On Retreat w/ ISR

July 12, 2018

ISR is on retreat this week in Mexico, land of sun, sand & sea, art, music, dance, history, cheap tequila &, of major significance in this climate, legendary cerveza.

Team-building is part of any retreat. ISR’s planned activities have consisted of imbibing spirits, savoring local fare, more imbibing, more savoring, & of course, shopping for souvenirs.

Once we reach full relaxed mode, we’ll endeavour a few brainstorming sessions, our goal being to make ISR the best it can be to help YOU navigate the often treacherous waters of International Teacher recruiting.

Hmm…’navigate, treacherous waters…?’ The sun, sand & sea are influencing me already! Relaxed & rejuvenated….. it’s about time to start brainstorming a plan for the upcoming recruiting season!

Enjoy YOUR summer vacation wherever your travels may take you!

Hasta Luego,

Ben @ ISR


Back Home w/the Job Search Blues

July 5, 2018


After 4 years teaching overseas I thought I’d be a ‘hot ticket’ in the pool of candidates vying for jobs in America’s public schools. I spent 2 years in Thailand, a year in South America and a year in Saudi. I’ve had experiences with students and parents from all over the world. Any school principal or district-office bureaucrat could see I’m adaptive, open-minded, well-traveled, and uniquely qualified to teach a widely diverse student body. Or, so I thought….

It never occurred to me that people in a position to hire me would view my overseas teaching as an extended volunteer experience and/or a laid back beach vacation! Part of the problem is they just don’t understand the reality of how professional and world-class international schools can be (certainly the ones I worked in) and how hard us international teachers actually work! I’m sure they, instead, picture a thatched-roof complex of dirt-floored huts with bare-footed students sitting on straw mats.

To extinguish any preconceived ideas, I talk about IB accreditation and that I taught in English, while also, contractually, having to tutor, lead student community service clubs, and teach after-school activities. I tell them about the extensive computer labs, sports programs and availability of resources, about how I dealt with inattentive and/or high-achieving students, discipline problems, and parental ‘concerns’ and support.

It may be interviewers fear I’ve been living on a different planet and won’t fit in back here in the “trenches.” Yet, I had 10 years public school experience and was tenured before leaving for international teaching. I know the score here in US schools and I’m ready to jump back in. But how?

Anyone else have a similar experience? I’d feel much better if I could hear about how other freshly returned-home international educators are overcoming this unanticipated obstacle.

Sincerely,
B

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Too Bummed Out to Go Back – Need Advice

June 14, 2018

The miserable school I work for is in a hell-hole of a “city.” The school, director, parents, students, and everything about this place disgusts me. I’m feeling abused, angry, anxious, lied to, put upon, and, worse, have been clearly cheated$. I’ve about made up my mind not to go back after summer vacation. I took everything home with me that means anything to me. I came home with four, fat suitcases.

My distrust and hatred for this place started on day two when I was given a contract to sign in the local language. The government visa office (the school’s HR people said) would not accept an English language contract as proof of employment. Stupid me! When I received my first check I found a big deduction for electricity and rent! My original, recruiting fair contract said housing and utilities would be provided. Well, guess what? The local language contract says differently and that’s the only one that has any validity here. Damn!

From grade-fixing (to appease wealthy parents) to Xeroxing textbooks and bootlegging software, it’s an unrelenting assault on my professionalism. After I gave a “D” to a high school kid who rarely showed up to class I was told it was my fault — the kid said I was boring. It’s hard to find a student who feels worth my time to teach, honestly.

I contacted my recruiter who gave me some bull about how breaking contract would destroy my chances of getting an overseas position in the future. This guy should be arrested for human trafficking!

I posted a lengthy, truthful review of this school and now I’m afraid if I do go back they’ll accuse me of writing it. I could actually find myself in jail, when any number of teachers could write a very similar report. We’ve been texting as a group and we’re all thinking of not returning. We had to buy our own tickets home and they said they will reimburse us when we get back. Yeah, right…

Anyone have an experience like this? I could use some advice at this point.

 

 

 

 


Leave No Task Behind

April 19, 2018

...If you’re returning to your current school after summer break, or moving on, a score of tasks are on the immediate horizon. As if final exams & report cards are not enough, there’s a zillion things you need to do prior to departure.

Tedious classroom inventories, equipment/materials return, preparing your room for potential maintenance crews & getting grades in on time can turn the last days of the school year into complete pandemonium. Add to this personal responsibilties such as travel plans & providing for maids, gardeners, phone/utility bills (if you’re returning after vacation) & the most organized among us can easily find themselves overwhelmed.

To complicate matters, some schools do not offer housing allowances for the summer months, prompting many returning teachers to give up their home to save money. This, of course, leaves the additional task of securely storing home/personal items until your return & then finding &/or renting new “digs.” If you have pets who are not joining you on vacation, the task can be even more daunting.

If you’re moving on to a new school, you have an especially difficult task ahead. In addition to the business of leaving your “old” school, you must arrange to ship your personal belongings, closeout cell phone/internet/utility accounts, collect deposits, sell the car/furniture, & perhaps hardest of all, say good-bye to dear friends. The big & little details of moving-on can be daunting & extremely time-consuming.

There’s far more involved in leaving a school for the summer break, or forever, than merely locking the door. Join us here to SHARE your must-do list, COMPARE experiences, ASK questions & OFFER ADVICE on how to leave no task behind.

  Ringo says: Well this time I am restricting myself to what I can carry on a plane – everything else has to go – a new way of living!

