Tag Archives: international schools

London It Is

Banksey in London

Banksey in London

Plans.

In February of 2013, I attended the Search Associates Cambridge Job Fair for international teachers and administrators. It was a stressful and depressing weekend, further intensified by a “nor’easter” hitting the Boston area. I wrote about it in an article called Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

My weekend experience was competitive, emotional and jarring based on the number of stressful decisions that needed to be made in a short amount of time. I walked away from that fair without getting a job. Either the jobs I wanted were not offered to me, or the ones that were offered to me I did not have interest in. Many will agree that these fair weekends are not for the faint of heart, but you can learn a lot by attending them. For example, many schools in attendance give interesting presentations about their school and the country that their school resides in. It is always a great idea to network and introduce oneself when attending these presentations. Once you break into the international world of teaching, it is “a small world”. Before long, you will know many people who live all over the world.

Wanting a different experience this year, I have made a decision to attend two job fairs in London, each hosted by different agencies. These two fairs are being held one week apart in January 2017. The Search Associates London Job Fair is Search’s largest fair.  Approximately 650 candidates and 160 schools will be in attendance. The following weekend is the Council of International Schools Job Fair (CIS) . Many competitive job fairs are held on back-to-back weekends, in January and February, as the schools move around the globe, sweeping up teachers and administrators.

 

 

I’ve just become a member of CIS, which will give me even more access to potential employment. This non-profit organization provides services and accreditation to primary, secondary and higher education institutions, as well as to individuals. They provide professional development as well, including Child Protection and Intercultural Learning workshops. The CIS community includes 711 schools and 512 colleges and universities representing 112 countries. To become an individual member, online paperwork must be completed and three confidential references must be obtained. Additional criminal background-check paperwork must also be uploaded.

This week, Search Associates released the list of schools that will be in attendance at the 2017 London Job Fair. These varied schools represent many kinds of experiences, both in regard to locations in the world and in the kind of curriculum offered. Some schools are big; some are small. Some are in cities; others are in rural areas. Although the list is long today, I know that some of the available jobs will be gone by the time these administrators arrive at the conference hotel in January. Jobs are already being posted and schools have already started their hiring process. But some schools actually prefer a face-to-face interview. From this provided list, I will make a list of my favorite schools and regularly check on their websites for positions that appeal to me. Many schools don’t require their current teachers to give notice until mid-December, so many jobs may not show up until then. Just to give you an idea of the great variety of schools that will be present in London, I put together this quick-glance list for you.

Schools from these countries will be in attendance in London:

Angola – 1

Austria – 3

Azerbaijan – 1

The Bahamas – 1

Bangladesh – 1

Barbados – 1

Belgium – 3

Brazil – 1

Bulgaria – 1

Cambodia – 1

China – 19

China/Hong Kong – 6

Colombia – 1

Cote d’Ivoire – 1

Croatia – 1

Denmark – 2

Egypt – 5

Finland – 1

France – 1

Germany – 8

Ghana – 1

Hungary – 1

India – 5

Indonesia – 3

Italy – 7

Japan – 4

Jordan – 2

Korea – 4

Latvia – 2

Luxembourg – 1

Malawi – 1

Malaysia – 3

Malta – 1

Mongolia – 1

Morocco – 1

Netherlands – 1

Nigeria – 1

Oman – 3

Philippines – 2

Poland – 1

Portugal – 2

Qatar – 1

Russia – 1

Saudi Arabia – 3

Serbia – 1

Singapore – 3

South Africa – 1

Spain – 2

Sudan – 1

Switzerland – 7

Tanzania – 2

Thailand – 3

Turkey – 7

Uganda – 1

UK – 1

Ukraine – 2

United Arab Emirates – 7

USA – 7

 

It never ceases to amaze me at the opportunities that certified teachers have to teach and travel all over the world!

Which regions of the world pique your interest? Remember to keep an open mind. You don’t know what you don’t know.

