The Challenges of Teaching Overseas

This week the Sydney Morning Herald featured an article about agencies recruiting teachers for schools in the United Kingdom, and the consequences for the teachers contracted.

All education authorities, whether in the UK or here in Australia, fill their most preferred locations from within and use other measures if necessary to fill the least desirable locations, “hard to staff” positions.

It is simple market forces. Teachers domestically will apply for those positions which are most desirable and will have an inherent advantage in securing them.

While Australian education authorities have not needed to resort to overseas recruitment in any substantial volume in recent decades, they have had to continue to look at how they attract teachers to the most remote or least preferred locations.

Australian awards and agreements for teachers, combined with other non-award strategies, provide significant enticements for teachers to work in the most remote areas. It is arguable that these enticements, benefits and allowances, need continual renewal to ensure that they appeal to the contemporary workforce and compensate them adequately. It is also arguable that some of the least preferred metropolitan locations should also attract more significant recruitment enticements.

In relation to overseas recruitment, it is a “three-way street”.

Teachers accepting contracts to teach in overseas locations should be aware that their work will be challenging.

Teacher recruitment agencies need to be upfront with the challenges and ensure that the teachers they recruit are well briefed and well suited.

There is also a significant onus on the leadership of the schools in which these teachers are working to ensure that their well-being is sufficiently monitored and supported.

Teaching overseas can be a professionally fulfilling experience, one for which the teacher needs to go in with their eyes wide open.

The SMH article – Australian teachers lash out at ‘unsustainable’ UK workload

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