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 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!

De-Stressing @ Your New School

Lazy time. Man in hat in a hammock on a summer day

For most of us, coming in as a new teacher at an international school means we have a lot of adapting to do. Culture, language, food, climate, students, the parents of students, a new house/apartment, city and currency of monetary exchange are just a handful of what makes up the “foreign” environment that awaits us.

With so much energy focused on the actual move, how can you truly comprehend what you’re committing to? Here’s a short list of some changes to expect and suggestions from teachers who have been there/done that, and have some unique strategies for adapting to their new environment. (1st published 8/’11)

What’s New When We Change Schools?
Culture, language, food, climate, students, parents of students, your house/ apartment, the city, currency of exchange, your classroom, internet availability, administration, colleagues and committee work, school procedures, transportation, shopping, entertainment, medical care, bill paying, banking, and well… just about everything. Even your name may seem to change and sound new in terms of the local accent.

So, what de-stressing strategies work when all your familiar reference points are gone? Over the years I’ve stuck with 3 strategies that help me get a good start at a new school.

My Top 3 de-Stressing Strategies:
1. I get to know the school secretaries, the head of tech and the head of maintenance. I want them as allies. I even make some effort to get to “know them” before coming and try to bring some small gifts to sweeten the deal upon our first meeting. At one school, the tech guy desperately wanted US backpacks for his children. By bringing them along as a gift, I insured his gracious help with my many requests in the first weeks of school. I was nearly always put at the top of the list. Beyond just a colleague, he became a friend.

2. Make your apartment/house your home and refuge. I bring familiar things that make me feel at home. My music, a few pictures, books, a board game, special soap, and any other easily portable knickknack that makes me warm and fuzzy. I also bring a good supply of my favorite comfort foods. There’s nothing like a few favorite things from a known environment to help make the transition into the unknown a lot smoother. At the end of the school day you’ll want a welcoming home refuge from the crush of newness.

3. I’m careful not to be overzealous in volunteering for more committees and duties than I am comfortable with. At a new school, with my attentions being bounced around like a ping pong ball between school and personal needs, the last thing I want is more to focus my attention on. The temptation is to jump right in and make huge contributions to staff and school, but in the end if I take care of “number one” first I’m a lot more effective when it comes to contributing to the team.

Now it’s your turn. Many of us are starting off the new academic year at international schools that are new to us. What techniques work for you? Sharing our personal strategies is a great way to support each other and help make the upcoming academic year a success, in and out of school!

Recruiting Fair Timing for Best Results

best-time44088211Undeniably, ISS & Search Associates are the two big players in the International Teacher recruiting industry. From November 2013 through March 2014, these two agencies, combined, sponsored no less than 20 Recruiting Fairs. Interestingly, some of these venues took place on the heels of the competitor’s Fair. For example, the Search/Bangkok Fair began the day following the conclusion of the ISS/Bangkok Fair. Search/San Francisco & ISS/San Francisco followed the same protocol.

Along with piggybacking each other, Search & ISS do the same with some minor, but well-known, players in the industry. For example, the AASSA (Association of American Schools in South America) Fair took place in Atlanta on December 5-8 & was immediately followed by ISS/Atlanta on December 8-10. The Search/Toronto & Queens University/Ontario Fairs were on the exact same dates, January 24-26.

Business is business & just as McDonald’s opens a ‘restaurant’ right across the street from Jack-In-the-Box, recruiting agencies appear to follow the same business model. The question is, with recruiters so strongly competing for your dollar, how do YOU choose a Fair that’s right for YOU? If you’re new to International Teacher recruiting, you might opt to attend the event closest to you.  But isn’t this a bit like buying a Chevrolet instead of a Ford based solely on a dealership’s proximity to your home? Recruiting Fairs, like automobiles & dealerships, each have their individual characteristics & shopping around before you commit may well be the smartest option for your overseas teaching career.

ISR asks: With a multitude of Fairs to choose from, how do you pick the Fair that’s right for YOU? If you participated in a Recruiting Fair this season, what criteria did you use to select a fair to attend? Was your decision based on a list of schools slated to attend? Flying distance? Or, the reputation of the particular Fair to hire predominantly couples, or singles or newbies, experienced educators, families with kids, etc? For example, the Bangkok Fairs have a reputation for hiring experienced overseas educators while some Fairs are known for hiring mostly seasoned couples.

