Recruiting With 4-Legged Friends

Are your chances of landing an overseas teaching gig diminished if your travel companion is a full-sized poodle? How about an 8-pound Siamese cat? Most everyone loves cats & dogs but that doesn’t mean they are always invited. Going international with a 4-legged friend requires extensive planning. Travel arrangements, documentation, vaccinations, dietary needs & visits to the vet are just the tip of the iceberg. An obstacle you may not be able to overcome is a destination that considers dogs & cats ‘unclean’ animals, not to be touched.

At interview, pets could be seen as a complication that might keep you from showing up for the job. Extremes in weather have prompted airlines to restrict pet-travel months for animals shipped in the cargo hold. Oftentimes the start of school & airline pet-travel restrictions conflict. Also consider that in this time of pandemic concerns, it’s hard enough to enter most countries as a human; a pet in tow could complicate matters beyond resolution. Are you ready to leave your companion behind? Are you prepared to answer that question at an interview?

The key to a successful recruiting experience with pets is to know the laws related to bringing your pet into the country you’re considering for a career move. Showing the interviewer you’ve done your homework & see no obstacles to your pet coming along goes a long way to making the topic a non-issue. Loads of educators live overseas with their pets & even travel with them through an array of countries during school vacations. The key is Research & Planning.

ISR asks: Were you a teaching candidate this recruiting season with a pet in tow? How did that experience play out? If you’re already overseas with your pet, what advice do you have to Share? Is Covid playing a factor in recruiting with a pet? Would you leave your pet behind if it meant that’d be the only way to get the job?

Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion

It’s All About Priorities

When you stop to think about teaching overseas, is your priority to have horizon-expanding adventures in select parts of the world? OR, is your priority to work towards financial security with a willingness to live and teach in not so desirable locations in exchange for a great salary? Maybe you’re after a little of both?

If your bucket list wish is to live and teach in a cultural icon like Paris, Berlin or Madrid, be prepared to settle for a mediocre salary in exchange for the chance to fulfill a long sought-after dream. To make ends meet in these cities, teachers report taking on a second job. If, on the other hand, accumulating money is your goal, Kuwait or the UAE might be your first choice since salaries allow for travel, savings and more, although the trade off may be a less vibrant experience.

It’s all about priorities but keep in mind, the uninitiated can find themselves in an unpredicted situation. A school’s published “savings potential” could actually be based on eating street food, watching TV, and never taking a trip outside the city. Living a life that approaches a first-world lifestyle in some developing nations can be quite pricey. Know before you go!

Connecting with people who have ‘lived the life’ is your key to an overseas experience that satisfies your priorities and fulfills your expectations. We remind ISR Members that the ISR Member Forum is the perfect place to connect on a no-holds-bared basis with someone who lived and worked in the place you’re considering for a career move.

ISR asks: What were YOUR priorities when you accepted your current overseas position? Has reality met your expectations? Did your priorities evolve once you were in mid-Contract? If so, how did that work out?

Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion

China Visa Gamble

Good news: One hundred fifty teachers and more than 60 schools with multiple available positions have so far registered for the upcoming Shanghai Virtual Recruiting Fair. The odds of landing a teaching position in China are looking strong! Bad news: The odds for Obtaining a Visa for China at the current stage of the pandemic are not looking good.

Issued by the Chinese Foreign Affairs Office, the first step in the China Visa process is to obtain a PU letter, essentially an invitation to apply for a Visa. Companies apply for the letter in the name of their foreign employees. Individuals and agents cannot. With a PU letter in hand, Visa candidates visit the nearest Chinese Consulate/Embassy in their home country to complete the process. Herein lies the problem.

With the pandemic muddling up the works, many Chinese Consulates/Embassies are closed until further notice, or simply refusing to process Visas at this time. An ISR member reports that an open Chinese consulate refused to process her Visa, even though she had a PU letter. Teachers waiting for a PU letter have not been guaranteed a date of issuance. The word is it could be June before Visa processing resumes, with the most likely applicant to receive a Visa being a single teacher or teaching couple. A trailing spouse and/or dependent children could be denied.

The odds of landing a teaching position in China look like a slam-dunk. The odds of entering the country to assume that position, even with an invitation letter, look like a gamble. It’s a waiting game and one that strongly suggests teaching candidates have a viable plan “B” ready to roll should August come around with China still on lockdown.

