Now That The Job Fairs Are Over: What Next?

With all of this winter’s major recruitment fairs now over, what should those candidates still seeking a position be doing?

First, understand that the busy fair season coming to an end does NOT mean an end to recruiting! New vacancies are still cropping up every day, in every corner of the world. Just a quick glance at the vacancy list at reveals this fact. Moreover, many schools, particularly those in Europe, do not require staff members to announce their intentions until April or even May. Your search should therefore continue. And in fact, several of the leading recruitment fair agencies sponsor fairs in June to assist schools in filling late vacancies.

So if you are just starting the process or if you have been actively seeking an international school position, and haven’t been successful, there are plenty of options still available and coming up. Here are some options:

1. Make sure your online resume is complete, including at least two (2) confidential recommendations from current or former supervisors. The IJN (Instant Job Notification) option may also be helpful in promoting a timely application.

2.  Review your resume and make sure your experience over the past 2 years is clear and complete.

3. Create a cover note that features your own assessment of your major strengths as a teacher, counselor, etc.

4. If you got interviewed at a job fair and was not offered a position, ask that service agency if there was anything in your file that might have deterred interest in your candidacy. No one likes the “confidential” evaluation process; but the fact is that recruiters rely heavily on this resource.

5. Finally, decide that you will consider a position in most countries of the world, if the school is appropriate and interesting. Sometimes one must fore go the desire to teach in Paris or London, in order to get one’s first position in an international school. Once you have two years of good performance in any international school, you become a highly valued candidate in this network.

And please remember that “perseverance” is the most critical quality one needs for professional success in any field!

Pay It Forward

So just over a week ago I decided to track down a old teacher of mine……I wanted to tell her that the incredibly positive influence that she had on me way back in High School is still resonating deeply in my life twenty five years later, and that who she is as a person and educator continues to inspire me greatly to this day. After I wrote that note, I started thinking about all the teachers that I’ve had in my life who have changed me in some way for the better…..or helped shape the person and educator that I am today. I thought about my grade school teachers, my university professors, and all the colleagues that I’ve had over the past 15 years in education, and I came up with a short list of people who have literally been searchlight souls throughout my career……and I wrote to them….. and I thanked them from the bottom of my heart.

As it turns out, every single one of them wrote back and said that my simple little email, which took me less than two minutes to write, had not only made their day but in some cases made their entire career! It struck me that the incredible and life changing work that great teachers do every day is often unrecognized and underappreciated….we all know this of course, and we certainly aren’t in this game for all the glamour and adulation but here’s the thing……when was the last time that you, the underappreciated educator, actually wrote to a teacher in your own life who has changed and inspired you in some simple way? Or some profound way? I bet if you took fifteen minutes at some point this week to think about all the educators that have passed through your life throughout your career you’d come up with a few who deserve a sincere thank you…so what’s stopping you?

Coincidentally, just this past week I had a former student of mine (who I taught years ago in third grade) pass through Shanghai and go out of her way to look me up…..I was thrilled, humbled, and I couldn’t shake the smile off my face all day! We’re in this profession to make a difference in the lives of our students, so when one actually validates the efforts that you’ve made there is no better feeling in the world in my opinion. I bet every one of you has had that feeling at some point, and if you’re like me you can last on that special moment for at least a month. Good teachers are true heroes in my mind….they wield such incredible influence and power in a child’s life and most of the time they do it unceremoniously. Well, for this week anyway let’s pay it forward……

I’m asking you all this week to send out one or two quick little emails and to make someone’s day (or career)……a teacher in your life who deserves to hear from you….you never know, you might just receive an email yourself! I’ve attached a few great links and articles below, which speak to the importance of saying thank you, and to the undeniable difference that good teachers make in the the lives of their students. The John Hattie attachment is particularly good and I implore you all to read it right away. Oh yeah, our own teacher appreciation week is coming up quick on March 4th through to the 8th. Make sure that you take advantage of all that our PAFA has planned, and let’s make sure to celebrate each other. Have a wonderful week everyone, and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week……..
A teacher affects eternity; you can never tell where the influence stops.
– Henry Adams

Online Articles –

Attachment #1 – Teachers Make a Difference, by John Hattie (This is ridiculously good…I love John Hattie’s work) hattie_teachersmakeadifference
Attachment #2 – Top Five Regrets of the Dying (Thanks to Kassi Cowles for this) Top five regrets of the dying Life and style

Pay it forward Website-

Important Job Fair Tips

February welcomes the major international job fairs to several locations in the USA and Canada, where 300-400 international schools will be seeking over 1,000 new educators for their staffs. For the candidates attending Search Associates, ISS, Queens College, or the University of Northern Iowa job fairs, the experience can be exciting, and even exhilarating. At the same time it can be confusing  and disappointing for some.

Here are potentially the most disconcerting possibilities a candidate might face at one of these well-run, exciting events:

1) There have already been several fairs in London and various Asian cities, as well as considerable online recruitment be many schools. As a result the job you had your eye on, or even several you hoped to get interviewed for, may have already been filled by the time you get to the job fair.

