Tempted to Remove a School from YOUR Resume?

Resumes are marketing tools, not legal documents and nothing says you’re obligated to list every job you’ve ever had. YOU get to decide what to include and what to leave out. But be prepared:  Gaps in your teaching history may require an explanation. Good reasons, for example, range from taking a volunteer position to spending time back home caring for an aging parent.

3 Good Reasons to Leave a School OFF Your Resume

..1)  You suspect the school Director may say something “unflattering” and/or untrue about you to a perspective employer. This is especially valid if you left on sour terms.

..2)  The school’s poor reputation may be detrimental to your career. Such schools may be characterized as “diploma mills” that guarantee top grades/university placement to parents who can meet stiff monetary requirements for their kids’ tuition. Spend too many years at such a school (where you’re considered not much more than a servant to overindulged, rich kids) and you may have trouble finding a position at an authentically “good” school.

..3)  The teaching position was for 1-year or less, or you broke contract and left early. Short stints at International Schools can draw negative attention from prospective employers. You may have had sincere, valid reasons to leave early but employers can be quick to pass judgment.

Leaving some of your teaching history OFF your resume is a personal choice and something you’ll need to consider carefully for reasons quite obvious. ISR asks:  Did you ever take a school off your resume? How did it work out for you? What’s your advice to teachers considering dropping a school from their resume?

Please scroll down to participate in this conversation

7 thoughts on “Tempted to Remove a School from YOUR Resume?

  1. I left a school off my resume because I knew the director of that school would characterize me as a trouble maker. Any one who questioned a decision this man made was marked a trouble maker. It seems there are some unqualified leaders in these international schools who are threatened by individuals more knowledgeable on any topics. Sounds like you know who. Wish we could leave him of the resume of America.


  2. I have recently joined a school which I find very toxic and I do not wish to stay beyond my probation period. As far as my resume is concerned this period will have been spent travelling. My Head is not someone I either respect or trust, and I would not want future job hunting sabotaged by a bad reference from him (he has been personally vindictive towards me since day one so I have no doubts he would do this).


    1. I broke contract after a year in a well known international chain school. The place was toxic and I actually felt degraded every time I had to work for the organisation. I managed to secure a management role in my home country and the school were happy to use references from other employers since one slightly negative experience clearly looked like an exception vs my other references/experience. Pay here is less but reputation better and actually schools are less interested in the workings of the international sector.

      I would definitely work internationally again though. I just need time to lick my wounds and develop as a middle leader in a more grounded and professional organisation.


  3. Well obviously, you would not put a school on a resume where you stayed for less than one year. Even one year contracts look weak but schools in some hard to recruit locations do offer one year contracts – hence if you fulfill it, it goes on the resume.


  4. I am on my 5th job in China in 8 years (all 2 year stays except one 1 year stay, and currently in my 2nd year at my current school) and I am sometimes tempted to leave off the 1 year stay, but I have good references from all of them. I can honestly say that I left each on good terms with good reasons (usually because I was offered a better deal by the next school each time (not just salary, but better location, schedule, position, or benefits), and the current school was unable/unwilling to match the terms offered by the new school each time.

    One of the reasons I don’t want to take a school off of my resume is because I have many contacts on LinkedIn (including some from each school at which I worked) who may notice if I do that. And I think my resume should continue to match my LinkedIn.

    I also believe that having experience at more schools is a strength, not a weakness, and I draw from that experience on a regular basis. It is nice to know firsthand what works and what doesn’t!


    1. Thanks for sharing.

      I was wondering how your previous schools released you if your contract has not completed yet.


    2. You don’t wait until you finish a contract to start talking to recruiters and schools, or else you would miss recruiting season. You can sign a contract for the next school with a new school while still completing your contract at your present school (and then you simply don’t renew the contract). My contracts were all one year, starting in late August, and I always completed everyone of them (and even renewed for a 2nd year at 3 schools). Recruiting season in China is usually from December until April (sometimes May). Most of my schools were slow to renew contracts, so if I got a better offer in February or March, I would always tell my principal and ask what he could offer, or if he could at least match my offer. Sometimes there was an excuse about the budget when it was about money or just a mention of school policy when it was something else. A couple times I was told that “they were just not ready to worry about renewals yet” and couldn’t promise anything (not even a cost of living raise), because they were waiting for a higher level of administration (always Chinese) to decide on these matters. So of course I took the better offer. Many schools are finally learning to offer renewals earlier, but some are still slow to catch on.

      I almost didn’t renew my contract at my present school because of this but luckily my American vice-director pushed the Chinese director to renew me with a raise and a promise of the schedule I wanted, when I was about to accept another offer. Now that China has made it much harder to get documents for work visas (everything has to be notarized and certified, starting in 2017), it means more than ever for schools here to retain good teachers, especially in AP and IB math and science. And now that I moved up a few times and finally happy to stay where I am, I am hoping to avoid this charade in the future!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.