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If you’re an African teacher who is considering the idea of teaching abroad, I’ve gathered some valuable tips based on my own experience of studying, qualifying, and working overseas. These tips can help you navigate the process and increase your chances of securing a teaching position in a foreign country.
1. Teach English (TEFL/TESOL)
Interestingly, one of the easiest ways to teach abroad, particularly online, is to teach English. English is in high demand globally, especially in countries like Asia and the Middle East. You might be surprised at the opportunities available and the competitive compensation offered for teaching English.
a) Bachelor’s Degree: Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in any subject.
b) TEFL/TESOL Certification: This certification demonstrates your ability to teach English. Many employers prefer a 120-hour TEFL certificate.
Tip: Be cautious when selecting an online TEFL certification. While there are numerous inexpensive options available, it’s advisable to invest in a reputable course that costs at least $100. Research the course thoroughly before enrolling.
2. Obtain a Teaching Qualification
While this may seem obvious, it’s important for individuals like myself who don’t come from a teaching background to acquire a teaching qualification. This could be a Teaching Methodology Course, a PGCE/PGDE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education), or an equivalent certification. These courses typically span one year.
Tip: If possible, consider completing your teaching qualification in South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia. Having a certification from one of these countries can be advantageous, as I will explain later.
3. Be a Registered Teacher
Ensure that you are a fully recognized teacher in your home country according to the requirements set by your national teaching council or relevant authorities. Other countries will likely request proof of your teaching credentials from your home country.
4. Embrace the South African Advantage (with a Twist of Humor)
On a more lighthearted note, it’s worth mentioning that, for some reason, South Africa is often favored by many prominent international schools compared to other African countries. Being trained in South Africa can provide you with a significant advantage in the job market abroad.
5. Teach an International Curriculum
Most international schools follow international curricula rather than local ones. Therefore, they prefer candidates who have experience teaching an international curriculum.
The most popular international curricula include Cambridge, International Baccalaureate (IB), Edexcel, and Advanced Placement (AP). Most international schools seek teachers with at least two years of experience teaching an international curriculum.
Tip: Seek employment at schools in your home country that offer these international curricula. While the pay might not be as high, gaining experience and achieving excellent IGCSE or IB results will significantly enhance your chances of securing a teaching position abroad.
6. Register on International Job Boards
Sign up for international job boards that cater to teachers seeking opportunities abroad. These platforms can serve as valuable resources for finding teaching positions in foreign countries.
In conclusion, venturing into teaching abroad can be an exciting and rewarding experience for African teachers. By following these tips and conducting thorough research, you can increase your chances of finding suitable teaching opportunities in different parts of the world. Best of luck with your journey!
Chimwemwe Shaba is a holder of a Bachelor of Science in Computing. He is a Cambridge, Google and Microsoft certified ICT/Computer Science teacher with over five years of experience teaching international curricula at both primary and secondary school levels in multicultural learning institutions.