Choosing the Right Fair

choosing-a-fairThere’s lots to consider when it comes to choosing an International Teaching Recruiting Fair: Which schools will be attending? What positions are available? Could inclement weather prevent my arrival? Will I be able to take time off from my current job to attend? Can I afford it?

Once you’ve labored over your best plan of action you’re still not home-free. It’s actually possible that your application may be rejected. Why? Because candidates with the best chances of landing a job take priority. Let me explain:

Recruiting agencies make money when teachers get hired. In addition to the exorbitant fees you and schools pay to attend a recruiting event, schools pay an additional hefty fee for each teacher they hire. So, it stands to reason that candidates with the best chances of landing a job are ‘invited’ to recruit at the ‘prime-time’ fairs, leaving lesser-qualified candidates to recruit later in the season and at less desirable venues.

Even if you’ve done everything right and been accepted to recruit at a Fair, many candidates report that only after arriving at their Fair did they discover the positions they planned to recruit for were no longer available. It appears some schools/agencies think nothing of filling advertised positions well in advance of the Fairs. Imagine spending thousands of dollars to attend, only to discover that what you came for (in options for schools/subject/area of the world) no longer exists for you or your partner at the Fair.

Obviously, there’s some unforeseen obstacles to picking and attending the Recruiting Fair of your choice. If you’re new to International Education or an experienced overseas educator weary of the Fairs, you might consider skipping them altogether and going with one of the smaller agencies that delivers personalized service to both schools and teachers. Some candidates skip ‘outside’ assistance all together and rely on Skype or other venues to recruit directly with schools.

We invite you to scroll down and ask questions and/or share your experience with the recruiting process. How do you select a Fair? What do you look for in a recruiter? What’s your experience with being ‘invited’ to recruit at the Fair of your choice?

Directory of Recruiters & Fairs

Thanks for your input! International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is ALL about!

Recruiting Survey Results – Your Help Requested

round-up-resultsOur 2016 Recruiting Survey revealed that just 13% teachers who took our Survey were successful in securing a teaching position through a Recruiting Fair. Of the total respondents, 9% attended a Fair but were unsuccessful in landing a position. We’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusion.

On a positive note, 44% of Survey respondents reported finding an International Teaching position without attending a Recruiting Fair. Of the remaining respondents, 20% did not recruit this season and the rest were unable to find a position on their own. These results are similar to those found in our 2015 Survey in which 46% of respondents reported finding a job without attending a Fair.

Comparing the 2015/2016 results to our 2013 Survey, we see a significant difference. In 2013, just 30% of participants reported finding a job outside of a Recruiting Fair. Based on the current increase of 50% in this category for both 2015/2016, is it safe to say there has been a trend away from Recruiting Fairs and a growing reliance on tech-type venues by both schools and educators?

The following Comments were posted to our 2016 Recruiting Survey:

We have been recruiting for 5 primary posts and 2 secondary posts at a central Asian international school. We do our advertising via free ESL boards and by word of mouth.

Since the advent of Skype we’ve found Job Fairs to be a complete waste of our time and money.

This year we received a very large number of on line teacher qualified applications from the UK, far more applications than experienced in previous years. We were able to complete our recruiting in a campaign of some 5 weeks this year…as opposed to an 8-week campaign last year.

Of course tech venues will never take the place of the huge social extravaganza that underlies Recruiting Fairs. For school directors, Recruiting Fairs are an opportunity to travel to far off lands, stay in first-class hotels and hob-knob with other school directors at their school’s expense. It’s not exactly an all-expense-paid vacation, but very close, in our estimation. However, for teachers who must bear the brunt of their own recruiting expenses and possibly take unpaid time away from their current employment, Recruiting Fairs are….well, not quite the same as they are for school Directors.

As veterans of the Fairs, your colleagues at International Schools Review are encouraged to see an increasing reliance on technology in regards to the recruiting process. After all, with so many schools professing to offer their students the latest in technology, it should follow that they would opt to take advantage of it themselves. Will Recruiting Fairs go the way of snail mail? That still remains to be seen.

If you are one of the many educators who avoided the Fairs and used technology to find an International Teaching position, please scroll down and share with your colleagues what you learned from the experience. What venue did you use? How did you initially find and contact schools? What preparations and tips do you have for an online interview?

