‘Mandatory Vaccination’ Schools

An ISR Member writes:

Hi all,

I’m trying to gain a bit of perspective on which International Schools are requiring vaccinations for current and/or new teachers attempting to gain employment. Also, if someone declined to be vaccinated or reveal their vaccination status, would that significantly inhibit their job prospects? What is the current situation in your school/country?

In Taiwan, unvaccinated teachers (at my school) can continue to work as long as they provide a negative test once a week, usually at the expense of the teacher.

P.S. I’m not looking to ‘release the hounds,’ so please keep it civil. We’re all worldly adults who can consider another’s perspective, right?

Thanks guys 🙂

ISR Members reply:

In Mainland China at my school, students age 12 and above, and ALL teachers, must be vaccinated – full stop.

All teachers in Pakistan must be vaccinated per government orders. They are also pushing through a mandate for students 15+, and 12+ will follow.

In Saudi you are not allowed any kind of public life at all without being vaccinated. Malls, SCHOOLS, grocery stores, etc. all require showing your government app with proof of vaccination on your phone before entry.

Vaccinations required in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia to start. I have friends at schools in all three countries and the schools require vaccination as they reopen.

My school in Beijing does not require vaccinations…yet. If they ever do, it will be because it is a government mandate. The vast majority of expat staff have been vaccinated. I’ve been told most of the hold-outs are Chinese staff.

I can imagine lots of schools will prefer teachers to be vaccinated, so not being vaccinated or refusing to disclose your status probably will impact your chances of landing a job, although there will be plenty of schools that will not ask you about it.

Note: The preceding is transplanted from the ISR Member Forum where site Members will find 72 informative entries on this timely topic. See Mandatory Vaccination . GO to Member Forum

Comments: Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Countries w/ Expected Teacher Exodus, 2022

An ISR Member Writes:

We have all heard about the potential Chinese teacher exodus due to closed borders, changing laws and many other changes. However, I’m expecting other countries will also have something similar. From my best understanding, the following may happen:

(1) Large teacher exodus from Singapore due to being stuck on a small island for 18 months. Of course – they will have no trouble getting people applying but I’m expecting a large turnover this year.

(2) Large turnovers in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. I’m actually expecting many of these schools to have no trouble getting teachers, but high quality staff with international experience will be in shorter supply.

What do your tea leaf readings tell you to expect next year?

ISR Members Respond:

You might see an exodus of experienced older teachers from the UAE. International schools have been squeezing staff dry in terms of pay, contact time, extra-curriculars, inspections, etc. Even the younger, cheaper teachers are beginning to see it’s not worth the hassle here.

“I know some people are cutting their losses (or at least willing to) and plan on leaving China + SE Asia, entirely. People coming from better schools that I’m in touch with are even talking about taking a ‘year off.’ If you have enough savings and need to get back to family after 2+ full years stuck in a dystopia, why not?

“Expect an exodus from the 3 American schools in India. All have huge drops in enrollment as multinational corporations pull families out of the country, embassies and consulates doing the same.”

In Taiwan staff can return to my school after 2 weeks quarantine plus one week self management, effectively 3 weeks. This puts people off knowing that they will be stuck here for all but summer holidays.

You can already see the exodus from Vietnam in job postings. The government cancels your visa if you leave the country. Ho Chi Minh City is just now coming out of a total, military-enforced lockdown. Most schools are telling staff if they take holiday they won’t get back in. Some have not seen family in two years. The lockdown was brutal.

Note: The preceding is transplanted from the Member Forum where ISR Members will find 36 informative entries on this interesting topic. See Countries with Expected Teacher Exodus 2020. Go to Member Forum

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Are You Cut Out to Teach Overseas?

Moving abroad to fill an International School teaching position comes with a certain degree of apprehension. Change is never stress free. Ask any seasoned, well traveled International Educator and they will tell you they still may experience a bit of disquiet as they plan for life in a new locale.

There are pros and cons associated with everything in life. International Teaching is no exception. What one educator considers a deterrent to leaving home may strike another as a strong motivator.

