Teachers Fly East for the Economic Winter
Laid-off teachers in the US, Canada, or the UK need only look East for a job, where international and ESL (English as a Second Language) schools are hiring teachers in droves.
With housing, flights, health insurance, and a generous salary, teaching abroad for a year or two might be a great way to ride out the economic downturn affecting so many teachers. Yet teachers often don't seem to even to consider teaching abroad when looking for a new teaching job. Christy Grimste, managing director of Educators Overseas international teacher recruiting company that helps teachers and school administrators find jobs in international schools around the world, agrees. “It's amazing. We have so many schools in Asia that are looking for teachers. There really are more open positions than there are qualified candidates to fill them.”
Teachers that do decide to take the plunge and teach abroad don't regret it. “This has been an awesome experience; the school is amazing; and I have learned so much here”, says one teacher who teaches English just outside Hong Kong. The appeal of teaching abroad lies in the adventure of living in another country, experiencing another culture, and being able to travel to exotic locales on the weekends. Teachers are also drawn to the outstanding learning environment at schools, where class sizes are generally smaller and children are well-behaved and eager to learn. Another big plus is career development. When they do come back to the U.S. they'll find that their international experience is a big draw for potential employers. Shelley, who taught in Indonesia, says “I got an on the spot interview at a job fair simply because I was teaching overseas. After the interview I was offered a position in two days. Teaching abroad is a big bonus for schools.”
So why aren't more teachers signing up? Often they don't think about it until it's too late. Many teachers start looking for a new position in the spring, when U.S. contracts are issued or renewed. “But schools in Asia are doing their hiring right now for the 2014 school year”, says Christy. Although certified and experienced teachers get the best teaching jobs, the minimum requirement (in addition to being a native English speaker) is a Bachelor’s degree.