With an estimated 40% drop in educational funding in the UK over the next 5 years, now is a time when many newly qualified teachers (NQTs) will find it increasingly harder to land that dream job. Not surprisingly, with a gloomy employment climate, and debts to pay off, many are looking further afield and seeing the advantages to be had.
Here is a short list of things that a NQT job hunter might want to consider before embarking on a teaching career abroad.
Matching skills with needs
Think about what specific type of educational establishment would suit your talents and/or qualifications. For example, many international schools look for International Baccalaureate (IB) qualifications and a second language etc. It may be now that the elective module you did in French or German in your first year can be put to good use. Alternatively, it could also be a great opportunity to pick up another language.
Requirements of school managers
What school managers look for is to hire experienced teachers who require little or no support. They also hope the NQTs can mentor other local teachers many of whom have not had the same level of training as the foreign teacher. Also, the managers need to ensure the fee-paying parents are satisfied as they will demand proven results. A NQT may also be called upon to edit PhD and MA theses as their English language skills will be in demand and this can bring in additional revenue.
Dos/donts to put in your CV
Keep your CV to a maximum of two pages. Emphasise what you have, not what you don’t. Highlight any special educational needs (SEN) experience, musical or sporting ability, any pastoral work you may have done, or teaching young learners (TYL). If you have any, stress your experience working with English as foreign language (TEFL) as many countries need such teachers.
There probably won't be a lot of support, so NQTs need to be aware that they will often work independently but will still need to show confidence both personally and professionally. For this reason, teaching abroad as a NQT is not for everyone. Also, work abroad does not count as part of an NQT’s qualifying year in most cases, so it will only have limited appeal and/or rewards.
The rewards are obvious. Working abroad enables you to see another culture first hand. It will also enable you to hone your teaching skills in a less cauldron-like environment like, say, a secondary modern in London.
It could be character building too, if living in remote areas, though, in this case, salaries would not be that high. Be prepared for the worst case scenarios too like the electricity blackouts I experienced in Thailand and Ghana and the well known five stages of culture shock.
Remember though, when you return, your experience both in and out of the classroom will surely stand you in good stead in a UK school.