Has the Boat Already Sailed?

downgrade_29328839From the ISR Forum: “I’m only too aware of the economics of my own country and that the quality of life for us as a family of four is being sapped. This is probably the underlying reason for looking at overseas schools.

“However, after recently reading several ISR Blogs, I am concerned that the lifestyle and package of international teachers is on the decline. Many posts comment on the great packages they used to receive compared to the packages on offer now. Many posts are commenting on the increasingly high cost of living without an equitable increase in wages.

“Whilst I know we’ll never be millionaires, the opportunity to offer our kids a quality education coupled with a life overseas is definitely forefront in our minds. I am concerned, however, that once we leave the benefits of the ‘teachers pension’ and remove ourselves from UK teaching circles, we probably won’t be able to return.

“Will the future of International teachers be at least as viable as it is now? Do you think the boat has sailed? Should we weather the storm at home and forget the possibility of a better life? We’d love to hear some thoughts on this topic.”

Please scroll down to post

60 Responses to Has the Boat Already Sailed?

  1. long abroad says:

    PS I’d LOVE to go to Costa Rica!

    Like

  2. J.H says:

    Avast mate,PieGuy essentially has it correct above,With risk comes reward, All me dream, but not equally,some wake to find….. ……T.E.Lawrence,

    Like

  3. Marlene says:

    I agree with someone above: take a leave of absence and see if international teaching is for you. Having said that, there are international schools … and there are international schools … you often can’t judge from one or two. Stay connected with ISR!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  4. PieGuy says:

    The ships are sailing…and many of them are pirate ships. Once aboard, the skipper is God and you can’t ask your navy for help. Become an uncomplaining part of the crew, because mutineers find themselves marooned or swimming for their lives. But hey – that galleon laden with gold is out there somewhere!

    Like

  5. Your article highlights the same mindset that enslaves 600,000 migrant workers in the Middle East (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/09/world/meast/mideast-migrant-workers/index.html?hpt=hp_mid). The best and only solution is for teachers to wrest control of schools from the mindless, self-serving, and opaque administrations. You know, those people who bailed out of teaching because (a) they hated it, (b) they couldn’t cut it in the classroom, (c) they wanted higher pay, and (d) the nauseating cliche they all use: “I just thought I could make more of a difference in students’ lives.”

    Like

  6. Way Out East says:

    I’ve been teaching internationally for five years, and I would say that the ship hasn’t so much sailed as it is sailing. Globalization has eroded salaries and savings potential to be sure. However, I think the question leads discussion into the wrong territory. Teaching internationally is not for everyone. I’m at a school that pays me a good salary (much better than I could receive back home), yet I trade that in for other challenges: I have lived far from family and friends; I’ve lived in polluted and dangerous cities; I have been precluded from pension systems. I enjoy it, and I don’t think I would trade it in for my home system at this time, but anyone looking to get into international teaching for money should understand up front that there are likely 20-30 schools around the world that pay TOP dollar, and landing at one takes time. If you’re willing to put in the time in “less desirable” or “lower-end” locations, it may be for you. If you want a trip right to the top-paying schools, best to stay where you are, as you likely aren’t willing to explore or learn from the journey of getting there.

    Like

  7. gillian says:

    I think that, like everywhere, it depends on your attitude and some degree of luck. There are some good packages but it is true cost of living has risen dramatically in many countries. Going abroad to teach so that you will make loads of money is not a good reason even if you could. Also consider that ‘private educations’ in any country, is not necessarily better. You need to save to ofset not paying into a pension. My pay is not good but then I get to live in Africa. I can go on safari at the weekend or just sit in the sun by the pool all year round. It’s a great life if you have the right attitude and a great experience for children. Consider also that not all schools offer free child places and that, in my opinion, older secondary kids are better in the UK. I hold this view as some find it difficult to adjust to UK life after being cossetted in the international scene. People do return to the UK, and get jobs. For me it was the best thing I ever did. I think you might regret it if you don’t but everyone is different. Also be prepared to work without the protection of unions and in may cases, employment law. If you can bend with the wind and adapt to new circumstances, you will be fine.

