Tag Archives: art education

Baby Steps

BabyStepsJaxson

Photo courtesy of Amanda Domingos

Choosing a recruiting agency.

Making the decision to leave your country, your family and friends is actually a giant step. When I left the USA in 2013, I didn’t personally know anyone who had ever done that. I spent over five years researching how to get a job teaching overseas.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to tell you the steps required to find an international teaching position. Each week I will post steps for you to do. If you follow along with me, you can be fully ready to interview this winter. I’m going to show you, step-by-step, what you need to do to make this happen. I’m also going to offer a detailed workbook, showcasing all of my personally designed documents that will help you with Skype interviews, prepare you for an international job fair, prepare you for an international classroom and show you how/what to pack when you move overseas.

In order to consider this possibility for next year, you must start now! The international hiring season starts today, September 1, 2016 for the following year! However, the hiring won’t swing into full throttle until January 2017. Most of the international recruiting fairs start in January and they will roll around planet Earth, scooping up teachers at each stop. There’s a lot to do…many steps, but you can do it, and I can help you.

Deciding on an International Recruiting Agency

The directions I am giving you target current teachers, or administrators, who have taught at least two years or soon-to-be education degree graduates. When selecting a recruiting agency, you may decide to use more than one. Some are free; some are not. Some are more widely used around the world than others. Some represent more kinds of international schools than others. Some are better for seasoned candidates, others are better for new educators. To begin, let’s review.

In April and May of 2012 I wrote three articles about recruiting agencies that you should read before we continue. Please take time to do this:

There are other recruiting firms, but these are the Big 3. Read these articles and then read this article posted by The Wall Street Journal and authored by Ginanne Brownell Mitic on September 30, 2015. How Was Your Child’s International Teacher Hired? 

There are some basic differences in these three recruiting companies, but after researching on your own, you should choose at least one of them. In 2012, I chose UNI and Search Associates. Both delivered everything they said they would and I was pleased with my choices. This year I am choosing Search Associates. While teaching in Istanbul, I discovered that many of my international colleagues were also represented by Search Associates. Because this is the agency I know the best, I am biased, but there are many candidates who have had equally good experiences with UNI and ISS.

After reading my above mentioned articles, I now want to mention that a few things need to be updated:

UNI: University of Northern Iowa Overseas Placement Service For Educators

Although it also serves seasoned teachers, UNI is widely known to cater to new international educators, even new university graduates. This is your best bet if you are a soon-to-be education degreed teacher who has never taught full-time in the classroom. After checking their website, I was surprised to learn their new registration fee is only $50.00. In 2012 it was $150.00! This fee allows you entry into their employment database and an open invitation to their annual recruiting fair, being held February 3-5, 2017, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. UNI works with over 120 American international schools. I didn’t realize that UNI only works with American international schools, so for those of you who prefer to teach using the British or International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, this fair may not suit you.

ISS: International Schools Services

ISS has a new, updated website that provides user-friendly maneuverability. Their registration fee is $195, opposed to $185 in 2012. This fee validates you for two years or until you obtain a teaching position in any international school, whichever comes first. ISS works with 300 schools in more than 150 countries worldwide but they do require their candidates to have a minimum of 2 years full-time classroom teaching experience. Their recruiting fairs are being held December 4-6, 2016 in Atlanta, GA; January 5-8, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand; and February 9-12 in San Francisco, CA. Additionally, ISS has developed a new event called ISS iFair® The iFair® is a recruiting fair that happens online on a particular date. International school personnel and teacher candidates will be online at the same time and interviews will be provided through a virtual booth which candidates will enter when the event is live. The ISS iFair® dates are November 19, 2016; March 22, 2017 and May 17, 2017. The iFair® may be a good alternative if you don’t have funds to travel to a traditional recruitment fair.

SA: Search Associates 

Search Associates is the largest company of the three. It works with more than 600 international schools in over 180 countries around the world. The registration fee is $225.00, opposed to $200.00 in 2012, but validates you for three hiring seasons or until you obtain a teaching position in any international school, whichever comes first. Search Associates also has the most recruiting fairs around the world, but again they do require their candidates to have a minimum of 2 years full-time classroom teaching experience. Beginning on December 9-11, 2016, SA will be in Toronto, Canada. Beginning in 2017, SA will hold fairs in Melbourne, Australia – January 3-6; in Bangkok, Thailand – January 8-11; in London, England – January 13-16; in Hong Kong, China – January 20-22; in Cambridge (Boston), MA – January 26-29; in San Francisco, CA – February 10-13; in Dubai, UAE – February 23-25; back to Bangkok, Thailand – March 9-12, and finally back to London, England – April 21-23.

