This week we’ve given you some great examples of how normal people have used their teaching skills to get real jobs and opportunities overseas. Stories like this are helpful and encouraging, but if you’re anything like my husband, you’re thinking, “Just tell me how to do this!” So let’s dive in and get down to the nitty gritty details of landing a teaching job overseas.
Get your license!
First and for-most, you MUST have an actual teaching license from your state. Many people think that they can teach abroad simply because they speak English. Now this is mostly true if you want to work only as an English teacher abroad. But if you want to work in a regular classroom in an international or national English speaking school, you will need to be accredited and licensed by your state’s educational board. Students, don’t count yourselves out! If you are student teaching, you can attend the fairs mentioned below. Often, these schools hire young, single men and women with a few years teaching experience or recent graduates.
Register for an International Teacher’s Job Fair in the Fall
There are numerous job fairs around the country that allow licensed teachers to attend and interview for multiple jobs. We encourage Skybridge members to consider attending one of the biggest fairs in the country at the University of Northern Iowa. While there are others that are also very reputable and reliable, the job fair at UNI is the largest and oldest and we have Skybridge members who have attended in the past and landed jobs. These fairs require that you pay a registration fee and fill out the appropriate forms to make sure that you are a qualified and a licensed educator. Once you’ve been accepted to attend, you will receive a packet of info that informs you about the schools with vacancies. You can begin learning about the job openings, the demographics of each school and some teachers will even begin communicating with school administrators. The more you know before you go to the fair, the better prepared you will be to accept a good job offer.
Attend an International Teacher’s Job Fair
At the job fair, be prepared for controlled chaos! Hundreds of teachers are there and ready to interview with various schools. You will want to come dressed in your best professional clothes, with resumes and teaching portfolios ready to hand out. At the UNI fair, there are different parts to the weekend. Each school has their own booth or table in the conference hall. At one point, you will do round robin interviews at the various booths. At this point, most people go to the schools that they are interested in and stand in line to drop off their resume. Some schools are much more popular and you may have to wait in line a long time. So be aware that some schools will be harder to get jobs. Instead of spending all of your time waiting in line, head to other tables to learn about schools that might not be on your radar. Many people go in to the fair with a set idea of what they want and walk away with a job offer to a completely different school and country. You’ll want to be flexible!
The other aspect of the weekend is doing more personal interviews. The fairs have a system of communications between the school administrators and prospective teachers. If a school wants to meet with you for an actual interview, they will request to see you by leaving a note in your folder. You may receive many requests for interviews so be prepared to be “on” almost all weekend! Some schools will offer you a job at the interview, while many others leave a note in your folder that includes an offer. BE AWARE: you may have only a few hours or less to accept a job offer! This is why it’s so important to be prepared going into the weekend so you know what a good offer looks like, and what you are willing to compromise on and what you aren’t. Does the job offer include a flight home once a year? Do they pay for housing? Do they provide a car? You’ll want to know which things are a priority for you so you can quickly decide which job to accept and which ones to turn down.
Let Skybridge help you prepare!
All of that information above may seem really overwhelming. But we are here to help! We are preparing to gather a co-hort of teachers who want to attend the UNI teacher’s fair together. This co-hort will be a group of Skybridge members who believe that God can use them as teachers overseas to share the Gospel and make an eternal impact. We’ll help you get registered for the fair and prepare for the actual fair as you do your research. Perhaps you’ll see a job in a country where we have other Skybridge members. Guess what? We’ll put you in touch with those people so you can talk to them before you head to the fair and try and get a job in that country. We also plan on having a live webinar with two of our Skybridge members who are currently teaching overseas through a job they landed at the UNI teacher’s fair.