Discussion Topics

The Interview Process: Insight into 12 international schools on what they do

February 2, 2020


International School Community is full of tens of thousands of useful, informative comments…35536 comments (2 Feb. 2020) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website. In one of the 66 comment topics, they are encouraged to share their experiences interviewing with international schools. How did it go? Was it easy to get? Recruitment fair or Skype? What did you have to do? Was the experience positive or less than ideal?

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and insightful about each school’s interview process.

1.

“Interviews are usually handled via Skype by the Head of School. HR manages the hiring process very well. Faculty recommendations for new staff are heavily considered.” –North Jakarta Intercultural School (99 total comments)

2.

“GIS uses renowned recruiting agencies and also posts its vacancies in its website. Candidates must send their CVs and educational statement to:
principal@issaopaulo.com.br . Initial contact is done via email, inviting candidate for skype/ whatsapp interview. Should they pass this phase, then they are interviewed by the educational consultant. Once both parties are happy, a letter of engagement is sent and visa process which is taken care of by the school is initiated. Teachers must have a fully qualified teaching degree and at least two years experience. The school is committed to offer PYP training.” –GIS – The International School of Sao Paulo (22 total comments)

3.

“I had a very positive interview experience, yet no job offer. The process was fast. I applied one day and the next was called for a skype interview. The next day I interviewed for a second time. No restrictions that I am aware of.” – Veritas International School (3 total comments)

4.

“I was interviewed by skype, first with 2 persons from my department, nearly a month later there was a 2nd interview with the school director.
The whole process lasted about 2 months.” – Euroamerican School of Monterrey (10 total comments)

5.

“Each interview comes with a demo lesson. The main purpose is to see if you click with the kids and can get their attention. The second main criterion is that you must be able to not be teacher-centered. Basic.” – Assumption College Sriracha (47 total comments)

6.

“Hiring is done through direct applications as well as through Search Associates. First interview is with the head of school (which they call “principal” here), followed by a second interview with the head of section (secondary, primary, or little KICS). No hiring restrictions I’m aware of, even age limit doesn’t seem to be a problem, although I’m not 100% sure on that one.” – Khartoum International Community School (116 total comments)

7.

“If you want to apply to NIST, prepare for it well in advance. Whether you go through ISS-Schrole or Search, have all your docs ready to upload and make sure your referees are ready to submit their recommendations online. There’s also a recorded safeguarding interview that you’ll have to complete as one of the final steps if you’re being considered for a position, so think about how you would answer questions related to that area.” – NIST International School (298 total comments)

8.

“The complete hiring took a pretty long time. I went through 4 interviews and had to do a very extensive background check. Make sure you apply with plenty of time. The interviews were pretty nice, people seemed always friendly and requested a live demo lesson.” – The Village School (24 total comments)

9.

“Religion is not discussed in hiring, except to ensure that potential staff members have read and are in agreement with their open and inclusive Religious Life policy. Interviews are far more focused on teaching (newly adopted MYP/DP means they’re looking for those with experience) and whether the active lifestyle (walking up and down the hilly campus) would be a good fit. Single parents would do well here; with a large of number of staff kids and the school’s activities, there would be a community of support.” – Woodstock School (128 total comments)

10.

“Once shortlisted, an applicant will be scheduled for a panel interview that consists of the headmaster, principal, assistant principal, and head of department via Skype. HR will contact the successful applicant with a job offer. Age restrictions have been relaxed.” – TEDA Global Academy (85 total comments)

11.

“CMIS advertises openings on the school website and TIE online. interview process is fairly direct, generally consisting of 2 to 3 interviews with section administrator and then the school superintendent.” – Chiang Mai International School (24 total comments)

12.

