Teaching K-12 Abroad
For those with U.S. teacher certification and some teaching experience, abundant opportunities exist to teach in K-12 schools in foreign countries.
Even for those without certification and/or experience, possibilities exist. If you fall into this latter category, be sure you read the section on Certification and Experience Requirements, which includes exceptions to the rules.
|>||Four sources of K-12 teaching opportunities overseas|
|>||Certification and experience requirement & exceptions|
|>||Tips on applying for an overseas teaching position|
|>||Other Web sites offering an overview of this process|
Four sources of K-12 teaching opportunities overseas
There are four main sources of international K-12 teaching positions. We divide them into these categories because, for the most part, the job search strategies and the resources are different in each category.
- Department of Defense Dependent Schools
- American overseas and international schools
- Volunteer organizations, such as the Peace Corps
- Opportunities through other US government-sponsored organizations
Certification and experience requirements - and exceptions to those
The first two types of schools (Department of Defense, and American international schools) almost always require:
- A college degree and
- Teacher certification in the U.S. and
- Under most circumstances, at least one to two years of teaching experience.
Exceptions to these requirements:
- The teaching experience requirement is sometimes waived for teachers of mathematics, computers, the sciences and other hard-to-fill positions.
- The US certification requirement is sometimes waived for teachers with prior teaching experience (if, for example, you have taught in the private or Catholic schools).
- The US certification requirement may, in rare instances, be waived by some American overseas and international schools if the school has recently been certified and is having trouble finding qualified American teachers.
- For those without certification OR paid teaching experience: Many of the international voluntary agencies offer positions to US citizens without certification or prior paid teaching experience (though they would generally look for some sort of classroom teaching experience, such as teaching English to immigrants or teaching in an after-school program).
Tips on applying for an overseas teaching position
- Begin early. Some applications are due a year in advance of the intended starting date.
- For positions with the DOD schools, the U.S.I.A. English Teaching Program, the Peace Corps, and the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program, submit applications directly to the addresses listed below.
- For all other types of positions, one can attempt to identify schools of interest through the directories listed in the Resources section. This approach might be cost-effective if you are looking for a position in a particular location. The ISS Directory of Overseas Schools is the most complete guide to private international schools; Teaching Abroad and Volunteer! are the best guides to a broader range of organizations.
- Begin corresponding with the appropriate Headmasters or Superintendents. Because of overseas postal delays, you may wish to provide more information in your initial correspondence than you would when seeking a stateside position. Send resume/vita, transcript of course work, letter of recommendation, and verification of certification. You should also include a self-addressed envelope and International Postal Reply Coupons.
- Alternatively, enlisting the aid of a placement service which specializes in the placement of educators overseas will probably make your search easier and increase your chances of placement. The cost of using such a service must be weighed against the time and cost of doing your own search; placement services may be especially worthwhile if you are not limiting your search to a particular location. If you are interested in a particular location, then check with the various services to see at which fair your location will be best represented. Placement services, which sponsor job fairs, are generally used by both private schools and by some affiliated with churches and volunteer organizations. These job fairs bring together candidates and administrators for personal interviews. Attending such a fair is especially important, since most people are hired as the result of an interview. Most fairs take place in February and require registration to reserve a place as early as November.
- Begin researching the countries of your choice. This will help you to make a favorable impression during an interview and may also assist you with the adjustment of living overseas should you accept an overseas position.
- Apply for a passport and begin thinking about necessary arrangements for a one, two, or three year commitment. Many books are available which provide extensive practical advice on preparing to live overseas, including housing, taxes, family, moving, and more.
1. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SCHOOLS
- A worldwide school system, operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) in 14 foreign countries in Europe and the Pacific.
- Most positions with the DOD require US teaching certification and teaching experience.
- The teaching environment is roughly similar to that of American public schools.
- Contact with host-country nationals would be relatively limited, since students and staff are American.
- Consider, as well, that the milieu will be decidedly military.
Department of Defense, Office of Dependent Educational Activity
Office of Personnel
4040 North Fairfax Drive, 6th Floor
Arlington, VA 22203
Recruit: (703) 696-3067 Other: (703) 696-2451
2. AMERICAN OVERSEAS & INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS
American overseas and international schools are independent schools most often established by American companies to educate the children of employees working abroad.
DOS, US Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools, Room 245:SA29 A/OS, Washington, DC 20522-2902, 703-875-7977 or 703-875-7800
Lists 180 American sponsored schools located in 113 countries. These schools are assisted by the US Department of State but are independent and non-governmental. Usually requires certification and some experience.
Includes a list of job fairs for teaching K-12 abroad; a list of schools abroad seeking teachers; a resume bank; and a ton of articles on finding teaching positions abroad.
Password: BC students and alumni may get the username and password by calling the Career Center, (617) 552-3430. Be prepared to provide your name, your graduation year and your school.
Employment source for educators.
Bimonthly magazine with listings of agencies, career articles and opportunities for teaching English as a second language. Check the September/October issue for web sites that list teaching abroad opportunities of all types. Also see their home page for a wider array of teaching abroad resources.
