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Before Signing an International Teaching Contract: Key Considerations

Before Signing an International Teaching Contract: Key Considerations

The Job Search and Contract Considerations

Once you have chosen a country (or countries) to teach internationally, you can begin looking for jobs. There are many ways to go about finding a teaching job abroad, but the most important thing to be aware of is what the contract will contain. This is made up of the requirements, timeline, and structure of the position including salary and other financial inclusions. These can vary significantly from school to school so it’s important to have a clear understanding before you sign a contract and move across the world. 

Agency vs. Going Direct

There are two main options when searching and applying for an international position. One is to work with an agency/recruiter who represents the school(s). An agency will provide you with information on the school so you don’t have to do as much research yourself however it is still important you do your due diligence.  Agencies/recruiters are paid by the schools to do their hiring so it’s important to research the agency or recruiter to ensure they are a reputable company with reviews of other teachers' experience with them. The second option is to go directly to the school or organization. I personally have not used a recruiter but rather applied independently to schools by emailing them directly, which has been successful for me. Regardless of the method chosen, finding teaching jobs abroad requires diligence and thorough research."

Information You Need to Make A Decision

Do your research. Is the school public or private? Does the website look credible? What curriculum do they teach? Does the school have accreditations from well-known organizations such as the Council for International Schools (CIS), International Baccalaureate (IB), etc.? What is the average class size? Check out the school’s social media pages for more insight. If possible, visit the school as a guest to see the campus, peek into the classrooms, and chat with current teachers. Some schools even have Google reviews left by parents or community members. 

Not all schools are created equal and the word ‘international’ in the name doesn’t necessarily guarantee a specific environment. I spent two long years working at an ‘international school’ that taught the California Common Core Curriculum to local students but it operated more as a business than a school. It was a good learning experience for me but it was not without frustration and a lot of flexibility on my part. 

It might be hard to get all your questions answered from a school’s website, but you could even go as far as calling or emailing asking for references or contacting other teachers who have taught in that school. Of course, it is nearly impossible to know exactly what a school will be like before experiencing it for yourself, but taking the time to do some research will give you a good idea of your future job and work environment.

Checklist of what you should know/understand before signing a contract

  • uncheckedWhat is the salary? What is the structure of payment?
  • uncheckedWhat is the time commitment is it 1 year, 2 years, or more?
  • uncheckedHow much notice is required to leave?
  • uncheckedAre there contract renewal opportunities?
  • uncheckedIs there housing or accommodation included or a supplement provided?
  • uncheckedClass sizes or structure of the timetable
  • uncheckedSchool holidays
  • uncheckedSchool curriculum
  • uncheckedProvisions and supplies (is there technology or resources available?
  • uncheckedWill you be provided with a computer?
  • uncheckedDoes the school provide health coverage and what is the package like?
  • uncheckedWill your flight and moving expenses be covered?
  • uncheckedSchool hours and responsibilities beyond classroom duties
  • uncheckedOpportunities for professional development

Before you move abroad, make sure the country you’re headed to will be a good fit.

In the next article, we will discuss some often overlooked characteristics of a new location.  Click here to learn more.

To begin your job search click here


Meet the author:

Tiana Bogaert is the brilliant mind behind our international teaching articles. Coming from Ontario, Canada and trained in primary/junior education, Tiana infuses her writing with a rich tapestry of firsthand experiences. With a teaching portfolio spanning five countries and volunteer roles in three more, she brings a unique global perspective to her insightful articles. Tiana is an educator and a seasoned traveler with 48 countries under her belt, sharing her vast experiences abroad into the fabric of her writing. Join Tiana in this series as she invites you to explore the process of finding your own intersection of teaching and travel.

Have more questions about teaching abroad? Send your questions to Tiana at