India: The joy of teaching in Pune
India is a very vibrant place to be; it’s noisy and lively. Some people might not like the heat in the summer, or the heavy traffic and it can be very dusty, but all in all I think it’s an exciting place to be.
I’ve been working at an international school in Pune which is just outside Mumbai for the past six months. I moved to India from Doha where I taught for four years.
The school where I teach has 280 students ranging from pre-school to age 13 years. About 60% of the students are expat children, 40% are local children. It’s a really nice sized school with a great mix of children and everyone knows each other. We do a lot of whole school events. English is the spoken language and we study the International Baccalaureate (IB) which includes primary and middle years programmes. The IB is a more skills-based curriculum than the British national curriculum and teachers can choose their own content. There’s a bit more paperwork to it and a lot of criteria-based assessment but if you’re open-minded, flexible and have some good experience teaching in the UK you’ll be fine teaching the IB programme.
The best thing about teaching in Pune is that the staff are really good and the students are great and keen to learn. Parental involvement is excellent and they are very supportive.
I have a lot more freedom here than I would have in the UK. The standard of living is great as I have my own cook and cleaner. Some people even have their own drivers and gardeners too.
The only frustrating thing about living over here is the difficulty with installing broadband internet.
It is really important to do your homework around schools. Find out how established it is; how many international staff it has; how long these teachers have been in the school; and if you get the chance, speak to some of the international teachers working there.
Here are more of Mike’s tips:
- It’s a good idea to use a reputable recruitment agency when searching for foreign teaching positions. Working with an established organisation to oversee your placement will give you the security you need. This will usually include correct visa back-up, health and safety issues, or suitable accommodation.
- Make sure that the organisation you choose works with accredited international schools, or personally vets non-accredited schools in advance of your interview.
- Ensure that the agency you work through cross-checks your contract and working conditions once an appointment is offered to give you the peace of mind you need when taking up a new foreign post.
- Work with an agency experienced at recruiting for the international school market as they will be able to give you all the advice and expert support that you need.
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