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Q: I have taught in a secondary school for the past four years, but now want something different. How easy is it to find a job teaching abroad?

A: Teaching is becoming a more mobile profession, with increasing numbers of staff spending part of their career outside the country where they trained. There are three different options: either look for a post within a government system, work within the private sector - either in local schools or in international schools mainly serving the overseas community - or finally, you can look for an arranged programme, either as a volunteer, or as part of a managed exchange scheme. The advantage of exchange schemes is that you don't cut all your ties with your present school, so have something to come back to at the end of the programme. With all the other options there is always the issue of finding a job, should you want to return home sooner or later. Finding a teaching post overseas has never been easier. The TES has several pages devoted to such jobs. As the start of the new school year in the southern hemisphere approaches in January, there have been prominent adverts from New Zealand and western Australia. Working in a government system means that you will have to learn new approaches and possibly new curriculum content. If you want to stay with the national curriculum, then working in one of the international schools that base their teaching on the English curriculum and follow the same exams gives you one less problem to cope with. A spell overseas can be a wonderful experience: some teachers enjoy it so much they never return home

- John Howson is a recruitment analyst and visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University. To ask him a question, email him at

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