Swimming in Durban’s sweltering humidity, standing before an overcrowded classroom with 44 learners sharing 23 novels is when I realized that I needed a change. Perhaps every teacher feels that way at some point in their lives… where they have been teaching the same material to the same grades for as long as they’ve been in that school, piles of paperwork waiting to be filed before the next external moderation sitting on their table and of course receiving that irritatingly hard to tear open pay slip which actually remains unopened because opening it and reading it makes you wonder what on earth you are actually doing there?
It was always my intention to leave the South African public schooling system and in early January 2016 I took my full passport to Home Affairs, applied for a new one (after 5 hours in a congested room) and got the ball rolling for my future plans.
I initially applied via Footprints Recruiting for the Abu Dhabi Education Council teaching program but after months of being strung along and interview after interview, not to mention being told I was shortlisted and to get my documents in order, I was one of the English teachers that was eventually rejected from the program due to them interviewing more teachers than there were vacant posts. So by the time this option closed to me, it was already the first week of June and I wanted to leave in August! All of my documents were ready but I had nowhere to use them!
So I went back to the drawing board and started registering at different recruitment agencies. After an extensive search online, I found a good couple of job websites advertising vacancies in the Middle East, Egypt, Singapore and Hong Kong. I will provide these website at the end of this blog post for those who are looking for recruitment agencies. I am not endorsing these websites in any way, neither will I provide any details about my experiences working with them; rather I am just telling the world what helped me get to where I am. A lot of people ask if it’s ok to register with more than one recruitment agency and I say, hell yes! Why put all of your eggs in only one basket? I worked with two recruiters for 4 months and nothing panned out however I registered with two new ones and in a week I had several interviews lined up.
A lot of other people wonder how fussy they can really be when looking for jobs. Although flexibility is encouraged, you should be upfront with your recruiter about where you want to want to work, countries you want to avoid and your accommodation options. At the end of the day you don’t want to waste time taking time off from work doing interviews for positions you know you eventually won’t take because you don’t want shared accommodation/to live in Saudi Arabia/to be the only foreigner on an island etc.
Finding a job abroad is a long process (could take anything between a month to 6 months) that requires an investment of time and money (to acquire documentation, courier fees etc.) so you need to be sure that this is what you want to do. Recruiters also spend a lot of time finding you a suitable offer and when you pull out at the last minute, its disappointing for them as well as the school you may be leaving in the lurch. Do your research to see which countries appeal to you; each country is different with diverse cultures and customs that you may not agree with or may want to explore. Research the Internet by asking questions on online forums or read a variety of blogs to gain a sense of what you really want and whether you could uproot yourself.
Recruitment agencies I used (in no particular order):
Also try http://www.eslcafe.com/joblist/ to find more offers and recruitment agencies.