Tuesday 11 November 2008

Teaching Abroad as a Single Parent

Updated 14 February 2012

Being a single parent in your home country is hard, but teaching abroad as a single parent can be easier or more difficult depending on the country, your school, and what your salary package includes. Some countries have affordable nannies like Latin America or affordable daycare like Korea. However, in other countries nannies or daycares might be very expensive. Being a single parent in some Muslims may be frowned upon if you're divorced rather than widowed.

If you're widowed that tends to be another story. Keep in mind that in some countries, like Saudi Arabia, women have a lot less rights than back home. Larger cities are usually more accepting than small town. To learn more about where to go read what's the best country? Another good article to check out is teaching with kids in tow. International Schools Review also has a good article about single parents as teachers.

Hours and Money
Look for schools or institutes that offer parent-friendly hours. Since you have a child you probably have some informal teaching experience so try to negotiate for higher pay and a larger apartment. If you qualify teaching at international schoolsmight be your best bet.

Your Child's Education
International schools are expensive and hard to afford on a TEFL salary. Bilingual schools might be an option. If you can get work at an international school your child might be able to go there for free or get a discount. If your children go to local schools they will have to learn the language. A five year old will pick up the language much easier than a fifteen year old. See what you can afford on your budget and be sure to visit the school beforehand. Home schooling might be an option. Try Mothering to find out about more programmes. Cyber schools such as Connections Academy are becoming popular as well.

Child Friendly Countries
  • The Middle East pays well and you'll get great benefits like housing, flights, and baggage allowance. You will have to have experience and many places want you to have a masters degree. The UAE and Oman pay less than Saudi Arabia but are much more liberal. If you go to Oman, make sure you get your stop-over at a hotel. You can find more info at Dave's ESL Cafe.
  • Asia is another option. Many teachers head to China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Taiwan, or Vietnam. Brunei is also good if you're a qualified teacher. You'll have to consider the cost of living as well as the salary. Places like Brunei, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan have high salaries but the cost of living is also high.
  • If you've got an EU passport then Europe might also be a good option. Countries like France and those in Scandanavia are known for being child friendly.
  • Latin America is good if you can get a higher than normal salary. Nannies are plentiful as is other household help such as cooks and maids.
Also published in . . .
This article has also been published in the ELT Times.



  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed. Really a nice post here!


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