    Like

  8. Happy to be reunited with the standards that matter to me says:

    International teaching sounded like such a dream experience. After 5 years and 3 different schools, I’ve never felt so stressed and unappreciated by young children and parents.
    Job fairs are filled with atticipation and hope, only to be filled with the disappointment of reality once you set foot in the post. The ‘golden handcuffs’ keep you there until the contract is fulfilled.
    Teaching is not about the paycheck and the abroad experience of luxury…
    If money is your goal, great, but if you have integrity, you have to search VERY deep.

    Like

  9. eslkevin says:

    For teachers at colleges and universities abroad, the pay has gone down dramatically as have the opportunities for well-paying jobs. The poor step child of education for 3 decades or so has been the ESL/EFL fields. This is the field I have been in.

    In Japan by the mid-1990s, the era of big money had passed. Wages have stagnated. Soon the rest of East Asia was following suit. The same malaise had hit Western Europe already a few years earlier. Wages in the Middle East have stayed high till the past 5 to 7 years but now, only Saudi Arabia has raised its salaries.

    I earn less than I did 7 years ago, but I have taken time to focus on quality of life and now teach in Salalah, Oman where climate is amiable and pace of life slow–read that you can save money. However, only 1 out of every 3 institutions cover school for kids.

    Part of the downward spiral on wages from East Asia to Europe to the Middle East has been led by the outsourcing of good contracts to third party firms, i.e. job agencies or staffing firms.

    Like

  10. Ken says:

    I left the public system in Canada to teach internationally 15 years ago. I’m glad I did. But remember, your fate will be in your own hands…..no pension and no benefits when you decide to retire. You must save and invest wisely. Also, there are a lot of bad international schools out there, so be prepared for corruption and lack of due process. Why not take a 2 year leave of absence to find out if international teaching is right for you? It isn’t for everyone. I found that the more “stuff” you collect, the more burdensome moving to a new place will be….travel light. Also, it can be difficult for children if you are moving around. Some kids handle it well and others don’t. Finally, if the unexpected happens, like an accident or illness which prevents you or your spouse from working, you will be on your own without the benefits of disability pay (a major advantage for being a member of a Canadian teacher’s union).

    Like

  11. Sul says:

    I share the exact same concerns I would love to hear other peoples comments about this. I love teaching here in the uk but the cost of living vs the salary is a battle I feel am losing or barely making enough to save, so I have been considering abroad mainly the middle east but I hear the packages they are offering are declining or leaving to yeah abroad diminishes ones chances of returning to teach here in the uk and teaching abroad, schools only offer yearly/2 year contracts after that they get rid of you with no reasoning. So so many concerns especially being a father of a little child I need stability something I have now but lack money

    Like

    • gillian says:

      I think that all these comments are missing the point, don’t go abroad to teach unless you have a lust for travel and adventure and yes, there are no fortunes to be made anywhere. Most schools will renew contracts unless you are truly dreadful or a pain!

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Gillian!
        Unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of seeking adventure. Some of us are uprooted from our homes and our lives by economic forces over which we have no control. If I wanted to survive, I had to leave everything I knew and step into the unknown. At 53 that is not easy. It’s not fair to dismiss me by saying I shouldn’t have gone if I didn’t want adventure. I needed to survive. I hope you never find out what it’s like to be alone and poor and to have to leave loved ones through economic necessity.

        Like

  12. Bstar says:

    You must do your research! Make sure you don’t move to a country or a school that does not suit your needs. I left California and now I do get paid less on the circuit, but I have no car anymore, my expenses are considerably less, I eat much fresher and healthier food, I travel cheaply all around the region and I save more now than before. Two major drawbacks (or benefits) are the currency fluctuations and the fact that we must fund our own retirement. So I do have to be more financially sound, which I do believe is a good thing. Once your one the circuit, you start to see which school are better for you and which you need to stay away from. But I think your first post does depend on a bit of luck and a lot of hard work.

    Like

  13. Michael Cunningham says:

    Quality of life was poor for our children.

