Tag Archives: teaching overseas

Winter Break: International Teaching Style

One of the most amazing things about international teaching is the ability to travel. Most families budget specifically just for travel. When Jamie and I moved overseas, we saved about $5000 a year by not having to pay for gasoline. Additionally, house payments, health insurance, and utility costs were suddenly zero.

With more disposable income and now living overseas, it became our goal to travel as much as possible.  Our first winter break overseas, we spent 3 weeks touring Thailand (Bangkok, Chang Mai, and Koh Chang). Our Christmas dinner was some delicious Thai food on a beach restaurant that just about caught our mouth on fire.  We woke up at 3:30 am to Skype our parents as we tried to find the best wifi signal.  I’m sure many international school families have similar stories.

We go home about every other winter break, especially when our calendar allows for 3 weeks.  One particular trip, we spent 3 weeks traveling to southeast China, Laos, and Thailand. The highlight of the China portion of the trip was a 10 hours of hiking to Tiger Leaping Gorge. I spent Christmas that year in a small hostel in Dali sick as a dog from food poisoning from a “pizza” at a local restaurant.  That cheese sure did taste funny at the time, but the carolers staying at the hostel sound nice out of my bedroom window. Our 2nd week was spent in Laos after a 36 hour bus ride from China into Laos.  It was a sleeper bus, so it wasn’t too bad.  Interesting, it was freezing in China, hot in Laos, and our third week of the vacation was spent in business clothes interviewing for jobs in Bangkok, Thailand.  Certainly a trip of a lifetime.

I keep saying that phrase, but the longer I’m overseas, I realize these trips aren’t trips of a lifetime, they are your life!

This winter break, we had scheduled a trip for Germany to check out the Christmas markets and all Germany has to offer over the holidays.  Due to Jamie expecting on December 6, that trip has now been cancelled for bigger and better things with the birth our our 2nd son.

My coworkers have trips planned to just about all corners of the globe and the diversity of my students means that their holidays will be well traveled as well.  Many teachers go home to visit family over the holidays, but a good many do take time to travel somewhere interesting.  Many in the Middle East either head to beaches of southeast Asia or the snowy wonderlands of Europe for winter break.

Like any teacher, winter break is a time for family, friends, and resting from a hectic fall semester of school. Unlike most teachers, international school teachers have the opportunity to make their winter breaks into something of which even Santa Clause would be jealous.

 

The Philippines – From Tropical Paradise to Tropical Depression

The Philippines before
Before: The Philippines – a tropical paradise
After: Typhoon Yolanda – a tropical disaster

When Disaster Strikes Near, But Not at You 

By Kailie Nagrath

I have been getting a lot of inquires from friends and family members who have been hearing about the devastating super typhoon Yolanda.  “I am perfectly fine and safe,” I assure the people back home.  But I can’t help but feel sad, and even a bit guilty, about all the thousands of people who are not so lucky.

Manila and the surrounding metro area seemed to escape the wrath of this violent typhoon, but the ‘eye’ of the storm struck hard on the southern part of the Philippines.  So hard, that Filipinos are calling this the worst typhoon in the island nation’s history.  Filipinos are not ones to sensationalize their weather as they have grown accustomed to these powerful tropical storms, living in a land where almost half of the year is considered typhoon season.

Yet many of the southern islands could not have known or prepared for the stormy uproar that struck their land late Friday night into early Saturday morning.

Eastern Islands Hit Hard

The area of the Philippines most affected is the Visayas provinces. Tacloban City in Leyte caught the full force of the typhoon with winds of up to 310kmph (195mph) completely decimating the city.  Exact figures are still unavailable but the death toll in that city alone is expected to reach the 10,000 mark.  Countless others are suffering from injuries, loss of shelter, food, electricity and clean drinking water. The actual destruction of this storm is so massive it is still being mapped out and the damage and human toll has yet to be fully calculated, but one thing is for sure, this is a disaster on a massive scale.

President Benigno Aquino III declared a “state of national calamity” in a plea to the international community to offer relief efforts.

