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Teachers International Consultancy: International School Teachers from UK and USA Support Education Reform in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan may not spring to mind as an obvious destination for either vacation or career, but for UK teacher Ian Shotter, it’s proving so successful that he’s hoping to stay for another five years if not more. “I’m really enjoying the opportunities that the position has provided me with,” he says, talking about his job as ICT teacher at the NIS school in Almaty.

Now well into his first year of teaching in Kazakhstan, Ian says the experience is both challenging and rewarding. “We use a curriculum provided by Cambridge,” he says referring to the new Kazakhstan curriculum which has been written in association with Cambridge University and is introducing rigorous skill development and progression to the country. ”The ideas are sound and we hope that the curriculum format will improve the learning of students here,” Ian explains. “The students soak up everything that you are prepared to give them. It is my intention to stay in Kazakhstan for the next five years if there’s a position here for me.”

NIS schools lead educational reform

CIMG0077 There are NIS (Nazarbayev Intellectual School Network) schools in several locations throughout Kazakhstan including the capital Astana and the cities of Semey, Kokshetau, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Taldykorgan and Uralsk, all of which are leading a programme of educational reform in the country. The aim is to develop a new way of educating local Kazakh students and the NIS Network is enlisting the skills of qualified, experienced English-speaking teachers to spearhead the progress. Ian is one of these teachers. He trained as a teacher in the UK and had worked for several years in secondary schools and academies in England which helped in his recruitment to NIS. “The way teachers teach here it is quite different to the UK way and you need to adjust to the language barriers but I think that I have adjusted reasonably quickly,” he says.

Ian is teaching ICT in English to local students in collaboration with local teachers. This mentoring process is one of the specific roles for the expatriate teachers and involves supporting the Kazakh teachers with teaching, planning and assessment.  Corey Johnson is doing the same as a Geography teacher.

Gaining from cultural differences

Corey is a Social Studies teacher originally from Missouri, USA. “The curriculum is very different from the one I used in America so I had to learn a lot about it very quickly,” he says. “Doing this was hard work at the beginning, but I have quickly adapted. The teachers I work with are very diverse, and that is different than the schools I worked at in America. Also the students come from a different culture and background and this means I have to be aware of cultural differences, and adapt my teaching to fit my students. Even though all of these teachers and students come from different backgrounds they find a way to work together in harmony, and I think that is pretty amazing,” he adds.

In addition to their teaching, both Corey and Ian are enjoying discovering many new social experiences in Kazakhstan too. “Adjusting to life in a new country is always challenging, but it is also rewarding,” says Corey. “The food here is great. I was surprised at how friendly and kind the people are; it really helps the transition to living here.”

Corey has now been teaching internationally for seven years and says that each time he moves to a new country, he gains more experience. “Saying goodbye is a hard thing to do, but knCIMG0126owing that a grand adventure is waiting for you out there is very enticing,” he says, adding that flexibility, adaptability, strength of character, and an adventurous spirit are all necessary qualities for teaching internationally. He offers advice to others considering it as a career option: “Take everything for what it is, and don’t compare where you are to your home country. Of course it’s not the same; things are different, and some things are hard, but that is the adventure of it all. Enjoy yourself, and you will have a lifetime of memories to look back on after your time is finished.”

Increasing options for international teaching

Since taking on his first international posting in 2005, the opportunities available to Corey in international schools have increased significantly. “The number of international schools around the world is growing at a phenomenal rate,” explains Andrew Wigford, Director of Teachers International Consultancy, an organisation that specialises in the recruitment of teachers for international positions. “Many international schools provide excellent learning provision for both expatriate children and for local children who are seeking an English-speaking education. Most international schools have a very good reputation for learning and for the higher education opportunities that they provide, and this is fueling their growth.  There are some regions of the world, such as Dubai, where the number of international schools is simply not meeting the demand and so right now schools are continually expanding. There are other regions, such as Singapore, where the international schools are helping to support new global business development due to the education infrastructure suitable for expatriate students that is being put in place.  And there are other places such as Kazakhstan where international schools are actually changing the face of education throughout the country. It’s a very exciting time for teachers who have good experience and skills and who want to travel. Not always is it sunshine and sand that motivates a teacher to select a destination. Corey and Ian are both examples of teachers who have selected their teaching job for quite different reasons. Being part of educational reform is a compelling, challenging and rare experience and one that they are bound to gain from both professionally and personally.”

