Recruiting Trends: 2013 & Beyond

October 24, 2013

acceptposition44033302Like most everything in our lives, the internet is remodeling the way we recruit for overseas teaching positions. Skype, the online video communication web site, has already proven successful for educators striving to interview for overseas positions while avoiding the high-priced recruiting fairs, often referred to as ‘cattle calls’.

Although a viable interview option, Skype just doesn’t transmit the subtle body language, mannerisms & expressions we perceive when actually face-to-face, across the table from a school director, particularly if that school director is not being exactly honest about their school. Of course, ISR School Reviews can compensate for that.

In between the extremes of attending a recruiting fair & Skyping for a job, are the recruiting web sites that invite candidates to submit sound/video recordings to complement their professional files. So far, these venues have shown limited candidate participation. Some theorize the problem is that many teachers lack the technical savvy to record/upload their video. Others say it could it be because most overseas teachers are in areas where a high-speed connection is not available. There may be some truth to both arguments.

Recently in the U.S., the GED (high school equivalency test) switched to a 100% computer-based testing format. Organizations that prepare test takers express that abandoning a paper & pencil based testing procedure unfairly doomed those with limited computer skills, to failure. An opposing view suggests the digital version of the test simultaneously tests for the basic computer proficiency necessary to function in today’s society. Is it possible recruiting agencies may develop their web sites to a degree that would exclude teaching candidates with insufficient computer skills?

International School Services (ISS), a major player in the recruiting world, recently added on-request candidate interviews to their web site. A school interested in a specific candidate may now send an interview request along with three questions. (As an aside, we can’t help but wonder why the process does not permit candidates to send three questions back at the director?) Using a web cam, the candidate records/uploads a video. ISS has simplified the process beyond anything we’ve seen so far, requiring only a rudimentary knowledge of computers. At first glance, it looks like the system will serve best to support the initial weeding-out process.

International Schools Review was recently invited to preview a web site in which candidates & directors participated in a prescheduled, on line recruiting event. The venue was slated for a specific day/time & all participants logged in & interacted in real-time. To our knowledge the idea is under further development.

What does the future of International Teacher recruiting look like? Will candidates be completely vetted for a position on line, making showing up at the recruiting conference a formality? Will recruiting conferences become a thing of the past? Will candidates lacking in technical abilities be excluded ? What level of technical ability is reasonable to expect from teaching candidates in the future? What level of technology do you see already incorporated into the recruiting process?


When Safety Comes First

October 17, 2013

danger-2-50398103..When I lived in Guatemala City, military helicopters landed on my street one afternoon. On another day, two cops were shot dead just down the block from my house. In October, students protested for a week by firebombing buses, causing businesses to shut-down. When things got really bad, the embassy evacuated and that was my signal to leave the capital. I headed for the Caribbean coast of Guatemala, Livingston. Surprisingly, people in Livingston had no idea anything of consequence was happening in the capital.

..In Pakistan, I learned a friend who lived in Karachi never went grocery shopping without a school-supplied bodyguard. In Lahore where I lived, it was the opposite. Things were calm around the clock. At least until 9/11, and even then I felt no impending threat.

I think we’ll all agree that just because one area of a country goes off-kilter, it’s more than likely other areas will be safe and sane, at least relatively so. Were travel advisories issued for the whole of California during the Los Angeles riots?

ISR readers recently wrote:

I’m wondering about safety. Not petty crime (which you can find in any large city in one form or another), but safety as in “you have an actual chance of getting killed”. I suppose with the recent events such as those in Kenya and Nigeria it is important to evaluate this. So, off the top of your head, what are some places international teachers should probably avoid due to safety?

Keep in mind that I’m talking about “you might get killed” safety, and not “you might get mugged” safety, which happens in my hometown in the US all the time.

Is Egypt safe? What about countries like Bahrain? Bangladesh? Which countries in Middle East can be dubbed as “safe”? Which African nations are safe? What about Asia? Latin America?

..It could be possible for an entire country to be unsafe for foreigners, but I’ve yet to visit one. Before relocating to Kinshasa in the D. R. Congo, friends and family conjured up visions of Rwanda. Everyone warned me of the dangers to which I would be subjecting myself. Kinshasa turned out to be a wonderful experience, except for the school director, but that’s a different story.

..Given that entire countries or continents don’t normally drop into chaos, we invite ISR readers to take advantage of our When Safety Comes First Blog to ask questions and share information related to safety at various International School locations around the globe. Stay safe!

International Educators Keeping Each Other
Informed is what ISR is All About!


Misdirected Directors

October 10, 2013

watercooler4219380International School Directors have been known to say some of the damndest things. Many of ISR’s 6500+ School Reviews are replete with absurd, abusive, & racist expressions International School Heads have slung at their faculties. Back home, such comments would have cost them their jobs & most likely their future in education. Overseas, however, where they make the rules, it’s a different story.

Here’s a sample of the startling comments teachers report hearing from the mouths of those entrusted with guiding our international institutions of learning & the future of our careers:

The Director General was quoted as saying…I’m interested in hiring interns, Filipinos & Indians because they are cheap & will do as they are told.

The director’s response to teachers & support staff when they provided input to expand & improve the academic plan…No! Those students are far too low to receive any help.

