Schools thrive when there are enthusiastic teachers and students in them. But, do all international schools have this?
With around 10000 international schools currently, there are bound to be differences between them. However, it is certain that all international schools strive to students that are excited to come to school and do their best to learn in the lessons and engagements in their classes.
But do students just come to schools already engaged or is it the environment and staff that helps with that?
Some could argue that hiring engaged and excited teachers plays a huge factor in the enthusiasm of students. If the teachers are interested and excited in their lessons, typically the students will follow suit.
If the teachers are jaded, overworked, and caught in a low staff morale spiral, then this feeling is sure to be reflected in the students.
But even if the students and teachers are not so engaged at the moment, what can be done? International schools need to make drastic and carefully planned changes to achieve this change to more enthusiastic stake holders!
So which international schools then have enthusiastic teachers and/or students?
Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 17 comments that had the keyword “Enthusiastic” in them. Here are 11 of them:
“Students in primary are overwhelmingly kind, caring, and enthusiastic learners. The middle and high school will benefit from having a full-time secondary principal next year.” – Esbjerg International School (50 total comments)
“You need to be enthusiastic, open-minded and flexible. There is a strong community at school that is very involved in every aspect of the school’s life. School is looking for teachers who are passionate about their job and willing to differentiate for every student.” – Bishkek International School (57 total comments)
“The students are mostly respectful, enthusiastic, and hardworking. You might not be that impressed if you’re coming from Korea or another academically-driven Asian country, but compared to Latin America or any Western public institution it’ll be a big step up.” – Oberoi International School (36 total comments)
“The pupils are very affectionate, and the school has a very family-like feel. They are eager to please and enthusiastic about topics etc.” – The British School of Marbella (36 total comments)
“Students are very well behaved. Behavioural issues are very minimal, and most students are enthusiastic to learn and prove themselves to teachers and their classmates.” – Tokyo International School (104 total comments)
“The students are extremely polite and respectful. They are positive and enthusiastic though somewhat reserved.” – Global Jaya School (60 total comments)
United Arab Emirates
“While I have not myself worked elsewhere in the Emirates, I get a sense that our students are relatively well behaved. Understand that, while kids are kids, well behaved in the Emirates is not the same as say, well behaved in South Korea. That said, Liwa does not generally find itself subject to the kinds of behavior found in the government schools of the area. The kids are generally quite enthusiastic about Liwa and as capable as any children anywhere.” – Liwa International School (23 total comments)
“Very curious and enthusiastic learners. PYP and IB encourages this and students are excited to be at school every day!” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (69 total comments)
“The students are respectful, creative and enthusiastic. They love to chat and socialize!” – Santiago College (24 total comments)
“Students are enthusiastic about being at school, in general. Almost 100% of our students are involved in activities or athletics after school and on weekends.” – International Community School Addis Ababa (80 total comments)
“The students are amazing. So welcoming, so enthusiastic to learn.” – The British School of Brussels (36 total comments)
It is that time of year when recruiting teachers need to get their things in order and register with various recruitment agencies. There are a number of them out there now: Search Associates, ISS-Schrole Advantage, Teacher Horizons, etc.
However, it isn’t so ‘quick and easy’ as one might think to get fully signed up with one of these organizations. There are a number of things that you need to prepare, find, upload and create. It is a time consuming process, so it is best to start early. Even if you have been keeping track of things and collecting the necessary documents, each time you move countries, you need to keep yourself well-organized so that you can find things easily.
International school administrators want to see and read a short write-up about yourself and your teaching philosophy. This statement shouldn’t be too long, but long enough. It should be personable and reflect your true self and ambitions. It could include a highlight of your past experiences in teaching and your passions so far in your career.
It has been quite common for awhile now that international schools want to see confidential references of the candidates that they are considering to interview. Getting these confidential references doesn’t always happen in a quick way, so it is best to ask your references well in advance so that they will have enough time to fill it out for you. You definitely need to include a reference from your current supervisor. Talking to them in person about this request beforehand is advised before you send them the reference request.
You typically need to enter your latest contact information as this can change quite often for international school teachers. You also need to include a copy of your current passport. Don’t forget to make those changes on your updated CV as well.
Schools need to know what you are qualified to do, so that you will become searchable for them via the recruitment website’s database. Also, for you to receive the sometimes daily email updates on the latest job vacancy information, of course, you want to receive the information related to the job position/s you actually want to apply for.
This one is tricky if you are not prepared. Every time that you leave a country, you need to make sure you get a police report stating that you have not be charged for any crimes there. Some places, you can get this report for free. Other places, you need to pay a fee. The part where it could get even more expensive, is if you need to get the police report translated into English. Once you get the report, scan them in and save them somewhere as you’ll need them when you move on to your next country. It is not just a requirement to have your past police reports uploaded on a recruitment agency’s website, it is also typically a requirement when applying for a visa in a new country.
