Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #37: Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj (A veteran international school teacher from India)

April 30, 2017

Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am a Mathematics Teacher and I love teaching mathematics for slow learners as well as gifted ones. I have done my Masters of Science with Major Mathematics from Vinayaga Missions University, at Salem, India. Also I have a degree in Education from Tamilnadu Teachers Education University,  at  Chennai. I have done a E-Comerce cource from Informatics Computer Institute Noida, Delhi which helped me to involve students into modern technology. I had a training with Cambridge International Examinations for A and As Level Mathematics through Gandhi School, Anchol, Jakarta Indonesia. I had a nine months training from Institute for Total Revolution, Vedichhi, Valod District Gujaraat, India. During my school days, I used to be very shy in nature, but now I have improved a lot and able to Train the Trainer position for a couple of times. I am basically from a small town called Mondaikad at Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu, India.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

My first International Experience was with Holyland International School at Kathmandu, Nepal, which I went by train and bus as mode of travel around three thousand kilometers from my home town with extreme climatic change from 32 degree Celsius to -2 degree Celsius on January 9th 1993. Even though  there is no visa requirement to enter into Nepal,  I consider it as my first International Teaching Community.


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.

   #. Holyland International School, Kathmandu, Nepal
   #. Greenland International School, Kathmandu,Nepal
   #. Learning Realm International School, (LRI) Kathmandu, Nepal
   #  Arena Multimedia, Noida, UP, India
   #  Under Ministry of Education, Republic of Maldives  3 schools
        Laimagu School, Shaviyani Attol,
        Male English School, Male’,
        Majeedyya  School, Male’
    # Cathedral Vidya School, Lonavala, Pune, India
    # Bina Bungsa School, Semarang & PIK-Jakarta, Indonesia
    # Under Gandhi Group of Schools
         Gandhi Memorial International School and
         Gandhi School, Anchol
    #  Singapore International School, PIK-Jakarta
    #  GemsEducation Our Own, Fujairah, UAE, and now at
    #  Ayyeyarwaddy International School, Mandalay, Myanmar.
By teaching in above schools I followed, national school curriculum, IGCSE, A & O-Level, IB and State Common  Core Syllabuses.


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

While working in Indonesia and Myanmar, the People are very polite and respectful. I was selected as “The Most Patient Teacher-Secondary” from Singapore International School made me to smile since it happened within three months time. From  AIS, Mandalay I had a lot of fun by riding motor bikes for 9 hours with a group of 7 teachers and the water-festival at school premises made me happy which one can feel it by experience only. Students happily call me Teacher Pon Pon; it makes me to smile at times. Implementing Student Centered Learning by the slogan “Each One Teach One” , gave me satisfaction of teaching learning through Peer and Teachers as well as one to one learning. At one instance, without knowing local language, my barber shaved my mustache instead of trimming it.  It makes me self-smile whenever I thought of the situation how it happened 🙂  It is really fun as we are here from different countries and being one family like environment during luncheon.


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

I prefer not to bargain for salaries, it should be according to the qualification and experiences as per the school.  I had couple of experiences to bargain it.  It really made me to think how can a Teacher to bargain like a business person with the school.  The complete Teacher Resources for the particular class should be provided by the school, which will save a lot of time of preparation of lessons, instead of searching the resource itself.  As I am highly capable of teaching middle school and High school, managing students is not  a concern for me. There should be free internet facility for additional search of ideas/ images/project models etc.


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

Training the Students to Become Global Citizen.


Thanks Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj!

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 one year free of premium access to our website!

Do you think you have what it takes to be a veteran international school teacher like Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj?  What character traits does it take?  We have an article on our blog that discusses this very question. It is called the “Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher“. Read the whole article here.

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Top 10 Lists

8 Helpful Reminders on How to Find Success at an International School Recruitment Fair

December 9, 2016

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:

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.

recruitment fair

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.

recruitment fair

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.

recruitment fairThis 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

Abu Dhabi
January 19th – 21st, 2017

You can learn more about their recruitment fairs here and see what Explore CRS can offer you in your education or recruitment pursuits.

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