Sep 5, 2007

E.T. Phone Home

My parents will tell you that there's been a number of occasions when I've phoned them at unreasonable hours, usually in the dead of night.

The reason I've screwed up is that it can be really difficult keeping track of the time difference, especially when you're dealing with summer time/daylight savings.

I've found the easiest way to find out the time in another country. Let me introduce you to... TimeZoneCheck:

This is the best resource I've found for checking what the time is in different countries related to where I am. I don't even need to tell it where I am because the website gets that from the address of the computer I'm using. It's brilliant!

Use TimeZoneCheck when you're phoning home, and when you're planning telephone or video interviews!

Aug 29, 2007

Include comments in your teaching portfolio to enhance your international school job application

There's a lot of competition when you're applying for a teaching job in an international school. Creating a teaching portfolio can put you head and shoulders above your competition.

Include comments from students and parents in your teaching portfolio, but only if they're going to enhance your application...

Not like these ones!

International school jobs and teaching portfolios

Jun 5, 2007

International Teachers Moving Abroad - Taking your Gadgets with you

Dear fellow international teachers, If you're anything like me, you love your gadgets. I sometimes think my gadgets weigh more than my clothing when I travel. And once you've got your gadgets sorted out, you've then got to get the chargers, and adapters to go with them!

But there's more to it than that. Not all countries operate their gadgets on the same standards. North America has a completely different system for cellphones for example.

Watch this video...

Find out more...

Moving abroad to teach at an international school is probably the best career move you will ever make, but it's not without pitfalls that can easily be avoided.

Do your research and you'll enjoy every minute of your overseas teaching experience!

Jun 3, 2007

Teaching Jobs Abroad and Police Clearance Certificates

Police clearance certificates are as important to international teachers as their passports. Why? Without a police clearance certificate many countries will not allow teachers to work with children.

The clearance certificate goes by many different names; what you’re looking for is an official document that records any convictions on your criminal record. Regardless of whether you have any convictions or not, you will be required to produce official evidence that your record is clear.

If you record is not clear you may still be able to teach abroad, but you will need to find out which countries will grant you a work permit with the convictions you have.

More rigorous background checks for foreign teachers applying to work in Thailand have been put in place because of a recent high profile arrest of an American teacher by American immigration officers in August 2006. The teacher was taken back to the States for questioning in a murder investigation.

Once you’ve obtained your police clearance certificate, take it with you when you move overseas. It’s one of those important documents you should always be able to lay your hands on. A clearance certificate is one of my top 10 things to take when moving abroad. You’ll need to have the original with you; it’s not one of the documents you can carry in digital format.

When you are nearing the end of you first overseas teaching contract start making enquiries about what you need to do to obtain a clearance certificate from the police in the country you’ve been teaching in. This is important! When you’re teaching abroad it’s important you maintain an unbroken chain of police clearance certificates or the equivalent.

Should you eventually desire to return home and pick up your teaching career there, you’ll need to supply the clearance certificates you’ve collected whilst working abroad. A consequence of not being able to produce a record of your conviction history could be that you’re unable to continue working in the education industry as a teacher when you return home.

May 29, 2007

Using Leverage to Land Your International Teaching Job

The definition of leverage, according to is an "increasing the rate of return from an investment."

How does this relate to teaching abroad?

Whether you are teaching abroad or you have a domestic teaching job, there are many ways you can increase the benefit to you from the investment of teaching. The key to successful leveraging is knowledge of the concept and strategic planning before tactical implementation.

Using Leverage To Get Your First Teaching Job Abroad

Thank you Stephanie Relfe Leverage the experience you already have by putting together a targeted resume that reflects your strengths.

International school recruiters are looking for teachers that have experience with multilingual or multicultural classes, but have you pointed this out on your resume? Make it clear that you have worked with students from different cultures and you'll be one step closer to landing your first teaching job abroad. This can be done as easily as describing the student cohort in broad terms when you list the schools at which you've previously worked.

Many schools abroad are smaller than domestic schools, and so many recruiters are looking for teachers that have a range of diverse experiences to offer to the school. If you have taught other subjects than the position you are applying for, then put this in your resume, with subtlety. Be careful that you aren't taking away from the fact that you are a specialist in the field for which you're applying!