Comments? Questions? Please scroll to participate in this ISR Discussion

Ghosted

It was as if the school had literally fallen off the face of the earth. After 2 interviews at the Fair & an ongoing exchange of emails during the next few weeks, the school Director who’d led me to believe I was on the verge of being hired, suddenly & without warning, disappeared from my radar. I never heard from him again. Texts, emails & 3 phone calls were not answered. He had ghosted me!

Call it “ranting” if you choose, but soon thereafter I submitted a School Review outlining my negative recruiting experience with this Director. He can wear my Review as a badge of dishonor for the rest of his career. Thank you ISR for giving teachers a voice & holding Administrators who treat us like commodities, accountable.

As it turns out, ghosting is not uncommon in the International School arena. Although a poor business practice at best, I can almost understand not responding to every single resume/cover letter submitted for consideration. To lead a teacher on, get their hopes up & then disappear is, however, without conscience, manners or morals. Imagine passing up another offer only to be ghosted by your first choice! Do schools realize they are playing with our lives? Our careers? Maybe some just don’t care…

I read an amusing comment by a teacher on the ISR Forum who reports that after a few weeks of being ghosted he sent an effusive email thanking the school for the job offer, telling them he’s excited & looking forward to meeting everyone at the start of the school year! He goes on to say, “It’s funny how this elicited a response! Although not professional, neither is ghosting.”

Have many International Educators experienced ghosting in this unprecedent recruiting season? I reported my experience to the recruiter & could sense the manufactured tone of concern. Has COVID pushed ethics & etiquette out the door to become merely a handy excuse? Beyond posting Reviews of these irresponsible Directors, how can teachers avoid being ghosted, or what can they constructively do about it?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Director-Made, Overly Positive School Review Site?

ISR recently received the newsletter of a school review website that openly claims on their login page to have “a better idea,” further insinuating ISR is merely a collection of disgruntled teachers doing not much more than “venting.” ISR can’t help wonder if this is the school-director organized website we were told was in the making some time ago.

Back to the newsletter… Upon opening the forwarded newsletter, we were struck by its glaring colors adorned with party popper confetti. It appears the message they are sending is: Teaching overseas is a party and don’t you worry about the rest of it!

In any case, the design, better suited for napkins at a kid’s birthday, served to introduce an uninspired article about “11 schools with hard working teachers and students.” Among the group included were schools in the UAE, Philippines, Uruguay, Zanzibar and Thailand, each accompanied by a quote from a teacher saying how “absolutely great the students are,” plus a link to more “great” comments.

We won’t dispute these teachers have a wonderful classroom of kids. However, and this is a big however, when you’re contemplating relocating to a foreign country, with little to no laws in place to protect you from your employer, there’s more to consider than simply how the kids behave in a few classrooms across the globe.

Beyond the atmosphere YOU create in your classroom, there’s a whole world of scenarios related to living and teaching internationally that will impact your personal security and career future. ISR’s School Reviews remove the rose-colored lenses and party poppers and unmask schools that withhold salaries, switch Contract terms, substitute poor housing for that promised, fail to reimburse travel and/or shipping allowances, renege on health insurance, cancel Contracts with little to no notice, fail to stop bullying, discriminate against minorities and otherwise engage in dishonest and unethical practices. Any website that considers telling the truth a form of “venting” is a website YOU might want to avoid.

There’s a lot of positives at every school and ISR’s School Reviews delve into them. The question is: Do the positives outweigh the negatives and can you live with the negatives? Overlooking the negatives could be detrimental to your career and personal safety. It’s always wise to consult various sources when considering an International School for a career move. It’s irresponsible when websites fail to reveal the reality of life at these schools. Then again, a site created by directors and/or supporting schools by advertising job openings, could have a “narrow” viewpoint with an potentially dangerous agenda. Is this really “a better idea”?

Your CV/Résumé Beyond Words

How many pages should a résumé/CV be? What about a cover letter? Should a résumé be 1 page and the cover letter 2? Or is it the reverse? And what about references? Do references belong on a separate sheet or do you even include them? All of this may be worth considering but none of it will make or break the deal because ultimately, you need to stand out, and today more than ever! Here’s how…

Competition is stiff this Recruiting season. As a result of Covid, borders have closed and the market appears flooded with teachers who would have otherwise returned to their positions. All things being equal, your résumé and cover letter are YOUR first and best opportunity to display unique capabilities and that special something that makes YOU the best candidate for the job. After all, teaching requires creativity. Show them you have it!

