“Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.” - Paulo Coelho

For many British teachers, teaching abroad is but a dream. In fact, in the UK, the number of teachers is at its lowest since 2013.

So how exactly can you become a teacher and a foreign country and how can you learn more about different educational systems?

How exactly can you get started and what steps they need to take?

Here is our advice for teaching abroad. Whether you're an English teacher considering doing some TEFL training, a science teacher looking for teaching opportunities abroad, or just fascinated by the idea of teaching overseas, here are some useful things to consider before you travel abroad or around the world.

Deciding Whether You Want to Work Publicly or Privately

No matter which language you speak and what subject you're teaching, your work will vary from one country to another. It's important if you're thinking about becoming a teacher abroad to decide which kind of places you would like to teach in. For example, ESL jobs won't be the same as working in universities as a professor.

How long does it take to become a teacher abroad?
Would you like to teach somewhere other than the UK? You'll have a few things to do. (Source: langll)

In fact, if you want to start teaching abroad in another school or educational system, you'll have to think carefully about where you want to go. For example, there are certain steps you have to take if you want to work in a high school that you wouldn't have to take if you wanted to work in a primary school. Joining an international organisation as a teacher would probably be more difficult, for example.

You'll need to consider things like :

  • Facility: What can I currently teach according to my qualifications?
  • Feasibility: Do I have the skills to apply for these jobs?
  • Readiness: Am I ready to start teaching with this experience or take new steps?

Have you already considered all of this?

Let's move on to the next step!

Targeting Different Academic Institutions

Do you teach in primary schools or secondary schools?

What kind of teacher are you?

Not every teacher will be looking for exactly the same time school. This is why you need to think carefully about exactly where you will go.

Where can you teach abroad?
Look for schools and academic institutions and get in touch with them. (Source: Pexels)

The kind of places you can teach in include:

  • Nurseries and primary schools
  • Secondary schools
  • British schools abroad where they teach the national curriculum from the UK
  • Private schools and academies

Finding Out More about Different Places

To make things easier, whether you're teaching in a private or public institution, you may want to look for help. There are plenty of different places to get information. For example, the British Council has plenty of useful resources For those teaching abroad or thinking about moving to a different country. Similarly, there are plenty of different ways to get abroad:

However, keep in mind that there is plenty of competition for places on programmes like this. Make sure you do plenty of research about the organisation or programme you're interested in.

Finding Trustworthy Resources: The British Council

The British Council was founded in 1934 and specialises in providing international cultural and educational opportunities. It has offices all over the world.

Did you know that the British Council teaches English in over 50 different countries?

So how can the British Council help you?

If you're thinking about teaching English as a foreign language, for example, there are plenty of teaching resources available from the British Council. Additionally, the British Council has lots of advice for those living and working abroad.

In addition to the British Council, there are also plenty of websites and forums the experts can use to get information.

You should also consider checking out:

  • Facebook groups for expats in the town or city you want to live in
  • Websites for Britons living abroad
  • Forums for teachers of your subject
  • The British embassies where you plan to stay
  • The websites of the host country

Start Preparing as Early as Possible

Before you move abroad or start teaching In another country, you should do your utmost to find out about everything you need to do and the different opportunities that you have. Ideally, you should start preparing at least a year before you plan to go.

Given how many people are considering going abroad, you should definitely start thinking about getting in touch with different organizations and institutions.

You should also consider thinking about the different teaching approaches you'll be expected to use.

You'll also need to think about how long it'll take the process your application and how long it'll take to get a visa or the necessary papers to enter the country legally, which can often take months.

It should be noted that, for certain programs, you can actually postpone your stay for a year. This may be useful if you can't manage to get visas in time.

Tell Your Current Employers that You Plan to Leave

Do you know exactly who might be the most important person in the application process?

Whether you plan to volunteer, do an internship abroad, or start teaching in a different country,  you should tell your current boss as they can easily make things very difficult for you.

