Arrest of India’s U.S. Deputy Consul Brings Repercussions for American Teachers in India

December 26, 2013

police29853509Americans teaching in India’s International schools may soon feel strong repercussions from the arrest, strip search and jailing of India’s Deputy Consul General, Devyani Khobragade, by New York police. Mrs. Khobragade has been charged with creating false documents, falsifying a visa application and mistreating her domestic servant. She claimed to be paying her Indian maid $4200 monthly when in fact she was paying her $3.31 an hour.

The Indian government claims the manner in which the arrest was carried out is inhumane and barbaric. In response, they have revoked all diplomatic privileges for American Embassy personnel and removed protective barriers protecting the U.S. embassy. The Indian government says it will now examine what the American Embassy pays its Indian help and how much domestic help is paid by U.S. government Diplomats. It was also announced that India plans to review the salaries, bank accounts and tax status of all American teachers working in International Schools throughout the country.

In response to India’s claims of mistreatment, the U.S. Attorney’s office concurs that the diplomat was “fully searched by a female Deputy Marshal — in a private setting” It was further clarified that the search is “standard practice for every defendant, rich or poor, American or not, in order to make sure that no prisoner keeps anything on his person that could harm anyone, including himself.”

The attorney’s office reports that agents arrested Mrs. Khobragade in the most discreet way possible, and unlike most defendants she was not handcuffed. The office maintains the diplomat was extended courtesies that go well beyond what others receive, such as allowing her to sit in a squad car and use her cell phone to arrange for child care for her children. They claim to have even delivered coffee to her. A New York based organization, Safe Horizon, representing the maid, has disclosed that she is in the U.S. under ‘Continued Presence’, a temporary immigration status for victims of human trafficking.

Indian diplomats seem most incensed by the strip search procedure. In retaliation, one angry diplomat has called for the revocation of visas issued to the LGBT partners of American embassy employees, followed by a jail sentence for being in contempt of Indian law.

It appears both countries have, up-to-now, followed a policy of turning a blind eye to each others’ practices. The arrest of Deputy Council Khobragade has obviously severed that unspoken agreement.

Comments? How will this incident affect recruiting?
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Home for the Holidays

December 19, 2013

airlinepassenger32913056When I first moved overseas to teach in an International School, I returned home to my family and friends every winter vacation. Homecomings were a much needed reunion. But as the years passed and 3 turned into 6, then 11, I made the homeward holiday-trek less and less, opting instead to travel or just stay put. I love and miss family and friends, but holiday visits began to leave me feeling like an outsider.

While overseas I have missed the birth of my sister’s son, my dad’s battle with cancer, my aunt’s 90th birthday bash. I was in the rain forests of Ecuador when my beloved uncle passed and didn’t get the news until weeks after the funeral. I even missed my closest friend’s wedding. Through years and miles of separation I have slowly slipped into the status of distant friend and relative.

I’ve come to realize my friends and family live in different worlds than do I, both literally and figuratively. I never considered this would be an outcome of my overseas lifestyle. My sister is a corporate climber and my good friends are now mostly focused on the material pleasures their incomes’ can buy. Stories of civil wars or meditating in an ancient Buddhist temple or climbing the pyramids in Mexico don’t register with them. Sadly, the unspoken nuances of our conversation that once united us are no longer there.

By the end of a holiday visit I am anxious to return to my overseas life and it’s a bittersweet departure. Yet this year I’m making the trip “home” again because even though my loved ones and I live in different worlds, just being together at the holidays says it all.

Happy Holidays and safe travels, Michelle @ ISR

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Director’s Despicable Recruiting Agenda

December 12, 2013

A Deceitful Director Attempts to Keep a Key Teacher From Leaving His School

“Dear ISR, Would you be willing to throw my situation out to your readers so I could get some advice directly from colleagues? I’ll bet there’s other teachers in the same predicament who could use some advice, or at least support. Here’s what’s going on:

lier47434528bigAt a recruiting fair I had several interviews and I was offered a position at a school I was really excited about. To come to the point, the school that offered me the job later reneged by email, all based on what they called a very poor reference from one of my “past” schools. To make a long story short, I had no way to know which school would say bad things about me. I’ve never had this problem in the past.

I suspected my current director was behind this. I’ve never exactly trusted the guy since he gave me a lot of grief for going to the recruiting fair in the first place. So I had a friend in my home country call my school and pose as the head of a school. He asked to speak to the director in regards to my “interview”. To my utter horror, the director painted me as a complete slacker, a non-participant and someone the parents and students would be happy to see go. Can anyone get lower than this guy?

Oddly enough, before I left to attend the recruiting fair the director gave me a contract and said, “Go to the fair and if you don’t find anything better, sign the contract and stay.” So, how bad of a teacher could I be? This guy is just a big, two-faced liar!

I cannot stand being here. The sight of this director sickens me!! I’m definitely not going to stay here and work for this jerk. Since I can’t get a job with this school on my resume, I’m thinking I’ll leave at Christmas vacation and not return. I’m not a vindictive person but in this case it will feel very good to leave them in the lurch and it will be a big lurch at that!! I do plenty around here. Once I’m gone I can focus on finding a new position at another fair and just leave this place off my resume. I feel for the kids but I need to take care of me now.

I would be very thankful for any advice on how to shake this lousy director. I’m totally just screaming inside and counting the minutes until I’m on the plane and out of here. I’ve said nothing to anyone at the school about what’s going on. They suspect nothing. Once I have a new position I’ll write a review and expose this director for who he really is. Thanks ISR for all you do. I hope you post this.”

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Be Prepared for Tough Interview Questions

December 5, 2013

confused44040691Credentials, enthusiasm and a burning desire to teach overseas describes nearly 100% of recruiting-fair candidates. So, how do you set yourself above the bar with so many high caliber candidates competing for the same positions?

A Director’s gut feeling about how you’ll fit into and adapt to their school and geographical location certainly plays a big part in the decision-making process. For some hardship locations, a “good fit” may be more important than actual years of teaching experience and advanced degrees. But when it comes to competing for the most desirable schools, your answers to some unexpected interview questions can easily make or break the deal:

Tell me about yourself. What’s your greatest contribution to your last school? If I walked into your classroom, what would I see? How will your past or current Director describe you when I dial them up? How would your students describe you? Teach me something right now! What’s the last article or book you read on teaching? Which educational journals do you subscribe to? Tell me about a conflict you resolved.

Answering tough interview questions is something you definitely don’t want to do impromptu. Of course, if you’re thrown a curve ball you have to swing at it, but anticipating and honing your answers to possible interview questions is obviously the best way to prepare for a successful interview. You just might be Teacher of the Year material but if you can’t convince the interviewer of that, all is for naught.

The Job Search Minute is a collection of 69 one-minute videos exploring the answers to a wide variety of tough interview questions. We highly recommend this series for all teaching candidates. For questions specific to International Teaching, we invite you to Scroll Down to post and solicit responses to interview questions you could use some help with. We encourage you to also post and answer your own questions so we all can learn from each others’ knowledge.

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