An internet search quickly yields hundreds of clever, catchy résumé and cover letter designs. It’s good to know what’s out there and what the competition is up to, but adopting the flavor-of-the-month, hook, line and sinker, could cast you to the bottom of the pool along with the rest of the copy cats. More importantly, how unique can you appear within the confines of someone else’s creation?

We’re all unique in our own special way and it’s that incomparability that makes us attractive to recruiters. Take chances and don’t be afraid to get creative with your résumé and cover letter. Let your personality leap off the page! Color a little outside the lines. When recruiters see what makes you unique beyond words and format, it’s obvious why you’re a great teacher and the perfect candidate for the job.

ISR asks: How do YOU tweak your résumé with an infusion of creativity?

Please scroll down to participate

Teachers’ Impressions of Search October Fair

“Schools did not seem to be hiring or interviewing. Search emails stated that we needed to check the site and respond quickly. Schools were not under the same requirement…”

My feeling is that this is honestly too early and my spouse and I will likely have better luck at the January Fair. At least that’s what I’m telling myself...”

“Had 3 interview offers but none in locations I wanted. I submitted interview requests but have not heard anything. Seems like a bit of a waste of time & $$ for me…”

These excerpts are from threads on the ISR Member FORUM. Use the login button below to sign into ISR. Then return to this tab and use the highlighted links to go directly to individual threads.

What You Need to Know about Recruiting in the Age of Covid

If you’re contemplating or planning on recruiting during these unprecedented times, you’re probably searching for answers to some pressing questions:

    • Is it worth recruiting this season?
    • Should I stay put in my current position for job security?
    • Do virtual Recruiting Fairs hold a candle to the real thing?
    • Is the job market glutted with teachers who lost their jobs to Covid? 
    • Are schools hiring or being super picky because jobs are at a premium?

As a Community of International Educators, we collectively have answers to these questions, and MORE. ISR invites YOU to take a minute and share YOUR experiences and insights regarding today’s recruiting climate. Together we can piece together the information each of us needs to make informed career decisions in the age of Covid-19.

International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed
is what International Schools Review is All About!

Please scroll down to Share your experiences & insights

Schools w/ Highest Savings Potential, 2020

Read this first:  Please do not evaluate schools or Directors on this Discussion Board or pose questions that solicit such responses. Do not hijack the topic of this Discussion Board. If your wish to ask questions about your suitability for employment, please use our Open Forum.



High salaries don’t always mean high savings potential. What could sound like a high-dollar job offer based on where you currently live, might, in fact, turn out to be bare subsistence living in another part of the world.

I learned this lesson when I came onboard at the American School of Kinshasa, DR Congo.  The year was 2002. Food, gasoline, and everything in-between was triple the price I was accustomed to paying. I’d been duped by a sly-talking school Director. Hidden taxes and cost-of-living expenses quickly turned what appeared to be a wonderful salary, into peanuts. ‘Buyer’ beware! 

Speaking rhetorically, does anyone enter the teaching profession to become rich? We all, however, want to live a comfortable lifestyle and sock away some coin for the future. With that in mind, it’s highly suspect when International Schools neglect to make salaries readily known. And, what of schools that stall right up to the night before a Recruiting Fair to make pay scales available? You can be sure they’re not waiting to wow you with a spectacular salary!

ISR asks:  Which schools, in your experience, provide salaries that allow for a lifestyle we’d all like to become accustomed to while also saving for the future? Which schools pay enough to kinda enjoy life but not enough to save a cent? Which schools keep you just above the poverty level?

Please scroll down. Name your School. Then, tell colleagues about the standard-of-living and savings potential inherent in the salary at your school.



 If you wish to go beyond the scope of this topic and compose an in-depth look at your school,  Click HERE to send a School Review


 

Virtual Recruiting Fairs – Too Little, Too Late?

Back in the day, long before broadband, landing an International Teacher position was dependent on finicky, old fax machines and land-line phones. Faxing a 1-page resume plus a cover letter from my school in Thailand to a prospective school in South America in 1989, cost me a hefty $45 U.S. and that’s because I got lucky and the document “transmitted” successfully down the tired old phone lines on the first try. 