Tell us about YOUR experiences this recruiting season. Why did you select one Recruiting Fair over another? Did your instincts prove valid? Did you sign a contract? This information will greatly help colleagues recruiting in 2015!

Thank you!

Tell Recruiters + Colleagues About YOUR Recruiting Experience

whathaveyourlearned43140067  ….Here’s an opportunity to share your recruiting experiences with colleagues and recruiters alike.  Yes, administration, represented by ALL the major recruiting agencies are also ISR members. We are certain they will see your comments. So, in the spirit of helping recruiters meet the needs of educators and schools AND keeping colleagues informed, we invite you to share YOUR recruiting experiences along with your thoughts and comments.

Here are some examples of what you might want to share: Was the recruiting fair you attended what you anticipated? Please elaborate: What worked? What did not work? Were you impressed with the organization of the event? Would you attend a fair sponsored by the same group again? Is there anything you would suggest be done differently to improve the experience for candidates? If you’re school administration, how would you improve the recruiting fair experience for schools seeking teachers? Would you recommend this venue to colleagues? Why? Why not?

To get started, use your mouse to select and copy the green text, below.  Then scroll down and paste the text into the ‘Leave a Reply’ box.  Supply answers to points 1-4 and add comments. Include as much information as you like. Please keep comments constructive in nature! Avoid rants which may mysteriously disappear!

Select + Copy green text:

1) Recruiting Agency:
2) Event Location:
3) Event Date:
4) Number of previous fairs attended:
COMMENTS:

Now scroll down.
Paste copied text into ‘Leave a Reply’ box + begin. Thank you!

136 Countries Where U.S. Teachers Have Their Human Rights Violated

gary_sanford by Gary Sanford

More than 7,000 U.S. citizens teach in 195 schools in 136 countries. Many, if not most, of these schools are accredited by U.S. accrediting agencies, private organizations that are legitimized by the U.S. Department of Education and receive financial assistance from the Department of State’s Office of Overseas Schools.

I taught abroad for 13 years in four different countries and I can testify that teachers are treated in ways that would not be tolerated in stateside schools: Administrators routinely bully and lie to teachers, fire teachers without due process, violate contracts, withhold salaries, and engage in many forms of discrimination. Obviously, my experiences alone cannot adequately support my claims; however, I have crossed paths with many teachers in the milieu of international education and I can say…..read more

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Is Teaching Abroad Right for ME as a New Teacher? by: Dr. Barbara Spilchuk, ISR On line Teacher Consultant

choice41516506Each year more and more university students are choosing to go abroad after they’ve finished their Education degree. Many come to me asking the question: “Is international teaching the right choice for me?” This is not a question I can easily answer for young people choosing to make their first teaching experience an international one. All I can do is tell the students to consider the following three questions:

Have you traveled abroad before? The answer to this question may seem unimportant; however, young teachers who have international experiences, even travel experiences with their families, have a greater understanding of the cultural differences they might experience when they go abroad. This greater understanding will set them up for a better chance of success in a country where the life experience is significantly different from what they are used to.

Are you LEAVING or GOING? The answer to this question is pretty critical. If a young teacher simply cannot find work in his/her own country, and s/he feels that an international teaching experience is the only option left to begin a teaching career, this is not the best reason for going abroad. Why do I say this? I say this because when you make a decision about your career, you should make the decision to GO to someplace, not LEAVE some place, for whatever reason. Every time I’ve made a decision to LEAVE some place, it has not been as productive for me as when I have made a decision to GO to a specific place. It is all in the mind-set. Let me explain:

If I am leaving some place for a reason that is not positive (i.e.: I cannot get a job, I’ve had an argument with my family or friend, I’m trying to escape an existing poor work situation), then my mind is not on the future….It is on the past because I have not reconciled myself with whatever the issue was that has prompted me to LEAVE. I have learned that it is better for me to be at peace with whatever situation is at ‘home’ before I decide to GO to a new place. This way my mind is fully situated in the future and I have a better chance of success with no regrets for my past. An exception to this rule is if    the situation ‘at home’ is a dangerous one that you need to remove yourself    from.

Do you have a specific place in mind where you would like to GO?  Have you done your homework on the host country’s people, customs, environment, politics? Not every international teaching location is good for every young teacher…or for every seasoned teacher, for that matter! Knowing something about the country you may be going to BEFORE you accept a contract can help you stay out of difficulty. Customs, traditions, religious beliefs, gender or racial issues or biases, economic demographics, attitude towards foreigners, health and safety issues, just to name a few considerations, should be explored BEFORE you sign a contract!

