Tag Archives: Search Associates

Playing The Game

img_5973Bam. Dot. Crak.

One of the things I miss the most about living overseas is having global friends from many countries. I’ve searched to find international connections in Dallas but it has been difficult. Although Dallas is a large city with a multinational population, many live in the suburban areas surrounding the metroplex and I live near downtown. I’ve found that these populations segregate themselves together in neighborhoods of people like themselves. This is so different from Istanbul. Every kind of person lived together, in close proximity, inside the crowded city. It was common to walk everywhere, so you saw, and heard, foreign people constantly on the sidewalk beside you. Here in Dallas, there are many miles between us – in more ways than one. I’ve participated in several Meetup groups hoping to find friends who have lived overseas but for one reason or another, I haven’t made the connections I’ve hoped for.

When I moved back to Dallas earlier this year, I moved to an area of town I was unfamiliar with. Hoping to find new friends close to home, an out-of-state friend mentioned that I might like to learn how to play American MahJong. This popular game has a Chinese history and is played worldwide. I searched in my area but had no luck in finding an established group. I posted a humble notification on the Next Door app to members of my new local community, and to my surprise I had 30 responses from strangers who also wanted to learn how to play. I set up a meeting place at a local restaurant and the rest is history.

In the months that followed, others jumped in to help organize and smaller groups formed based on weekday, weeknight or weekend play date availability. New friendships formed between the members and this week we celebrated our new friendships by having a holiday progressive dinner party, between three homes, right here in my neighborhood. As I looked around and observed the laughter and enjoyed the delicious food and drink, I felt so proud to have started this group and brought so many people together.

I also attended my first Internations Meetup this past week and it was so enjoyable. I sat with four women from Ukraine, Jamaica, Ireland and India. They all encouraged me to attend the upcoming holiday party. Sometimes I get discouraged because it is more difficult to find global friends here but I’ll press onward. A person can never have too many friends.

Do you live in a new place and are you lonely? What might you do to bring people together? You will be delighted at the results.

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.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Things I Learned

nov2016imageRemembering.

During the past few weeks, I’ve been writing schools and checking out websites of potential employers. As of this morning, there are 58 Art Teacher openings posted on the Search Associates website. As I contemplate the possibility of moving to a new country, I am reminded of all the learning that one goes through upon immersion into a new culture. I am both excited by it and unnerved by it. The adrenalin rush that an expat feels upon arrival in a new country is not easily forgotten. Cleaning out some old documents, I came across this list I made of a few of the things I learned in Turkey:

 

  1. How to pee in a hole. I will never forget a sweet, female Turkish friend bending over in laughter when I asked her how to do this. Through gulps of laughter, she shut my art room door and acted out some important strategies that all Turkish girls are taught. This knowledge forever changed my life in Turkey.
  1. How to say, “Kas lira?” (How many lira does this cost?). Then learning how to count to 30, and finally how to negotiate/haggle. I became a confident buyer before too many months.
  1. How to tolerate the smokers. Smokers are everywhere. Smoking is what people do. Both young and old people smoke. I remember thinking, “Well maybe smoking won’t actually give you cancer like we’re taught to believe in USA. There are tons of old people here and they all smoke!” I still wonder about this…
  1. How to be a calm passenger in the backseat of a taxi, with a crazy driver, and not wear a seat belt. Seat belts exist in taxis, but they are all “adjusted” so that they don’t work. Now imagine this, staying calm, with loud Turkish music playing on the radio, and slipping and sliding down very steep hills covered with snow. It was during these rides that the carefree taxi drivers would ask me, in broken English, “Where from?” When I said, “Dallas, Texas”, they would often say, “Ah, Dallas!! JR!!” I learned that people in Turkey love the show, “Dallas”.
  1. I learned who Ataturk was and why he is important to the nation of Turkey. I now know more about Ataturk than I do George Washington, and I love him too! Ataturk’s picture hangs in every classroom and in many homes. His picture hangs on street-side banners and permanent signage all over the city.
  1. How planning ahead is of no use in many countries outside the USA. The ability to organize my time, that I’ve become so good at, didn’t work in Turkey. Things change. Their cultural understanding of every thought, every decision is, “Inshallah”: If Allah wills it. I learned better how to roll with the punches and live in the moment. I’m not an expert at it, but I’m better at it now than I used to be.