You need to write down the school names and the years you worked there for all the schools that you’ve worked at in your teaching career. Hopefully, you don’t have too many gaps in your career as that will often need some explanation. Also, you will need to include your supervisor there at the time. The challenging part is which email and phone number will you put… as your former administrator there has probably moved on and is working at a new international school. Make sure you get up-to-date email addresses for these past bosses.
You are required to enter the universities that you’ve attended. You will need to write in what your area of focus was for all of your degrees. You also need to upload a copy of your scanned diplomas and teaching certificate. A lot of us need to keep our teaching certificate valid and up-to-date, so don’t get lazy and forget to renew your teaching license before it expires.
Many international schools will be looking for candidates that can run after school activities and/or sports teams, so make sure to include all of your experiences doing that. If this is your thing, then it could make you stand out more and help you get the job. It will be a nice addition to your pay check there! On the other hand, other international schools will not necessarily pay you to do these things as it will be a requirement in a lot of teaching contracts that you offer at least one after school activity in a school year…for free!
Make sure to state your proficiency in all of the languages that you know. It is an asset in many international schools if you can speak the local language; especially at schools where the parent population has a low or even non-existing knowledge of English. For example, you might need to hold parent conferences in the local language.
Many international school teachers still attend recruitment fairs. It is a good way to meet the school administrators face-to-face. However, many recruitment agencies often will state that their candidates get hired before the recruitment fairs even happen, so it is not always necessary to attend a fair. Other international schools like to know which fairs that you will be attending, so that they can set up some interviews there in advance.
For you to be an available and accessible candidate in a recruitment agency’s database, teachers often will have to pay some sort of fee. It can be for free as well with some companies, but typically the fee could range from USD 50-250. If you don’t get hired that year, some agencies will not require you to pay again. If you do get hired through the recruitment agency, then you will need to pay the fee again if you want to recruit with them a second time. In some countries it is illegal to charge a person to get access to jobs and interviews.
Get all of your past university transcripts scanned in as well and make sure to upload them to the recruitment agency’s website. To fully complete your profile, you will also need to upload the most recent copy of your CV. The maximum pages for a CV is typically no more than two pages.
Finally, all international schools need to know that you are a safe candidate to hire and this is in relation to child protection laws. Many countries are getting very strict with this process so as to keep their students safe at school.
These are really just some of the things you will need to prepare and do when applying to be on an international school recruitment agency’s website. It can take only a few days if you are really prepared and if your references fill out the confidential reference in a very timely manner! However, if you are not the most prepared, this process can take many weeks. In turn, be sure to start early. As you hop from international school to international school, find a spot online where you can store all of these important documents.
Good luck to everyone recruiting this year!continue reading
Yes, it is November and many international school teachers are already thinking about the next school year. Actually, many of these teachers started recruiting back in September or August! It is necessary to recruit this early because international schools seem to be hiring earlier and earlier every year. Additionally, the international school recruitment fairs are also requiring candidates to have already applied to attend their fairs by now; by November you are most likely too late to apply to attend one (especially the ones in Bangkok)!
So, what are the top 10 things a recruiting international school teacher is worrying about in November? Maybe you can relate to some of these!
1. Why aren’t schools writing me back!?
You are trying to be proactive. Sure, it is advisable to contact international schools as soon as you see that they have a vacancy listed. You might even send your CV to schools that don’t even have a vacancy for you at the moment. It is really unfortunate though that many schools just don’t have the time to write everyone back in a timely manner…or at all. Though the truth might be that if the school really wanted to contact you, they would! If they are not contacting you, it might also mean that they are simply not ready to start short-listing candidates or that you are indeed not the best fit for the position at this moment in time.
2. Should I tell my school that I am FOR SURE leaving at the end of the current school year?
International schools are not making it easy for recruiting teachers. It appears as if many schools are requiring that their teachers tell them (if they are going to leave or sign another contract) earlier and earlier in the school year. It makes sense though. Admin needs to plan ahead. The earlier international schools start recruiting, the better choice and more selective they can be when hiring for the next school year. But officially signing the paper stating your intentions, it is something that will raise your heart beat a bit (in a good way and not so good way, depending on your present situation).
3. When will I finally secure a job?
It is so nerve-wracking to quit your job without having another job already lined up. An international school teacher is lucky to already get a job secured in November for the next school year. Admin positions might get hired around this time, but typically not regular teachers. Many teachers don’t sign a contract for their new job until April or May, so to wait that long…it is torture! Even if you go to an international school recruitment fair, it is not guaranteed that you will be signing a contract there either. You often need to wait another few weeks as the school wants time to interview some other candidates at the next recruitment fair. They also need time to contact and check all your references.