Manila not Hit but Hurt

Seeing my host country going through this disaster is so heartbreaking.  Although Manila was largely unaffected by the storm, the emotional and psychological effects are plainly visible.  In a small island nation almost anyone living in the capital has friends, family or relatives in the outlying islands, so everyone is affected.  In a culture that is as family-oriented and giving to friends and loved ones as the Filipino culture is, everyone feels personally connected to this tragedy.

The current mood of the city is contrasted sharply to the city I landed in just a few short months ago.  A city where I could always find a welcoming smile, a helpful hand to assist me, a friendly face eager to say hello, or a warm smile sent my way.  The typhoon has left such sadness in the air that it seems to have washed all the smiles away.  I wish I could give back more to the people who have welcomed me to this country, because I have seen first-hand that these are a people who do not think twice to help out someone else in need.

Images Don’t Capture the Devastation

They say a picture speaks more than a thousand words… but none of the images you see can fully capture the magnitude and level of devastation that has hit this country.  Nor are there enough words, or even the right words, to explain the wreckage this storm has caused.  Lives were lost, families torn apart, and countless people have been left homeless with nowhere to go.  Survivors are desperately looking for loved-ones and searching for food and clean water to drink.  One can only imagine the desperation these people are feeling.

This morning when I went into the convenience store across the street from me, the man at the counter asked me to donate all of my old clothing.  It’s the least I can do, but of course I want to do more.  I know there are many people who feel the same way, but need to know how or where they can best help. 

How to Help

I would like to pass along this message from the International School of Manila on how best to help at this time.  ISM would normally send teams from the school to help assist first-hand but due to the level of devastation and the health risks that is not currently possible.

The best form of aid is financial assistance.  If you would like to help out with a donation you can either give directly to ISM’s Disaster Relief Fund or to UNICEF Philippines.  Please click on the link to ISM’s fundraising page to see details on how to make your donation:

Donate Through ISM

The people of this country have welcomed me with smiles on their faces everyday and I have learned to love and care for this country and its people.  As a guest in this very special land, I know they really need our help right now.  It is my hope that anyone who can make a contribution of any kind would do so now in this hour of dire need.

 

What is my Personal, Plausible Future in Education?

This post was originally posted on: http://expatteacherman.com/

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell
Buddha

I offer you greetings, from Big Wave Bay, Hong Kong, on this Sunday afternoon. From today’s twitterverse, I read about how to plot my future in an uncertain world.  Living overseas, contract-to-contract, I write. I highly recommend that you follow the work being done on fastcompany. They force one to think deeply. Read on:

 What unique value do you bring to the world?  

Belief in myself is secondary only to my belief in others.

First of all, how does one answer this in complete seriousness? I do not think that I bring any”unique” value to the world. People tell me that I am “beyond outgoing.” I trust parents.  I believe that attention disorder is wildly overrated. I believe that standardized testing, in moderation, is an excellent teacher’s  friend. I believe that parents and students should evaluate teachers, each year.

I am optimistic in the future of education and have experienced drastic changes for good since I started earning a paycheck. I believe that teachers matter. I believe that empathy cannot be taught by lecture but through experience. I believe that kids want a structured learning environment but demand to laugh and have a lot of fun, as well. I believe that it is harmful to tell a nine or ten-year old that she has anything wrong with her ability to learn.

I believe that you cannot teach effectively when you are sick or pushed to exhaustion. I believe that we all need help to live a meaningful life. I believe in “kid language” and that sometimes peer tutors are the most effective tools in getting students to learn.

I believe that confidence is what I offer my students more than anything else and that classroom teachers cannot overemphasize  impacting real confidence among students. I believe in honoring and not fearing  ”tiger moms “ for each successful person has a mom that has fought hard. I believe that “koala mom’s” deserve equal consideration and perhaps listened to even more actively.

I believe that their is little chance for a classroom teacher to  compliment a kid too much. There are just so many good things going on in class.

What is my life’s purpose?

My life’s purpose is to help others. For me, I try to do this through teaching. I try to do this by inspiring others to teach. I try to do this by working hard.

What is your personal, plausible future?

Hopefully, my future will be largely what it has always been: optimistic, focused, and in the moment. I am too old to think any other way.

What is your vision and plan of action?

To be determined!

