Teacher Hub

How to... Find a job in an international school

Written by Anna Gower25/09/23

Teaching music in an international school can be a great way to learn more about other cultures and to travel and explore the world!  Many international schools are located in beautiful and interesting places, and music teachers often have the opportunity to travel with their students to perform at competitions and festivals. Departments are often well-resourced, with music playing an important part in the day to day life of the school - and it’s a great challenge that can take your teaching career in directions you never thought possible!

Here are 5 top tips for finding the right International School Teaching job:

  1. Decide on a location. Most people base this decision on how far from home they feel able to live and work. Research the cost of living in that location and try to get a feel for the salary you are likely to earn as an ex-pat teacher. Some countries are cheaper to live in than others, so if you are hoping to save money while working overseas, then do your research carefully!
  2. Keep an eye on the TES or join one of the private agencies that place teachers in schools for a fee. Some of these organisations also run jobs fairs where you can go to meet representatives from International Schools, chat to representatives and find out if they have positions available. Jobs are advertised early in the year for International Schools, with the peak in recruitment coming around January-March.
  3. Check the curriculum and qualifications on offer. There are international schools offering many different curriculae; for example American, British, Australian, French etc, GCSEs, A Levels, IB… The qualifications and experience you require to be able to apply should be clear from the job description, but be aware that at interview you’ll need to show that you have done your research and can be adaptable.
  4. Check out the package on offer from the school. Are you travelling with a partner or family? Find out whether free school places are available for any children you may have. Lots of schools offer 2 free places with discounts for other children, but this isn’t always the case. If you have a partner, some schools prefer them to have a job as well, as teachers are more likely to stay for the duration of their contract if the whole family are settled and busy. Does the school take care of all the costs associated with your visa and work permit?  Is the Medical Insurance on offer sufficient for your needs and those of any family coming with you? Finally, check that the costs of flights at the start and end of your contract are covered and ask whether there is a housing and annual flights allowance included.
  5. Ask around. There are many ex-pat teacher Facebook groups where you can ask questions and make contact with teachers already at a particular school or who know of it.  You can also join websites that offer reviews of schools from current and previous employees, although these aren’t always reliable.

It's a very rewarding experience if planned properly, and as well as (sometimes!) allowing you to save some money while abroad, it will enhance your CV and can make you a more attractive proposition to a school back in your home country, if and when you decide to return!