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Preparing to take up a post

August 01, 2006

To travel hopefully is better than to arrive

Hello everyone,

I have been thinking about all the young teachers who will be preparing to travel to exciting new places to take up their first posts. The biggest demand for teachers comes from Asia, Eastern Europe and South America , while the supply is from North America, Europe and Oceania. This means that many teachers…

… will find themselves experiencing living conditions that are very different from what they are used to. I’d like to post a few entries dealing with different areas but this time I want to give some general advice.

The three most important aspects teachers need to prepare for are their health and safety, accommodation and means of communication. They should first check to see if their employer provides some form of health insurance. In most cases the only cover on offer will be what is available to locals. I think it is essential, therefore, that they take out their own insurance that will pay for them to be repatriated in the event of serious illness or accident. This will give both the teachers and their families peace of mind.

Many schools offer and accommodation package with the salary but this is likely to be very basic. Teachers should make sure that they get a full description of the accommodation on offer before accepting a post. They need to ensure that minimum standards for washing and cooking facilities and ventilation and light are on offer. If not, they might consider getting together with some other teachers to try to rent something of an adequate standard.

Then they should find out what is available in the way of Internet and telephone connections so that they can easily keep in touch with family and friends. It is important as they settle in to the new way of life that they don’t feel cut of and isolated.

These are aspects of life that we often take for granted but in some parts of the world they will not be so easily available. It is far better to be well prepared than to find out on arrival that that they are not adequately prepared.

Please let me know if you have any advice for teachers preparing to come to a school in your country.

Bye for now,

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