The Nazarbayev Intellectual School Network is continuing to recruit experienced English-speaking teachers to support Kazakhstan’s education reform.

Teachers International Consultancy offers a recruitment, placement and advisory service for qualified teachers from all over the world who are looking for jobs in international schools including those at NIS in Kazakhstan. The service is completely free to teachers. For more information visit www.ticrecruitment.com

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Teachers International Consultancy: This time next year…teachers get planning for international opportunities.

It’s not an easy time of year for many teachers. Holidays are still a long way away and for many, winter is just around the corner. Not so for Physics teacher Gerry Young who is enjoying the sunshine in Bangkok and loving his work.

Four years ago, Gerry was in Lanarkshire, Scotland and not so happy. “The rain was battering against the roof of my lab and the wind was rattling the windows. It’s no secret that Scotland isn’t a nice place to be just now if you’re trying to find a [teaching] job.”

It was enough to inspire Gerry and his wife Jane to look further afield and as a result, they discovered the extensive opportunities available to qualified, skilled, English-speaking teachers and school leaders in international schools.

“We never realised the possibilities that were out there to develop our careers as well as to travel and see different countries and cultures – to live them rather than just pass through them,” he says.

Gerry and Jane have since spent three years teaching at an international school in Mauritius; “Where we worked with a staff body pulled from lots of wind-swept and interesting corners of the globe,” he says. “The lifestyle was completely different. We spent most of our free time outdoors, in the sunshine, on beaches and there are huge benefits to be gained from a rich career spent teaching and living overseas…in a word, adventure!”

This summer, Gerry and Jane relocated as a teaching couple to Harrow International School in Bangkok. “We moved from a sleepy little school of 260 pupils to one of the biggest names in international education with almost 1200 pupils, and traded mellow Mauritius for bustling Bangkok – a different corner of the world and a whole new adventure,” says Gerry.

With over 6,000 English-medium international schools to choose from, making their move could have been quite a daunting prospect  for the Youngs. “What is often a traumatic experience was transformed into one where excitement and anticipation were our main emotional states,” explains Gerry who says the recruitment approach that Harrow International took was supportive, informative and reassuring.

Andrew Wigford from Teachers International Consultancy which is the sole recruiter for Harrow International Schools says “The number of international schools is growing at a phenomenal pace. Finding the right school to match a teacher’s specific skills and experiences, that supports their career growth, is a reputable establishment, and offers them the lifestyle and location they choose can be a challenging matching-up process.”

As a specialist recruitment organisation for international schools, Teachers International Consultancy works with many schools throughout the world and places hundreds of teachers each year. “There are currently over 280,000 expatriate teachers working in international schools around the world and there’s still a demand for more who have great skills and teaching experience. Our advice to those considering this as a career move is research the schools as much as you can. Look for accredited schools or those with a very good reputation and get your applications in early. Most international schools start their first round of recruitment in January and February so now is the time to get registered with a recruitment organisation and to find out as much as you can. Agencies that specialise in the international schools market should be able to help you through the whole process; right from preparing your CV appropriately, and reputable agencies do not charge candidates for this service because there is such a demand for quality teachers.”

If you would like to find out more about the opportunities available for working in international schools, Teachers International Consultancy regularly hosts free informational webinars and will also be hosting a free seminar providing advice about teaching in international schools on Saturday 17th November in London. For more information visit www.ticrecruitment.com

TIC (Teachers International Consultancy) article: This time next year….teachers get planning for international opportunities

It’s not an easy time of year for teachers. The summer holidays are over, the academic year ahead seems daunting, and bad weather is just around the corner. Not so for Physics teacher Gerry Young who is enjoying the sunshine in Bangkok and loving his work.

Four years ago, Gerry was in Lanarkshire, Scotland and not so happy. “The rain was battering against the roof of my lab and the wind was rattling the windows. It’s no secret that Scotland isn’t a nice place to be just now if you’re trying to find a [teaching] job.”

