Survey: How Connected to the World is Your School?

September 29, 2016

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Not too long ago technology was considered an accessory to existing communication, teaching methods and procedures. Today, thanks to a slew of advancements, technology has transitioned into the core around which curriculum and extensive learning programs are built. With this in mind, and to help you make your best-informed decision about schools you’re considering for a career move, ISR is working to integrate a technology rating into our popular International School Evaluation rubric. Look for it soon! Our thanks to the ISR member who sent us this suggestion.

If you’ve been on the International School circuit for any length of time, you’re aware that “technology” for some schools means having a barely functioning internet with a couple of “connected” computers in the faculty room. Such a school may or may not be for you. At the opposite end of the spectrum, more and more international schools have gone far beyond the bare-bones basics and employ systems that support advanced features. One such feature is Cloud Computing. With access to the Cloud, worldwide collaboration, file storage, virtualization and hundreds of applications become available to teachers and students — an entire universe becomes available. The International School of Manila, for example, has transitioned to a Cloud-based system with more than 3,000 students and faculty using/storing data in Google Apps. At Sunway International School in Malaysia, students can access education applications through the school’s Cloud network that supports more than 12,000 users. The focus in education today has shifted to how we learn and less on what we learn.

As teachers, we are expected to be proficient with technology-based approaches to education. Content delivery, learner support/assessment, collaboration with other teachers, digital strategies to work with students and the need to comply with admin-requested documentation/reporting requirements have become routine expectations. The world has significantly changed in a short span of time. If you are technology-adept, these are welcome changes; not so much if you’re technologically “impaired.”

In an effort to help each other identify the technology level of various schools around the world we invite you to scroll down and ask about specific schools and/or to tell us about the current status of technology at your school.

International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed
is what International Schools Review is all about!

Rate Your School – Then Scroll Down to Share Its Name and Status


What Should You Ask During Your Interview for an Overseas Teaching Position?

September 29, 2016

While attending an ISS conference, a “home made video” convinced me a school in the Congo was the school for me. The director showed this “amateur” video at the informational session. The photographer, a parent, had cleverly made the school and surrounding areas look like paradise in the jungle. Charged with enthusiasm, I neglected to ask some important questions at my interview. Unbeknownst to me the parent who shot the video was a professional filmmaker. I had been snookered by someone with an agenda to attract top notch teachers for their children. Welcome to the Congo. Uggh!

Personal Matters

So, what should you ask when interviewing for international teaching positions? Of course each of us has our own personal interests and priorities and ISR recommends you take time to prepare questions around these topics. Your questions might range from the availability of certain products to activities such as jogging, gyms, libraries, bookstores, movies, etc. Don’t be shy. If you ask and find your interests are not going to be fulfilled in a particular location you can at least come prepared, or decline the job offer.

Directors are looking for a “good fit”. They want teachers who will integrate well with their current staff and administration. They look for teachers who are flexible and demonstrate an ability to adapt. Let’s say you ask about the availability of bookstores and the director tells you there’s only one and with very few books in English. Instead of looking distraught, you could simply say, “That’s good to know in advance. I can set up an eBook account and read books on line”. Now you’ve killed two birds with one stone. You had your question answered and demonstrated you’re flexible and a good fit.

In 2002 my wife and I interviewed for a teaching position at a mining camp in coastal Peru. After viewing the director’s photos of the school and area we realized we would be 100 miles from nowhere and dependent on seating in the company plane to get out on weekends. During our interview, the doorbell rang and the director left the table for a few minutes. My wife, who had told the director she loves art museums and ethnic crafts, took this opportunity to whisper, “No way in hell am I going there”. When the director returned he proceeded to show us the pay package. Wow…. $50,000 each, plus benefits! He looked at my wife and said. What do you think? She replied, “I’d love to come”. We weren’t offered the positions because we were obviously not a good fit. Had fishing, hiking, mountain biking, tennis been our passion we would have been right for the location. In this case no amount of flexibility was going to make the difference.

The point is, be honest and find out what you personally need to know about a location. Finding a “good fit” is a two-way street. If both you and the director are honest the chances of success at your new location will be greatly enhanced.

Contractual and Professional Matters

Topics in these categories include: health insurance, teaching load, expectation for after school activities, housing, travel expenses, and questions such as “Do teachers generally stay for more than their first two- year contract?”

