1) Skip the job fairs: I won’t make any friends in the business by saying this, but it is true. They can crush your soul and make you feel like livestock, not a professional. You are not at your best and have to make hasty decisions in a very short time frame. Turkey? Russia? Japan? You have two hours to decide.
Some of the best teachers I hired were outside the fairs.
Visit the web sites of the schools you want to work at and apply directly. If they are working with an agency that sponsors a job fair, see if you can interview with them before the fairs. Offer to visit the school at your own expense if it comes down to it, depending on how far away it is. You will have their undivided attention and will be your best self.
2) Create a digital portfolio. This is critical for a 21st century educator.
Weebly is a nice site but there are millions. Have a well produced video of yourself teaching with a video of your personal reflection of your teaching style. It’s the digital age. We shouldn’t have to guess what you’re like in the classroom. We should be able to see it. Throw in a couple of interviews with students as an extra bonus.
3) Be honest with yourself. I know you really want to live in the Swiss Alps because it is just so beautiful. I fell for that one too. You need to stay focused on why you got into this business, what you do really well, and whether that is going to flourish at the school you’re trying to get into. Focus your message on that and it will show in the interview. Don’t worry, you’ll know a match when it comes.
4) Review the school’s strategic plans and governance. Many schools have the SP on their web site
and it is the most valuable piece of data for determining where a school is and where it wants to go. If you can see yourself as part of the plan then develop some talking points around them. If not, maybe it’s not the school for you. Understand who runs the school and how. Everyone from families to corporations run international schools. Make sure you are comfortable with who is calling the shots.
5) Visit the school during the ‘off season.’ As a principal, I always welcome potential teachers “travelling through” on their break. (I have even been known to give some ski passes for the day). You’d be surprised how many administrators would love to meet with you, even if there are no openings at the time. You will have their full attention, be able to check out the school without the pressures of interviewing, and likely be the first one they call when that opening comes up.