Going international

Are you a good fit for teaching in an international school?

ITM’s Andy Homden reviews a new guide to international education, which should be on your reading list for 2021 if you are in the market for a new job in September.

Updating yourself

If you are thinking about starting an international teaching career, there has never been a greater need to find out as much as you can about what is involved. If you are already overseas, and thinking about a move, again, preparing properly has never been more important.

Denry Machin and Stephen Whitehead’s new book International Schooling – the Teacher’s guide is therefore a welcome, and valuable addition to the growing popular literature about international education.

It’s bang up to date, with a ‘caveat’ about Covid, and an important section setting the recent phenomenal growth of international education into context. It looks at the (very) different kinds of international schools that are out there – for profit, not for profit, American, British, IB and the rest.

Expectation management

The authors are clearly enthusiastic supporters of international education – although like every good international head when interviewing, they look at the downsides and some of the pitfalls that people should be aware of: I have always found that playing down expectations (and these are often unrealistically high) is often the key to a long and happy association with a new international school. If things sound too good to be true in the background blurb or at an interview, that is probably because they are. Armed with this book, you will start asking the right questions of yourself, begin to manage your own expectations and prepare yourself for what is to come.

The first term dip

Like going to uni, moving overseas to teach is almost always at its most challenging in your first term or semester. Whitehead and Machin are full of good advice to get you through the Term 1 blues, although if you have read what they have to say about picking the right country to work in and organisation or school to work for, you’ll already be ahead of the game. When you hit Year 2 of the job, you’ll also have a much better idea as to whether a career in international education is for you.

A good idea

Moving overseas with your eyes open is clearly a ‘good idea’ and this well-ororganised and succinct guide is well worth the £12.99 investment. It’s already received some very positive reviews and for Richard Dyer (Principal of the British International School, Budapest) it clearly fills a gap:

Stephen and Denry have not only drawn upon their own research and experience but also completed a “sense check” through their extensive and experienced contacts in the world of international schools. 

There are also some good notices on Amazon:

Great for a prospective international school teacher!

A lot of information is available online, but it is very difficult to sort through. This book provides all kinds of information from school selection to Masters degrees in a VERY readable format. I highly recommend this!

Interesting and enjoyable read

For anyone thinking or planning to work in an international school this is a must have book. It contains lots of anecdotes from teachers about their experiences of teaching overseas. There are hints, tips, dos and don’ts and a range of topics from coping with culture shock, legalities, developing your career and much more. The writing style makes it an enjoyable read.

It’s certainly the most balanced guide of its sort that I have seen. Recommended.

Andy Homden, International Teacher Magazine

About the authors

Dr. Denry Machin: 

Formerly Head of Upper School at Harrow Bangkok, Denry now works for the Harrow International schools group as Associate Director of Strategic Development, responsible for new school projects across Asia.

Former Associate Lecturer with Keele University delivering on their MBA, MA and PGCEi programmes, he lectures for Warwick University on their PGCE (International) course. His PhD focussed on International Schooling.



Dr Stephen M Whitehead

Stephen lives in Thailand, where he works as a consultant for international schools and as Lead Writer for the Educational Digest International.

From 1997 to 2015 he was Senior Lecturer in Education and Sociology at Keele University, UK, including for the last six years as Keele’s International Programme Coordinator responsible for establishing and delivering a range of postgraduate courses (MBA, MA, PGCEi and EdD) for international school teachers/managers in Asia and the Middle East.

Contact Stephen via: stephenwhitehead.org


Feature Image: by Jan Vašek from Pixabay