It was enough to inspire Gerry and his wife Jane to look further afield and as a result, they discovered the extensive opportunities available to qualified, skilled, English-speaking teachers and school leaders in international schools.

“We never realised the possibilities that were out there to develop our careers as well as to travel and see different countries and cultures – to live them rather than just pass through them,” he says.

Gerry and Jane have since spent three years teaching at an international school in Mauritius; “Where we worked with a staff body pulled from lots of wind-swept and interesting corners of the globe,” he says. “The lifestyle was completely different. We spent most of our free time outdoors, in the sunshine, on beaches and there are huge benefits to be gained from a rich career spent teaching and living overseas…in a word, adventure!”

This summer, Gerry and Jane have relocated as a teaching couple to Harrow International School in Bangkok. “We moved from a sleepy little school of 260 pupils to one of the biggest names in international education with almost 1200 pupils, and traded mellow Mauritius for bustling Bangkok – a different corner of the world and a whole new adventure,” says Gerry.

With over 6,000 English-medium international schools to choose from, making their move could have been quite a daunting prospect  for the Youngs. “What is often a traumatic experience was transformed into one where excitement and anticipation were our main emotional states,” explains Gerry who says the recruitment approach that Harrow International took was supportive, informative and reassuring.

Andrew Wigford from Teachers International Consultancy which is the sole recruiter for Harrow International Schools says “The number of international schools is growing at a phenomenal pace. Finding the right school to match a teacher’s specific skills and experiences, that supports their career growth, is a reputable establishment, and offers them the lifestyle and location they choose can be a challenging matching-up process.”

As a specialist recruitment organisation for international schools, Teachers International Consultancy works with many schools throughout the world and places hundreds of teachers each year. “There are currently over 280,000 expatriate teachers working in international schools around the world and there’s still a demand for more who have great skills and teaching experience. Our advice to those considering this as a career move is research the schools as much as you can. Look for accredited schools or those with a very good reputation and get your applications in early. Most international schools start their first round of recruitment in January and February so now is the time to get registered with a recruitment organisation and to find out as much as you can. Agencies that specialise in the international schools market should be able to help you through the whole process; right from preparing your CV appropriately, and reputable agencies do not charge candidates for this service because there is such a demand for quality teachers.”

If you would like to find out more about the opportunities available for working in international schools, Teachers International Consultancy regularly hosts free informational webinars and will also be hosting a free seminar providing advice about teaching in international schools on Saturday 17th November in London. For more information visit www.findteachingjobsoverseas.com.

Teachers International Consultancy: Advice from International Teachers on Moving Overseas

Over 10,000 teachers will this summer be packing their suitcases, finalising their visas and saying goodbye to their families and friends as they start a new life teaching overseas. They will be joining 293,000 other qualified, English-speaking teachers already working in international schools around the world.

For the new teachers who will be making this move within the next few weeks, now is the time for last minute plans. And who better to ask than those teachers who have already done it

Teachers International Consultancy (TIC), an organisation that specialises in recruiting teachers for international schools, recently surveyed many teachers who had moved overseas this time last year. The big question was, just exactly what matters most when emigrating?

What’s most important in those first few days?

TIC asked international teachers for their advice on the five most important things to take with you when moving abroad.

Everyone agreed that you need to be as fully prepared as possible before you arrive in a new country, so researching such topics as currency and culture are vital. Many teachers suggested having copies of your accommodation arrangements and school details with you when you arrive in your new country and to keep these with you, along with your passport and any visa details plus a pocket guide book, during your first few weeks. Other ‘must haves’ in those early days include international plug socket adapters, a laptop and a flash drive or memory stick with all you have accumulated electronically, some of your favourite teacher resources, your camera, adequate currency of the country, all your banking details including direct contact information, pillow cases, favourite toiletries, basic emergency medical supplies, and photographs of family and friends. One teacher said the one thing that made a huge difference to her were some simple household items: “it’s great when you arrive in an empty house or apartment and can at least make yourself a cup of tea,” says Suzie King who is now teaching at the British School of Egypt in Cairo.

Many people said to think about appropriate clothing for your destination to ensure it suits the climate (not only upon arrival but also year-round) and also to meet the cultural expectations. With international schools located in virtually every country of the world, this can range from fur coats and hats necessary for places like Russia and Kazakhstan, to linen and cotton for Singapore, outfits that keep arms and legs covered for many countries in the Middle East, and Abayas for women in Saudi Arabia.

