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International school teachers

According to the British Council, one of the largest providers of English classes in the world, approximately 2 billion people will be learning and using English worldwide by 2020.

Citizens of the world strive to learn English, not only to conduct business, education and diplomacy, but also to enjoy culture and entertainment.

In 2015 more than 300 million Chinese were learning English, while since 2009 Mexico introduced plans for more than 12 million school children to learn the language. In Japan, a country that counts 127 million people, English is a compulsory subject in primary school.

It is estimated that 250,000 native English speakers work as English teachers around the world but 80% of English teachers abroad are non-native because there are not enough English speaking teachers to meet demand.

In China there are an estimated 100,000 native English speakers, in major European cities like Prague, Madrid and Rome between 3,000 and 5,000 native speaking English teachers are working at any given time. In major Asian cities like Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai schools are employing up to 15,000 foreign English teachers, while South Korea counts an estimated 24,000 native English speakers for year.

Because nearly half of all the English teacher abroad will repatriate every year, the turnover is really high.

After looking at this number is not difficult to understand how the career of an International Teacher can offer continuous opportunity to relocate to different countries and to live life as an expat.

Types of international school teachers

There is much more to teaching than simply standing in front of a group of reasonably well-behaved students, and the variety of international teaching jobs is magnificent. Due to not being able to easily visit a school prior to accepting a post, it is paramount to understand the types of international teaching jobs available. These include:

  • Primary School Teacher: Primary school teachers are responsible for developing lesson plans in line with curriculum objectives, and are usually divided into the foundation stages; key stage 1 and key stage 2.
  • Secondary School Teacher: A career as a secondary school teacher provides the opportunity to teach an enjoyable subject and engage students aged 11 to 18 in learning for their future. Teaching the national curriculum, teachers are required to plan lessons in line with national objectives, ensuring a healthy culture of learning.
  • Higher Education Lecturer: Higher education lecturers teach either academic or vocational subjects to undergraduate and postgraduate students aged 18 and over. Popular teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations and e-learning.
  • Teaching Assistant: Teaching assistants often take small groups of children in need of extra support in a particular area out of class, as well as aid teachers with recordkeeping.
  • Special Needs Teachers: Special needs teachers work with children and young individuals who require additional support, such as those with physical disabilities, sensory impairments and speech or language difficulties.


Required qualifications

In order to teach abroad, individuals must have a Bachelor’s of Education OR Bachelor’s degree related to the teaching subjectincluding:

  • PGCE (England, Wales, Aus, NZ, Canada etc.)
  • PGDE (Scotland)
  • Higher Diploma of Education (Ireland, South Africa)
  • Masters of Education
  • Full state certification (US and Canada)
  • Teacher registration (NZ, Ireland)
  • Bachelors of Teaching (NZ)
  • Qualified Teacher Status (UK)


Qualities for teachers in international schools

Standing out from the crowd can be tough and whilst the best international teachers must be willing and eager to adapt, more needs to be considered when hiring teachers. The top five qualities that many international schools look for during the selection process include:

Enthusiastic teachers who love working with young people

International schools require enthusiastic, adaptable and highly committed teachers that are eager to contribute to the development and expansion of an educational environment, regardless of whether it is primary school, secondary school, college or university. Alongside enthusiasm, international teachers must be committed to meeting the various learning needs of each individual.

Responsible teachers who do their research

Finding the right school, college or university institution is paramount for both the employer and coming international teacher. Aspiring international teachers must be able to demonstrate that they have thought seriously about the location and how they plan to cope with leaving home.

Flexible teachers who have the ability to adapt

International schools vary in location, size, staffing, curriculum and more. The best international teachers are willing to adapt and embrace challenges, such as a lack of discipline and unconventional hours.

Teachers who can work with second or third language barriers

A large majority of students at international schools speak English as a second or third language. As a result, all international teachers must be able to adapt their teaching methods to help students engage in their learning.

Teachers who are internationally minded

International teachers will be working with students and families from an array of different countries and backgrounds, and thus must be willing to accept and value differences.

Life as an international teacher offers an exciting and diverse experience. With the opportunity to be part of a team of highly-recognised educators, the ability to make a difference in children’s lives from across the globe and the chance to travel abroad to a potentially exotic country, there’s no wonder why an increasing number of newly qualified teachers are opting to teach abroad.

If you’re considering a career as an international teacher, find out how Santa Fe Relocation can help you with the move by contacting a member of our expert team today.

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