We hope, that by reading this, young teachers will be inspired to take the plunge and go teach abroad. Afterwards, if they want to, they can come back to positions they deserve and provide South African learners with the education they deserve.
The reason we do what we do is to benefit the futures of South African teachers. We want our special teachers to be able to go abroad and get experience and knowledge that they would otherwise not be exposed to in South Africa. This means that they return home better educators which increases their chances of getting a better job and providing South African learners with a better education.
We spoke to two teachers, Emré and Renee, who we sent to the Middle East and have just completed their contracts, and we asked them how they thought the experience will improve their lives as teachers.
Q1: Have you perhaps been exposed to anything that has helped you grow as a teacher that you may otherwise not have experienced in South Africa? If so, what was it?
Emré: Definitely yes! I’ve been exposed to a lot of different teaching methods and the exposure to the technology we use in the classroom is also something that I find to be beneficial for me as a teacher.
Renee:Teaching out here has brought me in contact with so many teachers from other countries. Every country obviously has their own curriculum, and teacher training is based on that. This means that I have learnt so many different strategies from my colleagues with regards to planning, making resources, teaching, and even tackling behaviour management. Their knowledge has definitely been invaluable to my career and teaching style. I was also exposed to a different curriculum, which of course not without its challenges. But, in the end, it has broadened my outlook on education and given me new motivation to keep up with trends and education strategies and protocols globally, to ensure that I am the best teacher I can possible be.
Q2: Do you think teaching overseas has helped your career?
Emré: I would say so. I gained some skills and confidence and I know this would help me in the future. I am excited to use all these ideas and knowledge in action when I teach in South Africa again.
Renee: Teaching abroad has definitely helped my career, as it has opened the doors to so many other opportunities. I was able to get a job as a teacher in China because of the experience I gained in the UAE. The experience I have gained in the American curriculum, and will gain in the Cambridge curriculum next year in China, has definitely had a positve impact on my career.
Q3: Do you think that having taught overseas will improve your chances of getting a good teaching job in South Africa?
Renee:If I had to go back to South Africa to teach in the near future, I would like to be able to teach at an International school that follows the Cambridge curriculum. I definitely think gaining some experience in that field will make it easier for me to get a job at such a school. I also think that teaching in English abroad (after having only taught Afrikaans in SA) increases my chances to get a job at an English school. I would also like to believe that my experience with differnet curricula will mean that I could get a leadership role in a school at South Africa.
We also spoke to an ex-principal and he was able to explain what he looked for when hiring teachers and how overseas experience could be beneficial:
Are teachers who have overseas experience more desirable?
Yes, because they come back with experience in different curriculums, different cultures, different teaching methods. All these makes what they bring to the table more desirable.
Are there more/ better opportunities for teachers in SA after they have taught overseas?
Yes, in that good and experienced teachers – as they would be in point 2 above – are always more in demand.
What did you look for on a teacher’s CV and what sort of things make teachers stand out?
Strong academic experience, if they’ve achieved some sort of leadership position,
technology, extra mural activities in both culture and sport.
We would like to say a big thank you to Emré and Renee for their candor and wish them all the best on their new teaching adventures!