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Ask Amy

Ask me a question to help you get your teaching job. Email ==> askamy@SeekTeachers.com

Numerous things set SeekTeachers apart from other education recruitment firms. However, one significant indicator of recognition is the time SeekTeachers Recruiter Consultants take to properly prepare and provide teachers valuable information before an interview.

Some agencies collect your CV and inform you of your interview date with the school. We do not just "throw you to the sharks". In order to continue to provide our clients with the best possible talent and simultaneously increase your chances of success to land a job we take our time to prepare. After all, the best things in the world take time.

In the words of our director: “When you are selected for a pre screening we set up a skype interview with you. We sometimes call this a “Mock Interview”. During this interview we ask you questions that you could be potentially asked during the real interview. We provide you with constructive criticism of your interview and tips on how to improve. Over the years, teachers have thanked us for our continued support and effort. We genuinely want you to succeed; this is why SeekTeachers is proud to announce the launch of “Ask Amy”. Ask Amy is the brainchild of all the thousands of teachers who have requested additional help with their interviewing skills. Ask Amy sends out 1 interview question with the answer per week. We strongly believe teachers will benefit tremendously from the interview question of the week as it will give you an entire week to go over a question”.

Teachers are invited to email Amy their questions. Please note that If your question is selected for the interview question of the week, your first name and location will be published. Please note that due to the high volume of questions, not all questions will be answered as the question of the week.

Ask Amy 
Interview Question of the Week with Amy

About Amy
Amy is an education specialist with over 20 years experience as a teacher, principal, school advisor and superintendant. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics, a Masters in TESOL and a B.Ed in Elementary education. She is licensed to teach in Canada, USA and the UK. Amy works as a Consultant exclusively with SeekTeachers and is thrilled to answer your interview questions to help you prepare for your dream job.
In Amy’s Words:

Just like with anything else in life, the best way to confront an interview is to Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. They said that “luck is when preparation meets opportunity”.

Therefore, the best advice I can give you is to predict and prepare in advance for any potential interview questions you may be asked. The world of education is very competitive and it is in your favour to be ahead of the game.

Staying on top of new education trends, constantly updating your teaching portfolio and obtaining recent letters of reference are all extremely helpful. However, your interview is what makes you or breaks you. You may looks fantastic on paper, but can you transfer that into real life interviews?

Every week I will be posting a potential Interview Question of the week with the answer. If you have any challenging interview questions or points to discuss please send them along and email me at askamy@seekteachers.com

Date: 16/05/2016

Q. I have done MBA with 3 gpa in 2012. I am teaching in Pakistan since 2007 . I completed a course named PTC which is necessary for teaching in any government school. Besides this I completed another course named B.ed. I would like to join international school. Urdu is our native language. I’m young and enthusiastic. What urs suggestions for me madam/sir.

Regards Jansher

A. Dear Jansher,
Although you are qualified with a B.Ed from Pakistan and have many years of experience many of the agencies unfortunately will not be able to assist you with the job search because the clients (schools and institutes) directly ask the agency for country specific trained teachers. In other words, clients request teachers who hold passports from the following countries (USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa) who are  native speakers of English and trained with degrees and teaching licenses from a university from USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa. I have worked in Dubai myself many years ago and worked with excellent Pakistani and Indian teachers who shared with me that they had obtained the teaching roles by contacting the schools directly. The best option is to contact the schools directly and apply to them. As unfortunate as this may seem to you, these are the current market dynamics and requirements. We wish you good luck in your search!
Please note that SeekTeachers strictly abides by the Equality Act 2010. Under every job post we make sure to list the following: The job description and requirements above have come directly from the employer and not from SeekTeachers. This is an overseas position with different cultural beliefs and a segregated learning policy and as such it satisfies the criteria of a genuine requirement for the post, under schedule 9 of the Equality Act 2010.

Regards Amy

Date: 17/05/2016

Q. I am a 59 year old woman and am at that stage of my Life where I have no family commitments, although I do have children (but all adults etc) and now would love to travel and share my experience of work. I have literally being in the legal field for the past 30 years where I have, amongst other things, have mentored and taught both junior employees and candidate attorneys from University, both in the English and in the work ethics pertaining to the job at hand. I do not have a degree, only my Life Experience and TEFL Qualification - Teaching Business English (120 hours) and CTEYL – Certificate to teach English to Young Learners TEFL (120 hours).
Is there any possibility that I would be able to be employed, having regard to my age and degree issue? I would like to teach in the UAE or Saudi but I know that these countries are one of the hardest to get into and almost always require you to have degrees.


A. Dear Lynn,

While your life experience and appetite to teach are valuable assets, the recruitment industry is hot and competitive at the present moment. We have primary school teachers with master degrees and PhD’s applying with several years of experience. Because the Middle East is a highly desirable place to work at the moment the competition is high and the requirements are even stricter. With regards to experience and degrees, the Middle East currently only accepts qualified teachers (qualified meaning a teaching degree such as a B.Ed, or PGCE). However, some private institutes will hire teachers with a TEFL plus a degree in any subject. Nevertheless, a degree has always been required for all the positions requested. In addition, the age limit for applying for a job in the Middle East is currently capped at 60 years of age. You may still be able to apply directly to private institutes and as a private tutor to families but agencies will be unable to submit you due to the strict criteria requested by the clients. We currently have a fantastic program that does accept instructors with a TEFL who do not have a degree. This program is located China. If you would like more information on this program please click here and apply: Teach in China with Only a Certificate Wish you good luck in your search!

