Teach Abroad

I am often emailed questions about teaching in Taiwan. Most people assume I am teaching the English language to those who speak Chinese as a first language, but I am actually a certified teacher working at an international school. I taught in American public schools for four years before moving to Taiwan. Here in Taiwan, I teach 8th grade language arts and social studies and 9th grade introduction to literature. My husband teaches fourth grade. Nearly all of our students are fluent English speakers, and our curriculum and classes run exactly as they would in the United States.

As far as finding a job overseas, certified teachers should check out the following recruitment companies: International School Services (I.S.S.) and Search Associates. I used I.S.S., and I was hired for my position at an I.S.S. Boston job fair in February 2012. My husband was hired for his position after we had been here for three years. 

Before accepting any position at an international school, I would check out International Schools Review (but please read everything with a grain of salt). Also, see if the school will give you contact details for someone who currently works at the school or an employee who is also at the fair. This is a crucial step that will hopefully help you make an informed decision, and if the school hesitates or refuses, I would read that as a huge red flag.

It is important to keep in mind that there are all kinds of international schools; I just read an article that stated there are 8,000 international schools in the world today. There are some non-profit schools, many for profit schools, a handful of embassy linked schools, and quite a few ESL schools masquerading as international schools, so it's important to do a lot of research so you know what kind of situation you are getting yourself into.

After my six years abroad, I have learned that teaching abroad requires all the flexibility and adaptability you possess as well as a very healthy sense of humor.

[NOTE: Another avenue for American certified teachers to work abroad is the DODEA, which places certified American teachers at U.S. military bases worldwide to educate the children of active duty personnel. This is not quite the same as most overseas teaching jobs because all of the students are American, but the salary and benefits are very good.]
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