4. How am I going to stand out at the recruitment fair?
We’ve seen them at the fairs. The candidates that seem to have everything in order. They’ve thought of everything! They have smart, professional, and personalized stationary for thank you notes. They also have extra flash drives with their portfolio presentations on them to give to the schools. Some teachers at the recruitment fairs have CVs with unique, eye-catching designs. Others will have scrapbook-like binders with photos that show highlights from their teaching career; nice to have real photos of your teaching as talking points during your interview. The truth is you do need to think about your strategy at the fair, well ahead of time, so that you are prepared to represent yourself in the best way possible.
5. Can’t I just interview with schools on Skype and not have to attend a recruitment fair?
Attending recruitment fairs are great for networking and meeting your potential future boss in person, but they are also quite stressful and expensive. It is sometimes more ideal to just do all your interviewing over Skype. It is cheaper for your budget and also cheaper for the schools to hire people online. Some teachers are lucky and they get a school wanting to do a first interview with their shortlisted candidates before the recruitment fair even starts. Of those pre-screened teachers, some will get snatched up because of that pre-recruitment fair Skype interview (more and more candidates are getting hired via Skype and only Skype). Others though, will still have to go to the recruitment fair to do another in-person interview.
6. What if I don’t get another job at an international school and I need to move back to my home country?
It isn’t the end of the world to move back to your home country. But when you want to continue on in the international school community, moving back to your home country is definitely a last resort option. Come March/April, if you haven’t secured a job, the thought does run through your mind. Your mind runs through all the possible scenarios. Will you move back to the last place you lived in your home country and work in the same school/district as you did before? Will you consider a different city in your home country and try to start a new life there? Some of these scenarios do actually sound enticing to you, but your mind always goes back to the next international school that you are hoping to work at.
7. Will my top school have a vacancy for me and if they do, will the vacancy still be there by the time the recruitment fair starts?
When you see that your top school has posted a vacancy for that fits your skills, it is a time to rejoice! Screaming out loud in your apartment is not uncommon when this happens; screams of exhilaration, relief and excitement! Once those feelings subside a bit, the realities of the situation start to set in. What if someone who is more qualified than me gets the school’s attention first? What if they end up hiring that position internally, a person already working at the school? What if someone with a connection to the school gets referred for the position (hiring a good candidate with a connection to somebody who already works at the school is desirable!)? Maybe they will decide to fill the position with some local hire; it is usually cheaper to do that. So many scenarios and possibilities completely out of your control. When recruiting, it is truly all about luck and timing. If it was meant to be, to work at your top school in next school year, then it will happen regardless of all the time and effort you put towards applying for the position. That does not mean you do not try everything in your power though to get the school’s attention, demonstrating you are a good fit for the vacancy. Some teacher might back out a month after they sign the contract (that you were hoping to get) and you might be second in line for the position!
8. Did my current and past supervisors give me a super-positive confidential references or not-so-positive ones?
I guess that is why they are confidential, they are not for you to see or know about. Even if you have a good relationship with your boss, it is hard to know exactly how honest they will be on those confidential references that you might have to do (if you are attending a recruitment fair for example). The likelihood that they wrote you a positive reference is far higher than them writing a super negative one for you. When schools are not writing you back though, it is easy to start thinking about what the schools might be reading on your recruitment fair online profile. It is good to remember that most admin are supportive of their teachers, and will do all they can to help you secure your next job.
9. Kidding oneself that you are all cool, calm and collected about everything.
No one wants to be stressed-out for 3-5 months, but that is what your future holds for your when recruiting. Inevitably, it is going to be a bumpy ride. Be proactive about this and think of ways that you can get yourself grounded. When in the middle of the craziness of recruiting to work at an international school, don’t forget about your health and well-being. One idea to keep yourself in the right frame of mind is to continue enjoying what your host country has to offer. It is easy to take for granted the awesome opportunity to live in your current host country when recruiting, since your main focus is currently on moving. Don’t let that distract you too much and get out to continue to enjoy what your host country has to offer. Additionally, keep going out with your local friends that you’ve made during your time there and to get your mind off recruiting for a few hours.
10. Is there hope just around corner?
The fact is that it typically all works in the end, when recruiting. You WILL find a job. Many times, teachers do find the position at the school and in the city of their dreams. Keep your hopes and dreams alive during these recruitment months. Your positive energy will be apparent to your interviewer and the stars will align as you somehow have just the right answers to their tough questions. Make your dream school become your reality!
This top 10 list was submitted to us by a guest author and International School Community member.
All guest authors to our blog get one year of free premium membership to our website. Email us if you have a top 10 list idea and would like it to be highlighted on our blog as a guest author.continue reading
With the hiring season upon us, there is a divide amongst us international school teachers. Will the international school you are interviewing with prefer to hire a teaching couple or a single teacher?