I shake my head when I get a letter from a young teacher that says s/he feels isolated or unwelcome within their community and they want to break contract. Did you check to see what the situation was in that community BEFORE you agreed to sign the contract? How did you check? Did you ask to speak to teachers already there? Did you talk to someone from your embassy? Did you research online? Did you read the ISR reviews of the school you would be going to BEFORE you signed your contract? Better yet, did you try to find a travel partner to go with? I always recommend that new international teachers go in pairs, either with their spouse or with another ‘newbie’. That way there is a built-in support system in the new location to help with the cultural and isolation transition.

There are so many things to consider when choosing International Education as your first choice when moving into your education career after completing university. I encourage you to think things over carefully and if you have questions or comments, just scroll down and post your thoughts. I’ll be keeping an eye on this Blog and will be more than happy to help you with your decision-making! 

What’s It Really Like to Live in The Americas?

americas6842230What’s It Really Like to Live in the AMERICAS? expands  the conversation to the continents of the Americas. Do you live in North, Central or South AMERICA?

Do YOU have comments & insights to share with colleagues regarding the pleasures & challenges of life in the Americas? Please do! International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is ALL about!

• What is the BEST & the WORST of living in the AMERICAS?
• Do you recommend living in the AMERICAS or are you counting the days?

What’s It Really Like to Live in the AMERICAS? JOIN the Conversation HERE!

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See all the continents included in the
What’s it Really like to Live Here Series
Asia / Africa / The Americas /Europe / Middle East

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What’s It Really Like to Live in EUROPE?

europe_13741541What’s It Really Like to Live in EUROPE? expands the conversation to the European continent Do you have comments/insights/tips to share with colleagues regarding the pleasures & challenges of life in EUROPE? Please do! TELL us your thoughts: International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is ALL about!

What is the BEST & the WORST of living in EUROPE?
Do you recommend living in EUROPE or are you counting the days?

What’s It Really Like to Live in EUROPE? JOIN the Conversation HERE!

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See all the continents included in the
What’s it Really like to Live Here Series
Asia / Africa / the Americas / Europe /
Middle East

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What’s It Really Like to Live in Asia?

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What’s It Really Like to Live in ASIA? expands the conversation to the continent of ASIA. Do you live in the Far East, southern or western Asian nations?

Do YOU Have comments & insights to share with colleagues regarding the pleasures & challenges of life in ASIA? Please do! International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is ALL about!

TELL us your thoughts:
• What is the BEST & the WORST of living in ASIA?
• Do you recommend living in ASIA OR are you counting the days

Scroll down to Join In the Conversation!

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See all the continents included in the
What’s it Really like to Live Here Series
Asia / Africa / the  Americas /Europe / Middle East

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What Is It Really Like to Live in Africa?

africa5670469

You’ve done your research & picked a school or locale for the main focus of your recruiting efforts. But, WAIT! You’re not just recruiting for a job, but, more importantly, for the overseas adventure of a lifetime! We know you want your social/cultural immersion/home life to be equally as rewarding & fulfilling as your in-school life. After all, as international educators we go overseas for a life-enriching experience, don’t we?

If you live & teach in an African country, we hope you’ll share with colleagues–What is it really like to live in your area?

TELL us your thoughts:
• What is the BEST & the WORST of living in Africa?

• Do you Recommend living in Africa
OR are you counting  the days?

Have a QUESTION about lifestyle in the nations of the African continent? ASK them here! There’s no substitute for candid, first-hand information from teachers in the city where you, too, may soon be living & working!

International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is ALL about! In the upcoming weeks ISR will explore the lifestyle of Asia, Latin America & Europe.

Scroll down to JOIN the Conversation!

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See all the continents included in the
What’s it Really like to Live Here Series
Asia / Africa / the  Americas /Europe / Middle East

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The Art of Emailing School Directors

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Whether you plan to go it alone or attend a recruiting fair, there is an Art to composing emails in response to advertised international teaching positions. When it comes to promoting yourself via email, we think you’ll find the following Tips particularly helpful for “getting your foot in the door.” Posted to the ISR by an anonymous Director, the following emailing-insights are sure to benefit candidates and Directors alike:

Make the Subject Line of Your Email Useful: No one needs another email titled “Job Vacancy” or “Application.”  I already have 75 of each in my email folder, and it doesn’t motivate me to go back for a second look at any of them when I know it’ll take me forever to find the one I’m interested in. Put your name and desired position in the Subject line. At least then I’ll be able to find you when I realize I actually do need a math teacher after all.

