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Teaching at an International School — Five Key Facts You Should Know

International flags waving in the wind, with teaching schools available worldwide.

If you’re a teacher, or training to be one, there are extensive opportunities to teach overseas at international schools around the world, however, there are many misconceptions about teaching overseas. It’s important to know the facts about the various overseas teaching positions available before you select a program or job.

Teaching Overseas — Perception vs. Reality

Often people get confused and think teaching overseas means that they will be teaching English to students who do not know the language in local national schools. They envision impoverished villages or inner city schools with limited resources and sub-standard conditions. While many of these opportunities do exist, the international school jobs referred to here couldn’t be further from this picture. International school teaching jobs are substantially different from local foreign teaching jobs in many ways.

Here are five things you should know about teaching at an international school.

  1. You Teach Your Subject in English

    It is true that if you go to a local national school they are most likely looking for foreign teachers to teach English or ESL to students who do not speak English. International schools, on the other hand, require teachers for every K-12 subject including elementary or primary school teachers, English, Social Studies, Math, Science, Art, PE/Health, Foreign Languages, ESL, Music, etc. for all grades K-12. In short, every subject that is taught in K-12 schools in the U.S. is taught at international schools — in English.

  2. International Student Body

    International schools have a varied and diverse student body consisting of students from all around the world. The international school student population represents student from virtually every country in the world. This is why all subjects are taught in English because it is the common language among this international cohort of students.

  3. Beautiful Campuses and Facilities

    Once again, the common misperception about teaching overseas is that you’ll be teaching in a hut, or a dilapidated building with outdated equipment and facilities. The exact opposite is true of international schools, many of which boast state of the art facilities, beautiful campuses, modern high-tech classrooms and libraries, sophisticated auditoriums, and playing fields and facilities on par with some of the finest private schools in the country.

  4. Competitive Packages

    International schools offer competitive compensation packages that often include excellent benefits such as comprehensive health insurance, housing or a housing allowance, airfare to and from the host country, travel allowances and funds for professional development. In addition, many of these schools, depending on the country, are able to offer tax-free salaries, enabling teachers to either save or earn more money than they would at home.

  5. Professional Environment and Professional Development

    International schools offer dynamic work environments with education professionals from all over the world dedicated to providing an outstanding education to members of the expatriate community. You will find teachers who have taught in several countries around the world, Principals who are dedicated to developing teaching talent among their staff, and administrators who are developing rich and innovative school communities. International schools are dedicated to the professional development of their staff and many organize workshops, training seminars and in many instances encourage and promote further professional development by funding, or subsidizing outside professional development programs for their staff.

Teaching overseas at an international school is a fantastic career opportunity for any teacher who would like to try teaching his or her subject at a private international school in another country. There will be no need to learn the language because you will be teaching your subject in English. Furthermore, there will be no need to bring your survival kit, because you will be teaching in schools that rival the finest private schools found anywhere in the world.

To find out more about teaching overseas at an international school, go to

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