ISR asked a group of Educators in the United States if they had ever considered going International and what prevented them from pursing the idea? Discounting reasons like a spectacular job or school-age children they couldn’t bring themselves to uproot, here’s a short list of what Educators said keeps them home:

  1. Language barrier
  2. Homesickness
  3. Feeling like an outsider
  4. Culture shock
  5. Foreigners may not be welcome / discrimination
  6. Missing my home country food
  7. Feeling like my life back home could be fading away
  8. I’ll be far away if my aging parents need me
  9. The weather might be depressing
  10. It could be more difficult to find a partner

ISR then asked a group of International Educators to share what motivates them to teach overseas.

Their answers, in contrast, to the say-at-home group are like day is to night. Here’s the Top 10 Reasons for going International:

  1. Learning a new language
  2. Opportunity to experience new cultures
  3. Making new friends
  4. Learning to adapt to new things
  5. Opportunity to try new foods
  6. Experience different ways of doing things
  7. Grow in character / overcome challenges / learn to depend on myself
  8. Leaving my comfort zone
  9. Travel opportunities
  10. Reassess my values

Clearly, what keeps one person home motivates another to make the jump! That’s not to say you can’t belong to the first group and make a success of the adventure. More than one educator has left home with one foot firmly planted in the say-at-home group and evolved into an embedded member of the make-the-jump group. How about YOU?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Survey: Is Your School as Represented?

International Schools often times turn out to be as represented by their recruiting “team.” Other times, well … not exactly!

A problem arises when recruiters misrepresent their schools. The result can be unfortunate when a trusting new recruit soon realizes they’ve been duped. By this time, unfortunately, they’re most likely past the point of no return, unless, of course, they can afford to simply “walk away.”

Most ISR School Reviews are written by satisfied teachers who wholeheartedly recommend their schools. Not-so-positive School Reviews are written by teachers who ended up being mislead. Oftentimes such Reviews include statements like: I wish had taken the Reviews more seriously.

Excluding information from School Reviews, but taking into account interviewer’s comments, school- provided photos, videos, promotional brochures/presentations, ISR asks: To what degree does your school live up to how it was represented at recruiting time?

If your school meets your expectations based on how it was represented, Congratulations! ISR encourages you to take a few minutes and write a School Review. We all want to find the good schools. On the other hand, if the school failed to meet your expectations, a School Review will help colleagues make wise career choices.

Support your colleagues: Submit a School Review

Please scroll down to Share your personal experience

Schools w/ Super High Savings Potential

Compare teaching in the trenches of some third-tier school in a country often considered a hardship post, to spending your days on the beautiful, well equipped campus of a tier-1 school. Obviously, they share one thing in common: The job requires the same dedication to quality teaching. Something they share in stark contrast: They yield vastly different salaries. If you’re going to give it your all, why not get paid for it?

It’s been argued by convincing school Directors that salaries considered meager by US or European standards could well be fantastic in terms of the economy in which their school is located. This may be true and you probably could “live like a king” in that country on $2K US a month. But IF you have an eye on compiling substantial savings, you need to compare apples to apples and evaluate salaries in terms of what your salary and potential savings are worth back in your home country economy.

There ARE schools offering the kind of financial remuneration that allow teachers to sock away yearly savings of $80- $100K US while living a comfortable life style overseas. While obviously, a teaching couple can more easily realize the highest savings potential (banking one complete salary and the better part of the other), single teachers, too, can pull down big money at the right school.

ISR asks: Which schools currently offer savings potential upwards of $80K US yearly? If your school fits into this category, ISR invites you to Name your School and share with colleagues a little about your school’s salary, perks, etc.

Please school down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Stuck Overseas

If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve been reluctant to board the plane for China. Of course, I probably would have gone, but in a much more prepared state of mind. In my wildest dreams I could never have imagined a global pandemic suddenly keeping me and hundreds, maybe even thousands of International Educators from seeing family and friends.…for years.

In March of 2020, in reaction to COVID, China blocked entry to everyone but its own citizens. The academic year at my school ended 4 months later. My school warned teachers about the consequences of leaving the country. Some left anyway and got locked out. I’ve been in-country for just over 2 years to date.

Like so many of us in my situation, I miss family and friends. However, the cold reality is this: I have student loans, a mortgage, and other financial responsibilities. I can’t risk being unemployed, so here I am still in China, a prisoner to my finances. Virtual platforms have helped take the edge off the distance but a digital screen just can’t replace a shared experience like taking a walk or dining together.

At times I’m tempted to pack up and leave. My parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents aren’t getting any younger and heaven forbid one of them becomes gravely ill, or worse, passes. What then?

