Summer is upon us teachers and we are all in the midst of our summer plans.
Now most of us are probably making our way back to our home countries for a visit with family and friends, but our summer plans are actually quite varied and don’t necessarily involve leaving our host country.
As many teachers do, we struggle to find the perfect summer plans. We want to connect with our new friends and old ones, but we also want to use our long vacation time to travel the world (which could also involve our friends).
Now if you have a partner that is from your host country, that can also affect how you schedule your summer events; meaning you might just be spending more time staying put and visiting your partner’s family.
There are actually a number of reasons to stay in your host country as well as to leave it.
STAY: If you are living in Scandinavia, summer time is the best time stay in your host country. Now is your chance to enjoy the most perfect weather of the year during the summer months. There are beaches to go to, forests to explore and great outdoor events happening all over the place. There is also ample daylight during this time of the year, so you can see a lot even in just one day!
LEAVE: It can be very hot in some of our host countries during the summer. We mean really hot! Who wants to stay inside all day during our summer vacations?! If you live where it is unbearable hot (like the Middle East or North Africa), that is likely your only choice! “Teachers don’t stay in the UAE during a summer holiday, they go to their home countries or travel as tourists to Europe or Asia, mostly. Actually, nobody stays if they don’t need to, because it is so hot, between 40-50 C.” – RAK Academy (47 total comments)
STAY: Not traveling typically means saving some money. It is true that you are also spending money if you stay at home during the summer months, but often you spend more money per day when on holiday. There are always extra things to pay for when traveling (like going to a concert, a ticket for a museum or a boat ride, paying for an organized tour, etc.). You also probably go out to eat at a restaurant at least two times a day when traveling, which can definitely add up. If you stay at home during the summer, you can also opt for a tutoring job or teaching summer school to make some extra money. “Saving money here is doable if you are conservative. Many staff tutor which almost doubles their income. I know of many staff that tutor enough for their travel and cost of living so they bank near all of their salary. As a single provider with a family, tutoring would be a must to save.” – American Creativity Academy (31 total comments)
LEAVE: An increasing number of international school teachers are leaving for their summer vacations around the world and renting out their apartment to Airbnb. In most major cities in the world, this can mean making a lot of money in a short period of time. There are also a number of house sharing websites for international school teachers that people are now using. Staying at one of these home during your summer vacations can also save you quite a bit of money.
STAY: Summertime is the perfect chance to see your former international school colleagues because your vacation time definitely matches up then. If your former colleague is still living where they worked with you, then it is always awesome to go back to a place you’ve once lived. If your he/she has moved on to a different international school and country, then you are crazy to not plan a trip to go visit them in their new surroundings. Hopefully you’ll get to explore a new country and save money on hotels at the same time because you know somebody there now.
LEAVE: Many international school teachers only see their parents and relatives once a year. If it is not during the Christmas break, then probably your only other chance to see them is during your summer vacation. Especially if your home country is freezing during the winter time, visiting it during the summer is really your only sane option. Let’s face it, your family wants to see you and love spending some quality time with you. Seeing your family in person is a great way to make sure you keep those connections strong. Even if it is for just a short time, bonding with your relatives is important.
If the stars align well for you, the best solution is to stay in your host country and your parents and relatives come to you! “Most teachers wait for the summer holidays to go on holiday. This is a mistake. Invite the family to visit you! It’s the best time of the year. You have a place to stay they can stay at and you can save the air fares that you would have used for traveling.” – International School of Paphos (105 total comments)
STAY: It is truly a regret when you decide to leave your host country and you haven’t seen all the places that you wanted to check out while living there. Summer vacation is a super time to get to those hard to reach places in your host country. Seeing all the cool places that your host country has to offer gives you a better insight into your host country’s culture as a whole. You can taste the cuisine there to see if it is different to where you live, you can see a different landscape to what you typically see around your home, and you can get a chance to practice speaking the host country language if most of the people where you live can speak English to you (because they live in a bigger, more metropolitan area).
