Teach Abroad in BC-Certified Offshore Schools
Overview: Teaching in BC-Certified Offshore Schools
Experience a new culture, and travel overseas to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East all while gaining valuable work and life experiences as a teacher abroad. British Columbia’s education curriculum is highly revered internationally, and schools abroad want their students to have the same quality of education as ours.
Recognizing the demand for a BC education overseas, the BC Ministry of Education created the Global Education Program. This program gives international schools the ability to offer the BC curriculum to international students under certain guidelines. One requirement is that these offshore schools must employ BC-certified teachers.
For BC teachers, this equals to more employment opportunities and labour mobility internationally. With a larger number of employers to select from locally and internationally, BC teachers can now choose to teach in schools in BC or travel overseas to China and Egypt to teach the BC curriculum likewise.
Teaching overseas in a BC offshore school is more than simply teaching English as a second language overseas. It’s a rewarding endeavour and worthwhile opportunity for BC educators to hone their teaching skills in curriculum areas that interest them. BC offshore schools need teachers of all grade levels, and those with expertise in a variety of subject areas, such as Math, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Art History, and etc.
Whether you’re a new teacher looking to gain experience, or an experienced educator looking for a new pedagogical experience, teaching overseas will provide you these opportunities, and even more advantages.
Benefits of Teaching Overseas
Work experience and life experiences are some of the many benefits and advantages of teaching in a BC offshore school. There are a variety of professional and personal reasons to teach abroad. Each school offers its own unique professional development advantages, and individual cities offer their own unique cultural and lifestyle advantages.
Low Cost of Living
One of the most significant economic advantages of teaching overseas is the cost of living. Not only are food, clothing, and housing less expensive in other countries, the teacher may pay no income tax for the salary they earn while teaching overseas. Salary and compensation vary among employers, and teachers can expect to earn $32,000 CAD to $73,000 CAD annually depending on their education and experience level.
In Asia and the Middle East, travel between cities and countries is easily accessible and relatively inexpensive compared to North America. For instance, teachers in Cairo can easily travel to the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, and other parts of the Middle East within a few hours. The cost of a flight from Cairo to Rome is the same or less than a trip from Vancouver to Montreal, and the travel time is shorter!
- Favourable teaching loads
- Annual return airfare
- Furnished accommodation
- Western-style apartments
- Paid sick leave
- Medical insurance
- Utility and transportation subsidies
- Meals at schools
- Subsidized visa costs
- Inexpensive travel across the country
- Opportunity to learn a new language
- Monthly professional development opportunities
- Modern and first class school facilities and equipment
What to Expect
When Applying for Jobs
The application process is relatively simple and straightforward. Although each offshore school has its own application process, you will likely need to complete a standard application form and submit these documents:
- Copy of your BC teaching certificate
- Professional resume
- Cover letter
- Two to three professional references
- Valid passport
- Work visa
- Criminal records check report
In most cases, the recruiter or school administrator will assist you with obtaining an international work visa and completing the necessary paperwork.
In the Classroom
Classroom sizes vary from school to school. In some schools, you may have as many as 30 students or as few as 10. In general, teachers in BC-certified offshore schools enjoy favourable teaching loads. Students enrolled in these schools typically have studied English as a second language; however, the range of written and spoken proficiency varies.
In general, students enrolled in these schools have tremendous respect for their teachers, and are motivated to succeed and pursue post-secondary studies abroad.
Many of the schools’ facilities are first-rate—some having indoor swimming pools, modern libraries, and computer labs with the latest technology.
While teaching overseas, teachers can expect to be completely immersed in a new culture. Some teachers experience culture shock, but if you are open-minded and willing to try new things, you will perceive all these cultural differences as a learning experience and adventure. Many BC-certified offshore schools are located in larger cities, so you can expect many of the same western style comforts you enjoy at home. Being overseas, you can expect to try new foods–there are however western style restaurant chains to satisfy your cravings. As for accommodation, teachers are typically housed in western style apartments with modern amenities.
For entertainment, teaching in a major metropolitan city affords the same recreational opportunities that you would expect at home, such as movie theatres, shopping centres, swimming pools, cafes, professional baseball and soccer games, mountain biking, art museums, and etc.
About the BC-Certified Offshore School System
The Ministry of Education’s International Education Branch oversees BC-certified offshore schools. Each school is privately owned and operated, yet they are subject to regulation and are routinely inspected to ensure that the highest standards of operations and education for enrolling students and employed teachers are maintained.
Students in these schools may complete credits to earn a full Dogwood Diploma. Currently, there over 600 BC educators teaching abroad.