I’m Choosing to Have a Good Overseas Experience

September 12, 2019

An ISR Member Offers Timely Advice:

I”m in my second year at XYZ International  School. Is the school as spectacular as represented by the director at the recruiting fair? Not quite. In fact, it’s not even close.

It’s not a bad school. But certainly not what I was led to believe by our illustrious leader. Last week I decided to write what I consider to be a factual ISR Review of this school. I feel it’s my responsibility to keep other international educators informed.

As it turns out, our director follows ISR like a watchdog. As such, he called an emergency faculty meeting right after my review was included in the ISR weekly newsletter. Following his senseless rant we were all “given the opportunity” to sign what amounted to a gag order, the alternative being….“pack your bags and go.” Essentially, we were agreeing to never post information or opinions about XYZ International School to ISR (or any other website). Yes, we all signed.

Violating the new gag order carries some heavy consequences, culminating in immediate termination and prosecution….”to the full extent of the law.” By signing, we also gave the school the right to financial compensation for any perceived loss of revenue which may result from a specific school review. That is, if they can figure out who wrote it. Good luck with that!

It’s no secret what happens when you tell a child to keep their hands out of the cookie jar. Well, overnight two new reviews mysteriously appeared on ISR. If you know anything about ISR (and apparently our director does not) you already know your identity is completely protected when you submit a review. Whoever it was that posted the newest reviews did so knowing there would be no consequences, unless they included specific personal information that led straight to them. That they did not!

By mid-afternoon, via the school’s intranet (working for a change), the entire staff received an aggressively worded memo from the office. It looks like a witch hunt is on!

I know I acted truthfully and responsibly in sharing my experiences about this school. I also feel that for me, right now at this point in my life, I have a responsibility to myself to ignore the school’s shortcomings and make the most of this overseas experience. I’ve wanted to live in this part of the world for a very long time, and since nothing at this school flies in the face of my principles and/or integrity as an educator, there’s no reason to ruin this opportunity by obsessing on all that’s wrong here.

You can’t fix stupid and certainly not guys like the one running this school. If you’re in a similar situation, the choice is yours. You can focus on the negative and frustrate yourself until your blood pressure is off the charts, or you can choose to accept and work with the situation.

Is the glass half full or half empty? That’s open to debate and, to me, it kinda depends on what, exactly, is in that glass. My best advice:  Stay Positive!

Sincerely,

B.

ISR Invites your comments


Is The Recruiter Trying Too Hard? Are YOU?

January 10, 2019

Recruiting day: You’re ON! Expensive new suit…Check! Designer tie & pocket square…Check! Wing-tip shoes freshly buffed & a $100 haircut…Double check! You feel as though you’ve definitely put your best (Gucci) foot forward, yet notice a distinct hesitation from Recruiters as you approach their tables, hoping you’ll get a slot on their interview schedule.

The problem may be this:  Aren’t you trying a bit too hard? Teachers who go recruiting looking as though they belong in a well-appointed NYC Corporate boardroom may be making the wrong first impression on a Recruiter who’s looking for educators who can succeed in the classroom with a bunch of rowdy kids. Recruiters also need new hires to professionally represent the school despite extreme heat & humidity, funky roads, roaming packs of dogs, tiny accommodations & possibly an unspoken severe lack of basic amenities at their school.

Over-dressing, exaggerating, boasting, grandstanding & the like could easily send the message you’re trying too hard. The Recruiter may be wondering, Could you possibly be a self-indulged, high-maintenance type who won’t pitch in & get his/her hands dirty? Will this person handle it well when the going gets rough?

What about RECRUITERS who try too hard? Does he/she seem desperate to hire any warm body willing to consider their school? Is a Recruiter telling you a place (like the D.R. Congo) is a gourmet’s paradise when a documentary you recently saw showed local, hungry people eating palm grubs for food & locals with amputated limbs & machete scars begging at every, single market stall? Statements like, “It’s the best kept secret” should bYOUR clue to do some serious due diligence! Someone is trying too hard.

Google can, of course, be your best ally when researching a locale. Keep in mind, close-ups of smiling kids, tightly cropped images of school facilities, shots of tree frogs & egg-laying turtles, plates of tropical fruit & vegetation with a few people in traditional clothing can signal:  Someone trying hard to make a boring place or hardship post look good.

Recruiters may try so hard they purposely misrepresent their schools. Case in point:  A PE coach was shown an aerial shot of a school & its facilities at her interview. The photo included an Olympic-size swimming pool. As her specialty was swimming, she was excited at the job prospect. Upon arrival to the school, however, the pool turned out to be a blue rectangle painted on the ground. “Oh,” said the local-hire PE assistant, “didn’t he tell you that you were looking at the architect’s rendering of where the pool will be installed, someday?

A final word on trying too hard:  Recruiting is about educators trying to find schools & schools trying to find educators. Everyone has on their best smile & endeavors to make a success of the experience. There’s is, however, a marked difference between trying too hard and just plain trying. Don’t fall into the trap of trying too hard. And, most of all, proceed with caution when you suspect an interviewer is trying too hard. 

 

 

 

 


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

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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

 

 

 


Nervous About Your First Time?

April 19, 2010

Transplanted from the ISR forum
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The contract’s signed. You’ve resigned your State-side teaching position. There’s still loads to do in preparation for leaving, when suddenly….reality hits. “What am I doing?”  Leaving family and friends for a far distant land can be a scary proposition. Is it normal to feel apprehensive and even overwhelmed? Do these feelings occur in seasoned overseas educators? ISR invites you to share your first time experience with colleagues preparing for their first time.


From Public School Teacher to International Educator

January 19, 2010

How do you make the transition from classroom teacher in Wichita to international educator in Doha and beyond?  A public school teacher from the US recently wrote ISR:

“I ‘m a veteran (19th year) elementary, public school teacher interested in international teaching.  I would very much appreciate some feedback on what qualities are advantageous to having a successful experience as an international teacher.  What helped to make your experiences successful….?”

If you’ve made the transition from public education to international teaching and have experiences to share with teachers entertaining the idea of taking the leap, we invite you to add your comments.