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Recruiting Season Round-Up

job108632087x200Did you recruit for a new position this recruiting season? If so, how did it go? Did you attend a fair or go for it on your own? Did you land a new job or come up empty-handed? ISR invites you to take our 6-question Yes/No Survey & share your story.

Much can be extrapolated from Survey results. Among other things, the results of our Survey should tell us about the state of recruiting fairs as compared to the ever more popular tech-type venues such as Skype or the networking possibilities that work for so many international educators already in the international scene.

Survey results are tallied in real-time so you can see how other teachers fared. With a title like Recruiting Season Round-Up, don’t let this Article be confused with “cattle calls” of the past. We want to know your story!

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How ‘Fair’ are Recruiting Fairs for Expat Teachers?

needajob15470498For educators currently living/teaching overseas, recruiting fairs are risky business. First off, you must resign your current teaching position. Then, shell out thousands of dollars to attend a recruiting venue you think offers the best chance to land a job. There are no guarantees!

Should your recruiting efforts yield anything less than a contract in hand, you’re potentially facing upcoming unemployment, and without the necessities of life in place to return to in your own country. Just the thought of such consequences is stressful.

   Looming unemployment was my situation after resigning a position in Guatemala & failing to find a position at the ISS Fair. Each & every school which had expressed interest earlier in the season had filled all the positions I was qualified to teach by the time they got to the venue. I did then scramble to find schools I thought might be a good fit & managed to secure 2 interviews. I left the fair with a firm handshake & a promise of a contract, which 2 loooong months later turned out to be empty words, leaving me with no job, no home, no car, no insurance, no school for our children…..disaster!

  When you’re currently living in your own country & decide to attend an international teaching recruiting fair, it’s simpler. You go to the fair & if you find a job, just inform your current boss you’re leaving. But for teachers currently overseas who risk financial/emotional security to attend a recruiting event, the stakes seem unreasonably high. Especially so since no one seems to care enough about educators’ well being to send an email saying, “Oh, by the way, we filled the position you were interested in.”

    Is there a solution to this dilemma? Or, as some international educators have suggested, are we really just disposable commodities to be traded with little regard for our well-being? ISR suggests international schools at least have the ethical decency to update candidates as to the continued availability (or not) of advertised openings & do so on a continual, daily basis. Something as simple as posting to a web page would accomplish this & spare many educators costly, often devastating surprises. What do YOU think?

Comments &/or Solutions Are Invited

Recruiting Fair Chronicles & Essentials

cronicles_91  Recruiting Fair Chronicles

To witness or contribute to first-hand accounts of various Recruiting Fairs, we direct your attention to the Recruiting Fair Chronicles in progress on the ISR Forum. Here you’ll find teachers entering day-by-day accounts of their Fair experience. As a community, teachers are additionally commenting, posing questions & offering solutions. Even if your Fair experience has already ended, here’s an opportunity to validate your interpretation of the event, celebrate a new position, or just vicariously attend the event in preparation for an upcoming Fair.

Links to Chronicles for January Fairs:

Search – Melbourne: Jan 3-6
ISSBangkok: Jan 4-7
Search – Bangkok: Jan 8-11
CIS – London: Jan 14-17
Search – Hong Kong: Jan 15-17
Search – London: Jan 21-24
Search – Cambridge: Jan 28-Feb 1
Queens University: Jan 29-31

Have something not Fair-specific to discuss or
share about recruiting? Please scroll down to post!

recruiting-fairs_update_58 Recruiting Fair Essentials

As a recruiting candidate, you need to know how to navigate a Recruiting Fair & walk out with a signed contract in hand. ISR can help! Our Articles & Info section hosts over 60 in-depth Articles & Blogs dedicated expressly to making a success of your recruiting experience. Here’s an opportunity to take advantage of the collective knowledge contributed by Fair-experienced colleagues from around the world.

Here’s a sample of Topics in ISR’s Articles & Info section:

10 Sure Fire Ways to Blow an Interview • What Should You Ask at an Interview? • Be Prepared for Tough Interview Questions • Do Buzz Words=Successful Recruiting? • Getting the Most from a Fair • 10 Questions to Ask a Director • When Recruiting Fairs Give You Lemons • ReConsidering Your Possibilities • Waiting to Hear Back • Here’s What Directors Want in a Teacher • Recruiting Fairs, A-Z • International Teaching Without a Credential? • Trailing Spouse Solutions • Going Overseas & Over 50 • There’s more! GO to ISR Articles & Information

Have something not Fair-specific to discuss or
share about recruiting? Please scroll down to post!