As I venture onward into this recruiting season, I am faced with another season of transition. I know the excitement of moving and the hardships of immersion. Finding the right “fit” of a country, and a school, is of upmost importance. Decisions should be made carefully and wisely, and for me, with a lot of prayer.

What questions do you ask yourself to know if a big change in your future is a step in the right direction?

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yes. No. Maybe.

Yoyo.

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go, go, go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello

Have lyrics ever been so perfect for job seeking? In the last week, I turned down an opportunity from an interested school administrator. And then, I was keeping my fingers and toes crossed for another posted opportunity, and today they said goodbye. Back and forth, like a yoyo and this rollercoaster has just started chugging down the tracks. Prepare your hearts, my friends, for battle. The scar tissue is beginning to thicken. People sometimes ask me, “Anita, where do you want to go?” Are you kidding? Once you choose this path, there is just no telling where you will end up. You have to embrace this great unknown as a blessing and cast it off to the universe to decide.

The world is a big place and there are many schools in it! These schools are filled with people: administrators, teachers, support staff, students and their families. What are they like? What is the facility like? What is the principal’s reputation like? It’s nerve-wracking when you try to imagine. How do you know what it’s like if you’ve never been there and don’t know anyone who ever has?

Obviously, the first place you go to find out information is the school website. Most reputable schools have beautiful sites with tons of information and photographs for you to look through. These colorful, well designed sites make schools look fantastic with pictures of happy students, computer labs, fun and activities, but what do the teachers really think?

On the International Schools Review (ISR) website you will quickly see their tagline, “International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed”. This website hosts an online community of educators and administrators that provide personal, anonymous opinions about many schools in the world.

The ISR website has much to offer that is free, but they also offer a $29/annual membership which allows further inquiry into the approximately 160 schools that have been reviewed. The website is free to browse until you want to post comments or look up specific school reviews. The fee is well worth it when you are researching various schools around the world.

On the home page of the ISR website is a tab called, “Forums”. These open forums are offered by ISR and they have great information. Simply by reading what others have posted you can learn a lot. When you click the Forums tab you will see two open forums. One is free; one is not. When you click the free, non-member forum, and after reading and agreeing to the Terms of Conduct and Posting Rules, you will see two FREE forums that you may read:

  • Questions About International Schools Services (ISS) and Search Associates (SA) to Anything and Everything About International Teaching
  • Ask Recruiting Questions, Share Information. What’s on Your Mind?

Both of these FREE forums have valuable information. In 2012-13, when I was searching for my first international teaching job, I read almost every entry, in both forums, from 2010-2013! This took months to do! I am currently reading all entries from 2015 and 2016.

The advantage of paying the $29 membership fee is that you are allowed to look up specific schools and read reviews. Approximately 160 schools are listed. Furthermore, you can also look up Director and Principal Reports. Even if you cannot find reviews on the specific school you are looking for, you can read and educate yourself about the city and the country that a potential school is in. Not only do people comment about a specific schools and administrators, they comment on how currency works, VISAs, taxes, cost of living expenses, recruiting job fairs and everything you can imagine!

One very important thing to consider is that many reviewers have been angry about something or someone at their school when they’ve written. There are often many more negative reviews than positive. Although this is important to take note of, it is also important to understand that when things are going well, people usually don’t write. People, in general, like to complain.

Another important tab on the ISR website is the Articles/Info tab. This will lead you to the International Teachers’ Bill of Rights. This is good to review before signing any contracts.

What are you curious about? Who else has used the ISR website?

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Resume Redefined

keeping-trackKeeping track.

A Canadian friend of mine shared a funny Facebook post from a British friend of hers, James Smart. James wrote about every job he’d had since the age of 16. Although it was not presented in a resume format, it was a comedic glance of his life before becoming a teacher. James’ entries are many, but here are a few examples of what he wrote:

• My first job at 16 after school was cleaning offices for 2.56 pounds an hour. My boss cheerfully told me that I had only been given the job because nobody else in town would work for such a paltry wage. I mostly stared out of the window, when the boss came upstairs I would quickly pretend I was in the middle of cleaning them.