 

Why I Teach

4th-grade-fun-1272“Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.”
-Andy Rooney

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”
-John Steinbeck

I have been teaching for 23 years in Maryland, Singapore and Japan and now teach 4th grade students in Hong Kong. It has been a wonderful ride.

In 1985, I enrolled as an elementary education major at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Initially I merely wanted to help struggling kids find success in the classroom. As a high school senior, I was an intern in a classroom of learning-disabled elementary-aged children. Within the first week of my internship, I knew I had found my calling, and I have lived a life of learning and teaching ever since.

Many inspired educators inside and outside the classroom have affected the way I practice my craft. As a public school student, I was taught to value all teachers, regardless of their capability. As a teacher, I teach my students to value themselves and acquire the habits of lifelong learners.

Effective teachers must model kindness, compassion, organization, intelligence, flexibility, and collaboration. They need some understanding of educational technology, a belief in their own ability, trust in their teammates, and perseverance. I am happy if school leaders provide a brain-researched, structured, and engaging differentiated curriculum.

My first day as a teacher was nothing short of a disaster; my Mid-Atlantic based students had little idea what their New England teacher, with his thick Boston accent, was saying, I talked way too much, and my students giggled nervously when I tried to communicate.. Although my lesson plans were highly organized, I was painfully unsuccessful as a manager of time. I had no clue just how mentally exhausting the job would be.

Today, I am much more relaxed and confident. I investigate neurology–specifically how the human brain actually acquires knowledge–instead of accepting what administrators might tell me. For professional development, I greatly rely on Twitter and my professional learning network. I make the time to read professional trade books more than ever.

My advice for new teachers is to live conservatively so that you can be liberal in your craft. Demand more from yourself than any evaluator could ever demand. Work hard. Inspire others to believe in themselves through learning.

Teachers, all over the world, why do you STILL teach? How has your teaching practice evolved? What factors stand in the way of your being able to do your best work?

This was first posted on http://expatteacherman.com/2013/04/14/why-i-teach/

Enriching Opportunities in International Education

Being an international educator yields tremendous professional opportunities that can enrich your teaching.  Living and working in the U.S., professional development opportunities were limited to whatever the school sponsored at the school.  Many teachers received additional professional development by working on advanced degrees or paying out of pocket to go to a training or conference at a nearby university.  In the 7 years I taught in Georgia, I received only a handful of professional development opportunities outside working on my master’s and doctorate degrees. One of these was AP Government training, which was a wonderful experience.

Since Jamie and I have taught internationally, we have had the pleasure of working at schools who have provided us with meaningful professional development opportunities.  Our school systems have both hosted conferences and brought in educational specialist like Virginia Rojas, Martin Skelton, and John Almarode.  We have also had the opportunities to attend regional professional development opportunities in Bahrain, Kathmandu, Nepal, Dubai, UAE, Muscat, Oman, and Bangkok, Thailand for various conferences. Large names like Tom Guskey, Ken O’Connor, Jay McTighe, Leanne Jung, and Lucy Calkins have all been speakers and presenters at these conferences.  Just recently, I served on a Middle States Association accreditation team, which was the best professional development I have ever had.  I play on attending an accreditation team chair training on Philadelphia this summer.  Jamie has traveled to Denver and Tampa for AP training in Psychology and Economics, respectively. She will also attend a conference training in Houston this summer for training in the Schaffer writing method.

Most of this is paid for by the school.  We receive professional development funds each year that we can apply to conferences or post graduate work. On several occasions, we have received these trips for no cost because we are leaders on committees.

In addition to professional development opportunities, we also have travel opportunities with the students.  Jamie has attended the TIMUN conference in Istanbul, Turkey two times in three years with her high school students as well as sponsored student study trips to Kenya and Bali.  I have taken my middle school students on study trips to South Korea and Prague and Budapest.

Additionally, we travel in Kingdom to places like Riyadh and Jeddah for various school events like honor band/choir, MUN, and sports teams.  These opportunities just don’t happen back home where many school systems won’t allow student field trip to leave the county.

We are already planning next year where we will sponsor study trips as well as travel for various staff development trainings. Of course, these trainings and conferences are in addition to our normal vacation times.  This year for vacation, we have traveled to France, USA, and Thailand.  Next year, we plan on visiting Spain, Germany, Jordan, and some other destination to be determined.