- Run by Friends of World Teaching, PO Box 1049, San Diego, CA 92112-1049; Tel.: 800-503-7436; Fax 619-224-5363; E-mail: email@example.com. Not a placement program.
- Offers listings of English-language K-12 schools in over 100 countries. Most positions full-year but shorter terms also available.
- What makes these listings worthwhile is that, along with all American overseas and international schools, their lists include many schools that would otherwise be difficult to identify: church-related and industry-supported schools, private, and governments schools.
- For $20, you receive school listings for three countries; please choose three countries when submitting request. Application deadline varies according to country, but schools accept applications year-round.
- Offered by the Office of Education at Embassy of Spain
- Allows students graduating from college this school year to work in Spanish public schools as classroom assistants for the next school year.
- Application period will be open through April 15, 2008
- Over 1,200 positions available
Recruiting agencies for American overseas and international schools
Mr. James Morris
Dick Bradley & Associates
Dr. Richard J. Bradley
Education Information Services (EIS)
Mr. Jim McKay
International Educators Cooperative
Dr. Lou Fuccillo
International Schools Services
Ms. Jane Larsson
The Inter-Regional Center for Curriculum and Materials Development (IRC)
Dr. Burton Fox, Director
Mr. Alan Travers, Placement Director
Dr. John Magagna
November 1-3, 2008
February 14-17, 2008
The UNI Fair Overseas Recruiting Fair is usually held in late February in Iowa. Over 110 American international schools representing more than 60 countries typically attend the Fair, which provides educators the opportunity to network and interview with these schools. Must be currently certified elementary or secondary educators or college students graduating with certification.
Ms. Tracey Roling
February 1-3, 2008
3. OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS
Despite the name "volunteer," most of the placements, if long term (two years), usually provide for the expenses of the teacher as well as a stipend. Options range from the government-sponsored Peace Corps to religious organizations (from non-proselytizing to traditional missionaries). Unlike private schools, pupils in these schools will be the children of ordinary people from the host country.
One third of Peace Corps volunteers are teachers in over 60 countries. Teach in elementary, secondary, normal, vocational schools and universities (no teaching experience required).
Attn.: Recruitment Office
US Peace Corps
150 Causeway Street, Rm 1304
Boston, MA 02114
- Requirements: Christian women and men committed to living their faith, 21 years of age or older, Capable of making a commitment, Good Physical Health, Single or married (no dependents).
- Opportunities: Education, Health Care, Child Care, Youth and Parish Ministry, Social Services, Elderly Outreach, Other Services.
- Geographic Areas: U.S.A. (1 year commitment) Colorado, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania.
- Overseas (18 months - 2 years) Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain, Swaziland.
- Contact Information: Cabrini Mission Corps, 610 King of Prussia Road, Randor, PA 19087-3698 call at 610-971-0821 or fax 610-971-0396 email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Volunteers must be over 21 with a college degree or relative work experience.
- Participants work with the poor, homeless, AIDS inflicted, elderly, women and children, refugees, and disabled.
- Teaching, nursing and community service are available in the US and many nations abroad.
- VMM is a Christian community of lay missionaries who live all over the world: Central America, Africa and the US.
- Applicants must have the following qualifications: a belief and commitment to Christian Faith and Tradition; good physical and psychological health; sensitivity and appreciation for all people regardless of age, sex, religion, race, or culture; flexibility and a sense of humor is a must.
- For more information please contact Volunteer Missionary Movement at 5980 West Loomis Road Greendale, WI 53129. Please call 414-423-8660
Programs Charging an Initial Fee
These programs charge a fee to participate and, in return, usually provide you with training, job placement, a work permit and, in some cases, health insurance and in-country assistance.
WorldTeach, Harvard Institute for International Development, 1 Eliot St., Cambridge, MA 02138. 617-495-5527
Teach English, math or science or coach sports in Bangladesh, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Pohnpie, Poland, or South Africa. Programs usually run one year. Some of these programs are subsized, while others have a fee.
Instructors receive training, certification and guaranteed jobs all within a support system designed to help make sure that everything that should go right - training, working conditions, living accommodations, security, services, social life - does go right.
RESOURCES FOR OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS
Post-Graduate Volunteer Opportunities
The Career Center has compiled a list of volunteer organizations that offer full-time volunteer opportunities to alumni and graduating seniors. Some of these organizations offer teaching positions abroad.
4. OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH OTHER GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS
The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program
Supports both foreign teachers in the United States and Americans teaching abroad. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has helped nearly 23,000 teachers and administrators contribute to mutual understanding between the United States and countries around the world. More the 200 teachers are paired with foreign teachers from nearly 30 countries annually.
Fulbright Student Program
U.S. Student Teaching Assistantships in English are offered in many countries worldwide. Each ETA Program is designed by the host country, and individual elements may vary by country. Teaching Assistantships are offered in: Andorra, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Turkey, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Th ailand, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Web sites that provide an overview of this process
A very comprehensive overview from Dickinson College. Some excellent advice articles are presented.
Includes information on visas and work permits, international internships, teaching, and volunteer opportunities. From the University of Michigan's International Center.