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7 tips on how to become an international school teacher in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a vibrant city with a rich blend of Eastern and Western cultures, offers a unique opportunity for teachers looking to expand their horizons. The city’s international schools are renowned for their high academic standards and diverse student populations. If you’re considering a career move to this dynamic city, here are seven tips to help you navigate the process of becoming an international school teacher in Hong Kong.

1. Understand the Requirements

Qualifications

First and foremost, you need to have the right qualifications. Most international schools in Hong Kong require a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field. Some schools may also require a postgraduate degree or a teaching qualification such as a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education). This is akin to the requirement in the UK where a PGCE is often necessary for teaching in state schools.

Experience

Experience is another crucial factor. Most schools prefer teachers with at least two years of teaching experience. However, don’t be disheartened if you’re a newly qualified teacher. Some schools do consider fresh graduates, especially if they show potential and enthusiasm.

2. Learn about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme

Many international schools in Hong Kong follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, a globally recognised curriculum. Familiarising yourself with this curriculum can give you an edge over other candidates. It’s a bit like understanding the nuances of the GCSE or A-Level syllabus when teaching in the UK.

There are online courses and workshops available that can help you understand the IB programme better. These can be a valuable investment in your career.

3. Brush Up on Your Cultural Awareness

Teaching in a different culture requires sensitivity and adaptability. You’ll be interacting with students from diverse backgrounds, so it’s essential to be culturally aware. This is not dissimilar to teaching in a multicultural city like London, but with the added layer of being in a different country.

Reading about Hong Kong’s culture, history, and customs can be a good starting point. You can also reach out to teachers already working in Hong Kong for insights and advice.

4. Start Your Job Search Early

International school teaching positions in Hong Kong are highly sought after, so it’s a good idea to start your job search early. Many schools begin their recruitment process in the first quarter of the year for positions starting in August or September.

There are several online platforms where international schools advertise their vacancies. You can also consider attending international job fairs, which are often attended by representatives from Hong Kong schools.

5. Prepare for the Interview

Once you’ve secured an interview, it’s time to prepare. Research the school thoroughly, understand its ethos, curriculum, and expectations. Remember, it’s not just about whether you’re right for the school, but also if the school is right for you. It’s a bit like finding the right fit in a pair of shoes; both parties need to be comfortable for it to work.

Be ready to answer questions about your teaching philosophy, classroom management style, and how you handle diversity in the classroom. Also, prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. This shows your interest in the role and can help you decide if the school is a good fit for you.

6. Understand the Benefits and Challenges

Teaching in an international school in Hong Kong can come with many benefits, including competitive salaries, housing allowances, and opportunities for professional development. However, there can also be challenges, such as adjusting to a new culture and dealing with high expectations. It’s a bit like moving from a small town to a big city; the opportunities are exciting, but the pace can be daunting.

Understanding these pros and cons can help you make an informed decision about whether this career move is right for you.

7. Make the Most of Your Adventure

Finally, remember that teaching abroad is not just about the job; it’s also an adventure. Explore the city, try new foods, learn some Cantonese phrases, and immerse yourself in the local culture. It’s a bit like going on a long holiday, but with the added benefit of gaining valuable professional experience.

With the right preparation and mindset, becoming an international school teacher in Hong Kong can be a rewarding and enriching experience. So, take the plunge and start your international teaching journey today!

Elevate Your International Teaching Career with iQTS

Ready to take your teaching aspirations to the next level in Hong Kong? The International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS) at UWE is your gateway to overcoming the qualification barriers and propelling your career forward. With our programme, you’ll not only meet the high standards of international schools but also enhance your chances of career progression, connect with a global network of professionals, and gain a profound understanding of international curricula. Embrace the opportunity for professional development with flexible online study options that fit your busy schedule. Don’t let the chance to increase your interview callbacks, promotion rates, and salary slip away. Make Your Next Step with the iQTS programme and transform your teaching journey in Hong Kong.

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