.. It’s easy to take so much in our lives for granted: friends, family, health care, good food, clean water, shelter, employment…the list goes on. Life is good for International Educators! But, sadly, not for everyone. Five minutes peering at the evening news is quick confirmation that we are truly among the fortunate.
..This Thanksgiving season ISR encourages you to play it forward and perform one or more random acts of kindness for a stranger. Make someone smile this Thanksgiving — spread Good Will, Foster Kindness. It’s a wonderful way to give Thanks!
…As world-traveling international educators, moving on to a new location introduces us to the special features that make our host city unique, that make it a definite must-see, must-experience kind of place. Whether it’s the boisterous beer (!) festivals of Germany, the delightful art & handicrafts of Indonesia, the world-class shopping experience of the Middle East, or the gastronomical delights of India, there is a special something about where YOU live that makes you say to others “You just have to come here for the ____.”
…Sometimes what makes a country appealing can be surprising: Thailand and Mexico are known for their affordable dental care. Costa Rica is gaining a reputation for reasonably priced orthopedic surgery. Africa and Central America are a draw for people who enjoy ‘voluntourism.’ India and Nepal appeal to Yoga & meditation enthusiasts.
…We can all read travel magazines and blogs to hear the party-line about what makes a city great, but the insight of our fellow international educators can really give us the inside scoop on why a location, YOUR location, stands out as a “hidden treasure.”
..ISR would like to know: What are the five-star features that make YOUR host city worth a visit?
…Over 700 International Educators took our Survey. More than 400 report they’ve been living and teaching abroad for 7+ years. The 20+ years overseas group tops the Survey chart, making up 16% of the total responses. This is followed closely by educators falling into the 11-19 year groups.
…A logical sequel to these results is to look into what motivates so many educators to go overseas and stay there. Could it be that educators go abroad because jobs are scarce in their own countries; and when jobs do become available their years of overseas teaching are not recognized? ISR hypothesizes: Teachers go abroad for adventure and stay when they discover they have more freedom in the classroom, minimal discipline problems, and a far higher standard of living/savings than in their own countries. Do you agree?
…If you are in the 7-or-more yearsoverseas categories, we invite you to Share what motivated you to go International and what later inspired you to stay overseas.
…The majority of international educators go overseas with the idea that they’ll check out international education, spend a year or so in some exotic location and then return home. Not surprisingly, 2 years turns into 3, then 4 and before you know it, it’s 8 years and counting!
…Take our Survey to see how many years International Educators stay overseas. Clicking the “View Results” link at the bottom of the Survey will display up-to-the-minute results.
…Like me, you’re probably not used to the luxury of household &/or childcare help. Geez, last time I checked it was a minimum of $80 to have someone spend a couple hours vacuuming & cleaning my tiny apartment in the U.S. Here, in South America, I can afford help. Problem is, it’s not going so well…
…My first maid stole stuff from me, the cook had an affair with the second maid & both were asked to leave. A new cook was not dependable so the first cook returned but left soon after for personal reasons, the gardener ran off with my lawn mower, the night guard sleeps on the job, & on & on…This is my second year here & quite honestly, household help is getting to be more trouble than it’s worth!
…At times, I feel like the local bank — my driver asked for $90 to help cover his child’s school tuition & uniforms, the cook needed $30 for a doctor’s visit & medicine (What?! He’s sick?). Then there’s the double pay for various holidays. I’m usually happy to help but I’m not sure how involved I want to become in the lives of my household staff & afraid each one of them believes I’ve adopted them & their families. Still, the utter lack of compassion displayed by my host national neighbors toward their staff bothers me & I do want to be a better person. Is this part of the ABC’s of household help?
…By giving directly to people who work for me it means every cent goes into their pocket rather than giving money to a charity where there will, most likely, be some CEO taking home at least $100K. I feel good knowing they are cared for. But beyond the monetary considerations, I have to wonder: How do parents of young children & teens check out all they need to know about hiring a trustworthy nanny or a careful driver for their active children? It’s mind-boggling! Is this more of the ABC’s of household help?
…Being somewhat new to the overseas lifestyle, I could use & would appreciate any advice from other overseas educators on the topic of household help. How involved should I become in their lives? What is my responsibility to them? How do you find a responsible, loving person to care for or transport your precious children? Who do you, CAN you trust? Please, tell us about YOUR ABC’s of household help.
…We’re mere weeks into the 2017-2018 school year and some International Schools are already pressuring teachers to declare their intentions for the 2018-2019 school year: “Will you be staying or leaving next year?” Not too many years ago it was the trend for schools to wait until after the winter holidays before asking teachers to declare their intentions. Why the change?
…One obvious reason is that the big Fairs continue to move their venues closer towards the start of each school year. ISS, Search, ECIS and the lot of them seem to be in competition to hold the first Fair of the recruiting season. We note a total of 5 Fairs (one of which is a Leadership Fair) spanning October through December of 2017. Clearly, not all school will be attending these Fairs.
…Other than teacher recruitment, what would motivate International Schools to push for a stay/go commitment so early in the school year? Could it be to separate-out faculty for preferential treatment? It’s well known some schools only offer professional development opportunities or leadership positions to teachers planning on extending for at least another year. Using ‘commitment’ information for dubious purposes, veiled by claims it’s needed for recruiting purposes, is highly unethical in our opinion.
…Most teachers report that when forced into an early decision, they will choose to leave if there is the slightest doubt in their mind about returning for another year. To punish those ‘on the fence’ who would prefer to leave their options open, some schools have announced a substantial financial penalty and/or have threatened to blackball teachers who indicate they will renew their Contract but later change their plans.
Which of the following best describes your school’s stay/go commitment deadline?
…Your first days at a new school can be a window into the year ahead. From airport arrival to help transitioning into the school and community, how your school treats you right from the start speaks volumes about the experience to follow. Which of the following describes your arrival?
Scenario 1. You knew you were off to a terrific start when the Director met you at the airport, escorting you to a waiting apartment replete with fresh linens, a few staples, plus a bottle of chilled wine. City tours, sampling local cuisine and organized shopping trips are just some of the things your school did to welcome arriving teachers. You’re looking forward to meeting your students and colleagues. You had a good feeling about this school when you signed the contract!
Scenario 2. You found yourself (and your luggage) left standing at the arrival gate. You called the school and no one answered. Hours later you took an unmarked taxi to an unknown hotel, hoping beyond hope that you’d still be alive the next morning. You began to think that maybe coming here wasn’t such a wise idea. This thought was confirmed when you had to find your own apartment in a community you knew nothing about. Worse yet, no one seems to even have time to show you to your classroom! Yikes!
…Tell us about your experience / Name your school (optional) International Educators keeping each other informed is what ISR is about!
How did your expectations compare with the reality of coming to your new school?
Did the school and admin support you and your colleagues in settling into the community and school? Did you feel welcomed?
Did you ever have that funnyfeeling about working for this school and wish you’d listened to your instincts?
Are you just thrilled and pleased as punch to be embarking on a whole new international teaching adventure?
Do you agree that the first few days at a new school are very reflective of how the school will treat you later on?
(based & reprinted from an earlier ISR article)
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