Hired Without Even a Phone Call

June 21, 2018

   Hello ISR, I don’t know if this is a scam or the real deal. Days ago I received an email from a school in the UAE. The message, with attached teaching contract, informed me I had been approved for a teaching position. The email states: “There’s no need for an interview because your qualifications, as posted on a recruitment website, all check out.

   Accompanying the contract is a request for me to contact a specific UAE-based travel agent to start the Visa process. I did, and received a list of fees that must be paid so they can proceed with my relocating. I called the HR department (from the school’s website) and was told that this is the new procedure. They promised to refund all fees paid and said they’ve previously wasted a lot of money on processing work Visas, only to have the person not arrive. I have never before taken a position without an interview. What’s up with this? Do I believe their promises?

ISR Note: We searched the actual name of the school on Google and utilized their ‘Contact Us’ form in an effort to verify they are sending out Confirmation of Employment letters based solely on a candidate’s online resume. They have not responded to our request. 

We are unable to know: Is this a legitimate school or nothing more than a website designed to extract money from unuspecting candidates? As such, we have withheld the school name. We have, however,  posted the following correspondence received by the candidate, along with the country of location. If you are receiving such correspondences, proceed with caution!

Please scroll down to Comment


eMails from school to Candidate:

Name: (Candidate's name withheld)
Xyz School - U.A.E
Jun 3, 2018
Re: School Employment Contract

Dear ——

I am directed to inform you that the Board of Governors of the school have accepted and offered you an opportunity to work at Xyz School.

This is an Affirmation that your experience and qualifications were found successful and satisfactory to secure you the position. You require no telephone interview or further face-to-face interview.

Please find attached your Employment contract soft copy for your perusal and acceptance. Upon review and acceptance of this Contract Agreement Package, sign on the last page and send us the scanned copy of the Acceptance (last) Page.

As a new staff, you shall attend an orientation training Program for 7 days on arrival for work sign-on.

The orientation training program will avail you an opportunty to read and acquint [sic] with the school’s Mission Statement and Values, the staff handbook and your job description.

For the acquisition of your UAE Work/Residence Permit Papers to enable you to live and work in U.A.E., send the signed Copy of the Acceptance page to the Travel Agency by email. Also update us with the process between you and the Travel Agency in case of advice where necessary.

Ensure you provide them all required documents and fees promptly for the fastest process of securing the work permit papers.

Any Expenses you make in the process of registering your documents shall be refunded back to you immediately you [sic] submit your expenses report to us via email.

Be informed that once the process is completed your hard copies will be delivered to you through your postal address. Meanwhile, should you require more information, please feel free to contact us immediately.

Congratulations once more on your successful emergence!

Best Regards,

HR MANAGER


Mon, Jun 4

Dear —–

Please note that it remains our Official Policy that all Employees will incur the expenses for their Residence/Work Permits processing, as a proof of their seriousness and commitment to join our working team. The Company had to come up with this policy now, because, in the past, we have processed the Papers of Employees, who failed to turn up for work proper.

Also remember that any expense you make for the processing of your UAE Residence/Work Permit Papers shall be refunded back to you immediately you [sic] submit your expenses report/receipt to us via Email.

Meanwhile, I remind you that adequate arrangements has been made by us for your flight tickets, reimbursements and relocation allowances/benefits as soon as you complete the Processing of your Papers through the Travel Agency. 

Be guided accordingly, and do the needful!

Thanks 

 


Please scroll down to Comment


Job doesn’t exist? Send me home!

May 17, 2018

s…Emergency staffing can be a fact of life for International Schools. It happens all the time. For example, a 5th Grade class that unexpectedly fills to over-capacity will dictate the addition of another 5th Grade teacher. Should not enough kids show up to fill a 2nd Grade class, the teacher recruited for that class may find themselves reassigned to the new 5th Grade. Whether or not they are qualified or willing to take the class is not up for debate.