LEAVE: Many teachers include some cool, far away adventure for their summer holidays. With 8+ weeks to play with and factoring in your budget for travel, you can get to just about anywhere. Why not explore a completely different part of this world? You might just live in one of those places in the near future! “Most teachers travel for the holidays during the school year. 99% of teachers travel for the summer holiday. Easy and cheap to get to other parts of the Middle East and South Asia. Europe isn’t too bad, but going to North or South America is usually reserved for summer holidays.” – Rowad Alkhaleej International School (Dammam) (114 total comments)
STAY: Just stay home and relax, that is what summer vacation is all about. It is good to finally just do nothing and enjoy your home and surroundings. The summer months are for recharging your body and your mind, so that you can be fresh for the next school year. It is hard for people to just do nothing, but it can very useful and welcoming. Go for a walk around your neighborhood and just take in the sights, smells and sounds. Ride your bike around a nearby river, lake or shore and take in all the beautiful nature that surrounds you in your host country. “There is a bit of nature within the city center. There are pretty big parks to walk around in. The most popular one yesterday was the City Garden. Lots of people there with all benches full. Great place to hang out and enjoy the nice spring weather right now.” – Anglo American School of Sofia (49 total comments)
LEAVE: If your home is not as cozy as you’d like it to be and your host country city is a bit dirty and hectic, you might find it hard to relax during the summer months. Going somewhere else to find relaxation is your best choice. Some international school teachers find a good yoga retreat to take part in on a tropic island (like Bali, Indonesia or Koh Samui, Thailand), others go camping in large national parks that many countries have to offer. Traveling somewhere where you can get away from all the loud noise and life’s annoying distractions can sometimes only be found in another country. If you stay where you live, then you are bound to get daily reminders of all the things that you still need to do, fix or clean up. When your abroad, you can find some really cozy and relaxing places where you can forget all your worries.continue reading
If you are job-searching this school year, then going to a recruitment fair is definitely on your mind. To keep your mind set on the right path both before and during the fairs, here are 8 helpful reminders on how to find success at an international school recruitment fair:
1. Keep an open mind – when attending the Fair you will be meeting many different schools at once. Whilst it’s always helpful to have an idea of what you are seeking, it also doesn’t hurt to remain open-minded to options you hadn’t previously considered.
2. Go to the PD Workshops – the feedback we have received from past attendees has been that the PD workshops are well worth attending. It’s a great opportunity to understand better the curriculum, culture and expectations of your potential new school and to connect with other teachers.
3. Get involved – it’s also your chance to shine! You can make sure you get noticed and stand out from the crowd by actively participating in the workshops. It helps to demonstrate your teaching skills.
4. Prepare some key questions – before the interview stage you will get your chance to meet and greet with various schools and make an initial introduction. You don’t necessarily always have the luxury of time at the Fairs so make sure you have done your research and go ready to maximize your allotted slot.
5. Network – there should be time to mingle and get to know the other teachers, sponsors and schools. The day needs to be broken up a bit from just interview after interview and it helps to make connections in a slightly more relaxed setting sometimes.
6. Shop Around – it makes sense to talk to as many schools as possible to get a good idea of what’s available.
7. Be Yourself – Give the schools a chance to see who you really are. Honesty is after all, the best policy. You are far more likely to end up in the right school environment and in a positive new role where you can flourish if transparency is respected and championed from the start.
8. Relax – and smile! The Fairs are quite intensive in terms of the amount of interviewing that can take place over those 3 days. A smile can go a long way in contributing to a pleasant Fair environment for everyone.
To learn more about what to expect from the Fairs environment, check out these past attendee experiences.
This article was submitted to us by Explore CRS.
The team at Explore CRS facilitates a number of different programs to help applicants find teaching opportunities in wider Asia. In addition to posting current vacancies and providing consultation services, they also organize recruitment fairs that match candidates with recruiters actively looking for talent for their schools. Applicants will be interviewed on-site, and at last year’s fair over two-thirds of all attending candidates were offered positions. An added benefit of attending the Fairs is an opportunity to take part in our Professional Development workshops, after which all attendees can receive certification.
They have two upcoming recruitment fairs in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai that you may want to check out if you have considered teaching abroad. The dates are as follows:
January 13th – 15th, 2017
January 19th – 21st, 2017
Typically in an international school teacher’s career he/she gets a chance to attend a regional international school teacher conference as part of their PD benefit.
There is ECIS (the Educational Collaborative of International Schools), which is mostly for international schools in Europe.
There is also EARCOS (the East Asia Regional Council of Schools), AISA for those in Africa and AASSA for the international educators in South America.
But how do you best make these annual conferences very useful and worthwhile (i.e. ones people will want to attend)? At some of these annual international school teacher conferences there is a pattern of declining attendance amongst the participating educators. So, now is the time to really have a good think about what makes them relevant PD events that people want to attend.