2) For the very popular school sites (Western Europe and some Asian cities), the interview schedule for the school’s recruiter may be filled very quickly, and before you get to sign up. For some schools, there are long lines in the opening session when quick interviews may or may not lead to getting a full and serious interview.

3) And if you do get a full interview, chance and luck may place you as one among many excellent choices for a given school and position.

4) Increasingly, many schools who do make an offer expect, and may even insist on a very quick response. You may want to complete your interview schedule, but  you could be required to reject an offer to do so.

5) If you are fortunate enough to experience the euphoria of multiple job offers, you may face some serious indecision or doubts, and you may not be granted the time to resolve them.

The best way to prepare for these contingencies is this: Do not got to the fair with a fixed or limited idea of where the best job prospect for you might be. Do seek to get an offer only in the countries and from the schools you have targeted. But be open to the many other interesting possibilities that could easily present themselves at these fine job fairs.

For example, in your free time, attend as many of the school introductory sessions as you can. Many happy educators have ended up in schools and countries they never considered before the fair.

Above all, be open-minded, flexible and positive. This experience, if used properly, can lead to a sound understanding of what international schools are all about, as well as one or more concrete offers. And if that doesn’t happen at the fair, stay in the game through and other sites, as no fair accommodates even the majority of international schools with openings this year.

And please remember: if you accept a position (even verbally) offered by a school, reneging on that acceptance could seriously damage you reputation. Be careful not to get so caught up in the “fever” of the fair that you agree to an assignment for which you are doubtful or unsure.

The Heart of the Matter

So this week I want to talk about struggling students, or more to the point, our responsibility as educators to truly get down to the heart of the matter when it comes to why kids aren’t learning. I firmly believe that every one of our students wants to achieve, and it’s not enough for us to say that they’re “just being lazy”, or “not applying themselves”, or “not living up to their potential”. Kids don’t come to school in the morning wanting to fail, or struggle, or feel like they’re dumb. Kids also don’t come to school in the morning looking to spend their day being bored or unchallenged…….it’s so easy for us to get frustrated with students who aren’t reaching our lofty expectations, without really making the effort to find out why, and it’s even easier to cop out and put the responsibility all on them to turn it around. We get frustrated when kids don’t finish their homework…..we get frustrated with kids when they act out and behave inappropriately…….we get frustrated with kids who consistently underachieve……..and often times in my opinion, we don’t dig deep enough below the surface to find out what’s really going on.

Think about all the things that can get in the way of student learning…..particularly throughout the pre-teen and teenage years. There are so many obstacles to learning that it’s a wonder how kids make through at all……depression, peer pressure, diagnosed and undiagnosed leaning disabilities, hormone changes, poor self esteem or a lack of self confidence, parental pressure, boredom, and a fear of failure just to name a few. It’s hard for many kids to “do school” the way we expect, and many of our students aren’t what some might call “school smart”. When it doesn’t come easy to them and they begin to struggle, they end up consistently hearing things like “you need to try harder”, or “you’re not taking your education seriously”, or “you need to start taking ownership of your learning”…….well, I think we all know as professionals that it’s not that simple. I just finished reading an amazing and enlightening book called Speaking of Boys by Michael Thompson, which opened up my eyes and heart to a number of things that I either didn’t know, had forgotten, or had been taking for granted. I had a lot of time early last week while I was traveling home from the recruiting fair to really think about our kids, and I looked deeply at our programs, our assessment expectations/practices, and the way in which we (as a collective faculty) approach our struggling students. Honestly, I am excited to make a few changes in my own approach and commitment to deciphering the mysteries of our “underachieving” kids, and I want to encourage and urge you all to do the same.

Over the next semester, let’s all take the extra time to truly get down to the heart of the matter……..and to find out what’s really blocking the pathway to learning. Talk to me,  the student support services team, your colleagues, the parents, and most importantly, to the student about what can be done and how we can help. Every student has their own story, and every student achieves at a different rate……let’s make sure that the obstacles in their way are removed (or at least identified) so we can maximize the opportunities for them to learn. I don’t think we should be satisfied until all of our kids are reaching the high expectations that we’ve set for them, or until we’ve at least identified the real reasons why they’re not. It’s a lofty goal I know, but one that is attainable and educationally responsible in my opinion. Please dig deeper everyone, and help turn our struggling students around into success stories. With the quality of educators currently on our faculty, and the incredibly inspiring young adults that come to our school, I am confident that we can get this done. Have a wonderful week everyone, and remember to dig deep for our students and be good to each other.

Quote of the Week………..
A student never forgets an encouraging private word, when it is given with sincere respect and admiration.
-William Lyon Phelps

Article #1 – A 3-Step Process for Achieving Success in Struggling Students (Marshall Memo) A 3 step process
Article #2 – A Seamless intervention System for struggling Students (Marshall Memo) A Seamless Intervention System for Struggling Students
Article #3 – Support struggling Students with Academic Rigor (ASCD) August 2012