Granted, this is all due because of money.  These are private schools that offer their students and teachers amazing opportunities, but one would be remiss if they didn’t take advantage of these opportunities.

8 Top Tips: Preparing for and Conducting a Successful Job Interview

Over the next three months, you will most likely be interviewed through Skype, or in person at a recruitment fair or private meeting. This is the period during which the leading international schools will recruit at least 80% of their new staff.

Exhaustive lists of criteria and strategies for creating successful applications and interviews abound, but here are some tips that can determine whether your first choice school makes you an offer. These are distilled from over 25 years of experience recruiting candidates for schools, working closely with international school recruiters, and interviewing over 5,000 candidates.

Most schools will want to interview you in person or via Skype, before they make you an offer, although this is not always the case. Your success then depends very much on how you prepare for the interview and how you conduct yourself. Here are a few vital tips for this process.

1) Recommendations from Supervisors

Very few recruiters will ever get to see you in the classroom before they make the hiring decision. They may need to rely on your recommendations from past and current supervisors, and the best schools will conduct extensive phone check-outs to get a better handle on the person they are considering. They also are aware of the chronic reluctance of US administrators to be forthcoming, so be sure to include any international school references in your experience.

Hence, you should inform your references about the different kind of schools you are applying to and let them know the factors you would like them to highlight. Their written and oral comments should include placing you in the top 3%, 10% or 20% of the faculty they have worked with, both in terms of teaching abilities and personal characteristics. It’s much better if they are prepared for these questions.

2) Your Personal Presentation

Many international schools exist in relatively conservative societies and serve a largely upper middle class constituency. This often means that, like it or not, your personal style in dress, accessories, hair style, etc. could be important factors in a hiring decision. It’s best to dress in a conservative fashion and refrain from showcasing things such as nose rings, inappropriate clothing, or even extravagant jewelry.

3) Listen Carefully to the Questions Asked

Many school heads are experienced interviewers and have distilled their approach to a number of vital questions. If you are not sure at any time what they are asking, be straightforward and ask for clarification. They will appreciate your desire to answer them with clarity.

Your own good questions are another major indicator of intelligence and understanding. See my last point on on key topics to consider when developing your own list of questions.

4) Learning Results

The best schools will focus sharply on learning results, rather than just teacher “inputs.” So your best strategy is to provide evidence of student work and accomplishments under your guidance. This may be written work, art projects, exam questions that challenge and promote thinking skills, videos of performances, and student presentations.

Don’t be afraid to bring these to the interview, or find a way to discuss and present them even if not requested. Most recruiters will be very interested and impressed and for highly desirable schools, this is the very best way to set yourself apart from the competition.

5)  Use of Video

Since recruiters won’t be able to see you teach in person, they will appreciate any capacity you have to create a filmed lesson that can be shared. This can make a major difference in selecting one candidate over another; But of course, only if it demonstrates effective teaching strategies. If you develop these clips, have a knowledgeable educational supervisor review them before sending them out. Don’t worry whether filming your lessons is appropriate. It is completely ethical and allows you to put your best foot forward and to show them your classroom skills.

6) After School Coaching and Teaching Skills

Most international schools attempt to mount substantial after school programs in sports, theater, games, IT, cooking and almost every other skill appropriate to K-12 students. Thus your ability to add something significant to these will make you a more attractive candidate. Good coaches are a primary quest of every school, but if you don’t have athletic expertise, you should be prepared to offer at least two types of activities that you would be willing to teach after school.

7) The Personal Factor

Your personal characteristics are even more important to international school recruiters than to your local school districts at home. In these schools you are expected to fit into and enhance a community of expatriates, and to be able to reassure anxious parents from many nations that you are not only be an effective teacher, but a positive role model for their children. Invariably you will be drawn into the broader school community; and your potential impact on the well-being, optimism and morale of other staff members is a matter of serious concern.

This means that very positive, engaging people, with excellent social skills and personal resilience will get the nod every time.

