Tag Archives: international teaching

Saddle up

SaddleSml

Thanks, Jane! 🙂

Reining it in.

My profile has been active for two weeks in preparation for this coming hiring season. In that time, two different schools have contacted me, making some inquiries about next school year, which is twelve months away! The 2017 international hiring season has already started. This is really different for American teachers who don’t start looking for teaching positions until late spring of the teaching year they are interested in. The international hiring season can last through summer, but it starts early.

Locating and scanning required paperwork will take some time, but once you have it, you won’t have to go through this process ever again if you maintain an organized computer desktop. There are specific documents that you will need to have on hand no matter which recruitment agency you decide to go with. Some documents may take some time to track down, so it is best to start now.

Organizing Your Desktop:

I have listed below the documents you will need for your recruiting agency profile. These documents will be saved in either pdf or jpg formats. Be very organized as you set up files on your computer desktop. You will find that the process of finding an overseas teaching position can quickly get out of control if you are not diligent about being organized. You will soon be communicating with schools all over planet Earth. Set up a folder titled “2017 International Jobs” and inside this folder, set up a folder called “Recommendations and Scans “. Put all documents and scans, shown below, inside this folder.

Required and Scanned Paperwork:
(200-300 dpi on all scans)
• 3-5 Recommendation Letters from current/former school administrators (on school letterhead, saved as a pdf file)
• 3 Recommendation Letters from current/former student parents (saved as pdf file)
• Criminal Background Check
• Birth Certificate
• Certificate to Teach
• Passport
• University Degree
• Official Copy of University Transcript – you will also need to have some of these in hardcopy form, unopened, to give to your new school, so order plenty when you contact your university.
• Training certificates, i.e. PYP/MYP/IB Level Certificates
• Philosophy of Education (Word document saved as pdf file)
• Nice, smiling, front facing headshot of YOU. Plain background. Black and White. This will be used for your resume.

Filling out the Recruitment Agency Application/Profile:

When you have all these documents collected and scanned, and after you’ve paid your fee, you are ready to proceed in filling out the Profile section of your recruitment agency’s website. Your recruitment agency will notify you if something is missing and when the Profile is ready to go live for schools to see! I was able to “click” a button on my Search Associates Profile that allows me to receive daily job listings. As new schools post their openings, I am automatically sent a daily email. You can choose to receive all the daily listings, or only the ones for your subject area. Although it is really interesting to receive daily emails about ALL the teaching opportunities, it quickly becomes “too much” and I have opted to simply get the Art openings. Even so, by December and January, there are so many opportunities to teach it will blow your mind! —And that is only with Search Associates!

When you are required to type lengthy answers, please copy/paste what you wrote into an empty Word document and save it into another folder titled, “My Answers”. You will be able to utilize some of this material in other applications in the future. By saving it, you won’t have to start from scratch every time.

Next week I will be giving you tips on setting up your resume and cover letter. I want to stress again the importance of starting this process early and staying organized. Can you quickly find what you need to access when you are in the middle of a Skype interview at 3:00 am?

Which agency have you decided to go with? How did you make your decision?

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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?

If you haven’t done so already, PLEASE follow my blog by clicking on the “Follow” button located by scrolling down to the bottom of the page. By doing this, you will be notified by email when I post a new article.

The ad below is placed on my blog by WordPress. I do not have any opinion or association with the ad. Please do not “click” it. Thank you.

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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 Associates. I’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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Looking forward

tulipsAfter the rain.

Spring arrived in 48 hours. After months of grey skies, rain, sleet, snow, hail and wind, the sun came out and the tulips bloomed last weekend. Texas skies take the cake for showcasing the wide expanse but Istanbul skies win the prize for the showcasing the color blue.

I made the decision to leave my international teaching post and return to the States at the end of this 2015 school year. At this point, I’m unsure if this move will be permanent or if I’ll cast my net again next spring. Since making my decision to leave, some days have been melancholy; others joyful. School days in the spring are hectic, but when I pause and reflect, I am grateful for these months and years of living and serving here. My life will never be the same. Istanbul, I love you.

When I think about all I’ve seen and experienced I become fatigued. Not only have I traveled to eleven countries over the past two years, I’ve made countless friends from all corners of the earth. I’ve learned a great deal on how to be a global citizen and nothing could make me more proud.

The first time I documented leaving a job without the certainty of a new job (The Net Will Appear) I was full of anxiety. This time I’m as cool as a cucumber. I’ve learned so much since I started writing this blog in 2012. Several readers got in touch with me this winter and asked for advice during the recent international hiring season job fairs. I gave honest answers to their questions and now I’ve received exciting letters from them explaining that they attended the fairs and have been offered international jobs! Congratulations! International teachers need each other. It’s a hard job and the luxury of having your family and best friends available for advice is gone. We rely on one another for encouragement and love.

