Advanced search

What’s the catch teaching in Asia?

(27 Posts)
Yellowheart Fri 05-Jan-18 22:10:25

Thinking of making a massive leap and going to teach in Asia. I have two small children- one of school age- and the agency have said it is likely their school fees will be fully paid. They’ve also said it’s likey I’d be commanding a salary of around 30-50 GBP per year. This all sounds marvellous but there must be a catch right? I’ve told them I’m not interested in Middle East as don’t fancy that area as for us it’s about lifestyle and not money. I should also note that I’m an RE/PSHE hod but do have humanities experience- agency reckon I should def get a job but I’m not sure if any schools will want my subjects? I’ve been teaching over a decade and have loads of middle management experience, proven results etc. Any advice would be very welcome! Ideally would want Thailand or Malaysia

OP’s posts: |
Tollygunge Sat 06-Jan-18 08:53:34


Tollygunge Sat 06-Jan-18 08:53:40


CappuccinoCake Sat 06-Jan-18 08:57:24

Wow exciting! I think the drawbacks for me would simply be being away from home/family and maybe not liking thhe school youre in but tied into life there.

Good luck!

lackingimagination Sat 06-Jan-18 09:03:10

You get paid more because the quality of life is lower. (Yes, I know, not to everyone blah blah - but that is why)

marcopront Sat 06-Jan-18 09:18:53

Asia's a big place. The good points and bad points of each country are different.

I teach in India. I love it. Most of the kids want to learn and the paperwork is much less than the UK. I get free accommodation, flights for me and DD every year. School fees and medical insurance are included. My quality of life is much better here than it was in the UK.

marcopront Sat 06-Jan-18 09:21:42

Sorry more to add.

Don't go through an agency. Look on the TES website for jobs.

There are Facebook groups for International teachers join one and people there will give you information on schools.

wisterialanes Sat 06-Jan-18 09:47:28

I taught in the ME and at times I felt that I had signed my life away with the contract. A lot more was expected from you than the UK. Our HT became visibly annoyed and at times aggressive if she saw teachers chatting hmm. She was of the "if you have time to talk I will find you something to do" mentality.

I will add that I was the only Brit, there were a few Kiwi's and Aussie's but otherwise every other staff member was a native and they resented us 'westerners' because we got paid significantly more than them (which is understandable). It might be different if you go to a top school, but in our area there were lots of private schools and high turnover of pupils so the pressure to keep children there and draw in new ones was immense. Nepotism was rife as well, way beyond the PTA children getting the lead roles!

Also OP don't assume that your at& C's are the same as in UK. I could take 3 days off if a child of mine died otherwise I had to be there. Do ask about the turnover of staff; in my school it was extremely high and a teacher would leave for another school if offered a few pounds more. No one felt any loyalty to the school and it showed.

We only stayed one year as the dc had difficulty settling in school. The teaching methods/etiquette was very different and although it claimed to be an American school, the only thing that supported that was textbooks. Discipline was more 1970's with a D for dunce hat and open humiliation, which horrified me but was very standard. I was also horrified how casually racist my dc became 😵 'Fair' children used to be picked to represent the school or main parts in plays and again no one batted an eyelid.

I met fellow Brits who were working in other schools and they all said the same about the extra workload. Do check that the education allowance is enough for a good school as one teacher who worked in the British school said that they only got £20k per year, fees were £16k per annum and they had 3 school, so the 'large salary' wasn't really that large at all.

Yellowheart Sat 06-Jan-18 10:01:29

@wisterialanes Thats very interesting- do you think that’s the case outside of the ME?
@marcopront I live India- do you think my subjects would render me employable though? My dream is Thailand/ Malaysia or Singapore (we have family in S East Asia so would have a support network)

OP’s posts: |
Yellowheart Sat 06-Jan-18 10:01:54

Should say I love India

OP’s posts: |
wisterialanes Sat 06-Jan-18 10:18:51

OP I have no idea as I have only taught in ME but the overseas board mentions Singapore schools quite a lot, so try there.

marcopront Sat 06-Jan-18 11:15:42

I've never taught in an International school that has RE and PSHE is a bit hit and miss. Humanities though would be OK. Look at jobs on the TES website. Now is the time to be looking.

PastaOfMuppets Sat 06-Jan-18 11:28:18

My DB taught in a country in Asia for some years and loved the very low tax rate. However he said in the country where he was, people - esp Westerners - are required to sign a full year lease to secure a rental property and have to pay the entire year's rent up front. Said teaching was straight from a textbook and it sounded like it would suck the joy of teaching out of someone. After leaving he didn't stay in teaching long because it was hard to get back into a teaching position as I suppose his years teaching in Asia weren't considered to have given him much real teaching experience - he really just rote taught perhaps. He loved it though. Your best bet might be to find any events where returned teachers speak about their experiences to hear first hand and make up your mind. Good luck.

