Recruiting Annoyances Can Make Ya CRaZY!

annoyance2266059NO prospective nibbles so far …. One week after the interview and no news …. What if the school admin changes their mind? …. Schools in Sudan are not even contacting us …. My husband accidentally hit the Skype-camera button while only in his underwear!

Recruiting for International teaching positions is full of annoyances, replete with uncertainty and self-doubt that can throw even the most seasoned of us into an emotional tailspin. Are the emotional highs and lows worth it? Experienced international educators answer with a resounding YES, but going through it in isolation can be tough.

The ISR Recruiting Annoyances Blog was created specifically for sharing recruiting-related thoughts and experiences. Here’s an opportunity to “blow off a little steam” and offer fellow candidates feedback and support….and get some for yourself. Staying in tune with the progress, experiences and reactions of colleagues will help us ALL understand our individual situation and might even add some stress relief, as well!

…………..Recruiting Annoyances:

“So far, our job search has gotten us diddly squat. One ‘see ya at the fair,’ a couple of ‘your resume has been forwarded to so and so,’ and one outright rejection. In a way, I actually prefer the rejection; at least that means they’re communicating with us and our resumes haven’t just been thrown into a void. Any one else in this boat?”

“My nerves are frayed after signing a contract at the AASSA fair. I have not heard a word from anyone. People are coming to my house to buy my furniture; the realtor is listing my house, and no word. What if they change their mind? I am in a very difficult position if they do. Nothing seems to be easy, whether you get offered a job or not. Either way, we teachers seem to have to just wait, and wait, and wait. Any advice?”

“He accidentally clicked ‘camera’ and there he was in his underwear! We had our third Skype interview early this morning. Unfortunately, due to extreme time differences we needed to be up very early. My husband woke late and barely made it to the computer BUT during the interview he accidentally clicked the camera ON and there he was, sitting in his underwear!! The head of school and department head quickly excused themselves and said they would be contacting us again at a later date. Now what?”

We originally published this Article in 2013.

It will be interesting to compare teachers’ comments
from 2013 with those added in 2016.  

In what ways has the recruiting process evolved in the past 3 years?

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!

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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Waiting to Hear Back

Dear Dr. Spilchuk,

waiting40855462I’m curious as to how long it normally takes to hear back from a school after interviewing for an international teaching position? I attended the ISS fair in San Francisco and am also a member of TIE online. Most recently I had Skype conversations with schools in China, Saudi, and Kuwait. The conversations went well but it’s two weeks later and I have heard nothing.

 
I am wondering how long it typically takes to hear back from schools? My dream is to teach in an international school but it is very frustrating to send emails resumes, etc and then hear nothing. Thoughts, advice appreciated.
 
With warm regards,

Looking to work abroad

Hello ‘Looking to work abroad’,

I understand that it is very frustrating when people you have interviewed with do not let you know within a reasonable time period whether or not they want you for a position. I would tend to think that after two weeks the school has decided to hire someone else. Perhaps you could follow up with each school by sending the following email to the person who interviewed you to ascertain their position regarding employing you:
 
“Thank you for the opportunity to interview for a position at your school via Skype on _______.    I believe I would be a good fit for your school. However, I must make a decision to ensure international employment for next year and other opportunities have been presented to me that I must consider. Can you please confirm, in writing, whether I am still a candidate you are considering for a position next year? If I am, when might you offer me a contract?”
 
If the school is still ‘thinking’ of hiring you, they will respond. If they have already found a candidate, they most likely will not.
 
Good luck!
Barbara

Home for the Holidays

airlinepassenger32913056When I first moved overseas to teach in an International School, I returned home to my family and friends every winter vacation. Homecomings were a much needed reunion. But as the years passed and 3 turned into 6, then 11, I made the homeward holiday-trek less and less, opting instead to travel or just stay put. I love and miss family and friends, but holiday visits began to leave me feeling like an outsider.

While overseas I have missed the birth of my sister’s son, my dad’s battle with cancer, my aunt’s 90th birthday bash. I was in the rain forests of Ecuador when my beloved uncle passed and didn’t get the news until weeks after the funeral. I even missed my closest friend’s wedding. Through years and miles of separation I have slowly slipped into the status of distant friend and relative.

I’ve come to realize my friends and family live in different worlds than do I, both literally and figuratively. I never considered this would be an outcome of my overseas lifestyle. My sister is a corporate climber and my good friends are now mostly focused on the material pleasures their incomes’ can buy. Stories of civil wars or meditating in an ancient Buddhist temple or climbing the pyramids in Mexico don’t register with them. Sadly, the unspoken nuances of our conversation that once united us are no longer there.

By the end of a holiday visit I am anxious to return to my overseas life and it’s a bittersweet departure. Yet this year I’m making the trip “home” again because even though my loved ones and I live in different worlds, just being together at the holidays says it all.