8) Ask Your Own Questions

Know that the best candidates, at a crucial point in the interview, turn the process around and ask thoughtful questions about the school. Inquiring about the school’s goals, concerns, the most difficult challenges the school and staff face, and other important topics show you’re seriously interested in the school.

The idea here is to remind the recruiter that in the same way they are evaluating you, you are carefully considering whether this is a school where you want to work. Probing, thoughtful questions, focused mainly on learning issues, (not benefits and remuneration), are clearly the most effective way to impress your prospective employer.

International Recruitment Fairs: the Pros and Cons

As you know, over the next few months a number of leading recruitment agencies will host fairs throughout the world, which are designed to produce direct contact and hiring decisions for hundreds of international schools and thousands of candidates. For those unfamiliar with this phenomenon, it may be difficult to gauge the benefits of participating, and to weigh the drawbacks.

I will assume here that the typical candidate has had some positive contact with at least one school that has shown interest in interviewing her/him. It is certainly wise for all candidates to seek the specific interest of a few schools well before December. And it is increasingly the case that schools are offering jobs and filling positions well before the recruitment fairs even begin.

Nevertheless, taking part in a recruitment fair conducted by ISS, Search Associates, Council of International Schools (CIS), the University of Northern Iowa, Queens College and others has these distinct advantages:

1) You get to meet the school head, and often a principal, in person, and the chance to make your case as a desirable candidate.

2) There are anywhere from 70 to 220 international schools at these fairs, so your chances of landing at least one solid offer are very good. (Check out carefully which schools will attend.)

3) You can also meet many experienced international school teachers, and learn about the challenges and benefits of an international teaching career.

4) You can and should engage any prospective employer about the school’s mission and focus, the major qualities they are seeking in candidates, and the benefits and drawbacks in working in their schools and living in their environments.

5) You will, through this process, attract interest and even offers from schools in countries you had never considered. Many of those hired end up in places they had never anticipated.

You must bear in mind, however, that your chances of success at a fair are greatly enhanced if you have had positive contact with at least a few of the schools that will be there; this can best be accomplished by seeking positions through agencies, such as TIE and tieonline.com, well before the fairs begin.

Now for some of the discouraging issues in attending one of these fairs:

1) The travel, lodging and fees can add up to a considerable expense, coupled with days off from your current school.

2) There is usually some fervor, intensity and often-long lines in getting signed up for an interview with the schools of your choice.

3) More than ever, schools are asking for decisions and commitments almost immediately after the initial interview. This can be disconcerting if you have not been reviewing the information about that school before attending the fair.

4) You may be a very effective teacher, but not strong in the interview, or there may be physical or stylistic handicaps that detract from your presentation.

5) If you are a strong candidate and get more than one offer, the pressure to make a decision without adequate time to consider all the ramifications can be very disconcerting.

6) It may be that a desired vacancy was filled at an earlier fair, which often happens towards the end of the cycle. And at best, roughly half of the candidates attending can expect to be offered a position as a result of the fair.

So the choice of whether to attend an international school recruitment fair is complicated, and highly individual. You should at least ask schools you are in touch with if they require your attendance there: will Skype or some other alternative enable them to make an equally informed decision?

There is some excitement to these events though, and they are well organized. You may meet many interesting people, and learn first-hand what it means to be part of an international school staff.

Inspiration

I’ve been incredibly inspired lately by a number of different things, and it has opened up my eyes yet again to one of life’s undeniable truths……..which is that inspiration is all around us, in every moment of every day, just waiting to be found. The truly challenging thing however, is to have your eyes, heart, and mind open to all of life’s beauty, and to the inspiring moments that continually present themselves to us. More often than not, we get so busy as educators with our report writing, our lesson planning, our weekly meetings, and all the rest that these special and simple moments can quite easily sneak by sadly without notice……and that’s a shame. So with that in mind I’d like to talk this week about inspiration.

Since I began thinking about this a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by how easy it is to gain strength, energy, enthusiasm, and hope just by stopping for a moment and taking a look around. I’ve been inspired by so many things over the past few weeks that I don’t really know where to begin honestly. First off, there’s the inspiration that can be found in the moments of adversity that so many people struggle with on a personal level. My brother for example, who has been recovering from a stroke with an incredible amount of determination and optimism, and our dear friend and colleague who’s struggling with cancer but doing so with such unbelievable strength, poise, and courage.  It’s not hard to be inspired when you see this kind of fight in people….it makes you want to do all the things that you’ve been putting off, and it makes you want to say all the things that you’ve been meaning to say…….inspiring.

