My favourite aspects of teaching here at SON are definitely the people – both students and teachers. I have known schools that have caring people in their community, but not to the extent that I have experienced here.
We warmly acknowledge your interest in joining the vibrant learning community at School of the Nations, in Macau, China. SON serves over 650 students, from age 3 to 19, using integrated teaching practices to nurture the highest standards of intellect, character, and physical development.
Many of our teachers say that their experience at School of the Nations was among the best experiences of their teaching journey. For everyone it is distinctive.
You are cordially invited to learn more about our approach and characteristics to determine if SON is a place you’d thrive.
Requirements of international teachers in Macau are very specific. Before applying, ensure you satsify exactly what’s needed
All applicants must possess a valid passport, will be subject to a criminal record check, and will be required to provide multiple confidential references during the application process. The school hires teachers from all faith backgrounds and does not discriminate based on mother tongue.
Please note that requirements for international teachers in Macau SAR are entirely different than those of Mainland China (and Hong Kong). For instance, in Macau there are no age or country of origin restrictions, while work permit applications typically take months not weeks for approval and require specific documentation about degrees.
Please enquire if you have questions about these local regulations.
Educators who teach Kindergarten and Primary-aged students must have a Bachelor degree and a teaching qualification specifically for that age group. The teaching qualification must be issued by a University and is often a Bachelor of Education for Early Childhood Development or Primary Years, respectively.
The Education Department does not recognize the teaching credentials or certificates of any country, rather it independently examines how it was earned. Accordingly, “teaching licenses” of other countries are not considered and teachers must provide us with a scan of their Bachelor degree and transcripts. There are no exceptions for these documents, except sometimes for new graduates awaiting their certificates. If you know you will not be able to obtain these documents do not apply.
If the Bachelor degree is a not in Education, and your teaching qualifications were earned in another way, e.g. with a one year teaching degree or PGCE depending on your country of study, then a copy of this certificate and transcripts would also be required.
Your teaching qualification must include an in-class practicum (at a daytime school not an educational centre) teaching the age group you will be hired for. Basic evidence of this must also be supplied upon hiring.
The requirements above apply both to homeroom teachers as well as any subject teacher of this age group, be it Art, ICT, Physical Education, or Special Education.
Teachers in Secondary must have a Bachelor degree, or significant undergraduate courses, in the subject they will be teaching. Courses obtained at the Master or Ph.D. level and teaching credentials, unfortunately, cannot be used to satisfy this requirement of the Education Department, but are highly valued by the school.
Teachers must provide us with a scan of their Bachelor degree and transcripts to accompany their work permit application. There are no exceptions for these documents, except sometimes for new graduates awaiting their certificates. If you know you will not be able to obtain these documents kindly do not apply.
The requirements above apply to any subject teacher of this age group, including inclusive learning support and special education.
Teaching assistants and support teachers: these positions typically require candidates with local residence. There are no other requirements to consider before applying.
High-skilled office and administrative workers: the school gives preference to residents of Macau. Indeed, most of these positions require local residence.
Maintenance staff: there are no requirements that need to be considered before applying. Applications can be dropped off at the school reception.
In all of the above cases, requirements listed in the job description will superscede the policies stated above.
Working at SON
What is it like working at School of the Nations? Here is a glimpse.
Teachers greatly appreciate that the school, as an institution, and its staff are singularly focused on the wellbeing and education of students.
There is no profit or other motive. Decisions are driven by what is best for students.
High academic standards
The school focuses on nurturing a thirst for knowledge and promotes academic excellence.
While performance on exams is one measure of student learning, we strive to avoid an “exam-driven” culture, and take a more holistic approach to education that emphasizes intrinsic motivation and the role of the acquisition of knowledge in contributing to the well being of society.
Integrating mind & heart
Many teachers are attracted to school’s vision of an integrated approach to the moral and intellectual development of students.
Elements of this approach include innovative programmes offered during character development class periods, as well as through teachers’ exploration of ways to integrate the school’s learner profile into different subject areas.
Registered teachers are entitled to the government’s PD subsidy of at least US$600 per month. Self-selected PD courses can be taken on weekends, evenings, and school holidays.
The school provides standard IB and IGCSE training as needed.
Lesson study and systematic reflection are two key structures for PD school-wide.
SON is also developing its own training programmes that explores the integration of the ideals and principles of its conceptual framework into professional practice.
The school’s curriculum is continually evolving.
We regularly question, assess, and evaluate every aspect of the education we provide.
This requires a harmonized and coordinated approach and calls for close collaboration and shared learning among teachers, our dedicated curriculum team, and others at the school.
Our school draws on the Cooperative Disciple approach to classroom management. This is part of an effort to avoid approaches to discipline that tend towards extremes of being either punitive or overly permissive.
