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Old 24.02.2020, 22:07
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Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

I have a Masters Degree in Teaching from the US. I taught for seven years in Brooklyn 4/5 Special Education. 14-22 year olds Humanities, Dance, Yoga, Health. All of my students were learning English as a second language. I came to Switzerland to join my baby daddy who has a position here. Long story long I have read/heard conflicting things about teaching here. I contacted EDK and I am working on my German as I am just at A2 but I have heard that Switzerland has a teacher shortage. A teenager who was babysitting told me that she has numerous teachers who donít speak German then a parent on the train I started speaking with encouraged me to look as her childís school has numerous teachers who werenít qualified. I am able to live anywhere in Switzerland as my partner has flexibility with his position. Any advice on where the teaching shortages are and how to search for those positions?
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Old 25.02.2020, 06:49
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Welcome to the forum.

No idea where those people found such teachers myself, but probably the best bet is to contact any international schools in your area. They may want English speakers. You certainly won't get into any local public schools without speaking the relevant Swiss language.
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Old 25.02.2020, 07:47
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Agree with Medea, you won't be able to take a position in a Swiss state school without having a Swiss language, in fact EDK Registration for teaching in the Swiss system requires C2 language certificate. A bit of context, I arrived here last year and work as a primary school teacher in a bi-lingual school, I have A2 German like yourself, completed the EDK Registration but can only teach in English at my school, to be recognised and to apply for any job in a Swiss state school they said I'd need my C2 certificate within two years, something I think would be impossible to achieve.
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Old 25.02.2020, 09:36
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Well like the others, I cannot say I ever heard of a teacher in the local education system that could not speak the local language. Yes, my kids had foreign teachers when they were in school, but they all spoke the local language.
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Old 25.02.2020, 11:48
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Yes, and mainly for safety reasons and to communicate with kids outside lesson, other members of staff and parents- and of course in an emergency.
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Old 25.02.2020, 12:25
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

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I have a Masters Degree in Teaching from the US. I taught for seven years in Brooklyn 4/5 Special Education.
Are you hoping to get back into special ed teaching?

If so, and if you find that improving your local language skills, the road to geting your qualifications recognized, or finding a niche in the international schools will likely take longer than you expected, here's a rather tangential suggestion:

While you are working on accreditation and language, you might find that getting involved with and connected to the community of families with special needs children a valuable way to learn more about how things work in Switzerland. One way to do so might be to volunteer with All Special Kids, an organization dedicated to supporting children with special needs and their families.

https://allspecialkids.org/connect-with-ask/volunteer/

I know this is not what you are asking about or looking for, but volunteering with an organization like this could expand your network. And certainly Swiss experience, even as a volunteer, would be helpful on your CV.

Anyway, just a thought.

Wishing you all the best.
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Old 25.02.2020, 23:44
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Try to get on the lists for substitute teaching in your area (usually on canton's website), if you get gigs and they like you they might indeed call you often (it's usually school directors who decide).
I would not be surprised if some school systems which are bad at planning or don't want to spend money on teacher traning overly rely on this system, but it's difficult to know from outside. I think it's also a struggle to retain people in the pedagogic support teachers/operators area (for disabled children) since it's a very demanding job, that could be something to look into. I don't think in this case C2 language skills are required but again, might depend on the canton.
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Old 26.02.2020, 13:22
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Yes, there is a teacher shortage, especially at primary level. But you won't find a position without at least a C1 in German, even if you only teach English. At my school we have two native French teachers teaching French, but they both have at least C 1 in German. Even with that it is sometimes hard for them to communicate with the parents and they get misunderstood. They both have Swiss qualifications,too.With just one subject it will also be difficult to find full time employment. Teachers here usually teach all subjects at primary level and at least two at secondary level.

Last edited by swisscanmom; 26.02.2020 at 13:51.
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Old 26.02.2020, 13:57
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Surely, Special Needs support require an even higher level of local language/fluency.

Teachers here are highly unionised, and would not take kindly to outsiders without the equivalent qualifications and high level of local language- as there are a lot of tensions about cuts to the edu system.

Equivalence, providing lots of experience and fluency in local language can be waived in exceptional circumstances, but it is rare. The school where I did my Bac asked me to go and teach for them. They were happy to accept my UK B.Ed.Hons and experience, as I am of course fluent in French and know the system/area, etc, very well. Answer was a big NO, lol - I loved my job but am retired- pheew
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Old 26.02.2020, 23:25
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Iím sorry but you will not get a position in the public school system without a C2 in the local language (possibly a C1 depending on your cantonal regulations ... but definitely not less than that) and youíll need to do an equivalence. Your canton should have a governing body that can make a judgement on your qualifications and (for a hefty fee) tell you whether or not they will give you an equivalence.

If your heart is set on teaching in public school, youíre in for a long haul. Try pursuing private and international schools. Otherwise consider entering academia more permanently and going for another Masters and a doctorate.

Sorry if I sound cynical. Iím a bit jaded myself as I have the language level but no recognized ability to teach in public schools here so Iíve taken on a Masters in the hope of securing a private school job and so far itís not working out the way it was supposed to. Anyway. Best of luck to you on your journey!
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Old 27.02.2020, 03:01
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

Looks like the OP was a fly by in any case.
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Old 03.03.2020, 13:46
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Re: Finding work as a teacher without speaking the local language

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A teenager who was babysitting told me that she has numerous teachers who don’t speak German
In the local system and at the primary and secondary level? I highly doubt that. Maybe the odd one, but certainly not "numerous".

I'm always baffled by threads like this one. How does anyone figure they can teach in a local system in any country in the world if they don't speak the language? As always, the question to ask is: if I spoke, let's say, only German, how far exactly would I get in terms of finding a teaching job in the US public (or private for that matter) school system? My guess is not very far.

Try international schools, that's very likely your only option. Outside private tutoring that is.
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