Here are some of the possible ways to make international school teacher regional conferences successful and effective:
1. Provide more opportunities to network during the event.
One of the best places to mix and mingle with your nearby international school colleagues is definitely at an international school annual regional conference. Although the content and theme of the conference is important, one main reason people attend is to network. Conference participants need time in the schedule to mix and mingle with the other attendees. Whether it happens during scheduled break times or not, participants will appreciate a conference schedule that gives them the chance and opportunity to get acquainted with each other and meet new people in the international school community
2. Make sure the registration fee is a price that is reasonable.
Unfortunately, PD budgets at many international schools are feeling the pinch. If the conference fee is too high that will of course cause a number of teachers and administrators to not come anymore. Holding a regional conference at a school is often cheaper than renting out a conference center, so that is one way conference organizers can help keep the fees lowered. Another option is to hold the conference in a country where they costs are lower, where they don’t need to pay so much for renting out the conference center or pay the regional tax (e.g. you don’t need to charge European VAT fees if the conference is held in a non-EU country, for example).
3. Choose a desirable host location.
Let’s face it, location is everything when going on a PD opportunity. Part of attending an international school teacher regional conference is also exploring and enjoying the host city. The conference organizers themselves can facilitate a cultural excursion as part of the conference package (usually at an additional cost), or they can provide information to the participants themselves so that they can explore on their own. Not only is the city of the conference important, but also the location of the conference within the host city. It is no good being so far away from the center of the city, for example, as the majority of participants will want easy and quick access to it. Either they are staying in a hotel in the city center or they will want to go there to explore after a day’s worth of attending presentations and break-out sessions.
4. Include a delicious lunch and snacks.
After a day of workshops and keynote speakers, having a delicious lunch is just what you need. If the food is more like an after thought, then that will affect the mindset of conference participants. Having bag lunches available is not the best choice, as they tend to be served cold and participants might not think they are getting their money’s worth. Conference organizers must work with their host site and make sure they will be providing a worth-while and tasty lunch, one that they also cater to different people’s dietary needs. Keeping conference participants nourished is a great way to help keep morale up and brains focused on the new learning that is happening.
5. Incorporate a healthy balance of invited speakers and teacher presenters.
What is the best balance to have? Would you like more invited speakers when you go to a conference or would you prefer more teacher presenters? Invited speakers often present about big ideas and concepts to inspire your teaching (mostly indirectly), but teacher presenters typically present things that are more hands-on and directly linked to your classroom lessons. It is definitely good to have both the theory and the practice so that teachers stay focused and inspired during the conference.
6. Create a conference schedule is easy to follow and one that makes sense.
As you plan a conference, you want it to be the best one ever. Trying new ways of organizing each day to maximize learning can be a challenge. Making sure the schedule makes sense is paramount. It is no good creating a complicated one that leaves people frustrated. A schedule that is easy to follow, which allows participants to maximize their time at the conference, will be well-appreciated!
7. Don’t have too many new initiatives at one time.
It is good to try these new strategies, but it is also important to not go overboard and confuse conference participants. You don’t want to arrive at a workshop session and have the presenter mention their confusion about what type of session they are actually doing. Also, it is not advisable to use a lot of new ‘buzz words’ or worse, newly created words used just for that specific conference.
8. Respond back to all conference registrants in a timely manner.
From before you register to all the way up to the conference itself, it is important to keep good communication with non-registered and registered people. Getting answers to your questions helps make sure everyone is content and up-to-date with the latest information. Not getting a reply to your email can lead to confusion not just about the conference details, but about the organization itself; the company organizing the conference.
9. Help teachers create meaningful and relevant links and connections to their classrooms.
Knowing about the conference participants’ backgrounds and schools is important so that the conference can better tailor their presentations to them. Because most, if not all, conference participants are coming from a variety of international schools around the world, then the presenters should either reflect those people or have a good background knowledge of their situation. Conference participants are looking for real ways to apply new knowledge learned during presentations. Many conference presenters know this already and have designed their presentations accordingly. However, there are still a number of presenters that include very few connections and links to the classroom.
10. Provide a forum where conference attendees can discuss the conference theme and its presentations.
Sometimes 45-60 minutes isn’t enough time to really discuss and debate everything you would like to in a conference presentation. In turn, why not make sure to provide the conference participants with a forum to keep the discussion going. Maybe the conference could help to facilitate some kind of a forum where attendees to a presentation can continue their learning and questioning. In this way, people can keep the presentation topic and issues at the forefront of their thinking and not quickly forget their new learning.
11. Provide support and guidance after the conference by helping past participants in their quest to share new learning with their own school.
