What we look for in a teacher

IST teachers may have experience in international schools or have previously travelled/lived abroad; are culturally sensitive, flexible and adaptable in new situations.

Our teachers have the requisite qualifications and are intrepid, independent and enthusiastic.

What we evaluate:

  • Qualifications: Teaching qualifications from a reputable institution, with at least two year's full time teaching experience
  • Background: 3 referees who can comment on your classroom practice
  • Flexibility: you are willing to travel at short notice and without dependants for periods of between one and ten months.
  • Sense of adventure: you need to enjoy exploring, living and working in foreign countries and learning new cultures

Teaching/Curriculum areas

We do NOT receive requests for the following areas - ESL/EFL/EAL, Library, Counselling, Administration.

IST RARELY receives requests for the following areas: PE, Art and Music.

We ALWAYS need a register of teachers who cover the following teaching/curriculum areas:

  • Any grade from pre-k through to the last year of high school
  • Any subject taught in an international school, excluding the areas listed above
  • Any curricula including US, Australian, British, Canadian and International Baccalaureate

Employment Conditions

IST substitute teachers receive an equivalent benefits package to permanent teachers. Benefits do vary from school to school and country to country.

  • Contract length: IST postings are typically 6 weeks to a maximum of 12 months in length.
  • Remuneration: You will be paid at a similar rate to a permanent full time international teacher currently working at that particular school. Your holiday pay may be paid on a pro-rata basis if your assignment continues until the end of the academic year.

    You will not lose money on an IST posting and will be able to travel and live very comfortably. We cannot guarantee that you will be paid at a rate commensurate to your home country. In some countries, where the cost of living is far lower than your home country, the salaries may also be lower.

    Some schools may only recognize prior experience up to a maximum level of 8 years on their salary scales. This applies to both permanent and substitute teachers at those schools.
  • Air Fares: The school will pay for your return air transfer.
  • Allowances: Some schools pay for a living allowance and/or exemption from local tax, provide accommodation or subsidize rental costs throughout the contractual period.

About IST Schools

IST screens schools and provides objective information about each posting so that there will be no surprises when you arrive at the school.


How does it work?

When an international school contacts IST for a supply/substitute teacher, we match their requirements to the qualifications and suitability of candidates on our register.

If we identify you as a suitable candidate, we will inform you of the full details of the appointment, the school and employment conditions.

  • We will give you 3 days to consider if you are prepared to accept the position should it be offered to you.
  • If you are agreeable, we will send your IST dossier to the international school.
  • If the school is interested in your application, we will forward your contact details to the school. If the school wishes to hire you, they will make travel plans for you to transfer to the school.

Although IST's involvement in arranging your placement will end at this point, we will be in touch at the end of your posting for a feedback report on your time with the school.

What is the IST dossier?

As part of the recruitment process, we collect information from:

  • your registration form
  • your three IST referee reports
  • any additional testimonials that you have submitted

We compile this information in a written report which provides an objective assessment based on specific criteria which we use to assess each teacher's particular strengths.

We share the dossier with the School’s Recruiting Officer to help them make rapid and effective decisions when selecting a suitable candidate.


The IST Registration process

We can't guarantee that you will get a job, because the final selection is always made by the school. Moreover, substitute work is highly unpredictable!

But we will ensure that you are eligible for consideration for every teaching request we receive which matches your qualifications and experience.

Submit Application Form

All teachers that wish to be included in IST's pool of teachers must fill in our online Application Form.

You will have access to your personal online dashboard where you can monitor the process of your registration, add documents to your dossier and change your availability status.

Once your application is approved, you won't be subject to any more fees, even if you take time out from being available for IST postings.

Academic certificates

IST requires copies of your university diplomas and your teaching certification by the time of your interview. These should be scanned and uploaded to your dossier through your IST dashboard on our webpage. You may need certified/verified copies for some work visas - so it is a good idea to have these ready to take with you on a posting.

Police certificates/clearance

After your successful interview, IST will need to view a recent police clearance for your current country of employment and/or for your country of permanent residence. Some schools may need police clearances for all countries in which you have worked for the last three to ten years.

Clearances should be uploaded to your dashboard as a small jpg or pdf file.

Please be aware that obtaining these clearances can take some time. Your registration with IST cannot be finalised until these certificates have been uploaded to your dashboard.


We have designed a unique Referee Form which elicits information specific to the requirements of international substitute teaching. Within your IST dashboard, you will be able to send this form to three referees who can comment on your professional performance both inside and outside the classroom. We will contact both you and your referees for an interview/reference check when all three references have been received.

If your documentation is complete and your experience matches a school request, we prioritise your referee checks/interviews over other teachers. We guarantee that you will always be eligible for school requests in your teaching area once your documentation is complete!

Please note: We do not follow up with your referees if they have not submitted a referee form. It is your responsibility to ensure that your three referee reports are sent in a timely fashion to IST. You will receive notifications as your referees submit their references to our webpage.

Register Listing

After successful referee checks and a telephone/video interview, IST will confirm your placement on our register of supply/substitute teachers.

Important: neither payment of the registration fee nor your interview with us guarantees acceptance onto the IST register of teachers. Your acceptance will be determined by the quality of your application, your referee reports and your interview.


Can I rely on IST for full time employment?

Emergency vacancies are unpredictable and are affected by a large number of variables. You may be inundated with too many offers or you may not receive any offers for a considerable length of time.

We have not been able to identify any patterns regarding where, when or in which teaching areas we will receive requests. Nor do we usually get more than 2 weeks notice regarding job vacancies - a typical timeline is three days to one week.

We will ALWAYS contact you immediately we receive a request that matches your qualifications and experience.

Can I turn down a posting?

If you are unsure about an offer or do not wish to accept it, please explain the situation to us. We strongly value transparency and honesty and have no difficulty with working with teachers who tell us that they cannot commit to a posting.

However when we have received confirmation from you that you wish your dossier to be forwarded to the school without reservations, you have in effect accepted the position should it be offered to you. Our postings are emergency postings so both schools and, more importantly students, are severely affected if you refuse a posting at the last minute.

Should you turn down an offer from the school AFTER confirming that you are available for the position, we will not be able to rely on you for future postings.

Can I take time off once I am on the register?

Given all the uncertainties of emergency teaching, we don't mind if you take time off from our register.

A typical IST teacher comes on and off our register regularly due to a combination of holiday plans, family responsibilities or other full time work opportunities.

We do ask though that you update your availability on your IST dashboard to let us know whenever your availability status changes. This helps us respond efficiently to school requests.

There are no fees or penalties for going on and off the register. Your initial registration fee covers you for life - we have had teachers come back to us after being off our register for up to 5 years.

All we need is an updated application, a recent reference and you are placed back on our active list.