Recruiting Annoyances Can Make Ya CRaZY!

January 27, 2016

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

August 27, 2015

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

March 5, 2015

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

March 27, 2014

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

December 19, 2013

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

December 5, 2013

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

November 21, 2013

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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