School recruiters, usually senior administrators, travel from all over the world to attend our job fairs.
Fairs are a time of focus for recruiters who are very interested in meeting a variety of teachers at the one time and making job offers.
Recruiters tend to look to the Bangkok Fair to find experienced international teachers who know the system and what they are looking for. Contrast that with teachers coming to the Melbourne Fair who are generally new to the international scene. These teachers are valued for their enthusiasm, strong inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning as well as their willingness to be flexible. There are a few tips to help less experienced teachers succeed at a job fair.
Think about the reality, not the romance
Consider if you are truly ready to take the big step of teaching overseas.
“I found teachers with dependents (partner/spouse and/or child/ren) didn’t seem to consider the full picture of taking their entire family abroad. While I understand it’s mostly a learning curve, I think they needed to be front-loaded more with raising a family abroad” – Recruiter
Your word is your bond
At Search Associates, we value this so highly that it’s one of our company’s core values.
Verbal offers, and your acceptance of them, are binding. Neither the school, nor you as a candidate, can change your mind after offering/accepting an offer. Therefore, please know the importance of doing your research with diligence and care, and asking us for help if you are not sure.
Understanding and knowing your own mindset/skillset toward cultural differences and commonality is important when applying for international schools. Intercultural competence is the capability to shift perspective and adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. How are you bridging the differences and commonalities between your own values, expectations, beliefs, and practices with others? Consider a response to this question as you seek a job internationally.
Be aware of your unconscious bias – everyone has them, but adopt an attitude of curiosity with a willingness to listen and understand that others with their differences may also be right. In an interview, if asked about this and you have never lived in another country, explain how you would develop your cultural competence and focus on listening without judgment. Read more about International schools and International mindedness here
“But I’ve never taught X Curriculum”
Just because you haven’t got any International Baccalaureate teaching experience, British teaching experience, or US teaching experience doesn’t mean that you can’t apply for a job. Your current inquiry-based teaching practices transfer easily into different international schools. Do your homework on the school and investigate the type of teaching practices they look for, then translate it to your experience. Schools will often provide PD for new teachers, especially those offering the IB. Read more about different curricula here.
English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Many schools have student populations that are predominantly non-native English speakers. It would be great for recruiters to hear candidates talk (even if hypothetically) about approaches and strategies for teaching additional language learners. Classroom management isn’t a huge issue in many countries, but additional language acquisition may be. Think about doing research, before the fair, about teaching strategies you could integrate within your classroom for any EAL students.
It is also noteworthy that a number of students in international schools already have two or more languages, and there are many international schools with a dominant culture that have non-English speaking parents.
“I think an important tip to candidates before the fair would be to speak openly about their willingness to learn some of these strategies and/or do some reading/learning prior to the fair” – Recruiter
International school terminology
Find out what level equals what grade level, calendar term, and other simple facts about “American or International” schools. For example “Year 5” in Australia equates to Grade 5 in international schools, however it equates to Year 6 in British international schools.
Different types of “international schools”
Don’t assume that all international schools are the same. There is always debate on what makes a school ‘international’.
Just some facts to share: In the year 2000 there were 2,584 international schools educating fewer than 1 million students and in 2022 there are 12,853 international schools educating more than 5.7 million students. The context of these figures is that international schools are changing. It used to be that schools were established to maintain the continuity of the children of expatriates from specific countries. Today’s international schools are increasingly owned and/or governed by citizens of the country where the school is based, and they are established for the purpose of educating that country’s children. International schools serving expatriates are no longer in the majority.
- IB World Schools (schools that are authorised to offer one or more of the four IB programs)
- British schools
- American schools
- For profit schools
Therefore, a good question to ask a recruiter is: what makes your school international?
Another good question to ask a school recruiter is about their accreditation and who the school is accredited with. Accreditation (not IB authorisation) is a ‘qualityassurance’ process that many international schools undertake in order to meet international standards of education. Universities worldwide recognise the graduation of students from accredited schools. The Council of International Schools (CIS) is the only accrediting organisation worldwide that is also accredited itself and some may consider that this is further quality assurance of the education provided by the school.
Job fair protocols
- If you sign up for an interview, please let recruiters know if you can’t make it. Keep others informed and operate on the ‘no surprise’ rule . It is also a respectful and ethical job-seeking practice. We do also request the same for our recruiters.
- The importance of good communication is essential – at your initial meeting, make sure you find out from each other the best way to get in contact with each other. It could be email, WhatsApp or another form of communication, but clarify and agree before you leave the first meeting.
- If you are not sure about a job offer, ask. Clarify if you have an offer, and if so, what is the time frame for a decision.
- If you, as a candidate, request an interview, you should follow up on your request by visiting the school at sign-ups and speaking to the school recruiter directly.
- Do your homework, and don’t request or take an interview unless you are serious about your interest in working at the school. Don’t use an interview for “practice”.
- If you are not interested in a specific region of the world, don’t select it when submitting your file.
- Have a couple of examples/stories that you could use in an interview to ‘illustrate your teaching practice’. Help the recruiter ‘see’ how you teach.
Teaching experience and practices
- Be able to communicate your areas of strength as a teacher and the areas you still need to strengthen.
- Have an example to share in response to a question about a challenging situation or student, what happened and what you learned from the situation, and how it influenced your teaching.
- Have an example ready that shows how you establish relationships with students or how you would transition into a new school or describe your first lesson with your students, or your first interaction with parents.
- Finally, try to identify your own two or three CORE VALUES and be able to speak to how they drive what you think, say, and do in your daily life.
It’s all about the attitude you bring
A good teacher can learn a new curriculum and upskill with the right support. Recruiters are looking for the kind of teacher who has the right kind of attitude. A positive outlook that helps create a positive working environment.
- Teachers who want to try more, do more, be more.
- Teachers who are hungry to learn and who want to inspire others on their journey.
- Teachers who are not afraid to try, make mistakes, recalibrate, learn from them and try again.
- Teachers who know when they need to ask for help, and then know how to ask for help.