Regards Amy
Date: 26/05/2016

Q.I have a degree in  BA Film and Theatre but I don’t have a teaching certificate ,  is it possible for me to find a teaching Job in Theatre Arts? Mollin

A. Dear Mollin,

This really all depends on the country you apply too; the Middle East for example will not accept candidates without a teaching license. The majority of schools around the world require a teaching license to teach in a school (Primary, Secondary). If you decide to pursue a Master’s degree or a PhD in Film and Theatre you will be able to work in colleges and universities without a teaching license. However, with only a BA and no teaching license the possibility is very slim. You can always buff your CV by getting a TESOL certificate and work teaching ESL to gain some teaching experience on your CV. You can also apply directly to schools that have Art Program, nevertheless, the market is very competitive. If you have done lots of acting and theatre work and taught at community theatres and consider yourself a professional actor/actress then this can also help but you have to apply directly to the schools as the schools only pay agencies for licensed teachers. To find out more about  buffing up your CV and obtaining a TESOL certificate please visit here
Good Luck!

Regards Amy
Date: 26/05/2016

Q. I went on 3 interviews on the last one I was offered the job.  It’s been 2 weeks and I still have not heard back from the school.  Should I “assume” they changed their mind? Thanks!
A. Hello,

If you went through an agency it is best to contact the recruiter who helped you obtain the interview and ask them directly for any update as they liaise with the school on your behalf. However, If you went through the school directly, then it is best to follow up with the person who interviewed you.
If you were offered the job and they sent a contract through and you signed it then everything should be ok and you can message them and ask what the next steps are (such as flights, visas, attestation etc). If you were offered the job but did not sign any paperwork then politely message the school asking for an update on any formal written contract for the position you were offered 2 weeks ago. If the interview went well and they did verbally offer you a role then everything should be ok. As a general tip, at the end of an interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, make it a point to ask if you are successful when you should hear back from them. This will give you a timeframe.
Best of Luck!

Regards Amy
Date: 26/05/2016

Q. Does this company hire new teachers or those with no experience? Thank you. Melinda

A. Dear Melinda,

Yes, our company SeekTeachers recruits teachers who are NQT (Newly Qualified Teachers) who have 2 good references from their teaching placements, are native speakers and have a clean police check. We usually state on our job listings “Strong NQT’s accepted”. Make sure that for every placement or even volunteer experience in teaching you obtain a reference letter on letterhead to make your application stronger. Some schools have a general preference for teachers who have 2 + years experience.  In addition, please keep in mind that if you are newly qualified, your salary will be lower. For example in Dubai you would receive approximately 8000AED per month but your accommodation would be paid for as well as your flights.  Some NQT’s have buffed their CV by obtaining a TESOL ( as it is useful in addition to your teaching license since you will be teaching international students whose first language is not English) . Moreover, other teachers obtain a Masters degree in education online while working as an NQT to buff up their CV and obtain a higher pay in their subsequent years of teaching. To obtain more information on the TESOL click here and the Masters in Education you can visit this link  .
Best of luck,

Regards Amy
Date: 26/05/2016

Q. Is it possible for me to work in an international school abroad? 
I'm not a native speaker of the English language. I'm from Belgium, the Dutch part, but I have a good knowledge of the English language. Or is it necessary to become a certain degree before I could teach in an international school? I have my bachelor degree of PE teacher here and I also have a lot of international experience. It would be great to work in an international environment for me. 

A. Dear Davy,

We have placed many Dutch speaking and trained teachers in the past and it really depends on the client. There are many Dutch schools in the Middle East and a very good one in particular located in Qatar who will take Dutch speakers regardless if they are native English speakers or not. This would really depend on the client’s needs, expectations and the role they are looking to fill. However, the English speaking schools are a bit more firm on having someone who is a native speaker of English, At the moment we do not have many roles in PE internationally but they do come up sporadically. The best thing would be to keep your eyes open on our website for new job openings and as soon as something does come up call us and speak to one of the recruiters. Because we receive hundreds  of applications a day, sometimes speaking to someone over the phone can expedite things .
Best of Luck!

Regards Amy
Date: 26/05/2016

Q.Hello, I would like to ask why you prefer candidates with western training and is there a chance for us as well? Eg I am in Kenya.
Thanks, Naomi

A. Dear Naomi,

Your question is a very popular question and to clarify this it isn’t us as a company that prefers Western trained teachers but the schools and clients themselves who prefer them and ask us to search for these candidates. Perhaps in the future, the dynamics of education will change and International schools will open up to accept teachers trained from other countries. Many of the agencies unfortunately will not be able to assist you with the job search because the clients (schools and institutes) directly ask the agency for country specific trained teachers. In other words, clients request teachers who hold passports from the following countries (USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa) who are  native speakers of English and trained with degrees and teaching licenses from a university from USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa. My recommendation would be to apply to the schools directly.
Please note that SeekTeachers strictly abides by the Equality Act 2010. Under every job post we make sure to list the following: The job description and requirements above have come directly from the employer and not from SeekTeachers. This is an overseas position with different cultural beliefs and a segregated learning policy and as such it satisfies the criteria of a genuine requirement for the post, under schedule 9 of the Equality Act 2010.
We wish you good luck in your search!

