Selecting an international school: Tip #7 – Does the school feature a curriculum that is consistent with your future plans?
January 16, 2013
What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well? There are many different kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations. How important is finding out about if the school features a curriculum that is consistent with your future career plans? It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school to work at. So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at? In this blog series we will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.
Tip #7 – Does the school feature a curriculum that is consistent with your future plans?
International schools teach in many different curricula. Some of the most common are the UK, USA, Canada, IPC, PYP, MYP, and IB curricula. Which curriculum is one that is consistent with your future plans? Are you comfortable just continuing teaching in the same one curriculum that you have been teaching in your whole teaching career or do you have aspirations to teach and to gain experience in a different curriculum?
Most of us international school teachers start off in a school that teaches in the same curriculum as your home country. After all, your home country curriculum is what you have the most experience teaching in, and it is also probably the one in which you are the most comfortable. Also, if you work at a school that teaches your home country curriculum, then you will most likely be teaching alongside others who are just like you (which could make you feel “more at home” while living abroad).
There are definitely international school teachers out there that seek out new experiences though and would be risk takers and seek out to try and work at an international school that teaches in a curriculum of which they are not familiar. It definitely broadens your skills in teaching once you start having experiences teaching in different curricula. You may find that your personal teaching philosophy also starts to get modified or solidified even more. You definitely have more “tools” in your teaching “toolbox.” Not only does teaching in the new curriculum change you, it is the people that you interact with at that new school (who might be from a different country and teaching background than you) that influence how you teach your lessons as well.
It is nice to have a couple of different experiences noted on your CV that refer to the different curricula in which you have taught. It is not only good for you so that you grow professionally, but it is also potentially good when job hunting. Only a few cities in the world have more than 20 international schools in them (Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, etc…) and can offer many different kinds of curricula.
Most cities though only have a handful of international schools (Paris, Chang Mai, Buenos Aires, etc…), mean limited choices for different curricula. If you are interested in working in a specific city in the world and there are only three international schools in that city, then you can for sure “better your chances” of getting a job there if you have previous experience teaching the curriculum at two or all three of those schools. It is not a given though that you will automatically get an interview/the job there of course (if you have experience in that curriculum), but it most definitely might put you on their radar.
With the international schools that teach the IB curriculum, some people say that it is getting increasingly difficult to get a job at these schools if you don’t have previous IB experience. You might have PYP, MYP, and IB as part of your plans in your future teaching career, but many schools are not even considering candidates without previous experience. There definitely have been candidates though who “got their break” and landed a job at an IB school without previous experience in the curriculum. Those candidates say that some directors tell them that if you are a good teacher, then it does not matter one bit if you don’t have previous IB experience. If you are a good teacher in one curriculum, then typically that would mean you are a good teacher in another one (with proper training and PD of course to help you along the way). So, if you are trying to secure a job at an international school that teaches a curriculum that you have no experience in, don’t just give up and not send them your cover letter and CV. You never know truly who they are specifically looking for and of course they aren’t just considering candidates that have previous experience in the curriculum. It might just be that they are not getting enough “ideal” candidates and are already considering candidates without previous curriculum experience.
On our website we have a School Profile Search feature that allows you to search for the schools that teach the curriculum that you are looking for in your next job. You can search by choosing the following curricula: UK, USA, Canada, IPC, PYP, MYP, and IB. We also have an “other” option to search schools that teach a curriculum that is not one of those eight choices. When searching our 1340 international schools (updates on 16 January 2013), we have found the following results regarding curricula:
• There are 435 international schools that teach the USA curriculum.
• There are 413 international schools that teach the UK curriculum.
• There are 57 international schools that teach the IPC curriculum.
• There are 306 international schools that teach the PYP curriculum.
• There are 237 international schools that teach the MYP curriculum
• There are 472 international schools that teach the IB curriculum
• There are 29 international schools that teach the Canada curriculum
• There are 647 international schools that teach the “Other/Host Country” curriculum
If you are an International School Community member, log on today and submit your own search for the curriculum that is consistent with your future plans!
If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and become a part of our over 1600 members. Many of our current members have listed that they have worked at over 200 international schools around the world, schools that teach all 8 of the curriculum search criteria. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions and get firsthand information about what it is like teaching in the curriculum at their international school.