Job reassignments as the result of unpredictable changes in staffing needs are unfortunate, yet understandable, since last-minute enrollments do happen. However, schools that knowingly employ bait & switch tactics to lure unsuspecting educators are unethical & to be avoided. More than a handful of teachers have related just such instances on ISR School Reviews.

Case in point:
(from the ISR Open Forum)

…”I was hired by a school in May via Skype for an administrative role. Upon arrival to the school I’ve been told this position does not exist, but I can teach Grade 2 instead. I don’t have credentials to teach Grade 2. I tried to negotiate to receive a professional allowance stipend for formal instruction/coursework on how to teach Grade 2 & they refused. They’re also refusing to reimburse me for the flights to get here, for the money I paid to obtain my visa, for nights spent in a hotel (the apartment they assigned me was inhospitable) & for a return flight back to my home country.

I’m on a tourist visa. The contract that I signed (which is not being honored) details OSH package benefits that they are now denying me. Example:  Contract says that the school will put me up in a hotel while housing is secured, but they went ahead & finalized housing that was inhospitable, without ever consulting with me & now don’t want to pay for a hotel..I did my part. I showed up to perform the role I signed a contract for. The job doesn’t exist. If I’m not needed, so be it, but then I should be sent back on the next flight out.

I cannot legally stay here & while there might be ESOL work here, I’m at a different point in my career. I seriously need some good advice!

ISR Recommends:

Most schools are well-intended & would never employ bait & switch tactics as a means to sign educators. If you do suspect something is “up,” or have reason (based on an ISR School Review) to be suspicious, you may want to take steps insure your safety. Adding a few lines to your Contract (before you/school sign) should do it. Here’s an example of what to add:

“If the position I am being hired to teach is no longer available upon my arrival, I reserve the right to accept reassignment or consider this contract null & void, at which time I will receive full compensation for all out-of-pocket expenses & a return flight to my home of record at the school’s expense.”

Not many schools would agree to this clause because staffing needs can & do change overnight. But you can learn a lot by watching & listening carefully to an interviewer’s reaction to the suggested clause. People with hidden agendas will respond differently than those who just want to leave an option open in case of emergency staffing needs. Use your best judgement & intuition to stay safe.

When in doubt, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH & learn from those who have gone before you.

Comments? Do YOU have something to add? Please scroll down to participate.

 

 

 


Getting Started in International Education

April 26, 2018

...So, you’re ready to make the break and begin your overseas teaching career. Question is….How do you get started?

ISR recommends you start by taking advantage of our Open Forum. Thousands of first-time, and experienced, International Educators rely on the ISR Open Forum for advice and opinions. With a huge group of participating members, Forum posts usually receive multiple replies. The ISR Open Forum is a FREE site feature.

In addition to the ISR Open Forum, our ISR Discussion Boards hold a wealth of information on any and all topics related to International Education. To get you started in the right direction we assembled a compendium of ISR Discussion Board Articles we think you’ll find helpful as you begin your foray into International Education.

Index to Article for Newbies: 


ISR Private Messaging for Questions You Shouldn’t Ask at an Interview

February 15, 2018

private messaging iconYou’ve read the school Reviews. You’ve done your homework. Things look good…except for one lingering, personal concern about the school on your radar.

You could ask the school director at the conclusion of your interview, but questions of a very personal nature might taint a director’s otherwise positive opinion of you. Likewise, it’s probably not wise to confide in the school-appointed teacher who’s been selected to field candidates’ questions by email. After all, he/she was chosen for a ‘reason.’

When you don’t want to reveal more about yourself than you should, ISR’s Private Messaging Feature is the perfect alternativeHere’s a chance to connect with teachers who may have the answers, while maintaining complete anonymity.

Here’s How it Works: Log in as usual to the Member Area. Proceed to the Member Forum. Create an anonymous user name “on the fly” and introduce your topic. As other teachers join in you’ll see the option to Private message each individual. Click the PM icon and send a private message. That’s all there is to starting a secure, behind-the-scene conversation that only the two of you can see, all while remaining anonymous.