Properly Name Your Credentials: Name them the way they’re written on the official document you were given. If you claim to have a “teaching certificate from the University of Pennsylvania,” I know you’re wrong. US Universities do not grant teaching certificates. Which means I have to decide whether you’re just being inaccurate (you did the courses at UPenn, and then the state of PA issued a certificate) or you’re making it up.

List Subjects You’re Qualified and/or Certified to Teach: It bothers me when candidates put down a laundry list. It’s not about what you personally feel capable of teaching, it’s what you’re officially recognized as qualified to teach. If you feel you can teach more, put it in your personal statement. That way we don’t get to the interview or even further along, and later find out it was all a waste of time because the country I’m in won’t issue a work Visa unless you have a legal credential.

Avoid Fluff and Filler:  Fluff and inflation bother me no end. When someone has a position for 1 or 2 years and they have 10-12 bullet point accomplishments, I get bored and move on when most of their “accomplishments” are just regular job duties. I know you taught classes, gave tests, met with parents and attended staff meetings. Those are not accomplishments.

Compose an Excellent Cover Letter: Give me a well-written cover letter, specific to my school. Don’t write a generic cover letter and then slip my school name and country name into a few blank spots–make it really specific to my school. I will love it if I can tell you did your homework, you checked out our website thoroughly, know our mission statement, noticed that we’re an EAL not an ESL school. You’ve possibly talked to some people who have worked here (feel free to name them). Show me you know some relevant bits about the country and culture, and do all this not by quoting the mission statement (trust me, I already know it), but by crafting a letter which incorporates key words and concepts and by stating clearly, directly, how your personal ethos and experience match up with my school’s ethos and direction.

Tell Me What Positions You’re Applying for:  Don’t tell me you want position x, y, z, p or q, because that just tells me you want a job above all costs. You’ll appear too desperate, even though it might be true. Pick one or two positions and stick to them. If I like your letter, but for some reason you can’t have the position you named, and your letter gave the impression that you might be flexible, I’ll contact you and ask if you’d be willing to consider a different post.

If  There’s Anything Out of the Ordinary, Discuss it Now: You have a spouse who isn’t a teacher? Explain what he/she will be doing while you’re teaching. What are your expectations? Most countries have some sort of limitations in terms of trailing spouses, so I need to know at the start if what your spouse is after will match up with my country’s reality.

Scroll down  to comment on this topic / add tips of your own

Speaking About Bullying

 Crisis in the International Classroom

Bullying is a deservingly hot topic right now. It is not just physical aggression such as a kick or a surreptitious pinch. It is also behavior such as purposeful exclusion and saying hateful words to others. Bullying behavior is not just direct meanness, but also indirect meanness, such as when a child or group of children tells everyone not to play or interact with one child. Bullying is also destroying a child’s reputation and likeability via the Internet, know as cyber bullying.

 In a Bullying Questionnaire (Dr. Dan Olweus), 524,000 American elementary, middle, and high school students responded, anonymously. Nearly 20% of elementary school students reported they had been targets of bullying behavior at least two or three times during the past month and in that same study, between 5% and 10% of elementary school students admitted to bullying others two to three times in the past month.

It is especially alarming to learn how little we teachers know about bullying that occurs among the students we teach. In a Canadian study, researchers observed behavior on the playground and in classrooms, and recorded an incident of bullying behavior on average of every seven minutes. Adults intervened in only 4% of these incidents. Even more amazing is the fact that when they observed classrooms, researchers noted that adults intervened in only 14% of the incidents that happened when they were present, while 71% of these same adults reported that they “nearly always” intervened in bullying incidents.

ISR would like to start the Bullying Conversation here. Does your school have a policy in place to deal with Bullying, including Cyber-Bullying? Do parents and administrators get involved with identifying and stopping those who bully at your school? Have you found techniques that work in your classroom and/or the social areas of school (hallways, cafeteria, playground) to prevent bullying? Do you, as a teacher, see an increase in Bullying amongst international students?

Weigh-in now with your thoughts on Bullying in International Schools: Scroll to read/post comments

and…Baby Makes 3 – Planning a Family Overseas

If you’re planning to start or expand your family while overseas, be aware  that not all schools view pregnancy in a positive light. In fact, some schools  see pregnancy as an irreconcilable disruption to a teacher’s duties and grounds for dismissal. Be extra diligent about doing your homework before deciding on a school–you certainly don’t need any surprises for your family  or career when you announce, “We’re pregnant!”

