5 Factors to Consider when Choosing a School as an Expat Teacher
Sorcha Coyle, Empowering Expat Teachers
I’ve been teaching abroad for over 10 years now (in Qatar and Dubai), and I can honestly say it’s been the best most empowering decision I’ve ever made. Sadly, not every expat teacher has the same experience, so here are five important factors to consider when you’re choosing a school abroad as an expat teacher…
1. Your goals
Ask yourself, what are your life goals?
What are your personal, professional and financial goals?
It’s really important to be clear on these because they can influence the type of international school and the type of location that you choose as an expat teacher.
For example, if one of your goals is to save six figures in four or five years, then you might consider schools in Asia, especially China, where teaching packages tend to be higher (with a lower cost of living) than packages in the UAE, so you can save more easily/ quickly.
In terms of your career, if one of your goals is to make rapid career progression into leadership, you might decide to choose a new or start-up international school because they tend to have multiple leadership or management positions available for staff as the school expands.
2. Your Zones of Genius or Unique Selling Points
Now let’s think about your unique selling points (USPs) as a teacher.
What are your top teaching strengths, talents, and skills?
Now you’ve determined your USPs, you need to find a school abroad that aligns with them.
For example, if you are extremely passionate about teaching students who have English as a Second Language, then an international school that has 100% British expat students who all speak English fluently may not be your cup of tea or in your Zone of Genius.
P.S. Check out our self-reflection for teachers HERE.
3. The Salary and Package
The salary and package offered can vary according to school, according to region, and according to country, so it is a big consideration.
First of all, is the salary competitive?
it allow you to have a great standard of living while also being able to save?
Does the school package cover your annual flights home?
What about your visa expenses and your moving/ shipping allowance?
If you have a pre-existing health condition, will the school’s medical insurance cover you?
Does the school provide a decent rent allowance that will cover a one bed apartment in a nice part of the city?
Never say yes to an international teaching job offer until you’ve read the contract in detail.
4. Professional Development Opportunities
How can you develop as a practitioner and hone your craft while at that school?
If you’re a teacher who enjoys updating their teaching skills through PD, then during the interview, you must ask about what sort of professional development opportunities the school offers.
In terms of the region where your school is located, are there good international travel links?
Are you near an airport, so you can fly back if there’s an emergency at home?
How long does the flight take and how much does the ticket cost?
If you plan to visit home 3-4 times a year, this can all add up, so do your research!
Hi, I’m Sorcha! I’ve been an expat teacher in the Gulf for over 10 years now and I run the Empowering Expat Teachers community, whose mission is to empower future and current expat teachers to lead personally, professionally, and financially rewarding lives. I am especially excited about the financial empowerment aspect of expat teaching because it allowed me to save six figures in my first teaching job in Qatar and if I could do it, anyone can! I’m also a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and I am currently completing my level 7 ILM Coaching and Mentoring qualification. If you would like daily CV, cover letter and money tips, follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
In my free time, you’ll either find me in the nearest karaoke bar, singing a 70s disco song, or catching up on the latest episode of “Murder, She Wrote” or “Golden Girls.”
A huge thank you to Sorcha for this months Empowering Expat Teachers Series. We’re already looking forward to reading the February edition “How to Adapt an Irish CV for Schools Abroad”.
Did you know that 74% of teachers do not feel confident with formative assessment teaching methodologies?
As we approach the new school year, this survey conducted by Rahoo Training in 2020, and its findings, should be at the forefront of a school leader’s mind.
Webinar 8th November 2023: How to Enhance the Teaching & Learning of Maths with Formative Assessment
“How to Enhance the Teaching & Learning of Maths with Formative Assessment” is 1 hour in duration including Q&A opportunities.
This webinar will be hosted by a Nadine Lyons, Maths Lead Practitioner at South View School Dubai.