We struck up conversation with Mary in a small cafe in Copacabana, Bolivia. As she left, minus her meal (Bolivian service is a work in progress), she parted with, “If you are ever in São Paolo give me a call!” Well, bet she didn’t actually expect us to call…
The lovely Mary invited us into her home and we spent 5 days hanging out with her in the gigantic city of 18 million people. Mary moved to São Paolo to teach and let me tell you, it’s a pretty sweet gig. In fact it would be a great way to live somewhere new and fully immerse into a culture completely different from the one you know.
Mary and all her fun and crazy teacher friends shared a little bit about teaching for international schools. One thing to note is that they are all extremely dedicated and talented folk who deeply love what they do. They have to learn how to integrate kids into new classes, deal with parents who don’t speak English, plan curriculum and manage kid stuff all year long. They all said it, and we would agree, that you need to love teaching to do their job.
But, if you are interested, perks can include: a higher salary than in Canada or the US, subsidized rent (pretty much free rent), a monthly grocery stipend, amazing free lunches at school, free language classes, contract bonuses, a good amount of vacation time, assistance with doctors, dentists… just about anything. Two of the gals we met own cars and they told us that if a car needs fixing they drive it to school, park it, leave the keys with reception and Voila! at the end of the school day their car has magically reappeared fixed, ready to go in the school parking lot. We tried to see if we could take Marlin to school too – but we couldn’t swing it.
These perks are totally dependent on the country, the school and the contract. Not every international school is going to feed you lunch or pay for your lux apartment. However if you are a teacher or are interested in becoming one–international teaching could be a great way to do what you love and see some of the big ol’ world.