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  1. #1
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    How to begin teaching in International Schools

    The following is a PM I sent to someone who was asking a week or two back...


    Re: International teaching

    Definitely a good idea to get a year or two teaching under your belt in your home country first, but some people get jobs straight out of teachers college or uni, just depends.

    Then you have a couple of options to get o/s jobs.

    Times Education Supplement (and an online presence) advertise very heavily for teachers all over the world. I've not been successful using them, but gives you an idea and I've heard a few people have got jobs that way.

    Most of the biggest schools and best jobs are obtained through 3 or 4 teacher recruitment agencies, they cost, but it's worth it. Some people try applying directly to schools, but the big schools won't waste their time, and the smaller schools have smaller reputations and salary packages.

    Generally, you are better off, and advised to not limit yourself to just a single country, but to cast your net wider, there are many good schools and jobs all over Asia, the world in fact. Consider each on their own merits.

    The Recruitment agencies I recommend are;

    Council of International Schools (CIS)

    International Schools Services (ISS)

    Teach Abroad: Search Associates

    They will check your references and qualifications (as well as answer more questions) then you are eligible to attend a recruitment fair, sometimes in Jan or Feb. (essentially 100 schools world wide send principals and about 200 or 300 hopeful teachers attend a hotel in London, Malaysia, Bangkok, USA, or Australia for 3 days and make as many interviews with each other as possible.

    If you are a decent teacher you will get 2 or 3 firm job offers there and then, some will contact you later, and there are more fairs in may or April. most international schools start in August.

    It is usual to sign a 2 year contract to start with.

    Salaries vary a lot, but so does cost of living, so take that into account. ($20,000-$80,000 per year) also most will pay flights per year, health insurance, end of contract bonus (typically 10% of gross salary), shipping of your goods, provide or pay for housing etc.

    If you are determined to get a job in Thailand, also read the Bangkok Post etc for jobs advertised, stay on the books with at least one agency, in case a teacher suddenly leaves etc, they may call you. BUT do not be in thailand when you go for an interview, or you will be awarded 'local hire expat salary' which is still good. but if you are interviewed outside of the country you will be considered overseas hire!

    depending on the school (and remember there is not law or copyright on the word international school or american school, so ANYONE can start a 2 bit sweat shop and call it the Kingwilly International School of Excellence in Thailand) so DO YOUR HOMEWORK before signing a contract.

    good luck mate, and happy to answer any more questions you may have later down the track.

  2. #2
    Cynical Member Fstop's Avatar
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    KW you were one of the ones who helped me with all of this a few months back, so have a green for that. I went with SEARCH associates. Well, I tried to go with them. Their list of requirements to even interview at one of their job fairs is ridiculous. I could get nearly everything - but they wanted letters of recommendation from parents of students I had taught, and they wanted said parents to go online and fill out a survey, rating my teaching ability. I had zero parent references at the time, and since I was teaching in Korea where the parents didn't speak English, I finally gave up. But I went with a tier 2 international school here in Bangkok, perhaps in a few years I can move up to a tier 1.

    1 thing I noticed through trying to obtain a job at an international schools is that most of these schools will not hire you directly. You have to go to their fair. I applied to about 40 schools directly - only a few emailed me back. One headmaster told me that he couldn't hire me because I didn't have any experience teaching IB classes. Even if I had made it through their paperwork, you still have to make it to the fair, and they only have a certain amount of slots for each one. The Bangkok fair had filled up months in advance, and there were over 300 people on the waiting list. Also, you need to be very open about where they will place you. You can't say "I want to work in Thailand." They won't hire you. You need to put "Asia" or "Europe". The more countries/areas you're open to, the better chance of getting hired.

    Also, these agencies do charge a fee to sign up with them. I think it was maybe around $200 for SEARCH.
    "Fuck off. And take your stupid cult with you."

    -Scarlett Johansson to Tom Cruise

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    KW you were one of the ones who helped me with all of this a few months back, so have a green for that. I went with SEARCH associates.
    oh good. I've received a dozen or so emails and PMs asking which is way I wrote this OP and stickied it.

