International Recruiting Season: Times Are A Changing

International Recruiting Season: Times Are A Changing

It is once again that time of year when international teachers start having to decide if they want to head off to a new place or stay put for another year in the school/country they are in. If contracts haven’t already had to be signed they will be in the next couple of weeks. It is a fun/stressful time of year. Either you have already decided to stay, making it fun to watch and see where your friends who are recruiting end up, or it’s stressful because you yourself are thinking of leaving and going to a new school/country/adventure. The recruiting process for international schools continues to evolve due to technology. At one point in time, not too many years ago, you had to go to an overseas job fair to have the best chance at getting a job. Now you just need to register with a service like ISS or Search Associates to get your resume and name in the system and wait for a call. ISS (International Schools Services) has just released a new video to promote their service in helping teachers get their “dream job” overseas. Even in this latest video ISS does not talk about having to go to a job fair. Many of us know that the job fair has taken on a new dimension in the recruiting process. More and more I hear teachers say, “I’m not going to a fair.” and instead use their network of teachers they know in international schools to find the job they want. I have administrators tell me they go to job fairs to fill that one or two last position needed and others that do all their recruiting now via Skype and don’t attend job fairs at all. If you are new to overseas teaching then a job fair is your best bet. But once you’ve been out there for awhile you create your own network and learn how the system works. I find it interesting how technology has taken this industry that use to mean expensive plane tickets, nights in 5 star hotels and has brought the cost of recruiting for both schools and teachers down to a couple hundred dollars if any money at all. Technology As A Skill I have talked here before how technology is a skill and we know that because more and more administrators are looking for the skill of...

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World Virtual School Symposium

I hate missing ISTE this year but don’t worry it’s for a good cause.  Over the past three days I have been meeting with other international education regions to discuss the World Virtual School Project (WVS). At the moment this is an International School project being driven by the Department of State: Overseas Schools Division. The history of the project goes back to 9/11 and the closing of the International School of Islamabad after the terrorist attacks on that day. Basically as the embassy and school were shut down shortly after for security concerns it became critical to find a way to have the education continue especially for graduating seniors and even 11th graders at the time. Long story short a virtual school was set up for those students to continue their education and graduate on time. After this success story the State Department and schools in the region started working on putting a plan into place that would allow them to carry on school if for some reason there was a school closure. Out of this concern the World Virtual School Project was born and has slowly been expanding to International Schools around the world. The State Department would really like to see all International Schools that are tied to U.S. embassies, consulates, and interests to have a plan to continue school if for some reason school closure was to happen.  As luck would have it two of the three schools I’ve worked at have closed for different reasons. Saudi Arabia for terrorist attacks and Bangkok for political protests. So this type of system would benefit many different international schools around the world. With this project also comes the added benefit of actually connecting schools to do projects both regionally and globally. Using Moodle as the backbone of the project, the project has slowly expanded to 65 schools and is growing. The WVS also played a role this past year in Egypt and in Tripoli were the education of students was disrupted due to upraising in those countries. So as you can see this is a program that is needed and has been successful already. Unless you’ve been in International Education you probably don’t realize just how vital this aspect is to supporting U.S. interests abroad. It’s hard to explain and would take to long here…so the next time you run into an International Educator have them explain it to ya.  All in all it’s been an interesting...

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90% Educator 10% ?

It’s that time of year again in the international education world of contracts, decisions, and thinking about your future. Kim Cofino has a great post about finding the right fit…the right school. Whether you are an international educator or not it’s worth a read. International Teachers are different…we’re weird….we don’t like stability, we like change and challenge. We like travel, culture and to be honest I think we all like just being different. If you’ve met an international educator you’ll know what I’m talking about. Countries, airports, and airlines are just common conversation. We talk about “Bali Belly” the “Shanghai Shits” and the “India Illness” like it’s common conversation….seriously never start a conversation about being sick with an international educator….we share way more than you ever wanted to know. 🙂 But that’s us…..we live on year by year contracts, don’t try to make us sign a multi-year deal….cause that’s a deal breaker in itself (part of the reason we left Shanghai). We’re renegades, we’re individuals, and nobody is going to tell us where we’re going to live or that we can’t leave….cause we will just to prove you wrong. Yeah….International Educators are different. We expect open bars at conferences (over 50% of our food budget for Learning 2.010 was spent on alcohol…cause if you don’t have it people won’t come). We expect conferences to be in amazing locations. Borneo, Bangkok, Greece, Shanghai, Singapore, Egypt, Nice, etc. Yeah…..international conferences are rough. And then there is the friendships you create. Deep meaningful friendships with people who become your family. My best friends little brother, who I’ve known since he was in 6th grade graduated from University at an elementary teacher and decided to try out the international teaching thing. His first posting has been Kuwait where he’s in his second year, meaning that he’s now having to decide whether to stay another year or decide if it’s time to move on. He wrote a blog post, a couple lately actually, talking about his decision and how attached one becomes to friends, a country and these amazing kids we have the honor of teaching. Some very reflective blog posts from a young teacher trying to figure out life, education, and the meaning of it all. And then there’s me…..maybe this blog post is describing me more then the general international educator (I’m sure they’ll let me know in the comments), but I’m constantly searching for something....

