In the North of the island beautiful beaches abound while in the South the former volcanic cones provide a rich tropical forest in which to hike and explore. Most days are very sunny and warm!”

4. More time teaching: Molly Stones left Britain for Lanna International School in Thailand after feeling frustrated with the paperwork involved with teaching in British schools. “I definitely have more freedom teaching in Thailand than in the UK,” she says. “I've found it extremely liberating that there’s less 'red tape' here. I don't spend as much time doing administration tasks so have the opportunity to create lots of resources that I can continue to use throughout my career. I also teach smaller groups here than in the UK which has helped me to focus more on the individual needs of my students.”

5. An opportunity to become more internationally minded: Janet Berg who is teaching at Doha British School in Qatar says she is benefitting extensively from working with people from many different countries. “This experience has given me a global understanding of cultural differences and similarities” she says. “I'm in contact with colleagues and children from all over the world on a daily basis. With the increasingly international student population in the UK, this has to be an advantage if I return to teach in Britain.” 

If you would like to find out how TIC can help you find your dream international school job, please register today and check out our latest vacancies. To read more about teachers' experiences, head over to our Teachers' Stories section.

You might also be interested in these informative articles
Teaching in Europe – Life here after one year
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Gemma McSweeney

Gemma is our Associate Director, having joined TIC in 2009. With over 15 years experience of recruitment and selection methods, she specialises in matching teachers and leaders with our international school partners. She has attended many international education conferences and has visited a number of international schools over the years. She uses this experience to best advise our teachers, leaders and schools and manage our team and UK operations.