    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    I had zero parent references at the time, and since I was teaching in Korea where the parents didn't speak English, I finally gave up.
    yes, but worth persevering on that one. did you ask if they had a foreign language option?

    They are the best agency particularly for schools in Asia (and ISS best for states, and CIS best for Europe.)

    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    But I went with a tier 2 international school here in Bangkok, perhaps in a few years I can move up to a tier 1.
    which is also an excellent way to do it. all about stepping stones.

    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    1 thing I noticed through trying to obtain a job at an international schools is that most of these schools will not hire you directly. You have to go to their fair. I applied to about 40 schools directly - only a few emailed me back.
    Absolutely, but i think over on Ajarn they absolutely shot me down in flames when I tried to claim that...

    believe what they want, there is a reason a large number of them cannot get a job worth more than 30,000 baht per month.


    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    One headmaster told me that he couldn't hire me because I didn't have any experience teaching IB classes.
    Quite true. Until he has a vacancy in that position, no other reliable looking candidate .... suddenly he can hire you. In fact, I do know of a young female teacher who got a job in one of the top 3 international schools in Bangkok first year out of teaching....

    sometimes it is just good timing.

    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    he Bangkok fair had filled up months in advance, and there were over 300 people on the waiting list.
    true, need to be sorted well in advance, one deadline for an agency is October 31 (i think) for a fair in Jan/Feb and job in August.....! so almost 10 months in advance....

    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    Also, you need to be very open about where they will place you. You can't say "I want to work in Thailand." They won't hire you. You need to put "Asia" or "Europe". The more countries/areas you're open to, the better chance of getting hired.
    You only need to 'say' that. does not have to be true!

    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    Also, these agencies do charge a fee to sign up with them. I think it was maybe around $200 for SEARCH
    yep. all three that I mentioned do this. last I checked one was $165, another $180 and third perhaps just on $200.

    This gets you 2 or 3 years registration only, plus an invite to one or two recruitment fairs.

    Also Search associates also charge you a $600 placement fee..... sometimes a school will pay this for you, most do not.

    but at the end of the day this is not really big money for the jobs they get you!

  4. #4
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    A green from me as well. Thanks, KW. This was a nice post. A lot of people (myself included) have questions about this sort of thing. Too often discussions about teaching degenerate into teachers are crap/Thai teachers are crap/teachers in Thailand are crap, etc. This is informative and helpful.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for posting. It really helps.

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    Worth the time, $$, and effort.

    It's taken me almost 15 months to put my ducks in a row such that I can really be competitive for a position at an Intl. school. While I have a degree in education, am fully certified with 15 years of teaching experience, I still had to go through the application process with Search Associates. While I wouldn't call it painstaking, it did take some time and energy in that I had to make sure my references were indeed doing what they said they would do in a timely manner. The cost was only $200.00 (very fair in my opinion)and that included a complimentary invitation to my first job fair (which I'll attend in Bangkok in mid Jan. 2009). Personally I like the fact that SA puts teachers a bit through the ringer as this weeds out those who are not serious.
    The thought of making baht100,000 or more monthly at an Intl. school in Thailand is outright wacky. Talk about living like a KING! Sure, the app. process with SA was a bit of a pain but in the long run the time, $$, and effort will pay off well.

    Bourbon.

  7. #7
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    Another important point to mention about Search is that they have an online searchable database that you or schools can use to send private emails/pm's back and forth.

    the other recruitment companies do not, in fact all they do is run the fairs and let you both meet/interview each other.

    the database allows you to look for and find jobs outside of this timeframe....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly View Post
    Another important point to mention about Search is that they have an online searchable database that you or schools can use to send private emails/pm's back and forth.

    the other recruitment companies do not, in fact all they do is run the fairs and let you both meet/interview each other.

    the database allows you to look for and find jobs outside of this timeframe....
    kingwilly makes a good point here that i failed to mention.

    in fact i have already gotten in touch with a couple of principals with whom i will meet face to face at the bangkok job fair in january.

    always good staying ahead of the game.

