Discussion Topics

It’s all about luck and timing: Getting the international school job of your dreams

May 27, 2011

Do you want to live next to this?  Who doesn’t like the beach?

Or this? All expats dream of living in Europe!?

Or experience this view all the time during the winter?

If you really want to live and work in a specific city in the world and there are only 2-4 jobs available at the two international schools there, the chances are so very slim that you will ever get one of those jobs some day.  Looking and looking each year to see if one of those positions pops up on the vacancy websites.

So, it is all about luck and timing.  If, by chance, your job appears as a vacancy, your heart starts racing, but now what? Did you already decide on moving this year and are on the hunt for a job or would you have to “break contract” to accept this new job?

Take a chance!  Send in your CV and supporting materials and hope for the best.  The heavens might align and the school grants you an opportunity to interview.  I have had my share of interviews, and many don’t go your way.  Some years it feels like no schools want you…the good schools (e.g. your dream schools) and the not-so-good schools…even if you might have 15 years of experience on your back.

Yes, of course, schools looks at your CV and check out your experience.  “Do you have prior UK curriculum or PYP experience? No?  Sorry, we are looking for teachers that have had prior experience in our curriculum.”  How disheartening for some teachers that have their heart in a place (where their dream job is) that is seemingly so difficult to get into, when they aren’t the “right fit.”

A friend of mine (a seasoned international school teacher) told me recently it is all about whether the schools like you or don’t like you.  Check out the movie “She’s just not into you” by the way!  If you are indeed the one for the job, you are the one no matter what your CV says.  It has happened!

“I don’t have any connections? Surely the more people I know in the international school community the better.”  Will your contacts and networking connections help you land a job at your dream school?  100% yes, it happened to me personally.  HOWEVER, it is important to remember that even without those connections, it is possible to get that job, your dream job!  Remember, if you are the right one, it will be very clear that you are right one for the position.

So, keep your eyes and ears open and take chances in your life (even if it means that you might have to make a few sacrifices) and in your job search because you never know when your next opportunity will present itself and where your next placement will be.  So many teachers say “there is 99.9% chance that this is my last year in this country/city.”  Many times you can’t force a move or change in position.  Waiting for the right moment to pounce is important.  So, once again, it is all about luck and timing.  Wait for the right chance and then work hard to get the job, stay focused on your goal (and dream school), and it just might happen one day!