Teaching Abroad

I have thought about teaching internationally. Do you have any advice? How does it compare to teaching domestically?
—A., Iowa


I commend you for thinking about adventuring into the world! I haven’t taught internationally, so I consulted a few friends and colleagues to help put together some advice. Almost every person found teaching abroad to be an amazing experience filled with many fond memories. One of the easiest options is to apply to teach in an International School: https://goo.gl/5hwdpJ

This is their advice if you want to teach in another country’s school system:

Check certification and permits
Many governments will expedite the process for U.S. teachers who want to teach in their countries, particularly the English-speaking nations. Even so, get an early start on the certification and work visas paperwork required by most countries. In Canada, each province has its own certification. While part of the United Kingdom, both Scotland and Northern Ireland require separate certification from Britain and Wales. So, do some legwork to ensure you have everything in order. You may want to start here:

Remember, you’re the visitor!
A close friend, who taught in Australia, advises:
“Keep an open mind and be willing to look at things in different ways. The way other countries conduct business in their schools might be different from our own experiences in our country. Keeping flexible in your outlook goes a long way to fitting in.” One difference: Australian students are on a first-name basis with their teachers.

Many travellers have stories about having said or done something that they thought was innocuous but was shocking or inappropriate to the locals. Do some homework on the customs and norms of the country where you’ll be working.

Remember you will be the one with the accent! You may have to slow down, enunciate carefully and be prepared to repeat yourself. Although you may be a science teacher, being open to teaching English to non-anglophones may be an asset.

Hope this helps!


Graphic credit: Creative commons via Pixabay

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