• I had a job for the summer painting walls and doors, which was lovely. They also had me break up concrete with a breaking machine, which by the way is miserable and dusty, and can give you arthritis over the long-term. At the end of the week they would dish out the wages in a local pub, which was a terrible idea.

• Then I became a door to door salesman selling aerial photographs of peoples’ houses from the sky. This was a very depressing job which saw me though my teacher training course. No wonder I wanted to leave the country, this was a horrible job which paid the bills at least. To be honest I was a bit traumatized by this job even months after I’d left. People in England are bombarded with salespeople and they get a bit sick of you.

Although humorous, this is not an example of how to write your international teacher resume! Overseas schools are only interested in jobs that pertain to teaching. Through experience, I’ve learned there is a specific formatting that schools prefer.

Always keep a copy of your resume saved in both USA Letter Size and the common non-American size of A4. Both are necessary for your files. Always send the A4 size when applying to overseas jobs. Also, be sure your resume is organized well. Each section should be titled, providing ease of reading. If you create your resume in Word, be sure to save each size both as a docx and a pdf document. Only send your pdf document so nothing can be edited.

Your resume should include a smiling headshot of yourself, plainly dressed, on a white background. This photo should be placed at the top of the paper. Also list these items:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number (with international code)
  • Your Skype name. You MUST have a Skype account. If you don’t, stop reading and go set one up NOW.
  • Your date of birth
  • Your nationality
  • Your marital status

Next, list whichever is more impressive – your education or your teaching experience, in that order.

List any outside classroom experiences that add insight and dimension to your teaching career.

List areas of community involvement or professional organizations you have held memberships in.

And finally, list publications that your work is noted in.

Your resume should fit on one sheet of paper, front and back if necessary.

Just to review, please make sure that you have a main desktop folder called 2017 International Jobs. Inside that folder are more folders, titled as follows:

My recruitment agency, Search Associates, requires you to send a letter of interest from your Profile section on the Search Associates site. In addition to this, also send a Letter of Application directly to the school administrator through email. Attach your resume to the email and send to the Head, Director or Principal explaining that you saw the job opening via your recruiting agency’s website. Some schools require you to fill out THEIR application from THEIR website. This feels monotonous, but it is sometimes required. This is why it is important to keep copies of what you’ve already written so you won’t have to rewrite every time. These written answers will be found in the “My Answers” file folder on your desktop. Although you will usually have to tweak you previous wording, this is a time saver. Schools have paid a lot of money to recruitment agencies and these agencies want to be sure to get their fair share if you are placed into a job through their site. It is of upmost importance that you cc your representative when you apply to jobs that you’ve seen on their placement site.

Write your email cover letter after reviewing the school’s website. Your cover letter should mention specific information you read. You want the school administrator to know that you have enough interest in their school to have researched their website. While reading their website, take notes about information you may want to inquire about.

When emailing your resume to the administrator of the school, be sure to fill out the “Subject” line carefully. I list the school name first, the position second. For example: MEFIS, PYP Art Teacher. ALWAYS bcc yourself! When you receive a copy of this sent email, carefully file it away in an organized email folder that you will set up for each country you apply to. This is the only way I’ve found to keep track of all the emails sent all over the globe. As you can imagine, if you don’t keep everything organized, you can quickly have a big mess of lost emails and communication.

What are you learning about yourself as you go through this process?

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wrapping Up The Year

treeimageDreams realized.

Sometimes I get paralyzed and can’t write. I have a hard time distinguishing what would be the best thing to share because I experience so much in this amazing city every week. I’m continuing to meet new people and I’m deepening relationships with friends I’ve met over the last four months. I’m witnessing wonderful, learning experiences in my classroom and I’ve (almost) memorized the names of my 240 students. I’m getting involved with organizations and continuing to explore art galleries, museums and the many little streets and shops in Istanbul.

Time is moving at an incredible pace. The end of another year will be here shortly and when I reflect on my Annual Review this year, it will show the satisfaction of a goal realized; a goal that began 7 years ago with a free trip I won to Paris and London.

