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International Schools vs. TEFL, CELTA, etc.


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Armchair Traveler
Posts: 29
Joined: July 4th, 2007

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Tags: international schools, english schools, tefl, celta, teaching
  • Added on: July 26th, 2007
I am a science teacher in the U.S. and am looking for an international school in either Vietnam or Latin America. I will have 2 years experience before I begin (most international schools seem to require that), but my husband has no teaching experience so we are looking at the whole TEFL, CELTA thing for him. However, he is Vietnamese, and as you may know some English-language schools only want to hire Caucasians. So, I have a couple questions about international vs. English-language schools if you all can help me.

1. There are many more English-language schools than international schools--would it be easier if I just applied at English-language schools as well? (I have no certification, though I have English as a Second language experience.

2. Are the working conditions worse in English schools than International (I have heard that you get no planning period or few resources at English schools, and that the work hours could be spread over a 12-hour period.

3. Are there any great international schools or English schools you could recommend in either Latin America or Vietnam?

So sorry that is so long! Any other international vs. English school advice would be awesome, too.!


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Posts: 1895
Joined: August 3rd, 2005

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  • Added on: July 26th, 2007
(just deleted my own nicely written post, sorry)
Work at an international school if you can. I'm an EFL teacher and last year met some international school teachers...better pay - more serious work in the sense that you are teaching young people who need to pass exams to graduate and go to college - but more normal conditions.

Language school work varies, and I don't know what's available in the places you are interested in, but yes, the pay is lower and doesn't really incorporate prep in the way international schools do. A full-time week might be 25 hours, so it's not that you don't have time to prepare, but the pay tends to be less than at international schools, and is often by the contact hour, so people talk about it as unpaid prep. I think there are jobs that have okay hours and decent pay...but my instinct is that international schools will usually be better. If you have that (higher-paying) job, your husband may be able to take a better language school job that either has nicer hours or not as many, if he's okay with that.

I'm sure that there is a "the grass is always greener" aspect to it...but...still, international schools just seem better.

One frequent conversation topic between the teachers I knew was the IB tests...I still don't know much, but there is something about being certified for those...it is a good thing and helps you get jobs from what I understand, so if you haven't already, it might be worth looking into.
Make cay, not war - Kesmen


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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
Posts: 346
Joined: May 30th, 2005

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  • Added on: July 26th, 2007
The international school track is far superior to working in language schools, particularly if you might be the primary breadwinner.

Know also that science and math teachers are in DEMAND out here - and you won't have much trouble finding a decent job in what is ordinarily a highly competitive environment.

Take your time - find the right job. A good place to start is International School Services.

ISS charges for placement assistance - but in the long run, it is a great investment.

There are loads of international schools around the world - many of them call themselves that - but are sorry imitations. Going through a service like ISS will help you get to the right schools.
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