    Like

  14. Michael Cunningham says:

    I was open minded and went to Mumbai, India where poverty is rife and the quality of life from our children’s point of view. So we moved back to the UK and realise that money is not everything and quality of life is everything. To be able to run free in parks and not have filth everywhere.

    Therefore if you have children pick wisely and make sure they can fit in with their ‘rich’ classmates especially if they are local and don’t speak good English. Quality of life is paramount and do not make a knee jerk reaction to run away from something.

    O have now come back and have been lucky enough to get a job in a good private school.

    Like

  15. singapura says:

    I agree that packages seem to be on the decline. I have talked to others here in Singapore who work at different schools and all packages seem to lack something. For some, no housing allowance, for others, lower pay than other schools. At ours, no gratuity. So you have to weigh up what’s important to you. For me, it’s comprehensive medical insurance.

    Like

    • over_here says:

      It is not only Singapore. One of the worst countries must be Myanmar. Housing costs have rocketed and it is impossible to find any decent accommodation for the meagre allowances of $400-800 a month offered by a number of the schools e.g. Yangon Academy. Some are so cheap they stick teachers in shared houses. Also negative as it means some schools are employing unqualified ‘backpackers’ as teachers.Transportation, food costs etc.. all have risen by at least 25% over the last year. Yangon is overcrowded and polluted.

      Like

  16. Packing it in says:

    My wife and I have been teaching abroad for six years, and we have decided to pack it in and go back home after continually dealing with situations that are unacceptable in our eyes. Maybe we have been unlucky, but we did do a lot of research only to find that what directors told us at recruitment fairs was very far froom the reality of the actual situation. We have worked for “non-profit” and for profit schools, and both were just as ruthless in cutting corners and counting pennies at the expense of teachers and students alike. We have also found that at the schools we taught at, the kids and parent were running the show. It has been one big experience in customer service based education, where the teacher is scrutinized, never the student (client). There have been many incidences that speak to a complete lack of integrity and lack of transparency, to downright lying about your post and the school.
    Basically, we are sick of being duped by slick used car salesmen (and women), and once you get there, you have to tough it out all the while feeling a little bitter that you weere not given the truth about where you were going.
    We know that therre are some great schools with great students out there, but the stress and disappointment of six years of being scammed has us believeing that we will take happiness over the paycheck and saavings accounts.
    Another thing that we have acted on is the fact that at our past schools, the kids were very rich and very spoiled, and we just can’t bring ourselves to raise our kids being surrounded by the values that come with the entitled. We’ve watched other teachers kids adopt the attitudes and sense of entitlement that our school population has, and we feel that we would be doing a disservice to our kids if they grow up surrounded by other kids that think and act in this way. I know it comes down to strong parenting, but you can’t deny how influential other students, friends, and a desire to fit it and belong are to children of all ages.
    I know that some, or even many people can and will be very happy teaching abroad, but it just isn’t our cup of tea for the various reasons above. I do not think the ship hass sailed, I think it all comes down to what people are looking for. I have met many teachers that could not care less what kind of school they are at ass long as they can travel. Hey to each their own right?

    Like

    • nervous but realistic says:

      Could I take it you’ve been in the Middle East? Wouldn’t touch it, or any place else with ‘oil money’.

      Like

    • singapura says:

      Don’t give up. Try Asia. I have only had great experiences in Japan, Thailand and Singapore when it comes to the students. They have been, almost without exception, wonderful.

      Like

      • Packing it in says:

        My wife and I have been in the middle East for the past few years, so good assumption. We started in Asia in a for profit school and it was a pretty bad experience as well with a business minded family running the show. We thought about heading back into the fair curcuit, but only for about a minute because we quickly remembered how many schools treat you at fairs. It seems that community and professionalism goes out the window at the fairs and it becomes some sort of “explain to me in 100 ways why I should even CONSIDER giving you four more interviews so you can have a chance to come and work for me at my fantastic school’. Fairs are a great social experiment in how a bunch of educated adults can be reverted back to high school mentality, trying to get into the “in” crowd and hoping someone will ask you to the prom. I don’t think that as qualified professionals with proven track histories of dedication and success, my wife and I have to subject ourselves to stroking egos for a paycheck. It just feels dirty.
        We are really happy with our decision, and we truly hope that anybody out there currently teaching abroad, or considering it, has a fantastic time and grabs a string of luck that just didn’t come our way. We have surely met some fantastic teachers and had some great experiences, so no regrets. We’re just glad we were able to get out and did not get “trapped” into the lifestyle like we have witnessed so many others do.

