In most Western cultures, there are scads of people in their 50’s and decades beyond who are strong and athletic, accepting new career challenges, following a “clean” diet and becoming, in some ways, younger than ever before. They’re enjoying a thoroughly active lifestyle. Are these seniors fit, mentally & physically, to teach? Yes!! If a teacher feels up to the task, they’re welcome to head up a classroom and their experienced worldly perspective is appreciated. However, in some parts of the world, the perception of age carries very different connotations and limitations.
If you’ve lived in the developing world you have probably seen that “40 is the new 70.” Life isn’t easy in these places and people appear to be aged far beyond their chronological years. In many such countries the mandatory age for retirement is set low and we as international educators are subject to those same regulations. I was turned down for a position due to my age. The interviewing-director looked twice my years but apparently the date on his passport said different. Fit or fat, vibrant or over-the-hill, it’s your birth date that matters when it comes to getting a work visa.
One would think developed nations might welcome, older, more experienced educators to their shores. Unfortunately, most fear that older educators will face health problems and quickly become a financial burden on their system. Then there is the increased cost to a school that hires an older person because they generally cause health insurance costs to soar. Although most international school Directors will state they like to hire older educators because of the experience they bring to their school, it is apparent that due to other factors it may not always be feasible.
If you are over 50 and having trouble landing an overseas teaching position, don’t despair! You can still live your dream. ISR offers two valuable resources to help members of the “graying” population find overseas teaching posts. We invite you to visit the ISR Work Visa vs. Age Chart and the very informative Blog, Overseas & Over 50 with nearly 600 Comments from aging International educators around the world.