GETTING A JOB IN AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Teaching Overseas – Does Age Matter?
International Schools and Overseas Hiring Practices
According to a recent survey released by The International Educator (TIE), which asked about hiring restrictions at international schools, over 65% of the 176 school heads interviewed reported that their school’s host country does not have age restrictions for issuing a work visa. Of the 28% of respondents who did report restrictions by their host country, the mandatory cut-off was almost equally split between ages 60 and 65.
When asked the more sensitive question of whether in the absence of a mandatory age restriction by the host country your school has a policy or practice of limiting or restricting the age of new hires, over three-fourths (77%) responded "No."
This is encouraging news for older teachers seeking a second career and the excitement of living and working overseas. “We have many candidates who are very interested in teaching overseas, but they have concerns about their ability to get hired if they’re over fifty,” says Cynthia Nagrath, media and client relations manager of TIE. “This survey and its results, gives us data that allow us to not only reassure our candidates, but to encourage them to go for it,” says Nagrath.
In fact, the survey revealed that some school heads and recruiters are quite eager to hire older candidates with extensive experience and the wisdom that can only come with age. “While the job search over age sixty is challenging, teachers can definitely find positions, particularly at the high school level where rigorous academic courses require experience. Experienced administrators are also in a good position if health is not an issue,” one school head explained.
“Personally, I like older teachers as they bring balance and experience,” said an American school head in Latin America. “However, they must not be, teachers who are there as a retirement thing.” The issue of balance was a recurring theme among respondents as this school head explains: “Good Schools need a balance of age, wisdom and experience as well as youth, energy, and gender.”
Although the wisdom factor is a key advantage for older candidates many school heads were quick to point out that older teachers should not rest on their laurels and be open to learning and new ideas. “Keep your attitude and manner young. Have something in your resume that sets you apart from others. This sentiment was echoed by another headmaster, “Make sure you are engaging in PD (professional development) based on current research and current trends in education, and that you are changing what you do in the classroom based on what you are learning in such PD experiences. Also make sure you come across as energetic and open to change.”
Some school heads did express concern over health issues for the older candidate and the associated costs of insuring them: “Health and health insurance are big issues. Disability coverage is not allowed over 60 and health insurance skyrockets,” reports one school head.
Another school director from an African country agrees, “I think that an older candidate must demonstrate physical fitness...I really feel that that is the main issue. A fit, active (coaching?) older candidate would have a good chance at my school.”
The International Educator, a leading resource for teachers looking for jobs at overseas schools has recently mandated that schools indicate if there is an age requirement when filling out their job posting form on their website, tieonline.com. “Having this information upfront in the job search gives the candidates the information he or she needs and avoids wasting time on the part of the candidate and the school hiring official,” says Forrest Broman, President of TIE. “We value our older subscribers and we know schools do too. We want to help both parties get the best possible match,” says Broman.
"In my 25 years as an international school superintendent I hired and encountered many teachers over 65, or even 70, who were among our best instructors,'" Broman added.
For teachers who consider themselves older, take heart, one school head declared that “Sixty is the new forty!” and another said “Age doesn’t matter at all – go for it!”
Encouraging words at any age.
Originally published by TIE on PR Web 3 August 2012.
Please fill out the form below if you would like to post a comment on this article:
12/26/2016 - Sheila
I am a qualified teacher with a B.A , B.Ed, UHDE , UED (RCM ) . I am 65 and still love to interact with children. I am retired and have taught for 27 years teaching English as well as other subjects. Please advise me on how to find a school that will require my skills
09/25/2016 - Roger
This is great! I'm 71 but I still love to teach. How can I reach any contact school?
09/10/2016 - Hobbs
I am a qualified teacher ,Diploma in education primary School,Bachelor of Science honors Degree in Physical education and Sports degree and also diploma in Personal computer networking and maintenance. Keen to be an international school Teacher
03/23/2016 - Bulldog
I continue to be frustrated and annoyed with the current Chinese Government's rule about age limitations for foreign teachers.
I am over 60 with deep experience in China and Australia as a teacher. I enjoy very good health. I highly value Education.
Despite this I am rejected because of age.