International schools usually run extensive extra-curricular programs, especially schools that offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes. Faculty members are expected to contribute to the extra-curricular program, which means you can leverage your life experiences to secure your first job abroad. The IB emphasises creativity, service and action, which boils down, at the most basic level, to sports, arts and community service. If you have experience organising outdoor activities, coaching sports, teaching craft or hobbies, then you need to include this in your resume.

One key thing to remember when you're applying for a teaching job abroad is that recruiters are looking at the 'whole' person to see how they'll fit into the faculty, the culture, and what they'll contribute to the school community. Everything that you can bring to the school should be included in your application pack, so that the recruiter has an opportunity to 'meet' the person, not just the teacher.

Finally, if you don't have experience teaching multicultural or multilingual students, you can get experience by enrolling for and completing a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). This is a sure-fire way to prove your willingness to learn more about the issues international students face, and your willingness to adapt. To improve your chances of landing a teaching job abroad, you can get a TEFL certificate online.

Leveraging your skills to land your first teaching job in an international school.

May 28, 2007

Getting a Teaching Job Abroad is not as difficult as you'd think

There are over 4000 international schools worldwide and they all need teachers. The international teaching job market is a competitive one because many teachers see the benefits of teaching abroad. With the right attitude, knowledge and resources you can land your own lucrative teaching job in an international school!

May 23, 2007

International Teaching and Culture Shock

The Up-Side of the Frustration Stage

Finally you will start to see the funny side of it all and most of the things that made you angry during the frustration stage will either cause you to laugh or you’ll be able to shrug your shoulders and pass it off as being a feature of your new home. When you’re in this stage of the cycle you’ll begin to remember your old home without your rose-coloured glasses again.

You may wonder how I can write with so much confidence about culture shock, and it’s because I’ve experienced it all. I’ve moved country 7 times in the last 11 years and each time I’ve been hit with culture shock. Sometimes only a mild dose, but it’s always there.

Culture shock has never put me off seeking teaching jobs abroad. I recognise it and work with it. In previous posts I’ve given you 5 methods of alleviating the stress of culture shock. Remember that all international teachers feel culture shock to some degree. You won’t be alone, so don’t let it stop you from enjoying the fantastic experiences you’ll have teaching abroad.

May 21, 2007

Strategies to cope with the stress of culture shock when you're teaching internationally

1. Learn some of the local language before you leave home. You’ve signed a contract that means you’re going to be living in your host country for 1-2 years, learning the language will help you get around and make friends. Some great ways to learn the local language while you’re still at home…

2. Take time to get used to the new time zone, the different weather and smells, sounds etc.

3. Begin building friendships as soon as you arrive and meet the other new teachers. You’ll form a bond with these teachers in the first year especially because they’ll be coping with culture shock as well. This will be your support group.

4. Stay in touch with people you’ve left at home. In my most recent move I found the best medicine for the frustration phase was an email from my old colleagues telling me how unsatisfied they were at my previous school.

5. Cut yourself some slack. When you recognise the symptoms of culture shock, give yourself a break, watch a favourite movie, look at pictures from home, have a meal at your favourite restaurant. Revel in the great things you’re experiencing in your new home so that you can put your frustration in perspective.

International schools and culture shock

May 20, 2007

International School Teaching - Recognise Culture Shock for What it Is...

Recognising culture shock for what it is and acknowledging which stage you’re in is the first step to lessening the grip it has on you. For example, if you suddenly feel like you hate your new teaching job because of how hard it is to make the purchasing department understand what it is you’re trying to order, recognising this as an effect of culture shock can help you adjust your behaviour.

When you first get to your new home you’ll feel happy to be there and everything you see or experience will be wonderful and new. This is the ‘honeymoon’ stage of culture shock and it feels great! It can last from several days to several months. This is the time where you’ll be sending loads of emails to your friend using words and phrases like ‘awesome’, ‘best decision I’ve ever made’, ‘don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago’. Recognise this stage of culture shock and enjoy it.

Next comes the period of frustration, full of situations like the example above. When you sink into this part of the cycle you’ll begin to dislike everything about your new home. It’ll be too hard, too smelly, too hot, too loud, and everything else ‘too’!

This is also when homesickness could strike you with a vengeance. You may find yourself developing a hostile attitude towards every one not of your own nationality and culture. Your old home will suddenly seem like the best place in the world and you may regret ever leaving it.

International schools culture shock