“I just interviewed with this school over Skype. There was the first interview with the actually staff that you would be working with, and then a follow up interview with the Principal/Head of School. Each interview lasted around 50 minutes. Just a note to consider, Singapore/the school doesn’t allow for non-teaching partners to get a work visa. They will need to get a work visa themselves if they want to work there, or they can also sign up and register a company (which I guess is easy to do and cheap) and then they can do work there.” – Nexus International School – Singapore (54 total comments)

If you have interviewed at an international school and know first hand knowledge about their interview process, log in to International School Community and submit your comment. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Comment Topic Highlight

Has Your International School Met Your Expectations Once You Started Working There?

January 31, 2018


Taking a job at an international school that you have never visited is just a part of the game in our community. So, many of us try our best to gather all of the information we can before and after signing the contract. One main way of gathering this information is from the administration that interviewed you. Certainly, they do their best to inform you about the aspects of the school that you are interested in knowing about. Ask the administration lots of clarifying questions as well to make sure you are hearing them correctly; so that you can have the best understanding of your future workplace.

Once you start gathering all of this knowledge, you instinctually start to create some expectations. Whether your expectations are realistic or not-so-realistic, they are now there in your brain for the whole rest of the school year at your current school and through into the summer.

expectations

Now that the expectations are there, of course many of them will be exactly what you thought. The possible issue that may arise though is once you get to your new school in July/August. Will all of your expectations indeed come true or will they be slightly different or even non-existent?  There is a real risk that some of your expectation will not come true.

expectations

Even if some of your expectations don’t come true straightaway, it doesn’t mean that they won’t after a half or a whole school year passes.  Stay positive!  If a few expectations are bringing you down, some good advice might be to focus on the expectations that did come true, especially those ones that inspire you as an educator.

Not having all your expectations come true is just another part of the international school teacher experience. Knowing how to handle those moments is the key. The admin hired you from a reason, and they thought you were good fit for the position and their school. Don’t let some high, unreal expectations that you may have derail you. Make sure you stay open-minded and be willing to be flexible. And definitely don’t forget to realize and enjoy all of your expectations that were met once you started working at your new school!

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of has your international school met your expectations once you started working there. There are a total of 202 comments (January 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of 65 comment topics called – “Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“At first, I was not impressed with the high rate of misbehaved students (because the school advertises that there are “no behavior issues” in the school. However, once the school year got underway, I have watched how teachers have reflected on their management routines and changed them accordingly. I have come to love working at this school because I see students learning and engaged in their work. I also appreciate the camaraderie among the faculty and staff. However, the thing that I did not expect was getting paid late.” – Beijing BISS International School (Beijing, China)67 Total Comments

“During my interview it was clearly described what I was getting into and what was expected from me. I have been at the school three years now and look to stay on longer.” – American International School of Rotterdam (Rotterdam, Netherlands)52 Comments

“The educational provision of the EYFS and Primary departments has improved rapidly in the 15 months since their establishment. It is now a well organised school and everyone is moving forward together. I could not envisage the progress being so rapid when I started. Currently the school exceeds my expectations.” – Varee Chiang Mai International School (Chang Mai, Thailand)65 Total Comments

“Exceeded- I’ve grown a lot as an educator and the collaboration with my colleagues has really pushed me to try new things and think more deeply about my own practice.” – International School of Brussels (Brussels, Belgium)31 Comments

“The interviews were extremely realistic and did not deceive in any way. The school was far better than expected.” –Woodstock School (Mussoorie, India)58 Comments

“The school definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s such a wonderful place to work at. Teachers , students and office staff really live and work in harmony.” – British International School of Stavanger (Stavanger, Norway)24 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

13 Insightful International School Interview Experiences Submitted by Our Members

October 21, 2016


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?

interview

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

interview

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

interview

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!

