Want to teach abroad? Have you done your homework?

Applying for a teaching position at an international school can be a daunting process, especially when you haven’t done it before. But it doesn’t have to be. Understanding what to expect during the recruitment process can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty. Here are a few pointers on what to expect along the way. 

Step 1: Research and Apply

The first step in the recruitment process is a bit of desk research. It’s time to find out what’s out there, and remember to look early. Recruitment for teaching overseas starts early in the calendar year. An optional, but easy way to do this, is to speak with the experts. There are international teacher recruitment agencies that have long-established relationships with schools around the world. They would be well placed to find a suitable setting that aligned with your interests and qualifications, as well as prepare you for the application process. Of course, many international schools have their own website where you can find information about the school, its mission, and the types of positions they are currently hiring for. You can also find international teaching job listings on more general job boards. Once you have found a school or position that interests you, you can submit your application, which typically includes your resume, cover letter, and references.

Step 2: Interviews

Similarly to a teaching role in your native country, if your application is shortlisted, you will be asked to participate in a series of interviews. These interviews can take place over the phone, via video call, or in person. In some cases, depending on the role that you have applied for, you may be asked to meet with key stakeholders across the school community. These could include groups of parents or students. The school may also ask for additional documentation such as your teaching certification, transcripts, and proof of language proficiency. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your qualifications, experience, and importantly your teaching philosophy. They may also ask you to demonstrate your teaching skills by giving a mock lesson or lesson plan. It is important to remember that they are not just looking at your professional teaching ability, but also, your suitability for living in the host country. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that show you have considered this.

Extra: The international teaching profession is a small, well-networked community, try to avoid missing an interview with little or no notice. It could be remembered. 

Step 3: Pre-Employment Checks

Once the school has selected a candidate, they will conduct the usual pre-employment checks. These checks may include background checks, reference checks, and verification of your teaching certification. The school may also ask you to submit a medical form and provide proof of your health insurance. It may sound obvious, but it is also worth checking that your passport has a suitable length of time left on it. You may be needing it soon!

Step 4: Offer of employment

If the school is satisfied with the results of your pre-employment checks, they will extend an offer. The job offer will include details such as the start date, salary, and benefits. The school may also provide information about housing, relocation assistance, school places for your family if needed, and the school’s policies and procedures.

Step 5: Visa and Work Permit

Once you have accepted the offer of employment, the school will assist you with obtaining the necessary visa and work permit. They may even book your flight. The process for obtaining a visa and work permit can vary depending on the country and school. The school will provide you with the necessary forms and instructions, but it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that all the necessary documents are submitted and processed in a timely manner. This is your first real opportunity to show how organised you are, and these early impressions count.

Step 6: Arrival and Orientation

Once you have obtained your visa and work permit, you can make arrangements to travel to your new host country. Before your arrival, the school will provide you with information about practical matters. When you arrive, the school will typically provide an orientation program to help you acclimate to the new culture and environment. This will likely take place a week or so before the returning staff comes back. It is a great opportunity to get to know your new environment and bed in before the real work begins. If the intrepid explorer in you wants to get to know your new location, before you join the school community, it is sometimes worth traveling ahead of schedule and enjoying some holiday before term starts.  

The recruitment process for international teaching positions can take several months, so it’s important to be patient and persistent. Keep in mind that the process will vary depending on the school and country, so it’s essential to stay in communication with the school throughout the process.

In conclusion, applying for a teaching position at an international school can be a rewarding experience. Understanding the recruitment process and what to expect can help you navigate the process with confidence. Remember to research and apply to schools that align with your interests and qualifications, participate in the interviews, and follow through on the pre-employment checks. Once you receive a job offer, assist the school in obtaining the necessary visa and work permit and prepare for your arrival and orientation. With the right mindset and preparation, you can secure a teaching position at an international school and embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

Posted on 28th February 2023

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