Regards Amy
Date: 26/05/2016

Q. Dear Amy
Many thanks for a useful column! I am a Native speaker from South Africa. I have a 3 yr National Diploma in HRM,and I am 6 months away from completing my PGCE.
I have some teaching experience as well as Provisional Registration from the South African Council for Educators (SACE)Please advise what good options I would have to work abroad?
A. Hello,

This really depends on the country you are applying too. The Middle East for example currently accepts South African teachers and so do many of our schools in Zambia and Nigeria. However some will not consider the 3 year National Diploma and are strict on having a 4 years National Diploma. Nevertheless, obtaining your PGCE will make your application much stronger. I suggest waiting until you complete this. If you have prior teaching experience some organizations will not count this as they count your experience only after you have obtained your teaching degree so they may count your salary as an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher). This all depends on the client and the client’s needs. However, once you finish your PCGE  search our website for new job openings and as soon as something does come up call us and speak to one of the recruiters. Because we receive hundreds of applications a day, sometimes speaking to someone over the phone can expedite things and give you a better idea of where you stand.
Good Luck,

Regards Amy

Date: 27/05/2016
Q.How can teachers help students who fail in class to succeed in life?
A. Dear Katalin,
Great question- as the saying goes  “In school you get the lesson then take the test but in life you do the test and then get the lesson”. This is very wise. For students that fail in class, it is important to remind them of two things: One should be that perfection does not exist. They should not be focused on achieving 100% or being perfect; but let’s face it, most of us strive for perfection or 100% and when we do not achieve this we get frustrated and quit. It is imperative to emphasise that the most important part is trying your best and improving on yourself. The second thing is to move in baby steps which entail reminding your students that in school as in life it will not be about how fast we can achieve things but how much we can improve on them regardless of the time it takes. Small improvements are achievable and having a practical plan to improve upon them is important.  For example, one of the things I like from the British curriculum is that is it very focused on targets. If you walk into a British primary classroom you can ask a student what level they are in and what their next targets are and they will confidently reply. Knowing specifically what your target is and how to achieve it helps to visualise success and opens the path to creating a feasible plan. This is a skill that is transferable in real life. Students see Math or English as a Mammoth task that overwhelms them because they have not been able to break it down into small achievable steps. Breaking things down into steps is something that school unfortunately does not teach you. Schools are very topic focused and not skill focused.
Moreover, students will be discouraged to study or succeed in school because many of the millionaires in today’s world were actually college drop outs. In addition, many successful people state that to be rich and thrive you have to do everything they told you not to do in school. For example, in school they taught you not to copy yet in real life many people will say copy exactly what that guy did and you will succeed the way he did. Therefore, this confuses many students who are told do your own work and not copy your peers who are high achievers. They feel as life school and academic school are irreconcilable and follow distinct moral codes. The truth is that school is not for everyone. Having a fancy degree will not make you rich. You need to be sincere with students when it comes to this. School is for people who enjoy learning for learning sake and who enjoy academic challenges. School teaches you discipline and task management, how to be on time, how to show manners and respect and how to commit to finishing a project; which are crucial skills to succeed in modern society. I like to think of my bigger life goals and projects as the school projects I once had as a child except that this time the world is judging me and not the teacher per say. Remind students that it isn’t only the boring topics they are being trained for in school but also life skills such as punctuality, discipline, compromise when learning topics they do not like and overall tolerance towards peers and those who do not share their opinion.
Moreover, It is imperative to ask your students what inspires them. If it isn’t Math or English then is it Art? Is it PE? Is it Computer Science? Tell your students to discover what they genuinely love and focus all their energy on polishing this and in the meantime make small improvements and try their best on the subjects they are struggling with or failing. When I was teaching Shakespeare,  I had students tell me “ I don’t like this” or “I don’t want to do this” and I would say “In life, there are many things that you won’t like and you will not want to do but you will have to do them for one reason or another if it isn’t merely for survival”.  Many students today believe that the topics they learn will not be useful for them in the future and they have the right to express their opinion. However, we must remind them that these topics are necessary small steps towards the future they wish to create and like everything else in life, it isn’t forever. As they say, “Only diamonds last forever” ;-)

Best of luck
Regards Amy

Date: 27/05/2016
Q.I am a Canadian citizen whose first degree is from India but my teaching license is from Canada (OCT) why am I having difficulty finding a job if I obtained my teaching qualifications from Canada?
A. Hello,
Some ministries especially in the Middle East viewed the first degree as having the most prominence and weight and stress that the first degree in addition to the teaching qualification must both come from a Western country.  If you have ample teaching experience in Canada and have done many CPD’s (Continuing Professional Development courses) and perhaps even a postgraduate degree such as a Master’s degree in Canada and have excellent references then employers may be more lenient. This is reviewed on a case by case basis and also dependant on the needs of the school. For example, if you are a Speciality SEN teacher and the school is having a hard time finding the appropriate candidate then they will be open to viewing your CV. However, if the position you are applying to has many candidates and most of them have their first degree in addition to the teaching qualification from a Western country then they will have priority over you. Some ministries and schools refuse any candidate whose first degree is not from a Western country regardless of whether their teaching credential is from a Western country. I urge you to continue applying and to continue improving your CV with CPD courses and great references from Canada.  You may also apply directly to the schools as clients prefer to pay agencies for candidates who have full western qualifications throughout. As the needs of the schools changes this view may change as well.
Best of Luck,
Regards Amy