PortaxeI am entirely grateful. My life is rich beyond measure. Somehow I was fortunate enough to get a job at a great school in a culturally rich city. Recently my school gave us an evening at Portaxe, a beautiful restaurant, on the shores of the Bosphorus. This was in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day, an actual day on the Turkish calendar, in which teachers are given gifts of love. It is so nice to be in a country that actually appreciates its teachers! As we entered Portaxe, we were greeted with trays of cocktails and the evening was celebrated with an open bar, delicious food, live band and lots of dancing! This past week we were given a beautifully wrapped box containing a personalized bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and deliciously rich Christmas fruit cake.

PAWI11.9.13Two of the very best discoveries of moving to Istanbul are two organizations I’ve joined called FWI (Foreign Women of Istanbul) and PAWI (Professional American Women of Istanbul). FWI operates with a Facebook presence and these remarkable women can answer any question about Istanbul that is put before them, including, “Where can I find marshmallows in Istanbul?” and my recent question of “Are banks open on Sunday?” PAWI meetings are monthly and rotate between Asia Istanbul and Europe Istanbul. Their meetings always include guest speakers. Since I’ve been here, our speakers have included a psychologist, who shared her experiences of working with people on the residual effects of the Gezi protests, a historian-artist-writer who just published her second book, Drawing on Istanbul 2,  and the Adahan Hotel and Restaurant owner who spoke to us about the years of sacrifice she and her husband gave to an 1874 building, bringing it back from the dead and turning it into a thriving business.  The discussions and knowledge base of these women is broad. Some are attorneys, others writers. Some work in marketing, others as translators. Some are owners of restaurants and hotels and some work in banking and education. Within these groups I’m finding many new friends, each with her own unique story of how it is she lives in Istanbul.

I’m happy to report that I’ve also experienced my first snowfall in Istanbul. It was gorgeous! It not only snowed in Istanbul, it snowed all over the Middle East and we quickly learned how Cairo, Egypt got snow for the first time in 122 years! After easing myself down the hill that morning, and into my warm classroom, I was shocked at the beauty outside my wall of windows. The sight continued to amaze my students and I all day long as nature painted a frozen picture across the landscape. Although we were graciously given two days of early release, I was hoping for a snow day so I could somehow get to Aya Sophia, lay down in its courtyard and make a snow angel, as I’d heard of some teachers doing last year.

MiroThe availability of world-class art continues to amaze me. Last week I went with a Turkish friend to the Miro Exhibition. I found it difficult to concentrate on the beautiful artwork because I was distracted by the amazing architecture. The exhibition building was a canon factory during the Ottoman Empire and I could not keep my eyes from wandering to the domes of the brick ceiling. After leaving, we wandered down antique-filled streets, twisting and turning, as all Istanbul streets do, and walked by Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence. We made a quick decision to view that collection another day.

choirThat evening I was able to listen to a friend sing in a choral concert at the British Consulate. Because of the bombing at this British Consulate in 2003, its grounds are heavily guarded and security is ever-present. Walking past photos of Queen Elizabeth and ancient looking framed documents, I noticed how elegantly the Christmas decorations were placed; fully regal, yet understated and charming. The singing was beautiful and transported me to thoughts of peace.

This week I will be flying to another distant, far-away place. I will spend the Christmas holiday with a friend that I met at the SEARCH Associates Boston International Job Fair last year! She got a job, that wretched, blizzard weekend, at an IB school in Switzerland, and she now lives there with her daughter. We’ve deepened our friendship over the months over Skype calls and we are eager to see each other again and share stories of the first half of our school year.

In these last few days of 2013, I want to challenge you to set your own plan in place. Kick the rock to start its tumble down the hill. Don’t be afraid to make your dream happen. This beautiful place I live- this dream that I’m living- did not happen overnight. I started planning it in 2006-almost eight years ago! Time goes quickly and life is such a gift. As we quietly pass into 2014, I wish you love, peace, health and inspiration. Be well!

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

NemoIn, looking out.

