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Teaching Overseas: Are you Qualified?

source:tieonline time:2018-12-05 11:31:36 read:164

Requirements for Teaching Overseas 
Teachers who are looking for a change of pace, or just feel like they are getting into a dull routine, might want to consider teaching overseas. Many teachers wonder if they are qualified because they may never have worked, taught, or even traveled abroad, and concerns about language requirements consistently surface. Additionally, many people hold the mistaken notion that without any experience, they can still go overseas to teach English. 

To answer these questions and dispel any myths about what is required to teach abroad, here is a quick guide to what you will need to teach at an international school overseas: 

Language Requirements 
“I don’t speak a foreign language,” is the common reaction of most teachers, but knowledge or fluency in a foreign language is not necessary to teach at international schools. 
The only language requirement for teaching at an international school is that you speak English. In fact, native speakers of English, or those who command a high level of fluency in English, are exactly the types of candidates that international schools are looking for. American and international schools all over the world consist of diverse, multicultural student bodies whose common denominator is that they are all English-speaking. 

This means that regardless of what subject or grade-level you teach, you will be teaching it in English.

Education Requirements 
International Schools are looking for teachers who hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher in their subject area. Therefore, if you are planning to teach Social Studies at the middle or high school level, you should have a degree in history, political science, anthropology, sociology or any of the other social sciences. The same applies for secondary teachers of English, Mathematics, Science and other subjects. Elementary school teachers should hold a degree in education, childhood development, or other related subjects. 
teach overseas
Experience 
Is overseas teaching experience required to get hired by an international school? No, you need not have taught overseas before! But you do need a minimum of two years of teaching experience before you can teach at an international school. Contrary to a common misperception, teaching abroad is not the place to learn how to teach and to get your first experience running a classroom. “International schools are looking for proven performers who can hit the ground running and are capable of managing their own classroom independently,” explains Forrest Broman, President of The International Educator (TIE), a non-profit organization dedicated to the dual mission of helping teachers find positions at international schools and providing qualified candidates to staff these schools. 

It’s a Small World After All 
Once you have landed your first international teaching job, you are a more desirable candidate going forward, because you have already proven that you are adaptable in a foreign environment and that you have been successful at an international school. Furthermore, the references and recommendations you will have secured after your first international teaching stint will make future placements easier. The expression, It’s a small world, really bears true in the international school community. School heads know one another, and will place greater value on a recommendation from a colleague they know well or have worked with in the past. For teachers getting into the international circuit Mr. Broman has some sage advice: “It’s important to honor contract agreements and maintain professionalism, because your reputation precedes you.” 

Certification Requirements 
Many international schools require that teachers be certified in their subject area and grade level. Depending on your state or province it could be K-3, K-6, K-12 certification, or licensure for your specific subject and grade level. Check with your state’s Department of Education for specific requirements. International schools will accept certification from the state or region in which you are licensed. 

If you are not certified, but have experience teaching at a private school, do not be deterred. 
Some international schools will waive the certification requirement if a teacher has valuable experience. “Private independent schools in the U.S. employ talented teachers who often are not certified,” explains Mr. Broman, a former head of international schools in Latin America and the Middle East. According to Broman, “International schools are willing to hire these teachers, despite the fact that they are not licensed, because they bring valuable experience to their schools.” 

Ready, Set, Go! 

Don’t let your blank passport pages stop you! If you are a teacher with at least two years experience and you are fluent in English, then you are qualified to teach at an overseas international school. So what are you waiting for? Brush-up your resume, pack your bags, and get ready for the experience of a lifetime! 

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