Doing your home work is about more than just your school’s maternity policy. Also  consider: Should you have your baby in the host country or return home? Will not knowing  the local language be a problem for you and your spouse? What’s the professional level of medical care in your host country? Can you find quality child daycare when you return to  work? These, and other questions are topics you’ll want to thoroughly explore.

To start your decision-making process we recommend that you read the ISR Article,  Planning a Family Overseas. Written by a veteran international educator who brought  two boys into the world while teaching overseas, this article offers sound advice and discusses many of the pros and cons of having a child overseas.

For answers to questions pertaining to your own personal situation, we invite you to visit our Overseas Pregnancy Blog (scroll down) where you can ask specific questions about the maternity leave policy at various schools, the level of medical care available in locations around the world,  and any other questions on your mind. If you have started or expanded your family while overseas and wish to share the experience and possibly answer queries from your international colleagues, the ISR Oversees Pregnancy Blog is the place to visit (scroll down).

Which School Should I Choose for My Child?

Dear Dr. Spilchuk/ ISR On Line Consultant

Our family is considering three international schools in London, UK for our child to register in. We have applied to all three of them and it looks as though we will have a choice. Two of the schools have IB starting from Elementary through Middle School and into High School. The third school has the American curricula up to Grade 9 and then in high school, the IB Program begins (you have the choice of staying with the American curriculum at that point or putting your child in IB). The third school has a slightly better location for us as well as swim facilities, however…
Click HERE to read complete statement & Dr. Spilchuk’s response.

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Telling Your School Goodbye

Breaking the news that you’re planning on going recruiting should elicit supportive responses from your school admin. Most likely they’ll wish you luck and ask which schools or locations you’ve set your sights on, effective Directors are happy to help you in any way they can. Many schools even provide paid leave-days specifically for recruiting.

Moving on should be smooth sailing, but some of our colleagues have discovered not all schools are supportive. In fact, there are schools that go so far as to forbid teachers from taking days off, paid or unpaid, to attend recruiting fairs. These same schools often refuse to provide letters of reference for departing staff. An ISR member recently advised on the rough ‘break away’ from such a school:

If the school “forbid” me to attend a fair, I would have to put my foot down and confront this ridiculous policy. You won’t get paid for a week, but at least you’ll give your future and your dreams the best possible shot. Plus (and this may be the best benefit), you will pave the way for co-workers in the future to have the basic right of attending a fair. So tell your current school, “I need this week off without pay, because I’m going to a recruiting fair. Thanks for your understanding.” Just hope they are not completely insane and fire you, but who wants to live their life in that world, anyway?

Recruiting can and should be exciting and rewarding, filled with anticipation of new possibilities and adventures to come! Have YOU told your school you’re planning to go recruiting this season? What was their reaction? To share your experiences or seek advice, we invite you to take advantage of our Telling Your School Goodbye Blog.

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Host National Principal Vs Foreign Hire — Is One Better Suited for the Position?

Dear Dr. Spilchuk / ISR On Line Consultant

The issue of the principal being a host national as opposed to foreigner is a big debate here. As I am the only educator on the School Board, I battle sometimes about prioritizing the schools needs. As a result, I have been requested to write an analysis of the qualities of a successful international school, mainly the characteristics of a successful international school principal. I tend to stress the need for a native English speaker and a qualified foreigner in that position; solely because we haven’t found a host national who fulfills the leadership role properly AND speaks competent English

I’d like to know what qualities are the most valuable in a principal: e.g. nationality, language silks, educational background, good relations with the teachers, academic knowledge leadership skills, competing skills,  social networking, business skills, administration skills, etc. If you can give me  a prioritized list or general description, I would really appreciate it…Click HERE to read complete statement & Dr. Spilchuk’s response.

Scroll down to share your opinion on this topic.

The Art of International School Management

Our previous blog, Safe, Sound & Far Away is focused on schools that use threats and intimidation to discourage staff from posting to the ISR web site. While this tactic apparently works in the short run, once safely out of the country, teachers clearly spread the word about these suppressive institutions.

Obviously not all schools see ISR as a threat. Among the many informative postings to this Blog, one that caught our attention closes with this comment from the director of The International School of Macao: “Issuing gag orders is not a solution. The best solution is to create a culture and community where feedback is sought and handled in more constructive ways. This is what we are working towards.”