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Four Strands of an Educational Technology Position

It’s that time of year again in the International Educational world of recruiting fairs and finding your next position. The first fair just ended last week here in Bangkok and the list of fairs that still will be occurring through June can be found here and here. Before the winter break I interviewed, was offered, and accepted a new position here at ISB. I’m not changing schools, just positions as next year I’ll move from the Elementary Technology position to the High School Technology position. In preparing for the interview and my conversations with the High School principal afterwards along with Kim and Dennis in the office, I believe there are four strands that you need to think about when preparing for an educational technology position and interview. Four Stands of an Educational Technology Position Personality: First and foremost an educational technology position that is looking to integrate learning into the classroom needs to be about personality. You can not, will not, get into classrooms if you can not create positive relationships with other educators. You must have a willingness to help others, to be patient with people as they learn something new, and just be an all around likable person. Without having the interpersonal skills nothing else in this position matters. Teachers will not invite you into their classrooms, they will not want to work with you and both you and educators will be frustrated with your work. Pedagogy: Believe in something! There are many different views on the pedagogy surrounding educational technology, and you need to show that you have a view, that you stand for something whatever it is. Make sure you believe in it and be passionate about it. I might not have the best pedagogical view on educational technology, but I believe in what I believe passionately, and I believe that comes through in the interview. Know what you believe in, what you will help teachers achieve and how you plan on achieving it. Technology: You need to be familiar with technology, the latest trends, and tools, but honestly this is the least important of the four strands. Technology skills can be taught. In fact you’re going to have to learn new skills anyway. Whether a new e-mail system, a new student information system, etc. More importantly, is to show that you know how to unlearn and relearn skills quickly and that you have...

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Risk takers and podcasts

We had a great conversation last Thursday night on the Shifting Our Schools (SOS) podcast. We ran about an hour and one thing I love about running my own podcast is I get to determine the length. As long as the conversation is good…let audacity roll! 🙂 At one point in the show we start talking about teachers and what we (as technology people who are helping to embed technology into the regular classroom) want to see. We talk about teachers who are willing to learn and banter that around for awhile until we land on this: “We don’t want teachers as learners, we want teachers as risk takers!” If you listen to the podcast you’ll know when I say it because there is a long pause as we all let that sink in. But it’s true, as a teacher, as an administrator I want risk takers. What if we change the interview question from: Do you consider yourself a life long learner? (A question I’ve been asked in every interview) to Are you a professional risk taker? Give me an example of a professional risk you took last year? What did you learn from this risk? What would your students say? Do you believe it’s OK to fail? Either way it was a great conversation around what types of teacher we have access to as integrators. We all agreed it was teachers who are willing to take that professional risk and invite you into the classroom that have the most success. On another podcasting note and while we’re on the topic of risk taking. Dereck Rhoads left a comment the other day on what has become my most popular post to date about Interview questions for International School Job Fairs. While recruiting Dereck used some of the questions that I put forth in the post, changed them, adapted them to fit his needs and used them while recruiting. But Dereck didn’t stop there. He recorded an interview with a teacher candidate and then posted it to his blog to share with the rest of us. This has me thinking on so many different levels: How does this change the interview process? Specifically for international educators where distance and costs are a factor? What insight does a candidate now have not only on the questions that Dereck is most likely to ask, but also in getting a feel for...

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