Waiting to Hear Back

March 27, 2014

Dear Dr. Spilchuk,

waiting40855462I’m curious as to how long it normally takes to hear back from a school after interviewing for an international teaching position? I attended the ISS fair in San Francisco and am also a member of TIE online. Most recently I had Skype conversations with schools in China, Saudi, and Kuwait. The conversations went well but it’s two weeks later and I have heard nothing.

I am wondering how long it typically takes to hear back from schools? My dream is to teach in an international school but it is very frustrating to send emails resumes, etc and then hear nothing. Thoughts, advice appreciated.
With warm regards,

Looking to work abroad

Hello ‘Looking to work abroad’,

I understand that it is very frustrating when people you have interviewed with do not let you know within a reasonable time period whether or not they want you for a position. I would tend to think that after two weeks the school has decided to hire someone else. Perhaps you could follow up with each school by sending the following email to the person who interviewed you to ascertain their position regarding employing you:
“Thank you for the opportunity to interview for a position at your school via Skype on _______.    I believe I would be a good fit for your school. However, I must make a decision to ensure international employment for next year and other opportunities have been presented to me that I must consider. Can you please confirm, in writing, whether I am still a candidate you are considering for a position next year? If I am, when might you offer me a contract?”
If the school is still ‘thinking’ of hiring you, they will respond. If they have already found a candidate, they most likely will not.
Good luck!

What 1 Thing Would You Change?

March 20, 2014

Other than tossing out your school director, tell us the 1 thing you would change about your school to effect the biggest positive improvement?  Feel comfortable in naming your school? Go chanageswitch21894989right ahead! Maybe  your school admin will read your comments and take them to heart.

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Making Lemonade at a Lemon of a School

March 13, 2014

lemonade14087900Most cultures revere teachers, especially International educators who come from far off lands to teach their children. But there are places in the world where the uneducated, wealthy class of the society see teachers as nothing more than another form of servant for their children.

The following comments from a recent ISR Review illustrate this mentality (Members can log in to read the full Review with school name):

“To be fair to the school, they do have an awful clientele. The students, from the wealthiest families in the country, are abysmally spoiled, and parents trot to school to complain about every nit-picking thing, and are bowed and scraped to by administration.

The parents have a shopping mentality about education – I bought it, paid for it, and expect all A’s. I must hear nothing of any discipline problems concerning my child, who is deserving only of special consideration, regardless of what he/she did – OR didn’t do. Multiply that by 400 kids and 800 parents and you have a nightmare!

The school is NOT a college prep school as touted, but a baby-sitting service where discipline is non-existent. Teachers are routinely blamed for poor test scores, or poor report card grades, and parents cause teachers so much trouble and grief because their lazy children won’t study, apply themselves or learn, that many teachers just hand out A’s like candy.”

Consider that many students from such schools grow up to take over the family’s multimillion dollar business, or go on to become political leaders in their own country. Who suffers? Ultimately, their country, as does their families and indirectly, or directly, other businesses and countries who must interact with these future “leaders.” In effect, ‘Country-Club style’ schools are abusing students, teachers and the world.

As long as there are entrepreneurs willing to sell an inferior educational product for which there is apparently a demand, such schools will continue to exist. For educators, who unsuspectingly find themselves in such schools, you can choose to run for the hills as many have done, or submit to the lunacy and chaos, and exist in survival mode alone.

The third option, perhaps the most noble expression of our profession, lies in the opportunity to turn a lemon of a school experience into lemonade, which can be done by focusing on saving at least one student from the distorted version of entitlement and reality that has been spoon-fed to them by both their school and parents. While it won’t be easy to shrug off everything around you in pursuit of your goal, it could be just the influence a future world leader needs. Indeed, you could influence our planet.

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Word From Teachers in Ukraine

March 6, 2014

Dr. Spilchuk (ISR On Line Teacher Consultant) normally hears from teachers living in countries that fall into conflict. The British International School Kyiv, Kiev International School & Pechersk School, among others, employ expats. Unfortunately, the situation in Ukraine appears to be escalating yet Dr. Spilchuk reports she has received no correspondences & worries for the safety of expats in the area. If you are currently in Ukraine, or have heard from friends of family teaching in the country, please visit the Ukraine Blog to share information with colleagues.

Recruiting Fair Timing for Best Results

March 6, 2014

best-time44088211Undeniably, ISS & Search Associates are the two big players in the International Teacher recruiting industry. From November 2013 through March 2014, these two agencies, combined, sponsored no less than 20 Recruiting Fairs. Interestingly, some of these venues took place on the heels of the competitor’s Fair. For example, the Search/Bangkok Fair began the day following the conclusion of the ISS/Bangkok Fair. Search/San Francisco & ISS/San Francisco followed the same protocol.

Along with piggybacking each other, Search & ISS do the same with some minor, but well-known, players in the industry. For example, the AASSA (Association of American Schools in South America) Fair took place in Atlanta on December 5-8 & was immediately followed by ISS/Atlanta on December 8-10. The Search/Toronto & Queens University/Ontario Fairs were on the exact same dates, January 24-26.

Business is business & just as McDonald’s opens a ‘restaurant’ right across the street from Jack-In-the-Box, recruiting agencies appear to follow the same business model. The question is, with recruiters so strongly competing for your dollar, how do YOU choose a Fair that’s right for YOU? If you’re new to International Teacher recruiting, you might opt to attend the event closest to you.  But isn’t this a bit like buying a Chevrolet instead of a Ford based solely on a dealership’s proximity to your home? Recruiting Fairs, like automobiles & dealerships, each have their individual characteristics & shopping around before you commit may well be the smartest option for your overseas teaching career.

ISR asks: With a multitude of Fairs to choose from, how do you pick the Fair that’s right for YOU? If you participated in a Recruiting Fair this season, what criteria did you use to select a fair to attend? Was your decision based on a list of schools slated to attend? Flying distance? Or, the reputation of the particular Fair to hire predominantly couples, or singles or newbies, experienced educators, families with kids, etc? For example, the Bangkok Fairs have a reputation for hiring experienced overseas educators while some Fairs are known for hiring mostly seasoned couples.

Tell us about YOUR experiences this recruiting season. Why did you select one Recruiting Fair over another? Did your instincts prove valid? Did you sign a contract? This information will greatly help colleagues recruiting in 2015!

Thank you!