The ISR Member Forum with PM hosts thousands of topics covering any and all aspects of International Teaching. LGBTQ concerns, personal medical/medication needs, dating, being of color, and, of course, candid discussions about specific schools are just some of the topicas already in progress. You may be able to jump straight into Private Messaging with individuals already sharing information on topics of interest to you. GO to the ISR Member Forum

———

Note: ISR hosts two distinctly different Forums:

1.) The Open Forum:  The Open Forum is located in the non-member area of ISR. It does not support Private Messaging, posting on certain topics or sharing school Review information.

2.) The Member Forum with PM:  The Member Forum with Private Messaging is located within the Member area of ISR. It was specifically created so teachers could ask and share information on any and all topics in a secure environment. GO to the ISR Member Forum

Don’t Leave Your Career to Chance. International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is All About!

GO to the ISR Member Forum

 

 

 


Recruiting-Fair ‘Speed-Dating’ Disasters: How to Avoid Them!

February 8, 2018

With just a precious few minutes to sell yourself to a school Director seated across a table, you take a seat, assume your most welcoming body language and introduce yourself. You’ve stood in line forty-five minutes for this chance to arrange a formal interview and you intend to make the most of it!

“What the !!*#?,” you say with a grimace as you learn the position you’ve been invited to recruit for is gone, awarded to another teacher even before the Fair began! With $2500 in travel, hotel and registration expenses, the only solace the Director has to offer is, “Sorry.” Apparently, you now realize, previous correspondences between you, the school AND your invitation to interview are meaningless…

No wonder teachers often refer to recruiting Fairs as ‘cattle calls.’ At a bare minimum this school should have propped up a white-board displaying closed and open positions. To add insult to injury, you’ve just wasted the better part of an hour that could have been spent approaching the recruiting tables of other schools.

Recruiting-fair ‘speed-dating’ has its disadvantageous, but YOU can avoid this and other disasters by taking steps to look out for #1. Here’s a few ideas that will help keep you safe:

1. Leave absolutely NOthing to chance! Arrive a day early and put notes in the boxes of each school that has invited you to sign up for an interview. Ask them to verify the position you are seeking is still open. You may even get them to give you an interview time without waiting in line. A simple “yes” or “no” with a time written across your note and dropped in your mailbox will do. If they can’t bother to do that, you don’t want to work for them, anyway. Right?

2. With or without an invitation to interview, don’t waste time in lines without their job openings displayed. While you’re killing time in lines that may lead nowhere, other schools are filling up their ‘dance cards’ without you even getting a chance to introduce yourself.

ISR Member suggestion: You might consider a small sign of your own — an 8” x 12” (or smaller) cardboard sign will do. Once in line, wave it around and look for a confirmation that your position is still open. If nothing else, you’ll get points for ingenuity and not waste precious time in dead-end lines.

3. Share your recruiting experience with other teachers and learn from their experiences. How a school conducts its recruiting procedures is usually an indication of what it will be like on the job. This sort of information is openly included in ISR School Reviews. You don’t need to have worked at a school to share what it’s like to recruit with them. International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is All About!

 Share a School-Specific Recruiting Experience

(ISR Note: Our School Review submission form contains a numerical Rubric for teachers who have worked at a particular school.
To submit a Review of your recruiting experience, please rate all Rubric questions as a ‘1’ and describe your recruiting experience in the “Comments” section. We’ll remove your numerical entries before your recruiting Review goes live.)

Comments? Something to add? Please scroll down.


Jewish Educators in the Middle East

February 1, 2018

Long before the turmoil we’re witnessing today in the Middle East, I was offered a teaching position at the International School of Aleppo, Syria. As a history buff, I was totally on-board by the prospect of exploring the vibrant cultures and history of the region. But….What would life be like for a Jewish teacher living in Syria?

