New opportunity

Teaching overseas as a BIPOC educator

According to Adrienne Waller there are very good reasons why BIPOC educators should consider the opportunities offered by working overseas.

In the midst of the “Great Resignation”, teacher shortages and exhaustion from the global pandemic, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) educators are looking for ways to feel fulfilled and valued.  Many have gone into business for themselves while others have remained in the classroom but want something different.  The answer might be to leave your current location and consider accepting a position abroad. Let’s explore the various reasons a BIPOC educator may look into taking their talents abroad.

Savings potential

We will just cut to the chase.  One of the key reasons any educator would leave their family, friends and what they are accustomed to is because of the potential savings/earning potential of going abroad. BIPOC educators are no exception. Often, there is no tax on the money you earn (this is country dependent) especially if you are a US Tax Payer earning under the upper $90,000 USD mark.  Additionally, many schools offer housing (or housing allowance), cover utilities (even internet could be included), annual bonuses, premium health care, paid PD travel and pension.  Each of these is dependent on the country and school you go to but at the right school there are possibilities.  When you account for these factors along with a low cost of living (again depending on the country) and tutoring possibilities, educators have been known to eliminate debt (or save) $30,000 – $40,000 USD in 3-5 years.  Why this is even more impressive is they do that while traveling and enjoying life.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Explore the world

Beyond exploring your new home, you will likely lean into traveling.  Depending on where you relocate, you might have an abundance of travel opportunities and options at your disposal.  Flights are likely to be cheaper to many places (especially if you are coming from the United States).  Additionally, many international schools offer more vacation time because they have local holidays, some international holidays and then breaks mirror the US and UK as time off.  This frequently leads to more time to travel and see the world.  Lastly, you are surrounded by educators who also want to travel.  You will learn great new travel destinations and tips while finding a supply of travel buddies.

Learn from educators around the world

When you work at an international school, you are exposed to educators from all over the world.  This is a unique opportunity to learn and grow from the various teaching philosophies, pedagogical approaches and lived experiences.  Each country has its own perspective on education.  While working in an international school, you will gain insight to how the world views education.  For example, the ‘house’ system used to organise many extra-curricular activities, especially sports that is used in the UK is very interesting and something many US schools are beginning to implement.

Rome, Italy

Learn more about you

While you are working with others, you will be forced to reflect on your beliefs, practices and viewpoints about education and your personal life.  You will begin to consider new perspectives on building friendships, discussing conflict and celebrating success.  As you consistently negotiate your interactions with your peers, you will begin to question, evaluate and develop a clearer understanding of who you are and the person you want to be.  You will have to navigate your new home which will build your resilience and sense of self.

Career advancement

International education is extremely transient.  This offers a constant flow of opportunity.  Ways to move on from the classroom come up more frequently overseas. You can remain consistent at school and move into a leadership role when there is an opening.  Alternatively, you can gain skills at your current school and then search for positions globally.  No matter the route you select, be sure to continuously develop your skills so you can set yourself apart.  International schools are frequently looking for high quality talent.



Improved work-life balance

In the United States and many other countries in the “west”, the work-life balance is being tipped in the wrong way.  Taking work home, spending lots of money on your classroom and even professional development are often on the teacher on his/her/their own time.  Going abroad has offered many the opportunity to find a better balance.  Depending on the school and the curriculum offered in schools overseas, you could well have about 2 planning periods a day, meetings built into your schedule and a budget to purchase materials and PD. Educators are, consequently, able to live a full life both in school and beyond.  This balance also allows you to be a better educator each day for your students.  Additionally, international schools typically do not add pressure to testing.  Rather testing to evaluate individual teachers, testing is used to show the impact of the school and not the quality of the teacher.

What about prejudice?

One of the key factors many BIPOC educators are concerned about when they leave home is how they will be treated abroad.  The truth is that racism, prejudice and oppression are a reality across the globe.  With that said, many places are much more accepting and appreciative of the presence of BIPOC educators from the “west”.  There is a bit of liberation that comes from accepting international positions.

Opening up a choice

BIPOC educators have choice in the positions they take and the locations they serve in.  International education for BIPOC educators is a chance to really enjoy the profession they love.  From personal growth to travel to career advancement, BIPOC educators should consider a position abroad.


Cayman Islands

Adrienne Waller is the founder of Worldwide Educator.

See for more information about finding a career teaching overseas.





Feature Image by: qimono on Pixabay

Support images:    kindly provided by Adrienne.

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