Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Tech Transformation”

July 9, 2012

Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 20th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Tech Transformation.”  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who has lived and worked abroad for many years, 24 of which have been at international schools in Europe and Asia so far.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Having a Reputation

“Some international schools have a great reputation – everyone on the international school circuit has heard of them and would love to work there.  Some of these schools never even have to go to a job fair to recruit new teachers – teachers are applying to them in droves and by this time in the school year they have already chosen the teachers they want for the next school year.  Recently some friends of mine who applied to one of the top schools in Asia told me that there had been over 3,000 applicants for the 50 new jobs that were being created as their school opens a new campus.  Clearly schools such as these are in the favourable position of being able to recruit the very best teachers from around the world.

Today I’ve been thinking about what gives those schools a good reputation?  Obviously it’s because their teachers are out there promoting all the good things about the school, it’s because they are known for giving their teachers fantastic opportunities for professional development, it’s because the schools are progressive and seen as being “cutting edge”, it’s because the salary and benefits package is extremely attractive, it’s because teachers feel valued and it’s because all students, regardless of ability, seem to thrive and do well there.”

“Top tier”, “A, B, C, D schools”, “That is one For-profit”, etc. We all have heard these phrases (and more) as international school educators talk about international schools, especially about international schools you are considering to work at.  I suppose it might be true that the “top” international schools don’t even go to the recruitment fairs, but I do believe a lot of them do.  The ones that don’t might indeed have a really good reputation.  They might be getting so many applicants applying to them without them even looking.  I have overheard though from one administrator at one of these “top tier” schools that they are thinking that they do need to “show up” at a fair every now and again so that the “good name” of the school will still be in everyone’s mind.  Thus it could be to the international school’s benefit to stay visible to stay “top tier.”

And this blogger has hit it on the T, the reasons she gives for the good reputation are correct.  Why don’t all international schools strive to be all of those things?  I know the teachers there would want that to be there goal as well.  And I think that is what she is getting at….it is not just the international school that should strive for this, but the teachers as well.  I bet it is most because of the teachers at an international schools that have helped the school to get its good reputation.  So, the key word then for this to happen is: inspiration.  Inspire yourself and your coworkers and maybe your current international school will soon be in that “top tier” list if it isn’t there already.  Sometimes it is a fight to achieve this high reputation, and probably also a challenge (albeit an exciting and motivating challenge) to keep your school in the top.

Experience -v- Quality

“When I started in international education, in the late 80s and early 90s, there were a small number of “top” international schools that were developing the IBO programmes that are used by many international and private schools around the world today.  In general these schools could take their pick of candidates – they received hundreds of applicants each year and often one of the requirements for working in these schools was that the candidates had to have a minimum of 2 years of experience of working in international education.  And to get that first experience in international education, they had to have worked for a minimum of 2 years in their home country too.  Therefore in general any teacher who was offered a job at these schools would have had a minimum of 4 years of experience, and often many more in a variety of international schools.”

I don’t know if this is always true, but it definitely plays a big factor in the consideration of your application.  Networking plays a factor into getting placed at a top tier school as well (knowing someone who knows someone).  Also luck and timing play a factor (being available for a late hire in June versus in February during the recruiting season.  And finally it is so important that you are the right “fit” for the position at this “top” international school.  I have heard many times that if you are just simply the right fit, then these other “requirements” (e.g. two years of experience working in international schools) for the position generally can be pushed aside. 

Many international school teachers new to this community don’t have experience with the PYP curriculum.  Consequently there a number of these teachers wanting to work at one of the many international schools using the PYP.  Many established PYP schools are saying to these candidates at recruitment fairs that they look for a minimum of two years of PYP experience to be considered.  Should these teachers give up then on their dream to work at a PYP international school?  Certainly not.  I have a friend who tried for 2-3 years trying to land a job at a PYP school (without previous PYP experience).  Finally, they got an interview at a top international school in Europe.  Even though there were other candidates with PYP experience interviewing for the position, my friend got hired instead.  There were definitely other factors coming into play versus just saying no to a candidate that didn’t have the “required” two years of PYP experience.  You never know what might happen when you apply at an international school that’s for sure!

Check out the 1230+ international schools that are listed on International School Community here and check out what teachers are saying about the “top” or “not top” international school they currently work at or have worked at in the past.

Check out our latest submitted comments and information about these schools here.

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.