Here is everything you ever wanted to know about teaching overseas. First of all, not all schools are equal. There are really three types of overseas schools: Department of Defense (DOD), English language, and international schools.
Department of Defense schools are usually linked to government bases, have only US citizens, and tend to look very much like American schools. I don’t know much about these schools, but I am assume from their “Americanness” that they have the same requirements as their State-side versions: a degree and teaching certification. English language schools are usually supplementary schools to the students regular education. These schools focus on teaching the children to speak English. These schools usually want an university degree, but teacher certification is optional.
I, actually, have no experience in either of these schools, so if you want to know more about them, please find a better informed person. The rest of the information will be about international school, which I do happen to know quite well. These school fall into two groups: proprietary and not-for-profit. Working for a proprietary can be iffy because they are usually for profit schools. I’ve met people that I have loved their time in a proprietary school, but there are others who avoid them like the plague. My advice is to be wary.
Not-for-profit international school are private schools who charge tuition, but who are not looking to make a profit. Their population tends to represent many nationalities, but that can also depend on where the school is. These schools require teacher certification. These schools tend to offer a benefit package that includes airfare, relocation and shipping, housing, and medical insurance. However, not all international schools are equal. Some offer great benefit packages to teachers while others offer almost nothing. It pays to investigate all schools, even those with good reputations.
So where do you go next once you’ve decided that overseas teaching is for you, and you know that you want an international school (as opposed to a DOD or English language school). Most people use a recruiting company. The two that we know best are Search Associates and International School Services. You register with these companies. They keep your resume and references on file. Then principals and/or heads of school search through their databases looking for potential candidates based on the needs of school. Hiring is occasionally done using skype, but that mostly happens when the principal or head knows you already. Most hiring is done at conferences. These conferences start in December and finish in June. Schools in search of teachers attend the conferences and so do 100s of teachers looking jobs overseas. The conference usually lasts 2-3 days, and there is a lot of interviewing and networking.
We’ve only been to one fair in February of 2002, and we left with jobs in Lima, Peru where we stayed for 5 blissful years. We were then hired by skype by our former headmaster in December of 2006 for a job in Kobe, Japan where we are currently teaching.