    Bourbon.

  9. #9
    Cynical Member Fstop's Avatar
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    I was going to ask this on ajarn but might as well ask here. Any tips on how to get those elusive parent references? I mean, I don't really see the parents at my school (although I believe most of them speak passable English). It was the only thing missing from my SEARCH app.

  10. #10
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    This is usually the hardest thing for most people to get sorted. My suggestion is to start cultivating early.

    i.e. make an effort to get to know some parents, talk to them in the morning, say hello when you see them around town, visit students plays or recitals or sports games, do parents come into school for canteen committee or read to juniors? are they board members?

    in my experience parents are more than happy to help out, flattered to be asked even.

  11. #11
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    How to begin teaching in International Schools
    I was offered an Int. School position last week.

    I've been teaching for about 2 years (simply coz I really enjoy it).

    I don't (currently) have any teaching credentials other than 2 tefls and a tesol and have never taught the British or American curriculum.

    Recommended by word of mouth, obviously interviewed well and they could see the dedication I put into my work.

  12. #12
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    well done then. I assume teaching TEFL work at said int. school? you do realise that there are 'international' schools and there are international schools?

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    Yup, it was obviously of the lower range, but it was as a homeroom teacher.

    Would of been great to get the experience (I plan on going home to do a B.Ed in the next few years). And in a way regret not taking it on. I probably won't when my next term begins and I'm back working on easy street, but now, I really would of enjoyed the opportunity to learn all I could from it.

  14. #14
    Cynical Member Fstop's Avatar
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    KW - I asked this question on ajarn and as usual got conflicting reports. I'm thinking of getting an MA in English Lit. - would this help me at all with getting into a tier 1 international school? I've already got the teaching certificate, TEFL, BA (English) and about 5 years teaching EFL. The only thing I'm missing is the experience in the home country - I've only got a few summer school gigs and about 6 months of teaching in the UK (they hired me (an American of all people) to fill in for someone). I can get the MA online and my grandparents have offered to help pay for it (they're rich and generous like that ).

    The only reason I'm even considering getting it is because some int'l schools prefer that their teachers have an MA, and if you look at their staff pages, loads of their teachers have a Master's degree in their field. My job here is dead easy, so I've got the time to do it by distance (it would take about a year).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    KW - I asked this question on ajarn and as usual got conflicting reports. I'm thinking of getting an MA in English Lit. - would this help me at all with getting into a tier 1 international school? I've already got the teaching certificate, TEFL, BA (English) and about 5 years teaching EFL. The only thing I'm missing is the experience in the home country - I've only got a few summer school gigs and about 6 months of teaching in the UK (they hired me (an American of all people) to fill in for someone). I can get the MA online and my grandparents have offered to help pay for it (they're rich and generous like that ).
    100% yes mate. (provided you already have the teaching certificate, which you have said you do)



    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan
    The only reason I'm even considering getting it is because some int'l schools prefer that their teachers have an MA, and if you look at their staff pages, loads of their teachers have a Master's degree in their field. My job here is dead easy, so I've got the time to do it by distance (it would take about a year).
    Correct, they nearly all say they prefer it, same as they prefer 3-5 years teaching experience in your home country, but to be honest both are optional extras.

    If you have the time/means/$ to do a Masters, then do it. An additional degree will help for sure.

    the only problem/point of confusion would be when people think that a Masters in English or Science or whatever, would be an effective substitute for a teaching degree.

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    ^I agree. I've seen people with Masters that can't teach worth a shit. Thanks, Willy for this information.

    It is my understanding that you receive a higher pay if you have a Master's over a B.Ed. How much more, I am curious to know about.

    What are the Int. schools like in Indonesia (isn't that where you are located?) Thank-You.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phuketbound View Post
    ^I agree. I've seen people with Masters that can't teach worth a shit. Thanks, Willy for this information.
    and Dr also.

    It is my understanding that you receive a higher pay if you have a Master's over a B.Ed. How much more, I am curious to know about.
    depends on the school. currently I get nothing extra, some schools as high as an extra $10k p/y extra.