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #8: Gloria Hewitt

December 26, 2011


Each month International School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Gloria Hewitt:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Spain, attending international schools in Barcelona and Madrid.  My father’s American  and my mom is Spanish, so I was always considered ½ and ½ .  I went to college in the U.S. and got a B.F.A. (Fine Arts) from Otis College in Los Angeles.  I started teaching at a public school in L.A. in 1998 and never looked back.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

In 2006 I made the decision to move back to my “home town” and applied for a job at my old school, The American School of Barcelona.  I worked there for 4 years where I shared students and classrooms with some of the elementary school teachers from my childhood.  My experience at ASB was a wonderful experience.  Once I had those years under my belt…I was hooked on the International School life-style.  Our initial idea was to move to Argentina, where my husband is from, but when the opportunity came up to move to Brazil and teach at Graded, my family and I were thrilled to take on the challenge.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

The American School of Barcelona and Graded – The American School of São Paulo.  The best part of ASB was it’s location,  Barcelona.  Graded is challenging in a professional way, but São Paulo is a tough city.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

Graded is very strong on offering Community Service opportunities in the area.  I am the staff leader for one of those groups, in which a group of high school students fund-raise for and visit a Cancer Shelter close by.  Every time we visit this location I am further impressed by how mature and resilient our students can be.  It’s quite inspiring.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

Location is key.  I look for a place that I can picture myself living for at least 3-4 years.  In my case, I need to consider my non-teaching spouse.  He can legally work in South America & Europe, so I’m going to be drawn to those areas.  Another really important factor is the true savings potential.  Each school has it, some more than others, and I’m more interested in saving money than traveling.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Stimulating,  unpredictable,  addictive,  inspiring, challenging.

Thanks Gloria!  If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: You are the author of your own life story – Create your life!

December 21, 2011


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

Our 13th blog that we would like to highlight is called “You are the author of your own life story – Create your life!“  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who is currently working at an international school in United Arab Eremites.

Entries we would like to highlight:

International Teaching Fair 2/2010

“International Teaching Fairs are the traditional way to connect prospective schools with teachers.  I believe technology will be changing this practice more each year as it is less costly to interview via Skype than to send a hiring team around the globe.  Skype misses that element of personal connection which can be critical in creating a good fit between staff and school, although some principals with extensive international teacher hiring experience may not see that as a priority.  Online portfolios allow the applicant to upload files, photos, even videos and the administrator can choose what they would like to review.  If different documents are needed, a quick email to request and a few moments to transfer, is all that is required.  In my case, my use of rubrics was of interest and I was able to share specific lessons, rubrics I created and student work samples in several content areas.  The ability to upload immediately demonstrated my ability to respond to requests quickly as well as my organization and technology skills. The job offer that I accepted was the one where the process was all online, except for the one concluding phone call.  At the time of the fair, though, I had only sent this school my CV and resume.

Making the decision to go to California for the international teaching fair was, like most events in my life, attempted one step at a time.  I had the invitation.  I had the airline miles.  What I didn’t have was money for the hotel, food and other things needed while there.  Also, my professional clothes were in storage in Oregon.  I bought a couple blazers online and luck was with me as they coordinated with my slacks and blouses and fit well, too.  Investing in makeup and an awesome hair cut/color (thanks Michelle at All Things Beautiful Salon) was the most expensive part but incredibly important.  The last part was the hotel and associated costs, but thankfully, my tax return came through and I had the funds to make the trip.

I stayed at the less expensive hotel next to where the fair was being held.  What I had researched strongly suggested staying in the hotel where all the action was, but I was very glad to not be.  There were times that I needed to get away.  Staying in the same hotel is in the best interest of the folks hiring, but not as much for the applicant.  I was able to sit at the bar, reading and enjoying a dinner without having to wonder who else was around.  I could take off my teacher hat for awhile and just relax.

I woke up later than I anticipated, but really was taking my time, I think, to feel in control.  I didn’t want to be one of the first to arrive and the days schedule was long.  By the time I walked across the parking lot to the conference rooms I was nervous again.  There was so many people!  Going into the candidates “lounge” where the rooms walls were covered in sheets of paper listing the school, country and positions available, I noticed that most people had an intensity that I wanted to resist.  The tables were covered in laptops and I started to regret not bringing Brett’s, but I travel light.  I did end up using the hotels business center at a cost of $5 for fifteen minutes and calling Kelina to go online for me quite a bit.