This is a predicament many International Educators are confronting, not just in China, and it may be comforting to many of us to learn how teachers in the same situation are adapting and coping in other locales. It would be much appreciated if ISR would include my comments in an upcoming ISR newsletter.

Thank you ISR for all that you do.

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Vaccines, Masks, Social Distancing & Quarantines: How Your School Stacks Up

From the ISR Member Forum:

by voyager » Tue Aug 24, 2021
…..I’m definitely scouring reviews and FB groups to see how each school managed the vaccine access and safety measures for staff because that is the main reason I left my previous gig. Being denied a vaccine during the height of the pandemic, under lockdown all evening, high infection and death rates in the community but we were also required to teach in person with 300+ people a day really soured me on things this year.

by voyager » Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:06 am
…..yes I caught COVID at work in December 2020 as we were working in person during massive surges. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one but it gives me pause and when I recruit again this year I will be asking about vaccine access and safety measures going forward. Hoping to find something good but honestly I am not sure that the international teaching scene is going to be the same anymore. Who knows!

If you’ve been on the circuit for any length of time, it comes as no surprise some schools put profits before the health and safety of students, teachers, and parents. Regrettably, in the age of COVID, this makes choosing the right school more consequence-charged than ever before.

In April of 2020, during the early days of COVID, ISR hosted a Discussion Board dedicated to revealing how schools were coping with the virus. Over 185 teachers supplied information about their schools. Many schools were caught off guard and failed miserably.

Much has changed in the last 18 months. Hopefully schools reported to be slow to react, or that did not react at all, to the crisis now have a viable system in place to keep everyone safe. However, voyager‘s Comments (above) from the ISR Member Forum tell a different story.

Please scroll down, Name YOUR school and tell colleagues about Current COVID safe measures (or lack thereof) at your school. ISR will put a backlink to this Discussion Board on the Schools Review page of each school mentioned here, ensuring everyone gets ALL the information they need to make safe, sound decisions.

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Name YOUR school. Tell us about what is currently being done to provide a safe working environment in this age of COVID:

China: International Schools in Jeopardy?

Beginning September 1, 2021, China’s State Council will put a halt to teaching foreign curriculums in private K-9 schools. Additionally, ownership or control of such schools by foreign entities will no longer be allowed.

To what extent the State Council will actually enforce these new regulations remains to be seen. If you’ve taught overseas for any length of time, you know regulations always have room for exemptions, this based on connections, money and/or clout. China is, of course, no exception.

Will some schools be 100% subject to the new regulations while others skate partially or completely free? Word on the street is International Schools with a student body made up exclusively of foreign passport holders may be exempt.

Current Visa restrictions and mandatory quarantines, along with other travel difficulties due to COVID, have already significantly deflated the lure of schools in China. Enacting curriculum-stifling and restrictive school ownership regulations could be the final nail driven into the International School ‘coffin’ by a repressive regime.

ISR hosts 1,000s of School Reviews covering 241 International Schools inside China’s borders. Few of these schools limit their student body to foreign passport holders. If YOU currently teach in China, has your school offered any guarantee you will receive a paycheck through the entire current academic year? Based on first-hand knowledge and/or communication with colleagues, what are YOUR predictions for the future of International Schools in China?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Get the MAX From Your ISR Membership

If you’re not already taking advantage of the ISR Member Forum, you’re missing out on an important feature of your ISR Membership! Here’s why:

The ISR Member Forum is Unhampered & Unrestricted

  • ASK questions about anything & everything related to International Schools &/or Administrators. Receive replies that come from colleagues with firsthand, up-to-date answers. Best of all, you can stay anonymous!
  • SEARCH through thousands of recent posts on topics that other websites prohibit. Schools are named, so are admins. The Member Forum adds another dimension to the comprehensive School Reviews section of ISR.
  • JOIN a thread already underway or initiate one of your own. Here you’ll find more information you need to make important career decisions.

Don’t miss out on Info you may later wish you knew about!