Date: 27/05/2016

Q. Hi Amy,
I have a problem with unemployment gaps in my teaching career. My most recent employment ended in June 2013 and I have not worked since that time. How would I justify this period of unemployment or any other gaps during my teaching career?
A. Dear Ron,
Although some unemployment gaps are easier to explain than others (travelling versus illness for example) Some gaps can be addressed simply through formatting your CV. When stating the dates of your employment on your CV, omitting the month and only showing the year is perfectly acceptable. In addition, include all the volunteer experience or educational experience including CPD (Continuing Professional Development) courses you may have taken during your gaps. Think of all the things you have done during the gap and how you can relate this to your career. The most important thing to remember is that honesty goes a long way. You do not have to go into details if it is relating to health but if you live in an area that has little to no teaching vacancies such as Ireland or Canada you can explain the difficulties involved in obtaining a teaching role for many teachers in your country or area and how after years of searching at home you have decided to try your luck overseas.  If possible, contact your older references and explain to them that you are currently searching and if they could provide an oral reference for you if needed.
In addition, if taking a break was not your decision, positivity can go a long way. Focus on what you learned from the experience and what steps you’ve taken to implement positive changes to your career. Moreover, if you are invited to an interview, prepare prepare prepare and research the school as much as possible  to prove to the interviewer that your unemployment gap has not affected your passion for the profession, or your ability to keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends. If you took the time off to travel, express how immersing in a new culture has enriched your perspective and added value to you as an educator. Use precise anecdotal examples of real life experiences you had during these gap years. If you were away because of illness, state that you have made a full recovery now and are eager to regain employment.
It may also be useful to explain your unemployment gap or career break on a cover letter.  Click to download a template in Word format that you can use as a cover letter to help explain career breaks /unemployment gaps.
Wish you much success in the future,
Regards Amy

Date: 01/06/2016
Q. Dear Amy, 
I am a qualified and experienced mathematics teacher from Zimbabwe .I have been teaching in South Africa for the past five years. I speak English fluently, but I am not getting job offers in the Middle East. What can be the reason? Richard
A. Dear Richard,
Your situation is quite common amongst many educated and experienced teachers across the World. The Middle East is extremely competitive and has strict Visa and Immigration procedures for Education Professionals. Agencies are being asked to supply teachers who are Western qualified directly. In other words, clients request teachers who hold passports from the following countries (USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa) who are  native speakers of English and trained with degrees and teaching licenses from a university from USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa. My recommendation would be to apply to the schools directly.  Because strong Mathematics teachers are always in demand, your application will be strengthened if you have IELTS 7 Academic for non-first language English speakers only and of course spoken Arabic skills. Many of the agencies unfortunately will not be able to assist you with the job search because the clients (schools and institutes) directly ask the agency for country specific trained teachers. Like with everything else in life, keep trying and don’t give up. The universe has always rewarded hardworking people!
We wish you good luck in your search!

Regards Amy

Date: 01/06/2016

Q. Hi , I have this question:"What makes you a different teacher?" Thanks Zabil
A. Dear Zabil,
This is a great question that is destined to come up during an interview disguised as seeking an answer to why should we hire you instead of other candidates? Or what are your strengths as a teacher? Ordinarily, every teacher is different in their own way but the interviewer wants to hear want makes you “better” or more unique. The best way to answer this question is by structuring your answer in the following way:
What makes me a different teacher is that I have three primary strengths which I would like to contribute to (Name of school). First, I am trained in special needs instruction and took extensive training and continuing professional development courses in autism spectrum disorders which I believe are highly valued in today’s diverse classroom environments. Second, I am a great team player. (Provide anecdotal real life example) I enjoy working with colleagues to provide suggestions and problem solve; my classroom door is never closed. Third, I enjoy leaning. I consider myself to be a lifelong learner. Everything I learn I apply by contributing positively to my profession and career. I hope to bring my passion for learning to (Name of school).
The interviewer could ask if there is anything else that will set you apart from all the other potential teaching candidates. You can confidently but humbly reply that more than just a degree in university, teaching for you is a passion. You could share any previous volunteer experience you may have had in the past including tutoring or summer camp experience. The most important thing to remember is that you have to provide real life anecdotal examples. I suggest you also keep your strengths to three and not less or more as three is the magical number.
Regards Amy

Date: 03/06/2016
Q. Dear Amy,
I am an American citizen and am VERY close to obtaining a degree in linguistics from Stockholm University in Sweden. I also have CELTA certification. However, I have no real experience except for private lessons and from before I got my CELTA and BA. Is it recommended for me to seek work as an ESL teacher through the agencies or directly with the institutions? If institutions are best, which kinds should I be looking for? Regards, Aaron
A. Dear Aaron,
Although you do not possess a teaching license your qualifications are perfect for the ESL environment. Because you do not have teaching experience, you will need to build this on your CV immediately after you graduate. Currently, we have 2 teaching opportunities for someone with your qualifications in China that will accept you without teaching experience. You can apply directly for these jobs here:
  1. Beijing: http://www.seekteachers.com/job-detail.asp?job_id=20375
  2. Changchun, Qing Dao, Lang Fang, Tian Jin, Da lian and Shanghai city: http://www.seekteachers.com/job-detail.asp?job_id=21356
Once you have 2 to 3 years experience, you can apply to our MOE English program in the United Arab Emirates which offers a super generous salary and many other benefits. You have all the qualifications for this except the experience as they require 2-3 years of solid experience to apply. The good news is that you will build valuable experience from traveling to several different countries and teaching overseas. Some agencies are able to help ESL teachers whereas other agencies prefer to work with licensed teachers only. We work with both markets and are able to assist you as soon as you complete your degree. You may also be able to approach institutions directly but you must be careful if it involves overseas work as you want to make sure the school or institution is legitimate and has the proper documentation to provide a Visa to its foreign employees. You must also make sure accommodation and contracts are crystal clear and in English before you proceed. With agencies you do not have to worry about that because agencies clear the schools and institutions first before putting them forward to potential teachers. Once, you have completed your degree you can call our office and speak to Vicky who can provide you more information on the jobs listed below.