A teacher in D.R. Congo in the process of adopting a Congolese orphan asked the director if she could enroll the boy in the school...I don’t want any poor Black kids in my school!

The Principal’s words to my friend whom he fired…I am not obliged to tell you a reason.

Even though Ms. W was fired by her previous employer (an investigation found she conspired to boost test scores), our school hired her, saying…We didn’t think it was anything significant.

Her (the director’s) proclaimed ‘vision’ for the school…Simple. It’s my way or the highway.

Any teachers who complain are overtly bullied & told…You will never teach again.

The director told us who he likes to hire...I like younger, cheaper teachers – not necessarily good teachers.

He does not visit classrooms & in regards to his faculty said…
I do not know their qualifications, nor even who they are.

Fortunately, there ARE consequences for these comments! You can avoid these Schools & Directors by reading Reviews on ISR. We recommend you play it safe this recruiting season & learn from those who have gone before you. There’s NO need to leave your career to chance.

Do you have some choice comments to add to this discussion?  Scroll Down to Post

International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed
is what ISR is All About!


How Supportive of Special Needs Students is Your School?

October 3, 2013

specialneeds14563127Just days ago, ISR received a letter from The Next Frontier Inclusion (NFI). We’re delighted to learn NFI is committed to supporting Special Needs Students in International Schools. This is the first such organization of its kind of which we are aware. A copy of the letter from Gill & Ochan Powell of NFI is posted below.

You’ll notice the letter includes a list of schools already affiliated with NFI & it looks like they’re off to a strong start. Of course, we all know there can be a huge chasm between word & deed, & for International Educators seeking positions at new schools, it may be useful to know to what extent individual schools actually do support Special Needs Students.

Reviews on ISR reveal scenarios in which Special Needs Students are tossed into the mainstream student population & potentially left to sink or swim. Without question, this approach drastically impacts everyone, students, families, teachers, admin & classmates, alike. Surprisingly, some schools consider this sink or swim “method” their full commitment to services for Special Needs Students.

Also to be considered are cultures that  keep Special Needs Students in the background & out of sight as if  they are a source of embarrassment. How Special Needs Programs would function in these societies should be of concern to International Educators, as schools may simply pay lip service to Special Needs Programs as a means to collect exorbitant fees from unsuspecting parents.

Of course, there are many schools earnestly implementing programs to meet the needs of Special Needs Students. But before considering an International school for your child or your International teaching career, everyone should be aware of the extent to which Special Needs Students are supported at that school. Is this a sink or swim school, or a supportive environment in which to grow & develop as a teacher &/or a student?

To help identify schools committed to the unique requirements of Special Needs Students, we invite ISR readers to share their knowledge about the dedication to Special Needs Programs made by schools on the Next Frontier Inclusion list, below. If you have experience with a school not on the list, please also feel free to inform colleagues on that particular school.

Together we can identify & support the schools truly helping Special Needs Students.

Letter from The Next Frontier Inclusion to
AISHnet (Academy of International School Heads), Headnet & ISR

Dear All,
We hope the school year has started well for you. From a reading of the “roll call” on AISHnet and Headnet, it would seem that international schools are flourishing, with many seeing record levels of enrollment and expansion.

The purpose of this news release is to keep you abreast of some of the developments in The Next Frontier Inclusion, Thinking Collaborative, EAF Staff Development Center and some new publications that may be of interest. Please feel free to share this newsletter and any of the attachments.

The Next Frontier Inclusion (NFI) is a non-profit organization that supports international schools in becoming more inclusive of students with special educational needs and exceptional talents. NFI membership is now over fifty international schools and growing. We are a collaborative group that meets periodically to share knowledge and experience with respect to inclusive education. Please visit our web site: Next Frontier Inclusion

The following schools have joined NFI:

American Int’l School of Dhaka
American Int’l School of Jeddah
American Int’l School of Johannesburg
American Int’l School of Rotterdam
American Int’l School of Vienna
American School of Brazzaville
American School of Chennai
American School of Dubai
American School of The Hague
American School of Yaounde
Anglo-American School Moscow
Bangalore Int’l School
Beacon Hill School, Hong Kong
Beijing City Int’l School
Berlin Brandenburg Int’l School
Bonn Int’l School
Casablanca American School
Colegio Gran Bretana
Concordia Int’l School Shanghai
Concordian Int’l School, Bangkok
Copenhagen Int’l School
Ecole Nouvelle Suisse de la Romande
Hong Kong Academy
Int’l Community School Addis Ababa
Int’l Community School, Amman
Int’l Community School, London
Int’l School of Ho Chi Minh City
Int’l School Basel
Int’l School of Bangkok
Int’l School of Beijing
Int’l School of Berne
Int’l School of Brussels
Int’l School of Dhaka
Int’l School of Havana
Int’l School of Kenya
Int’l School of Kuala Lumpur
Int’l School of Manila
Int’l School of Tanganyika
Int’l School of Zurich
Jakarta Int’l School
Kongsberg Int’l School
Metropolitan School of Panama
Nagoya Int’l School
Nanjing Int’l School
Phuket Int’l Academy Day School
Singapore American School
SJI Int’l School, Singapore
UNIS Hanoi
UNIS New York
Yokohama Int’l School

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