CappuccinoCake Sat 06-Jan-18 13:30:47

If you teach the philosophy side of 'RE you could teach the theory of knowledge for the ibac if that's an option?

marcopront Sat 06-Jan-18 13:37:15

Theory of Knowledge would be a possibility but it would rarely be the only subject someone taught.

Yellowheart Sat 06-Jan-18 16:36:27

@marcopront Don’t suppose your school needs a Humanities teacher? 😉

OP’s posts: |
GHGN Sun 07-Jan-18 06:24:29

Standard offer for a good school will include accommodation, sometimes utility bills as well. This can be significant as you use the air con a lot when it gets hot. It also includes flight home annually, 2 places for staff children in the school, sometimes assistance for moving and settling in. I have been at a few job adverts and these seem to be included in a standard package.

Cons: I never worked in the SE so can't comment but the weather in the summer can be horrible in places. Imagine you have a shower, step outside and feel the need to have another one straight away. In some places, it rains for days and weeks at time. Pollution

Ironfloor Sun 07-Jan-18 06:33:03

The catch is that youwould be....errmm....teaching in Asia.

GHGN Sun 07-Jan-18 06:34:34

Hit post too soon
Pollution is another big problem. Sometimes you have to pay more because you are not local. In some countries, most people don't speak English so it is not like going to holiday in Spain where people just speak English to you automatically. It can mean you only know other expats and don't fully get to know the people of the country. The traffic can be a problem in many countries. It is like playing Russian roulette whenever you go outside or just constand gridlock in some places. Coming back to the UK is a problem as it is very difficult to go to interview.

These are the cons I can think of but there are many pros. You can travel to amazing places at the weekend. The food is amazing if you know where to go. You can save more. I would actually want to go and teach in the SE soon.

GHGN Sun 07-Jan-18 06:36:28

also meant to say I have looked at a few job adverts recently
Don't know what I was thinking then.

LionsTigersBeers Sun 07-Jan-18 06:55:04

A lot of the big international school companies (Cognitas, Nord Anglia) attend a school fair in London in Jan/Feb to recruit for the coming north hemisphere School year. My children attend a British international school in Asia and the teachers seem to fit some great travel in. Expectations within the school are high though as the international school market is very competitive.

Johnnycomelately1 Sun 07-Jan-18 07:17:54

I live in Asia and know loads of teachers (most teaching in international schools but some are teachers in English medium local private schools or English language teachers in the public system). I assume you're looking at international schools so I'll focus on that. My big caveat would be that you really can't generalise. Teaching at the international school in Pattaya would be a massively different experience to one in Singapore in respect of lifestyle, peer group etc. So, some general pros and cons -


- Pay is better than UK and holidays longer than UK state system
- Less admin and lower contact time ratios so if you're organised you can get all your marking and planning done during the day.
- Student behaviour is generally better, providing the school isn't undersubscribed in which case it ends up a dumping ground for the kids booted out of the other schools, so choose a school wisely.
- Loads of great travel options for holidays etc.


- Parents who expect the moon on a stick or at the other end, are totally uninvested in their kids' education.
- Although the pay is better than the UK, in places like Singapore or HK (major financial centres) you'd be relatively poor by expat standards and living costs are high.
- Outside big urban hubs the expat population may be quite small so your social group is basically the parents of all the kids at the school - can get claustrophobic and had to compartmentalise.
- High staff and student turnover.

earlylifecrisis Sun 07-Jan-18 11:33:44

No major catch apart from being a long way from friends and family. The pollution can be a bit grotty especially China.
I haven't done ME so can't comment but have done China and Singapore and it was amazing quality of life and a cool job. We came back last year and regret it somewhat so making applications to head back!

Yellowheart Sun 07-Jan-18 11:39:29

Thanks for the tip re fairs- I’ve also signed up with eteach, the agency and have seen a few on TES.

Does having a non teaching spouse and dependants really work against you? I’ve just seen that suggested somewhere else

OP’s posts: |
earlylifecrisis Sun 07-Jan-18 11:42:57

What does your spouse do? Mine is an engineer with Asia offices so as soon as I put that on applications they can see he'd be Working soon enough.
Some schools prefer teachers with children- they are less likely to leave after the 2 year contract as DC are settled into the school!

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in