Many people had printed special coordinating note cards, cv’s and other stationary needs.  That is not my style.  Many of the candidates also requested interviews with many, many  schools.  I only had a few countries that I would go.  Once again, I find myself in the position of being different than the majority.  Immediately, I started networking, introducing myself and asking, “What’s your story?”  I think that was my favorite part.  Talking with many teachers from many states and many with international experience, too.  We all got to be very friendly, supporting each others efforts and contributing to a positive atmosphere.

Interviews were all super short, most commonly about 15 minutes.  Some schools, especially the new ones, were prepared to interview dozens of teachers.  Other schools were obviously looking for only certain qualities and were limited their number of interviews.   All day Friday I participated in the process to secure interviews for the next two days.  Saturday was spent interviewing and chatting.  Saturday night was the “dinner” which was enjoyable, but not really helpful for me.  By this time, there had been some job offers and also many rejections.

A great part of the fair was the presentations from schools. All day, there were several small rooms where schools brought out their power points and marketing pitches.  Some were a hard sell, others not, but I loved them!  It was like the travel channel.  I learned about many countries and really confirmed by decision to focus on the UAE.

By Sunday, I knew that I was going to be one of the ones who left without a job offer.  I was okay with that and had faith that things would work out well.  Many of the candidates were very stressed by this time.  Sunday afternoon, I was ready to go but my flight wasn’t until the next morning.  Checking my email in the hotel business center I opened an email from the school in Abu Dhabi asking if I was still available.”

You’re What?!

“Telling folks that I have accepted a kindergarten teaching position in Abu Dhabi and will be living in Dubai has been fun.  Their reactions, both in facial expressions as well as in words, has ranged from, “Wow”, “No!””, “That’s great” and “Why?” to my personal favorite, “Are you out of your fricken mind?”

Usually, the first question has been why, a completely reasonable question to which I have several answers.  The quick answer is, because I can.  Another answer has been a short explanation on the three category system that Brett and I used while making the decision.  The categories were  1. quality of life  2. school for Brett  3. ability to save money with a possible one, two or three stars in each.  Staying in my position in Hawaii resulted in a score of 5, other options were discussed, but then the offer for the Abu Dhabi scored a 8.

The reason that I even started thinking about  it was because one evening, before the holidays, I was aimlessly googling phrases like “how to make money as a teacher” and “extra work for teachers”.  (In Hawaii, when the teacher furloughs started and my pay was decreased 9%, I started tutoring after school three days a week to make up the difference in my budget, but every month is still a struggle.)  International Teaching came up in my internet search and I thought it was a great idea.  A few days later, at a holiday potluck for staff at my school, I met a couple who were previous teachers.  They were visiting since they had returned from several years overseas.  Getting some direction as to how to proceed in my research, what recruiters to trust, what to watch out for, and sharing their satisfaction with their choice to teach overseas gave me good background information to proceed.

I applied to many, many schools online.  From Thailand to Taiwan, Singapore to Malaysia, Indonesia to Hong Kong – but the country that was my first choice was, from the very first, UAE.  I applied at a great school in Abu Dhabi, but didn’t hear back before I went to an international teaching fair in San Francisco.  At the fair, I had several interviews but not an offer.  (More about the fair in another post) When I returned, I received an email from the CEO of the Abu Dhabi school asking for more information.  I sent my online portfolio as well as links to my two websites for class use, and was very happy to accept the offer that soon came.

When I told Brett about the offer, the fact that we had only 6 hours to decide since this person was at different international teaching fair in Dubai didn’t faze him at all.  He called, emailed and texted his friends, both in Hawaii and in Oregon, and arrived at his decision in less than two hours.”

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

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