Take Your Education Career Overseas To Broaden Your Cultural Horizons
Note: This post was updated November, 2018.
Have you ever wondered how you can take your education career to another country? If you are a languages and humanities educator, you have probably thought about it, or you have already taught abroad. I myself started my education career in Rome, Italy (quite some time ago). I recently looked into what it would take to make a leap back across the Atlantic… or Pacific… or the equator. Below are a few things that I found out.
Start Your Search Early
One of the first resources that I found in my research was the article titled, “Taking The International School Route: What You Need To Know To Get Started On An Overseas Teaching Career.” Aside from being flexible and crossing all my t’s and dotting all of my i’s, I was surprised to know how early international schools will do their hiring. Think starting a full two semesters ahead of time in order to secure a position. This makes more sense when you learn that many contracts at international schools are for two years. You can often tell within a first year if a position and location is a good fit or not. This means that people who are don’t feel like they are a good fit for their position may give advance warning of their departure, well before their contract expires.
Search Associates is an agency that will put you in touch with a wide network of international schools. They require you set up a complete application before you can see what openings schools are looking to fill. This means that you need to fill out standard job application questions. But you will also have to upload the official transcripts for your degrees, get an FBI background check, and ask your current and past employers to fill out an evaluation form. In the process, a consultant will work with you and guide you through how to format your resume and write a personal statement to give you the best chances of getting an interview. The preparation process is intense, but the attention from the consultant is personalized and extremely edifying.
ISS-Schrole are two companies who have recently joined forces to create a larger base of schools in their network. The registration process is a bit quicker than that of Search Associates, because you can have a complete application without getting a recommendation from your current employer. You can rather quickly see what openings are available, but there is no counselor to guide your through the process. Though, an added benefit are the multiple job fairs that are offered. I was able to attend one online job fair from my living room, and I was happy to get a few interviews from that event.
Council On International Schools
The Council On International Schools, CIS, is an organization committed to the overall high quality of international schools. They maintain job listings for teacher and administrator openings around the world. Sign up for their email list, and you will get monthly notifications for openings that are categorized by area of specialization. The CIS team also regularly attends conferences around the globe, so the chances are high of you meeting a team member if you attend an international school conference in your geographic area. CIS also manages the International Taskforce on Child Protection, which has the main objective of keeping children safe, and is the reason behind these organizations requiring recommendations from your current employer before you find your next employment.
The Department of Defense Education Activity has a network of schools for the children of service members at bases around the world. These are U.S. schools that teach the American curriculum around the world. So, if you are experienced with teaching in the U.S. public school system, the structure will be familiar. In accordance with the article that I linked at the beginning of this post, DODEA recommends that applications be completed by January the year you hope to work with them. The application is similar to what you’ll see with Search Associates, because they too want a recommendation from your current employer.
Finding your first position at an international school can be a large task to take on. Whenever I need to do something like this, I get super organized and put useful information into spreadsheets (which has helped me so much in my career). I take note of what positions are available and whom I’ve talked with about such position. All of this is paying off, and is all with the goal of staying committed to a life-time goal of cross-cultural education.