Youngest moving out? Time for you to have an adventure!

Published on 28th March, 2016 by Anne Keeling. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

Teaching in an international school is an incredible opportunity for empty-nesters…and you’ll be the holiday destination for all your family and friends!

Teaching overseas isn’t just for youngsters. An increasing number of ‘empty-nesters’, both singles and couples are choosing to grab the opportunity. Here are the comments from some currently in that situation – and advice to help you make that decision:

I’m living the dream!

After her youngest daughter moved out, UK teacher Janet Berg found a teaching job at the Doha British School. Here’s what she likes about her new lifestyle:

“The country offers so much in the way of sports and outdoor activities. I have been kayaking at midnight through the mangroves, and partying aboard a wooden dhow (an Arabian ship) in the bay! Doha also has some amazing architecture and the Islamic Art Museum is incredibly beautiful and atmospheric.

My living arrangements are fantastic. I have been given an allowance from school and have moved to a gorgeous apartment on the Pearl (Qatar’s famous artificial island). It really is luxury living with a beautiful private pool area and gym. My balcony overlooks the Marina and then out to the Arabian Gulf. I'm living the dream and I feel extremely lucky!

Although my family live in the UK, because of my salary and lifestyle, I have been able to bring them over to Doha for holidays. The term times at school also allow for visits back at Christmas and the flights in the summer are paid for with a longer break than in the UK - usually at least two months. Skype is a blessing. In fact, sometimes I feel that we have more communication through Skype than we would if I lived locally, as we now make time to chat!”

Enjoying different locations

Sarah Brown, a teacher from Nottingham, England also moved to the Middle East after her children left home.  Here’s what she has to say:

“I'd always wanted to work abroad. All my children had grown up, so I decided to bite the bullet and applied for a job in an international school in Qatar.

What I really loved was that the students in Qatar were motivated to learn. They looked forward to coming to school and wanted to work hard. This was so different from my experience teaching in the UK! In Nottingham I spent most of my time trying to manage the students' behaviour. In Qatar, I spent most of my time teaching!”

Sarah enjoyed international teaching so much that when her two year contract ended she decided to experience life in Dubai where she now teaches at Latifa School for Girls:

“The school is supportive of me developing professionally. Staff are allowed to attend relevant continuing professional development courses. I've completed a project management online course and have started another for life coaching.

In an ideal world, I will stay and teach internationally forever. I've got another 15 years’ worth of work and I may as well make the most of it! However, I've got two grandchildren in the UK - so will probably go back eventually!"

Staying in touch with loved ones

Primary teacher, Dulcie Copeland from Kent in England, was concerned about leaving her family behind so she picked an international school close to home.  Her first job abroad was at the British School of Budapest in Hungary:

“Teaching overseas was something I had always fancied; I wanted to see other countries and experience other cultures while doing a job that I really enjoy.  So I thought it was now or never! I was concerned about my youngest son, who had just left home, but I was only two-and-a-half hours away in Budapest.

I loved the culture and the sights and sounds of Budapest. It was easy and cheap to get around and very bike friendly. Financially I was much better off and could live well.”

The experience was so successful that Dulcie moved further afield for her next contract – to Harrow International School in Bangkok, Thailand:

“Bangkok was an amazing experience. The sights, sounds, colours were just incredible. There was a lot to see in Bangkok and it was relatively easy to visit beaches and places of interest. 

If you do decide to work abroad, try to broaden your friendship horizons as well as exploring your environment. It will give you a much more interesting experience. In both Budapest and Bangkok, I joined an art group.”

Advice for empty-nesters

  • Seek out schools that value your skills and experience. Most of the good international schools need and love to have people like you!
  • School staff usually vary in age and nationality; you won’t be the only teacher in your age group.
  • International schools want staff willing to share best practice and lead professional development. Your extensive teaching experience will probably be valued for this.
  • There is much less red-tape and fewer student behaviour issues in international schools, giving you the chance to apply all your creative and engaging teaching skills.
  • Even though your children may have left home, moving overseas is still a big decision for the whole family. It’s important to talk with your children and make them part of the decision process. This can put them at ease about you living in another country.
  • Modern technology makes living abroad a lot easier for expatriates. Skype and Facetime mean your family and friends back home are only a click away.
  • International schools usually have longer school holidays than national schools which means travelling home to visit family is possible while still leaving you time for other travel experiences.
  • Many countries today have thriving expatriate communities which means it’s easy to make new friends and take on new hobbies and activities.

If you would like to find out more about the opportunities available for teachers overseas, register with TIC Recruitment today. Our expert team can help find the ideal vacancy for you.

You might also be interested in these informative articles:
Life as a teacher in Hong Kong
I want to leave teaching – STOP, there’s an alternative!
Ofsted concerned as more teachers move overseas

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Anne Keeling

Anne handles the media relations for TIC. She researches and writes the articles that appear in the press and on websites about how TIC is supporting teachers and the international schools, and how teachers who have been placed by TIC are getting on with their international teaching experience. She has spent over 25 years in media relations.