How Do International Educators See Their Careers?

April 26, 2012

In our latest newsletter/survey we asked International Schools Review readers if they view international education as a career they will pursue until retirement, or just a change of pace, an adventure to enjoy for a few years? We also asked how long most international teachers stay overseas and how many international schools most educators teach at during their careers? We were most curious to know the biggest reason international educators choose to go overseas, along with what keeps us there and what sends us packing?

Almost 600 educators responded! The survey affirmed our belief that the majority of international educators see themselves as career overseas teachers rather than short-term adventurers. The written comments in response to Question 4 are particularly inspiring and would motivate any teacher to become an international educator.

In light of the results of this ISR survey, it is ever more important that international educators base each career move on well-informed decisions. Teachers keeping each other informed is what International Schools Review is All About!

Please click “VOTE”  after answering each question




4) What was the biggest reason you chose to go overseas? What keeps you there or what made you decide to return home?

Please answer  below.

Happiness Revealed

April 19, 2012

Today, on my way to school, I find myself caught in grid-lock traffic. I silently curse the local drivers and their lack of driving skill. Immersed in my own little world within the confines of my car, I am utterly detached from the wonders around me: The mahout teasing his elephant onward, the smiling woman veiled in colorful layers of fabric, hundreds of buzzy motor bikes transporting an endless cast of exotic characters, the imposing mountains in the distance, the low hanging clouds with rain on the horizon…..and where am I? I am someplace else in my mind, completely preoccupied with the minutiae of concerns that await me in the classroom, lesson plans for the benefit of students who may, or may not, wish to be educated.

The international teaching experience is life changing, exhilarating, and can even be termed a peak experience. So, how is it possible to become blind to the newness and wonder of all that surrounds us in our host countries? Sights, sounds, smells and people we once marveled at can slowly fade into the background, replaced by workplace stress and commitments which eventually become our all encompassing reality. We’ve all experienced episodes of disconnect. For some it’s a fleeting experience, for others it’s semi-permanent or worse, a type of spiritual death.

Gratitude, a film by Louis Schwartzberg on TED, is guaranteed to reinstall the sense of wonder so easily lost in our busy lives, refocusing us on the reality that counts. We encourage you to take a few minutes to enjoy this film, and welcome your impressions and realizations after you’ve seen Gratitude.

What to Do With Foreign-Earned Income?

April 12, 2012

“Dear ISR, I have a question I think will be of real interest to many International Educators: I’m in my mid-30s and this is my 2nd teaching post. I’ve been overseas for 4 years. The 1st year I was busily paying off personal debts I’d accrued. Then, I started saving. I’ve saved a decent amount and was planning to use it to make a hefty house deposit on a property back home.

A couple friends who’ve taught overseas for many years own houses back home and are paying their mortgages. It seems like a good idea; but recently a new friend told me the problems they have with their homes and the associated costs. This has got me wondering, maybe investing in a property is not such a good idea?

Is the stock market a better option for me? I have a pension fund at home but with little in it for retirement – maybe I should be putting money into this? Another friend told me pension funds are not worth investing in at all and suggested a Roth IRA.

I’d love to know what international teachers are doing with their income. Many of us earn good salaries where the cost of living is far less than it is back home, enabling us to save, save, save! I’m very aware I need to prepare for my future on my own. Any advice would be well appreciated.”

Confidential References – What’s Next?

April 5, 2012

Our previous Newsletter Blogs focused on the issue of confidential letters of reference and the potential they have to destroy teachers’ careers, with no accountability for admin endorsing their own agenda. An ISR POLL  shows 77% of international educators support ending the use of confidential references. The question becomes: How can we now effect the needed change?

Various solutions grace our Blogs. One idea does allow for confidential letters but with the caveat that these letters become publicly accessible after one year. Another Blog participant advised that an administrator who hasn’t the guts nor integrity to give a teacher a copy of their reference letter shouldn’t be allowed to give it to anyone else. Thinking outside the box, a teacher reported that she asks for a non-confidential letter of reference well in advance of asking for the confidential one. She then includes the non-confidential letter with the resume to counteract any unforeseen effects of a confidential letter.

Changing the status quo of any institution always takes time. For example, when ISR first posted the International Educators’ Bill of Rights in 2008 no recruiting agency would endorse it. Today the International Educators’ Bill of Rights, with or without endorsement, has prompted many schools to raise their standards or fail to attract candidates. Members regularly write to report success with administrators who actively improve their school policies to comply with standards set by the International Educators’ Bill of Rights. In the same manner, we at ISR believe secretive confidential letters of reference can be phased out with time and effort on the part of international educators.

Towards this end, ISR encourages you to email your recruiter to demand a stop to confidential references. Most industries, or at least those operating in a transparent and politically correct world, have abandoned the practice of secrecy in references. International education, which regularly espouses the need to embrace the 21st century, has yet to follow suit.

To get you started, we’ve provided recruiting agency contact information here and a sample letter you can copy/paste, add to, alter, or use as a basis to create your own letter.


I recently participated in the International Schools Review Survey concerning confidential letters of reference. Over 77% of participants favored doing away with confidential letters of reference. You can view the Survey results and attached Blog by clicking this link: ISR POLL

I feel the practice of confidential letters reference pose a very real concern to international educators as careers have been destroyed by unethical directors with their own agendas. Such instance are outlined on the ISR blog I have referenced above.

Certainly, back-stabbing letters of reference take place in a small minority of situations, but one such victim is one-too-many. I encourage you to examine the practice of confidential references and take steps to end it.

I look forward to hearing from you and learning your opinion on this topic and what steps you can take to end the archaic practice of secretive confidential letters of reference.



Highlight & Copy the above letter. Then CLICK HERE  to select a recruiting agency you wish to send your letter to. Paste in letter, modify as desired. Click to send.