How Pertinent are Recruiting Fairs Today? / Survey

September 24, 2015

  In 2013 ISR conducted a survey that asked teachers — “Was attending a Recruiting Fair beneficial to your career?” Of the 289 educators who took our survey, 30% reported they did not attend a Recruiting Fair & went on to secure an overseas teaching position through other channels. (See original article & comments)

survey-2013  Reviewing the 2013 results, ISR concluded a move away from Recruiting Fairs was underway. If you’ve attended a Recruiting Fair, you know they are fraught with a variety of costly expenses, frustrations & the overall complication of flying thousands of miles to recruit along with hundreds of colleagues vying for the same small pool of jobs. It certainly makes sense for educators to explore other avenues.

  Has the indicated move away from relying on Recruiting Fairs become more pronounced today? We want to find out, especially with recruiting season fast approaching.

  We invite you to take the same survey we published in 2013 (with the exception of the final question which includes the option to tell us how you plan to recruit this upcoming recruiting season). Is there a trend away from Recruiting Fairs? Let’s find out!

Take the 2015 Survey
click VOTE to enter your Answer(s)

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When Should Breaking Contract Be Consequence-Free?

September 17, 2015

breakingcontract81919928Dear Dr. Spilchuk,  I’ve had to resign my contract at an international school due to an emergency situation at home. I was only able to give them very short notice, which upsets me, too, as I’m always so responsible. I will also try to help with the transition to another teacher by providing lesson plans for 1-2 weeks after I’m gone.

The admin at my school have been threatening me with blacklisting at Search Associates. I understand that I might need to pay a Search Associates penalty fee, and I can live with that. I can also live with being blacklisted by Search Associates. However, another person in admin has been saying things like I’ll be blacklisted from ALL organizations, ALL recruiters for international schools.

I won’t be looking for another job for a while as I have to help a family member at home anyways, but I don’t want to try to find something in a year and be blacklisted everywhere. Is this a real possibility? Is my worry justified?

Worried Teacher

Dear Worried Teacher,

You are correct. You may very well find yourself blackballed at Search and other agencies, depending on how your school responds.

Best of luck to you.



ISR Asks:  Under what circumstances, if any, do you personally feel it’s acceptable for an International Teacher to break contract?

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you just can’t stand your school or location, you know it can be a depressing time in your life. But is this grounds to jump ship? It has been said, “life is what happens to us while we’re busy making plans.” In this vein, the best intended and most dedicated teacher may suddenly find themselves having to decide between family and career, as in the letter to Dr. Spilchuk  —  A real “catch 22” situation.

Certainly the majority of us would choose to return home for a family emergency; no matter what the professional consequences of our decision. Do you feel schools are justified in severely penalizing a teacher that chooses family over contractual responsibilities? If schools are truly in the business of “nurturing,” shouldn’t they extend equal support to those individuals doing the nurturing, in this case the teaching staff. Is there a double standard?

Asking for repayment of recruiting fees and other expenses associated with an international  school bringing a teacher into a country seems well within reason. But when a contract is broken under extenuating circumstance, is this reason to put a teacher out of the running for the remainder of their teaching career?

The overriding question is…..under what, if any, circumstances do you feel a teacher should be able to beak contract without sever consequences to their overseas career. And, if consequences are levied, what should those consequences be?

Where do you stand on this issue?

Colleagues Need YOUR Advice

September 10, 2015

send-a-review-iconAs International teachers, we’re ALL looking for schools that meet &/or exceed our expectations. As you know, recruiting season is on the horizon & YOUR School Review can greatly benefit colleagues in the process of researching schools for a potential upcoming career move. International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is all about!

If you had an outstanding experience at your last school, spread the word! Or, on the flip side, remember: You know you promised yourself you’d write a School Review once safely away from that previous, not-so-good International School. Now’s the time to keep that promise!

Or, have you just settled into a new school? Why not share your first impressions on the location, the administration & the school? Your colleagues will appreciate the insight!

None of us can afford to leave our careers to chance. You don’t need to be an ISR member to share your experience, and, as always, your anonymity is guaranteed! Send a School Review

Random Acts of Kindness

September 3, 2015

thankyou150px-22272245Dear ISR,
Some days I feel that the nature of this site results in a focus on the negative aspects of living overseas to the detriment of sharing the wonderful, and life altering, beautiful moments found only by truly immersing oneself in another culture. So to counteract all the tales of administrative abuse, neglect and frustration, let’s share some stories of random acts of kindness. Here are just two of the many I have experienced…

  Once, while wandering a market in Northern Italy, I was stopped by a woman gesturing frantically at the sling that I carried my sleeping newborn daughter in. My first thought was that she was going to give me a hard time for having a baby so young out in public. The cultural norm there is to over bundle children and shelter them from crowds until they are about two years old. I prepared for the ration I figured I was about to get, but instead the woman, through gestures and pointing, alerted me to the fact that my child had leaked through her diaper and the sling. She took me gently by the hand to the area behind her stall, laid down a blanket and cooed and sung to my baby while I cleaned up everyone involved. Then she handed me a warm bread roll, patted me on the shoulder with a one-mother-to-another warmth and sent me on my way. It was a small gesture but one that made me feel like a welcomed member of a community.

  Another random act of kindness occurred in Pakistan within days of my arrival. I was new to the experience of driving on the “wrong” side of the street and misjudged my proximity to a gapping chasm of a pothole. Next thing I knew the van I was driving rolled right into this hole up to the frame. There was no way I was going to drive out of the hole with the front wheels suspended in mid-air, and I was at a complete loss staring dejectedly at the lopsided vehicle with no idea who to call or what to do next. Within a few minutes, while I still pondered my next move, auto rickshaw drivers began to stop, get out of their vehicles and gather nearby. In my slightly paranoid, American mind, they gathered to mock and view the spectacle, but suddenly they all seemed to come to a consensus and moved towards the van and me. Without a word they took up positions around the van and together lifted, rocked and pushed the van out of the hole. Each was beaming ear-to-ear as they ushered me back into the vehicle and guided me safely around the mother of all potholes. They waved as I drove away. Not a word was understood between any of us and not a cent asked for. They saw a person in need and lent a helping hand.

  It is easy, when surrounded by a world that is strange, to get wrapped up in the feeling of being alone or an outsider. Some of these schools are miserable to be at, some countries hate the western world, and some places are just not our cup of tea, but you never know when you might experience a random act of kindness that makes it all seem quite okay.  I would love to hear other teachers’ stories of random act of kindness?

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