Trending Now on the ISR Member Forum:

(partial list)

Best International Schools in Germany
Shanghai or Singapore for savings
International School Manila
Where in the Middle East?
Future of International Schools in China?
More jobs now than this time last year
BCIS Phuket Thailand (Berda Claude)
What are ISS and Schrole doing differently to one another?
Best Recruiting Agencies & Covid related recruiting: Any Ideas?
Recent info on JIS
QSI Ashgabat
International School of Bucharest or British School of Bucharest?
Mumbai Schools
GEMs World Academy, Singapore
HCMC Schools
Schools in Mexico
SISB Singapore International School of Bangkok
Brussels Schools
MEF Izmir

Get the MAX From Your ISR Membership!

Visit the ISR Member FORUM

Stranded On Arrival

Picture yourself in the following scenario: After twenty-nine hours and 3 long flights you finally touch down at your destination, your “New-School.” It’s 9:30pm. You’re exhausted. An hour and a half later, after clearing customs and the long line at immigration, you’re on the sidewalk in front of the terminal waiting for someone, anyone, from your “New-School” to pick you up. You’re wrestling 3 full-sized bags and a carry-on. After 11pm, with no ride in sight, you call the only contact number you have. No answer. It’s Friday night.

Frustrated and let down, you taxi to a hotel. Monday morning, much to your relief “New-School” finally answers the phone. They’re oh, so sorry for the mix up. In broken English over a crackling connection, “Oh! We thought you are coming next weekend. You take taxi please to school?” Checking your sent mail, you confirm to yourself you did, in fact, send a copy of your itinerary weeks in advance.

NOW WHAT? Do you take the next flight out and consider the airport episode an indicator of the ineptitude to come? Or do you proceed as planned, rent an apartment and get your classroom set up for the school year? This picture would have looked a lot brighter had the school at least sent a driver to fetch you from the hotel.

The truth be known, more than just a handful of ISR School Reviews report just such situations. Educators finding themselves stranded at foreign airports in the middle of the night where few people speak English is more common than you might think. This rings especially true when dealing with tier-3 schools that merely see Western Educators as necessary props to complete the International School façade.

What’s your take on this scenario? What would you do if this were you? What advice do you have for educators who find themselves in this situation?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Pandemic Plan “B”

Earlier this year, with COVID on the downturn, educators, schools & recruiters, alike, predicted borders were on the verge of reopening with Visa processing soon to follow. Everything was looking positive! That is, until the unforeseen appearance of the Delta Variant, 10 times more contagious than COVID-19. Time for plan “B?”

Schools, despite what you may have been led to believe, really have little, if any, special insight into how the Delta Variant situation will unfold. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess what the future holds. This may explain why teachers are complaining that schools are not forthcoming with the much needed information required to make important career decisions.

At the time of this writing, 74 countries have closed their borders to all but citizens, residents & people in special circumstances. Taipei, China, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia & Malaysia are included on this list. Teachers who left closed-border countries for the summer are finding themselves locked out. Those who chose to stay in-country, instead of risking a border closure, report not seeing family or friends back home for up to 2 years.

The good news: 144 countries do have open borders. There are, however, entry restrictions such as proof of a negative COVID test, &/or proof of being fully vaccinated, &/or quarantine upon arrival.

Eight countries post no restrictions at this time. Mexico & Colombia head this list.

A Plan B Success Story

My wife and I have been waiting for months for TECO (Taipei Economic & Cultural Office) to open back up & process our Visas. We set the July 26 Level Change as our final deadline to make a decision on a plan of action.

Earlier in the year we quit jobs in Colorado & sold our home to return to the international life after a frustrating COVID year. In the meantime, while waiting on our Visas, we’ve been at my parents house & I started exploring other options.

Long story short, I was able to get hired last week at a top public school this late in the season. My wife begins interviewing next week. Talk about lucky! Not a bad Plan B.

I really, really wanted this Taiwan job to work out for so many reasons but I was tired of the uncertainty & these key factors:

1. No plan of actions were ever presented to me except: “You will be teaching remotely until the border opens up.” That meant I’d be teaching on a 12-hour time difference & not be able to get paid until I have a Taiwanese bank account open when I arrive in the country.

2. The fear of living in the US with no health insurance is real.

3. After the Visa processing begins again & we finally make it to Taiwan, we would still be subject to a two-week hotel quarantine & an extra one-week quarantine before entering a school. I understand why we would quarantine but I don’t understand why I would have to be separated from my wife & child for two weeks in separate rooms with no contact. Hard thing to explain to a two-year old! We live together & would fly together, I really don’t get it…

4. I have two cousins in Taiwan that have lived on the island for seven years. They estimate that quarantine restrictions will be in store until at least January. A mandatory quarantine at $100 a night for two weeks upon returning to Taiwan essentially traps you there for all intent & purposes. My fear is that this remains in place even longer with the Delta Variant & my family & I get trapped once we enter Taiwan.