Happy Holidays and safe travels, Michelle @ ISR

Does this story resonate with you?
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Be Prepared for Tough Interview Questions

confused44040691Credentials, enthusiasm and a burning desire to teach overseas describes nearly 100% of recruiting-fair candidates. So, how do you set yourself above the bar with so many high caliber candidates competing for the same positions?

A Director’s gut feeling about how you’ll fit into and adapt to their school and geographical location certainly plays a big part in the decision-making process. For some hardship locations, a “good fit” may be more important than actual years of teaching experience and advanced degrees. But when it comes to competing for the most desirable schools, your answers to some unexpected interview questions can easily make or break the deal:

Tell me about yourself. What’s your greatest contribution to your last school? If I walked into your classroom, what would I see? How will your past or current Director describe you when I dial them up? How would your students describe you? Teach me something right now! What’s the last article or book you read on teaching? Which educational journals do you subscribe to? Tell me about a conflict you resolved.

Answering tough interview questions is something you definitely don’t want to do impromptu. Of course, if you’re thrown a curve ball you have to swing at it, but anticipating and honing your answers to possible interview questions is obviously the best way to prepare for a successful interview. You just might be Teacher of the Year material but if you can’t convince the interviewer of that, all is for naught.

The Job Search Minute is a collection of 69 one-minute videos exploring the answers to a wide variety of tough interview questions. We highly recommend this series for all teaching candidates. For questions specific to International Teaching, we invite you to Scroll Down to post and solicit responses to interview questions you could use some help with. We encourage you to also post and answer your own questions so we all can learn from each others’ knowledge.

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Philippines School Information Exchange

typhoon12116309Many International Educators are searching for information on the status of colleagues who were teaching in the Philippines when typhoon Yolanda hit. Additionally, teachers who have been recruited to teach in the Philippines in the upcoming school year have questions about the future of their  schools.

Focusing on the possible loss of a job is certainly trivial when compared to the magnitude of the catastrophic events that took place in the Philippines. ISR in no manner means to diminish in any way the tragedy that took place, however, for teachers whose livelihood is their job, this is a topic that merits attention.

To ask questions and share information with colleagues on all topics related to the Philippines Typhoon incident,  please scroll down to post.

Click here to visit web site of
International School Manilla, Philippines,
and contribute to their relief efforts

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For Newbies: Advice for Landing Overseas Teaching Positions is on the ISR Forum

new42394915If you’re new to International Teaching & want someone to evaluate your chances of landing an Overseas position, who do you turn to for advice? Hands down, the best individuals to consult would be International Educators already in the field & teaching candidates in your same situation who have already picked up useful information. With this thought in mind, prospective overseas teachers regularly post details of their qualifications & unique family situations to the ISR Forum. They then invite Forum members to offer personalized advice. Here’s some recent examples from the ISR Forum: See full article / Post & Reply to Recruiting Questions

Successful Recruiting with ISR

dice25867895As International Educators we leave our home countries to immerse ourselves in new, exotic lands & to enjoy the unique opportunity of teaching students from many cultures. Of the 6 schools in which I taught, 4 were outstanding examples of what the International teaching experience should be. Unfortunately, 2 of the 6 were such utter disasters they nearly destroyed my desire to pursue a career in International education. We all want to avoid such schools!

It’s truly upsetting to hear about educators being taken advantage of by supposed ‘entrepreneurs’ who have disguised their get-rich plans to look like an International school. At International Schools Review we strive to make your recruiting efforts successful by helping you steer clear of these schools. We do this by hosting in-depth & candid reviews of International schools around the globe. As recounted in many of the 6500+ Reviews we host, most International schools are wonderfully enriching, but care needs to be taken to avoid those that are not.

Yes, ISR has been accused of hosting Reviews written by merely “disgruntled” teachers. But, when dozens+ of such Reviews exist for a particular school, we can no longer question the validity of the claims. As we’ve seen time and again, taking a Pollyanna-ish approach to researching schools can be detrimental to your career & personal safety.

ISR encourages you to do your homework & thoroughly research any school you may be considering. We invite you to visit our Members’ Area to read what teachers have to say about their experiences in an uncensored, up-front & candid way. We also invite you to Share with colleagues your personal approach to safe International school recruiting. How do YOU insure your experience will be a positive one?

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Recruiting Trends: 2013 & Beyond

acceptposition44033302Like most everything in our lives, the internet is remodeling the way we recruit for overseas teaching positions. Skype, the online video communication web site, has already proven successful for educators striving to interview for overseas positions while avoiding the high-priced recruiting fairs, often referred to as ‘cattle calls’.

Although a viable interview option, Skype just doesn’t transmit the subtle body language, mannerisms & expressions we perceive when actually face-to-face, across the table from a school director, particularly if that school director is not being exactly honest about their school. Of course, ISR School Reviews can compensate for that.

