Celebrating Expat Independence

June 30, 2016

independence94505834wordpressAs an American I usually return to the States for the summer months so I can catch up with friends & family. But after a week of it I begin to question why I’m here. It soon becomes obvious the “Expat lifestyle” sets me apart from my friends, all of whom are mortgaged to the hilt, making car payments, meeting hefty health insurance premiums & basically living a nose-to-the-grindstone kind of life.

Summers back home reinforce my decision to live & teach overseas. So, although the United States is celebrating its independence this July 4th, I’m personally celebrating mine. How about you? What keeps YOU overseas? Are you celebrating like me?

Please scroll down to comment

Would YOU Hire Me?

June 9, 2016

right_for_job-87843161As teaching candidates it’s quite normal to have questions about our suitability for employment at an International School, especially when we’re focused on finding a job at a school of our choice.

Problem is, who can you ask to evaluate your chances of getting what you want? ISR has a simple solution which is to Post a Peer Evaluation Request on our newest venue: Would YOU Hire Me?

The Peer Evaluation Request (below) originally appeared on the ISR Open Forum. In hardly any time at all this has received over 3,500 views & scads of replies from International Educators offering insightful, constructive advice. It’s this level of collegiality we had originally envisioned for the ISR Forum.

If you would like advice in regards to your own personal potential to land a job at a school that tops your list, we encourage you to take advantage of our newest venue: Would YOU Hire Me?

We’ve included the following Peer Evaluation Request as a sample of what a teaching candidate may want to include in their entry. This is a real request from a real teacher. Feel free to answer this post, create your own that reflects your personal situation, or respond to any/all requests for Peer Evaluation you feel inspired to answer. As always, you can choose to remain anonymous when posting to ISR.

Peer Evaluation Request 
(from ISR Forum)

Post by Cafare52 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:53 pm

I taught for 2 years in the US before going overseas to a reasonably respected IB program but left after 2 years because of salary and cost of living. Now I am in a city that I really like on a good salary but I feel my skills are atrophying and the program is weak/non-IB and students are mostly local (of the ESL variety). It is hugely disappointing. I am not an unreasonable person whatsoever but don’t really feel like I will grow in the direction I want to at my current post. Like everyone else in our profession I think I am a superstar but unlike them I actually am one.

So next hiring cycle if I choose to leave I would have:
-2 years in States
-2 years at IB school teaching non-IB classes.
-2 years at AP school teaching non-AP classes.
-Masters Degree
-IB training but no IB teaching experience
-All 6 years of experience in Secondary Social Studies including Economics.

Is the 2, 2, and 2 year thing a red flag? What do you think here? I know I interview well and can explain things away but is that the type of thing that would prevent me from getting an interview?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Please scroll down to respond to this  request or post your own

Is Inclusion More than a Buzz Word at Your School?

June 2, 2016

specialneeds14563127In August of 2013, ISR published an Article titled, How Supportive of Special Needs Students is Your School? In this Article we included a list that names The Next Frontier Inclusion Foundation‘s 50 charter-member schools. Next Frontier Inclusion, in their own words, is a “non-profit organization that supports international schools in becoming more inclusive of students with special educational needs and exceptional talents.” Since 2013, The Next Frontier Inclusion has attracted scores more member-schools and been instrumental in helping schools world-wide in the area of inclusion.

Yesterday, new comments appeared on the Blog accompanying the above mentioned article.  The comments were written by a parent seeking advice on an inclusive placement for his 10-year old child. Included in his remarks the parent tells how the American International School Jeddah (a charter member of Next Frontier Inclusion) rejected his child’s enrollment application due to “‘mild motor’ issues that require the aid of a nanny as a safety factor in the restroom.”  We don’t know the entire story, but these comments troubled us and gave pause for thought.

Here is a copy of the parent’s comments: 

Dear Sir, I am in Jeddah. My child is 10 years old…he has mild motor difficulty that makes him need little assistance at the toilet for safety…he is mentally fine…he passed his grade 3 in Massarat school…a very good school for inclusion, very helpful and understanding…but unfortunately they haven’t boy section (for older students)…so I looked for international school…all schools with boy section rejected my child for his toilet-issue…needs a nanny for support at the toilet, only for his safety…so I looked for international mixed boys and girls to accept the attendance of a female nanny…

This school was the American International school in Jeddah…they unfortunately rejected us as well saying that he should be totally independent…how this could be said from a school with inclusion???

I wrote to you, hopefully you can help me…because we couldn’t find a decent school for my near normal child…hasn’t he the right to be in a decent place?? To study, to play, to mingle and to be accepted????

Thanks for your time…but I think the American International school in Jeddah doesn’t deserve to be in that list of schools with inclusion…”

(Name withheld)

In 2013, comments posted to this very same ISR Blog reflect a similar reality expressed in the parent’s comments posted in 2016 (above). Here’s a few examples of 2013 comments:

“I have yet to see an international school with an appropriate and acceptable Special Needs program.”

“I’ve worked at 7 international schools and none of them had the least bit of services for special needs. In fact, the school did not identify these kids to us and left us on our own to figure out who was who.”

“New director seems bent on filling seats regardless of student needs and school’s ability to provide appropriate (or any) service.”

“I worked at a school in Khao Yai, Thailand and was asked to work there as a Special Educator. It was interesting, once I started identifying students in the program as possible Sped Kids, I was told my contract would not be renewed…Oh yes this was after they got their certification first…”

With no intention of belittling the work of the The Next Frontier Inclusion Foundation or pointing a finger at American International School Jeddah, our question is: Are some International Schools simply masquerading as being “Inclusive” as a means to adding a more humanistic, caring mask to an otherwise purely profit-motivated operation? ISR School Reviews relate many incidences of International Schools flaunting the PYP, MYP, AP, IB, Best Practices, etc. as a means of attracting clients, but without completely subscribing to or meeting the requirements of the programs. Could the same be true of Inclusion?