03/11/2016 - Cindy
The age limits vary by country. Some countries have no age restrictions at all. Here is a link to an article we have on our website entitled, “Teaching Overseas- Does Age Matter?”
Here is the link to the article: http://www.tieonline.com/article/114/teaching-overseas-does-age-matter
Also, here is a partial list of countries with some of the corresponding age limits.
01/13/2016 - Cindy
I’m sorry that happened to you it seems so unfair and arbitrary.
Age restrictions are due to government regulations, but the good news is that there are many countries, that do not have age restrictions at all.
At TIE we require that all schools posting vacancies to indicate whether their school/host country has age restrictions and if so, what is it.
This helps candidates so they’re not wasting time applying to jobs that they may not be eligible for.
Good luck to you!
01/13/2016 - Sally
I taught for 6 years in an Indonesian International school but had to leave at 61 because the new government ruled no expat teachers over 60.
Was also told I was too old to teach in Singapore when I applied. Sadly many jobs adverts don't tell you their age limits and you waste a lot of time applying .
06/20/2015 - Carole
I have taught French as Second language over 10 years to adult ( mainly) . Do you need a teacher?
06/12/2015 - manju paul
I agree with those who feel that age doesn't matter. Older teachers should be valued for their experience,patience, and method of teaching. Over the years teachers learn how to draw attention of the class towards the subject being taught. and make the class interesting.
03/08/2015 - Rick
I taught in Singapore from 2011 till 2014, in a tuition school, because of the stiff competition between tuition schools all our centres lost numbers in 2014 so the knee jerk reaction is to get rid of older teachers and replace them with younger teachers, many of which were already in Singapore which meant they did not have the cost of moving teachers to Singapore. I at 61 going towards 62 tried to apply to other schools which was a complete waste of time and energy as I got not even an interview.
02/24/2015 - Justen
I've been teaching English abroad for several years in a few different Asian countries. They prefer at most 40 years old and below. This is for both public and private schools. They would include it as a requirement for the vacancy post. I've met other English teachers and they are mostly young. https://www.uni-prep.com/
01/29/2015 - dsprao
I am aged 55 and 30 years of teaching chemistry -biology in CBSE school can i apply for i job in countries like USA,Canada etc.
01/05/2015 - Cindy
International school heads appreciate the value of teachers with experience. While youth has the benefits of energy and enthusiasm those qualities can be found in seasoned educators in spades with the added benefit of having wisdom and experience that can only come with age.
01/02/2015 - Lolo
This is a really heart-warming news. I am 57 and am seeking employment as an ESL Teacher overseas. H-U-R-R-A-Y!
12/31/2014 - Locks
I recently celebrated my 65th birthday this month and am preparing/seeking employment as an educator in the Middle East. This is very encouraging as I have 30 years of teaching school and recently completed on line training for TESL.
12/08/2014 - giggy
I will be 55 when I retire inn 2018. I have been the varsity head wrestling coach at South Dearborn High School in Indiana since 1987. I also coach girl's soccer and track at the same school. I do the conditioning with all my teams and plan on a long career overseas at an international school. I teach science, but am certified in P.E. and Health as well.
11/16/2014 - Keith Kenton,Stewart
10/06/2014 - devi
It is nice to see that there is a chance to the aged people also...to reach out to many younger hearts... how one can get this opportunity? is there any chance to me to teach? as I'm also a science teacher...at the age of 42...from india..waiting to here from you people...
please tell me how to go with terms and conditions.
09/15/2014 - Cindy
Sorry to hear that you have been having difficulty finding employment. Yes, there are a number of countries that won’t give work visas for people age 60 - 65+. There are also many countries that have no age restrictions at all. But that’s not to say that a 65 year-old is as hirable as a 35 year-old. I think we all know that as we approach the post-middle age phase of life it is more challenging to find employment, not only in education, but in any industry.
Although the message was not one any of us would want to hear, the candor of the principal who explained why there are impediments to hiring an older candidate at least was honest and gave you a glimpse into their hiring decisions and considerations.