How long should you wait to give notice at your job?
Always leave a job on good terms. (Source: rawpixel)

Before you start your new job, they may be required to provide a reference for you, for example.

You should probably tell them about your plans to leave as early as you can and that you're planning on moving abroad. By being fully transparent with your current employers, you're giving them more time to plan for your absence or find a replacement. You probably want to try and leave your current job on the best terms possible.

The Different Types of Teaching Abroad

There are plenty of different ways you can teach abroad. However, most teachers will have a number of things in common :

  • British citizenship
  • Status as a qualified teacher with a few years of experience
  • A clean criminal and disciplinary record

Without the latter, things might become very difficult for you.

In terms of status, teachers fall into three main groups:

  • Expats
  • Residents
  • Those on temporary contracts

Temporary contracts are ideal for those who aren’t planning on moving to their new country permanently and just want to gain professional skills and immerse themselves in a new language or culture. Those living abroad temporarily can still teach in a number of different academic institutions. However, gaining residency comes with its own benefits.

A lot of those who decide to leave the UK do so in order to teach English abroad. In fact, teaching English abroad is one of the most common jobs abroad. If you want to move overseas and start an English teaching career, you'll need a TEFL certification in order to be considered for teaching positions in a language school.

Of course, not each TEFL certificate is the same. Generally, the CELTA is more widely accepted than an online TEFL course. However, the CELTA is also far more expensive than a lot of other TEFL courses. It might be worthwhile looking at the requirements for the language school or international school before enrolling on an expensive course.

Preparing Your Application for Teaching Abroad

If you know exactly how and where you want to start teaching, you may not know exactly how to put together your application and present yourself as the right candidate for the job. You need to prepare.

Keep in mind that the application process is for different jobs can vary greatly and you can't just put together the same application for every job.

Where can you find teaching jobs abroad?
When you get to your new country, signs might not be as simple as this. (Source: Pexels)

Generally speaking, you need to answer job adverts rather than just applying to different institutions at random. When putting together if your application, You should make sure that it contains the following:

  • Copies of the necessary qualifications (both teaching qualifications and language qualifications, for example)
  • Completed copies of any application forms that the application requires
  • A cover letter
  • Sometimes, other documents will be required

Find online teaching jobs on here.

Don't forget to consider just how long can take to get these documents. In a lot of cases, two copies of each document are required. Make sure you read the application carefully and provide the right numbers of copies.

Improving Your Foreign Language Skills for Teaching Abroad

While your qualifications and legal status of both very important, your language skills are almost essential. In fact, certain positions will have stringent language requirements.

Did you think you wouldn't need to learn a foreign language?

It could be really useful...

In Europe, language skills are graded according to the CEFR from A1 to C2 with the former being beginner and the latter being an advanced user of the language. In general, a B2 level is required.

Don't lose hope: You’re going to teach abroad! Moving abroad isn't something that you just do every day, it takes a lot of planning and preparation. Don't apply to just one single establishment in one foreign city, you need to be willing to move to a number of different places as you mightn't get your first choice.

Consider visiting forums to find out more information from other teachers or other expats. For more information, consider visiting the British Council.

While you'll probably come across a lot of teaching jobs that involve teaching English to foreign students as a foreign language in countries like Spain, Vietnam, Korea, and Thailand, there are also plenty of different subjects a certified teacher can teach internationally. After all, plenty of foreign students also learn the sciences and arts.

If you decide to work abroad, keep in mind that the salary you'll earn mightn't be the same as what you earn in the UK. Since the UK is the world's fifth largest economy and the cost of living in the UK is high, our salaries tend to be higher than a lot of other countries. That said, teaching in another country is rewarding in other ways and your earnings elsewhere may go further in a country that has a lower cost of living.

Whether you go to Asia, Africa, Europe, or the Americas, you should be able to find a teaching job without too much difficulty. While some involve teaching in the English language, you may need to learn a second language to go to countries where there isn't a large English speaking population or you have to teach in the foreign language.

Good luck!

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