Mwalimu, say goodbye to TSC!

Most international schools hire teachers for the new academic year as early as January to March, so you need to apply early if you want to teach abroad.

I’m not saying that you should abandon your job with the Teachers Service Commision and kiss KNUT goodbye immediately. All I’m saying is that there are other options out there for you to consider.

Currently, there are 280,000 teachers working in international schools around the world. It is estimated that about 10 percent of these teachers were new to international schools this year; the busiest year ever for international school recruiting. The language for learning in most international schools is English, so most teachers come from English-speaking countries. If you are game then this is how you should do it!

Look for cities with large international schools

There are some cities that have a huge number of international schools. Dubai, Doha and Bangkok all have over 100 international schools each. Over 10,000 qualified teachers are employed by the international schools in Dubai alone. So there is great demand for skilled and experienced teachers, as well as skilled support staff such as librarians, who speak English. There are many opportunities available to you if you have the qualifications.

Make sure you apply to accredited schools

Apply to accredited international schools or schools that are part of respectable organisations such as COBIS, BSME, FOBISSEA and others. You can find details of these organisations on the TIC website. If a recruitment organisation is helping you with your search, make sure that they only recommend you to accredited international schools, or that they personally vet non-accredited schools in advance of your interview.

Revamp your CV

Make sure your CV is up-to-date and well written. International schools will be looking for strong personal skills, as well as teaching experience.

Location

If you are an expat already living in the location of the job you are applying for, make sure you make that fact very clear. If you are still located in your Kenya, or in a country or region away from the job that’s advertised, you may want to include details of previous foreign travel and other international connections.

Open a Skype account

More and more international school interviews are being conducted through Skype, so be prepared for this. Make sure you have the correct equipment set up and have practised communicating through Skype in advance of any interviews.

Avoid Conmen

There are a few unscrupulous owners in some international schools who do not take the appropriate procedures to ensure that foreign teachers have the correct health and safety coverage, visa back-up, or suitable accommodation. Teachers have been known to find themselves in difficult circumstances, sometimes a long way from home. So working with an established organisation to oversee your placement will give you the security you need. If you work with an organisation that is specifically experienced at recruiting for the international school market, they will be able to give you all the advice and expert support that you need and will know – and may well have visited – many of the schools that you are considering. This will help you significantly during your job search.

Read your contract carefully

Ensure that the recruitment organisation you work through cross-checks all your terms and conditions once an appointment is offered, to give you the peace of mind you need when taking up a new job.”

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