ISR asks:

Are YOU one of the hundreds of International Educators awaiting a Visa or border opening? Do you have a plan “B?” If you have not done so already, at what point will you put your plan “B” into action? Are you willing to teach remotely from home for an unspecified period of time when what you really want is to go overseas?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Agreements: Contractual & Otherwise

It’s probably safe to say most teachers believe the majority of International Schools have every intention of honoring their contractual agreements, as well as noncontractual/verbal promises. If this was not the case, no one would leave home.

But what of schools whose Contracts turn out to be worth little more than the paper they’re written on? Legal recourse is expensive, and shady schools know few teachers have the financial resources to follow through. Additionally, many developing countries have extremely weak labor laws, giving the school the upper hand in almost all instances. Yes, teachers have successfully sued their schools, but who wants to find themselves in this unenviable position?

Sometimes, even before leaving home for a new school, subtleties in emails between you and your new Director or HR department send up a red flag signaling a possible lack of commitment to promises both contractual and verbal. Is this a glimpse into what is to come? Do you listen to your gut feelings, break Contract and conclude you fortunately dodged a bullet? Or, do you go on to fulfill your Contract and take your chances? It’s a tough decision.

A recent, real life situation facing an ISR Member:

I accepted and signed a Contract a few months ago. At the time I queried certain aspects of that Contract and received assurance that the school is flexible and accommodating where possible and does its best for the staff.

Now some changes have become evident and it seems that, precisely in the key areas I asked about, there is not so much flexibility at all. At the moment there is intransigence and this is being blamed on having already put in place certain arrangements which I had raised concerns and doubts about at recruiting time. Had my concerns been taken into account, those arrangements would not have been made and the current situation would have an easy solution.

I feel like this is a ‘Big Red Flag.’ Maybe I will feel differently in a day or two but right now I feel as though travelling across the globe to work for a company which promises one thing and delivers another, which ignores concerns raised, would be a huge mistake, particularly in Covid times when moving on or moving out might not be so easy.

If I back out now, I will feel very bad about it. On the other hand, if I get there and find this is typical behavior, I will feel bad for not having heeded warning signs before travelling and may be, or will be, stuck there.

ISR hosts a great many School Reviews written by teachers at schools that have failed to honor their Contracts and their word. From contractual agreements like housing, health insurance, travel, and shipping, to noncontractual promises like specific classroom supplies to support your program, the COVID crisis has made a very convenient scapegoat for both written and verbal promises clearly not met. Now, more than ever, it’s important to consider carefully before accepting a position at a school with ISR Reviews pointing to a history of Contract discrepancies.

The bottom line: Contractual and noncontractual agreements are only worth the integrity of the school behind them. Stay safe! Research, research, and more research is the key to a successful career in International Education.

Comments? Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Who ARE Some of These Directors?

In a perfect world, all International Schools would be created with the admirable intent to provide a top-quality education for children of expats and host-country nationals, alike. If, however, you’ve been on the circuit for any length of time, you know this is not always the case. Created with an eye on pure profit, some International Schools are not what they have been deviously crafted to look like.

Ask any veteran of a purely for-profit school to relate the experience of teaching under a school owner hellbent on extracting every last penny from the business, and you’ll understand why teachers post some extremely negative School Reviews on ISR. Education and a purely-for-profit motive do not mix.

The question is: Who directs these so-called schools? Who among us is a sell-out? To complete the façade needed to look like an International School, a greedy school owner may install in the leadership position an individual from the West with some impressive letters following his/her name, a helmsman, so to speak, who steers the ship to profitability strictly following the captain’s orders. Some teachers may prefer to refer to this person as the ‘henchman.’

Dedicated educational leaders have found themselves tricked into these positions. As such, all they can do is the best they can to protect teachers and students. On the other hand, and to their discredit, some School Directors seem to delight in rough-riding their teachers in exchange for a hefty salary. They are obviously not educators at heart. And they are certainly complicit in the charade.