I guess it could seem like the international school is being a bit discriminatory when they state their preference (sometimes in the job description vacancy itself), but there might be a number of factors that come into play in their decision to be so explicit in what they are looking for.
Sometimes hiring a single teacher can be more expensive than hiring a teaching couple. We all know schools love saving money! Money aside though, the administration at international schools also know the lifestyle that prospective teachers are signing up for. The set up could be good for both singles and teaching couples, but the city and country where the school is located could also lend itself better to a single person OR to a teaching couple.
It is hard to guess which type of teacher would be better for which set up, but the administration can see patterns developing amongst their staff. For example, are the single teachers or the teaching couples staying longer (or shorter) at the school? Are single teachers finding it difficult to save money there? Are single teachers able to easily meet up with other expats or locals in the city for a date?
The fact is, though, that single teachers get hired all the time during each recruitment season. If you are a quality teacher with a good resume and references (+luck and timing), the school will definitely consider hiring you. However, it might be good to know which international schools have a good record of hiring single teachers.
Additionally, if a school gives an offer of employment to a teacher who is single, what are the exact details about the benefits the school is offering you specifically? What is the lifestyle like for single teachers that live in different cities around the world?
So many factors and things to consider!
Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teaching couples and single teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 92 comments that had the keyword “Singles” in them. Here are 11 of them:
United Arab Emirates
“Dubai is a big city in most ways with very modern nightlife etc. singles should have no trouble meeting other singles, and couples will find the city enjoyable as well. Sex between people who are not married is illegal and people DO go to jail for it/get deported for it, but usually only when it is something very blatant (like having sex on a public beach). Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE and is still prosecuted. UAE is trying very hard to balance between a modern, cosmopolitan city while at the same time being respectful of traditional Arab culture.” – Raffles International School (South) (59 total comments)
“Kyoto has a pretty balance for all interests. singles may find it difficult here, however, as there isn’t much nightlife in Kyoto (a lot of things close around 8 or 9) and it can be hard to meet people. Osaka is 30 minutes to an hour away, however, and has a lot of options in that department. There are plenty of parks and outdoor spaces in Kyoto, unlike Tokyo or other metropolitan regions of Japan.” – Doshisha International School Kyoto (92 total comments)
“The housing allowance for singles was increased to 23,000HKD (2900USD) which allows for a bit more choice. Because of the price discrepancy among singles, teaching couples and a teacher with dependent(s), singles were the only ones who received an increase.” – Hong Kong International School (118 total comments)
“The school itself is a very family orientated place, though there are lots of singles in the school. Often group trips are organised renting beach houses and lake houses.” – Academia Britanica Cuscatleca (30 total comments)
“Chiang Mai is a great place to live for couples and families. Singles who like the Great Outdoors will also be satisfied. Those seeking a full on nightlife need to save their Bahts for a weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya. Chiang Mai has some great pubs and restaurants, but currently all are forced to close at midnight.” – Varee Chiang Mai International School (62 total comments)
“Staff housing is provided. 2 bedroom apartments for singles, just in and around Doha (Al Saad, Al Marqab) or in Education City (mostly families because of the parks and facilities that in and around the compound). You can ask for rent allowance but once you forfeit housing you can’t get back in! QF policy. Think it’s around 8,000 qar a month plus 500 for utilities.You’ll never find anything as nice as the housing provided for that money, without getting a roommate (then you can save money)” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (65 total comments)
“The school generally recruits at the Search fairs, in Johannesburg, Bangkok and London. There are some long-term local hire teachers. Many local hires are expats who are here with their partners. I believe they also hire through Skype interviews. There is a good mix of people – couples, families and singles. Recently there have been a lot of singles hired which has put a bit of a crunch on housing.” – International School of Tanganyika (171 total comments)
“Lots of activities for singles, but people generally agree Lusaka is great for families, less so for singles wanting to find love. There is a small gay culture, but not vibrant due to the country’s general conservatism.” – American International School of Lusaka (45 total comments)
“I am a single parent with a 5-year-old so life is very quiet for us. singles seem to have a very active social life as there are a lot of bars and Manizales is very safe. In terms of gay life, I know there are gay bars here and gay couples but I they feel they need to be discreet in public.” – Colegio Granadino Manizales (44 total comments)
“Staff housing differs for singles and married couples. They are both located near the school and are in an area which has plenty to do. Major bills include gas, electricity, internet, etc. The most expensive is the gas in the winter. Teachers are responsible for their utilities.” – Busan Foreign School (5 total comments)
“There is a mix of local and expat teachers. The majority of expat teachers come from the UK, but others come from other English-speaking countries as well. There is very low turnover rate at the school- maybe one or two positions open up each year. The staff are mostly married couples- very few singles.” – International School of Lyon (12 total comments)
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