Wish you much luck in your search!

Regards Amy

Date: 03/06/2016
Q. Hi Amy, I am looking for teaching jobs in Kuwait first then Dubai or Abu Dhabi. I was wandering If you could help me please. Thanking You, Zahida

A. Dear Zahida,
We have many jobs posted for Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Our agency is very familiar with this area and its demands. If you meet all the requirements listed below you can apply directly on our website to the job that you like or alternatively you can create an account and uploading all your information. However, if you do not meet the criteria below then the agency will not be able to approve your account and it will show as pending. In the case that you do not meet the criteria listed below then we recommend that you apply directly to the schools of your interest as we will be unable to assist you in your job search due to the specific requirements of the school. I wish you much luck in your search
Requirements to be accepted by the agency:
  • Must be Western trained and have degree and teaching license from (USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa)
  • Must be a native speaker of English
  • Must have passport from (USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa)
Regards, Amy

Date: 03/06/2016
Q. Hi Amy
I am 57 years of age interested in teaching in a supportive teaching environment that offers career training for advancement and opportunity.  I have travelled to Saudi Arabia and it was O.K. because one needs to be cognitive of the countries laws and regulations.  If I was interested in teaching in a more liberal country that has improved human rights and better safety for women, what country would you recommend? What country is there for opportunity to work at my age that welcomes experienced teachers? I will attach my resume as I have graduate credentials and 12 years of teaching experience. Please provide information at your agency as to who does the recruiting for Asia, Middle East and Africa. Thanks Irene
A. Dear Irene,
Based on you qualifications and years of experience you would be great for many schools however specific countries are very conservative when it comes to age. Some Middle Eastern and Asian countries will not accept candidates over a specific age limit and this is when it gets tricky. Especially when you have someone very qualified like yourself. However, we currently have an excellent school in Zambia, Africa who may be of interest to you and that is run by a British South African principal. You may view Zambia jobs on our website and apply directly there. Alternatively, you may call our office and speak to Mouyana about Zambia. Other areas would be Nigeria which is also handled by Mouyana. If you would like more Northern Africa I would recommend speaking to Winnie in our office about opportunities in Egypt which may also be of interest to you. You can also view these and apply directly from our website.
Regards, Amy

Date: 03/06/2016
Q. Dear Ask Amy,
I have quite a few job interviews but when it comes to the question " Can you explain why you have moved quite often from one job to another?"  I feel very embarrassed as I supplied a few jobs and did some temporary work.  How should I answer this question professionally? Yours, May
A. Dear May,
This is a common situation with employees in several industries across the world and not only teachers. With less permanent work available and the rise of contract and supply work, more and more people have a plethora of work experience gained in very little short time frames. It is what some call “Micro jobs”.  It is imperative to address this issue on your CV before your interview is over. You may also want to bring it up before the employer mentions it. For example, you may say: “You may have noticed there has been a lot of movement on my CV in the past year, the reasons are the lack of permanent opportunities in my area of expertise. I try to stay on top of teaching trends and to keep my momentum afloat and thus take as many teaching opportunities as I am offered in the hopes that I will find something permanent”.  You can also add that you are hopefully that from these teaching opportunities you will gain diverse and valuable experience that enriches your career and your future opportunities.If there are no shortages of teaching positions in your area then you can say that you are looking for the perfect opportunity for yourself where you believe you can make the best contribution and you have not yet found it. Therefore, in the meantime you supply teach until you are able to find it.If you have been in a job for less than 6 months and you have been dismissed from this job then it is not worth mentioning it on your CV as you will have to explain unfortunate circumstances of your past that will definitely not benefit your present situation.
Wish you the best in your job search!

Regards Amy

Q. Hi Amy: Can you delineate what steps are involved in document “attestation” please (UAE). There is a section on your web site devoted to this but it does not shed light on what is actually involved e.g. notarization, apostille etc.
A. Dear Karnic,
I am unsure as to which country you are applying for since every county has a different process for attestation. However, we have created a guide with that has information for all the countries we recruit teachers from. This guide will provide assistance in having the necessary documents attested so visas can be processed for yourself and any dependents traveling with you to the UAE. The process of attesting documents can be a confusing and time consuming and is required to meet the ever increasing regulations of the appropriate country.  The attestation allows the documents to be accepted as legalised documentation and is an essential as part of your visa process.  This is normally done at the teacher's expense and the cost will vary depending on the number of documents that will need to be attested, where your documents originate from and the country to which you are applying for.  The good thing is that we can take care of this for you (Through our partner agencies) and in most cases it’s a one time process!  (Legalisation laws are constantly changing so check at the time of registering/job placement). However, if you rather do it yourself I have also enclosed the steps in the guide below under manual attestation. All of our partner agencies are also listed in case you change your mind. There is also a section for FAQ on Attestation. I hope you find this useful and wish you much success!
Guide can be accessed here: Attestation Guide
Regards, Amy