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Let’s Make a Deal

783px-Lets_make_a_deal_weekly_primetimeThree doors.

In the 1970’s, when I was a teenager in southern Missouri, I remember a favorite TV show called Let’s Make a Deal. The host, Monty Hall, would wander through the audience and select random people to trade something in that they wore, or brought to the show, for a chance to win a much nicer prize. The contestant would continue to trade until a great prize was secured behind Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3. These lavish prizes might be a kitchen appliance, a new car or a dream vacation. But there was also the possibility of trading and getting a Zonk! A Zonk was an undesirable prize such as fake money or silly, low value items. To gain Monty’s attention, hopeful contestants would wear terrific costumes and cheer and shout in hopes of being selected to play the game.

This remembered scenario reminds me of my own situation.

An international teacher begins searching for jobs in late autumn for the following year. Job recruitment fairs start in December and January and for many teachers, their teaching career is a series of two or three year posts in a variety of countries. Faculty members and administrators move around as much as the students and their families do. The teacher starts playing Let’s Make a Deal as the hopeful contestant, dressing up cover letters and resumes in ways to gain attention.

That’s where I find myself now. As an international teacher, teaching inquiry methods, I’m curious myself what lies ahead behind the three doors. I’ve been making lists: What are the positives and what are the negatives? In other words, what would I like to trade in? Since the contract began, what could I live without? What would I want to keep? What has worked, what has not? What have I learned? What is now important to me that I was unaware of initially? Once the process has commenced, and the recruiting company has been paid, a teacher gain access to other schools that daily post their needs for the following year. “Which door will I pick? What if the door I pick turns out to be a Zonk? But what if it is a better prize?”

I’ve been able to fulfill my heart’s desire by teaching in an international school in one of the great cities of the world. I traded in an American lifestyle that I had become complacent with and I’ll never regret it. I’m now thinking about the trade again and am peeking behind the doors to see the prizes. Door #1’s prize is to stay put. Continue to build an art program for over 50 nationalities of students that I have developed a great love for. The prize behind Door #2 is the likely possibility of moving to a new country and teaching at a new school, getting to meet interesting new people and gain an even deeper understanding of the world and myself. But Door #3 holds quite a surprise!

I have a daughter who is now a grown woman. Last weekend, a man who loves her deeply asked her a simple question, “Will you marry me?” When she responded, “Yes,” I unexpectedly got homesick to be with my girl. Door #3 holds the prize of moving home, to help plan a wedding.

As I told a friend today, my problem is that I have too many options, and what a gift this is. There are so many who don’t have any options.

What are your prizes? What are you willing to trade this Thanksgiving week?

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Same as it ever was (Part 3 of 3)

Once in a lifetime.

Reminiscing about David Byrne and the Talking Heads brings back a torrential downpour of pleasant memories. These musical-memories connect significantly to a transition time in my life: graduating from college, getting married and moving out of state. In the mid-1980’s, my then-husband and I moved from Missouri to Texas to begin a new life. Recently graduated from college, we were psyched to land our first jobs and start down our career path, which for me meant beginning the climb up the corporate ladder. My imaginative dreams were centered on my new marriage, my new job, buying our first new car, buying our first home and eventually becoming parents. My mind couldn’t fully wrap around all these new, upcoming changes, but I was excited and hopeful about my future.

None of these dreams turned out exactly the way I thought they would. I could have never predicted the end results of my hopes and expectations. More than once I awoke, seemingly from a deep sleep, and thought, as Bryne’s lyrics read, “My God! What have I done?” There’s no way that we can fully predict what our lives will be, even with all the research we do and all the well wishes and prayers from friends and family. But life is wonderfully mysterious and I wouldn’t trade in any of my experiences, both the good ones and the bad ones, for they’ve brought me to where I am today. Life is full of transitions and I find that I am still excited and hopeful about my future as I seriously consider moving overseas.

