What next after NQT? 5 crucial tips you should know

Published on 22nd June, 2017 by Gemma McSweeney. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

So many NQTs contact TIC Recruitment to look for teaching jobs overseas. If you have just completed your NQT year and are interested in teaching in an international school, here are 5 crucial tips from TIC:

1. Get experience in your home country

Getting one or two years of teaching experience in your home country is important. This will put you in the best position for your international job opportunities – many reputable international schools require this; most international schools prefer it.

2. Learn about the international schools market and the opportunities available to you

Right now, there are almost 8,900 international schools around the world, all using English as the language of learning.
Teaching in an international school allows you to develop professionally in an international environment. Most international schools use a variety of highly-regarded curricula and many offer excellent facilities and resources. It is also an opportunity for you to travel to other countries while you earn.

But there are challenges, and international teaching is hard work – it’s not all about the sun and the beach! Not all schools are accredited or provide international teachers with the support that they need, so careful selection is vital. Different countries and school locations suit different people. The demands of each school vary significantly, so finding the right school for your personal interests and professional abilities is vital.

3. Start exploring the opportunities available to you well in advance

Try to explore opportunities in international schools about 12-18 months before you want to make the move. Think about the region of the world that you might want to work in. Try to be open-minded about your location choice. If you set your heart on working in Vienna, for example, your chances will be very limited indeed.

4. Register with a recruitment organisation that knows international schools and supports NQTs

Register with a recruitment organisation that knows the international schools market well. For example, TIC Recruitment specialises in international school recruitment only. This means that with TIC, you will have support from people who know the unique nature of international schools and also know school leaders very well, who know the visa requirements and logistics, who understand the skills and expectations required, who can guide you on all the opportunities and prepare you well for any challenges or concerns along the way.

Registering with TIC is absolutely free and there is no cost to you during the recruitment process. All reputable recruitment agencies should provide a free service for candidates. TIC also provides plenty of advice and support for student teachers and NQTs that helps you prepare well in advance for planning to teach internationally.

5. Get advice from teachers who were NQTs when they looked for their first international job

Heather Tinsley is working in Qatar as a History and Geography teacher. She attended a TIC presentation at Bath University when she was training to be a teacher. After getting teacher experience in the UK, Heather made the move overseas. 

“I spent three years teaching in Greenwich, at the St. Ursula Convent School for Girls, and my time there really taught me how to teach,” says Heather. “To be observed by Senior Management and to go through an Ofsted inspection has made me into the teacher that I am today. I wouldn’t have got that same important NQT experience in an international school. I now work in Qatar. There are great benefits to working here, particularly related to the children. All the children I’m teaching speak English as a second language and so I have had to rethink the way that I teach. It’s made me more sympathetic to the learning needs of EASL children and made me adapt my methods; that’s a really good skill that I know will benefit me long-term.”

Heather’s advice to other NQTs is: “I would definitely say get your teaching experience first. Stay in the UK for two or three years and take advantage of everything; all the support that’s available to you in the UK.  Also, find an agency like TIC. I found it really comforting to know that TIC knew the international school I got my job with, and knew teachers who had worked there.”

You can do your induction year in some international schools - in those that have been accredited by the British Schools Overseas organisation (BSO). There are an increasing number of such schools. However, you do need to check what support systems there are in place for you in terms of mentoring and supervision.

More advice for student teachers and NQTs from TIC is available here

You might also be interested in these informative articles:
New to teaching IB, new to Dubai - How I'm getting on | How to pick the right international school | Why are teachers in the UK leaving the profession?

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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.