Monday, July 11, 2011

Teaching Abroad - Gain a Global Perspective and Teaching Experience

This week’s question from a reader is “How can I teach abroad?”

Teaching abroad is a great way to launch your career as a teacher. For mid-career and retiring educators teaching overseas offers a change of pace, a new challenge and chance to explore the world. It’s like studying abroad, only you earn a paycheck instead of pay tuition! Teaching abroad can be a time to make a difference in another part of the world. You can gain a global perspective, immerse yourself in the local culture, travel during school breaks, and return home with a stronger teaching job résumé.

International Schools

An international school is a school established in a country for children whose parents have been assigned temporarily to work or live in that country. English is the language of instruction and the curriculum follows the British, American or International Baccalaureate formats. Typically, teachers are contracted for two years. The employer provides airfare to and from the school every year at the start of the school year and when the school term ends for the year. The employer determines housing and other benefits.

Winning an international teaching job can be competitive. However, if you are flexible and willing to consider several countries or regions of the world, you will increase you opportunity. Often, two years of teaching experience is required. Recent graduates who demonstrate strong potential such as earning a teaching certificate are encouraged to apply. Internships are available in some schools.

Several international teacher recruitment organizations [e.g., Council of International Schools (CIS), International School Services (ISS), and Search Associates (SA)] pre-screen job applicants for international schools and invite successful job applicants to teacher recruitment fairs in different cities. Each year CIS schedules a June recruitment fair in Fairfax, VA. Both ISS and SA conduct recruitment fairs in the Boston area in February 2012.

United States Department of State partners with independent non-governmental schools to serve children of Department of State civilian employees. American-sponsored schools overseas contract with private organizations in recruiting teachers. For example, ISS recruits for approximately 200 international American schools worldwide, including community-sponsored, company-sponsored, and proprietary institutions. In most cases, the curriculum is U.S.- oriented and English is the language of instruction. Contracts are for two years.

United States Department of Defense (DoD) schools serve the children of military service members and DoD civilian employees throughout the world. DoD operates nearly 200 public schools in 14 districts located in 12 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

English language teaching opportunities exist throughout the world. Opportunities for teaching depend on where you want to teach, what level you want to teach, and your background and qualifications. You do not need to speak the host country’s language; however, it is beneficial. Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) provides information such as general qualifications for teachers planning to teach English to speakers of other languages and an online Career Center for job listings.

Peace Corps

You can teach as a Peace Corps education volunteer in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Education volunteers promote world peace and friendship and teach in a community overseas for 27 months. They introduce innovative teaching methods and integrate health education and environmental awareness into different subject areas. The application process takes 6-12 months.

Expand your horizons and teach abroad. Teach in international schools, teach English as a foreign language, and/or promote peace and friendship through the Peace Corps. Gain valuable teaching experience and enrich your life greatly.