And You May Find Yourself Living In A Shotgun Shack

And You May Find Yourself In Another Part Of The World

And You May Find Yourself Behind The Wheel Of A Large Automobile

And You May Find Yourself In A Beautiful House, With A Beautiful Wife

And You May Ask Yourself-Well…How Did I Get Here?

This rendition of The Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime”, is recorded by Robert Luis:

When I went to Europe for the first time in 2006 I remember thinking, “I belong here. This feels like home. Surely I was born here and my parents adopted me into the USA and just have never told me!” How did I get here (USA)? “This is not my beautiful house,” as the song goes. But my mother assures me that I wasn’t adopted and that I am truly American! I often feel like a foreigner in my own country. I long to live a slower, more observant, less cluttered lifestyle. Every minute of every day is a “once in a lifetime” possibility. The next time I ask myself, “My God! What have I done?” I want to honestly and peacefully answer the question in a way that shows love, bravery, courage and trust.

Part 3 of 3: SA (Search Associates)

This article concludes with my research about the international educational recruitment company, Search Associates (SA). In my previous two posts I explained what I have found out about UNI (University of Northern Iowa) and ISS (International Schools Services).  SA has been in existence for more than 21 years. Not only have they helped teachers find positions in international schools around the world, they also place administrators and interns. Their current website boasts that in 2011 they set a record by helping 2,198 candidates secure positions abroad.

SA works with more than 600 schools, compared to ISS who works with about 150 schools. SA feels confident they are the best educational recruitment company because of the personal attention they give to both candidates and schools. For instance, once I completed my online application and SA had received recommendations from my administrators, my file was considered “active” and I was assigned a Senior Associate who will personally assist me throughout the entire search process. I was given her email and phone number so that I can reach her at all times. Additionally, because my file is active, I receive a daily log of SA represented schools that are currently seeking teachers and administrators. Since my file became active in March 2012, I’ve been tracking how many art positions have been posted. I’m delighted to report that there have been 23 art teaching positions listed to date, and this is really late in the hiring season! Keep in mind that most positions for the 2012-13 school year have already been placed.

Although my file is considered active, my online profile will not be made known to seeking schools until I pay my membership dues. Once I pay $200, I will have access to SA for three years and interested schools can review my credentials. I will have access to job openings, salaries and benefits and I will be able to contact schools directly through the database upon notification of an opening in one of my listed preferences. Interested schools will be able to email me directly, set up interviews or ask for additional information. The first SA educational recruitment fair is free and each additional fair is $50, although all job fairs are by invitation only. Both candidates and schools that are fully registered may request invitations. In comparison, ISS charges $290 for all fairs in a season. Search Associates offers 13 annual job fairs worldwide between November and June. These fairs allow candidates and schools to have face-to-face interviews to determine if there is a mutual interest and a good “fit” between the school and candidate. In addition, Search Associates keeps their fairs small in order to provide maximum support for candidates and schools.

There are many more educational recruitment companies, but I’ve limited my search to these three: UNI, ISS and SA. In my last post I described the wonderful resource, International Schools Review (ISR) which allows open dialogue, through a forum, on a host of subjects centered around teaching internationally. On this website you will find many opinions about the differences of these companies. Some people prefer one company over another for a host of reasons. Many international educators never attend a fair at all. After paying their application fee, they contact the seeking schools directly and are accustomed to interviewing over Skype.

In the ISR article called, “How Do International Educators See Their Careers?” Bill says, “I left as soon as I got my BEd and never looked back. Best decision I could have ever made. I was looking to explore the world, learn about new cultures and languages, work in schools that value teachers and provide a stimulating work environment. Next year, will be my 4th international school and my 12th year overseas. Sometimes I think about going back for a couple of years but I really do enjoy this life too much to do so.”

Is teaching internationally a once in a lifetime opportunity? I think it may be. I’d be interested in what once in a lifetime opportunities you’ve been given.

Thanks for reading!

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