Applying as a Couple to Teach English Abroad

It is sometimes the case that two people – partners, friends, a married couple, etc – will want to head abroad and find work together, if possible in the same school.

Our advice is: do NOT apply to work in the same school.

There are several important reasons for this:

  1. There tend to be less jobs for couples than for single teachers. If you insist on going to work at the same school then you are severely limiting your opportunities. You are far more likely to find two jobs in the same town at different schools.
  2. Schools are often wary about hiring couples. Schools realize that if one of the teachers is unhappy then they may lose two teachers if they decide to leave. This costs them twice as much in terms of paperwork, advertising costs, replacements, etc.
  3. Suppose you both find work in the same school and then discover it is an appalling school. You are both stuck there till you find replacement jobs. If, on the other hand, you work in separate schools then in a worst case scenario, one of you can leave the bad school and as a couple you will still have an (albeit reduced) income to live off while they look for work.
  4. Working at the same school is no guarantee of having similar schedules. In fact, you may find that with split lessons you see less of each other when you’re at the same school, especially if it’s quite small. On the other hand, if you work at different schools you are more likely to have a similar timetable.
  5. There tend to be less job offers looking for couples; if you restrict yourselves to these then you will lessen your chance of finding work.

Of course there are exceptions to this and some couples have found excellent positions in the same school (in fact some schools like to advertise this giving the school a more “family” atmosphere) but in general, in our opinion, it is best to keep things separate.

On another tack many schools, especially religious ones in Asia, are very conservative and will not employ a couple who are not legally married. They have also been known to discretely remove teachers who have been found out to be living with another person or who are LGBT.

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Posted in Finding TEFL Jobs, Teaching Around The World.

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