I also recently came back from an EARCOS leadership conference, which literally made my head spin with excitement, and inspired the hell out of me. Living in this day and age of education is amazing, as we’re in the midst of some long overdue transformational change. What schools are doing right now with technology, project based and experiential learning, authentic assessment, and non-traditional timetabling is astounding in my opinion. Schools around the globe are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in education, and it has inspired me to think hard about how we can do better for our students and community here at SCIS. The opportunity to hear a few of the world’s visionary leaders in education talk about how they’re bringing educational change to their schools has made me want to work harder, and think bigger for the future of our kids……inspiring.

I want you all to think about what has happened in our own environment over the past several weeks. The UN Day and International Food Fair, the Zombie Love performances, and this past weekend’s Dynamix music festival have all been ridiculously inspiring for our students and our community. Think about the experiences that our kids are receiving that are not only transforming who they are as performers, but who they are as young adults. It’s not hard to be inspired by all that our students have access to, and by all the wonderful, future shaping work that you (their teachers) are contributing to their young lives. If you take it down to more of a micro-level, look at what’s happening in your own individual classrooms on a daily basis, or down the hall in a colleague’s classroom, or out on the soccer field or up in the gym……..inspiration is happening everywhere, all the time, and it’s there for all of us to feed off of…….take a moment and take a look around.

I’ve been inspired lately and I wanted to share this with you…….I also want to encourage you all to slow down and open your eyes. It’s as easy as meeting the kids first thing in the morning and being inspired by the energy, innocence, eagerness, and joy that they bring to school each and every day. I meet them every morning coming off the buses, and it’s rare that I don’t have a belly laugh due to the pure beauty of who they are and what they say as they high five me on their way to first block. Inspiration is all around us….everywhere….in everything that we do……..don’t get caught with your head down and your eyes closed everyone. You’ll miss out on what’s really important in life and education, which is us……the kids, your colleagues, and the natural world around us. Take it all in and be inspired!

Have a great week everyone and remember to be great for your students and inspired by each other.

Quotes of Week……..
Remember that life’s most treasured and inspired moments often come unannounced
– Anonymous

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working
-Pablo Picasso

Inspiring TED Talk – Chip Conley
http://www.ted.com/talks/chip_conley_measuring_what_makes_life_worthwhile.html

Thought Provoking TED Talk- Matt Killingsworth
http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_killingsworth_want_to_be_happier_stay_in_the_moment.html

A few inspiring Websites and Projects…..there are so many!
http://www.ligercambodia.org/liger-learning-center/

www.edibleschoolyard.org

 

www.achievement.org


 

 

Teachers teaching Teachers

Less than two weeks ago we rolled out our new “SIPS” initiative in the Middle School, as part of our attempt to take advantage of the incredible amount of educational expertise that we currently have on staff. We set up a situation where monthly, we carve out some time to allow teachers to teach other teachers, and to infuse some internal professional development into our working lives. I’ve heard it many times before (and I tend to agree) that the most powerful form of professional development is the utilization of the amazing talents and skills that a faculty brings to an organization, coupled with a format that sets it up in a way that is relevant, regular, and sustainable. I had a chance to sit in on and videotape two of the first four sessions, and to be honest, they were outstanding. The feedback that we received from teachers was extremely positive with the only real criticism being that they were too short!  I’m very excited to showcase the next four sessions in a few weeks time, and I believe that this initiative could quickly become part of the fabric of our Middle School…….

If you’re looking for an acronym for SIPS, it’s “School Improvement Program”, although we’ve been using the following analogy to get the idea across to our community. Essentially, if you view all of the Professional Development opportunities that are open to us as educators each school year as a big jug of PD water, we are looking to drink from this jug one “sip” at a time. A once a month showcase during our sacrosanct Wednesday Faculty meeting schedule, where we set up either half hour or hour long mini PD sessions that are led by faculty members with something to share. Like I said, the first four were fantastic with Joel presenting Garage Band as a assessment tool, Ross presenting on the effective use of Smart Boards, Bret presenting on Power School, Grade book, and our new engagement rubric, and finally, Jason and Dominic presenting on the educational value of SAS Curriculum pathways.

