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

November 14, 2013

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

November 6, 2013

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

October 24, 2013

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

October 10, 2013

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.

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


a Diary from the Recruiting Fair Front

September 26, 2013

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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…

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Does Teaching Overseas Help or Hurt Your Career?

September 5, 2013

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

August 29, 2013

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!