So you have decided to make the leap! You are moving international schools, you are thinking about it, or you have decided to venture out into the international school circuit for the first time. Technology has meant the playing field may have changed since you were last a player.
Here are some ways you can get your e-face to the e-top of the e-pile of e-candidates:
Design Your Profile
- Establish credibility: This one has not changed over time and although technology has changed some things, it has not changed everything. Whatever the profile you create, it is imperative you are honest about your past. The degrees that separated us a generation ago are merging. In this technological age, it is easy and quick to check sources and validate stories. Be thoughtful about the referees you ask to speak on your behalf, they can make or break your candidacy. They need to have experienced, and be willing to speak, about your strengths as an educator. And don’t be afraid to ask someone you know at school to put a good word in for you. Hiring administrators are people, too, and the reassurance of an old-fashioned, heartfelt referral is as meaningful as ever.
- Make it personal: No matter how many times you cut and paste the name of the school, or the city, or ‘hello’ in the local language, form letters can be seen miles (1.60934 km) away. Take the time to go through the school’s website and documentation. Look closely at the school’s mission, vision, core values, and strategic plan. In her 2008 book, Data, Data Everywhere, Victoria Bernhardt notes, “A school defines its future through its mission, vision, goals, and student expectations.” Find matches in your philosophy and those of the school and highlight them so you can be a part of that future.
- Work well with others: Create a profile of yourself that establishes you as a productive and enthusiastic collaborator. The days of isolating yourself in your classroom, shutting the door, and doing your own thing your own way are, thankfully, on the way out. Technology has allowed us to connect, share, contribute, and critique as professionals on whole new levels. Many schools have placed a premium on cooperative and collaborative skills. Get yourself out there and become part of the conversation. Twitter is an easy place to start, but sites like Edutopia, Mindshift, and 21st Century Learning International are filled with really smart people and great ideas.
- Stand for something: OK, you know your stuff, you know the school, and you can collaborate, now what? What starts your engines in the morning? What part of school keeps you up too late in the evenings? Make your favorite part of being in a school community the central piece of your candidate profile. And if it is nothing, find something. Schools need enthusiastic, passionate professionals to drive teaching practice. Don’t be afraid to create a label for yourself. When the hiring team is sitting around a table talking about you, it is better to be known as the “authentic learning guy” or the “techy gal”, than for them to not be talking about you… at all.
Tie It All Together
At Schrole, where I work, we see thousands of candidate profiles and help schools identify the best people for their roles. Independent of demographics, educational background, teacher training or experience, patterns of success look similar. When a candidate is strong in the four areas above, they are well on their way to teaching at one of the many wonderful international schools out there.
Disclaimer: Ideas and opinions in the blog posts are the work of the author and do not necessarily reflect the ideas or beliefs of 21CLI.