We’re also in the process of setting up a collaboration blog of sorts, which can house many of these videos and podcasts (with teacher permission of course) so that we all have access to each session, because unfortunately you can only view one or two of your choices on the actual day. The call is out already for the next set of presenters, and I’m excited to lead a session myself during the next round on November 14th. I’m encouraging you all to think about a possible “sip” that you could deliver at some point throughout the year. I’ve been into each one of your classrooms and I see the wonderful things that are taking place…….please try to find the courage to share one part of your teaching talents for the betterment of us all! It’s a powerful and empowering thing to sit and watch a colleague present, but another thing altogether to get up there and present yourself. Talk about professional development! Here’s a brief list off the top of my head as suggestions and examples of potential upcoming “SIPS”…….

6 traits writing and rubrics
Reading comprehension strategies
Intervention strategies
ESOL in the mainstream
Differentiation
Anything Technology focused (prezi, word press, podcasting, iMovie, ect)
Classroom management techniques
Collaboration techniques
How to have hard conversations
Inquiry based learning
Proper Research and citation procedures
Experimental learning
Literature circles
Interactive read alouds
Setting up a professional blog/portfolio
Assessment strategies
Using Drama/Dance to aid in student understanding
Service learning
Curriculum development
Rubicon Atlas
Teaching non fiction writing/different genre writing
Balancing your school life and personal life

As you can see, the possibilities are immense, and after looking at this quick list it’s not hard to recognize how much we could potentially learn from one another. Thank you to those of you who have already presented, and thank you in advance to those of you who are about to step up….I cannot wait. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the week…
Ultimately, we hope teachers will not only retain what they learn in professional development encounters, but also transfer that new knowledge into action.
– David Sousa

The following articles are taken from Kim Marshall’s weekly roundup, which can be found at www.marshallmemo.com
Article #1 – Seven Keys to Effective Professional Development Seven Keys to Effective Professional Development
Article #2 – How to Make Professional Development Stick  How to Make Professional Development Stick

Teachers Teaching Teachers Article
http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin459.shtml
Professional Development Website
http://www.teachervision.fen.com/pro-dev/resource/5778.html
Professional Development Conversation
http://www.edweek.org/tsb/articles/2007/10/25/01chat.h01.html

 

 

What Kind of International School Do You Want To Be Part Of?

As in every network of schools, there is a considerable range of excellence in international schools. But how does one begin to appreciate the differences and perceive the real educational leaders? Your first decision is whether you want to be in an environment that promotes and reinforces learning as its first priority. There are very comfortable assignments, with good salaries and comfortable environments, that do not push hard for educational excellence. The point is you need to know what kind of environment you want, and how to find out where that exists.

If you are very insistent that your potential school be a leading innovator with a strong commitment to continual improvement of student learning, you will be in line to work at one of the very best international schools. And here is how you find out what drives that institution:

1) What are their provisions for professional development, and what percentage of their budget is devoted to this? (Should be at least 2%).

2) How do they express their central mission verbally, as many of the written mission statements may be very much alike? You need to ask what is their main criteria for selecting staff, which will give you insight into this question.

3) Be sure to speak to a few of the teachers at any prospective employer, and ask them about the quality of their colleagues and the school’s commitment to learning. And remember, strong educational leadership is not always welcomed by every staff member.

4) Be prepared to share your examples of student work under your direction; tests and assessments you have used; and samples of your best lesson plans. If they are not very interested in these, you will have learned a lot about the school’s priorities.

5) Check whether the writing and public speaking standards are expressed in “essential agreements” within departments. This will indicate a strong sense of purpose, or the lack thereof!

6) Ask the principal or head what are the most important characteristics of the staff they are seeking to hire. Do you fit into this scenario?

These approaches will enhance your understanding of the kind of school and staff you may be joining. And please remember, this is by far the most serious and significant factor in your decision—far more important than the school’s location or physical plant.