Nor’easter storms get their name based on the direction the wind is coming from. These storms can cause heavy rains and brutal winds, but also blizzard conditions if the storm occurs during the winter. This type of storm has characteristics similar to a hurricane and thrives on converging air masses from the polar cold regions and warmer oceanic air over the Gulf Stream.

This is not unlike the conditions inside the Hyatt Regency Cambridge where the SA/Cambridge Fair took place this weekend. While the wintery storm, Nemo, raged outside, dropping between two and three feet of snow, the inside conditions were equally as concerning. Hopes and dreams converged with the realities of needing work and candidates were blown along down long, hotel corridors, in and out of hotel rooms, sitting areas and ballrooms. Expressions on candidate’s faces ranged from warm smiles to cold, dark stares and damp spirits.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers

The snow started falling at about 10:00 am on Saturday. Search Associates interrupted the Round Robin sign-up session by a loud speaker announcement, asking candidates and recruiters to assign early interview times to those people who would have to leave the building by 3:00 pm, because of the storm. By noon, the Hyatt staff, once again over loud speakers, told that their shuttle service, to and from other area hotels where candidates were staying, would be not operating past 3:00 pm. In that announcement, the Hyatt guests were also told of emergency procedures in place. Many candidates who were staying at other hotels, or who were commuting back and forth, were forced to leave the Hyatt. And the storm’s winds began to swirl.

Inside, the conference areas of the Hyatt became noticeably less crowded. On the one hand, many members of the competition were now gone. On the other hand, recruiters were perhaps compelled to stay in a holding pattern on decision-making because many of their candidates were gone and not able to be interviewed. Nerves of both recruiters and candidates seemed to be anxiety ridden, more than usual. At more than one interview, the recruiter mentioned that he might not be able to leave Boston to get to the next (and last) United States recruitment fairs early this week. In many cases, I got the feeling that the recruiters were eager to move on to the California Fairs (ISS and SA), and only after meeting those candidates would they be able to make a decision on who to offer contracts.

This was not the case for my lovely roommate from Steamboat Springs. She is a science teacher with sought after degrees and experiences. She has decisions to make with at least three serious offers. For me, the search will likely continue for a few more months. Again, I am reminding myself that I tracked 52 art openings last year after the Fairs had ended. I’m not ready to give up yet. I’m not leaving Boston with a contract, but I’m leaving with many more friends. Stay calm and carry on . . .

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

One Down, One To Go

KellysHouseIcy adventures.

Because the weather can be so wretchedly winter in northern Iowa during the UNI fair, get a hotel that is close to the convention center, preferably within walking distance. If not within walking distance, get a hotel in Waterloo, not Cedar Falls, even though these two cities are only about 8 miles from one another. Make sure that your Waterloo hotel provides FREE shuttle service to the convention center each day. Live and learn. I did not do this. I preferred to rent my own car and stay in Cedar Falls with a fellow couchsurfer which would have been a wonderful plan had the UNI fair been in the summer and not in the winter.

On Thursday, my plane was delayed out of Chicago because it had to be de-iced. And then it was delayed some more. And some more, which meant I missed my early interview appointment with a wonderful school the evening before the fair started. But it also meant that someone else cancelled their room at a convenient hotel and I got their room when I walked in, begging for mercy, to simply park my rental car in their snow-filled lot.

I was disappointed that the interview had to be rescheduled, but totally relieved to jump into a hot shower and rinse off the stress from driving in wintery conditions. Driving and walking in sub-zero conditions made me reconsider ever living in a place that would experience winters like this. I thought of this as I interviewed over the next couple of days.

Frenzy. Anxiety. Stress. Manic emotions of UP-UP and DOWN-DOWN – all happening within a really short period of time. Really up. Really down. Over and over and over again. These recruitment fairs are not for the faint-hearted.

One of my up-ups was arriving at my message folder in the conference center, at 6:30 am on Friday, and finding yellow slips from three school administrators who wanted to interview with me. Some people arrive and find none. It is a good sign when school recruiters take the first step at the fair and reach out to you. These were in addition to the one interview that I already had scheduled that day. There were an additional three schools that I wanted to interview with and would approach at the Round Robin, in the main conference ballroom, which would begin two hours later.

