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Primary & post-primary teachers from Ireland are now discovering the financial rewards on offer at International Schools in the Far East.

Travelling abroad to teach is not a new concept to many Irish primary and post-primary teachers. In fact, in the modern Irish school and education landscape, teaching overseas is something that many trainee teachers will now be considering from early on in their studies and preparing for after graduation. With low tax salaries of between €2,300 – €4,500 depending on qualifications and the school, complete with a free apartment, flights and many other benefits, teaching abroad is now a sensible option for many.

Challenges faced by teachers at home

In recent years there have been huge challenges faced by teachers in Ireland. This is especially the case for those that have graduated recently. It can be extremely difficult to secure a teaching position and most are faced with the prospect of substitute teaching for a prolonged period of time.
It can be a big challenge also for many young post-primary teachers to meet the requirements of the Teaching Council of Ireland and complete 200 hours of teaching practice before reaching qualified teacher status due to the often low number of teaching hours available to them and the need to ultimately compete with other staff members in a school. Additionally it remains to be seen if new teachers will receive equal pay to their colleagues.
Many are now seeking higher salaries, full time teaching hours and better career and promotional prospects at school and in the field of education. In addition to new Irish teaching graduates seeking teaching jobs at international schools overseas, many experienced teachers are also requesting career breaks and choosing to teach abroad to save money towards large expenses such as a deposit on a property at home.

The welcome for teachers abroad

Teachers from Ireland are in high demand in countries like China, Malaysia and Vietnam and many possibilities for international teaching positions are just now being discovered by Irish teachers. Due to the comparatively stringent applicant requirements for teaching courses in Ireland, high standards of teacher training delivered and our teachers’ ability to adapt to working abroad with ease, schools hold teachers from Ireland in high esteem. Some of the best teaching positions available to qualified Irish primary and post-primary teachers now exist in high-quality, well resourced international schools in East and Southeast Asia.
As a teacher, you can expect to benefit from the excellent quality of life available in East and Southeast Asia. There are more liberal societies here than other countries, in addition to a much lower cost of living and the ability to save substantial money each month on a much higher salary than you may receive at home. The opportunities to travel around many neighbouring exotic countries with a great climate or explore the country you are working in during your vacation time cannot be met by many other careers outside of international teaching.
Teaching positions have been available in the Middle East for many years, but as Ireland has become more connected to destinations further afield, there are now a huge number of Irish expatriate teachers in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok, to name but a few. These days, there is a GAA club and a vibrant Irish expatriate community in many Asian cities. The food, shopping and nightlife are excellent and much of the modern transportation infrastructure is second to none. A one way subway journey can cost as little as 25c in comparison to a €3.00 DART or LUAS ticket for example.

Modern, well-resourced schools

There is a huge growing demand for international school education in emerging Asian economies and many of the new middle class in these locations want their children educated to a high standard. Schools will deliver a range of curricula including those based on the British system (IGCSE) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) for example.
There is a requirement for a full range of education professionals with qualifications in early childhood and primary education in addition to secondary subject teachers of all subjects including Science, PE, Economics, Mathematics and English. Unlike in Ireland, there are very real promotional opportunities for teachers and they can often be promoted to head of department and other managerial positions within a much shorter time frame than in Ireland or the UK.
International schools have excellent facilities; well stocked libraries, science labs, music rooms, studios, craft rooms, and a wide variety of sport fields and courts for sports like football, basketball, tennis, and volleyball and in some cases, even swimming pools.

Future demand for experienced international teachers in Ireland

Ireland is now also starting to feel the demand for international school education with a new 800-capacity school granted permission for Leopardstown in Dublin to meet the needs of an increasing number of families moving to Ireland for high-level employment with multinational firms. The lack of international school places in Ireland has been flagged as an issue in attracting talent to the country and further schools will be needed in the future. Teachers who have gained experience teaching the International Baccalaureate program will be required to meet the needs of a changing landscape in Irish education. So a move abroad may also add to a teacher’s longer-term employment prospects in Ireland, as well as the many immediate benefits these roles offer.
TFA Education Group works with international schools throughout Asia. For more information on our services and some of the opportunities currently available in international schools throughout Asia, visit our website at:  www.tfa-education.com.  If this is your first time teaching abroad and you’d like some first-hand accounts of what it’s like to teach in another country, check out our testimonials at: http://www.tfa-education.com/testimonials.php.

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