I recently read a book by Anna Badhken and became interested in her new book, Walking With Able. Her voice perfectly captures my feelings about the privilege I’ve felt about living in Turkey:

 To enter such a culture. Not an imperiled life nor a life enchanted but an altogether different method to life’s meaning, a divergent sense of the world. To tap into a slower knowledge that could come only from taking a very, very long walk with a people who have been walking always. To join a walk that spans seasons, years, a history; to synchronize my own pace with a meter fine-tuned over millennia.

I’m counting my blessings and looking ahead to my new future.

*NOTE: The ad below is placed on my blog by WordPress. I do not have any opinion or association with the ad. Please do not “click” it. Thank you.

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Pioneer Teachers

Turkish Tea with FriendsI’ve been thinking about American teachers of the past, who traveled for days, by stagecoach, or on horseback, across miles of dusty trails, to fulfill a longing to move to a new place, meet a new community and to teach young children. Over the past two weeks I have likely experienced many similar feelings and adjustments. After arriving in Istanbul on August 12, I have begun to explore my new city, I have met an ever-increasing new community of lovely people and I have started to adjust to a new teaching pedagogy in hopes that I will be able to ensure a lifetime love of learning to my young students. It’s been so completely overwhelming to all of my senses, my head’s been spinning since I got here!

Istanbul is all (and more!) that I remember it to be from my travels here in 2011. I live in the neighborhood of Ulus, in Ortakoy, a beautiful, historically rich environment full of new sights, new tastes and smells, new sounds and new textures. My legs are getting stronger every day from walking up miles of marble stairs and down long, winding, brick roadways. This host country is fascinating beyond belief and I’m guessing the two years of my contract will pass quickly. I fear there won’t be enough time to see it all.

Upon my brisk arrival, and clearance through customs, at the Ataturk Airport at 7:00 pm, I was wisked away to deliver my belongings into my lovely, furnished apartment. After dumping my containers inside the door and having a quick look around, a small group of us set off on an excursion that took us to the edge of the Bosphorus. It was dreamlike. Bouncing lights off the bridge, rushing taxis on the narrow streets, wafting fragrances from street vendors and hearing strange dialects all around me caused a swarming, full force, into my sleep-starved head.

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The quick motion never stopped. I was transported through various experiences, in full sensory overload for days, meeting people of many nations, testing my tongue to this new language, and adopting a new style of teaching art to a group of children outside my experience realm.

I am happy. I’ve been dreaming of this experience for years, never quite understanding how dramatically new and exciting it would be. I had to experience it, and now I’m living it. These are things I’ve already learned that I want to share:

  • Fill your days with happiness.
  • Go so far out of your comfort zone that you have no choice but to become dependent on others.
  • Have an open heart and an open mind to endless possibilities.
  • Consider opinions that are very different from your own and that you previously hadn’t.
  • Listen to people’s stories.
  • Let people help you.
  • Learn to be friends with people very different from you.
  • Learn what people from other countries think of your country.

I’m learning about all these things. Thanks for traveling with me.

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Transitions, or Leaping from the Lion’s Head

Lithograph by Calvert Litho Company, 1890

Transitions are sacred.

I’ve spent the summer preparing files, updating my resume, scanning copies of my teaching certificate, transcript and passport, refining my CV, crafting cover letters, reading forums, gathering recommendation letters and networking with international teachers. I am confident about moving, yet, on some days, I play tug-o-war with the temptation to just stay put in my comfort zone. Some days the transition seems more like climbing an insurmountable mountain rather than kicking over a molehill. On those days, butterflies of self-doubt quiver in my stomach. What am I doing? I already have a great job at the best school ever. I teach great students who come from great families and I work with a host of supportive colleagues; there’s no reason to leave.

Except . . . I want an overseas teaching adventure and I’ve been dreaming and longing for this for some years. Being witness to my Dad’s slow decline towards death this summer, I know there’s still more I want to do with my life. I want to give away what I know best: helping others find self-expression and joy through the visual arts. And why not? I’m single, my terrific daughter is going to graduate from college next May, I could care less about owning my home or continuing to collect material possessions and I want to see the world!

In my faith there is a common saying, “Let Go and Let God.” I know this is true, but letting go is scary. Remember the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indiana comes to an opening high above in the rocky cliffs?

His treasure book of clues says, “Only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.” Teetering on the edge, sweating bullets, he knows he has to step off the cliff into the void below! And what happens? As he steps off, a stone bridge magically appears. He steps off into unknown territory and he is saved from destruction by his faith. In the same way, I know I must go. It is difficult to provide answers to many who ask for specifics, like Where? When? And How? Yet, I know I must leave to prove my worth. There is nothing that scares me more and nothing that excites me more.

Many books and films resonate with this theme but nothing I have ever watched has affected me more than the words by Danaan Parry . I’m begging you to watch this short, 6-minute film called, “The Parable of the Trapeze.” Parry’s powerful words capture the double-edged sword of faith and fear. This film is a gift and I’m happy to share it with you. Do yourself a favor and watch. As Dianne Gray says, “Death is not optional, but living life fully is.”

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