If you’ve always been drawn to all things British, maybe you’ve thought about teaching abroad in the UK.
Although the culture shift may not be as challenging to navigate as other more exotic destinations, some of the tips for a teacher about to go abroad still apply.
1. Learn About The Cultural Differences
Study the country you’re going to. Lonely Planet offers concise travel guides with detailed information, and this is an excellent place to start. Contact the foreign office to see if they have advice for people coming to the country.
In England, teachers have to earn their students’ respect – it’s not automatic in the culture. Students often wear uniforms, and there may be a dress code for the teachers as well.
2. Research The School You’re Applying To
Ask questions and don’t be afraid to be specific. See if any other teachers in the program have written about their experience online. If you look them up, ask them if they’re willing to tell you what it was like.
Find out what year and subjects you will be teaching as soon as possible as well as what resources the school has to offer to support teachers.
3. Make Sure Your Qualifications Are A Good Match
Every country has different educational requirements for teachers, so make sure you’re ready to go. Although commonwealth countries often base their education system on the UK’s, these systems do not necessarily follow UK qualifications, which could impact your salary and chances of being promoted.
Type up your curriculum vitae so people reviewing your application can check your qualifications and references easily before an interview. Some teachers think that because they are qualified to teach in their home country, they can teach abroad. But this is not always true.
Teachers wanting to work in the UK must have a bachelor’s degree and be licensed to teach in their state or province. Teachers with a degree but no teaching credentials will not be considered for teaching jobs in the UK in public schools, and you also need a minimum of two years of experience in order to teach abroad.
4. Get Your Paperwork Ready
Applying for work visas and licensing takes time. Plan ahead, keep good records, and make sure your passport isn’t about to expire before you embark your adventure.
There are several entry clearance options for Non-British citizens who want to work in the UK. Look at the visa options on the UK Border Agency’s website and the consulate to make sure you apply for the correct visa you will need to teach. This is one of the most important parts of the process.
You’ll need a DBS check, which is part of British Police Clearance. Organisations that specialise in placing teachers in the UK recommend that you have a current police check, or you could have to wait up to 6 weeks before starting work. An enhanced DBS is mandatory for anyone working with children. However, a police check from your home country can enable you to work while your DBS is in process.
5. Plan To Adjust Your Communication Style
You’ve probably had to adjust your lessons plans to include all types of students in your classroom if you’ve taught before – visual learners, auditory learners, and those who learn best through hands-on activities. Since students often stop trying to learn if they can’t process the information or if the material isn’t in an accessible and appealing format, it’s important to use visuals, music and application activities.
This will be especially important to remember as you try to bridge the gap between two different cultures. Don’t forget to include collaboration and group work to keep your students engaged and talking to each other. Allow discussion time, so students find a voice and take ownership of their role in the learning process.
6. Decide How Long You Want To Stay
The country you want to teach in may have different requirements depending on how long you want to stay.
Teachers from abroad can teach in the UK for up to four years before they must obtain QTS. In England, QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) is the certification process to become a teacher, which involve training and passing standardised exams.
If you plan to work in the UK for longer than four years, you will need some further qualifications.
7. Figure Out Where You Want To Live
Living in London is more expensive than smaller English towns, but some parts of the city are cheaper to live in than others. Most teaching positions with housing and benefits are usually only for long-term positions. Many teachers in England share an apartment with roommates or live outside the city to get affordable housing.
8. You’ll Still Have To File Income Tax Back Home
Some people make the mistake of assuming they’ll earn more because their salary abroad is tax-free. However, you will still owe taxes to your home country. Some countries like the US and UK may require that you are out of the country for more than 183 days in a tax year for a salary to be untaxed back home, and other countries have different requirements.
9. Bringing Your Family And Pets Means Extra Paperwork
Most schools often don’t consider teachers with more than one child unless the teacher’s partner also has a job that allows them to relocate with you. Other countries usually require “pet visas” mandating a full immunisation record and health record for your pet. Some pets like snakes or birds may be banned entirely.
10. Don’t Assume All Your Students Will Be From The Host Country
Anticipate diversity in your classroom. Some schools may be tailored for students whose parents work for a multinational corporation, so don’t assume that all of the students will be British. Find out what the dynamics are like at the school you are considering.
If you think you’re up for a challenge, don’t hesitate to contact Point To Point Education today and have a talk to one of our dedicated consultants. We provide continuous support to our teachers overseas throughout the entire application and placement process. See how far your experience as a teacher can take you.