In between the extremes of attending a recruiting fair & Skyping for a job, are the recruiting web sites that invite candidates to submit sound/video recordings to complement their professional files. So far, these venues have shown limited candidate participation. Some theorize the problem is that many teachers lack the technical savvy to record/upload their video. Others say it could it be because most overseas teachers are in areas where a high-speed connection is not available. There may be some truth to both arguments.

Recently in the U.S., the GED (high school equivalency test) switched to a 100% computer-based testing format. Organizations that prepare test takers express that abandoning a paper & pencil based testing procedure unfairly doomed those with limited computer skills, to failure. An opposing view suggests the digital version of the test simultaneously tests for the basic computer proficiency necessary to function in today’s society. Is it possible recruiting agencies may develop their web sites to a degree that would exclude teaching candidates with insufficient computer skills?

International School Services (ISS), a major player in the recruiting world, recently added on-request candidate interviews to their web site. A school interested in a specific candidate may now send an interview request along with three questions. (As an aside, we can’t help but wonder why the process does not permit candidates to send three questions back at the director?) Using a web cam, the candidate records/uploads a video. ISS has simplified the process beyond anything we’ve seen so far, requiring only a rudimentary knowledge of computers. At first glance, it looks like the system will serve best to support the initial weeding-out process.

International Schools Review was recently invited to preview a web site in which candidates & directors participated in a prescheduled, on line recruiting event. The venue was slated for a specific day/time & all participants logged in & interacted in real-time. To our knowledge the idea is under further development.

What does the future of International Teacher recruiting look like? Will candidates be completely vetted for a position on line, making showing up at the recruiting conference a formality? Will recruiting conferences become a thing of the past? Will candidates lacking in technical abilities be excluded ? What level of technical ability is reasonable to expect from teaching candidates in the future? What level of technology do you see already incorporated into the recruiting process?

Misdirected Directors

watercooler4219380International School Directors have been known to say some of the damndest things. Many of ISR’s 6500+ School Reviews are replete with absurd, abusive, & racist expressions International School Heads have slung at their faculties. Back home, such comments would have cost them their jobs & most likely their future in education. Overseas, however, where they make the rules, it’s a different story.

Here’s a sample of the startling comments teachers report hearing from the mouths of those entrusted with guiding our international institutions of learning & the future of our careers:

The Director General was quoted as saying…I’m interested in hiring interns, Filipinos & Indians because they are cheap & will do as they are told.

The director’s response to teachers & support staff when they provided input to expand & improve the academic plan…No! Those students are far too low to receive any help.

A teacher in D.R. Congo in the process of adopting a Congolese orphan asked the director if she could enroll the boy in the school...I don’t want any poor Black kids in my school!

The Principal’s words to my friend whom he fired…I am not obliged to tell you a reason.

Even though Ms. W was fired by her previous employer (an investigation found she conspired to boost test scores), our school hired her, saying…We didn’t think it was anything significant.

Her (the director’s) proclaimed ‘vision’ for the school…Simple. It’s my way or the highway.

Any teachers who complain are overtly bullied & told…You will never teach again.

The director told us who he likes to hire...I like younger, cheaper teachers – not necessarily good teachers.

He does not visit classrooms & in regards to his faculty said…
I do not know their qualifications, nor even who they are.

Fortunately, there ARE consequences for these comments! You can avoid these Schools & Directors by reading Reviews on ISR. We recommend you play it safe this recruiting season & learn from those who have gone before you. There’s NO need to leave your career to chance.

Do you have some choice comments to add to this discussion?  Scroll Down to Post

International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed
is what ISR is All About!

a Diary from the Recruiting Fair Front

p

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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School Daze in China

Dear ISR, I just moved to China and have to tell you that this is my very first experience out of Australia and I’m in over my head. I came here expecting one thing and got another. Nothing is as the director said it would be at the conference. I feel super deceived and don’t know what to do.

My apartment is small and in a not-so-good part of town. No one around me speaks a word of English and they stare at me as if I were from another planet. Actually, I’m starting to feel like I am from another planet. The food is strange, the air stinks, my eyes hurt and I already know this isn’t going to be good for my allergies.

The director painted a picture of a garden spot–this is a hell hole. Now what? I’m sure my experience is not unique. I wish I had discovered your web site before I took this job. Has anyone at ISR been in this position? I could use some advice!

Guilty Until Proven Innocent – by Dorje Gurung

dorje-medium“On May 2 they paraded me, in handcuffs, in front of five different prosecutors  in different rooms at the Public Prosecution office. I don’t know what the first four prosecutors and the guy taking me around exchanged between them – everything  was in Arabic. But, with the fifth one, they provided an English interpreter on my insistence. Otherwise it would have been Hindi or Urdu.

