When going abroad to teach English, whether it's your first time or not, you should try choosing a school or chain of schools that has western management. It's not the end of the world if you choose a school run by a local, but there are generally more advantages in a western-run school.
A "western-run school" could be a large chain school with a head-office, or it could simply be a school with a western manager/owner. In most cases it will be a large chain. Often the managers are former teachers who have moved into management, who will naturally be able to give you great insight.
Today's post is going to list those advantages. There are still going to be plenty of good schools run by locals, we're not trying to bash them. By the end of this article, you will have a good idea of what makes those schools good as well.
Advantages Of Western-Run Schools
There are many advantages, both tangible and intangible to having a school with western management. Below are 8 of the most important.
The first advantage would be that you'll have somebody who understands you and your culture. Not only that, but they'll also be able to give you an insight into the culture you're now in.
Knowing about things like "saving face", greetings, and other cultural variations can make settling in a lot easier.
Continuing on from this, they'll also be able to provide a sense of familiarity and remind you of home, which is going to go a long way to fighting homesickness.
Additionally, they'll have most likely been in the exact same situation that you're finding yourself in (new environment, new job, language issues etc), and will be able to relate to you. Believe it or not, some local school managers often misunderstand how difficult newcomers to a country can find life in the first few weeks.
Western-managed schools have a lot of experience with this and will be able to help you through it.
There are sometimes reports of teachers not being paid by local managers or other such shenanigans. While the vast majority of schools will be honest and pay people as expected, there ARE one or two rogues out there. Knowing that you're with a western school that will be accountable and will look after you will give you a great sense of financial security.
You can't underestimate how much easier things are when you can trust your school.
Not all, but most western schools are chain schools, which means they often have a training program in place. It's not uncommon to spend your first week or two learning the ropes and meeting other new teachers in a training environment.
This is often the place you'll meet your new best friends and start to get settled into your new country.
The schools we work the most closely with all have a training week.
Support And Welfare
Western run schools (especially large chains) will usually have a dedicated welfare officer who offers help with everything from house hunting, to visa applications.
You can still get help with this from a local manager as well, but the process is often smoother and better communicated in a western school. It can also start before you even arrive in-country (though not always).
As touched upon earlier, you also get the advantage of being able to meet and work with other foreigners. Whether these are your school coworkers, managers, or teachers working in other branches, you'll get immediate access to an expat community that is used to welcoming newcomers.
There's no easier way to make new friends in your new country.
Another benefit that often goes unnoticed is communication ease. No matter how good a local manager's English might be, there are sometimes nuances and ambiguities that only native speakers can use.
It can take a long time to figure out how your manager communicates sometimes, but if they're a westerner, it's not usually a problem.
This is a bonus a lot of people don't consider. If your school has western management, it makes sense that you have the opportunity at some point to progress into that management position yourself.
Should you decide that you want to stay a little longer in the country you're in, this is huge. Many people who work in independent schools don't have this option, and find their salaries limited once they've hit the highest pay level.
Western Run Schools Make Great First Schools
The above advantages should have painted a clear picture to you that a western school is well worth considering. If you are a newcomer or first-time teacher, then this is even more worthwhile.
You're not going to have a BAD time if you opt for a school run by a local, but you could have a much easier and ultimately BETTER time if you choose one run by westerners.
This is something we specialize in, so if you're interested in any of the countries we recruit for, get in touch.