Teachers can begin to feel the care and concern the school has for them as soon as onboarding begins.
Actions the school take carefully considers the needs of teachers, from assistance in finding an apartment, overcoming struggles with work, or dealing with personal difficulties.
Frequently Asked Questions
We begin posting vacancies and actively recruiting new staff in November/December for the following school year. However, we also accept unsolicited applications and CVs throughout the year.
The typical time from application to contract offer is usually 3-10 weeks.
These are the usual steps:
- Apply for a position
- Submit a written questionnaire
- Video or in-person interview(s)
- Check three confidential professional references
- Contract offer (and acceptance)
- Connect to HR Manager
- Submit your documents
- Arrival in early August
Usually there are two interviews, first with a representative from our hiring team, and second with the relevant academic administrator. These interviews will be conducted in-person or via Breezy, Zoom, or Skype.
We strive to offer our students international education from a global perspective. Accordingly, we actively seek and are proud of the diversity of our staff and how this shapes the consciousness of our students. Currently our 100 teachers come from over 20 countries.
Preference is given to teachers with two or more years of relevant practical experience. We are committed to hiring individuals who are attracted to our educational mission and are prepared to make significant contributions to the school; we will consider newly qualified teachers whom we feel can meet these requirements.
Yes. If both parties are qualified to fill existing vacancies we are happy to hire teaching couples, although this often proves challenging since we have few vacancies. Teachers who enrol their children at the school will receive a 50% reduction in school fees.
Yes. However, we cannot make any guarantees about your spouse’s ability to find employment in Macau. The school will not pay the travel expenses for a non-teaching spouse. Finding employment in Macau can be difficult and generally requires a fluency in both Cantonese and English. We advise you to do some research about your spouse’s ability to find work in Macau before you consider accepting a position.
Religious affiliation is not something we think about for teachers or students, and not something we ask about.
As you can glean from our Bahai’-inspired framework, we do rely heavily on insights from religion to provide a holistic education. This helps stimulate an orientation towards service and meaningful activities, a desire to sacrifice, rectitude of conduct, and the ability to see nobility in everyone.
Individual teachers, in proportion to their interest and ability, strive to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of this philosophy and it progressively and naturally tends to find expression both in their actions and attitudes, and then in the classroom.
Our school has four main departments with their own administrators. To promote coherence of our educational programmes, all subjects are integrated into these departments, rather than having, for example, a separate Chinese Language or Arts Department.
Kindergarten includes, K1, K2, and K3, with students aged 3-4, 4-5, and 5-6 respectively.
Primary is comprised of Primary 1 to Primary 6, with student aged from 6-7 to 11-12.
Secondary includes Form 1 to Form 6, with students aged from 12-13 to 18-19.
In addition to this formal structure, internally we view Middle School as comprising students from Primary 6 to Form 2.
Overseas teachers are required to obtain a work permit to work in Macau legally in addition to having their educational credentials verified by the Department of Education. We assist each employee throughout both of these approval processes. The minimal costs associated with gaining approval will be covered by the school. The school will work closely with you throughout the process which begins as soon as you are hired and we submit your application and documents to the government.
Teachers receive their work permit before arriving.
The standard employment contract we offer our new teachers is 3 years, although this is flexible. We hope teachers will remain a part of our community beyond this, which many do. Our retention rate is relatively high for a school with international faculty and some teachers have remained for decades.
Our school is an English medium school with Mandarin Chinese taught as a language. Speaking Chinese is therefore not a requirement for our English or subject teachers, as Mandarin is taught by specialised teachers.
All signs point to yes although the situation worldwide is unpredictable.
Macau has been exemplary in dealing with the coronavirus, with very few cases and no deaths. The government has been understandably cautious and, since March 2020, has been slow to allow non-residents entry into the territory.
However, restrictions have been loosening. In the region, foreign workers can now enter Hong Kong and Mainland China. And, as of this writing in November 2020, there are conditions where foreigners who pass through Mainland China can be granted entry to Macau. Quarantining in August 2021 seems likely.
Of course, until the borders completely open and the pandemic spread abates globally, schools and teachers would do well to make contingency plans for all scenarios.
The school year usually begins on 1 September, the standard date that teacher contracts begin. Typically, new teachers will be asked to arrive around August 8-10. The first four or five days are spent finding and settling into a suitable apartment. This is followed by 3 to 4 days of orientation for new teachers and then around 10 days of training and planning for all teachers.
For the initial August, if teachers report to Macau when requested, they receive a “stipend” equivalent to their full monthly salary. If they receive permission and arrive later than the school requests, they receive the amount of their monthly salary prorated according to the precise number of days they worked August.
