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What is it REALLY like teaching abroad? Warts and all please.
18

TheSecretExPat · 21/03/2018 11:10

I often see threads on here from British teachers working abroad, they rarely say anything negative.

I've been a teacher for 12 years and it was always my intention to teach abroad for a time eventually.
For me, I think that time is approaching.

I would probably be leaving my DH behind that's a whole other thread.

So to all who teach or have taught abroad please can I hear your positives, negatives and tips?

Thanks Smile

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EnormousDormouse · 21/03/2018 11:17

It's still knackering! But there is less paperwork and OFSTED- driven data bollocks where I am (primary, Middle East). However, it does depend on your school as some have inspections and run truer to the UK curriculum.
It's a case of doing lots of research (there are a couple of websites with school reviews) and working out what you want
I fancied Japan, but this ME opportunity presented itself -it's well paid, tax free, sunny, has a good work-life balance, and only 7 hours to the UK so I go back for all hols. Had I gone to Japan I'd only be home once a year.
I love it any only wish I'd moved sooner

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Salzundessig · 21/03/2018 11:34

It's great! Much more freedom for individual teachers and I found learning about how other education systems work fascinating.
In our school there was no marking policy, no behaviour policy, no policy about anything really. Sometimes this was frustrating but on the whole it was great. Ditto no data collection. I had loads of time to do creative, inquiry-led work with the children. It was great for my development because I had to think abd research things for myself, instead of blindly following policy. There were a few British teachers that hated this aspect of it though because ultimately the buck stopped with the class teacher. Parents can be demanding,too.

The other downside (depending on school) is having to seek out CPD options. That definitely depends on whether or not the school is non-profit or not and on which curriculum it uses. PYP cpd is great.

I am back in the UK now and am about to get a big shock... We will be off again in a few years though. Good luck!

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OutComeTheWolves · 21/03/2018 11:43

I loved it! Plus side was obviously just the fantastic experience of living elsewhere and being fully immersed in the culture- there wasn't an ex-pat community where I lived so I had to just learn the language and mix in. Also the chn had history and language lessons with a specialist teacher every day, so instead of ppa, I had free time each day. I very rarely took any work home with me. I also had very small class sizes.

I worked at a fee paying school so expectations were still high and I found parents had a slightly different mentality to state schools I've worked in.

To me the biggest drawback was initially your entire social life is made up of people from work, so you have to make a conscious effort not to chat about school stuff.

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TheSecretExPat · 21/03/2018 12:43

Thank you everyone.
I probably should have said that I'm secondary. I'd like to hear from primary and secondary teachers.

Where(ish) did you work salz and out?

I'm very tempted by Spain but the money doesn't seem to be great and I do wonder about Brexit, which is why I'm holding off for this year.

The Middle East also appeals. What would it be like for a woman on her own?

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Salzundessig · 21/03/2018 13:02

I was in Europe. Schools in Spain have v dodgy reputations so be very discerning!

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halfwitpicker · 21/03/2018 13:07

I am not a teacher but do work in schools. Live in Canada and I can say that there seems loads less paperwork. There's no such thing as OFSTED. Lots of ped days. Seems to be especially good if you can get work in a private school.

Not sure how the visa applications works/if they need teachers. Guess it depends where you are willing to work i.e Nunavut probably more likely to need staff than Vancouver!

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EnormousDormouse · 21/03/2018 13:11

I'm on my own in the ME - it is way safer than the UK! I feel perfectly safe out walking in my own ( I often jog up and down the beach, it's a 'local' beach full of fishermen and families walking but I never get any hassle).
It's quite a culture shock as you can leave handbags and laptops unattended outside at cafes whilst you pop inside to get a refill Shock

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marcopront · 21/03/2018 17:56

I've taught in 5 schools in different countries and they have as many differences as similarities.
There is less pressure than in the UK and much less paperwork but parents can be more demanding.
What subject do you teach?
If you are on Facebook into recommend joining a group such as International School Teachers as you will pick up a lot of information.

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TheSecretExPat · 21/03/2018 19:37

Yes Enormous I'd heard that about Spanish schools. Does the same apply to International schools in Spain?

Thanks macro that Facebook group is useful to know about. When you say parents are more demanding in the same way that private school parents can be in this country ie because they pay?

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Somtamthai · 29/03/2018 14:04

I’m in Thailand.