Brick and mortar recruiting venues made sense at that time. We sent our documents to one of the big recruiters and they acted as a central clearing house of sorts, putting teachers and schools together for a frantic three-day, face-to-face event known as a Recruiting Fair (often referred to as a “cattle call”). You finagled time off from your current job, plunked down thousands of dollars on airfare, accommodations and fair attendance fees, and hoped for the best.

Today, all that’s ancient history. Thanks to modern technology the need for a recruiting venue has all but disappeared. Whoever got the idea to “Skype” for an International Teaching position had the right idea. As early as 2009 “Skypeing” for teaching jobs was already happening and being talked about on ISR Discussion Boards. Here is a glimpse into the past:


2009Will Skype Replace the  Fairs?  2012Skype Your Way into an Overseas Teaching Position.  2019Survey: Are  Recruiting Fairs Headed for extinction?

Less than 10% of 447 educators surveyed in 2019 found positions at Recruiting Fairs

Slow to get with the trend, recruiting agencies have recently organized virtual Fairs. A great many schools and educators, however, have already been successfully recruiting for years using Skype-type venues, without the need for a high priced middleman. Are virtual Fairs too little, too late? 

ISR Asks:   Have YOU participated in a virtual Recruiting Fair? Were you hired at the Fair or was the event basically a ‘meet and greet’? Is there any advantage to recruiting through an online Fair as opposed to going it alone? Considering we are living in the age of social distancing with large gatherings at the top of the list of taboos, what effect do you think coming late to the virtual recruiting arena will have on the future of recruiting agencies?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Could This Be Normal?

A month into the COVID pandemic, with still no concrete ‘start date’ for the upcoming academic year, I telephoned the principal at what was soon to be my new school in Italy. I was simply looking for a little reassurance before officially resigning my teaching job in the States.

The principal was sympathetic. She understood my predicament. At least that’s what I thought….until she told me in no uncertain terms:

“If you fail to show up for school when we decide to open, you will be responsible for all expenses associated with hiring you, plus penalties. On the other hand, if we decide we don’t need you due to reduced enrollment, your Contract can be nullified with no financial compensation. Of course, in this situation you owe us nothing….”

It was painfully obvious I wasn’t going to get the reassurance I was looking for. I did, however, get the information needed to make a firm, much-needed decision. Jeopardizing my health and financial security for an organization that obviously could not give a damn about me was not about to happen! My final words to the principal? ‘Find yourself another teacher….I’m out!’

I realize I’m one of the fortunate ones. At least I still have a job. What if I had resigned my position here in the States? Worse yet, what if I was already working at the school prior to the pandemic, only to find myself put in the position of becoming a disposable commodity?

My Questions: Is it normal for International Schools to take such a hard-line stance, especially right now? Who in their right mind would expect educators to put their future in limbo with no assurance they won’t be left high and dry? Can this school really collect their recruiting fees from me?

Comments? Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion

Most In-Demand Subjects?

I’m currently not credentialed and teaching in a small, private English-language school in China. I’ve decided to get a teaching credential so I can work in ‘real’ international schools. I’m trying to decide in which subject to become credentialed.

My question is:  What are the most in-demand subjects in international schools? If it’s math or science, which specific types, i.e. Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Statistics?

———————

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Master List of Schools w/ Top Savings Potential


There is more than just salary to consider when you’re looking for an International School with excellent savings potential. Airfare to home, the local exchange rate and income tax, among other factors, can make or break any Contract offer.

Beware of dazzling big numbers only to later discover your salary pans out to be worth less than a smaller salary in a less expensive place to live. All that glitters at recruiting time may not be gold.

In an effort to help colleagues around the globe identify schools with strong saving potential (in relation to all other factors), we invite you to participate in constructing a Master List of Schools w/ Top Savings Potential.

Your entry should include school name, country, city and, based on your experience, what you estimate to be the yearly savings potential. Sharing a bit about the cost of living and other pertinent factors will be helpful. Feel free to ask for savings potential information on a specific school.

For example: XYZ International School, Warsaw, Poland. I estimate my yearly savings to be about $10,000 US. The cost of renting an apartment in Warsaw can be high but everything else is about half the price of living in the United States.

