Career Advice Opinion

International Schools and Overseas Teachers

By AAEE — September 05, 2017 2 min read
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Teaching overseas is both the hardest and the best thing you will ever do in your personal & professional life. In the next few weeks discover insights into the types of international schools, the kind of teachers they seek, the students attending international schools, tips for transitioning and the ADAPT model for entering a new culture.

International schools have been around for well over 100 years, initially providing education in the native language and curriculum for children whose parents worked as diplomats. Today, according ICEF (International Consultants for Education and Fairs) there are over 12,000 international schools in operation around the world. The types of international schools are numerous and varied; each one representing a different demographic of students, curriculum, leadership and financing.

The most notable type of international school is the K-12 independent schools formed to educate both national children and/or the international community with English as the medium of instruction. The curriculum is usually determined by the country that establishes the school - American, British, Canadian or International Baccalaureate. Modifications may be made to a curriculum based on national standards or religious worldviews. These schools need a wide range of educators and staff: early childhood, elementary, secondary, Fine Arts, PE and computer teachers, as well as librarians, counselors and administrators. Requirements for teachers include being a native English speaker and holding a bachelor’s degree within their teaching area. Some countries also place the requirement of a certain number of years of teaching experience. Principals are looking for flexible, collaborative, and confident teachers, that have a great sense of humor and are willing to commit to 2 years at their school.

Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) were created to provide education to the American children of military personnel living overseas on a military base. K-12 teachers are hired by the United States government and use an American curriculum to educate the students who will return to the US for continued education.

One of the largest growing needs in international education is for English as Foreign Language (EFL) teachers. Many businesses, colleges, governments, language schools and independent schools have created programs to provide local children, students or adults with the opportunity to learn English. The requirements are as varied as the programs: some ask for a bachelor’s degree or a teacher certification, others a TOFEL or ESL certificate and still others are only looking for a native English speaker.

When pursuing an international placement, it is especially crucial to thoroughly research each of the schools before signing a contract. The best sources for quality information are personal antidotes from teachers who have worked overseas, and recommendations from professors, friends and family. Quality international schools will provide you the opportunity to connect with a principal and/or a teacher to assist in answering all your questions.

Stepping out of the norm and taking the opportunity to broaden your perspective in the field of education, and life in general, is never dull or wasted time. There is so much for life-long learners to discover! Let me encourage you with the overused Nike slogan, “Just do it!”

Kris Crum
Lead Mobilization Recruiter - U.S. Operations
International Schools Consortium

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