Q: Hi dear Amy,
I am currently working as an English Teacher in Jordan, Amman. I am Armenian and have been working in Amman for 3 years.I hold Bachelor's degree in Teaching English and MA degree in International Journalism. I obtained my degrees in Armenia. Now I am searching for similar jobs (Educational settings) in UAE or other Gulf countries. 
I need to know if there are chances to find a good position there considering my experience and degrees. 
A: Hello,
Based on your experience in the Middle East you may a good chance if you apply to the schools directly. Unfortunately, we will be unable to help you directly through the agency. Agencies are being asked to supply teachers who are Western qualified directly. In other words, clients request teachers who hold passports from the following countries (USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa) who are  native speakers of English and trained with degrees and teaching licenses from a university from USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa. My recommendation would be to apply to the schools directly. Your application will be strengthened if you have IELTS 7 Academic for non-first language English speakers only and of course spoken Arabic skills. If you currently have a job in theMiddle East and have this experience it is a step up already for you. 
We wish you good luck in your search!
Regards Amy 

Q: Dear Amy,
I am a secondary school teacher with 3 years of experience teaching the UK syllabi (Cambridge and Edexcel) for Psychology. I have been teaching in an international school and a renowned private school for girls in Sri Lanka. I hold a bachelor's degree in Psychology from a US university but I hold a Sri Lankan passport. Why am I having difficulty finding a teaching job overseas? Is there any possibility that I can find a job in Asian countries such as Malaysia or China? Thank you for your time and consideration. Regards, Hasini
A: Dear Hasini,
Your credentials appear to meet the requirements with the exception of having a passport from a Western country and being a Native English Speaker. However, because your degree is from the US and you work in an international school with a Western curriculum this fortifies your  CV tremendously. What I recommend you to do to increase your chances of obtaining a job internationally is to have IELTS 8 Academic for non-first language English speakers only. For other jobs in China, you may need to obtain your TEFL first, but this can easily be done here: http://www.seekteachers.com/articles.asp?id=190  For Malaysia and Middle East you will be an IELTS 8 to be considered. 
Regards Amy 

Q:Hello Amy
I am nearing 60 years of age. I am HIV positive. I am aware that many countries in the Middle East and Asia do not grant Visas to people who are HIV positive so  which countries could I teach in ? I am a secondary mathematics teacher (grades 7 to 12) but happy to teach any subject what type of opportunity do I have to successfully find a job ? or  how difficult would it be for me ? please be blunt / realistic 
a nice guy/teacher looking for a job
A:Dear Nice Guy,
I am sure you are a nice teacher as well. Maths is quite a heavy topic to teach and the world currently lacks good math teachers. Having looked at the schools around the world and their criteria we unfortunately cannot find a school outside of the Western World who does not do health checks for residents with a working permit. In order to gain Lawful Permanent Residency status an HIV test is required for all our schools. In other words, you can visit freely but when it comes to apply for a role the health checks come into place with some countries having harsh sentences including deportation. Another factor to consider is age. Many countries cap their recruitment process at 58 for visa purposes. I am unsure as to your nationality or where you obtained you credentials but some Western countries and European countries may be more open, however our schools all require this test. Unfortunately, the world is still a hostile place towards HIV+ people mostly due to a lack of education.  If you have a great desire to work overseas, I highly recommend you speak to an immigration lawyer about your rights and options. 
Regards Amy 

Q: Dear Amy,
I am South African but my parents stay in Ghana and I attended all my education in Ghana with a Ghanaian passport,  Bsc. Management education and certificate in Early childhood all in Ghana, can I apply in UAE?


A: Dear Ramadan,

When you say you’re South African I am not sure if you mean that you also have a South African passport in your possession in addition to your Ghanaian passport. In either case, your credentials (degree and certificates) must have been obtained in South Africa in order to apply through an agency. In addition, you must be a native English speaker. I can appreciate it might be frustrating but it is not the agency who sets the requirements, it is the clients and schools who are strict with their requirements. You can try applying directly to the school and try your chances. We wish you much luck!


*Interview Question*
Why did you choose to become a teacher?

This is probably the most popular and most commonly asked question during an interview. You should prepare at least 3 reasons for this answer and have examples for each of the reasons. It is understandable that not everyone’s dream has always been to become a teacher. You may have stumbled into the profession by accident or you may have slowly developed into a teacher over the years. The point is, you are now interviewing for a teacher role and you must provide at least 3 reasons for your choice. If possible one of the reasons should be anecdotal.

Remember you are being interviewed because the interviewer believes you may bring value, dedication and expertise to the job. Therefore, in your reasons you should demonstrate this.
To help you in answering this question- think of what motivates you as a teacher. There are other reasons besides money that can motivate us.

Sample Example: I chose to become a teacher because I am passionate about children. As noted on my CV, prior to becoming a certified and professional educator I was a volunteer coach at Sandhill Elementary school. I was driven by helping others succeed and felt this was my calling (anecdotal based on example from the past). In addition, I believe I am a good role model and serve as a positive influence in children’s life as I am genuinely interested in education and I myself am consider a lifelong learner. I am always taking new courses and learning new things. I am also a very patient person who enjoys learning about different cultures and working with groups of people. I could have not thought of a better role for myself. There is no other job I can see myself doing at this time and have found my purpose and calling. 