ISR asks: Why are some school Directors, specifically those who’ve been identified multiple times on ISR as someone complicit in robbing teachers of integrity and students of education, exempt from the same rigorous scrutiny as teachers? How is it that some Directors, who with a litany of poor Reviews, are still able to move from school to school to school so easily? Should recruiting agencies require schools to demonstrate their Director meets certain academic standards along with a favorable work history before being allowed to recruit teachers?

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Teachers Most In Demand

Math and science teachers appear to be the most in demand teachers at Recruiting Fairs. Every school needs at least one or more, so it’s not uncommon at Recruiting Fairs to hear teachers of these disciplines sharing the news of the many interviews they have lined up. 

The good news for those of us who teach in the liberal arts is we, too, are in demand. If you didn’t already know, many countries require International Schools to hire expats who hold an actual degree in the subject they’re hired to teach.  In other words, an art teacher is required to not only hold a teaching credential but also at least a bachelor’s degree in the subject designated on their Contract. This measure is meant to protect host-country teachers who could otherwise fill the position, as in this instance, without an art degree.

An ISR member tells us that when she was in college, family and friends asked, “What in the world will you do with a music degree?” Was everyone in for a surprise! With so few teachers having majored in music, she found herself in high demand among International Schools required to hire subject-degreed teachers. Twenty years and six schools later she’s in even higher demand. She believes the trend in universities towards technical-oriented majors has created a shortage of teachers to fill liberal arts positions.

Teachers of core subjects may do well targeting large and small schools alike. For liberal arts teachers, keep in mind that larger schools offer extensive curriculums. If you’re a librarian or philosophy teacher, for example, your chances of landing a job in a small school are not as great as your technical-credentialed colleagues. In a larger school with an extensive array of classes your specialty will be in demand. Schools ARE looking for you. It’s just a matter of letting them know you’re available.

No matter what you teach, it’s all about finding the right school. There may be a higher demand for teachers of some subjects because every school must have at least one or more or them, but for the right school, we’re all in demand.

ISR invites you to Share recruiting experiences relating to the subject you teach

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A Brief History of Recruiting & the Future of COVID-Driven Virtual Fairs

Back in the day, if you wanted to quickly get your resume into the hands of a school Director in a far off land, fax was the only way to go. In 1989, faxing my 2-page resume from a school in Thailand to a school I hoped would hire me in South America cost a hefty $45 U.S in long distance phone charges. And that’s only because I got lucky and the document “transmitted” successfully on the first try over decaying old phone lines suffering from the usual heat and humidity of Thailand. Faxing could get frustrating and expensive, and very quickly!

Fortunately, that’s all changed. Whomever got the idea to use email and “Skype” to successfully land an International Teaching position is unknown, but as early as 2007 teachers were sharing news of successful virtual recruiting experiences on the ISR Forum. The trend was catching on! After all, it was virtually free (pun intended) as compared to fax and/or in-person Recruiting Fairs.

Recruiters, realizing hordes of teachers were landing jobs without them, began organizing virtual Recruiting Fairs to take the place of their high-priced, in-person venues. Their efforts, however, came years after schools and educators had been going it alone on “Skype” and other platforms. Were the agencies too late? It appeared that way.

Then came COVID. Large gatherings in close quarters were off-limits and without a doubt the global pandemic helped increase the popularity of online recruiting. As such, schools and teachers who had relied on in-person recruiting at the large agency-sponsored Fairs were now forced to rely on technology. Naturally they turned to online Fairs organized by the same agencies sponsoring the brick-and-mortar venues they had once attended.

ISR asks: Did COVID put Recruiting agencies at the right place, at the right time to make a success of their virtual recruiting platforms? Will the current popularity of virtual Recruiting Fairs fade along with COVID, or are they the trend of the future? How do you see the future of going it alone on “Skype” and other venues if brick-and-mortar venues become extinct?

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COVID Conflict: Breaking My New Contract

Last week I received confirmation my work Visa had been approved and processed. This news, from my new school in India, came with a reminder telling me the report date for new staff was set for late August, less than 2 short months away. But with daily world health news blaring negatively, I feel apprehensive to say the least. Yesterday, 46,000+ new COVID cases were reported in India, not including the thousands of cases health officials say go unreported each day.

