Hell & Humility: the job search

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

  1. 1
    the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

  2. 2
    the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

I mentioned in my first post that I did not get hired in the country that I had initially had my hopes up for (Dubai). The process to become an international educator isn't what it used to be. I can best describe my experience as a nice combination of hell and humility. Stay with me here.

After about five years of going back and forth with myself about why I couldn't move overseas and work, I finally stopped thinking and started doing. I had applied for positions in the past via DoDEA and through recruiters like TeachAway and Teach Anywhere. The recruiters gave glowing recommendations to principals at international schools on my behalf. I did several in-person and Skype interviews and felt pretty great about them, only to have the positions go to someone else. Here are a few things that I learned that may be helpful to someone considering international education:

  • International education is at an all time popularity high-
    • Let's face it, it's tough out here even post recession. Many educators haven't seen a raise in years, or ever, depending on when you started and where you work. The perks of tax-free, room and board inclusive living in developed nations is highly appealing. Many people have a like-minded desire to improve their quality of life; be ready to compete with them.
  • Experience stateside is nice but...
    • ...if you're competing with people that have international school experience, good luck. They know the lay of the land, they won't need much hand holding with the documentation process, and another international school administrator has vouched for them. I had 8 years of certified high school experience and have implemented tons of programs that serve a multifaceted demographic when I began this process. I've worked to support youth in some shape or form since 2002 but I had no previous international school experience. Those who have similar accolades but have worked in a private school setting or in an International Baccalaureate (I.B.) school are also at an advantage.
  • Teacher couples and teacher families are at the top of the food chain-
    • If a school can hire teacher spouses in high demand content areas, and house them for the price of one, that's an advantage. It's even better if the couple has school-aged children that can contribute to the facade of international school setting, and their tuition is usually free or significantly reduced. That said, combined with the aforementioned points, the competition is stiff for us singles with no dependents!
Something in my spirit refused to let it go, though.

I continued my search for an overseas position at a school with prestige and good perks. I was put on to The International Educator, otherwise known as T.I.E. online. Unlike TeachAway, Teach Anywhere and other recruiting agencies, you search for the position you want, in the region you desire, at the level you desire and you contact the school directly. Or, you can post your active resume and an administrator may contact you, thereby eliminating the recruiter "middle man". While the Teach Away and Teach Anywhere sites are free to use for prospective candidates, T.I.E. charges a $29 annual fee to have access to its database, which had many, many more job postings and was much easier to peruse.

In the end, T.I.E. proved to be beneficial to me and was worth every penny. I highly recommend T.I.E. online for all prospective international educators. But man what a journey it took to get to that point.

Sites with helpful information on working in schools abroad:

Brothas & Sistas Working at International Schools: Facebook support group for people of color that are already employed or looking to be employed as educators abroad. Certified educators only.

TIE Online: Job search portal for those ready to make the move abroad. $39 fee [updated Sept. 2016]. This is the site where I found my first overseas job.

Teach Away: Free job portal for those ready to make the move abroad; includes positions for certified teachers and those with TEFL, et al. As mentioned, they did not work well for me but they've done okay for others.

DoDEA: Jobs for certified educators who seek to pursue employment on U.S. Military bases around the world. Like most government jobs, these are extremely competitive despite being overseas schools. Military spouses usually get preference in the hiring process.

International School Services: Job search portal for those ready to make the move abroad. $200 registration fee; sounds like a lot, but many of the most reputable international schools only post their vacancies with them and with Search Associates [see below]. The fee also gives you access to a myriad of job fairs around the world. Most attendees will get hired on the spot.

Search Associates: Job search portal for those ready to make the move abroad. $250 registration fee. Provides the same services as ISS.

There are also several FB groups for location specific info for what we call educator "hopefuls". Black Americans Teachers Abroad, International School Teachers, ADEC Hopefuls, etc., are examples of several. You can peruse the Facebook search feature to find them and others. These groups are School Counselor friendly, too.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

    1. Thank you for reading! I appreciate ya <3

  2. such good information! I shared your blog entry with my cousin. She is SERIOUSLY considering a move out of the US. Thank you for this post!