Other less expensive recruiting agencies are:

Dave’s ESL Café – Free
TIE Online – $39 USD/Annually
JoyJobs –  $40 USD/Annually
TIC Recruitment – Free
Schrole – 75 AUD/Annually

These companies are also widely used but have not been around as long and may not provide the personal attention that UNI, ISS and SA provide. As I understand it, they also do not offer a recruiting fair. For this reason they may not be a good choice for teachers new to international teaching. Although I personally do not have experience with these agencies, I do keep my eye open to positions listed on their website. Some schools that cannot afford to pay membership fees may opt to use these services. Additionally, you may find schools listed here that do not require a minimum of two years of full-time teaching experience.

So have a look around. This will take some time. Once you decide which agency is best for you, you can pay your fee and start filling out their paperwork. My next post will be about what documents you need to have on hand to complete their online paperwork and what to expect from their questions.

Get busy. You’ll be glad you did. Where would you like to go?

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Let’s Get This Party Started

PartyStartedDo it.

Last week, I shared my new re-entry framework: Rest and Re-Invent. After months of resting, I’ve decided to re-invent in two directions. 1) I’m updating my archived file with Search AssociatesI’m going to move forward in securing a new international job post for next year. 2) I’ve decided to develop a published workbook and provide coaching services for teachers who want personal guidance in finding an international teaching position. Without further ado, let’s get this party started.

Since 2013, I have received emails and comments from strangers telling me they implemented the ideas I gave them through my articles which then resulted in them finding an international teaching position. Moving forward, I want to customize this and share my personal worksheets and notes that I designed for myself in finding international employment. I will soon be announcing when these materials are ready, but I’m hoping to offer this service in time for this year’s fast approaching international hiring season. In the comments section, please let me know if this would interest you, or any teacher you know.

If you are a teacher, or a soon-to-be BS in Education graduate, opportunities exist that will move your career in a positive direction and take you on adventures that you never thought possible. You will be able to pay off student debt or save a large portion of your salary. You will gain an education that no book can teach as you work along foreign colleagues and teach the children of the world in various locations too many to list! If you possess a love of learning, have an adventuresome spirit, a thirst to travel and a desire to participate in intentional community, international teaching is for you.

Please look forward to another post this week about taking your first steps in the international teaching field of education.

Where would you like to teach?

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Friends, cats, poets and artists

Try something new.

On an unusually delightful, breezy evening this week a group of curious women met on a rooftop to discuss poetry and art. This meeting was only my second time to participate in a poetry group that was formed in Dallas two years ago. Interestingly enough, two years ago I searched for a poetry group to join, but didn’t find one. I wish I had known about this group then, but eventually we found each other and I am grateful.

I’ve known two of the more-recent members of the group for over 25 years. My daughter’s day of birth was chosen because it would fall on one of these women’s birthday. The other woman and I started a monthly book club, over 20 years ago, when the idea of a book club was clever and unusual. This current poetry group consists of seven interesting women who have worked to be a part of the Dallas art scene for most of their adult lives. Many of us “know of” each other but don’t really know each other. It is because of this literary art form that we have been brought together. They would agree that choosing to live a life that includes the interdisciplinary arts gives spice to life. It is art that has flavored their days in a way that nothing else ever could have.

These women are inspiring just to be around. Their knowledge on a range of subjects is impressive. All have found ways to weave art into all that they’ve experienced and learned about over the years. This week we met in the loft of a woman who works in the education department of a local museum. She shares her loft with three cats, one of which lounged across the table we were seated at and seemed to enjoy the rhythm of the spoken words during the evening. There are artists of all kinds represented: interior designers, musicians, sculptors, publicist-journalists, gallery owners and art educators. I want to encourage you to get to know an artist if you don’t know one. Artists are curious about everything!

I’ve never spent much time getting to know poets or poems beyond the classical, school-learned variety. When my friend and I started a literary book group years ago, I felt completely lost walking into a bookstore’s literature section and knowing where to start. I would find myself choosing a book based solely on its cover. However, in time, I was able to choose books based on authors I’d been exposed to. In the book club we were all given the opportunity to discuss sometime controversial subjects with friends who really cared about our opinions, whether they agreed or not.

This is how my new poetry group is turning out to be. Last month we ventured into the beautiful and thought provoking works by Charles Wright. The hostess chose the poet and selected the poems for each member to pre-read and photocopy for the other members. Each member read her poems out loud while the others followed along. Often the poem was spoken several times, in its entirety or in sections. Together we worked to find a pattern and meaning in the carefully selected words flowing across the pages.