  Globetrotter1 says: We have had a similar problem with shipping to South America – an absolute nightmare – the cost of shipping was reasonable but the customs taxes (more than the cost of shipping) have forced us to have a major downsize. Most of our weight is books and clothes so we have had to take the hard decision of scanning most of our books. The remainder we will ship back to our home country and when we leave 3 weeks later for our next post we are all taking it on the plane (yes it sounds crazy but it is cheaper!). It helps to only fly with an airline which lets you take a lot on the plane!

  Allen says:  If you are returning to the same school, you may be able to store some items at the school. I was fortunate, my schools had a campus the size of a small university. If you are returning to the same apartment complex, you may be able to store items with the complex for the summer. Finally, friends who are staying for the summer or nationals that you taught with at your school could help you.

  Phil Johnson says: Having had 5 summers effectively homeless due to tenants living in my State-side home I recommend that if you can afford it, leave your house empty so it is there when you are bakc home. You do need a family member or friend to look after it though. Alternatively rent it for 6 months through the winter and get tenants to vacate afterwards, this adds to costs but at least you know where you are spending the summer.

  JMS says: Even when I am not moving on, I use the end of the school year as an opportunity to do some spring cleaning. I bag up old clothes or items I simply don’t use anymore and give them to my housekeeper or someone in need. I also come up with a summer “to do” list for my housekeeper, and give his number to the school so that they can contact him when they need to do the painting and repairs over the summer.

  Michelle says: My “old” school really helped out us departing teachers by allowing us to hold a “garage” sale–we made a party out of it and included the incoming staff by sending them photos of the bigger items (transfer of item for cash via the school), and one colleague sold their car to an incoming teacher. The parents also bought an amazing amount of our stuff plus brought music, treats, lunch and drinks galore for the all-day event. We got the word out to the neighborhood and the sale was a huge success!

Our flight, fortunately, is not until a bit more than a week after school ends and I’m glad we thought of that to give us time to unwind and finish up details of exiting the country and school/jobs. Our girls will have some play dates to fully say goodbye to their friends, too. I’ll be at home packing (while having a beer or two or…).

Another thing which is really helping is that I’ve hired trusted locals to come and help me clean our apartment, pack, sort, and dispose of unwanted items. This way they get a chance to make some extra money, while taking away some items themselves which can be sold or used in their own homes. They are also helping with languages difficulties when getting our deposits back from landlords, for example. These are people who have worked alongside us at school as aides and maintenance staff, so we’re also able to enjoy some more time with these helpers, our friends.

And finally, we were able to sell our car to a worker at our school, a good deal for him and an easy transaction for us. And, we get a ride to the airport with hugs and pleasant goodbyes!

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Survey:

June 15, 2017

With the academic year over or soon to be ending at International Schools around the globe, you no doubt have a clear idea of what the near future has in store for you. Take our quick Survey and check the real-time results to learn what’s up for your colleagues in the summer months and onward into the next school year. It’s always nice to know how YOU fit into the picture! Here’s your opportunity.

 

Go to follow-up survey results article

 

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Departing Thoughts

June 1, 2017

Whether you’re departing your International School for the very last time, or just heading home for the summer break, countless experiences have influenced how you’re feeling about saying goodbye. Some of us have had the experience of a lifetime and depart with reservations. Others of us will say we had a so-so experience but are ready to move on. Still others will say…This sucked–I’m glad to be out of this hell-hole of a school!

With summer vacation and/or completion of Contracts on the horizon, ISR asks: What are YOU thinking/feeling as you prepare to depart your school?

We’ve supplied a writing prompt to get you started. Just copy a statement (in green, below) that applies to you, paste it into the Reply Box and let ‘er rip. Keep it short or go into detail–it’s up to you.

Prompts & Examples

Prompt 1: As I make plans to leave my school for the very last time…
(sample reply – your experience may be different) I’m experiencing mixed emotions. I’ve formed some wonderful friendships with colleagues and host nationals. The kids have been a joy to teach and the parents have been supportive. I probably could have stayed longer but I just want to see what else is out there. I’m not getting any younger. I hope my next school is as special as this one. (Optional – Enter School name)

Prompt 2: As I make plans to head home for summer vacation…
(sample reply – your experience may be different) I feel relieved and ecstatic to be leaving this poor excuse of a school and putting this nightmare to rest for at least a few months. I’m seriously thinking of not returning at the end of the summer. I don’t think I can face another year of this. (Optional – Enter School name)

Now it’s YOUR turn. How do YOU rate your upcoming exit on the Depart-O-Meter?


Too Frazzled to Go Back

July 28, 2016

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..Hello ISR, I’ve noticed you post teachers’ letters from time to time and open them up for discussion. The situation I’m in is literally making me physically ill from stressing over what to do. I’m just frazzled at this point and could use some advice and support from other teachers. Maybe someone out there has been in the same situation? Here goes, I hope you post this:

..This past school year, I (a single woman in my early 30s) was teaching in the Middle East and can honestly say the place I’m in is disgusting beyond words. I do take care to cover up very well, yet I literally can’t walk 10 steps on the street without some jackass ogling me or making disgusting sounds. Men have even lewdly touched me in crowded situations. From the city to the the school, just the thought of the place sickens me.

..The final straw was when I turned to walk away from a little kiosk and glimpsed the driver of a parked taxi eyeing me with his hand down his pants — you can fill in the rest. The entire scene is repulsive and oppressive and I feel like I’m trapped inside a nightmare. The school is no gem either. I won’t go into it but it’s definitely a candidate for a seething ISR School Review.

..The point is, I hate my life at this school so much that I am seriously considering not returning after the summer. Actually, I don’t know if I can face another moment of it. When I left for the summer I took everything of any value with me. Any ideas, anyone? I really need some advice. Sincerely, Stressed to the Max

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