Should I teach overseas?


I’m in a bit of a dilemma. I’m a trained secondary MFL teacher and am just about to start my second year of teaching. My dilemma is I would like to move to Spain to teach adults (English, French and Spanish) the only thing that is holding me back is the thought that this could hinder my chances of finding a job back in the UK if I decided to return. I have entered teaching straight from university, I like my job but the thought of doing it for the next 35 years fills me with dread! Would employers see the move as professional development or is it taking a backstep?


In the present and forseeable future, jobs in secondary schools across the UK are going to be difficult to find. For that reason I would think very carefully about moving to Spain for a couple of years. There is no reason why you should do your present job for 35 years, but do think in career terms and consider moving from one secure job to another. The degree of risk to individuals in creating atypical career paths at present hasn’t been as high since the 1950s or possibly even before then. I had two periods of unemployment in the 1980s and it wasn’t much fun.


John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training and consultancy, including a brief period as a chief government advisor. John is now a recruitment analyst, visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University and hosts our Career Clinic where you can post questions to him.