This week our hostess selected a variety of different poets, all included in the book, The Convergence of Birds. Each published poet wrote their poem based on the artwork of Joseph Cornell, a 20th century, American artist, best known by his boxes of carefully collected and arranged objects. Because Cornell is a favorite of mine, and is an artist I often feature in my curriculum, I was happy to share a brief bio about him to the group before we started reading and discussing the poems. Jonathan Safran Foer, acclaimed young author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, compiled this book of collected poems. The art of Cornell impacted Foer in a way he couldn’t have predicted when he stumbled upon a poster signed by Cornell in a friend’s studio. This entire account is written about in the early pages of the book, but is summarized on this Amazon page, by scrolling to the bottom. I encourage you to read it. In his own words, Foer writes this to his readers:

When you read these pages, imagine the letter that you would write. How would it begin? Who would be the characters? What images would come to the fore? What feelings? What colors and shapes? And as the imaginative cloud begins to open itself over your head, ask yourself: To whom would you address such a letter? And what would you use as the return address?

During these lazy days of summer, why not try something new? Be brave. Put yourself out there for the world to see. Write a letter, as described above. Spend an afternoon in an art museum or attend an opera for a change. Go listen to music or take dance lessons. Explore. Be adventurous and then tell me about it!

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What I know to be true

Art and travel change lives.

The first day I stepped onto my college campus in 1978, as an anxious 19 year old, I declared my major as Art Education. I loved learning and I loved college – so much in fact, that I went year round. I never stopped for a break. I took classes in the summer, during Christmas break and spring break. I remember dreading to take the compulsory art history courses, however. All I’d heard was that they required lots of memorization of artists’ and paintings’ names, dates (oh my!) and hours of boring lectures. But two art history classes were required so I reluctantly signed up for them. And was I in for a surprise!

I loved them.

Sitting in that large amphitheater-like lecture room in permanent, worn, folding wooded chairs that perfectly fit my back, viewing hundreds of images, I learned about the history of the world, through art. It made me feel “connected”. It helped me understand the importance of art and why creativity makes us human. My imagination soared as I vicariously traveled the globe learning about different cultures of people, the objects they revered and the ways that they found to express themselves through a variety of materials. It was at the end of my sophomore year that I made the decision to change my major to fine art. I then continued to work to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I knowingly announced, “I want to be an artist, not an art teacher!” . . . little did I know that 20 years later I would find my way back to the classroom.

It was not until I began teaching full time, in 2001, that I understood what an incredible career path teaching is if travel is a priority. I have about 13 weeks off per year! Teachers don’t usually receive large salaries so I’ve had to learn how to penny-pinch. I save what I can, but I also sell my art. I work extra jobs at school like proctoring the SAT and taking tickets at our football games in the fall. Sometimes I teach private art lessons or hold garage sales. When I get money as gifts, I save it for travel.

I also pay for all my monthly expenses with credit cards and collect airline miles with each purchase. I’ve taught my college-age daughter how to do this, as well, and she now collects miles for herself. One of the cards I currently use came with 100,000 miles upon my qualifying and completing a minimum spend in the first three months. This translates into two, round-trip European airline tickets I’ve got in my back pocket. The other card accumulates points connected to a hotel chain, but those points can be transferred into airline miles and with every 20,000 I transfer, they “give” me a bonus of an additional 5,000. Being mindful to not get into financial trouble by overspending my credit cards, I treat my credit cards as a debit cards (in my mind). When I make a purchase, I always use my credit card and then, immediately, I note it and take it out of my checking account right then and there. At the end of the month, when I receive my credit card statement, I balance my checkbook, marking off the purchases, one at a time, that I’ve already subtracted out of my checking account. When I’ve gone through the statement, I know I can pay it off and write a check (or pay online) for the entire balance. I never carry a balance on my credit card. I never get charged finance charges for late payments or pay interest. This takes being responsible and organized, but right now I have enough miles for three, roundtrip tickets to Europe! It seems worth it to me.

Travel changes the lives of everyone involved. New relationships are formed and we influence one another. The study of art history provides a foundation for understanding what you are looking at when you travel to foreign lands. Through the art objects we learn to appreciate cultures that are different from our own. Many of the man-made items we see in our travels are artworks. All that we enjoy as tourists, such as palace and cathedral architecture, historical bridges and walls, woven fabrics, rugs and tapestries, marble sculpture and fountains, ethnic clothing, ceramic vessels, oil paintings and frescos is art! – – humans made that stuff!!! Amazing, isn’t it? And all of us have the capacity to create!

My next three weeks of articles will highlight three educational recruitment firms that I’ve been following for at least five years. I hope to describe the differences in them and how one might consider being hired to teach overseas if a life of adventure suits you. I had already taught art for quite a few years when it occurred to me that teaching was a ticket to live other places. Even though we Americans often hear horrible accounts of how bad our public school education system is, most of the world longs to learn from us and would be overjoyed for us to share what we know about education with them.

Has the study of art influenced your travels or have you been able to travel because of a creative job or adventure seeking lifestyle? Please do share!

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