The Road To Nowhere – or Somewhere?

RoadToNowhereRecruitment fairs.

One of the very best things about beginning this blog ten months ago are the friends I’ve made. I have become friends with one woman in particular who is from Texas, like me, and is completing her second year teaching overseas in Taiwan. She found me through this blog and we’ve become confidants and encouragers to one another. She was in my shoes two years ago when she travelled to her first international recruitment fair to simply “check it out”. She was considering the possibility of teaching overseas “someday”. Before the weekend was over, however, she’d been offered a position – and she took it! She remembers what it’s like to be timid and unsure when comparing yourself to others with more international experience, more degrees and certifications and more bells and whistles. Because of her, I have signed up to attend not one, but two international recruitment fairs. In my blog articles titled Should I Stay Or Should I Go, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover and Same As It Ever Was, I explained the three most well known and respected fairs: UNI, ISS and SA. With much advise and prayer, I decided to attend UNI, which is being held at the end of this week and Search Associate’s Cambridge Fair, which is being held the following week. I’m excited and scared. Here’s why:

It’s a gamble.

To be realistic, employment-seeking teachers dish out money to buy airline tickets, stay at the large, conference, upscale hotel and rent a car, for an average for 4 days, and sometimes they end up walking away with nothing. Or, they get an offer and have a couple of hours to decide if they want it. It’s tricky because there may be another school that they are hoping invites them to interview, but what if they don’t? Or, they get several offers, but hey, like me, they are planning on attending another recruitment fair the following week that’s already been paid for. Who might extend an invitation to be interviewed there? And then there’s also the possibility that if you can wait it out and be patient, a school often has late spring openings that are not announced until after ALL the fairs have concluded by end of February. Last year I tracked Art positions from March 12 – October 19 and there were an additional 52 jobs posted! Really? And the icing on the cake is that two of those 52 positions were from what I’d consider to be my “dream schools”.

From what I’ve read on International Schools Forum, it is not unusual, at the end of the day, to be at the hotel bar drinking a beer to calm your nerves, with school administrators and employment-seeking teachers and be offered a job there! I’ve read a story about how an offer was made in the elevator! I’ve been keeping up with a few people on twitter who have been at the SA London Fair for the last few days and it’s a well known fact that major networking is done on the “lifts.” And it is not unusual, in fact it is common practice, to be invited up to the hotel rooms of administrators and be interviewed in their room! Doesn’t this sound crazy? But it is common practice. For any of you readers who will be attending one of the upcoming recruitment fairs, here is a super-informative list of the “Top 9 Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs”.

So, my dear readers, wish me luck and send positive vibes my way. People of faith, please include me in your prayers. As Dr. Seuss says, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” I will do my very best to write a re-cap next week of the UNI fair. I may write it from the plane and, therefore, it may be posted late. Good luck to me and good luck to you too!

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14 thoughts on “The Road To Nowhere – or Somewhere?

  1. Suzanne says:

    Good luck and blessings at UNI, Anita. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences. A couple of my colleagues from school are attending UNI. I have some good news on my end to share–I hope to see you at Cambridge! 🙂 Safe travels.

  2. Jenny says:

    Good luck Anita , and I hope you end of having lots of fun!

  3. Lena Hobbs says:

    Anita, you continue to amaze me. I knew you well as a child and the blogs you write about of long ago are precious because of the memories they hold. Now that you are writing about your adult interests, hopes and desires, it is opening another phase in our relationship. I am becoming so involved and interested in your plans for the future. What really amazes me the most is your work ethic, your ability to create and focus on a dream, but most of all your willingness to share so freely. My prayer is that you will be blessed.

  4. Deborah says:

    Good luck and enjoy the process.

  5. Good luck. I have many friends that are going to recruitment fairs this year and they all feel the same way, so you are not alone. It can be really exciting to attend a recruitment fair. You never know what might happen. For me, my international school teaching career started at the UNI fair and I got the job at my “dream school” ! It wasn’t easy though. But with luck and good timing, I got the job. (one week after the fair, actually)

    Many thanks for highlighting our International School Community blog series about going to recruitment fairs! Keep us posted, and let us know if you would like to submit another “Lesson Learned” for our series!

    Best regards,
    International School Community

    • Dear ISC,
      Thank you so much for reading my blog! I’ve heard all good things about UNI and how the staff are so helpful. I’m very excited to be there at the end of this week. Thanks, too, for the reminder that not all offers happen at the fair…many come afterwards. I “know” that, but it’s good to be reminded. Will you give me the link to your series, “Lesson Learned”? I’ll probably have some lessons to share after going through this process! 🙂

  6. Val and Mark Turner (wayfarers) says:

    anita – it’s always so lovely to hear your thinking and progress – just to reassure you that we will be praying that God unfolds this next page on the map of your journey – and that you are hugely blessed – able to be a blessing to the people in the place where you are called – and remember that he calls you to the place where you are best suited and where you will grow to fullness…
    are you planning to come to Wayfarers this year? we missed you last year and hope to see you again
    our work with people here is unfolding in wonderful ways – doing lots of art with people – lots of quiet support and spiritual direction when wanted – teaching when appropriate – a good rythm of Quiet Days, one-to-one work and Art – and seeing people’s lives changed by God. And so we are feeling affirmed we are doing the right thing and pray that this will be your experience too! Lots of love from us both, Val and Mark x

    • My goodness! Val and Mark Turner! How wonderful it is to read your beautiful words. Thank you for commenting! I had no idea you read my blog. I’m thrilled! Thank you Soooooo much for the blessing of your prayers! That is an extravagant gift! I’m clinging on to your words: “…he calls you to the place where you are best suited and where you will grow to fullness…” Amen. If all this could “wrap up” and if I know what I’m doing in time, I would LOVE to come to Wayfarers this year! Pray for that to unfold too! If hired, I don’t have to be at my post until end of July, so I would love to spend the earlier part of the summer traveling here and there to visit my lovely friends overseas. We’ll see! Wouldn’t that be wonderful! And if so, please do promise that you’ll come to see me too, wherever that shall be… Much, much love xoxoxo

  7. Kelly says:

    You are going to have an amazing experience Anita! No matter what happens you will be rewarded for your faithfulness in following your calling with a willingness to experience the unknown, and embrace change.

    This is your journey but by taking it and faithfully sharing your experience along the way you bless us all with the witness of faith. Thank you for being an inspiration and for your generosity in sharing your journey with us!

    Love and prayers!

    Kelly

    • Kelly, thank you. What an encourager you continue to be for me. You perfectly wrote words to how I feel. I’m continually humbled knowing that what I write DOES seem to affect others on their own journeys. We’re all in this together.

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