Our newest member of the Teachanywhere team in 2017 is Laura Macnamara, who joins us after being placed by us in an international teaching role in China. Find out exactly how she did it:

What is your new role in Teachanywhere and what is your background?

I am an International Recruitment Consultant and my job entails helping teachers from the UK and overseas to find roles in schools all over the world. Up until July of this year, I was teaching at UK curriculum international schools in and around Shanghai, China for 4 years. I loved my time teaching internationally and feel incredibly fortunate to now be able to help other teachers' dreams come true! 

What inspired you to teach overseas originally?

I had taught for eight years at a state school in Cornwall. I loved my job, but was finding that, whilst my professional development was great, my work-life balance and financial situation left a lot to be desired. I also loved travelling and had aspirations to one day live abroad.  A friend of mine suggested that I consider teaching internationally, which sounded like a fantastic option. After looking on Google, I quickly got in touch with Teachanywhere! 

Why did you choose Teachanywhere to secure your role in China and what was it that impressed you about their service?

Teachanywhere was the first agency that I got in touch with and I was blown away with the level of customer service and the efficiency of my consultant.  I really appreciated how they took time to talk though options with me, and so patiently and thoughtfully answered all my questions, however big, small or silly! It's a huge decision to move abroad and not one to be taken lightly. The quality of advice and support I received from Teachanywhere made what could have been a very stressful process become a much more enjoyable one. I was surprised to find that the support and guidance didn't end once my job offer was accepted, indeed I was in touch with my consultant until my first term of teaching at my new school.

What were your highlights of teaching abroad?

The biggest surprise for me was the amazing professional development I received whilst teaching abroad. This was unexpected, as I had a major misconception that moving abroad could be a step down in terms of professional development. The skill development and career growth I experienced was really excellent at both of my schools. I was Head of Year for two years, was given the chance to teach in a different Key Stage, took on several responsibilities, and received much training. A career highlight for me was the opportunity to plan and organise a two-day whole school conference about Building Learning Power for roughly 150 staff. The school approved my idea of inviting Professor Guy Claxton over to speak at the conference, which was a fantastic experience. It was so satisfying to have such an impact on a large scale, something I would not have had the opportunity to do in the UK. Apart from the many career highlights, I also relished the opportunity to live in another country, as opposed to merely travelling through it. To be so immersed in another culture and unfamiliar surroundings is so rewarding and exciting. The financial benefits were also huge - I was able to live well, travel to many exotic places AND save money for the first time in my life. 

What was your greatest challenge?

During my first term of working in China, a very dear family member passed away. I was suddenly and painfully aware of how far away I was from home and family. Fortunately, the level of support and kindness from my school leader was amazing. She made it possible for me to catch a flight home the very next day, which I appreciated so very much. This meant I returned home quickly and was then surrounded by loved ones. When I was ready, I returned to China and to teaching at my school. After such a traumatic start to the school year, it was such a positive thing to start the new year being surrounded by such supportive colleagues and friends, following my dreams of international living, and fulfilling  my career goals. 

What are you looking for when you interview an applicant who wants to teach overseas?

There are some important paperwork requirements that I look for initially, such as ensuring teaching qualifications and years of experience are sufficient. Once that hurdle is crossed, I love speaking to candidates who are able to articulate their passion for teaching and learning, open-mindedness, resilience and flexibility. All these things will set someone in excellent stead for securing a role with an international school. The schools mostly interview by Skype, so a good telephone/video call manner and ability to speak concisely about their skills and experience is also important. Another key factor is to get the CV and school interview preparation right, which is something I very much enjoy supporting candidates with.  

What's your best advice to teachers who want to teach overseas?

Go for it! Seriously, it will be one of the best decisions you've ever made. Apart from this, it's really important to take the job finding process just as seriously as you would with applying to teaching jobs in the UK - the standards expected are just as high, if not higher in some cases. Without the opportunity to interview face to face, it's imperative that your CV is excellently written and that you have planned your answers to potential interview questions. This will help to make you stand out and showcase your skills and talents. Luckily for you, we have an experienced and enthusiastic team of recruitment consultants here at Teachanywhere to help you every step of the way! 

If you've been inspired by reading Laura's story, and want to kickstart your own international teaching adventure, then get in touch with us today.


Laura, the author of this interview recently joined Teachanywhere as a Recruiter in the UK team.  Prior to this, Teachanywhere supported Laura to find her first overseas teaching post in China where she enjoyed a very happy and successful tenure.