Yes or No on Confidential References? Vote NOW!

March 29, 2012

Our previous Newsletter & Blog asked ISR members to tell us how they felt concerning the practice of secret confidential letters of reference. The response was extremely robust, with most participants in favor of doing away with this archaic practice. Apparently, confidential references have already become outdated and/or impermissible in many industries. Yet this requirement for secret confidential references is still alive and well in the world of recruitment agencies.

We invite YOU to participate in the attached Poll to state your opinion. Should we unite as an international educators’ force to boycott this practice? Or, should the status quo of confidential references, as currently required by all international teachers’ recruiting agencies, continue?

Following the Poll, please add your comments. If you, for example, voted YES to boycott this practice, please share with colleagues how you would accomplish this mission. And, as always, international educators, Thank You for your input!

Thanks for voting!

Click  Here to Go to  “Confidential Reference – What’s Next?”


Should Confidential References be Banned?

March 22, 2012

It’s one thing when your school director says you’re doing a lousy job and s/he can’t recommend you to another school. It’s a very different scenario when, by all accounts and compliments received, you know you were doing well and then a crummy reference is given behind your back. In reality, confidential letters of reference give school heads a life-and-death hold on teachers’ careers, and with absolutely no accountability since these letters are never seen by candidates. A teacher recently reported that his director eventually confessed to submitting a poor letter of reference only because he did not want him to leave. Translation? Your Chemistry position is hard to fill. You can’t leave!

Imagine spending thousands on a recruiting fair, only to have your efforts ruined by one poor letter of reference you didn’t even suspect existed. Dr. Spilchuk, ISR Teacher Advisor, receives numerous letters from international educators reporting that their recruiting efforts were going fantastic until the school to which they were applying received confidential letters of reference — “At that point, all communication came to a screeching halt!” How many schools had these teachers applied to before they put two-and-two together and realized someone had hijacked their careers?

School directors regularly complain about anonymous postings to ISR, yet these same people feel justified in discussing a teacher without the teacher even knowing what is said about them, let alone by whom. We would like to see the practice of confidential references stopped! Would YOU? We invite you to weigh in on this topic.

Also see: Vote Yes or No for Confidential References


Going Home to Stay

March 15, 2012

With the school year coming to a conclusion, some of us are anticipating moving home for more than just the summer recess. This transition can be both exciting and most certainly, daunting. There’s so much to consider and so many tasks to accomplish. It’s just like staring over! Fortunately, advice and comradery is not far away.

Claudia: “For me, coming home was a brand new adventure, and it’s amazing how even though family tell you how much they want you back, they have all moved on with their own busy routines that don’t include you. Even my parents! My husband and I found out about gatherings and outings we used to be included in well after the fact and we felt like outcasts. It was a weird time.”

Russ: “None of my friends really wanted to hear about my trip, or see pictures and they REALLY got tired when I kept bringing up stories and situations about how another culture solves the problem so easily. This is especially true of other teachers who don’t want to hear how great my students were, or how much easier things were.”

Edmond: “We’ve been out long enough. We have money in the bank, seen a good chunk of the world and are thinking of trying life Stateside again. It just feels like time to go home. We find we miss the football games, seasonal celebrations and the myriad of family gatherings. If we do go home and find it’s not as wonderful as we are imagining we can always go back out again. This might be easier said than done.”

ISR invites you to participate in our GOING HOME Blog to share experiences and concerns, ask questions and offer advice on this very important topic.


To Yard Sale or Not?

March 8, 2012

“Dear ISR, I’m getting ready to move overseas for the first time. I’ve got an apartment full of furniture, bicycles, kids’ toys, clothes, kitchen stuff and well, the usual things people tend to collect. I’m trying to figure out what I should do with all this stuff! Our school offers a moderate shipping allowance but not enough to ship the big pieces.

I’m definitely in a quandary at this point: If I sell everything I’ll for sure have a wad of cash. If I keep it all, I’ll have to pay storage for at least 2 years and that’s about $1800. I’d really like to know what international teachers already overseas have done with their belongs and if they later wished they had done something different. Thanks for your help with this question, any advice is appreciated.”


Still On the Fence About Teaching Internationally?

March 1, 2012

Are you considering going international & not quite sure the overseas life style is for you? You are not alone. A States-side teacher recently wrote to say: “I live in the U.S. & have a pretty great life. I have a stable teaching job that pays well with good benefits. I like the area where I currently live & am blessed with great friends. HOWEVER, I keep getting this pull in my gut towards travel & adventure. I want to see places & meet new people, explore exotic cultures, eat weird foods, be thoroughly challenged…”

f these comments resonate harmoniously in your psyche, you’re no doubt looking for some answers to help you get off that fence. Good news! Our States-side teacher posed 5 insightful questions, the answers to which are certain to help you decide which side of the fence is the right side for you. ISR invites experienced international teachers to lend a helping hand & shed some light on the following questions:

1. If you could go back in time, would you teach internationally or stay at home?
2. Are you financially better off teaching internationally?
3. Has it been easy to make friends or has it been lonely away from home?
4. What have been your favorite countries and/or schools?
5. What are the best things about teaching internationally? What are the worst?