I don’t like it so much here for personal reasons. However, I don’t have a pgce so I don’t get the tier 1 or 2 school opportunities. QTS teachers are equally or better paid than their counterparts. Package includes flights, relocation monies, and free school places. If you work in Bangkok then it is an amazing city. In tier 1 schools is hard work and demanding but no OFSTED. Parents can be a nightmare they pay a lot of money and expect a lot.

I’d go for it. ME pays well but so does South Korea, China, and Myanmar.

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LockedOutOfMN · 29/03/2018 15:35

Work at a British school in a Spanish city. It's great. Like U.K. but no Ofsted as it's private and some buffering from U.K. government's madder ideas. Parents and children are respectful and well behaved and genuinely want to learn and think education is important, which is wonderful.

Pay is poor. Many teachers supplement by tutoring or teaching EFL a couple of hours per week.

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LockedOutOfMN · 29/03/2018 15:37

Lovely country to live in. Great people, culture, food, weather, nature, transport around the country, and cheap/frequent flights to many U.K. airports.

Also, if you learn the language, (which you can do cheaply or even for free), you can travel - more easily - to Mexico, Argentina, Philippines, etc.

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PurpleCrowbar · 29/03/2018 15:50

Hi, I'm secondary, lone parent, teaching in the ME. We love it!

Fantastic lifestyle - UK salary but tax free, 4 bed villa rent free, cost of living much cheaper.

Teaching - much less paper work & gubbins. Downside is teaching a lot of loaded & entitled teenagers who are used to having drivers, nannies & a fleet of tutors, so come to school to socialise not learn. Plus parents who expect you to get their child an A* regardless of their ability or the effort they put in.

You need a sense of humour...

The country I'm in is notorious for sexual harassment. It's also in the MN of Countries You Couldn't Drag Me Too.

I have never had any problems, however. Haven't looked back.

(Btw we're hiring, if you want to pm me Wink. Happy to point you at the school website privately - rather not say on here as mad ex periodically MN stalks me).

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TheSecretExPat · 30/03/2018 11:24

Thank you again everyone, please do keep posting any inside knowledge, it's much appreciated.

Interesting your insight into Spain Locked, it's getting worse here.
I'd love to work somewhere the kids want to learn.
I'm a line manager. This year we had training on how to manage staff, to paraphrase, it was a lesson in how to bully them using the system. It was reprehensible.
So even with lower pay I can't believe that Spain is as bad as it's got here now.

If I don't move then I'll have to leave teaching, I can't be part of this system anymore.

I'll message you purple, thank you.

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PurpleCrowbar · 30/03/2018 17:39

Yep got it secret! Will reply later Smile

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FartnissEverbeans · 04/04/2018 20:43

I'm in the Middle East and I'm not leaving any time soon. I'm secondary.

Pros: small classes, lighter timetable, no behaviour issues, motivated children. We have a great package - flights home every year and accommodation paid for, high quality medical insurance, tax free so we save a few grand every month. We have access to three lovely swimming pools, basketball and tennis courts, several gyms etc. all for free in our lovely complex. It's safe here and the weather in winter is gorgeous. Local beaches are stunning. We have a maid and this is the norm - all the teachers I know have nannies/maids.

Cons: Summer is a bit grim (though air com is everywhere). Bureaucracy can be a nightmare. We have to censor a lot of stuff in school due to cultural sensitivities/the law. You spend more money than you think you would because of the lifestyle (brunch for example easily costs £50-£100 and many people do that weekly).

Being a woman here is fine. I get hassled a bit if I walk around the city alone but I've never felt scared or anything, and I rarely have any need to go out walking in the city anyway (hard to do because it's not designed for walking). You can wear what you like within reason, bikinis on the beach etc. It's nothing like you've been led to believe.

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TheSecretExPat · 21/04/2018 13:18

I've been led to believe that the Middle East is usually excellent @FartnissEverbeans.

I've got a friend who lives in Oman now, he's been there for years and loved it, I've always loved it when I've visited.

Another friend used to teach in the UAE, she didn't like it as much but she's much more of a stalwart of British patriotism than I am. She also missed the British weather (!) specifically, changes in season but I think it would take me a lot of years to feel like that if I ever did.

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FartnissEverbeans · 21/04/2018 16:48

The only thing I'd say is to be very careful which school you choose to go to. Some are great, some... not so much.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do Smile

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