Thinking of YOU!

December 25, 2014

dove15779774From all of us at International Schools Review, thank you for your support! After all, it’s your participation that makes ISR an ever-expanding global community of International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed. From insightful School Reviews to informative Forum and Blog posts, it’s YOUR input that molds ISR into a relied upon, useful tool for colleagues around the world. Here’s wishing you a joyous Holiday Season and a New Year filled with Peace on Earth.

Dr. Spilchuk – A Case of Docked Pay

December 18, 2014

♦ Dear Dr. Spilchuk (ISR online teacher consultant),Dear Barbara,

I would like to discuss an incident at work.

Every term, as per usual, our Head of department does a check of our weekly planning and also, pupil’s work scrutiny, (I.e. how detailed the feedback is).

We are forewarned about the checks. It’s not really an excuse, but because we had a lot of reports to do, I wasn’t really up to date with the planning or detailed marking.

However, when asked for weekly plans (based on departmental scheme of work), I couldn’t produce them as I hadn’t done them. The pupil work had been marked. There were some feedback comments, but not for the whole sets.

I told my head of dept that I’ll get them done for the next day. I managed to produce most of them, but not the complete set for all of my classes. The HOD then asked me to give all of the weekly plans, exam analyses, etc. a few days later. Also, I was required to write detailed lesson plans for the last week.

I met the above deadline by providing all of the required paperwork, etc.

However, to my surprise, I ended up with a formal warning letter, informing me that as I didn’t have my planner available for scrutiny and pupil work was not marked in detail, in line with school policy, that 1 weeks pay has been deducted from my salary. Also, now I will be closely monitored and failure to meet the standards will lead to dismissal.

I appreciate I made a mistake. However, as they say, the punishment should fit the crime. Maybe a warning letter was sufficient. I think they might be breaking their professional code of practice.

I might speak to the Headteacher, but he / she isn’t v approachable.

I would appreciate your advice on this matter.


Docked Pay

 Dear Docked Pay,
Unfortunately, if all of the teachers were warned of the consequences of not doing their weekly planning and marking and having it available for admin to review, then you have no recourse. It is, indeed, harsh. However, my advice is to accept it and do better in the future knowing full well what might happen otherwise.|

 Hi Barbara,
Yes, I definitely plan to do the right thing. However, the above sanction is not stated in the contract and we weren’t warned about this sanction.

 Dear Docked Pay,
Then you need to discuss this with the Chairman of the Board. Keep me posted. This is an important case.
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10 Sure-Fire Ways to Blow an Interview

December 16, 2014

Plan to attend a recruiting fair? Here’s 10 sure-fire ways to blow your interview! Have a look at this list and resolve to avoid doing ANYthing you see here.


1) Arrive late
Recruiting fairs almost always take place in high-rise hotels where elevators are not designed to handle constant heavy traffic. More than one teaching candidate has arrived late for an interview due to slow-to-arrive, over-packed elevators that stop at every. single. floor….Get an early start!

2) Show up unprepared
Failure to do your homework could be a deal-breaker. Asking questions already answered on a school’s web site or at an earlier presentation makes you look like someone who doesn’t take the initiative to get the job done. A little research will help you make the right impression.

3) Over-share
Interviewers need to see that you understand professional boundaries and discretion. Resist talking about health problems, your problems back home, an ex-boss’s propensity to frequent bars, your previous colleagues, etc. Keep conversation professional and avoid TMI!

4) Sound bitter or desperate
After a few rejections, you may be wearing a bitter attitude guaranteed to put off any interviewer. Look on the bright side, stay optimistic and imagine yourself landing this job! Do what it takes to put yourself in a positive frame of mind.

5) Fail to give specific examples
If you say you incorporate ESL training into classroom instruction, be prepared to offer a seemingly impromptu example. If you can’t give an example of what you claim you’re capable of,  you’ll come across as ‘all show and no go.’

6) Bad-mouth your previous school and/or director
No matter how bad your last international experience turned out, never talk bad about your current/previous admin.  There is plenty of information about schools and teachers’ experiences on ISR. Bad-mouthing at an interview cautions the interviewer that you may may never be happy and potentially do the same with their school.

7) Cockiness
Confidence & cockiness are two different things. You may be certain you’re the best person for the position, but a humble, yet confident attitude is what will land you the position. 

8) Don’t ask questions
School directors want to know you are interested in the details of the job an/or the culture of the country. If you don’t ask questions, you may be sending the message you’re just not that interested. Come ready with intelligent questions that show your interest in the culture of the school, the board, or some aspect of what their school and its locale is all about.

9) Interrupt
Here’s a sure-fire way to annoy the interviewer and demonstrate you’re more interested in what you have to say, rather than being an active listener and participant in the interview.

10) Have wireless devices alert you during the interview
Your ability to listen is a vital part of the recruiting interview. If your phone rings, your iPad pings, or any such indication that you’re not 100% devoted to this interview, it is one way to be seen as less than professional. Disconnect before any interviews!

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Are You a Teacher or a Traveler First?

December 4, 2014

teacher55905287or-travelerNot everyone goes into teaching because they simply love children. Many of our colleagues entered the profession for the express purpose to live overseas & travel extensively. Interestingly, these individuals often discover they have an innate ability to teach & a passion for the profession. Had it not been for the lure of travel their talents may have remained undiscovered, to the detriment of International schools & students. Let’s consider these educators to be “Travelers first.”

On the other end of the spectrum are educators who, after years of grinding it out in the trenches of public schools, decide to take a chance on a different perspective & enter the world of International Education. Many have very limited, if any, travel experience. We’ll consider these individuals “Educators first.”

How do you fit into the picture? Are you a Teacher or a Traveler first? Or maybe you’re equally both? We invite you to  take our brief survey. Survey results display in real-time so be sure to check back from time-to-time.


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