Teaching in Asia

What to Expect Teaching Overseas in an International School

Author
David Jordan, High School Teacher, Language and Literature, Theory of Knowledge

David Jordan is a high school teacher with nearly 17 years experience teaching in international schools across Asia. He's shared his story with us on the extraordinary experience of living in Asia and teaching in a prestigious international school. Read on for his account of the professional development and life-enriching experiences a teacher can expect when working for an international school overseas.

David’s story

My wife and I worked in the public sector for a few years before venturing internationally. Our first international posting was in Singapore at an International Baccalaureate school.

I was then attracted to teaching in China after attending a professional development workshop and was amazed by both the host school and the host city; it is such a diverse, exciting place to work. You could spend a lifetime in China and still only scratch the surface. It still continues to exceed my expectations.

Teaching in an International School

Teaching in an International school allows me to be very creative and take chances with my pedagogy. The students I work with come from all corners of the globe, and therefore we have no state or national standards that we are beholden to in our teaching or learning. 

The two things connecting all of us are our relationships to our home away from home and our international identities. This condition requires me to look beyond provincial issues or local topics. 

I challenge myself to find commonly relevant material that genuinely addresses globally relevant issues. It's exciting and I know that the learning my students engage in prepares them for an increasingly connected world.  

One of the benefits of teaching in an International Baccalaureate curriculum is my school is extremely well resourced and aims to be at the cutting edge of educational innovation. I am expected to be at the top of my game in terms of practice in the service of learning and I am well supported in this process. It's a great place to be the professional that I aspire to be.  

Work-Life Balance in an International School

My work-life balance is great! I work hard, but I am not expected to burn the midnight oil in the service of my school or students. I compel myself to do so because I value the work that I do. I also have a very rewarding social life with my family and friends. The city is just too much fun, it’s impossible to not get out and enjoy it.   

My family and I go home for 7 weeks a year, with flights provided in my contract, and it's an easy direct flight. My wife and I put away a lot of money each month into our investments and we still have more than enough money each month to pay for all of the entertainment we enjoy, a nanny for our child, and travel on all of our vacations. 

Life in Asia

The unknown is just a way of life in Asia. But it's also exciting and is usually a very positive experience. This is an amazingly welcoming society and it's remarkable how a laugh, a smile, and a little humility can turn an awkward situation into positive community occasion.

If you’re interested in teaching at an international school in Asia, I recommend you spend some time researching the city and campus before you commit yourself. There are a lot of different schools with their own unique character. Find the school that matches you. It will make your transition into life in Asia that much easier knowing that you are doing it with people that get you. 

Interested in Teaching at an International School in China or South Korea?

If you’re looking to expand your teaching career in Asia, and you’re excited about being an educator in a global community, contact us today to learn about our latest international job opportunities at Smart Teachers Presents: Dulwich College International Recruitment Fair