Duped & Ready to Walk

August 31, 2017

A couple of weeks  into every academic year I begin seeing a sprinkling of School Reviews that claim a slick school director duped the reviewer into accepting a job at their lousy school. My reaction to such comments has always been the same: stick it out, stop whining. YOU signed the contract. I couldn’t imagine that any school would be half as bad as what these teachers were describing…

Well, the tables have turned and I stand corrected. I now find that I am the victim of severe duping by a fast-talking director at a school not reviewed on ISR.

Everything here is contrary to what I saw (on the school’s website) and was told during my online interview. There’s no disciplinary support with known disruptive kids, and believe me, there’s plenty of real “prizes” at this school. There are no classroom supplies — not even pencils. The internet connection is so sketchy it might as well be shut down. There is no AC in the classrooms — it’s like a sauna in my room. Textbooks are all photo copied from one purchased edition. Software is boot-legged and glitches to a standstill constantly. To top it off, the director has proven himself to be an egocentric, buffoon who lacks any semblance to an educator.

I might be able to bite the bullet and put up with everything wrong with this place, but the crowning assault on my sanity is that the majority of students are local kids with poor, to non-existent, English skills. Try teaching high school Literature to a classroom of students who can barely muster enough English to ask to use the restroom, let alone read and discuss a story by Edgar Alan Poe. It’s like a bad joke.

The job was advertised online and not through a recruiting fair. So, if I walk out and don’t put this job on my resume, what might be the long term consequences, if any, of doing so? Also, what is the best way to bail? Should I give the school notice that I plan to leave ASAP or send them an email once I’m safely away and out of the country? I’m leaning towards the ‘wait until I’m safely away’ idea…

To those of you who have suffered the disastrous consequences of being mislead by a slick website and/or a fast-talking director, please accept my sincere apologies for having doubted you and thereafter posted such to the ISR Forum or Blog. Once I’m out of here, I’ll post a lengthy review of this place on ISR. Any advice would really comfort and reassure me at this time.


Duped big time

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Blow an Interview

December 16, 2014

Plan to attend a recruiting fair? Here’s 10 sure-fire ways to blow your interview! Have a look at this list and resolve to avoid doing ANYthing you see here.


1) Arrive late
Recruiting fairs almost always take place in high-rise hotels where elevators are not designed to handle constant heavy traffic. More than one teaching candidate has arrived late for an interview due to slow-to-arrive, over-packed elevators that stop at every. single. floor….Get an early start!

2) Show up unprepared
Failure to do your homework could be a deal-breaker. Asking questions already answered on a school’s web site or at an earlier presentation makes you look like someone who doesn’t take the initiative to get the job done. A little research will help you make the right impression.

3) Over-share
Interviewers need to see that you understand professional boundaries and discretion. Resist talking about health problems, your problems back home, an ex-boss’s propensity to frequent bars, your previous colleagues, etc. Keep conversation professional and avoid TMI!

4) Sound bitter or desperate
After a few rejections, you may be wearing a bitter attitude guaranteed to put off any interviewer. Look on the bright side, stay optimistic and imagine yourself landing this job! Do what it takes to put yourself in a positive frame of mind.

5) Fail to give specific examples
If you say you incorporate ESL training into classroom instruction, be prepared to offer a seemingly impromptu example. If you can’t give an example of what you claim you’re capable of,  you’ll come across as ‘all show and no go.’

6) Bad-mouth your previous school and/or director
No matter how bad your last international experience turned out, never talk bad about your current/previous admin.  There is plenty of information about schools and teachers’ experiences on ISR. Bad-mouthing at an interview cautions the interviewer that you may may never be happy and potentially do the same with their school.

7) Cockiness
Confidence & cockiness are two different things. You may be certain you’re the best person for the position, but a humble, yet confident attitude is what will land you the position. 

8) Don’t ask questions
School directors want to know you are interested in the details of the job an/or the culture of the country. If you don’t ask questions, you may be sending the message you’re just not that interested. Come ready with intelligent questions that show your interest in the culture of the school, the board, or some aspect of what their school and its locale is all about.

