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Teaching Overseas - It's time to think about going

Posted: 01-12-2016

Alison Papenfus
December 2016

In January 2017 South Africa will have the highest unemployment amongst teachers ever.From the look of it, more than 50% of unemployed teachers will be new graduates. The State has spent a fortune on their education, many of them have paid fees, and now – no job.

In 2016 we had a lot of new graduates without teaching jobs in January, and by April almost all of them were employed. That does not look likely in 2017.

Meanwhile the Rand has dropped in value yet again, and increases in experienced teachers' salaries are once again not keeping up with the cost of living. Unlike teachers overseas, South African teachers who want to study further do not enjoy discounts on their studies, and if they want to do international courses the cost is prohibitive.The proliferation of "Contracts" to teach for a year means that many teachers cannot buy a house, and have scant job security. I receive increasing numbers of calls from young teachers who say, "the HOD says I am working too hard, she tells me I am showing up some other teachers, and I must stop. I think I must find another job." It is, not for the first time, a disgraceful situation in a nation that spends a massive chunk of the budget on education.

So with that background I have to say – if you really want to teach, it's time to think about teaching overseas. We have vacancies in the Middle East, Africa and China from August 2017, and we want to suggest that everyone should consider going – either now or in the future.The exposure to new cultures, new curriculum, new languages strengthens teachers, and gives them invaluable life experience.The realistic salaries make it possible to come back with sufficient money to put down the deposit on a house – or to travel – or, or, or – because once you are there you will discover, the possibilities are endless.

Who is likely to get a job teaching overseas? Here are the major filters

  • Bachelors degree is essential – B Ed is fine, but Teachers Diplomas (even HDEs) are no longer sufficient for most nations
  • B Degrees from UNISA are a problem; some nations no longer accept them.If your B Degree is from UNISA try to do your Honours part time at UJ or Univ. Northwest (Potch) which have a better international reputation
  • Excellent English, written and spoken.No exceptions.We will be asking people who do not speak English as a first language to complete an English usage assessmentin English in 2017
  • Passport with at least 2 years validity
  • Police Clearance Certificate
  • At least two years teaching experience in an English medium school with a record of good results and a written reference from the Principal of the school
  • A "Clear and Clean" CV – no gaps, every term accounted for, valid SACE registration, South African citizenship, and Drivers' License.

If you think you qualify, now is the time to start thinking, talking to your family and deciding how – and when – to go.

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