There are still a number of international schools that require their teachers to share their new learning at their school, when they get back after a PD event. It all sounds like a great plan, to justify the school’s money spent on a PD opportunity for their teacher. But sharing what you’ve learned with a bunch a people who weren’t there with you can be tricky. Additionally, there is hardly any real-time to do this kind of PD at your school. One solution to help facilitate this “sharing of new learning” could come from the conference itself. Maybe the conference and/or the conference presenters could plan ahead and help prepare supportive materials to help you get prepared. They could help make sure to discuss with their member school administration the idea of setting aside meeting time to allow for conference participants to share their new learning at their schools. A joint ownership of this sharing part could prove to be helpful and beneficial.
12. Choose a conference venue with some character
There is nothing worse than being in a conference site and it not inspiring you. If it is held in a school, that is one thing. But if it is at a conference center or a hotel, then it should be one that is well-situated and cosy. Boring decor and a boring layout of break-out rooms are unattractive and uninspiring. Conferences held in modern, light spaces can bring a good energy to the presentations and transition times when walking from session to session. After listening to an inspiring presentation, it is also ideal to have some hideaway places to sit down and chat with your colleagues or newly made contacts.
There is much work to do and things to think about when planning a conference. It appears that you need to balance what has worked well for the conference in the past and mix those things with a few new initiatives. International school teacher regional Conferences have been around for decades now, but are they still relevant? That is the question that these organizations need to answer. If they are still relevant, then as they plan for and organize future regional conferences, they might want to keep these 12 helpful tips in mind.continue reading
International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…18371 comments (21 Oct. 2016) to be exact.
Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website. In one of the 65 comment topics, they are encouraged to share their international school interview experiences. How did it go? Was it easy to get? Recruitment fair or Skype? Was the experience positive or less than ideal?
We scoured our database of comments, and we found 13 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and insightful interview experiences.
13. “The school has improved its hiring practices during the last few years. Now department heads sometimes get involved in hiring decisions. Don’t let the director’s lack of enthusiasm during an interview throw you off – that’s just his personality – and don’t believe anything that he promises you, unless it is writing.” – Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main (Frankfurt, Germany) – 33 Comments
12. “Speaking from the Director’s office, you need to have a focus on collaborative action toward mission. Knowing our mission and core values is key to interview for our team. While we are happy to train, we are also looking for good experience and foundation that will add to our body of expertise and keep us refreshed in best practice.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 66 Comments
11. “The school has not met any of my expectations in professionalism. Many of the things I was told in my interview turned out to be untrue. The fall of the peso has not been addressed by administration.” – Colegio Anglo Colombiano (Bogota, Colombia) – 32 Comments
10. “Singapore age restrictions keep hiring (and renewals) under age 60. First round interview is typically done via Skype, but they want to do second round interviews in person, in Singapore or London.” – United World College South East Asia (Singapore, Singapore) – 6 Comments
9. “They rely a lot on hiring people who are recommended by current employees. You still go through the interview process, etc. My initial contact to the school was through a connection I had to somebody already working here.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 27 Comments
8. “Please be careful when considering to work at this school! I wasn’t and am in quite a fit now…. On May 5, 2014 I had a telephone interview with the director and the head of secondary. On May 30, 2014 I got a firm job offer for September 2014. We discussed several contract details via mail (school fees, moving allowance etc.) but I did not receive a formal contract. On June 11 I wrote an email asking for a contract copy. On June 13 the job offer was revoked, giving as a reason that “the position no longer exists on the curriculum plan, so we cannot proceed with the appointment”. Draw your own conclusions about the school’s level of commitment and organisation.” – British School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 3 Comments
7. “Face-to-face. As in most international school in Bangkok, it is much easier to get a job if you know someone on the inside of the school. The pay-scale is shrouded in secrecy (as in many schools here). The interview process is not that difficult, being from a native English-speaking country is a huge plus.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 38 Comments
6. “I was hired via Skype, as well. The interview was very informal but informative about the school and life Venezuela.” – Escuela Las Morochas (Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela) – 28 Comments
5. “The school does not attend any fairs. Hiring is done via announcements on the school’s website. The hiring process is not quick. Expect to be interviewed, via Skype most likely, four times. Each interview is with a person a bit further up the food chain. At the moment Indonesia has an age cutoff of 60.” – Green School Bali (Denpasar, Indonesia) – 54 Comments
4. “They do tend to hire internally a lot. The interview process is a bit intense with multiple interviews being set up for one person. They ask questions from a list. They are usually open to sponsoring visas for non EU candidates.” – International Community School London (London, United Kingdom) – 49 Comments
3. “I met with Julie Alder at the school campus because I was already in the city. I contacted them before I came and they were more than willing to give me a time and a place to meet and interview with me. The interview lasted 45 to 60 minutes. I also got to walk around and visit some classrooms.” – International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore) – 17 Comments
2. “The school is quite small, so it doesn’t attend job fairs. I was interviewed by phone and got the job from there. I know they have also brought in teachers whom live nearby (within Western Europe) to interview them in person. Hiring restrictions: YES- they will now only hire people who have valid working papers to work in France. The school also now typically only employs expat teachers from the UK or within the EU. Many of the teachers who work at the school have a French spouse.” –International School of Lyon (Lyon, France) – 12 Comments
1. “I interviewed with the elementary principal this feb at the search associates fair in boston. She was very kind and sweet to me. The interview went very well, she was willing to allow me to lead the interview by showing her my portfolio. She was a very experienced teacher in the international school world. She was kind enough to send a note to me in my folder to let me know that I didn’t get the job, and she also highlighted somethings that I said in the interview. Very professional!” – American International School Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania) – 20 Comments
If you have an interesting and insightful international school interview experience that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!continue reading
International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…18083 comments (23 Sept. 2016) to be exact.
Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website and share what they know about what it is like working at a specific international school.
We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and useful ones related to “Teaching Couples“.
12. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?
“The first month in HK is arranged in a hotel/serviced apartment. The single “rental reimbursement” (housing allowance) is about 1,600USD. Teachers employed overseas with an approved dependent get 1.4 times that. Teaching couples receive twice the single allowance and married teaching couples with one dependent child receive 2.4 times the single rental reimbursement. With two dependent children it is 2.8 times the amount. If you don’t spend the whole allowance you still get the money, but will pay tax on it. Rents are high but vary hugely. Most people more or less manage to live within their allowance, unless they want something a bit more spacious/special. HK apartments are really small, but you’ll probably be less squashed if you live in/around Sai Kung” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 37 Comments
11. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.
“It’s fairly easy to save a $1000 a month and still live a pretty decent lifestyle. For teaching couples it’s very easy to live on one teacher’s salary and save the entire other paycheck.” – Rowad Alkhaleej International School (Dammam) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) – 69 Comments
10. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?
“The school does go to the London fairs, but like the previous common mentioned, they do look for teaching couples before hiring single teachers. There are also new visa restrictions underway limiting the number non-EU students and staff that can work at/attend the school.” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 63 Comments
9. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.
“Some teachers just save most of their USD part of their salary and spend the local currency money. Some teaching couples do this and they are saving quite a lot every year.” – American International School in Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments
8. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.
“School is good and generous with this. Nicely, teachers AND staff/support staff, whether local or international, get tuition benefits for children. There are some teachers/teaching couples with more students at the school than parents teaching. The school sometimes requests a trailing spouse to do some “volunteer” work at the school to offset these costs. There are stories of this not always being 100% fair. If you’re in that kind of situation, it’s very much worth getting expectations ironed out early.” – American British Academy (Muscat, Oman) – 34 Comments
7. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?
“The do hire at the fairs. My friends got hired there at the Search fair, in London, a year ago. There used to be a lot of teaching couples hired, that have children, but that is diminishing more and more because some people don’t necessary want to raise their children here in Tanzania.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 143 Comments
6. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?
“Single or non-teaching couple without children SG$3000/month. Teaching couples or teacher with a child dependent $3,500. Teaching couples with children SG$3,500. These are fair allowances given the current rental rates in Singapore. Couples with more than 2 children may decide to top up the allowance to get a larger apartment.” – Nexus International School (Singapore, Singapore) – 22 Comments
5. What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?
“Generally only hire teachers with solid IB background, but will make exceptions for exemplary candidates, especially when in Teaching couples or harder to hire positions.” – Yokohama International School (Yokohama, Japan) – 17 Comments
4. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?
“It is hard to survive here if you are a single teacher with dependents, so the school will only hire Teaching couples that have dependents. You need to have a passport from either U.S. or Canada with a Bachelors Degree.” – American School of Quito (Quito, Ecuador) – 10 Comments
3. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.
“If you meet admissions requirements, then you get up to two children for free, Teaching couples get up to 3 dependents for free (to attend the school).” – International School of Beijing (Beijing, China) – 25 Comments
2. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?
“The school encourages Teaching couples with or without children to apply for vacancies. The school does look for candidates that are familiar with the UK teaching practice.” – British International School of Jeddah (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) – 41 Comments
1. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?
“Teachers are hired on a two-year contract, with the possibility of one-year extensions thereafter. They look to hire single teachers willing to share housing with one other single teacher, or married Teaching couples. They will considerTeaching couples with dependent children if they are of an age to attend NJIS (or younger).” – North Jakarta International School (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 29 Comments
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