In truth, my conscience doesn’t want to leave the school hanging, but if the new COVID case count stays the same or gets even worse, I’m planning to bail on the Contract. What else can I conceivably do? We all know that the school would not have any hesitation whatsoever letting me go at the the very, very last minute if it was faltering. Yet, still I’m feeling conflicted. Should I tell them what I’m thinking?

A sprinkling of ISR School Reviews report schools still rescinding Contracts due to the unforeseen rise of the COVID variant. If schools can break Contract at this late date due to COVID, so should teachers have the right to do the same. My feeling is, schools, along with recruiting agencies, don’t see it this way. My Contract contains a force majeure clause to cover unforeseen circumstances. However, on close examination, the wording implies only the school can exercise that right. No surprise there!

My question is: If I don’t get on the plane in August, will I be killing all subsequent chances to teach overseas? Will future potential employers and the big recruiters understand why I did not go, or will I be banned forever? Anyone else in this predicament? To quote a member of the ISR Forum: A Contract is not a suicide pact.

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How Do You Get Paid…or Not?

Getting your monthly paycheck from an International School can be as easy as 1, 2, 3, or a cliff hanger you’ve come to dread. Most schools pay like clockwork, others a bit late & still others always have one excuse followed by another for why the money is not appearing in your bank account.

Granted, unforeseen political situations, changing banking regulations & poor technological infrastructures can make transferring money into your personal bank account a difficult task for even the most well-intended schools. However, the good ones always find a way to get it done! Excuses are of little consolation for teachers with loans &/or mortgages to pay.

International Schools have a responsibility to pay on time so schools situated in politically unstable areas of the world may ensure they meet this responsibility by parking the bulk of their finances in a country with stable political/economic foundations. They then simply wire-transfer salaries from these accounts into teachers’ accounts. The only excuse for failure to pay on time is poor planning, a hidden agenda, or both. Which brings me to my next point…

As a result of Covid-19, droves of International Educators returned home for health/safety reasons & continued teaching their students remotely. With foreign-hire teaching staff now thousands of miles away from campus, there’s few repercussions for a school that sends out an email saying, “We’ll TRY to get your money to you next week,” as did a school just recently in Myanmar. If a school has a history of late paying or cheating its teachers out of money, ISR School Reviews & the ISR Member Forum are where to find out!

ISR Asks: How do YOU get paid….or Not? Wire transfer, cash, local bank account or combination of local & your back-home account? Do you get your salary on time each month? Does your school owe you money? Please scroll down, NAME YOUR SCHOOL & Share your experience with colleagues who may be considering your school for a career move.

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Beyond School Reviews

Sometimes you need unique information about a school or administrator that you’re not finding in the comprehensive School Reviews section of ISR. No worries! For just such situations, ISR offers a Member Only Forum that’s just a click away.

Ask detailed School-Review type questions & get replies from Educators in the know, join a candid conversation about the good, the bad & the ugly of a school on your radar, search through 100s of current topics of interest to International Educators, name & praise or name & shame, the ISR Member Forum is an important part of your ISR Membership.

When you need information outside the scope of the tens of thousands of School Reviews hosted on ISR, look beyond to the ISR Member Forum for information you need to make the best career decisions for YOU.

Don’t leave your career to chance.

What About Professional Development?

From educational reimbursement programs to attendance at job-specific conferences and multi-day regional events hosting 100s of educators from various schools, professional development (PD) is one of many benefits included in most every International Teaching Contract.

In case you haven’t attended a multi-day PD event, you’ll be interested to know they host well known keynote speakers, presenters, workshops, demonstrations, subject-focused group discussions and an opportunity to connect with other educators from around the region, many in your subject field. Along with the energizing effect comradery has on us all, nothing can replace these events for introducing educators to cutting edge practices and ideas that can be used immediately in the classroom.

COVID, of course, put a crimp on conferences and regional PD events, leaving many of us feeling isolated and unfulfilled in this department. In the face of COVID some schools even broke Contract and abandoned PD all together. Teachers are quoted as saying such contractual responsibilities could have been fulfilled but were abandoned altogether using COVID as an excuse. The fact remains, many of us missed the PD opportunity this past year.

ISR asks: When considering a school for your next career move, how important is a contractual promise of school-supported attendance for teachers at a multi-day, regional PD event? Is a lack of an educational reimbursement programs and/or stipends a deal breaker? Would you accept a position at a school that offered only in-school PD by a colleague? What about no PD at all?

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