The survey we conducted among school heads revealed some who echoed that opinion, while others were more open and flexible about hiring older teachers. It is because of that, that I would rather err on the side of being optimistic and encouraging because there are still prospects for experienced, seasoned teachers. Of course one has to search a little longer and further afield but they are out there. Your options were greatly limited because you had to go to Hong Kong to be the trailing spouse, so you didn’t have the luxury of looking in multiple countries/regions. Because of China’s age limit of 60, that certainly was a huge factor.
I’m happy you were able to find some part-time jobs, and hopefully it will be a blessing in disguise as you will have more free time available to explore HK, China and the region!
All the Best!
09/15/2014 - minim48
Unfortunately, my recent experience contradicts this advice. Despite Search Associates' best efforts (ISS wouldn't have anything to do with me, though they've headhunted me previously), I wasn't able to score more than one interview with any school in the Hong Kong SAR. As one principal took the trouble to explain to me: "You're more experienced, so your salary is higher; you're seen as a greater health risk, so your insurance premium is higher." I've come to Hong Kong anyway, since my wife (10 years younger) has been appointed principal of a school here, and I've found a couple of part-time jobs, so I'm not unhappy, but in this part of the world certainly gaining an appointment after the age of 60 is a battle. China itself sets a maximum age of 60. Hong Kong doesn't, but many of the schools themselves do.
07/24/2014 - Gwen
China has established new age laws and now you can not get a visa to work if you are over 55-60. I just returned from there where I taught with an F visa. However you risk deportation and the employer must have excellent guanxi. But in some areas that is impossible also. You must leave the country every 3-6 months to come back in. I have known teachers to have severe problems with that.
06/05/2014 - Jean
is there a posting for overseas schools willing to consider highly qualified older teachers?
05/02/2014 - SK
Thanks so much for your article. I needed to hear this. I'm a 62 year old elementary ed teacher wanting to teach abroad. It's something I've wanted to do since I got my teaching degree. I figured it's now or never since I'm not getting any younger. I still have a lot of energy and love teaching. About the time I think my age is slowing me down on busy days at school, I notice my much younger peers are in the same boat as me......drained. It's the nature of our business. I'm as eager for my first overseas job as I was when I got my first teaching job just out of college.
01/28/2014 - Cindy
I think you have a wide variety of qualifications and experience that would make you a viable candidate to be a teacher at an international school.
Your first sentence says it all – you feel a calling to be a teacher. For some of us it takes mid-life to recognize or hear our true calling. That love and passion for teaching, along with the solid credentials you have earned, should make you very desirable for an international school.
Most of the schools don’t offer business courses as they are college prep, but if you gear yourself up to any of the subjects in the K-12 realm and for those that you have certification in, I think you would most certainly be an asset to an international school.
I hope this answers your question and encourages you if this is something you wish to pursue.
(Some countries do have age restrictions, but many do not, so that should not be a big barrier for you.)
01/17/2014 - Eager to teach
I feel as though I have finally found my calling as a teacher! I am an energetic, healthy and fit 62 year-old teacher, with a Colorado K-6 certificate, a TEFL certificate, and an MBA. My background includes more than five years as a substitute teacher, two years as a private tutor, and decades of experience in business, including marketing management. Because I passed the required test, I am am qualified for a Business Endorsement, and could also earn the Language Arts Endorsement. So, my questions are: How likely is it international schools would hire someone with my background, at my age? Do schools typically offer business courses? Do any schools look for teachers to teach a combination of courses? What, if anything, can I do to improve my chances of landing an international teaching job? Thank you!
07/27/2013 - Markose
I agree with the TIE President. Healthy, young at heart and attitude can be considered till 70 years to share their experience with senior students.
07/10/2013 - Cindy
I can totally understand your frustration, when we’re young we never think about age discrimination but once it’s experienced first-hand your whole outlook changes and it’s an eye-opening experience.
I sincerely mean this, any school or organization that discounts your skills, education and experience simply because of age is seriously missing out! I know that there are schools out there that will hire teachers over the age of 60 and recognize that they bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and wisdom that enriches students and the entire school community.
Don’t give up it sounds like you have a lot to offer and you’d be an asset to any school community!
07/09/2013 - Ibrahim
It is so refreshing to read that there are some administrators willing to take on energetic teachers who are over 60. This is after receiving a dozen letters of sorry, we can't. While I am sure there are others like me: multilingual with several degrees, it is still disappointing to get that response.