In earlier ISR articles we covered these topics and more, in detail. We suggest you pick and choose questions from the following articles that reflect your needs. If you find yourself having to ask a number of questions from the 10 Tough Questions category you may want to reconsider the idea of teaching at the school in question. Here’s the line up:

• Ask the Right Questions at Your Interview

• 20 Questions You May Want to Ask

• 10 Tough Questions You May or May Not Want to Ask

Best of success this recruiting season. As always, we recommend you do your homework and check various sources for information on schools and directors.

ISR


Choosing the Right Fair

September 22, 2016

choosing-a-fairThere’s lots to consider when it comes to choosing an International Teaching Recruiting Fair: Which schools will be attending? What positions are available? Could inclement weather prevent my arrival? Will I be able to take time off from my current job to attend? Can I afford it?

Once you’ve labored over your best plan of action you’re still not home-free. It’s actually possible that your application may be rejected. Why? Because candidates with the best chances of landing a job take priority. Let me explain:

Recruiting agencies make money when teachers get hired. In addition to the exorbitant fees you and schools pay to attend a recruiting event, schools pay an additional hefty fee for each teacher they hire. So, it stands to reason that candidates with the best chances of landing a job are ‘invited’ to recruit at the ‘prime-time’ fairs, leaving lesser-qualified candidates to recruit later in the season and at less desirable venues.

Even if you’ve done everything right and been accepted to recruit at a Fair, many candidates report that only after arriving at their Fair did they discover the positions they planned to recruit for were no longer available. It appears some schools/agencies think nothing of filling advertised positions well in advance of the Fairs. Imagine spending thousands of dollars to attend, only to discover that what you came for (in options for schools/subject/area of the world) no longer exists for you or your partner at the Fair.

Obviously, there’s some unforeseen obstacles to picking and attending the Recruiting Fair of your choice. If you’re new to International Education or an experienced overseas educator weary of the Fairs, you might consider skipping them altogether and going with one of the smaller agencies that delivers personalized service to both schools and teachers. Some candidates skip ‘outside’ assistance all together and rely on Skype or other venues to recruit directly with schools.

We invite you to scroll down and ask questions and/or share your experience with the recruiting process. How do you select a Fair? What do you look for in a recruiter? What’s your experience with being ‘invited’ to recruit at the Fair of your choice?

Directory of Recruiters & Fairs

Thanks for your input! International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is ALL about!


Your Own Wheels Overseas

September 15, 2016

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Besides getting back & forth to school, the doctor & grocery store, having your own wheels opens up a world of adventures you would otherwise miss out on if you always rely on buses & taxis. Car ownership means you get to avoid the hassle of having to hail a taxi, haggle over the price & find yourself at the mercy of a stranger at the wheel every time you go someplace.

   With the school year just underway, now’s the time to fill you in on the ins-&-outs of buying, owning & driving your own car. In this informative 2-part Article we fill you in on everything you need to know, including how to pick a quality pre-owned car & maintain it, even if you don’t speak the language or have any background in auto mechanics. So, let’s get rollin’ folks. Your adventure awaits!

Go to Complete Article

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Promises, Promises, Promises…

September 8, 2016

promises  ISR would like to hear about the correlation between what was promised to you during recruiting & the reality of what you found upon arrival at your new school.

Of course, first impressions can be deceiving & recruiting promises may seem inaccurate in relationship to our expectations. On the other hand, more than one teacher has been deceived by a slick “sales” person just trying find warm bodies to pacify school board hiring expectations.

Given that things could go up or down over the next few months we also want to compare your first impressions, for better or for worse, with how you feel after a few months at your new school. So…

Here’s the Plan:

Before you begin to add Comments to your Review, type a word known only to you at the start of this section. For example, I have chosen the word CAT.

cat

ISR will remove this “secret word” before your Review posts but we’ll keep a record of which word goes with which Review.

Then, in a few months we’ll put out an all-call for updates. At that time you would again enter “Cat” at the start of your Review & proceed to fill us in on how the experience has turned out in comparison to your first impression. We’ll match your latest Review with your first Review & post them side-by-side.

Click Here to Post Your Review
Together we can identify schools where promises actually are reality!