This statement resonates harmoniously here at ISR. We’d like to share the complete posting from the Director of the Macao School and ask for your comments. We’re certain many of us will be standing in line at the next recruiting fair for a chance to work in this environment!

Howie says:
June 28, 2012
“As a school, we have taken a different approach to ISR. Considering that many prospective teachers are going to use ISR to check up on the school, I believe most schools monitor (or should monitor) the posts therein. ISR gives a perspective of a school. Multiple perspectives are needed in order to effectively gauge the culture of a school. We encourage all prospective candidates to contact as many people on staff as they want. When they want to know about the cost of living in Macau, we point them to a staff survey that lists differing perspectives.
At the end of each year, I forward the latest 2 reviews to all of the staff who are leaving and ask them to consider giving their own review–this includes staff whose contracts we have chosen not to renew.
This year someone wrote a scathing review accusing me of being a bully. What do you do? I chose to expose it to all of the staff. Why? I wanted staff to be aware of it for a few reasons:
1. Bullying behaviour has no place in a school. I gave explicit permission for any staff member to confront any bullying behaviour they saw in me or in anyone else on staff.
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2. I hoped that the person would come forward so we could find some reconciliation. Clearly this person was hurt.
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3. Remind staff of appropriate channels for feedback and concerns. If they couldn’t come to me then there were many others safe channels.
v
4. Avoid the gossip mill. Hiding things only makes it worse. ISR is here to stay.

Do these concepts coincide with the reality at your school? If not, is there a way to introduce this approach to running a school for YOUR school’s management team? We’re certain many schools see ISR as a constructive tool as opposed to a threat and sounding board for “disgruntled” teachers. We encourage directors and teachers to weigh in on this topic.

Just for FUN

The school year’s over! Let’s lighten things up for the summer months & step-back a bit from the more serious topics we usually tackle here at ISR…

An interesting topic, Just for FUN, recently appeared on the ISR Forum. Responses from participants caught our eye & aroused our curiosity, so just for fun we’ve decided to share this intriguing transplant from the Forum with the entire ISR audience:

It’s summer & I’m dreaming about traveling overseas. 
Just for FUN
, let’s talk about the following:
Best overseas food
Strangest overseas food you’ve tried
Best beer/spirits
Best festival/event
Best place you went for vacation overseas
Here’s how a few Teachers responded:
Mike
Best overseas food: Japan!
Strangest overseas food you’ve tried: raw Sea urchin
Best beer/spirits: Polish Beer tents on  warm spring day!
Best festival/event: Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur
Best place you went for vacation while overseas: Kenya Safari
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PsyGuy
Best overseas food: Italy!
Strangest overseas food you’ve tried: Monkey Brains, China 
Best beer/spirits: Cold draft Tiger beer, hot South Asian day
Best festival/event: Full Moon, Thailand
Best place you went for vacation while overseas: Brazil
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Anon
Best overseas food: Everything on a Kerala houseboat
Strangest overseas food you’ve tried: Squiggly white African grubs
Best beer/spirits: German beer
Best festival/event: Munich’s birthday
Best place you went for vacation while overseas: Camera safari-India
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Now it’s YOUR Turn to Share YOUR Favorites!
Just copy the list with the yellow squares (above) into memory. Then paste it into your reply box –  next, supply the answers.

The Private Lives of International School Directors

Dear ISR, Teachers at my school are overly concerned and gossipy when it comes to our director’s private life. He may not exemplify how they choose to live, but he is honest, hard working, treats us all equally and fairly and has the students’ and teachers’ best interests at heart. Under his leadership our school has made giant strides in academics and technology. He’s a natural leader and knows what he’s doing. Yet there are teachers here who go out of their way to bad-mouth him and subvert his efforts because they say he leads a far from “Christian” lifestyle.

So, he likes to drink after school, smoke and frequent the local clubs. He dates local women, dresses a bit on the eccentric side and drives a sports car. But like I said, he is the most supportive, concerned leader I have had the privilege to work under. The students love him. He even got the board to approve better health insurance, WiFi in the classrooms and much needed supplies.

My question is this: Why should it be anyone’s concern how the school leader spends his time outside school? Are we educators or etiquette models? I personally think some of these teachers should get off their high horse and drop that holier-than-thou attitude and appreciate the fact they have an outstanding leader.

I’m curious how it is at other schools and would like to hear from other teachers on this topic. Thanks ISR.