Your participation is appreciated – Please Scroll to begin

Top Tips for Recruiting Fair Newbies 2020


If you’re standing at the precipice of your first ever International Teacher Recruiting Fair, get set for an emotional roller coaster like none other! One minute you’re flying high: Wow…that interview went super great! The next minute you’re in the depths of despair: Why hasn’t my top pick called me back for a second interview? Then, out of nowhere, an opportunity you hadn’t even considered presents itself. Should you go for it? Or maybe hang back and hope to hear from one of your A-list schools? Hesitate, and you may find yourself out in the cold. Jump too soon and you put yourself out of the running for a school you really want.

Navigating an International Teacher Recruiting Fair requires planning, planning and more planning, plus the flexibility to abandon that plan if need be. Written by a long time ISR Forum member and avid contributor, the following words of wisdom for newbies and seasoned Fair goers alike are a must-read before the “ride” begins:


From the ISR Open Forum
Re: First job Fair coming up. Top 5 tips please!
by Thames Pirate » Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:24 pm
Posts: 1080 Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:06 am

    Do your homework beforehand. Take the time to really research your top choice schools, including your pie-in-the-sky schools as well as more realistic options. Research the mission statements, browse their websites, look at whom they sent to the Fair, etc. A well-organised cheat sheet is worth its weight in gold. Knowing what positions are open from both the online database and from the candidate lounge (remember, sometimes things are posted in the lounge and not online, or are still online but not in the lounge because the spots are filled) will help you make your plan.

Have your prep work done and have a plan. Have your resumes, ichiro, whatever, ready and printed before you go. Have your clothes ironed and your initial plan for sign ups made (Which schools are you hitting up and in what order? What do you want to say to recruiters?). Decide which presentations you are interested in seeing. I colour-code with a highlighter so that I can easily check when and where to go, when to try to avoid scheduling interviews, and where I should go if I have the time. You won’t have time to find a print shop. Have a spare set of clothes ready for if/when you spill coffee during breakfast.

Get your rest, especially if you are jet lagged and/or an introvert. You are “on” the WHOLE time, and that is exhausting. The emotional roller coaster is exhausting as well. Rest when you can, either between events if you are at the Fair hotel, or at night. If you want down time, do it away from the Fair. But be aware that you might still meet someone from the Fair at the local eatery. Your room is your only real sanctuary. Use it.

Be flexible. Your plan will be shot to hell in no time. That’s okay. Things change fast for recruiters as well as candidates, and everyone is tired, sometimes cranky, and doing the best they can for their schools and their situations. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t get hired right away but others do. Be willing to take interviews even if you hadn’t considered the position or know little about the school. Change the order in which you sign up based on the length of line.

Network like crazy. Like I said, you are “on” all the time. That means watch what you drink at the social so you can be working the crowd. Talk to other candidates to see what you can learn about potential destinations or their thought processes or what went well in interviews. Maybe they will tell you where their interview went off the rails so when you talk to that recruiter later you can avoid that pitfall. Or maybe you can just encourage one another. Talk to recruiters, even of schools you are not necessarily interested in. You might learn more about the process, find an interesting job that you hadn’t considered, or make a connection for the future, when that person is at a different school where you might want to be. A conversation in an elevator led to a job for us once. Or a teacher to whom you gave a kind word of hope moves into leadership and offers you a job. You just never know.

Have something to add? Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion Topic

International Educators Going It Alone Overseasj


Pulling up stakes and moving halfway around the world for an International Teaching position is a bold move. If, however, you’re part of a teaching team you’ll have your partner to rely on when the going gets tough. But what about educators who go it alone? What’s it like to move overseas when you have only yourself to depend upon?

For starters, going it alone will certainly put you out of your usual comfort zone, motivating you to experience new things, meet new people and take chances you might have never before considered. When you’re on your own, striking up a conversation in a coffee shop and making a new friend is more likely. Getting out to community events, plays, movies, parties and the likes can be more enticing when the alternative is staying home, alone.

Asked if they would have moved overseas alone if they knew back then what they know now, most educators answered with a resounding, YES! Educators who have gone it alone say they developed a new confidence in themselves and an entirely new side to their personality that would never have emerged had they stayed home or relocated with a partner.

Of course, not everything is perfectly rosy when you fly solo, and there are downsides to consider. The possibility of meeting that special someone may suffer overseas, and you’re bound to face some lonely stretches. You may even feel so intimidated by the overseas experience that you’ll have to fight the urge to head back home. Life can be frustrating when you don’t speak the local language or understand how things get done. Culture shock and the feeling of alienation are very real, the effects of which are intensified if you’re on your own.