        Like

  17. long abroad says:

    I have been living abroad for 30 years, though not always in a teaching capacity. What has run me out of various places is when the cost of living finally does go through the roof, and wages don’t follow. So I’ll be moving on again soon, but certainly don’t see the point of returning to the US. In terms of ‘boats sailing’, IB schools are increasing all the time, so there’s no shortage of work, but the pool of applicants has also soared, and schools get more nit picky all the time about ‘pieces of paper’ and complicated application processes. Right now I am a university adjunct, and even though big money is not on the horizon, the safety of a 2 year contract and summer pay will be worth it.

    Like

  18. curate says:

    Yeah this is the sunny side of the street! The shadow side can’t be ignored especially if you read some of the reviews on ISR. My own experience is a mixed bag probably like most people. I have taught in 3 international schools and each had it pluses and minuses. The best thing is the kids you teach, who are almost without fail the brightest nicest most enthusiastic kids around. You will make some good friends amongst your colleagues too. There are ideological issues generally ignored by teachers…too hard…we are planting seeds in a society that is not our own. Do we care enough about them to stay away? We are like the eucalypts in Europe, the rabbits in Australia, the SUV in the village. How do local teachers feel about us when we are making twice or three times the money they are? How fair is this and what lessons are we teaching them about the whiteys from the West? Would you still go to Ecuador or Vietnam if you had the wages of the locals? Then there is the corruption, the nepotism and incompetence of many many international schools because they are businesses folks, yes businesses and they have to make money for the Board and for the owners! The IB is not what it was originally intended to be, (actually… maybe it is which is worse!) it is a hydrid. Sad. It is like the family business that grew too big and is still run by mum and dad and the kids. It will be hard getting back into your national system, more than likely. You might get rolled in a Mexican alley, mugged in New Guinea, ripped off by your admin everywhere, bullied by your Director, ignored by your local colleagues, have poor resources, get homesick, regret leaving a thousand million times but you will rarely regret teaching the kids who turn up day after day with the kind of cheery enthusiasm that makes your heart swell and bless the day you waved the white handkerchief at the docks and sailed into your new life.

    Like

    • Swissmiss2 says:

      Absolutely loved this comment! While not all of my students are the cherubs mentioned above, enough of them have been, to make teaching overseas a joyful experience in the classroom.

      Like

  19. zezima says:

    I don’t think the boat has sailed. The comments on ISR can be really informative, but the most contented overseas teachers probably don’t ever make comments as they are just so happy where they are! There are still some great packages out there and some wonderful schools. If your kids are little they will most likely adapt very easily wherever you choose to go. Keeping your house on in the UK and choosing a school which flies you all back home every year as part of the package would mean that you will not lose touch. Returning to the UK to work after a period overseas, however, can be tricky. Not everyone will be impressed by the way you abandoned your colleagues at the chalk face (speaking from personal experience …). Not every headteacher is impressed by IGCSE and IB on your CV. We left the UK in the grim, middle-era Thatcher years and have never had any desire to return. The world is your oyster and yolo as my students here in Bangkok say!

    Like

  20. Anonymous says:

    “You wouldn’t know how deep the water is…until you jump in”. Go for it an find it out for yourself! International school teaching is a journey, an adventure your kids and family surely would cherish for life. With an open mind and a ‘happy-go-lucky spirit’, you’ll overcome challenges and difficulties of being ‘away from home’. After teaching overseas for more than 10 years now, we’ve found our ‘home’ have actually expanded elsewhere. We are living in a global village – “The Earth is but one country and mankind it’s citizens” Each one, everyone, surely are able to adapt to the international school teaching environment, if we are open to new, exciting and oftentimes frustrating opportunities. Do the first step and you’ll figure out the rest…..Good luck!