9) Interrupt
Here’s a sure-fire way to annoy the interviewer and demonstrate you’re more interested in what you have to say, rather than being an active listener and participant in the interview.

10) Have wireless devices alert you during the interview
Your ability to listen is a vital part of the recruiting interview. If your phone rings, your iPad pings, or any such indication that you’re not 100% devoted to this interview, it is one way to be seen as less than professional. Disconnect before any interviews!

Please scroll down to add additional advice/comments

The 3 Things YOU Absolutely Must Know Before Signing On

May 29, 2014

top-threeIf you were able to know just 3 things about an International school before signing a contract, what would those 3 things be, assuming, that is, you’ll be provided with absolutely truthful answers?

Michelle, an ISR staff member, said she would want to know: Does the school consistently honor its contractual obligations? Followed by, How international is the school? She elaborated, “A classroom of 30 Pakistani boys, some with dual citizenship, does not an International school make.” And third, How adept are the kids at speaking English? “Try teaching high school English Lit (think, George Orwell) to kids who can barely ask to use the bathroom in English!”

Ben’s response was completely different: His number one question, Can I see the benefits package? You know, air fares, moving, housing, insurance, that sort of stuff. Followed by, What sort of support can I expect from Admin? In other words, are teachers supported against powerful parents? And number three, Is there 100% academic integrity?

Both Ben and Michelle agree that having no more information than completely truthful answers to their 3 questions would be enough to base a decision to commit, or not commit, to an International school. Of course, both are seasoned International teachers who expect to experience some awkward situations with specifics of a new school, admin and location.

Without a doubt, singles in search of a vibrant social life will have different top priorities than couples. Seasoned International educators will have different priorities than “newbies”, while those traveling with children or non-teaching spouses will have different criteria still.

In our effort to make ISR an ever evolving tool to help our Members make informed decisions, ISR asks: If YOU could know only 3 things about a school before you signed/or refused a contract, what would those 3 things be? To help qualify your response, please precede your answer with a status update–(i.e.: I am single/married, have children, number of schools taught at, years overseas).

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Be Prepared for Tough Interview Questions

December 5, 2013

confused44040691Credentials, enthusiasm and a burning desire to teach overseas describes nearly 100% of recruiting-fair candidates. So, how do you set yourself above the bar with so many high caliber candidates competing for the same positions?

A Director’s gut feeling about how you’ll fit into and adapt to their school and geographical location certainly plays a big part in the decision-making process. For some hardship locations, a “good fit” may be more important than actual years of teaching experience and advanced degrees. But when it comes to competing for the most desirable schools, your answers to some unexpected interview questions can easily make or break the deal:

Tell me about yourself. What’s your greatest contribution to your last school? If I walked into your classroom, what would I see? How will your past or current Director describe you when I dial them up? How would your students describe you? Teach me something right now! What’s the last article or book you read on teaching? Which educational journals do you subscribe to? Tell me about a conflict you resolved.

Answering tough interview questions is something you definitely don’t want to do impromptu. Of course, if you’re thrown a curve ball you have to swing at it, but anticipating and honing your answers to possible interview questions is obviously the best way to prepare for a successful interview. You just might be Teacher of the Year material but if you can’t convince the interviewer of that, all is for naught.

The Job Search Minute is a collection of 69 one-minute videos exploring the answers to a wide variety of tough interview questions. We highly recommend this series for all teaching candidates. For questions specific to International Teaching, we invite you to Scroll Down to post and solicit responses to interview questions you could use some help with. We encourage you to also post and answer your own questions so we all can learn from each others’ knowledge.

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Are Internat’l Recruiting Fairs the Place to Get a Job?

February 21, 2013


Note: This Article & Survey published on February 21, 2013

We  asked all of you who attended a Recruiting Fair this season to take our short Poll & respond about YOUR recruiting experiences.

We’re thrilled to say over 50% of International teachers report: . YES! I got a job!

This school finally decided to have a look at me after they considered my vast international experience & what I’d save them in airfares.

I had 8 interviews, 6 offers & accepted a great offer from an A-List school. Now that I have gone through one fair, I am much more confident about the process.