Fortunately, there are varying degrees of how on your own you’ll be if you decide to go it alone. Better International Schools strive to minimize the stress on incoming foreign hires by providing solid support. Such schools handle utility bills, maintain teachers’ apartments, secure Visas, organize weekly shopping trips, and even supply transport to and from school. Additionally, they sponsor social events, making it easy for incoming teachers to become part of the established school community. In this scenario, teachers going it alone can immerse into the surrounding community at their own place while enjoying a more familiar and secure school-provided base from which to venture out.

ISR recommends you decide the depth of experience you’re ready for. Get all the information you need at your interview to help make an informed decision. Read Reviews and research, research, research! The majority of educators who have gone it alone say it was the best thing they could have done for themselves.

ISR Asks: Are you currently on your own overseas? What’s your take on the experience? Would you recommend it to others?

Please scroll down to participate in this discussion

Is Ageism Keeping You from Getting Hired?

ISR guest writer, Sidney Rose, shares his thoughts on ageism in International Education.

Ageism is everywhere, yet it is the most socially “normalized” of any prejudice.  Many of us would like to believe prejudice is a problem of the past, but this is clearly not the case. Incidents of prejudice and discrimination occur every day, including ageism, as practiced by International Schools and recruitment agencies.

I have been involved in international education for more than 30 years. I rose through the ranks: from teacher to Head of Department, then Deputy Head, and finally School Principal. I have been the Founding Principal of international schools in Sweden, Qatar, India (twice), China and most recently, Vietnam. I am an “expert” at obtaining Cambridge and IB accreditation and all things related to setting up a new school, to include acting as consultant to a few start-ups.

Finding a new assignment used to be relatively easy. I was in demand and commanded a good salary. Now that I am over 65, I can’t find a job. Suddenly no-one wants me! Recruitment agencies won’t even let me sign on with them. This, despite my credentials, experience and expertise.

I’m lively, energetic and enthusiastic about international education and in better shape than many younger men. I still have much to give, but my date of birth is a problem. If I remove my DOB from my resume, I get great responses from schools and recruiters… but when my age is finally revealed, everything suddenly goes quiet. You would think they would at least want to meet me and access my overall fitness to serve.

ISR covered this topic several years ago and perhaps it needs revisiting. Recruitment agencies are becoming ever more difficult.  Ageism is rife and stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people based on age is ever more widespread in international education.

I would like to reopen a discussion on this topic. To participate please scroll down and share your thoughts.

Thanks,

Sidney Rose

See the ISR Visa/Age Chart

School Not as Described

Educators who rely solely on the word of an interviewer may soon find they committed to two years in a city hard-pressed to offer enough points of interest to even fill an afternoon stopover.

Alarm bells should clang if an interviewer makes statements such as:  “It’s the best kept secret.” Or, “It was once the Paris of the East.”

Sadly, there ARE school Directors who will say just about anything to lure unsuspecting educators to their poorly located schools, knowing full well that once they’re there it’s not so easy to leave.

What’s your options when you arrive at a new school, only to find things are 180 degrees out from how they were described? In other words, What do you do when you’ve fallen prey to a con man?

Possible solutions:

A) If you’re financially solvent and can afford to walk out, consider taking the next flight home. The financial consequences of such actions are something not many of us are able to absorb, so this option may be off the table.

B) Hang in there and collect a few paychecks. Then, jump ship at the first long vacation. This way, you’ll have a few bucks under your belt and no one will wonder why you’re headed to the airport with a couple of big suitcases in hand.

C) Do as many (most?) of us would do:  Suck it up and make the best of it. Walking out on a Contract could do irreparable damage to your career. But then again, it IS your life we’re talking about.

It’s your career. It’s your future. There should be consequences for Directors who deceive educators into accepting positions that are far different than represented. As it stands, deceiving people out of their money can be a punishable offense, yet there are no consequences for deceiving educators into spending years of their life in some hellhole of a location.

With the school year getting underway, we’re seeing some recent ISR School Reviews exposing Directors who purposely misled educators into a lousy location. If you find yourself in such a situation, ISR encourages you to submit a School Review to warn your colleagues.  International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is What ISR is All About!   Send a School Review

Comments? Have something to add to this Discussion?

