International schools provide stimulating and exciting opportunities to launch a teaching career, or to spend a “gap year” before graduate school or a different job. You will find international schools from Albania to Zimbabwe – and over 130 countries in between!
The school forms a strong community, with many co-curricular activities and strong academic programs. The student body is often made up of many nationalities, and the teachers are, too. The schools we work with are those that use English as the language of instruction.
Since most of international schools require a minimum of two full years of K-12 teaching experience and a credential prior to hire in a teaching capacity, you should consider applying for a paid academic year as an “intern” somewhere in the world. The intern position is intended for recent college graduates/beginning teachers with little or no professional experience.
Schools hiring interns don’t necessarily expect candidates to have a teaching credential or teaching experience, although it is of added interest if you have one. Most importantly, schools want to see evidence of experience and enthusiasm in working with young people. Your chances of hire will depend most on the demand for your subjects/fields of expertise, the quality of your confidential references, and on your ability to interview in an engaging manner.
Intern job descriptions depend on the needs of the particular school, and on the individual talents and interests of each candidate, and are thus a little hard to describe. Schools hire and employ interns for a variety of unique and creative purposes. Some interns serve as teacher assistants or substitute in a variety of classes, while others may have full responsibility for some modules/sections, or teaching several classes, under the supervision of a mentor. Interns also assist with clubs and sports, and are expected to contribute to the general school community as much as possible.
Applying as an intern provides a chance to gain international classroom experience and can sometimes lead directly to a full-fledged teaching position. The intern contract is for a single year, while teaching contracts are traditionally for two. Interns earn around half the salary of full-fledged teachers, but because housing, airfare and insurance are provided, it can be possible to put aside some money from monthly earnings (which, again, vary, by school). Most schools provide housing (usually shared), but some will give an allowance instead.
Not all schools will offer internships, but many do, often posting these opportunities quite late in the recruiting cycle when they determine where interns can be placed. The best way to be in the running for a teaching internship at an international school is to register and work with an agency. Search Associates is one of the premier agency helping U.S. teacher candidates find teaching jobs in international schools.
Schools recruiting interns usually expect to interview candidates personally at the midwinter Search Associates job fair in Cambridge, MA, which is particularly “intern-friendly.” It is increasingly possible to get an offer out-of-fair altogether (via online contact and Skype interview), but the Cambridge fair provides the optimum opportunities for intern hire.
If you are interested, I hope you will follow up and complete an online application found at our website, at which time I can better evaluate your candidacy and advise you regarding your options. And please let me know if you have any questions that aren’t answered on our website!