Equally exciting is the result from nearly one-fifth of those polled:

NO! I didn’t attend a Recruiting Fair. I got a job ON MY OWN! How exciting! Are we sensing a trend for recruiting teachers who wish to avoid the time, money, frustration, weather difficulties & overall complications of flying thousands of miles around the world to a Recruiting Fair where hundreds of colleagues are vying for the same small pool of jobs?

I did some research & applied directly at a small school where I am enjoying myself immensely–staying for another year!

The two International jobs I have had since 2010 I received via SKYPE interviews. My resolve was to NEVER again attend a Fair.

Others report they are disillusioned with traditional Recruiting Fairs:

I spent over $5000 of my own money & neither fair gave me a good job offer. Seriously, would you wager $5000 with no guarantee of return of investment? I am kicking myself, asking why I did!

These fairs are nothing more than a chance for Search, ISS & others to make a lot of money at our expense & for the chance for school administrators to network & enjoy the perks of traveling. Let’s reduce our carbon footprint & at the same time send Search & school administrators a message.

The Recruiting Fairs are ongoing for a few more months. Be sure to add YOUR Vote to the Poll & share observations /comments with your colleagues. What do YOU have to add about your Recruiting Fair experience?

This survey is closed

Click here for our 2015 Recruiting Fair Survey

Skype Your Way to an International Teaching Position

January 12, 2012

Skype is quickly becoming a popular recruiting venue for international teaching candidates. And rightly so! Last recruiting season, schools and teachers reported successfully filling many positions relying on Skype internet interviews. Here’s what candidates and recruiters had to say last recruiting season:

“We have been using the telephone versions of Skype for some years now to interview our supply teachers. We are slowly moving to Video Skype as more teachers have access to faster internet connections and web cams.”

“I only did Skype interviews this year. Got a great job at an excellent school! Personal interviews are a crapshoot at best. What an administrator can learn about an applicant at a 25-minute job fair interview I can only guess. I will never again spend three thousand dollars to fly halfway ’round the world for a 40k a year job.”

“I got my current job via Skype and the new one for next year involved a phone interview. I just don’t see spending money to fly to a fair, pay a high premium and taking days off from my students.”

“I’ve had successful Skype interviews that I felt gave both parties a good sense of the other. I can see that many schools feel the job fairs provide a valuable source of quality teachers, but I DO question the motivation of some schools that seem to go on an endless world tour of job fairs to hire someone.”

We’re certain that this year many more schools and candidates are relying on Skype. Have you had experience with Skype interviews this recruiting season? Did you find a teaching position through Skype? What do you predict the future holds for international teachers recruiting using the Skype medium? Maybe you have questions and/or advice about using Skype for recruiting. Here’s the place to share information and ask questions.

My Strangest Interview

January 19, 2010

Interviewing for an international teaching position can have both strange and comical moments.  Although recruiting conferences can be serious business, there’s always room for the unexpected.  In My Strangest Interview, teachers relate “memorable” interview experiences.  Have something to add?

Interviewing with a school in Japan several years ago… I was single… after 45 minutes of intense questions the guy gets up to get a drink while I’m in the middle of an answer.  I finish and as he walks back he says, “Do you like Asian women?”  I have no idea what to say so I umm and ahh for a second and then say “I find them attractive.”  He practically yells out, “Then you’re gonna love Japan!”  He then tells me that although married he wished he had the opportunity to dabble.

I was interviewing for a job in the Philippines.  The interviewer came late, smelling of cigarettes. We sit down for a talk.  He asked a question and then leans in real dramatically for the answer.  He did this over and over.  Freaked me out.  I also was grabbed by some men from Saudi Arabia at a job fair.  They told me they had the perfect job for me: 5th grade Math and Science. But I teach History and English,  I said.  “You will be perfect”.  Will I like the job?  “No no, you will hate it, the kids are horrible”.  Will I be able to meet many Saudis and have a social life?  “No no, the Saudis hate foreigners.  But there are many nurses in Riyadh. They are from the Philippines. We can hook you up.”  Strangely enough, I didn’t take the job. Read the rest of this entry »