With grateful thanks to @MissNQT for prompting this article. Here are 5 things NQTs should know if they are going to spend their first year teaching abroad. (All based on my own experience of working in an international school in Spain.)
1: How long do I have to complete my induction year?
After completing the teaching course and gaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) you have to complete an induction year. Currently there is no time limit on when this has to be completed. If you are not in a permanent post though you can only do short term supply (posts of less than one term) for up to five years.
Point 1: Your induction year is completely without time limit. No matter how long you spend teaching abroad you can complete your induction year when/if you return to the UK.
2: Can I complete my induction year in an international school?
Technically “yes” due to a change that came in during 2014. If the school you work in has had a British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection then they can choose to offer NQT induction. Because this is managed by a teaching school in the UK the cost to the international school is quite significant and therefore even schools that have opted for a BSO inspection may choose not to oversee your induction year. The BSO inspection only came in recently though and therefore most overseas school are not BSO inspected.
Point 2: Technically you can complete your induction year in a small but growing number of international schools. However, this option is unlikely to be available to you.
Get Ready to Teach: A Guide for the Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT)
3: So, what happens if I haven’t done my induction year but have spent some time abroad?
Teaching at an independent school can’t count as an induction year but local authorities can reduce your induction time to as little as one term if they recognise the experience you have gained in an independent school. It is possible that they may apply this to your time spent teaching abroad. If not, returning to the UK would mean beginning you induction year.
Point 3: When you return to the UK you may be asked to do your induction year but you may also be able to negotiate it to as little as one term.
Not Quite a Teacher: Target Practice for Beginning Teachers
4: What about my pay and conditions?
Pay in Spain does not follow the teacher pay spine as used in the UK. All teachers start on the same salary of 22,500€ per year. This makes the salary in Spain, even with current exchange rates, quite comparable to that paid to NQTs in the UK. Planning and preparation time will often be far in excess of that given in the UK. We don’t give our NQTs more time than other teachers but all teaching staff in our primary department have five hours of preparation time per week. In addition there is a full hour for lunch and an additional fifty minutes of break time each day. With less workload caused by unnecessary paperwork NQTS working in our schools are better off in terms of planning and preparation time than they would be in the UK.
Point 4: Pay in Spain for an NQT is 22,500€ per year. Factor in the lower cost of living and lower taxes and as an NQT you are financially better off in Spain. Planning and preparation time is generous and in excess of that given to you in the UK.
How to survive your first year in teaching
by Sue Cowley
5: Be the best you can be.
It sounds like basic advice but make sure that these first years of teaching are the springboard to a long and happy career. Don’t treat your time abroad as downtime before returning to work in the UK. Apply yourself to the job and seek advice when needed. Be the best you can be. By acting professionally you are developing your skill and writing a reference that makes you far more attractive to UK schools. Your time spent teaching the British curriculum abroad will make your applications stand out. New skills such as working with a high proportion of EAL pupils or even learning a foreign language yourself will all help to make you an interesting candidate for a future career move, whether that be to the UK or anywhere else in the world.
Point 5: Be the best you can be.
This is the second part of my explanation of some of the most common errors made by native Spanish students together with advice about how they can be corrected by the teacher.
Part one can be found here.
8: Comparative and superlative adjectives
In Spanish comparative and superlative adjectives are formed without changing the adjective.
Literally translated a Spanish comparative would read “Carlos is more tall than Miguel”.
And the same but with a superlative, “Carlos is the more big”.
Comparative adjectives are formed with the Spanish words “más” and “que”. This can create additional confusion as the word “como” for “as” in Spanish when creating the comparative leads some Spanish students to substitute the word “like”. This leads to constructs such as “Carlos is the big like Miguel”.
With the superlative in English we use “most” with long (3 syllable +) adjectives but add “est” to short adjectives. Spanish learners find “ed” and “ing” adjectives confusing. Spanish students need time to practise with the adjectives and of course, as with everything in English, there is a long list of irregular words when we are looking at superlatives.
“Long, longer, longest” might be easier to understand than “good, better, best”.
9. Possessive adjectives and gender confusion
“She is reading his (instead of her) book.” In Spanish the possessive “su/sus” agrees in number but not in gender. Consequently Spanish students have a tendency to try and create agreement between the subject and the object of the sentence. They need to be taught that in English the possessive indicates the person possessing the noun.
10. Apostrophe for possession
“The house of my grandmother”. Spanish uses the word “de” (meaning “of”) to indicate possession. Consequently the notion of using the apostrophe to indicate possession is confusing. This needs explaining together with the rules for how to write the apostrophe if for example the word is plural.
Negatives are often incorrectly structured by Spanish students. You may here sentences such as “I no like the pizza”, or even double negatives such as “I no have no books.”
The reason for the mistake is that in Spanish there is no use of auxiliaries or contractions to form negatives. Double negatives are possible in Spanish. Consequently students need to learn which auxiliary verb to use in which situation and how to form the necessary contractions.
12. Question tags
Spanish students struggle to construct questions in English. “You like the ice-cream, yes?” Spanish doesn’t repeat the auxiliary verb in order to make a question tag. Spanish uses what in England is often referred to as “upspeak”, raising the tone of the voice at the end of a statement to turn it into a question. The other standard part of Spanish speech is to add a word at the end of the statement to help in converting it to a question, for example, “yes”, “no”, or “true”.
Great English mistakes made by Spanish speakers
by Peter Harvey
How do you measure teaching? Trying to pigeon-hole a lesson into one of four categories after just twenty or thirty minutes of observation must be a challenging task. Giving pupils the tools they need to assess where they are in their learning and what the next steps might be is accepted as good practice. Today, for the second of my Shareday Friday gifts, I am providing the same resource for teachers.
There are a number of documents floating around that help in defining what each teaching grade looks like in the classroom. The document below is slightly older than some (as indicated by the ‘Satisfactory’ rating) but I think incredibly useful in self-assessing where one’s own teaching lies.
Ofsted key indicators
When somebody walks into a room to judge the quality of teaching first impressions really do count. Therefore the observer is looking for ‘flags’ that indicate a particular grade of teaching. The question is how do you ensure those flags are in place and clearly visible? When you look at the ‘Key Indicators’ link above what you notice is that the statements for ‘Satisfactory’ (or ‘Requires Improvement’ as it is now) actually appear to describe the practice that most teachers know to include. What marks out the difference then between that ‘Satisfactory’ rating and the two higher grades of teaching. Looking across the page the difference is about embedded practice. Any teacher can ‘switch on’ the requirements for the satisfactory grade but to achieve higher requires embedded good practice.
How to use the ‘Key Indicators’ document for self-improvement
Take a look at the statements, particularly those on the second page about learner and teacher habits. Identify three areas where, given a month in class, you could bring about an improvement that places you in the top grade. What student behaviours or training are needed to achieve that embedded practice? What do you need to be doing and how often to achieve that learner or teacher habit? Make a conscious effort to include those actions in your planning and to evaluate their effectiveness. The single biggest motivator for teacher improvement is when we can see the difference our actions are having on our students.
We can’t be outstanding unless we know what outstanding looks like. Hopefully this Shareday Friday resource helps with gaining an understanding of what outstanding teaching looks like in the classroom.
Note: This document is replicated in a number of areas without copyright and therefore I assume it to be in the public domain and have published it as such.