Q: Dear Amy,
Is it possible for me to get a job through your agency, I´m Finnish and got a bachelor of education (specialisation English and Mathematics) from Sweden? I`ve traveled a lot and even studied in England and Australia for shorter periods, so my English is fluent and not a problem. I have worked full time as a teacher for 3 years and part time while I studied and have got excellent references. 
Best wishes,
A: Dear Jenni,
We have placed numerous teachers from Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden in the past. Your nationality and credentials will permit you to apply to the majority of international schools on our roster. Make sure that your 3 years of experience match the job you are applying for. In other words, if you are applying for a Math role and your last 3 years have been teaching English, it will not be in your favour. You may apply directly to the role you are interested in or you may send your CV and references with your preferred location to Ask Amy and I will share your details with the recruiter in charge of that job posting.
All the best,

Q: Dear Amy,
Are there teaching jobs for teachers in statistics and algebra? My education is a Phd biostatistics and health care.
A: Dear Aquila,
The majority of our job openings require a teaching license in addition to your degree. With a teaching license (from a Western country) you could apply and teach mathematics. However, without a teaching license you will be restricted to colleges and universities that do not require a teaching license but do require a PhD (which you have) . Moreover, many schools require the degree to be in line with the teaching qualification. In other words, if you want to teach mathematics, your degree must be in mathematics. If you do meet the criteria and see a job listing that you believe you are qualified for, we invite you to apply.
 All the best,

Q: Dear Amy,
I have a M.Phil degree in management and a teaching experience of 2+years at University level. I am shortly relocating to Kuala Lampur with my family and wish to teach in private or international schools there. I am also undertaking a TEFL certificate program. Is this qualification sufficient to get a job in KL or some added degree will be of help. Kindly, guide me with your advice.
Regards, Anindita
A: Dear Anindita,

This really depends on the school themselves and on the subject  you plan to teach. If you plan to teach ESL then this should be sufficient but if you plan to teach at a high school then you would require a full teaching license. In addition, if you already have been teaching at the university level, you may want to explore the possibility of continuing to teach there or at a college level.
 All the best,

Q: Hi Amy, 
My name is Alexandra. I have a BA in Education and Public Policy, am currently teaching Prekindergarten in Washington, DC, with over 2 years of teaching experience where 75% of my students were English Language Learners. I am in the process of completing my coursework for becoming a licensed teacher, with an estimated completion of December 2016 and anticipate enrolling in a TEFL program afterwards. My goal is to teach in the UAE next fall. I was wondering if you can provide some input or guidance as any steps I should consider or if I would be considered for placement?
Thank you. 

A: Dear Alexandra,

 You have strong educational credentials and have a very good chance of securing a job in the UAE. Because you will be a licensed teacher the TEFL will not be necessary ( and will not increase your salary) but if you would like to enhance your skills further I recommend our TEFL partner which offers an affordable online option for you: http://www.seekteachers.com/articles.asp?id=190 .  The UAE views all your experience from the time you become a licensed teacher so your previous experience of over 2 years will not be counted when you apply. Once you obtain your teaching license and apply to the UAE you will be considered an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) However as you gain more experience you will be able to obtain in increase in salary.
We do have private schools in Dubai who hire NQT’s. Other parts of the UAE are very competitive and require a minimum of 2 years solid teaching experience post teaching license. Once you complete your degree, contact us and we will help secure you a role in Dubai.
All the best,

Q:Hi Amy,
I’m an experienced Early Childhood teacher, originally from India but hold and Australian passport and have been teaching in Australia for many years. I’ve hold a Post Grad Diploma in Early Childhood Studies from Australia and a Masters from University of Queensland as well. I have specialized in the Reggio Emilia philosophy and working as a senior educator at an Early Childhood setting. I am a fully registered teacher here and looking for an opportunity to work in the Middle East. What are my chances and who do I approach? I am 48 years old and have about 15 years teaching experience.

A: Dear Lulu,
As long as all your qualifications and experience have been completed in Australia and you hold an Australian passport you should be ok. Many times employers also request that the bachelor’s degree also be from a Western country. You have many good years of experience and a teacher license which would open more opportunities for you. I suggest that you apply on our website and create an account. Alternatively you may apply to specific job postings on our website that interest you and these will go to the recruiter directly who will be able to advise you further. To speed up your application you may call our offices to speak directly to a representative about a particular job post and make sure you have an updated CV, flatbed scans of all your documents including passport and degrees as well as references ready to send out.
Best of Luck,

Q: Hi Amy,
 I am not Western trained and I do not have a Western passport  but I  would like to apply to the schools that you advertise for directly but the name of the schools never show up on your ads. Can you give me the names of all the schools you work with?