    Like

  21. Jason says:

    Why couldn’t you be millionaires? You put away 20K a year for 22 years in passive investments and you will be. You’ll certainly have a lot more than you would depending on a government pension.

    Just put the numbers into Moneychimp’s compound calculator.

    I think there is an increasing demand for international teachers and as long as supply is less than demand, pure economics will dictate that there will be competitive salaries out there. Most schools give a yearly increase of at least 3% which should keep up with inflation. There are certainly lots of top paying schools out there that allow you to save a lot more than you would back in your home country.

    Like

  22. Retired after 40 years overseas says:

    Although I am American, I have worked with a number of teachers from the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Money and the exchange rate for your salary is something to consider. To me lifestyle and raising children overseas is fantastic. My girls attended school in 4 countries from age 4 to 18. They thank me for giving them that experience.There are British schools in some countries, particularly in Asia—Korea, Hong Kong, Japan (I think), Singapore, Vietnam, etc. Look into those as well as the other American or International schools. For money, pick Asia or the Middle East. Good luck!

    Like

  23. Karen Gockley says:

    Read The Millionaire Teacher, save your money when abroad and diversify your investments – first, retire your debt — always possible as an international teacher. Remember, it is not how much you make but how much you can keep!

    Your kids will have a wealth of valuable experiences plus a motivated peer group and you will have an amazing professional life.

    Like

  24. Danny says:

    I don’t think financial rewards are (or should be) the primary reason to teach abroad. Living in a foreign culture requires a good deal of flexibility, sense of adventure, and patience. Simple things, like doing groceries or getting around town, can be quite challenging at first. It takes the right kind of person to go abroad, not someone just doing it for the money.

    That said, adventurous people who are passionate about teaching can often can attain a very comfortable standard of living overseas. Cost of living is just as important as salary. There are teachers in places like Central America or Egypt who might earn only $30K a year, but be able to save half their salary while living comfortably and traveling regularly. As other posters mentioned, the benefit of bringing up your children in a global environment is something that can’t be easily quantified, but is another reason to go overseas.

    Like

  25. Jason says:

    Why couldn’t you be millionaires? You put away 20K a year for 22 years in passive investments and you will be. You’ll certainly have a lot more than you would depending on a government pension.

    http://www.moneychimp.com/calculator/compound_interest_calculator.htm

    I think there is an increasing demand for international teachers and as long as supply is less than demand, pure economics will dictate that there will be competitive salaries out there. Most schools give a yearly increase of at least 3% which should keep up with inflation. There are certainly lots of top paying schools out there that allow you to save a lot more than you would back in your home country.

    Like

  26. Anonymous says:

    I left the UK 3 years ago with my husband and 2 kids. I left a well paid HoD job and went to Brunei (on the island of Borneo) to work in local schools there. I have never regretted it FOR A SECOND. The life is so much easier, the teaching far less stressful, you have a real ‘work-life’ balance at last, and the money is also comparable (when you factor in the absence of income tax, national insurance payments, council tax, huge utility bills and astronomic petrol costs, and take into account that your employment ‘benefits package’ will probably include free/subsidised housing, private healthcare and schooling for your kids). Actually, when you compare like for like, I’m actually financially BETTER OFF here than in the UK and my quality of life far surpasses what I had at home. As for the superannuation question, I figured that the way Teachers Pensions were going, they may well not be worth the paper they’re written on by the time I reach retirement age, so I cashed mine in (upon the advice of a reputable financial advisor) and transferred all of the funds into a private pension fund specially designed for ex-pats. I can take this pension with me wherever I go in the world, and the only stipulation for it to remain tax-free is that I stay out of the UK for 5yrs, I think.

    On the down side, I accepted that, in leaving my HoD post in the UK and going to work in a ‘developing country’ with a somewhat archaic education system would be an act of professional suicide to a large extent; I know I can’t expect to step straight back into an HoD job should I ever return to the UK now. However, I know now that I would never want to (even though I didn’t know that at the time I left… I was taking a risk).

