….Educators are reporting that some schools are treating them like mere commodities this recruiting season. Some recruiting candidates have even gone so far as to refer to the recruiting process as something akin to a “cattle drive.” Based on Comments found in ISR School Reviews, there is validity in this statement.
None of us want to feel we’re being played like a pawn on a board game. To help keep you safe, here are the 5 most often reported shenanigans engaged in by less- than-transparent schools. If you’ve been on the circuit already, you’ll recognize them. If you’re new to the game, keep your eyes open!
You’ve been offered a position on a handshake
It’s been 3 weeks since a school made you a verbal commitment and you still don’t yet have a Contract and/or follow-up emails. Worse yet, your position is still advertised on the school’s website.
This can be unnerving and a situation that demands attention. Some Directors do offer positions and then continue searching for someone more qualified. We consider this highly unethical and find it more prevalent among lower-tier schools that have trouble attracting qualified candidates.
Should you find yourself in this situation, don’t be shy. Pick up the phone, call the school. Ask to speak to the Director. Better yet, you should already have the Director’s direct cell number. In any case, don’t hold back! Your career, financial well-being and future are at stake. If the Director side-steps you, sounds wishy-washy, non-committal or vague, it’s time to start looking out for number one! Be sure to post a School Review on ISR and warn colleagues about what they can expect.
You were told you’re 2nd on the list
You haven’t heard anything for a couple of weeks. You’ve emailed the Director and he/she told you, “I’m still waiting for my first choice to get back to me.” This could be true. Like schools, highly desirable teachers have been known to stall while they wait for their 1st choice to respond. Question is, are you willing to stake your future on a string of events over which you have no control? ISR recommends you don’t shut any doors. Leave this one open as you explore other avenues. The longer you wait, the less chance you’ll have of landing a position.
Director says he/she must present you to the Board for final approval
In this situation, ask yourself 3 questions: 1) Do I want to wait weeks for a final decision that may not turn out in my favor? 2) Why would the Board feel the need to monitor this Director’s staffing choices? 3) Is this just a ploy to keep me on the back-burner while the Director searches for a more qualified/prettier/younger/older/taller/shorter candidate? At this point, keep your options open.
The Contracts aren’t ready yet
School Directors have been known to attend recruiting fairs and offer positions without a prepared Contract in hand. Comments usually include something to the effect that the Board is still finalizing next year’s Contract.
ISR Asks: What kind of school Board sends their Director half-way around the world to hire staff without a finalized Contract to offer? Certainly, they knew about the trip for at east 6 months in advance. Is the Board completely dysfunctional or just crafty? Many ISR School Reviews attest to the fact that accepting an overseas teaching position without knowing what you’re committing to can prove disastrous.
Verbal promises are not in the Contract
You want to believe everything the Director is telling you, but why does the Contract lack so many of the verbal promises made to you? If you can live with what’s in the Contract, okay. If not, think twice. There’s a reason why your Contract doesn’t contain the most appealing parts of the offer.
International Schools are not bound by the rules and regulations of the West. Most International Schools are foreign entities simply recruiting for teachers from the West. One can only hope they would be held to Western standards.
The labor laws to which you and your Contract will later be held are those of the county in which the school is located, not those of the country in which your Contract is signed. Take nothing for granted! ISR can’t stress this point strongly enough. Those little ‘nothings not worth mentioning’ when you’re recruiting for a home-country job, need to be on the table and in the Contract when you’re going overseas. We’re not saying no schools can be trusted. There are loads of great schools out there. It’s the ones that aren’t you need watch for.
Along with the 5 scenarios we’ve outlined, there’s much more to be aware of when planning to leave it all behind for a foreign land. ISR strongly recommends you familiarize yourself with the International Teachers’ Bill of Rights. This comprehensive document, distilled from the input of 100s of International Educators, is the result of the very real experiences of teachers who were mistreated during the recruiting process, and thereafter. Each entry in the International Teachers’ Bill of Rights is included for a reason. It’s there to alert you to what to watch for and to keep you safe.
Don’t take chances with your career. Before you sign on the line, consult the International Teachers’ Bill of Rights. You’ll be glad you did!
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