When Recruiting Fairs Give You Lemons

Lemon1241697The window of opportunity for finding an overseas teaching position this recruiting season has just about closed. Unfortunately, some of us who are currently overseas haven’t landed a job for the upcoming academic year. If you’re in this unnerving position and facing a return to your home country potentially jobless, homeless and/or car-less, you’re not alone. Many an experienced overseas educator walked away empty-handed this recruiting season.

Most International Schools require teachers resign their current position well in advance of attending a Recruiting Fair. So what do you do when you resign your international teaching job, fly off to recruit at a Fair or two, and still fail to land a new position? You could try to extend your present contract for the upcoming school year. But chances are your school has already filled your position, and maybe even at the exact same Fair you attended….

One International Educator we spoke with said she and her husband (also a teacher) were forced to return to the States after they failed to find a school with positions for them both and tells us they made their own proverbial lemonade: They rented an apartment (near family) in what they considered a good school district for their two kids, bought a “funky” old car, applied for substitute teaching credentials and simply rode out year. They easily found positions the next recruiting season and have been overseas ever since.

Another teacher reports his unique lemonade recipe: He rented a house near an International School he wanted to teach at and worked there as a substitute teacher. The school, being familiar with his work, hired him for the following year and gave him the foreign-hire status he required.

There ARE creative ways to work around not finding a job at a Recruiting Fair. Have you been in this position? How did you deal with it? Or, are you facing the prospect of finding yourself in this very position? Here’s the place to share your ideas.

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Survey Results: What If You Got a Better Offer?

what-would-you-d0-poll-smallBased on the data from our survey, What If You Got a Better Offer?, it’s safe to say there’s a profound message to be gleaned. We’ll leave that part to you and you’ll get your chance to comment. Here’s the results: 

Scenario #1: You signed a contract at a Fair & later got a “dream” school offer
Results: Of the 1000+ educators who responded to this scenario, 57% said they would break a contract they signed at a Recruiting Fair if their “dream” school later made them an offer. 45% percent of this group said they would wait to have the “dream” school contract in hand before notifying the other school they were breaking contract.

Scenario #2: You verbally accepted a position & later got a “dream” school offer
Results: 873 educators responded to this scenario. 89% of this group said they would accept an offer from their “dream” school even though they had already verbally accepted a position at a Recruiting Fair (contract forthcoming). Of this group, 63.5% said they would wait to have a “dream” school contract in hand before telling the other school they were no longer interested.

Clearly, the majority of survey respondents were ready and willing to do what was most beneficial for them, which was to accept a position at their “dream” school with little or no regard for the school that originally offered them a position. There’s obviously a message here for schools, recruiters and candidates. Based on your overseas experience, what’s your interpretation of this data as it pertains to the changing perspective of international education?

Click here for original survey & teachers’ comments

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a Diary from the Recruiting Fair Front

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day-1-newtitle-small
In this one-of-a-kind recruiting fair diary by an ISR reader and seasoned International Educator, “Shadowjack” gets up-front and personal relating his experiences at the 2013 Search (Bangkok) Recruiting Fair.

    From personal impressions and well-honed strategies, to insightful reflections and lessons learned, this author captures the emotional turbulence he and other candidates experience as they navigate towards an International teaching position. If you’re searching for information on how to prepare for an upcoming recruiting fair, this is as close as you’re going to get without sweating it out, literally, at the recruiting fair itself.

    So here we go! The plane has touched down at Dong Muang Airport in Bangkok and we’ll hit the ground running! After all, we have an 11-hour flight behind us and thousands of dollars already invested in our efforts to land a teaching position! Let the adventure begin!  Read more…

Scroll down to ask questions or comment

Does Teaching Overseas Help or Hurt Your Career?

career42987091With the current academic year underway, many international schools will soon be asking teachers to declare if they intend to stay for the upcoming 2014-15 school year, or plan to move on.

