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What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are there similar reasons 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 how well the school is linked to other international schools? 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? This blog series 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 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 in a school that teaches in the same curriculum as your home country. After all, your home country’s curriculum is what you have the most experience teaching, 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’s 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 international school teachers out there who 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 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 have more “tools” in your teaching “toolbox.” Not only does teaching in the new curriculum change you, but 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…), meaning 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 for your future teaching career, but many schools are not even considering candidates without previous experience. There 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 they are good teachers, then it does not matter one bit if they 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 2307 international schools (updates on 13 November 2023), we have found the following results regarding curricula:
- There are 899 international schools that teach the USA curriculum.
- There are 740 international schools that teach the UK curriculum.
- There are 158 international schools that teach the IPC curriculum.
- There are 462 international schools that teach the PYP curriculum.
- There are 355 international schools that teach the MYP curriculum
- There are 655 international schools that teach the IBDP curriculum
- There are 54 international schools that teach the Canadian curriculum
- There are 900 international schools that teach the “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 27600 members. Many of our current members have listed that they work at over 1200 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions about an international school’s accreditation status and get firsthand information about how the accreditation process is going for them.