“Remember to research.“
“I’m sure I blew one interview by expressing my desire to get experience in a program they didn’t offer, and expressing my distaste for the one they did. Oops. I’d mistakenly thought they did offer that program.”
When interviewing at an international school recruitment fair, it is indeed a difficult task to be 100% knowledgeable about each international school you interview with. You do some final researching the night/morning before the interview, but even then some facts about the school might slip your mind when you are most likely in a nervous state trying to answer their questions during the actual interview.
On June 15, 2006 the term, or more correctly the transitive verb, “to google” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. It seems like that term has been around for ages, and although derived from the eponymous search engine, it has simply become a common use for when you need to look up something, or research something. It is kind of strange to think that only ten or fifteen years ago, if you needed to look up information, phone numbers or directions, you had to have an encyclopedia, a phonebook or a map. Today, everything can be found by a simple click on Google. And with the second coming of the smart phones, there really is no reason to be ignorant when interviewing with an international school administrator.
With the daily flow of new information, we often need to research to get updated or learn about something new, either for work and for our own pleasure. If we need to give a lecture somewhere, we need to set the facts straight, and double-check that what we are actually saying is true. If we’re writing something like a blog or a book, we research.
One place where research is very vital is when we are looking for a new job; especially true if you are looking to secure a job at an international school halfway across the globe. We research the international school itself, the location that the international school is situated in, and we research what it is like to work at that international school. It’s important that we know as much as possible before applying for a position at an international school. Not just to see if we’re right for them, but if they’re right for us. Most work places today have a website that gives away so much information, but sometimes it just isn’t sufficient enough, and that’s when you have to contact the place and people that have worked at that place in the past (or if you know somebody who knows somebody who has worked there) and ask detailed questions.
Researching the job at an international school is half of applying for a job. Unfortunately, doing hours and hours of research on not just one international school but five of them can definitely put you into a tired state.
Being an international teacher means that your research has to be very thorough, because then you’re not just researching the job, you’re also researching a country and a city. It’s important that you know what you want (career, money, love, travel, location, etc…) and what you’re capable of, because starting out some place new, with a different language and a different culture, can be hard. But doing your homework and research might make the transition easier, well on the surface that is.
When you research most of the things you stumble on are interpretations, a subjective view of the whole. A kind of second-hand experience. So while researching is vital, you have to be somewhat skeptical and always remember to have an open mind. Google is, after all, just a small piece of the grand reality.
One excellent way to gather and share information and comments about 1000s of international schools around the world is by being a member at International School Community. Each international school has its own profile page, and on each school profile page there are four sections: School, Benefits, City and Travel. Members of internationalschoolcommunity.com are able to read about and submit their own comments and information in those four sections, all in a very easy to read and organized manner. It is a great way to get a better glimpse into what could be your future life as you venture out into the world to work at your next international school!
“Nine Lessons Learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.