Moving on can mean staying in the international circuit and advancing to a new school, or returning home to teach. From my perspective of having experienced both, I would say continuing to move within the international circuit is far less taxing than formulating plans to return home. The biggest hurdle I experienced moving home was securing employment in a public school after a decade overseas.

A colleague from the UK once told me that working overseas was a distinct plus for them when they returned home. They said employers there liked to see the overseas experience on an applicant’s CV. I did not found this to be the case in the U.S. As a matter of fact, I think to American employers, overseas experience makes you look a bit “flaky” or could this just be American provincialism? When I hear the words, “I’d love to hear about your experiences in Africa, Saudi Arabia, Romania, etc.”, I know I can say good bye to that job.

If you’ve experienced moving home after years of teaching overseas, ISR invites you to Share how the overseas teaching experience impacted your domestic career: Was it positive or negative, or of no consequence in the eyes of a potential employer back home?

If you’re contemplating leaving the international circuit and returning home for the first time, we encourage you to visit this Blog and pose your own questions as they may apply to your individual situation. Learning from colleagues who have already made the move will be most beneficial.

Teachers Keeping Teachers Informed is what ISR is All About

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Teaching Lord Fauntleroy

We International Educators teach at thousands of schools across seven continents. We teach in every imaginable climate, in urban and rural settings, and in societies that range from predictably stable to utterly chaotic. Yet there is one detail that unites pretty much all of us no matter our tier, continent or subject area: We teach rich kids.

Some of us teach the top 25% of our host country’s socio-economic ladder. Some of us teach the top 1%. Some of us teach a slice of the global elite so exclusive their parents think nothing of flying to PTA meetings in their private Lear jets or gifting Rolex watches to faculty at the end of the year.

Even when a student’s family income wouldn’t turn a head back home in our own country, the family money is still many times what it would be for the majority of Chinese…or Bangladeshis or Indians or Africans. You get the picture.

Wealth facilitates a great deal of what we do, from the tuition money that keeps our schools running to the budgets that fund our departments to the salaries that put food on our tables and pay off our school debts–if you went to university in the US that is. Endowments give many international schools the freedom to make improvements to their facilities that would take significantly more time and paperwork in many state systems.

At the same time, affluent student populations present considerations we would be less likely to encounter in a state system back home. Students from affluent families may come to the classroom with unrealistic notions of how the world works and how it should serve them. They might be lulled into academic disengagement because they know, or have been told, their future is assured for them no matter the effort they put forth.

In this season of giving (and getting), let’s trade ideas on the perils and perks of being teachers and administrators of the affluent. The following questions strike me as important to tackle:

  How can we best realize the IB’s  goal of fostering “the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world” if our students are only interacting with a small percentage of that world?

  How can we teach for social justice when the true sacrifice required to achieve it would be unpalatable if not unthinkable to many members of the elite?

•  How can we teach socio-economic awareness across the curriculum?

•  How can service learning projects be meaningful, life-changing experiences instead of token charity work?

  How can administrators deal with particularly powerful parents?

  How can we instruct students and families that money, perhaps more than at any moment in the history of the planet, needs to be a force for creating good rather than a badge for advertising status?

Weigh in on this topic. Scroll down to post

Laid-Off Public School Teachers May Flood the Fairs

It’s no secret the world is in an economic downturn. But did you know as result the US, UK and Canada have been laying off public school teachers at an alarming rate? These cuts even include science and math teachers. A Chicago-based educator reports his school opened up a position (due to increased enrollment) and had 170 applicants in two hours.

An option for unemployed public school teachers may be to turn to international education in search of employment. If this happens, will the job market become saturated? Will recruiting fairs become flooded with available educators? More importantly, will schools feeling the effects of countless poor reviews suddenly have their pick of previously “out of reach” educators now in dire need of a paycheck?

Not many years ago organizations such as the American Academy of School Heads expressed concern over the dwindling pool of international teaching candidates. At a New York recruiting fair it was noted that there were 3 to 4 available jobs per each applicant. In response, a task force was formed to solve the problem. It appears the problem may have solved itself but, through no one’s fault, to the detriment of current international educators.

What is your take on the situation? Will fired public school teachers go international or will they stay home to gut it out? If they go international, will schools scoop them up at a reduced rate? Or will schools continue to give priority to seasoned overseas educators? We invite you to weigh in on this topic.