First timer - am I IS material?

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aus13
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:49 am

First timer - am I IS material?

Post by aus13 »

Hi all, I'm looking to land my first international teaching gig during the upcoming recruiting season and I have been scouring the forum for any tips I can find. I've been trying to get a clear picture of where I stand in terms of my attractiveness as a candidate and I was hoping to receive some advice from some of the more experienced players on this forum.

I'm a 24 year old Australian high school teacher. I have a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor of Teaching. I am certified to teach junior science, senior biology and senior chemistry. I have 2 years full time teaching experience during which I have been teaching General Science to junior classes as well as senior Earth and Environmental Science and senior Biology. I also have a long list of extra-curricular activities that I've taken over. These include coaching basketball and rugby, school coordinator for the Duke of Edinborough award and assistant year advisor. Overall I like to think that I am an enthusiastic and effective teacher (aren't we all?) and I will have excellent references from my current heads.

Does this sound like an appealing candidate for international schools? Ideally I would be focusing on schools in Bangkok.

I'm also not going to be able to attend any recruitment fairs due to the travel involved from Australia. Will this be a hindrance? There is a Search fair in Melbourne, but there aren't any Thai schools down as attending so I don't know if it will be worth my while.

Thanks in advance!
sid
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Post by sid »

You're ticking many of the right boxes, and appear generally to be a good candidate. Your Achilles heel is your relative inexperience. Two years is short, any way you cut it. Focus on the medium level schools, or less-desirable locations, and you'll likely walk away with a job. And a few years down the road, if you continue to develop as you've started, you'll be in a position to move up.
aus13
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:49 am

Post by aus13 »

Hi Sid, thanks for taking the time to reply! I'm considering beginning my masters of education shortly, which would take 2 years to complete. This would mean I would obtain my masters sometime during my 2 year contract with prospective schools. Is this something that would improve my chances, or does it only help if I already hold the degree before applying?

Also, is there any advice you could give to help my cv stand out from the pack? One of my biggest concerns is that because I am only applying by email, my cv will not attract any attention due to my lack of experience, and will be left languishing in a pile with the other hundred or so mediocre resumes.

thanks again for your help, it's very much appreciated!
sid
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Post by sid »

I wouldn't mention that you're seeking a Masters unless you have already taken several of the courses, and maybe not even then. It's just not relevant at the point of hiring. If you have one, that's relevant. If you're moments away from finishing, that's relevant. If you have a sincere ambition to get one, you're in a large group, most of whom will never finish the journey. Also, you may put doubts in a recruiter's mind that you're spreading yourself too thin. New to teaching? Means extra hours prepping. All those extra hours on after school activities? Young and potentially out there in the social scene? More hours gone. Add in a Masters program? Where will it all fit? Can this guy be counted on to keep all the balls in the air without dropping any?

As for applying by mail only, I'd missed that part. You're right, you have a high chance of seeing your CV languish in the 'too difficult' pile. Your weakness (inexperience) can only be countered by a recruiter meeting you in person, or even via skype, and vetting you carefully. As a recruiter, I wouldn't want to take a chance on someone with so little experience unless I could reassure myself that this person really was a rising star. I'm not sure what exactly to do to get your CV to stand out. Again, focus on the less desirable schools and locations. Contact schools repeatedly without being pushy/demanding. Wait until later in the hiring season when the top-notch candidates have been snapped up and schools are looking to fill their last remaining spots. But really, my advice would be to get to a hiring fair. There, you can see and be seen, and show everyone you really have what it takes.
Good luck.
aus13
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:49 am

Post by aus13 »

Thanks Sid, that's a massive help!

What do you (or anyone else!) think my timing should be roughly? At the moment I'm thinking that I will apply for jobs as they come up from now until mid January. Then from late January onwards I will step up my attack in terms of more repeated contact with schools.

Does this seem like a good plan, or do you think I would be better served by holding off on applying until after the big job fairs have come and gone and the top candidates are off the table? I'm not sure whether I'm better off making early contact with schools or waiting until schools are prepared to seriously look at a candidate with my limited experience in the hopes that my application will be near the top of the pile.

Also, when you say 'less desirable schools', do you think I have a reasonable shot at 2nd tier schools in bangkok or should I be looking further down the food chain? I've been looking at various fairs and it seems like only the top/upper 2nd tier schools from Bangkok that attend them (ISB, NIST, harrow, Ruamrudee etc). Is there a fair that I don't know about where the majority of middle tier schools in Bangkok do their recruiting or do they rely more on internet applications and skype interviews?
sid
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Post by sid »

I don't know enough about Bangkok to know where the different schools recruit, but I do know there is quite a number and range of schools in the city. There will surely be some willing to look at younger candidates. But don't limit yourself to Bangkok. Spread out those applications, cast a wide net.

The Iowa fair tends to have higher numbers of younger applicants. I would expect schools there to therefore be more open to candidates with less experience. There are also fairs in June/July where schools are looking to fill final openings. The data is clear - experienced and married couples get jobs at the highest rates in the Jan/Feb fairs, while younger and single people have better rates in the June market. But that doesn't mean you can't get hired earlier. Lots of people do. Don't mistake a trend for a certainty, just use that data to pick a fair. And then, yes, apply to every opening that suits you. Apply early, and apply again once time has elapsed and the opening is still there. Recruiters have been known to give closer looks to candidates who are showing persistent (not pushy/demanding) interest. After all, if you really seem to want to come to my school, that's a point in your favor over someone who just sent a single email and gave up.
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