Teaching Overseas -16 months
In the May 2018, still planning for September 2019, I reached out to a trusted colleague and highly regarded International Headteacher (now award winning Headteacher). A conversation that spanned a few weeks ensued. I am very fortunate to be able to draw on his experience and I am thankful to him for his insights. His insights are much more reliable than my own, though I can now add emphasis where his advice held up affirmatively.
I’m seeking your professional advice. My wife and I have been discussing our 2018 steps. With three young children, we want to give them a broader view of the world. Could I ask your advice on headships abroad?
Here is what I learnt
Hi Kristian – in the right type of school in a location that you like – it could be the best move your ever make for you and your family – that’s certainly how I feel. As in the U.K. you need to be careful about schools. Check for BSO accreditation, not for profit is ideal in my humble opinion, also check out governance. Community life can bit intense, one of the possible downsides.
Keep an eye on TES. Smaller recruitment agencies.
If you have young children your wife will quickly meet other mums from UK and around the globe. Living in a diverse international community is one of the pluses in my experience; generally people have a more global outlook. Your children will end up with a “global network of friends.” The experience of living and working in a different country, culture and climate is amazing and could enrich your lives like nothing before.
Living in a diverse international community is one of the pluses in my experience; generally people have a more global outlook. Your children will end up with a global network of friends.
We added the type of school to our list. I also noted his direct comment regarding my wife’s experience.
It is a different role for headteachers?
Community life can bit intense, one of the possible downsides, close Expat community can mean staff/parent staff/staff conflict is more common place than you might be used to. Depends on location and professionalism of staff body.
Lights on green. Our intentions strengthened. When I look back now, from that conversation on, the key driver for the move became those words… “best move your ever make for you and your family,” and less about the professional role or financial package. We were not ignoring those factors, just they were just not as important – and perhaps I can only say that because we were relatively financially stable and agreed upon the Middle East as the destination.
Preparation and lead-in time
I asked about our 16 months lead-in time.
Reasonable and sensible but sometimes you have to seize the right opportunity when it presents itself. The timing is not always perfect, you may need to consider some short term pain for long term gain.
Given that advice, to be in a position to “seize the right opportunity” I refreshed my personal statement, resume and online profile.
How true those words of advice became!
No better answers to your BIG questions
I can not improve of the advice above. Building a life in a “different country, culture and climate is amazing and could enrich your lives like nothing before” offering your children an “international outlook” and being ready to “seize the right opportunity” – that is advice that is hard to better.
Specifically, on the impact of an international education on your children. One of the most significant experiences of this summer term for me personally was attending our Sixth Form / IB graduation. The student were collected, composed and dignified. They engaged courteously and confidently, sharing their career and education destinations from across the globe; UK, America, Australia, Holland, Canada, local Universities and the Military… The opportunities pursued and the students confidence struck me.
Snippets of advice that made sense to me
There are too many horror stories I was unaware of with a Principals & owners of schools clashing, ending in a one way ticket home for the Heads.
Accepting of centralised decision making – if you join a group.
Thoughts of staff retention and headship job security.
International education is different. That is why you are considering the move. You may benefit from being understanding and flexible. However, one Headteacher told me…
If it starts to make sense, it’s time to go home!