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Back-Stabbing Director As My Confidential Reference

After what seemed like an endless chain of rejections it finally struck me that one of my confidential references had been stabbing me in the back. Problem is, what can I do about it, if anything?

My resume reflects a heavy math/science background, so I’m used to a good bit of positive interest in my candidacy at recruiting fairs. But this year, unlike in years past, that enthusiasm had screeched to a halt. I was dumbfounded.

At first I thought the wane in interest was due to younger, better qualified candidates who were possibly better “fits.” But through a series of events, I came to realize my most recent confidential reference was spitefully destroying my overseas teaching career. 

All fingers pointed to the director of my latest school! Some years ago I read an ISR article in which a school director confessed he had purposely written poor confidential references for outstanding teachers, and even played down their talents over the phone to inquiring schools. Why? Because he wanted to keep certain key staff from leaving his school. Ouch!

In accord with the ISR article, my recent director had offered me a handsome resigning bonus if I would commit to a 4th year. I had, however, been planning to move on for some time and when I announced my intentions I sensed an immediate change in attitude on his part. I can’t exactly explain it, but suddenly I felt I was on the outside looking in. For the remainder of the school year I got the cold shoulder instead of the usual “bro” treatment. 

My question is this: Can I do anything about this situation? Am I doomed to the wrath of a school director taking out his frustrations on me, and certainly other departing teachers? My letters of reference, along with whatever my current director wrote about me, are all online with the big recruiters and I seriously doubt I can get them to remove the latest one. Any advice? Anyone?

Please keep my name confidential.

Best Regards to the staff at ISR,
G.

My Position Has Been Reposted

Two interviews, two days of anxiously waiting and, finally, it was decided. I was their “Gal.” We shook hands on it as the director welcomed me onboard“You’ll be receiving your contract by DHL in the next few weeks.” Well…it’s been more than a few weeks since the recruiting fair and still nothing, nada, no contract!

I understand people are busy and things come up for a busy international school. But a couple days ago I was on the school’s website poking around and discovered “my” position had been reposted. At least I think it was a repost. I remember the position had been removed from the school’s website in the days after I was offered the job, but maybe in my excitement I overlooked it? Who knows?

In any case, I’m feeling totally insecure now about my future and obsessing on whether or not I still have this job. I’m just not sure what to do…Could a simple oversight be why the position is still on the school’s site? Maybe there are two slots for the same position? Worst case scenario, maybe (argh!), they’ve changed their mind about me and haven’t let me know?

Anyone else been in this situation or anything similar? I could sure use some advice and don’t want to do something stupid to jinx this job offer.

Sincerely,
Anxious

Can a School Ever Really Be All 10s or All 1s?

…  Does any school really deserve all 10s or all 1s on the ISR School Review Rubric? I love my school. But hey! It just does not rate all 10s. In fact, it’s not even all 9s. Personally, I’m suspicious of any Review that displays an over abundance of 9s and 10s. Ditto that for Reviews with scores of all 1s.

Every rose has its thorns (I love that song) and International Schools are no exception. Just because I rate a couple of things a 6 or 7, it doesn’t mean it’s not a simply fantastic school. It just means the reality is this:  There are a few things you’re going to have to live with to be truly blissful here.

Like I said, I’m suspicious of Reviews with copious extremely high or low ratings. Take a school in France for example. I know for a fact the “Cost of living in relation to salary” category will never will be a 10 in overpriced Europe. My research (and every educator I know who has worked in Europe) tells me teachers have to take on an outside job just to make ends meet. The only person I can think of who would assign a 9 or 10 to the “Cost of living in relation to salary” category in a Western European school is an admin trying to attract candidates. Such misrepresentation makes the rest of the ratings look suspicious to me. I discount such Reviews.

Here’s another example of what makes me suspicious:  A school in Mexico City with a “Security rating” of 10 would make me wonder who’s behind the Review. Likewise, a score of 1 for “Community things to do” would be ludicrous for Mexico City with its endless museums, art galleries and cultural events. A low score in this category would render the entire Review useless in my opinion.

Can a school ever really deserve scores of all 10s or all 1s? I believe the answer is NO. Common sense and a bit of logic will help you to read between the lines and look for hidden agendas. When the ratings in certain categories coincide with what you know to be true about an area of the world, this is a signal that it most likely is safe to rely on the Review as a whole. However, if things seem out of sync with your intuition and common sense, most definitely, proceed with caution.

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