Using a job search agency can help to match make you with the right employer. This is especially useful when searching for jobs teaching abroad as you will have little to no familiarity with the place where you are job searching.
If you don't have time to keep scouring the internet for job opportunities, registering with an agency is a great idea. Reputable agencies will have filtered out many "unsound" employers, and will usually cater to your specific requirements.
There are many agencies working in the overseas teaching field. The three reviewed in this article are those which I have personally made use of and found to be professional and effective, while remaining "human".
Registering with an Agency
Registration can take around twenty minutes: allow a little longer for unforeseen glitches. Each agency requires you to upload your CV upon registering, and to complete a few extra details about your background. It is common practice to ask for a digital photograph for international jobs, so have a good shot handy. You will also need references of one form or another - sometimes just the contact information, and the referees are later asked to fill in an online form.
The services of Teach Anywhere are free for teachers at present. The instructions are very clear on the site and, once you’ve uploaded your CV, an agent will call you. This personal service is very useful for explaining exactly what you are looking for, and what or where you are not prepared to look at. The agent will email and/or call with opportunities for interview, arrange said interviews and then follow up on any interviews you have. There are also regular emails direct from the company; targeting the types of positions you have indicated interest in.
Editor's Note: You may also be interested in checking out edvectus, a company started by Diane Jacoutot, the same women who started Teach Anywhere.
Search Associates is a major recruiting company for the overseas market. Registration is not normally free but may include enrollment in one of its Job Fairs. As a member, you can log in to view vacancies with schools registered with Search. Click on “Search for Openings in International Schools" and choose from:
- Vacancies within the last 3, 10, 30 or 44 days
- School name (whole or in part)
The school vacancies pages list detailed information about each position: curriculum, number on roll, etc. as well as salary and benefits. There are also useful indications as to whether a family of four can make do on one salary, and how much a single teacher could expect to save in a year.
Check out each school's website (given) for details on how to apply and then... apply!
Search sends candidates daily updates on vacancies and modifications, as well as a separate subject (or position) specific email for each vacancy which appears to be relevant to your needs.
International Supply Teachers
International Supply Teachers charges about £35 for online registration. As it sounds, this agency deals with short-term vacancies, such as for maternity leave or to cover for an unexpected vacancy. They generally want quick turnaround, so you must be able to mobilize within one to two weeks: pack your suitcase now! Emails are sent out whenever a suitable position is available, at least every two months.
This can be a good option if you are feeling in "halfway house" mode: not sure where to go next. You will always have a limited contract, so you can't get stuck in a bad situation for too long, and it gives you the chance to experience a variety of places, cultures, systems, school types and sizes etc. which should stand you in very good stead in the future.
Apart from the individual short-term contracts with each school, there is no obligation to be a supply teacher for any minimum period, so you can take advantage of any opportunities which arise to turn a temporary position into a permanent one.
Accepting An Offer
In the international market, you should never accept an offer if you are not 100% committed to it, no matter what pressure may be being put upon you by recruiters. All respectable institutions will honor a request for more time to decide – up to a week is reasonable. Teachers who accept a position (either verbally or in writing) then later change their minds without good reason can easily be blacklisted. (International Supply Teachers will delete the records from their files!) This applies not only to the individual agency they used: the international scene is a surprisingly small world with a speedy grapevine.
My personal philosophy is: there is no wrong choice. Having said that, don’t expect perfection! You will almost without doubt have to make compromises in your lifestyle when working overseas, especially if you have a family. Be prepared for the unexpected, go in with a positive, adventurous spirit and enjoy!