What should you be looking for?
There are so many ways of applying for an international teaching job. Jason Cox of TIC Recruitment takes a look at what you can expect from a good agency.
A new school year has just begun and as summer travels recede into the distance, you might be thinking seriously about a career change for 2024/25. Perhaps you have heard from friends who are already teaching overseas and you find the idea of working internationally appealing, but as yet, you are not quite sure about where to start looking to find the best opening in a school or country that will really suit you.
One good option that will help you focus your thoughts quickly is to sign up with a reputable international teacher recruitment agency, many of which have developed significant expertise in supporting teachers and international schools over the last twenty or thirty years – some even longer. However, there are a lot of agencies to choose from these days. So what should a good agency offer?
Here are some pointers.
A good agency is built on experience. Their consultants will have been teachers or school leaders themselves and know their education. If you are looking for an international job, look out for agencies who have staff with international experience as they will be able to answer questions and give advice from first hand knowledge.
2. Good opportunities at great schools
Look at the schools the agency works with and the range of different countries where jobs are being advertised on the agency’s website. A good agency will be able to talk you through the pros and cons of various opportunities and will work hard to recommend teaching positions that suit your profile – both as a person and as a professional. You might be surprised – some countries that you may not have considered could have a wider range of career options than you thought. A good agency may also have an extensive network of schools and partnerships with established educational groups across the globe that will give you access to a much broader range of job opportunities.
3. Good people
The team at a good agency will be engaging and will guide you through the recruitment process, matching your skill set, experience, qualifications and aspirations with opportunties which have ‘come up’, as well as supporting you with CV writing and interview preparation.
4. Long-term perspective
Agencies who support schools in finding teachers that are going to be great long-term placements are the agencies that the best schools return to year after year. Consequently they are the ones who will have some fo the best jobs being advertised at really good schools.
The best agencies have a deep knowledge of the market – they know the current job trends and salary expectations for teachers. This information can be invaluable when making judgements about different benefit and salary packages and then making really informed career decisions. Providing the latest information not only about the kind of salary you might be able to command as an international teacher, but also what sort of benefits are included, such as good CPD, housing and medical cover is the mark of a good agency.
6. Career pathway
People ‘go international’ for a wide range or reasons. A good agency will help you find opportunities to develop your skills and work as part of a great team. You are in a position to find new opportunities, so don’t limit yourself unnecessarily to the kind of work you have always done. A good agency will also give you more background about innovative and progressive curricula that you may never have heard of and help you steer a course through an international career in a way that you might not have anticipated. Promotion opportunities are more common than at home and a good agency should be able to give you the heads up about your prospects for promotion at different schools.
7. Work-life balance
You’ll quickly learn that good international schools have high expectations of their staff. But if you are going to work hard, expect to play hard as well. A good agency will be honest about ‘high expectations’, but will also have insight into the ethos and atmosphere at a school and how they support their staff to have a ‘work-life’ balance.
Above all else, a good agent will not only know their schools – they will also get to know you as well.
Jason Cox is Director of TIC Recruitment .
If you would like to find out more about what it’s like teaching overseas read teacher stories on the TIC website.
If you would like to communicate with one of their consultants please drop TIC a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you then register your information online, and share your CV, TIC will forward your application to schools on your behalf after finding out more about you.