Recruiting Season Starts Now!

Every year, school directors give teachers a deadline by which to decided if they will return for another academic year or make the current year their last. And every recruiting season the decision-making deadline seems to be pushed earlier & earlier.

This season, ISS/Lisbon is slated for Nov 18th, followed by AASSA/Atlanta on Dec first.  ISS/Atlanta follows in quick succession on Dec 4th, with Search/Johannesburg on Dec ninth.  When we first viewed the ISS recruiting fair schedule we thought the list was incomplete. Their web site shows the last ISS fair of the season to be ISS/San Francisco on Feb thirteenth.

Last year, teachers were concerned because many schools were requiring them to submit their intentions to stay or leave early in the school year. It appears the recruiting organizations have followed suit, putting pressure on international educators to make a stay-or-go decision within the first month or two of school. How will this affect schools and teachers?

For educators entering international teaching for the first time the earlier dates could be advantageous. But, for teachers currently overseas & completing their present contract these dates could prove frustrating at best. As a result of competition between recruiters to be the “first” conference, we can see fairs possibly as early as Sept/Oct in the years to come. What is your opinion on this situation? Join us on this ISR Blog.

25 Responses to Recruiting Season Starts Now!

  1. John Smith says:

    My current school in the Philippines) asked for a decision regarding renewals in November of 2010 and promised that new contracts would be available for review in December. They also promised that every returning teacher would get a one-step increase. This conversation was repeated at faculty meetings again and again, month after month, with various excuses provided by the admin as to why contracts could not be reviewed (the typewriter was broken… etc.).
    Ultimately renewal contracts were not available until May 2011 by which time admin had withdrawn their promise of a one-step increase and began talking about an increased workload.
    It was too late for me to look for a position at another school and I was forced to stay.
    Teachers who were in the middle of two-year contracts were told that those contracts were invalid because they were not notarized, and told to sign new one-year contracts which also denied them step increases.
    The school ownership and senior admin is Korean. Subsequently they also broke promises to the western principal and they released him from his contract in mid-August without notice. I have no sympathy for him as he openly participated in the contract ”games” and failed to support his staff.
    The contract renewal is only the tip of the iceberg at this school. It has already been noted in previous posts that many 3rd world countries have very weak legal systems. Getting involved in legal issues at this can be dangerous (literally.

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  2. Courtnay says:

    I will be attending my 1st recruitment conference in Dec and would like to know what types of questions I shuld ask of the school as I am interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing me. I have never worked overseas and want to make sure that I am asking them the right questions. What do I need to know??

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  3. Anonymous says:

    One of the biggest stumbling blocks seems to be getting an honest reference from these administrators. What do you tell the next employer after only staying in a job for one academic year?

    It seems that many schools outside the EEC or North America are the least ethical when it comes to contract renewal and hiring and firing practices. In many countries such as some in the Middle East, Myanmar, Cambodia and Eastern Europe there are no enforcable labor laws to protect foreign teachers. Think hard before accepting a posting in such countries.

    My experience with ISS and that of teaching colleagues has been completely negative. Their recruitment system is nowhere near as good as TIE, which is a fraction of the cost and more efficient. ISS have been bugging me with offers of free membership for a year if I sign on with them again… no way!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Just been informed that, despite being “very good” at my job I will not be renewed. How do I look at these unethical “bosses” who’ve vandalised my future for no good reason for the next eight months?

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  5. A concerned educator says:

    You don’t always have the luxury to say ” I don’t know yet”. We are bond with the decision we make in October!

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  6. swissmiss says:

    The school I currently work for asked for teacher commitments last October and we didn’t receive our new contracts until the beginning of May. Needless to say, the new contracts included no pay increase, although cost of living had risen by 5%. Many of these schools are a law unto themselves and, unless you know for sure you don’t want to return to the school, teachers are held hostage over increasingly poor business practise.

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  7. A concerned educator says:

    We have to give a definite answer by October 15th without knowing what the new contract will look like. Things are changing in our contract and not always for the better. Contract are signed around March. What is you recourse at that time? Like it or not you’ve got to stay because you have no choice! Not very ethical is it?

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  8. Seb Dunno says:

    The Olympics in London in Summer 2012 has meant that any school that recruits teachers from Europe (or teachers who use European countries as a hub) have had to ask teachers what flights they want now. The extra costs of flights has meant that directors are understandably jumpy about what that means to their finances. My medium sized school in SE Asia may lose $250,000. Our deadline was October 14th, This issue was raised at the FOBSISEA business leaders conference about a month ago had this issue on their agenda. The only benefit to the directors is that they get to find out where from staffing point of view very early on. The flip side is that it may push some teachers who would have stayed if they had more time to think into leaving.

    The plus for me is that I get a cash equivalent to the ticket. So it’s no summer in Europe for me! Olympics sod off, Bali here I come!

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  9. anonymous says:

    The problem is that many schools are not prepared for these early conferences. When we went to AASSA in Atlanta in 2009 several schools said they weren’t yet sure of their upcoming openings-especially as it related to administrative positions. Looks like a risk no matter what.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    We have an october 26th deadline, and a Nov 15th contract signing date…there is now a signing bonus associated with signing early…

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  11. Still Spry at 60 says:

    It is very hard to determine if an age restriction applies in a country, per se, or just in a school within that country. I would urge all heads to provide this information on their website, Search and ISS should also provide this information; firstly citing countries. For example, Malaysia and Indonesia have a law. Some countries do not.