    But as other posters here have said, financial matters should not be the sole deciding factor for whether you up roots and go or not. Yes, you will add so much more to your life as a family – worldly experiences, exposure to new and exciting cultures and people… if nothing else, you’ll all have one hell of an adventure🙂

    DO make sure you do THOROUGH research though… can’t stress that enough. Read every blog and discussion forum you can find, and avoid places and schools that other teachers warn you away from. Personally, I can really recommend Brunei (apply to work for an organisation with the acronym ‘see eff bee tea’… I can’t actually name them here, so you work it out) and SE Asia in general… as long as you like the heat!🙂

    Like

    • Jason says:

      Ugh…it always alarms me to read this:

      “I reach retirement age, so I cashed mine in (upon the advice of a reputable financial advisor) and transferred all of the funds into a private pension fund specially designed for ex-pats.”

      Do not put your funds with any actively managed fund…especially ones “designed for expats”. Most are gloriified car salesmen. They charge upwards of 1-2% of your profit (which amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars compounded over years), carry huge penalty fees for early withdrawal, do not diversify funds and usually end up buying high and selling low.

      These companies pray on the ignorance of expats, don’t do it.

      Like

  27. chinuk says:

    I landed a job at the best-ranked school in my province when I returned to Canada after many years teaching internationally. That global experience was seen as a strong asset by my current employer, as their student body has become increasingly diverse. I’m so glad I moved overseas as soon as I got my teaching qualifications. My kids got an outstanding education, and had opportunities that they wouldn’t have had in Canada, and that helped them get accepted to the best universities in the country. They are global citizens, with strong cultural sensitivity and language skills. Would they have turned out this great if I’d put them in a “regular” Canadian school as opposed to top international schools? I doubt it.

    Like

  28. Anonymous says:

    In my opiniom,a teacher who leaves the shores of his/her homeland to work broadens his/her scope in more areas than the financial . The world is gradually becoming a global village becuse of the cross breedfing of ideas,tolearnce &
    internationalism.

    Like

  29. Second Time Around says:

    I taught in the States for some years before going overseas for 15 years. Had I stayed in the States my kids would have grown up to be like your typical American kid that thinks the future should be handed to them on a silver platter. They got an outstanding education in international schools and appreciated the opportunities available to them back home and took advantage of them.

    Without having to pay taxes or be subject to the high cost of everything in the States, we saved enough money to come back to the States and pay cash for a nice house. Living overseas really gave us a financial advantage. All our friends in the States are up to their ears in debt and have saved nothing. We’re more or less retired.

    Get out while the getting is good is my advice. I just laugh when I hear my friends say they will go traveling when they retire. Looks to me like that’s just a dream at this point. It’s all better when you’re young. Go for it!!!

    Like

    • Meschi says:

      I must agree with all of the positives stated here. I too, taught in the US for a few yrs, wish I had hit the International circuit sooner. I have cleared debt incurred following the American Dream, met some wonderful people and have learned many things. I have been out of the US for many years and have very few regrets. As I approach retirement, I plan on settling here in Turkey. Go back to the US? only to visit.

      Like

    • D says:

      Yes, youth is wasted on the young. Get out and use it now.

      Like

  30. elliearchie says:

    Be choosy about which school you contract with and do your research. You still won’t be a millionaire but with some wise choices you can enjoy a quality of life that is beyond most teachers in the UK. Expat lifestyle, different weather conditions and abundant travel opportunities – yes sometimes still pricey but obtainable in a way that they wouldn’t be from the UK. Beyond that I look at what I’m giving to my kids everyday. Whilst the international education may be flawed in some aspects, the childhood experiences and future old boy networks are priceless.

    Like

  31. nomad68 says:

    I left the UK to work overseas to save money to rebuild my life after divorce and bankruptcy. The plan for me is to save as much as I can so I can eventually buy a place of my own outright since I would otherwise find it nigh impossible to get a mortgage in the current economic climate. I now have a new family of my own so the question of location/good school is also a factor. For me, the money factor keeps me in the Middle East but in a few years I will look at Western Europe or Scandinavia as a better place to call home for my family. I don’t think the Middle East is a good place to bring families if you need to find a school for your kids but it is good for making and saving money. If your kids are already school age and saving money isn’t the major issue then I would consider Germany/Switzerland or the Scandinavian countries.