Making the adjustment

According to the teachers who were researched by TIC, one of the hardest things to adjust to when moving abroad is leaving friends and family. There were plenty of suggestions for coping with this in the very first few days. These included setting yourself up as soon as you can with Skype, email and Facebook in order to communicate easily, cheaply and regularly with friends and family.  Other tips were to talk and socialise with other teachers from your new school. Some schools have a buddy system to help teachers settle into the first term or year, but don’t just rely on that person. Several respondents said talk to as many people as you can, say ‘yes’ to as many social invitations as you can, and don’t just wait for people to come to you. One teacher said “invite people over or take food you cook to school to share as a way of making friends with the staff.” Another said “if it’s safe, walk around, get a map, look for the local stores and explore them, go to the international church, talk to other teachers for tips on where to shop or where to go in general.” Mary-Ann Shelley who is now teaching at the International School of Qatar says “ask questions, be open to new ideas, and listen and absorb rather than comparing things to ‘back home’”. And Jenny Cleaver who moved to El Gouna in Egypt last September says “learning a few words in your new language helps with the locals; they really appreciate it.”

Advice that all teachers who were interviewed agreed upon was to be open to new experiences when arriving in a new country. “You chose to live in a different country where the culture is different and things are done differently,” says Suzie King. “Learn from that. I’ve definitely become more internationally-minded as a result of this. Every culture does things its own way. It has been very interesting for me to get to know so many people from so many different cultures. I think it’s great to see similar things done in a slightly different way.”

For more information on moving overseas, including advice and case studies on other peoples’ experiences, visit the Teachers International Consultancy website at www.findteachingjobsoverseas.co.uk

Discussion Topic: Things I (an international school teacher) Have Not Done in a Year

After living abroad for so many years, I have forgotten all the things that you don’t do anymore.  We used to have a different life, didn’t we?  But now that you are living abroad, many of your routines have changed. Being that these changes have now become your new routines, you tend to forget about the things you used to do!

Inspired by this blog entry by the Kirby Family, Things I Have Not Done in a Year, we invite our readers and members to discuss their list of things that they haven’t done in a year (or more for that matter).

 

The following is the list from the Kirby Family blog:

In the past year I have not . . .

1) Driven a car.

2) Worn a seatbelt while riding in a car.

3) Used a vacuum.

4) Used a dishwasher.

5) Used a dryer.

6) Cooked anything in an oven.

7) Said “it’s cold” except when I was in an overly air conditioned movie theater, bus, restaurant ect.

8) Eaten steak, or really any form of beef.

9) Gone a day without eating rice.

10) Walked anywhere without carefully watching where I step so I can avoid the many creepy crawlies and the occasional elephant poop.

11) Walked into a public restroom expecting to find any of the following: a western toilet, toilet paper, soap or paper towels or any means of drying your hands.

12) I have not flushed toilet paper down the toilet.

13) Gone a day without smiling and laughing.

It has been a great year and I will miss so many things about Thailand and I am looking forward to the day I get to come back again.

If you are living in a “developing country” or a more “tropical climate” country like Thailand, you might be able to related to some of these statements for your past year or two. Teaching abroad at international schools can really change one’s life from your diet (eating more like the locals and not like the people from your home country) to your daily trips to the bathroom (quite important for some people, a bit of a culture shock when you are not supposed to flush toilet paper down the toilet).

Just want to mention about number 13…it is a great reminder to stay positive and keep your sense of humor with your chosen life abroad.  It directly relates to our latest 10 commandments of living overseas post topic: TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #9 – Maintain a sense of humor, but most importantly be ready to laugh at yourself.

Currently there are 37 international schools listed in Thailand on our website: International School Community.  Check out the latest comments and information that have been submitted about them here.  Who knows where you might be teaching next?!

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #5 – Look for ways to strengthen and maintain your enthusiasm

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS

5. Look for ways to strengthen and maintain your enthusiasm.

We all have been there before; alone in your new apartment, not wanting to go out onto the street to the nearby market, not wanting to be confronted with a bunch of people that are speaking a language you don’t understand, feeling tired all the time and wanting to sleep through your whole weekend, etc.