A:Dear Leticia,

Unfortunately, the way agencies work is through a confidentiality clause. We offer our clients confidentiality while we screen for the candidates the schools want. It is against our policy to publish or discuss the names of our schools until a teacher has been offered a position within the school. The majority (if not all) agencies work this way. It is up to you to research schools in the area you want to work in through Google or other search engines and apply to them directly.
All the best,

Q: Hi Amy
I'm Business Studies teacher, currently from South Africa.  I've been teaching for 17years, however, I've been teaching business studies for the past 13 years at a secondary school. My enquiry is the qualifications - I'm a qualified teacher with a Higher Diploma in Education, however, I don't have a degree in Business Studies.I produce good results at the school where I'm at and is the only business studies teacher there.. I'm currently in charge of the business studies department at my school, also for the past 13years. I would like to know what my chances are for getting a post in the Middle East(Dubai & Abu Dhabi).Thank you

A: Dear Suraya,

Although you have lots of experience and do have a teaching qualification, the UAE is very strict on hiring candidates who possess a degree only. Unfortunately a diploma will not be sufficient in this instance. You will have to try your luck by applying to schools directly offering your services to them as agencies can only accept candidates with a degree.
I wish you much luck,


Q: Hello! I m qualified with 3 degrees. B.Sc (botany,zoology and geography as majores) B.ed (teaching course) and M.Sc biostatistics with 3.45 CGPA.What are your suggestions for me?
 Regards Kanwal

A: Dear Kanwal,

You should be accepted as a Science teacher (not sure if you are qualified to teach primary or secondary but based on having an M.Sc I am assuming it is for the upper grades) . However, all your qualifications must have been obtained in a Western country and you must meet the following criteria:
Western Trained (Meaning trained from Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa) Your degrees must be from here
Western Passport (Meaning a passport from Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa)
Native English Speaker (Meaning your first language is English)
2 years full time teaching experience
If you meet all these criteria you can apply
Wish you much luck,


Q: Hi Amy,
I am hoping to pursue a masters degree in early childhood education in the U.K as opposed to a traditional teaching qualification. Would I still be able to apply for teaching posts in the Middle East that state they want 'QTS' even though my masters would exceed the desired qualification?Thank you for your help

A: Dear Nadia,

Your question is a very popular one.  Although you are hoping to pursue a master’s degree as opposed to a traditional teaching qualification, they are very different (unless you take a program that combines both a QTS and a higher degree). A masters degree does not exceed the desire qualification of a QTS as a QTS is a theoretical+ practical program that carries rigorous government examinations whereas a masters degree is usually research based and no government licensing or testing is required. A QTS will be necessary for job posts that require this license (which is the majority of schools). A QTS is highly sought out because it opens many doors for teaching professionals with very little limitations. A master’s degree is usually always pursued after a QTS unless you decide to strictly work in the field of Early Childhood education. If you opt to work in a private nursery only and have early childhood qualifications then a master’s degree would be suitable for a step forward in your career as a nursery director for example as it adds more credibility but this must be combined with ample experience. There is no doubt you would be able to find suitable employment in a private nursery setting with a masters degree but you would not be able to secure employment in a school that requires a QTS. In addition, it is worth noting the market at the moment is highly competitive and many teachers who have a QTS are also going for higher degrees to obtain additional income as some schools and ministries pay higher for a QTS+ Masters or PhD.
Hope this answers your question. Wish you much luck!

Q: Hi Amy,

I am an American citizen with almost 2 years of teaching experience in Tennessee through my field placements and graduate assistantships, as well as a nation-wide program called Upward Bound. I am very close to finishing my Master's degree in Teaching and obtaining my teaching licensure upon the conferring of my degree in May 2017. I have my Bachelor's in Biology and plan to teach it on a High School level.  I am also fluent in Arabic, having lived in the UAE for 15 years.
 I have two questions in regards to teaching through SeekTeachers: 
1. Will I be eligible to apply for a job in the UAE through SeekTeachers since my teaching experience is prior to my teaching certification? 
2. What makes applying for a job through SeekTeachers different from applying to the schools itself? Are the benefits going to be the same? 
I look forward to hearing back from you soon!

A: Dear Rawan,

You will be eligible for a job in the UAE through SeekTeachers but this depends on the client. Some clients are very strict on experience post qualification and will not consider experience pre qualification. Other clients are more flexible and will offer you a role as an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) and will offer you a salary as an NQT . In other words, they will offer you the role but the salary will not count the previous 2 years of experience you have. It will view you as a new teacher. It all demands on market dynamics. Some clients may allow room for negotiation but because the UAE is a very hot market at the moment with many applicants with lots of experience, negotiation can be tricky.
What makes applying through SeekTeachers different than applying to the schools directly is the fact that SeekTeachers is able to offer guidance and support throughout the application process. Applying to the Middle East can be a daunting experience with attestation and documentation and SeekTeachers has done it thousands of times and can guide you smoothly through it. The agency also has a huge database of private and public ministry schools (we do not reveal our clients names due to a confidentiality clause unless you are offered an interview) and are able to provide you with some options.  The agency will always try to negotiate a better salary on your behalf. However, going through an agency can be stricter in terms of what the clients are looking for (Western trained, Western passport etc). Therefore, if you do not meet the criteria you will be advised to apply to schools directly (you have to research schools on your own- no reputable agency will share the names of their clients). The agency can also negotiate flights and accommodation on behalf of their teachers as their relationship with the clients have been long standing. Think of it as wanting to publish a book. You can publish it yourself or you can go through a publishing agency. The publishing agency will tell you to get an agent who will submit your book on your behalf. This is the way recruitment works as well. Many schools like to only go through agencies because the agencies have vetted the candidates and have provided candidates with clean police records and proper credentials. Schools at times can get bombarded with applications and will miss your email whereas they will view agencies more seriously as the candidate’s submitted match the schools profile.
I hope this answers your question! Best of Luck!