    Like

    • Trav45 says:

      Most of the school info pages on Search give age requirements.

      Like

    • Michelle says:

      I noticed that there’s lots of good information about age restrictions here on ISR. At one African school (Tanzania) interview, that really saved me time & effort. So, what I’m saying is, it really isn’t so hard to determine if an age restriction applies in a country. Thank god for the internet, eh?

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  12. Wherenext says:

    Got to give my answer on Nov 1st… when there are no job list to speak of yet… If you know, clearly, that you want to go, no probl’, but if you’re kind of undecided, that makes October a difficult month to go through… (and yes, the school gives its decision on contracts renewal on Dec 1st.)
    And of course, half the jobs advertised go pffff through Skype interviews and you arrive at the Fair: job gone!
    So one advice: try to get Skype interviews! and forget about the fair!

    Like

    • A concerned educator says:

      This can backfire. DGs/Superintendents know each other and it’s easy for your current DG to give a call to your new /prospective employer and say you are still under contract. Then you end up on a black list (or fired) and it makes it hard to find a job in the future.
      I agree with you, my family comes first and we are not in the same boat as single teachers. Making a decision as early as mid October, having no idea of what will be available makes it very hard.

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  13. John says:

    Having been asked to make a commitment in December, and saying yes, I was surprised that the school in Bahrain waited until April (after the Dubai SA fair) to inform me that my contract was not being renewed for the next year. I don’t know about “civilised” or “3rd world” but in the Gulf, they do what they please with wastaless foreigners.

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    • Gerry says:

      John is so right. The Gulf countries are a law onto their own. The contract is there to protect the employer. The employee has no rights. One of the worst offenders is the presidential school in Abu Dhabi where teachers are even told the school can do as it pleases as it does not fall under the UAE labor law. Teachers are routinely forced to commit by the end of Jan and then those who ‘offended’ management during the year are fired in April regardless of their contract.

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  14. I would be curious to know what these pushy directors would do if they were told by their employees that they couldn’t give an answer at that time and would return to them with an answer in January or February. While the DG’s can put pressure on the employees to state their intentions, they cannot legally force them to answer yes or no, unless it it stated in the contract, but that assumes they will respect the contract. That said, here are some likely consequences of refusing to state your intentions when asked:

    1)The DG could take your refusal as a ¨no¨ I will not return or as a ¨yes¨ I’m staying. Teachers on probation do not present a problem as the DG can then say they are not being rehired. either way, the DG could go to a hiring fair and hire a new employee but, unless it was permitted in the contract, this would be seen in many countries as totally illegal.
    2) The DG could give you an arbitrary deadline to reply and could state that missing that deadline would represent, in his or her mind, a decision not to return or vice/versa. This is again, in civilized countries, a major legal no-no but works well in 3rd world countries.
    3) The DG could agree to wait for your reply until they have to depart for their last recruiting Fair which would be a fair compromise.
    4) The DG could (and many do) either add a number of incentives to replying well ahead of the Fairs and a few have been known to add a number of threats, loss of bonuses, and other punishments if the employee doesn’t advise them within their time limit.

    I am sure there are other permutations and combinations to these scenarios but here’s what often happens. The employee makes their re-commitment to the school when asked but does a flyer (after getting another job) when they return home in the summer. This is not the best solution but when no other option exists, it may be the most popular one. Regardless, this issue should be addressed when signing on to a new school and written down in the contract or the school’s admin.policies.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Here is what happened with our ‘pushy director.’ Contract said we had until Dec. to decide. Nonetheless, we were asked in October, albeit the understanding it was not a commitment, just for information gathering purpose. Still, those who answered “maybe” were called on carpet by Thanksgiving and told to definitely decide or not be renewed. Meanwhile, director put off his own contract renewal discussions with board while he waited to hear from other jobs for which he had applied. One of those came through for more prestige and higher pay, and naturally he took it and later left. Meanwhile, his practice of asking for answers in October has become status quo, contract notwithstanding. What can teachers do? Nothing except decide earlier, apparently.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This is what I would do….say yes I am coming back, then if something else comes along I would take it. Taking care of my family comes before everything else. I make sure to cover myself coming and going. If they can fire without notice, then I can do what I have to do to take care of myself and my family.

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        • Michelle says:

          Well, of COURSE one has to take care of self and family first…who doesn’t do this? But if part of taking care of yourself & family means you need a job, then “taking something else that comes along” means being truthful w/ your employer, doesn’t it?

          For sure, if you told the school “yes, you’re coming back” and then changed your mind, that would mean you wouldn’t get time off from school to attend a fair. Plus, if you Skyped an interview, a “new” school would confer w/ your current school, informing them that you had lied, and who would hire such a person? Would you be fired and/or blackballed for being such a liar?

          I don’t think that to “care for self and family” lying qualifies as an excuse. It would be better to be honest and make up your mind–for your reputation, your sense of fair play, and to take the higher moral road, even if your answer to whether you are coming back is “I just don’t know yet”.

          If a school lied just to get you to accept a contract, would you feel that that is fair?

          Like

          • A concerned educator says:

            Of course it isn’t fair if a school lied. Unfortunately they have a lot more power on the job market than individual teachers and they know it!

            Like

  15. Dee says:

    This is the first year I feel like we are having to give this information at the same time as last year. To be fair though, most people I know have decided if they are going to stay or go as the school year begins.

    Like

  16. Roundtrip says:

    I wouldn’t spend the money to attend another recruiting fair unless I had a list of the schools attending with their age restrictions.

    Like

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