Canceling a Contract After Signing – Where do you stand?

January 26, 2012

Here’s the scenario: You’ve attended, at great expense, an international teaching job fair. On the last day of the recruiting fair you sign on with your 3rd-choice school. You’re not enthused about this job, but realistically know it’s definitely a world better than no job at all. As you head home you feel an odd mix of relief and reluctance–you are glad you’ve found your next international teaching position, but still would have greatly preferred schools #1 or #2. You try to think positively and make plans for the upcoming move.

Then, a few weeks pass and you’re emailed an offer from your 1st-choice school–your dream position and salary in a super desirable school and location! Yeah! But….uh, oh. Hold on a moment…..You’re confused. What should you do?

Comments from International Educators indicate there are two, distinct camps of thought on this dilemma:

Camp #1 is exemplified by this comment: “It’s a question of character. I have principles, and I respect those who do. I make choices in life based on those. You have to decide if your word is your bond.”

Camp #2 is exemplified by this comment: “Character is just an excuse people use for sticking with a bad decision. SMART people change their mind when confronted with better options. What people do in business isn’t always the same thing they would do personally.”

Which camp do YOU stand in? And, why?


“What Do YOU Want in Your Letter of Reference?”

January 19, 2012

“Dear ISR: Asking for a letter of reference seemed like a standard request. The expectation was that my principal would actually be flattered to reflect on my work at the school. So, when my request was met with, “Why don’t you write your own letter and put it in my box? I’ll rework it and get back to you,” I was disappointed that my years here had gone completely unrecognized by my boss.

Perhaps he lacks the knowledge/time/interest to compose an insightful, professional letter of reference. Or maybe I’m too sensitive. But once I got past my initial reaction, I could see I had been presented the perfect opportunity to promote myself and (hopefully) land a job in a better, more academic and exciting school. I want to make the very best of this!

Being a newbie to the international teaching circuit (this being my first position) I’d like to ask seasoned overseas educators to offer some advice on what sort of things I should include in this letter of reference.

My current school has no curriculum–it’s an ‘everyone does their own thing’ sort of school. I don’t think I want that in my letter of recommendation! Nor the fact that most of the students cannot speak enough English to follow simple instructions or commands. I want to make my contributions and time here shine, while not pointing out the obvious flaws of the school. Any advice? It would be greatly appreciated. And once again, Thanks ISR!!”


Skype Your Way to an International Teaching Position

January 12, 2012

Skype is quickly becoming a popular recruiting venue for international teaching candidates. And rightly so! Last recruiting season, schools and teachers reported successfully filling many positions relying on Skype internet interviews. Here’s what candidates and recruiters had to say last recruiting season:

“We have been using the telephone versions of Skype for some years now to interview our supply teachers. We are slowly moving to Video Skype as more teachers have access to faster internet connections and web cams.”

“I only did Skype interviews this year. Got a great job at an excellent school! Personal interviews are a crapshoot at best. What an administrator can learn about an applicant at a 25-minute job fair interview I can only guess. I will never again spend three thousand dollars to fly halfway ’round the world for a 40k a year job.”

“I got my current job via Skype and the new one for next year involved a phone interview. I just don’t see spending money to fly to a fair, pay a high premium and taking days off from my students.”

“I’ve had successful Skype interviews that I felt gave both parties a good sense of the other. I can see that many schools feel the job fairs provide a valuable source of quality teachers, but I DO question the motivation of some schools that seem to go on an endless world tour of job fairs to hire someone.”

We’re certain that this year many more schools and candidates are relying on Skype. Have you had experience with Skype interviews this recruiting season? Did you find a teaching position through Skype? What do you predict the future holds for international teachers recruiting using the Skype medium? Maybe you have questions and/or advice about using Skype for recruiting. Here’s the place to share information and ask questions.


Being Sick of Home is Hard to Cure

January 5, 2012

After the Holiday, I Don’t Want to Go Back (our previous Blog  topic) attracted insightful responses packed with sound advice. One provocative response really hit home with us at ISR. We would like to solicit your comments:

“I’m relatively new to the teaching profession (certified in ’07) and have a question for the author of last week’s Blog Topic: What great thing do you have waiting for you in the United States that would keep you here? I’d say, if you really want to meet the most miserable, dejected people on Earth, visit the teachers’ lounge in any U.S. public school! Corporatists have the man-on-the-street believing teachers are at fault for all of America’s social problems, and that they’re overpaid to boot!”

Another ISR Blogger wholeheartedly concurred:
“Brilliantly stated! Once you get out of the USA, you find a whole world of teaching and learning that is thriving and — while imperfect to varying degrees — honoring the very educational values that American culture is rejecting.”

ISR agrees — we as teachers are infinitely more free to teach and develop our craft overseas. Teaching abroad offers small class sizes, supportive parents, a violence-free environment, a high percentage of motivated students, and no political mandates such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). What’s your opinion? Would you rather be a bit homesick OR sick of home?