So you want to know how to get into International Teaching…

Please feel free to email me any questions that you have.  
 

Most international schools hire between mid Jan to early march. They will hire up until August, but the jobs get fewer and far between. The best thing to do is to email any school you are interested in as you never know. 

Just note that many will not respond or send you any indication of your email making it to them, this is relatively normal. Normally you would begin to email and contact schools for the upcoming school year the October of the year before! Things start early! 
 
I have used the Northern Iowa job fair and twice been to the COIS job fair in London twice. I have gotten jobs at both. Iowa is very Asia, Middle East and South American. COIS is more Europe, Africa, Asia. There are also International School Services and Search Associates, I most recently used Search and the London job fair to get the job I am in now. Search’s database is fantastic.
 
The main job fairs are in at the end of January or beginning of February. There are some as early the first weekend in January in Bangkok. There are later fairs and schools do hire via email. Schools do also hire as late as August so don’t give up. 
 
In general do not take a contract where they ask you to come into the country on a tourist visa “because they will get you a work visa when you get there” these schools generally don’t get you a legit visa once you get there. There are exceptions to this so if it happens, do some research to find out if this is normal and legal for this country (Myanmar and Senegal are for example). 
 
Some advice from my principal is, do not go up to a job fair table or send an email saying “I am a 3rd grade teacher”. Say instead, “I can teach lower school”. That means that you haven’t pigeon holed yourself into a grade and are willing to try others. 
 
You will need to write a cover letter and a philosophy (one paragraph) that include something about being open to new cultures and experiences. 
 
As far as dependents: I do know that there are countries that will not allow you to come in if you are a single parent with a child, especially a woman. But these are mostly the middle eastern countries. There are places where they give you housing and it might be shared so that would be affected. There are schools who will arrange for non-teaching spouses to get work visas in the countries and some that will not. Since I do not have dependents this is a whole area that I know very little about. The are schools that will only pay for 1 child per teachers and others that will pay for all teacher children no matter the number. This is all something that you will have to research.
 
As far as countries go: 
Asia
  • Benefits-Money, housing allowances included in package, standard of living is high (maid, massages daily, cheap shopping on non western items), cheap travel and no lack of places to see, experiencing a culture that most Americans know very little about. 
  • Cons-pollution, major language difficulties at times (thought not that difficult), Asia cultures can be very different, far away from home. 

Europe

  • Benefits-Language is easier, culture is easier, closer to home, great history. 
  • Cons-no housing allowances unless you go very eastern Europe (Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Russia), expensive to live, salaries not great but livable (they get better the further East you go)

Middle East

  • Benefits-Money Money Money, usually very good packages (have friends earning over $100,000 as a couple and only spending about $30,000 a year). Good benefits packages.
  • Cons-middle eastern cultural ideas may not mesh with your own, women can have specific difficulty, hot, deserts. 
 

Websites to look at: International Schools Review, a good site to look at to get reviews of schools, have to read with a grain of salt but from what I have heard they seem to be pretty accurate. It is one you have to pay for but it does give you a good feel, I have honestly not known anyone to go to a school that has loads of bad reviews and not agree with them so it is worth considering. I think schools with one or two don’t mean that much.  

The Job Hunter’s Year according to The International Educator Online (TIE Online) newspaper.