international teaching jobs

Want To Get a Job as an International School Teacher Abroad? Nancy knows how.

Looking for a job…nay, a career where you can travel the world, make good money and get to mold the future generations that will play xbox all day and act like self entitled little shits change the world? Why not get a job at an international school as a teacher. Enter Nancy, from Family on Bikes who has done just that for the past decade as she trotted the globe.

So, Nancy, who the hell are you and why do I like you so much?

I am Nancy Sathre-Vogel, widely known as Mom to Family on Bikes, a family of four who rode bicycles from Alaska to Argentina. I also happen to be a long-term schoolteacher with a total of 21 years in the classroom. Of those 21 years, seven were spent in the USA, and the rest were in Ethiopia, Honduras, Egypt, and Taiwan, and Malaysia.

international teaching jobs

What is teaching in an international school like vs other teaching abroad opportunities?

My husband and spent twelve years teaching in international schools. International schools are regular schools, using the same curriculum and standards as schools from their home country. We taught in American schools, but there are also British, Italian, Japanese, German, and many others. When kids graduated from our school, they had a diploma identical to the one I received from my high school in Boise, Idaho. The kids at our schools were children of diplomats or aid workers or anybody else who happened to be living overseas who needed an American style of education.

That said, there are other schools abroad that are “American” or “British” that aren’t at that caliber. These are schools that roughly use the American curriculum, yet they aren’t accredited and vary widely in terms of quality in both education and teaching conditions. I can’t comment much on these schools as I’ve never worked in them.

teaching jobs

Why should someone consider teaching abroad at an international school?

There are several reasons:

a)     The adventure. We got to live in some wonderful places and experience the cultures in ways tourists can’t.

b)    The pay. Although we got paid about the same as we would have in the US, our contracts included housing so we saved a lot of money on that. In addition, the cost of living was cheaper in most of the places we lived so we saved there. [Editor sidenote: you get paid sweet wages relative to where you are living (usually) and don’t have to eat top ramen every night like an English teacher. Cat, out, of, bag]

c)     Teaching conditions. Our students were awesome! In general, our kids came from very supportive families who valued education greatly. They were great to work with.

teaching jobs in taiwan

What are the benefits of teaching at an international school?

Every school is different, so you need to check the benefits package carefully. Here’s what we received:

a)     Pay on par with what we would have gotten if teaching in the USA

b)    Housing

c)     Flight back to home of record every summer

d)    Our children could attend the school for free

e)     Health insurance, including medical evacuation insurance

f)     Extra baggage allowance (we could take 2 extra bags each on the flight with us)

[Editor Sidenote: There are teaching English jobs in Asia (China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and maybe a few others, that also offer the above type of benefits]

international teaching jobs

What do people need in order to teach at an international school?

You need to have a teaching certificate from any state. It helps to have some experience.

How to get a job teaching at an international school?

More and more, hiring is happening remotely, with interviews on Skype. That said, there are still some job fairs and they are probably worth going to.

Note: international schools have a very different timeline than schools in the US do. Whereas you will most likely be hired for a new job in July for the coming school year in the US, overseas schools do the bulk of their hiring in February. Any positions that were not filled at the February job fairs will be filled as soon as possible, but there is a June job fair for last minute hiring.

Here are some organizations that will maybe helpful when trying to get job teaching at an international school abroad.

International School Services (ISS) 

Search Associates

UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair

Teacher Kick (for Latin America)

Teacher Hit (for Europe)

international teaching jobs

What is the lifestyle of an international school teacher like?

In all reality, it is not all that different from teaching in the US. We got up early every morning, spent all day with our students, then headed back home for the evening.

In some ways, however, it was different. We were able to afford household help, so we didn’t have to take our time to cook, clean, do laundry and all those other tasks we spend so much time doing.

The lifestyle will vary tremendously depending on the person. Some people stick to the expat circles and hang out with other foreigners; others have more local friends. It all depends on what each person chooses to do.

[Editor sidenote: Notice, the key phrase “afford household help”, aka maids, servants….sounds pretty sweet and better than having desks thrown at your head in an inner city school stateside, probably]

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So on that note, if Nancy has piqued your interest in getting a job as an  international school teacher abroad, you can check out the websites mentioned above for more information as I have never taught, hate children that are not my own (not that I have children that are my own…that I know of) and generally avoid any type of job where I can’t wear my casual business attire (see: bathrobe, sweaty yeti suits). Nonetheless, if you want an adult like lifestyle but still live the adventure travel abroad dream (with family or not), getting a job teaching at an international school abroad maybe your ticket.

 

Turner barr
turnerbarr@gmail.com

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

5 Comments
  • Alexa Hart
    Posted at 10:19h, 02 May

    Just to clarify, in order to teach at an international school, almost all teachers need a degree in education / teaching certification, which is different from a TEFL/TESOL certification.

    • Turner
      Posted at 10:22h, 02 May

      Yeah. Nancy mentioned this in the post. Needing a certificate. Sounds like a sweet gig esp. if you want to teach but just not English.

  • Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer)
    Posted at 19:42h, 02 May

    Helpful post—yet another reason to get certified to teach no matter what else one might have as a college major. When I was in 11th grade (1969-70), we lived in Devizes, Wiltshire, England for a year where my father taught art at a secondary modern school under the Fulbright-Hayes Teacher Exchange Program. An English art teacher from that school taught at my father’s high school in Philadelphia. I’d say there was a bit of culture shock on all sides.

    I managed to find myself in the fifth form which means I had to take O level exams (now the GCE’s). When I returned to the U.S., my high school wasn’t sure what to make of that and they wanted me to repeat 11th grade. That was the only time I remember my mother coming to school to argue on my behalf. They finally relented because I passed a Spanish test they administered on the spot—perhaps just as well. I didn’t have time to be anxious about it.

    • Turner
      Posted at 21:43h, 04 May

      Sounds like quite an experience. How did you like being a student at an international school in a foreign country?

  • James
    Posted at 10:03h, 13 May

    Very cool…

    Do International schools abroad tend to require that you have teaching experience in your home country, above and beyond the teaching certificate? Or are they happy to hire newly qualified teachers?

    I notice the UK offers £20k bursaries for graduates in my subject to train to teach. They dont seem to stipulate any requirements about what you do after you get it. Some cogs seriously turning here…