“The second trip to the Public Prosecution office on Sunday, May 5, I faced a prosecutor who spoke English. Again we had the same exchanges I had had the previous visit but with one important difference. I would have to produce witnesses in court to prove my innocence, he informed me. In other words, I was guilty unless I proved myself innocent.” Read more

Let’s Talk: Legal Matters

hammerIt can be stressful here at ISR when a school or attorney threatens us. Usually they express outrage over a poor Review or a critical Comment and want it removed. These schools would like us to prune Reviews to represent their school as they think they should be seen rather than as Reviewed by their teachers on ISR.

Some excerpts from recent mail:

We consider this as an abuse from an unethical few teachers. And you as professionals, we expect you to take action towards these reviews, or at least remove their posts. Otherwise, unfortunately we have to take a legal action towards the owners of the web site.

If all libellous comments are not removed within 31 days of this notice, or libels are repeated in the future, legal action will be taken in the US, UK and Malaysia, and substantial compensation will be sought.

What has been posted on your web site is a pack of lies by people who failed to do their jobs and were let go during the two month probation period. Also please note, that what’s written under Director Report is personal slander and libel. If you don’t remove the post immediately you will hear from the school lawyer. (see blog for more letters)

You will be receiving a letter shortly from our attorney.

I hope you will see the wisdom of this request as if not I am authorised to begin legal proceedings against your company as we consider you to have been complicit in this libel. If the material is deleted we will consider the matter closed.

I formally request that all comments that are personally related to myself (and totally inaccurate) are removed before I decide to take legal action. I await your confirmation of removal of the slanderous / libelous comments…

We should add that in light of the nature of the violating content and your refusal to cooperate the damages could be substaintial….You should take legal advice if you are in any doubt abut the seriousness of this matter. Please confirm if you have instructed lawyers and, if so, ask them to confirm they are authorized to accept proceedings on your behalf.

Of course, we take these letters seriously. Still, we’re waiting for someone to call and lavishly praise ISR for the outstanding reviews we host of  their school and leadership.

ISR would like to confirm that when you join ISR you become a member of a global network of International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed. ISR does NOT remove Reviews. Although at times it would be an easy way out, we will not allow overbearing individuals to force ISR into hiding the stark truth of poor schools and/or leadership, as reported by teachers in the field.

An ISR member sums up the situation succinctly: “If these directors only worried about why so many people leave their schools and address the problems, rather than blaming others, they might actually begin to solve some problems and improve their schools in the process.”

We invite you to Scroll Down & Comment :

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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Has the Boat Already Sailed?

downgrade_29328839From the ISR Forum: “I’m only too aware of the economics of my own country and that the quality of life for us as a family of four is being sapped. This is probably the underlying reason for looking at overseas schools.

“However, after recently reading several ISR Blogs, I am concerned that the lifestyle and package of international teachers is on the decline. Many posts comment on the great packages they used to receive compared to the packages on offer now. Many posts are commenting on the increasingly high cost of living without an equitable increase in wages.

“Whilst I know we’ll never be millionaires, the opportunity to offer our kids a quality education coupled with a life overseas is definitely forefront in our minds. I am concerned, however, that once we leave the benefits of the ‘teachers pension’ and remove ourselves from UK teaching circles, we probably won’t be able to return.

“Will the future of International teachers be at least as viable as it is now? Do you think the boat has sailed? Should we weather the storm at home and forget the possibility of a better life? We’d love to hear some thoughts on this topic.”

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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! 

Are International School Directors Above the Law?

constitution19624112From the ISR Forum: “I find it difficult to understand how Americans who head International schools think they have the right to ignore American laws. I guess it’s just because they can!

“Our new Director states in job ads that he is looking for teachers under a certain age. Bingo, age discrimination! There is no retirement age here and the school’s former Director hired qualified teachers and did not care about age. There is a fairly large exodus happening at the end of this year which suits our new Director just fine. Now he can hire all the ‘little Miss Sunshines’ he wants who will bow and scrape and worship his ‘vision’.

“This year I tried to form a Teachers’ Association. Over sixty teachers and staff members signed up, but our new Director is trying to shut us down. He can barely contain his resentment and arrogance even though the American Constitution gives us the right to convene as stated in the Bill of Rights. He wants me to produce ‘data’ for the Talent Committee to submit to the Action Committee which is made up of administrators who get the final vote on whether or not a TA will be allowed. Ridiculous! In the US he would certainly be facing a law suit.

“I don’t understand how an American, one who heads an “American School” with students from the US embassy, is able to completely put aside US law, leaving us all vulnerable to his whims. I was toldcriminal that an American who breaks US constitutional law is subject to legal proceedings in the US, even though his actions took place on foreign soil. I’m not saying I am going to start a law suit, but I would like very much to hear from International educators on the topic of International Teachers’ Associations and teachers’ rights.”

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