The profession of teaching is wonderful, especially when you believe that you’ve been called to serve in the role of transforming minds and busting up social inequality. There’s a special place in heaven for you. And sometimes this task can exhaust you of the heart with which you started. It’s okay soldier.
So treat yourself to an adventure—a self-defining life journey. Sharpen your edges again by expanding your skill set. Don’t worry about being a “sell-out”. Le struggle will be there for you when and if you decide to return.
If interested, here are some suggested steps to getting an overseas teaching position:
Steps for Overseas Teaching
- Get your papers in order.
Many folks are out here telling y’all that it’s easy to go overseas and land a teaching gig. And if you want to teach English in anybody’s language school, than there’s plenty of truth in that. But if you want a quality academic school post offering one of those sweet (near) all expense-paid contract, then you need a piece of paper from an accredited American/western institution. I don’t know what you’re incentive is for going overseas, but my priorities were in this order: first, adventure; second, make money, and; third, improve the quality of my life. If you’re certified with a degree in education at the BA level at least, you can land a job at any academic or exclusively language. Get copies of your diploma, and all other documents pertaining to your trainings scanned and uploaded to Google Docs or DropBox. Be sure to include any documentation of attended workshops on bullying, autism, CPR, abuse awareness, and even your practicum review forms if you can find them. Professional development records, even better. Tidy up and modernize your resume for sure, and get a new passport if you have less than five blank pages.
2. Let go of the location fixation!
Open your mind to the world. When I first looked to teach overseas, there was only one place in the world I wanted to go. Brazil…oh, how you enchanted my heart. It is my god’s honest truth that I still believe I received a message from the divine telling me that my spirit was created in Brazil. And despite every effort I made, all Brazilian doors slammed hard in my face. My resume caught no ones attention, and the few interviews I landed yielded cold hard rejections. After a month of depression and self-pity, I divorced my location fixation, shelved my dreams of Brazil, and cast my net out into the world. I applied for positions in 18 different countries. And after 30 interviews, I got offers from two schools. My choice: South Africa. And I haven’t looked back since.
- Register with an international teaching recruitment agency.
Lots of the upper tier internationals schools rely on Search Associates, International School Search or Association of American Schools in South America to staff their schools. They trust these organizations to filter out illegitimate teacher picks. For you, these organizations do the favor of systematizing your school search. On their databases, you can search for schools by position availability, region, etc. and can get a preview of salary and benefits packages. They also host hiring fairs all over the world. Furthermore, if you’re new to international teaching, attendance of a fair is a rite of passage. After you’re in, you’re in. Yes, these recruitment organizations cost money and the service is certainly worth it. But what’s great is that they store your records so that you want have to go through that record entry stage again when looking for your next gig.
Also, below are links to recruitment services for language school job placement, in case you don’t want to go the academic school route.
- Find cheerleaders.
Recruit colleagues, admin, and parents to fill out recommendations on your behalf. Before you can actually start navigating the job search sites, you’ll need to complete your profile with confidential references.
- Be aggressive.
Send an email to the HR department directly introducing yourself and your interest to fill in a posted or potential position at the school. Mention if you’ll be in attendance at a hiring fair and express interest in scheduling a conversation before or during the fair. Make phone calls if you get no response, especially if the school is not attending a fair or was your random find from a Google search.
- Have endurance.
This process can be tedious, especially if you have particular goals. Heck–even after you get the job, you’ll need to begin the visa requirement gathering process, which may or may not be a marathon. I broke down in deep open mouth sobs in the Qatar Consulate in NYC because they told me that I had three more steps to go before I could get my last stamp of approval this past June. Just assume you’ll never be finished until you’ve crossed the finish line.