Top Tips for Spouses of Foreign Service Workers to Land a Teaching Job Abroad
Teaching overseas and in international countries can be an extremely rewarding experience for American teachers and spouses of Foreign Service workers.
In order to prepare yourself to teach internationally, you’ll need to do a little research and seek out a lot of training. The following resources will help you get started.
1. Get the Right Training
Before you can begin applying for jobs, you’ll need to get the proper training—even if you’re already a teacher.
The first option is FAST TRAIN Foreign Affairs Spouses Teacher Training Project, offered at George Mason University. The Graduate School of Education offers licensing and gets teachers prepared for overseas assignments.
They also offer a Master’s Degree in Multilingual and Multicultural Education. This program focuses on teaching English as a second language.
For those who aren’t interested in an advanced degree, the university also offers a Certificate in IB and in Special Education. For those interested in teaching learning disabled students, the Lab School of Washington in Washington DC offers such a program in the autumn months.
2. Find the Right Job
After you’ve been trained to work in an international environment, you’ll need to find a job abroad. The International Educator (TIE) is a non-profit organization offering services to assist teachers find overseas schools to work with.
This private organization staffs over 500 schools with pre-K through 12 classes outside the United States. If you’re just looking for a list of options and not a placement service, the Chronicle of Higher Education posts an extensive list of teaching positions overseas offered outside the United States.
3. Get in Touch with Teachers
Once you’ve got a list of schools you’re interested in contacting, you can get in touch with the Office of Overseas Schools for their list of overseas schools. This list is complete with contact information of the new school’s administration. The Community Liaison Office coordinator can help you get in touch with the administration and advise you on available teaching opportunities.
4. Get Assisted by the States
If you’re not comfortable going it on your own, go through the United States Government. The Office of Overseas Schools is an organization sponsored by the Department of the State that connects teachers with non-denominational, non-profit and independent schools.
Many of these schools were set up through expats and American teachers. 190 of these schools received grants in 1995 and 1996 from the government.
The schools are in charge of hiring staff, as independent organizations and many of these organizations hire through the Office of Overseas Schools. The Office also has a directory of these organizations and extensive information on the recruiters and administration.
If you haven’t been certified to teach overseas, the Office can set you up with a university that offers overseas certification and training.
5. Tutoring and Special Education
One last way of nabbing an overseas teaching job is to tutor children or work in the special education sector.
These jobs are generally offered to spouses those in the Foreign Service. Teachers can work with children who are enrolled in schools that do not offer a complete course listing. For these classes, families generally combine their resources to pay for the teacher’s salary, so teachers might tutor many students at one time.
Many schools abroad also do not provide programs for children with special needs and funds are available to pay educators to work with these students. Spouses of Foreign Service workers can get training in these programs before leaving the United States to enhance their chances of finding a tutor or special education post overseas.
Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS)
Teach at an overseas military base through the Department of Defense. You must get in touch with the Department of Defense before heading overseas, though, as the decisions for teachers are made stateside.
Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program
Swap places with an overseas teacher in the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program—it’s like the foreign exchange student program, just with teachers instead. To qualify for a Fulbright Teacher exchange, you need to currently work as a teacher in the United States, have US citizenship and have teaching experience that equals three years of full-time work.
Spread peace on earth by signing up for the Peace Corps. They hire elementary, secondary and vocational school teachers, as well as university professors to teach overseas. In order to qualify for this program, you must have teaching experience and live in the United States.
Institute of International Education (IIE)
If you’re in the New York area, you can pick up a copy of the Institute of International Education at the United Nations plaza. The IIE is a posting of teaching positions overseas and a good resource for teachers.
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
This United States organization hires educators to teach at their schools outside of the country.
Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive.
For Amy, corporate culture isn't about dogs and free lunches, it's about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.