I had carefully handmade “Ichiro” packets which is a trade-name of a personal PR kit. I left these kits in the schools’ message mailboxes earlier that morning and when I approached their tables in the Round Robin, they all seemed to know me and told me they loved my packet. Another up-up. In fact, one of the recruiters told me they showed my Ichiro to the UNI staff and told them they should give me a prize for having the BEST “Ichiro”. Another up-up.

The Round Robin was the most hectic thing I’ve ever been through. Vague memories of being in college, before there were computers, waiting in long lines to schedule for classes, getting to the front, finally, and finding that the class you really needed just filled and you would have to start over and re-arrange your entire schedule. This was a very similar situation. It is very important (I can’t stress this enough) to REALLY prioritize the schools you would want to work for. Know this in advance of approaching this large, crowded room. If a map of the ballroom is provided, know where those schools are, have them circled in advance on the map. When the doors open, practically run for the schools’ tables who left you yellow slips. After that high-tail it to your prioritized schools. There is NO TIME to stand there and figure out what schools you might like to work at. All this needs to be done in advance. As you approach a table, notice the length of the line. If it is long, a quick decision has to be made: is it better to stand in this line or let that school go, and move on to the next priority school? Quick decisions have to be made constantly and mental exhaustion caused me to leave the room entirely to regroup for a few minutes. It all happens very, very fast. The decision I arrived at, in those few, precious moments of quiet, was to let the remaining, bottom priority schools go. Don’t even approach them. I couldn’t take it; my nerves were frazzled. What I had was a total of five interviews scheduled and that was enough.

All of my interviews went really well, but there were two in particular that were spectacular! One of those schools scheduled a second interview for the following day and I was encouraged. The five schools I interviewed with represented these countries: India, Taiwan, Turkey, Vietnam and Venezuela. Before I went to bed on Friday night I talked with my mother, my daughter and several friends about many thoughts running through my head. The decision I made, as I fell to sleep, however, was focused on one school in particular. If I was not offered a contract to that school, then I would likely turn down offers made from the other schools, because there are other schools that I am interested in talking to next week at the SA/Cambridge Fair in Boston. When I walked to the conference center on Saturday morning, and approached my message mailbox, I found two yellow slips from other schools requesting another interview.

In the end, the one school I was most interested in offered the contract to my one competitor, two schools told me that they wanted to continue their search in Cambridge and I chose to let the other schools go in anticipation for Cambridge. So, I didn’t get a job – -yet.  My heart is good and I’m encouraged. I checked out of the hotel, drove to my sweet couchsurfers’ home in Cedar Falls, went out for pizza and beer. She and her roommate and boyfriend are wonderful. She gave me her lovely bed. I slept so well. I awoke to the sun shining, birds singing and an email from a school who wants to interview next week at SEARCH Associates in Cambridge. The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.

The search continues.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Let's Enjoy Art

simply for fun

A year of reading the world

196 countries, countless stories...

And Then We Moved To ...

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”

Coffee in San Diego

Independent coffee houses we love

The Dallas Whisperer

Answering Questions About Dallas

schooled in love

Where home meets schooling.

Art Teacher in LA

K-8th grade art lessons

janeyinmersin

Have a dose of what life is really like living here – from Turkish in 1000 easy lessons to learning the secrets to making the perfect kebab! Highs or lows this is our random observations from the melting pot of crazy that is my life in Mersin.

Live In Inspiration

travel . lifestyle . inspire .

What's up, Turkey?

a blog about Turkish politics and society

Inside Out In Istanbul

Living in Istanbul, Turkey

Curious Souls Get Together

We meet to watch and discuss inspirational TED Talks !

PenCameraPassport

Stories and photos about life and the world

Enderle Travelblog

A resource for brave artists, teachers and travelers who prefer to live life differently

TheTravelingTeacher

A resource for brave artists, teachers and travelers who prefer to live life differently

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

VENKMAN'S LAW

Thoughts, comments, opinions and sarcasm from humanity's leading expert on absolutely nothing.

megfitzpatrick

Dallas-Based Contemporary Artist

The Perpetual Vagabond

Art, Travel, Photography, and Adventure!

travelola

reflections on travel & expat life in australia