What is the International Baccalaureate (IB)?
If you are looking for a teaching job outside of the standard UK education system or want to find a teaching job overseas, the International Baccalaureate might be for you. The IB offers an internationally-focused approach and emphasises critical thinking, creativity and intercultural understanding. Students are encouraged to become lifelong learners, developing their intellectual, emotional and social skills to enable them to become valued contributors to society. It is globally recognised and taught in schools and institutions around the world.
What does an IB education look like?
The IB was founded in 1968 and in that time has grown from being taught in 7 schools to 4775 schools across the globe. Whilst the majority of schools offering the IB in the UK are independent, there are some state schools that offer aspects of the curriculum. Many international schools offer the IB, including USA, Canada, Australia and China.
The IB curriculum is structured in three programmes:
- Primary Years Programme (PYP) for ages 3-12 years
- Middle Years Programme (MYP) for ages 11-16 years
- Diploma Programme (DP) for ages 16-19 years
- IB Career-Related Programme (CP) for ages 16-19 years
Students can either follow each step of the IB curriculum fully, or complete one or more of the programmes before or after they have been taught the traditional UK curriculum. For example, a child could be taught according to the National Curriculum until they reach secondary school age, when they could then begin the MYP. This may require the child to adapt their learning style significantly, as both curricula have vast differences, and it will be down to the child and the parents to settle on the best learning style to suit them.
What is it like to teach the International Baccalaureate?
IB learners are encouraged to be enquirers, communicators, and risk-takers, with teachers acting more as facilitators to learning. Lessons are student-centred, with each child responsible for their own learning and collaborating with the teacher to deepen understanding. Enquiry-based learning is at the centre of the IB: pupils research, analyse and reflect to solve problems and develop conceptual understanding. Teaching uses real-life contexts and examples, encouraging pupils to connect their experiences to the world around them. Assessment takes the form of coursework and practical exams rather than standardised tests.
Do I need experience to teach the International Baccalaureate?
Although many teachers believe that it is difficult to secure an IB teaching position due to lack of relevant experience, it is quite easy to tailor your experience to the requirements of the role.
The International Baccalaureate website has detailed explanations of the programmes and the IB philosophy. Even if you have no experience teaching the IB, researching the curriculum and connecting with IB teachers on Facebook or Twitter can provide you with the information you need to understand how the IB works.
Most IB schools are also open to letting teachers come in and observe their lessons so that you can get a feel for how it works. This is a great way to see the curriculum in action. You can then tailor your application by including references to the IB ethos and demonstrating how you have the skills and knowledge to succeed as an IB educator. Any international teaching experience would be a bonus, as well as any additional reading you have undertaken around pedagogy relating to the IB.
How do I find IB jobs?
To find International Baccalaureate teaching jobs, visit our international jobs page. Wherever in the world you want to teach, Eteach could have the perfect option for you.
About the author
After graduating with a BA in Communications from Bournemouth University, Emma worked in public relations and marketing before deciding to undertake a PGCE at Kingston University and begin her journey as a primary school teacher. Emma taught for 15 years in schools around London and Surrey, in a variety of roles including lead practitioner and assistant headteacher. Emma now works for Eteach as Education Partnerships Coordinator, where she can share her knowledge of the education sector and support those beginning their teaching career.