It takes some mental toughness to get your spirits up again, to grasp at a tiny bit of enthusiasm when you are knee-deep in culture shock feelings. If this is your 3rd international school you might have said to yourself, “this time it is going to be different. I am going to accept people’s offers of invitation to go out around the town. I am going to be more positive and active during the first 3-6 months after I arrive.”

Sometimes it feels like every other new teacher at your school is full of enthusiasm and you are the only one not feeling that way, but it is true that all new teachers go through this tough stage of culture shock which is trying to stay positive about your situation and keeping an up-beat attitude about the host country and culture.

Ways to increase and maintain your enthusiasm:

§ Invite some of the new teachers out for a drink at a bar in town, for a walk around the nearby park, for some dinner over at your new apartment, etc..

§ Join a meetup.com group in your host city. There are many groups on that website from all over the world. Sometimes it is good to just get away from your work colleagues and meet some other expats in other industries.

§ Start up a blog about all your new experiences living abroad. Keeping your friends and family up to date with all your new experiences can be quite motivating, and your friends and family look forward to your new entries and enjoy hearing about all your adventures.

§ Make sure you have some of your favorite TV programs to watch on your computer. We have all experienced in at least one of the host cities we’ve lived in the long wait time that there can be when getting internet installed in your new apartment. Having some TV programs or favorite movies to watch in the meantime can definitely keep your enthusiasm from dipping too low.

§ Make sure you don’t pass up your first travel opportunity of the school calendar. Looking online for flights to new destinations can really boost your enthusiasm for the expat life that you have chosen for yourself. If you are not feeling like traveling, just start asking around with the other teachers at your school. Once you hear where they are going, you will for sure want to get on the bandwagon and get your trip planned as well.

§ Before you move, make sure to pack some of your favorite home country food products. When you have a day that you are feeling down, you can get one of these products out for dinner. Having some familiar foods can really make you feel back on track. It might just be too much of a shock to your system to only be eating the host country’s cuisine.

Anybody have any more good ideas for keeping up your enthusiasm? There are many more for sure. Just try and keep in mind the reason that you decided to take on this new challenge and change in your life. The life of an expat is indeed quite nice, but it is not full of wonderful moments all the time. International school teachers need to be prepared to handle these tough situations we experience every once and awhile when our enthusiasm for this lifestyle temporary dims.

Featured article: Moving Overseas with Children by Teachers International Consultancy (part 1)

Moving Overseas with Children

Moving abroad with children requires a lot of planning in advance to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. There’s no doubt that you’ll be faced with hitches along the way, but everything that you can do to prepare in advance for your children’s new school needs will help you move your whole family overseas successfully.

Teachers International Consultancy (TIC) has helped hundreds of teachers and their families move to new jobs abroad. Here is some of the advice TIC offers to anyone moving overseas with school-age children, whatever the reason for your move:

  • Find out what schools are available in the area that you are moving to. Your company may well offer one, or a limited number of schools that you as a family can send your children to. This may include full payment or a contribution towards school fees. Make sure you know exactly what your company is paying for and the additional costs that you will incur. Tuition fees can just be the start of the expenses with costs for such things as uniform, resources and school trips ending up being very extensive.
  • Investigate the curriculum your children will be learning in their potential new schools. It may well be a school delivering the English National Curriculum or a curriculum that your children have learned in their home country, but the approach to learning and the standards may be very different. Your child may well have done some of the work before or may have missed out on parts of the curriculum.
  • Be prepared for your children to be learning alongside many children where English is their second language. Some parents see this as a very positive experience, others feel that their children are being disadvantaged. Your child may be one of just a few children in the school speaking English. This may be an issue when it comes to making friends. Children can feel very isolated in situations like this or may end up in a very tight group of ‘friends’ they may otherwise not have chosen, just because of language similarities. Help your child to prepare for this, suggesting ways to make friends through non-verbal actions.
  • Check out the pastoral care provided within the school. Some schools have an onsite counselor or assign a pastoral head of year, some schools have a buddy system for new children. Some schools are much better than others at helping new children settle.

For more advice about moving overseas go to www.findteachingjobsoverseas.co.uk