Teachers Need Summers Off- Work Internationally

Teachers deserve summers off.

Have you ever heard that?

I have heard this and read articles about this topic over and over again. I have teachers in my family who constantly bring this up as a misconception to teaching. But I am going to throw out a little fun fact that might peek your interest. 

As an internationally teacher…

You have summers……


Now teachers in the states comment on why and how they do not have summers off. As an international teacher, I have summers off. I have never been a stateside teacher. And quite frankly, I do not want to be. Why? Becuase working in the States and other western countries are overridden by paperwork and government.

Working at an international school is the exact opposite. Sometimes, this leads to schools not being helpful for troublesome students. Largely due to troublesome students have parents who are board members. But I have found working abroad, I am free to make a lot more decisions is how and when I teach the curriculum. I am in love how schools trust me. They trust me to get all content out to the students. This is why my students in Venezuela on average scored higher than American counterparts.

Reasons to Work Abroad

1. Summers off

NO international school expects you to work during the summer months. In fact, they highly suggest you do not. They encourage travel and you enjoy time with your family members back in the States. They are encouraged during weekly or bi-weekly breaks that you do not do too much work during this time. Many schools abroad understand the term teacher burnout. They do not want teacher burnout to be a reason you leave a school. Many schools internationally have a rotating door of teachers but most people leave because they do not like the freedom that is given to them. The biggest complaint I hear is the school doesn’t give me enough direction or help.

I think this an issue you always want what you do not have. I have embraced the lack of micromanaging. I love the fact that I am trusted to teach students. I am trusted to provide a great educational experience. I am trusted to make the best decisions for my students and myself. Let me tell you, this trust pays off. I think more international teachers should embrace this trust and perfect their craft to match them and their students.

2. You are close to over great places to travel to

Your wanderlust side will explode. You are close to so many cool places to visit in the country you live as well as around the country you work in. Internationally schools give about 6 to 8 weeks off during the school year to explore all these great places. And do not forget the 2 or 3 months in the summer!

I worked abroad for about 6 years. I have been to about 20 countries! This is due to the time off and being so close to exotic and interesting places. While traveling, work and work stress hit the back burner. I can not even image teaching in the states and not get a two-week break. Those two weeks refresh me and my students so when we come back we are ready to learn. I find the weeks or two after vacations always the best because they miss school. When was the last time you had a group of student miss school? September? January? Students internationally miss school in August, October, January, and March.

Student relationships are closer

My biggest class was 24 students. My smallest class was 14 students. You develop close relationships with students abroad. The rely on and respect teachers opinions more abroad. Parents have questions my age and by mid-year conferences, they all say the same thing. My child adores you and you are more strict than I thought. But students cling to their teachers. We spend more time than many of their parents. We are also an adult they can trust that is not the same culturally. They ask questions on how their culture is different and really learn a bigger world view on different topics.


International schools do not expect nearly as much paperwork as school stateside. They trust teachers. They encourage and often times pay for more training. International schools understand that teachers abroad are also people.

Would you work abroad? Have you worked abroad? Loved to hear your thoughts?

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8 thoughts on “Teachers Need Summers Off- Work Internationally

  1. Ken Harris

    Teaching abroad sounds great and I love the ideal of having the summers off. I am a High School Teacher for 26 years and counting. You are right about the paperwork and the micromanagement. This drives me crazy. I have worked abroad but not as a teacher. One thing you did not mention is the pay over the summer. Do they pay you while you are off during the summer? Teachers here in the states work during the summer because they cannot afford to lose 8 to 10 weeks of pay. Some teachers here in the states do have the summers off but they save to make up for the lost pay. Most of us cannot afford to save money to use during our summers off and that is the main reason we work doing the summer. Your topic is very interesting and you touch on something that we as teachers think and talk about all of the time. I believe that more time off is an excellent ideal but a fantasy for most of us here in the States. I look forward to reading more on your blog. Thanks for bringing up a great topic for discussion.

    1. Kristina Hines

      Yup, I get my months salary over the summer! Schools abroad, pay less than suburb schools but I can save a lot depending on countries I move to. Asia and South America are the best when it comes to saving. I am currently trying to save for a wedding and hopefully a house stateside. Even though I will only live in my house her a month every year, so I am finding a place where I can rent through Air BnB to cover property taxes and make money through other outlets. 🙂 

  2. Thabo

    Hi Kristina,

    You raised a lot of good points on the advantages of teaching abroad. Here are two more things:

    (1) You don’t have to deal with the politics of evaluation that have nothing to do with teaching.
    I am not a teacher but recently a friend of mine, who teaches in a city school in the states, received a negative evaluation that focused on things that were out of his control.
    For example, he was penalized because his class size, which consisted of 20 students, was deemed as too small. Somehow he was expected to find 27 more students. Crazy as it sounds, he was expected to teach 47 students to meet some bureaucratic goal that had more to do with funding than providing quality education.

    (2) Uneven level of education.

    Sadly, here in the states the quality of education sometimes depends on where you live. I have seen communities separated by a few miles provide vastly different types of education in terms of effectiveness and relevancy to student’s lives and aspirations.

    1. Kristina Hines

      I definitely can agree on your first point. International schools evaluate based on what the teacher does or how they respond. I had a child see pornographic images at school. I caught him within a few weeks of it starting but the school did not have blocks set up nor did they tell us this. I was not in any shape blamed and it was nice admin took over to talk with parents. I just needed to tell parents that I caught it and consequences come from admin. 

      I do think everywhere has an uneven education. International schools teach the rich in that country. 

  3. Louise

    Working overseas is such a great idea – and the great thing about teaching is that it’s such a transferable skill and teachers are needed everywhere!

    I write a travel blog so am always trying to inspire and encourage people to travel and believe seeing the world really is something everyone should try and do at some point in their lives.

    That’s great you’ve been to so many countries and get the time to do so – it sounds like working abroad should be a rite of passage for teachers – if I was one I would certainly do it!


    1. Kristina Hines

      I wish it was a rite of passage. I have too many relatives in teaching who are not too pleased with the system in America. I keep telling them to come abroad. 

      Possessions seem to be more valued than experiences. 🙂 

  4. Maxx

    Overall I found your site construct is very nice and the layout very presented.

    Totally agree with what you mentioned above on Teachers deserve summers off and work abroad.

    I will definitely share this awesome article with my teachers/lecturers. I believe they will love this.

    Keep up the good work.

    Thank you

    1. Kristina Hines

      Hello Maxx, 

      Thank you so much! If you have any questions, I would love to answer. 🙂

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