Kindly note that the dates above are for illustration purposes only and are confirmed once the new academic calendar is released, usually in May. Adjustments to the typical timeline can can anticipated in light of travel and quarantine restrictions arising from the global pandemic, which likely would require teachers to arrive earlier than usual.
Benefits and Daily Life
Our teacher calendar runs from the middle of August until the end of June, with 195 contact days. Newly hired teachers are expected to attend an orientation program in August that begins a few days before returning teachers are required back at the school.
All teachers are expected to work 36 hours per week, which includes up to 22 teaching periods of 42 minutes depending on grade level, along with other duties and responsibilities. Teachers usually have about 5 periods of planning time weekly.
Several times during the school year we have working Saturdays to accommodate professional development, staff meetings and parent-teacher interactions. Throughout the school year we observe all Baha’i Holy Days as well as all Macau public holidays. Additionally, there are a number of lengthy breaks throughout the year – including Winter holidays, Chinese New Year, and summer holidays.
The annual base salary for teachers, including housing allowance, is approximately US$44,000, after-tax. This does not include the annual travel allowance, New Year’s bonus, pension contributions, and a yearly re-enlistment bonus which is equivalent to one month’s salary. Furthermore, the government of Macau generously provides a teacher’s professional development subsidy of at least US$600 per month. Taken together, the after-tax total compensation that teachers receive is roughly US$62,000.
Benefits include local healthcare coverage, half tuition for up to two dependents to enroll in the school, assistance in finding an apartment, and a one-week hotel stay, if needed.
Unlike other schools, there is no pressure or room for salary negotiations since, by law, 70% of school revenue must go toward teachers, and we follow a 6-tier scale based on years of experience. You may freely enquire about your approximate salary amount upon receiving a request for an interview, should this be important.
Medical insurance is offered by the Macau government for all registered teachers (it may take up to about 6 months to become eligible). Based on the registration, the school pays for a basic coverage plan for up to maximum two dependents (a spouse is not considered a dependent).
This insurance covers medical and hospitalization costs incurred at the government hospital and treatment worldwide as ordered by them, at a confirmed amount within the policy. Between the time you arrive and are eligible for Government Healthcare coverage, the school provides a limited private health care plan.
The initial registration for healthcare coverage requires a medical check up performed at the teacher’s expense and reimbursed upon presentation of the official receipt. The standard cost of this check up is approximately $75 USD.
All staff members are responsible for finding their own apartment, but are provided with 7 nights of paid hotel stay (from date of arrival), during which they can search for accommodations.
There are many furnished and unfurnished flats available in Taipa, within walking distance of the School. Living outside of Taipa is also an option due to Macau’s small size and excellent public transportation system.
New teachers will be assisted to connect with several real estate agents and a staff member from the School to help choose an apartment that meets their needs and budget.
As a rapidly developing destination, the biggest cost of living tends to be apartment rental. Renting semi-furnished apartments near the school can range between $1,000 and $2,000 USD per month depending on size and amenities.
It is usually necessary to pay a deposit of 3 months’ rent upon signing a lease contract. In addition, the cost of the real estate agent is approximately the cost of one month’s rent. Therefore, teachers need to pay 4 months’ rent when they sign their lease. Various options can be explored at the contract-signing stage of the hiring process if this is an obstacle.
The lifestyle you choose to live in Macau will determine your cost of living while working here. Many teachers save a sizeable portion of their salary. However, teachers who prefer to live a more luxurious lifestyle or families with numerous children may struggle to save significant amounts of money during their time here. Teachers who are willing to be flexible with accommodations and live modestly, even with some traveling throughout South East Asia, will save money in the long term.
We take protection of your personal data seriously and only use it for the application process, and if hired, for employment purposes. Data is safely stored on our cloud-based platforms or on premises. We only request the minimal personal information that is required and only once it is needed. Lastly, we typically keep applications on file in case another suitable vacancy opens up, but you may request that your application be removed from our application platform.
Macau is a safe, multicultural city located at the center of some of the fastest growing economies and diverse cultures in the world. Connected to Mainland China and just one hour ferry ride south of Hong Kong, there are many opportunities to experience cultural events, museums, and tastes from around the world. As a former colony of Portugal, Macau has evolved to offer a unique blend of Eastern and Western culture that cannot be found anywhere else in Asia.
In 2005, the Historic Centre of Macau was awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage site. With its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West.
Having worked at SON for a few years, I can say with confidence that I haven’t been at a school with as a lofty and admirable a mission as here. The school’s aim is to create a well-rounded learner who is capable of being a positive contributor to their community.
By combining a more traditional education with enlightenment, we are not only able to prepare students for the rigours of life in their chosen society, but more importantly, we are shaping them into people who take every opportunity to improve the lives of those around them, on many levels.