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Employment Tips

Choosing the Right Country to Get Back into Teaching
By:Charles Christie

Easy I hear you say, just upload your resume on this website accept one of the offers and fly out and start the job. Not so easy now days as visa, age, cost, qualifications and other requirements you must meet to secure a job & work visa.

Jobs available matching your criteria

Large selection of ESL jobs to apply for from kindergartens, universities, state and language schools. With prior experience holding a TEFL, CELT you are in demand and can obtain one of the better jobs in the education sector. Literally you can teach for one year and then move onto the next place as there are so many jobs available to teach English.

With more and more demand for the English language proficient teachers with the right soft skills can be assured there will be jobs in the industry for many years to come.

Depending on your aspirations for career progression to management or stay as a classroom teacher will guide you towards accepting your next teacher role. Everyone is different in what they are looking for in a job role, for me a position in Hong Kong, Thailand or Singapore as a class teacher or maybe in Spain or France.

I have already taught in the Middle East and the UK, would no even look at relocating to many countries as for me certain working conditions, salary, students, location are leading roles in choosing my next employment position & destination.

Travel, teach and move on is different to moving to one country and putting down routes. Time in life and what I require to achieve to set myself up for retirement limits the choice of country and the terms & conditions of employment.

For you think about:

Short term contract v long term employment: Young people looking for adventure or even older people often accept for 1-2 years then move onto a better paying job with additional salary benefits.

Some employers feel younger people are suited for certain roles, such as kindergarten teacher, and then older teachers are preferred by Middle East language &training schools.

Training & development options at your school or if you choose to complete a degree course in linguistics are you going to use the qualification in that country or move elsewhere? Completing a degree online is fine for many countries, although many Middle East countries do not accept distance learning or online qualifications; this is a work visa requirement.

Changing work visa & residency renewal requirements for English teachers: The past few years has seen much stricter criteria in changing work visa sponsorship, and especially residency criteria. Popular places such as China keep adding extra requirements to gain residency in certain cities, not just in the country itself.

Will you still be seen as a qualified English teacher in 2 years time if your host country changes the rules on who is qualified or not?

How long has it been since you taught in a classroom?

12 years since my last lesson in Kuwait, hopefully it is like riding a bike and no great changes have happened in the meantime. Fair amount of employers will see you out of date if you have no recent (past 2 years) teaching experience.

Experience and qualifications you have acquired in the past never go out of date, so that is good. Easing back into a routine of lesson plans; grading, tests, targets and workplace politics could be more challenging depending on the role or school you have chosen.

Country culture, laws, health, and social activities

Comfortable surroundings and the ability to take part in leisure activities are important to creating a work life balance to stay happy. Talking to fellow teachers in the past about happiness in their job and location has provided mix responses.

Being able to adapt to the culture is crucial for a successful relocation. As a foreigner, and someone that looks different I expect to be treated the same by everyone, although from my past experience that is not always been forthcoming from the countries people or government departments.

Not being discriminated in anyway is an important factor in choosing a country to work in. I wish to feel safe and know my rights if anything happened would be honoured.

Opportunity to apply for permanent residency when I have stopped working is a positive benefit for me in selecting a country to live and work.

Think also about healthcare standard & coverage, obtain a driving license, transfer money out of a country, exit permit, right to rent accommodation and access to schools for your children.

Weigh up the balance between what a country has to offer and see if it offers most of what you are looking for.

Partner and children

Forget finding a partner in a desolate place such as Kuwait. Good safe country, paid well and jobs for teachers, although you require selling your soul.

Moving to teach elsewhere with a partner, wife or children must be greatly different than a single guy like me. Certain countries prohibit couples from living together if they are unmarried, just one thing to think about.

What are your wives and children’s views of moving to another country and leaving everything they know behind? Opting for a country with many cultural, social and education opportunities on offer will help a family to settle in their chosen area. Look at Australia for example, the BBC has previously reported that 33% of people to emigrate to Australia return to the UK within 2 years for various reasons.

Cost to relocate

Significant factor now is the initial start up cost from the first stage of attending an interview to receiving your first pay check in the new job. Going to China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates will cost a single UK teacher £1,500 + in documents, processing, medical, flight, criminal record check, travel costs to the embassy and postage costs just to arrive in theses countries.

Could take you 1 to 4 months net salary before breaking even. Remember you are on short term renewable contract in a foreign country, and who is to say it will be financially viable for your situation.

Age restrictions

How old are you? 22, well you are too young for an Indonesia work visa as a teacher. I am 53 and know I have limited time left to teach and obtain residency & work permits in Asian countries. Should your plan to travel and teach then think about age requirements for your desired teaching locations. Go to China, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kenya early.

Salary earning capacity

Looking to spend a substantial amount of money then secure a more senior position or a job in a country that pays ESL teachers well.

Research the country & location for living costs for you and immediate family to live. Remember you will have tax, retirement and possibly other deductions from your monthly salary. Some countries have seen stagnating salaries and loss of benefits while all other day to day living costs have kept on rising.

Saving for the future is a must as there will come a time when employers start to reject old people (50 +) and country restrictions on employing foreigners come into play.

Also look at signing up for a private pension, although many countries offer a pension to workers who have paid in a certain amount of years payments.

Do you plan on saving towards a house when returning home? Factor in the cost of relocating and settling back in your home city.

Charles Christie writes about teaching and education. Educationtay

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