I hope to find some school in Latin America who wants me.
04/22/2013 - Shoshi
I speak five languages and teach them also.
I want to teach abroad and show my son how to be international
03/26/2013 - Nick
I have been overseas for thirteen years. I am 62 years young, an administrator and certainly young at heart. My teachers comment how youthful I am in outlook. I even take some classes in the MYP just to keep in touch.
I would encourage any "baby boomer" to give it a go. It's wonderful living and working in a new culture.
03/13/2013 - Cindy
As you contemplate whether age matters when teaching young people, take a look at this New York Times interview of a 65 year-old who decided to go to college and even join a fraternity!
It's clear to see that the age diversity benefits all involved and that it's never too late to pursue your dreams!
01/18/2013 - Cindy
Thank you and I truly hope this encourages teachers who have many years of valuable experience because they have a wealth of knowledge, expertise and wisdom that would benefit any school and most importantly, the students they teach.
01/17/2013 - judithce
Hi, I have worked for many years as English teacher in Colombia and I would like to travel and work abroad to have a new experience and to grow and improve my knowledge as well, but I am afraid it would be diificult because of my age, notwithstanding your article has given me a lot of enthusiasm to keep trying on my desire to travel and work abroad, thank you so much!
12/18/2012 - Cindy
Thanks for your comments. People who relate well with teens are generally people who haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be one.
Your young attitude will shine through and the age won’t even matter.
And besides 60’s are the new 40’s!
More power to you!
12/17/2012 - robbie
very good article ... very helpful to know age requirements.
i am over 65 and teach teenagers ... i love it .. and get on great with them... i have a very young attitude so it's no problem !!
12/10/2012 - Cindy
Yes, your attitude and experience will go a long way. There are plenty of schools that know the value of an experienced teacher and will be very happy and lucky to get you!
12/07/2012 - zoptimist
Job searching after 60 is challenging but your attitude as well as your resume is important. I have to feel that there is a god fit for a school and me out there somewhere! !
11/16/2012 - oldenough
However, if you are an older, single woman there is plenty of discrimination at fairs. It's hard to prove but the gender bias is already there for a single female...if you're older and single it's a double whammy.
11/08/2012 - dan
im almost 66. i've been looking for a teaching job for 2,5 years. My interviews go great but my age is the problem. I'm willing to go anywhere. My fiancee is also willing to go anywhere. She is from Wuhan, China. We would like to be together but we need a third country to alow us to work and live together. I'm at email@example.com if anyone has a lead.
11/02/2012 - Cindy
The way to get offers is to put your hat in the ring and the way to do that is by subscribing to TIE. When you subscribe to TIE you are putting yourself into the job market for teaching at international schools. You will be able to search through all the job vacancies and apply to them directly, while at the same time having your resume viewed by school heads looking to hire who search the TIE resume bank.
Please subscribe on our home page and best of luck!
11/01/2012 - jaz
I am experienced language teacher from UK..... just over 50. I teach English, French and Spanish. It took me 4 months before landing a job in China. I would like to teach in UAE the next academic year. Any offers, most welcome.
10/30/2012 - Alexis
Your wonderful comments has given me back my confidence and eagerness to teach. Truly age is a matter of the mind. If you don't mind it doesn't matter. And as one gets older he becomes wiser.
10/01/2012 - Chandru
I am a French teacher teaching in Mumbai (India)
09/07/2012 - Cindy
This is wonderful and it sounds like you would have a lot to offer students with your vast experience and bilingual capabilities. You also sound like a very creative teacher which international schools love. Please go to our website and subscribe to TIE so you can launch your international teaching career!
09/02/2012 - SoyKenneth
I am in my early 50s and looking for a position teaching either English, my native language, or Spanish, my second language. I have years of teaching experience both online and offline, am computer literate, and like using innovative teaching strategies including storytelling techniques when teaching children, and interview strategies when teaching adults. I am an American living in Florida.
08/10/2012 - Samia
im looking for a job as a french teacher, im a ladyfrom Egypt and live in Kuwait, i hope if contact me if there is a vacancy job in your School...
08/07/2012 - ashar
m also a teacher...
my age is 23...