Short Guide on Teaching Primary Abroad

Andrew Lynch

Teaching Primary Abroad - Students

As rewarding as teaching children in your domestic school system can be, have you considered the merits of teaching primary abroad? If you are in a position where you hold the required qualifications - such as a Bachelor's Degree and a Postgraduate teaching diploma, plus a minimum amount of relevant in-class experience, you stand a really good chance of transferring your skills abroad. 

With that being said, even if you fall slightly short of the aforementioned requirements, there is still the prospect that primary schools abroad will consider your application. 

As such, it is well worth checking out the list of teaching primary abroad jobs that we have listed here at the Teaching Abroad Direct website. In fact, we have heaps of opportunities across multiple countries right now - with more and more being added on a frequent basis. 

However, if you’re unsure as to whether you or not you have the required profile to teach primary abroad, or you simply want more information as to what the process entails, be sure to read on!

Qualifications to teach Primary Abroad

First and foremost, the biggest barrier that is potentially standing in the way of you teaching primary school children in a land far away is that of your academic background. This typically comes in two key forms - your university education and your postgraduate teaching diploma. 

Let's start with the former. 

University Education

Unlike core teaching subjects such as Mathematics or Science, becoming a primary school teacher does not typically require you to have majored in a particular discipline at university. On the contrary, you can have majored in any subject during your Bachelor's Degree, which is great. In fact, if you're in the UK, then you'll know that this is a key requirement in order to move on to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). 

On the other hand, simply holding a Bachelor’s Degree might not be enough if you are looking to teach primary abroad at a prestigious international school. For example, while some academic institutions might ask that you obtained at least a 2:1, others might go one step further and ask that you also hold a Master’s Degree. This is especially true in more stringent schooling systems such as those in Singapore and Hong Kong. 

Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching

On top of holding a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree, teaching at an overseas primary school will all-but certainly require you to hold a PGCE. This will likely be the case if you are looking to teach in education systems such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - as these nations follow a very similar framework as the UK. 

However, this isn’t always the case - as depending on the specific location you are looking to teach - as well as the type of academic institution, you might be able to land a job by simply holding a Bachelor’s Degree. For example, with demand for native English teachers in countries such as Vietnam, China, and Chile now outpacing supply at an exponential rate, schools are having to widen the goalposts when it comes to minimum eligibility requirements. 

As such, if you’re really keen for a career change and at the very least you hold a Bachelor’s Degree, you still stand a chance of landing a primary teaching job abroad. 

Experience needed to teach Primary abroad

If you’re in the fortunate position of holding both a Bachelor’s Degree and a PGCE, then you stand an excellent chance of landing a top position abroad as a primary school teacher. However, there is one more factor that you need to make considerations for - experience. In a nutshell, the most prestigious international schools that offer the best salaries will likely require you to have at least 1-3 years’ worth of experience. 

Moreover, this experience will likely need to be in a relevant in-class setting, meaning that you’ll need to have previously taught at primary school level. After all, if you’re looking for a serious career switch overseas, there is a very good chance that the respective school will need to sponsor your work permit application. They will only do this if they are confident in your teaching credentials beforehand - with proven experience the best way to gauge this.

However, not having relevant experience - or any experience at all, will not necessarily hinder your chances. While it might prevent you from landing the best paying positions in your chosen destination, you should still be able to open up other doors. As noted earlier, the likes of China, Vietnam, Chile, and a whole host of other countries now have a very high demand for native teachers at primary school level, so don’t be disheartened if you’re lacking in the experience department.

Source: China Daily. Fancy pushing the boundaries by teaching at a primary school in China? The opportunities for foreign teachers are now plentiful.

Will I need to arrange a visa when teaching Primary abroad?

Regardless of where you decide to jet off to in your quest for a primary teaching job abroad, you will need to ensure that you have the required visa in place before you start work. The specific options available to you will depend on a number of variables. 

For example, some countries will allow you to visit on a conventional tourist visa, meaning that you might have enough time to assess your opportunities before committing long-term. Arriving before landing a job will also allow you to assess how you cope with a vast change in culture and climate. On the other hand, landing on a tourist visa also comes with its flaws. For example, you might find yourself rushing to take the first job that you are offered, even if the primary school in question isn’t a good fit your individual profile.

This is why a lot of primary school teachers prefer to have a job secured before they land. In doing so, it allows them to take their time before committing to a particular school. Furthermore, if a primary job is landed in advance, then the school will normally take care of your visa requirements on your behalf. 

This makes it a seamless process when you eventually arrive at your chosen destination. On the flip side, signing a teaching contract before you land will mean that you’ll be committing to a new culture and climate without knowing whether or not you will like it.

Teaching Primary Abroad: How do I find a job?

If you like the sound of what primary teaching abroad offers - and you feel that you have the required credentials and/or experience, then we would suggest perusing through the many job postings we have listed at the Teaching Abroad Direct Website.

You can see all of the latest Primary teaching jobs abroad here

This covers a wide range of teaching positions - from remote schools based in Cambodia to prestigious international schools in Singapore. Whatever takes your fancy, you'll find further information within the respective job posting.