The recruiter was upfront with answers to my questions: I would be exposed to anti-Semitic remarks from students who use the term “Jew,” accompanied by derogatory expletives. I should keep my Jewish heritage secret. If I decided to travel to Israel, my stamped passports could bar me from re-entering Syria. Common sense and prudence said loud and clear: Don’t go!

Today, in my position (as Moderator of the ISR Forum), I was intrigued by this recent thread:

Anyone have experience with being Jewish in the ME?

Postby ap410 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:07 pm
I’m considering applying for positions at a few schools in the ME (Bahrain, UAE, and possibly Oman), but I’m concerned that since my children and I are Jewish, we could run into trouble, hostilities, etc. We’re not super religious, but my kids have a habit of singing the Dreidel song in December, and I don’t want them to feel like they have to hide their religion. Does anyone have experience with this in the ME? Thanks!

.My first reaction was, ‘Are you kidding!?’ My opportunity was pre-9/11. What could it be like today for a Jew teaching in the Middle East? International Schools do tend to promote diversity, tolerance, inclusion, equality and a host of Mission Statement ideals. But … as we all know, life can be quite different outside that supposed safe haven.

Here’s some positive and negative Forum Comments that illustrate the dilemma…

by reisgio » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:12 pm  For goodness sake, don’t take your innocent Jewish children to the Middle East!… I wouldn’t be comfortable having my children basically hide their identities just so I could work somewhere exotic. What’s wrong with you?

by justlooking » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:35 am This has not been my experience working in four international schools in the ME in Egypt, Oman, Morocco, and Dubai. All the schools were top tier with a very international student body. I found most people respect Judaism and Jews; it’s Israel that’s the problem. As long as you’re not espousing pro-Israeli sentiment, you’ll be left alone.

by Nomad68 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:54 pm I really would not recommend going to places like Saudi, Kuwait or Qatar even if you hid your Jewish identity. The anti-Jewish sentiments would shock you.

 by shadowjack » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:45 pm 7 years in Saudi. Our Saudi friends had Jewish neighbours and didn’t care.” “Israel is not a good country.” They knew the difference between the two, that’s for sure….

 My purpose in calling attention to this topic is to hopefully encourage ISR Members to initiate a place where my Jewish brothers and sisters can turn to for first-hand information on what it’s really like for a Jewish International Educator to live and teach in the Middle East, a decision clearly not to be taken lightly.

Have an experience or information to share?

Please scroll down to participate


Interviewing the Interviewer

January 18, 2018

.No school director will tell you their school is simply mediocre. This means it’s YOUR responsibility to come to a job interview with prepared questions that will take the conversation beyond a director’s memorized, stock statements.

Keep in mind that interviews are as much about YOU getting the information you need to make an informed career decision as it is about an administrator getting to know your qualifications.

You may fear appearing suspicious or rude, thinking that questions which reflect a hint of doubt/mistrust are sure to blow an interview for you. But, contrarily, Directors and Admin who communicate with ISR Members have stated that a candidate who asks no questions at all during an interview can appear to be either disinterested in the job, unprepared, or dull and/or unenthusiastic. What interviewer wants to hire that type of teacher for a school they represent?

Most interviews end with the interviewer saying, “Do you have any questions for me?” This signals your turn to interview the interviewer. Don’t be timid. It’s your life, your future, your career we’re talking about. We all know know there are schools simply in the market for a white face to complete their “international school facade.” You don’t want to be the next causality. Ask away!

Through the years ISR has compiled multiple lists of questions for teachers to ask at interviews. The questions were received from International Educators who later found out just what they should have asked at interviews. Even if you don’t use these exact questions, the topics they delve into will give you a good idea about the goings on at some would-be ‘international schools’ and what YOU want to be on the look for.

• Ask the Right Questions at Your Interview

• 10 Tough Questions You May or May Not Want to Ask

• 20 More Questions You May Want to Ask

The 3 Things YOU Absolutely Must Know Before Signing On

Comments? Please scroll down