    Like

  32. Brenda says:

    If I were in your shoes, I would try to find work in Norway, Sweden, Finland, or in the mountains in Ecuador. Yes, the pay is less, but the lifestyles are wonderful. You’re going to end up losing many of your benefits and pay raises in America anyway. Any extra money will paid to the government in the US. I’ve been teaching in America for 21 years and will retire this May. My salary has dropped from $62,000 to $53,000 during the past four years due to furloughs and benefit cuts. Get out while you can.

    Like

    • dengchao42 says:

      In Australia a first year teacher starts at about $55k pa!

      Like

    • Anon. says:

      You don’t necessarily escape your home country’s economic problems by going abroad, depending on the strength of the currency in which you are paid versus your home currency, and how much you spend locally versus save at home.

      In my current country, which has a strong economy, buying power of US Dollars (in which we are paid) has dropped 25 % in about seven years. Local inflation has probably lopped off another 10 %. Nobody’s leaving, however, because salary and benefit increases have been generous, and most people are banking around two-thirds of their salary back home, which makes the currency value changes irrelevant.

      It would be great if we were paid in local currency — we would effectively be getting a pay increase with every reduction in the exchange rate, but our host country has restrictions on how much local currency can be converted,

      So part of the decision process in accepting a job is determining in what currency you are paid, what the long-term economic forecasts are like, what the currency exchange and movement rules are, and how much you will be spending locally vs. saving at home.

      Like

      • long abroad says:

        Oh, please tell me which country! I am currently in Bulgaria, where inflation issues are so high the government collapsed. I don’t think anyone in my university (I’m an adjunct) has had a pay raise in over a decade. I am SO out of here!.

        Like

  33. Anonymous says:

    I have been ‘out of England’ for 14 years and been in 4 different countries. I would never consider returning to the UK despite the old chestnut of a good pension …. its a sad state of affairs when people sacrifice the pleasures of youth just to sit at home when they are old. I have friends in the UK who are just waiting for an opportunity to retire as they hate the job. Few people hate international work or living. There are frustrations to bear – but are they any more frustrating than trying to teach pupils who dont really want to learn and to have management keen to have you to document every word you say, or intend to say, in every lesson?. Swop tedium for enjoyment, a pension for a life, professional impotence for impact and you will not regret it.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you research well and pick carefully…you will then never regret becoming an international teacher. Be open to location….that’s the key.

      Like

    • GRACE says:

      Amen brother!
      My favorite saying:
      “A boat in a harbor is safe…but in time its shell will rot out”
      Don’t be that “rotting” shell.

      Like

    • D says:

      The fact that this is a major worry for this person means it will always be. He/she is better off staying at home and leaving the more interesting/fulfilling jobs and lifestyles to someone else. He/she has ‘missed the boat’ and is better off wrapped in cotton wool back on the wharf.
      Well done anonymous! That’s the spirit.

      Like

    • homewardbound says:

      I guess perspective is everything. My husband and I currently have excellent paying overseas jobs, but we have found that the generic life of easy private school teaching is not fulfilling at all, and will now be returning after 5 years and 3 countries, to avoid what we feel is the tedium of living anywhere we don’t love, teaching students who seem to have less personality and awareness of the world around them than a shadow on the wall. We’ll make less money in the US, and we’ll have some difficult kids who come from broken homes, poverty, and have behavior problems, but we’re willing to make that sacrifice to have again what we have yet to have overseas: clean air, freedom to do all of our favorite outdoor activities alone or together in safety and in wilderness that is not owned by any one person, and teach students who, while not as docile as our foreign students have been, are at least critically thinking and understand how to question the world around them. We actually miss the difficulty of teaching back at home because it’s real. Working overseas, we have increasingly felt we are teaching those who we can’t relate to, whose wealthy upbringings are light years from our own working class childhoods, and students who, quite frankly, don’t seem to need us at all, and care less about real learning than our kids in the US did. Never before have we felt so keenly the importance of contributing to the positive development of the young minds of our own country. Consider what feels most important to you. My heart is in Oregon, and what I have found dull are the cliques of international teaching faculties, the disappointing realization that most other countries, even “developed” are actually much more screwed up than my own (of which I have plenty of criticism), and that cultures everywhere are becoming so homogenized that there is little originality to be found anywhere you travel. Our gamble is to go home and life the life we love, in spite of the financial set back it will inevitably be. My advice? Live on the edge, think about whether or not the spoiled or static private school student is really where it’s at. At this point, we feel like leaving was an abandonment of why we entered into the teaching profession. We didn’t choose to teach for the pay and the “ease” of it. Talk about boring! We did it because we wanted to make a difference, and overseas, that difference seems greatly reduced and/or nonexistent. A school is the center of a community in the US, but overseas, it’s just a job and everyone goes their separate ways at the end of the day and week. No community that we’ve seen. Perhaps that’s what is appealing to some, but for us, it’s soulless. Everything is temporary and the students know it. Long term connections like you’d have back home are virtually non-existent. Perhaps it’s different in the UK, but for us, there’s no place like home.

      Like

      • long abroad says:

        i hope my experience does not turn out like yours. I already teach abroad, in the Balkans, and the Americans think critically least of all. Good luck but be careful what you wish for!

        Like

        • homewardbound says:

          Everyone has a different set of expectations when they choose to teach internationally. If you’re enjoying it now, you’ll probably continue to, so I wish all the best for you and others here. We have disliked it almost from the beginning, but kept thinking that if we tried a new place, it would be different, hence the 3 countries/schools in 5 years. I taught for 8 years in the US before going international, so I am well aware of what I’m in for. I just have a new appreciation for my Oregon students now that I’ve been out and have seen what some other places have to offer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be more authentic, and my quality of life will increase tremendously. We thought the grass would be greener overseas, but our experience has been that it’s only because it’s astro-turf – it’s missing the good texture and fresh smell. 🙂 Good luck…

          Like

      • Lovedmytimeabroad says:

        wow, your five years abroad have been pretty miserable ones. My family and I have lived and worked outside our home country for about 18 years now and we’ve loved every minute of it. Every country presents its own challenges and no two school – and its students – are the same. I’m sure you’ll find kids who come to school with a sense of entitlement everywhere – not just in international schools.

        Like

      • Cathy Talbot says:

        I’m with you on this. I had a good life at home but left because of the scarcity of jobs and the impossibility of living on the dole with rising fuel costs and bills. I’m now working in Kuwait with a low quality of life, no opportunity to pursue the interests I love (everything is way too expensive for me here) and feeling like a failure because I can’t afford to save much money. We get up at 5.00 a.m. and always feel exhausted. Kuwait is a crumbling, derelict place with ideas and values right out of the middle ages. I have a degree in medieval history, so at least living here has given me an insight into what life must have been like in the Middle Ages!

        Like

    • renurev says:

      Hey,

      I haven’t read the previous posts so I hope I’m not repeating myself. Looking at your concern of the teachers’ pension I wouldn’t worry too much about that, I think that’s on more of a decline! Just look at the recent embargos which reduce the amount you get. https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/news/public-news/2011/november/embargo-transfer-value-calculations.aspx

      Also, if anything, international schools are sprouting up all over the world and they are dying to get international talent on board to provide an education to expatriate kids. Most of these schools have expat children which are from oil and gas parents and normally these fees are paid for by the big oil companies… they are often rather extravagant to say the least! Places like Jeju in South Korea are actually developing an education hub which is constantly on the lookout for foreign talent and the number of schools there is increasing by the day.

      Yes, you are right, you may not be millionaires, but the prospect of a high wage, good benefits, excellent lifestyle, and ability to see the world make the idea of working overseas a much more promising offer than the UK. I’m sure you will agree that providing a high quality education to your kids is important but, also having your kids grow up in a culturally different and vibrant environment will offer them much more.

      Hope this provide some insight.

      Thanks

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s