    What are the Int. schools like in Indonesia (isn't that where you are located?) Thank-You.
    same same Thailand. (but not quite as numerous.)

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    Tax refunds

    Most professional, subject teachers are entitled to a tax refund for the first two years in Thailand

    TAG Consultancy

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevejackson View Post
    Thanks for posting. It really helps.
    Yeah that was helpful information thanks for posting

  20. #20
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    The recruiting fair season has kicked off again, an interesting situation as the economic turn down has appeared to restricted teachers plans to leave their own school, thus creating uncertainty with heads of schools not knowing which positions they have available or not.

    Quite a number of schools are offering resign fees up to a couple of thousand dollars. I heard of one school who actually paid sign on fees to teachers that did not even resign (since they gave the head of school early notice of intention to leave)

    The are also hiring suitable applicants as quickly as they can instead of waiting ....

    In some ways it is a teachers market right now.

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    ^ that's no bloody good to me. I need to wait another 12 mths before I can get my passport out and apply international!!! still one step at a time. I have noticed a few jobs appearing on TES lately as well. Regents and Shrewsbury in the last week and st Stephens and BIS before

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggsy
    Shrewsbury
    marvelous school, well the one in England is

  23. #23
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    Hello,

    I wonder if you can offer some suggestions.

    I will be ready to move to Asia in the middle of next year. I've been working my arse off for the last 5-years to furnish this move. If I leave it any longer, my age will begin to work against me.

    By the time I move, I'll have paid off my house/flat. I will be a western qualified secondary school English teacher, with an MA, BA and CELTA.

    I will, however, only have the several months teaching experience from my course. This will cover exposure to the UK Curriculum.

    I understand I won't have much/any chance of the top-tier schools in Thailand, but wonder what you think my chances might be with the second tier schools. Hopefully, working my way up to the top-tier after however many years.

    Do you think my plan has any plausible chance of success ?

    Can you give me suggestions of how best apply for those positions; apply from the UK, or go to Thailand and apply.

    I don't graduate until the end of November this year, do you think I should begin sending my cv to schools now, to let them know I'm interested ?

    e

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by insideleft
    By the time I move, I'll have paid off my house/flat. I will be a western qualified secondary school English teacher, with an MA, BA and CELTA.
    MA in what? BA in what ?

    CELTA is all well and good, but will you have an education degree or a PGCE ?

    That's perhaps the most important bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by insideleft
    I will, however, only have the several months teaching experience from my course. This will cover exposure to the UK Curriculum.
    i.e. beginning teacher. that's fine, depending on your answer to the above question.

    Quote Originally Posted by insideleft
    I understand I won't have much/any chance of the top-tier schools in Thailand, but wonder what you think my chances might be with the second tier schools. Hopefully, working my way up to the top-tier after however many years.
    perhaps even third tier thai schools with international or english programs, a university might also be an option. depends on your answer to the first question.

    Quote Originally Posted by insideleft
    Do you think my plan has any plausible chance of success ?
    of course it does.

    it depends on your answer to the first question.



    Quote Originally Posted by insideleft
    Can you give me suggestions of how best apply for those positions; apply from the UK, or go to Thailand and apply. I don't graduate until the end of November this year, do you think I should begin sending my cv to schools now, to let them know I'm interested ?
    best suggestions to apply are given in the top of the thread. contact an agency or two. read the Times Education Supplement.

    I dont think there is any point sending your CV now, they are busy filling places for July/August. Your cv will just get lost.

    good luck.

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    see above.

    My MA is a double major - Ethics and Law

    BA - Social Work, with a sub-majors in English Literature, philosophy, sociology, politics, citizenship sub-majors.

    At the end of November this year, I'll be fully qualified in Australia to teach English/Literature, Social Science and Legal Studies at secondary school level.

    I will be seeking employment teaching the subject of English or any of the other subjects I've credits in in an I.B. program. I will not be seeking Tefl positions.

    e

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