Careers advice from Theodora Griff

8th March 2013 at 00:00

A thirst for the East

I would like to work in an international school in China, Japan or Korea. However, my subject, German, is not very popular in the Far East, so I wonder if I could teach English. I am a German national, studied English at university and came to the UK three years ago to teach here.

Working in a British school overseas is a very attractive idea, so I can understand why you are keen. You say that there is not much demand for German teaching in those countries. Part of your problem is probably that there is not much demand for it here in the UK either, more's the pity.

So actually having a job teaching German in a school here is a big plus point for you. For the school, it is a plus point that you are a native speaker, of course.

And that is the problem you will have in getting a job teaching English in China, Korea or Japan. You are not a native speaker of English, but that is what the parents - and therefore the schools - usually want. That is why they are sending their children to those schools, to gain an education through the medium of the English language, delivered by native speakers.

However good your command of written and spoken English - and from what you write above it seems to be excellent - the fact that you are not a native speaker is likely to rule you out for employment for teaching English in a British school overseas. No additional qualifications will remedy this.

The hard truth is that it is as a German teacher, not an English one, that you will be a valued employee, as you doubtless are in your current school.

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2.

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