Everything You Need to Know About Teacher Exchange Programs

Posted by Amos Fred on September 25th, 2018

Are you considering becoming an exchange teacher? Foreign exchange programs change the lives of both students and staff, but there are many misconceptions about the practice of exchange education. Here are some facts to consider before you begin your exchange teaching experience:

What Exchange Teachers Do

While exchange teachers are educators, what they do for their students and fellow staff members is so much more than just teaching. Essentially, exchange teachers trade their positions with other teachers in other, international locations. Sometimes this means a true swap – offering your teaching job, your position at your school – even your home – to another teacher for a short period of time and accepting the same in return from that foreign teacher. However, some schools welcome international exchange teachers without having sent a teacher of their own to another country. It all depends on what program you’re working through.

Exchange teachingdoesn’t always mean teaching abroad for an entire year. Sometimes, exchange teachers only work in their exchange location for several weeks or a single academic term. Again, it all depends on the program you’re working through.

Who Exchange Teachers Are

Exchange teachers come from every part of the world and every walk of life. They may be of any race, religious background, gender, or age, bringing diversity to the positions they fill. However, one thing all exchange teachers have in common is that they are top-quality, experienced educators.

It may be very tempting to apply for an exchange position right out of college. After all, who doesn’t want to cut their professional teeth on a job abroad? However, you will need a minimum number of years of experience – usually 5-10, depending on where you’re from – to be permitted to apply. Other countries actually require that you have more education than a typical teacher, including foreign studies or even an advanced degree to be able to participate. This is simply to ensure that exchange teachers have the experience necessary to bring excellent teaching methods to the positions they fill around the world.

How to Become an Exchange Teacher

Qualifications for becoming an exchange teacher vary widely depending on what country you’re working for. Where you plan to work may also influence the qualifications you need. Some general guidelines include:

  • Be a permanent resident of your country
  • Speak your native language and English fluently
  • Have at least five years of teaching experience
  • Be capable of displaying an exemplary teaching record

Because of the fact that you are essentially “exchanging” your employment in your home country with a spot in another location, you must be an experienced teacher with a full-time, permanent contract in your home country and have the approval of your home school district and staff before participating in an exchange program. Some countries require you to participate in a research program and document your experience while you work abroad, as well as committing to the entire length of the contract and returning to your home country afterward. This makes the experience more beneficial for everyone, including those you leave behind in your home nation.

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Amos Fred

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Amos Fred
Joined: April 24th, 2018
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