Many people think of international schools as places where children are taught English as a Foreign Language. The fact is that international schools teach through the medium of English and they offer the same broad range of subjects as state schools in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. In many ways, international schools are very similar to schools in these countries. The main difference is that the children are learning in the second or third (sometimes fourth) language and that language is English. In addition, these schools usually have children of many nationalities.
The children work towards external examinations such as International Baccalaureate Diploma, ‘A’ Levels, IGCSE, SAT, AP, US High School Diploma, which are recognised internationally as entrance qualifications for universities all over the world.
As a teacher you can develop your career with an overseas teaching job in an international school in the same way that you would in your home country. Similar posts of responsibility, middle and upper leadership and professional development training are available.
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While it is true that many overseas schools have many students learning in their second or third language, these children do not attend an international school simply to learn English; they are studying all their subjects in preparation for further and higher education and beyond.
Many teachers simply don’t realise the opportunities available to them at overseas schools; they immediately think it’s simply teaching English as a foreign language and many don’t want that option; they want to a teaching job abroad teaching the subjects that they are skilled in. Also, many teachers don’t apply because they think they need to speak the language of the country that the school is located in. That is usually not the case. All international schools use English as their language for learning which is why there are so many opportunities all over the world for English-speaking teachers.
And the opportunities are increasing. There are teaching jobs in Europe, Asia, the middle east and the rest of the world. There are now over 5,000 international schools in almost every single country in the world and that number is predicted to rise to 8,000 by 2015.