How does 3 years at one school look?

sdakota
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:28 am

How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by sdakota »

Hi all,

My husband and I are on our second international school. Our international school tenure looks like this:

- International school 1: 2 years
We left because we wanted to get IB experience and change positions.

- International school 2: 3 years (after next year)

We are planning on leaving after the next year most likely. Does this extra year ameliorate the stigma of "2 and done?" We'd both prefer to move on after 3 year and move to a higher tier school our next go around. We are really looking for a place we can stay 5+ years and settle down.

Thanks for any and all perspectives!

fine dude
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:12 pm

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by fine dude »

As long as you can explain, the only things that matter are:
a. your happiness
b. your savings

Everything else is a misconception. As my good friend says, "we need to cover ourselves."

sid
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by sid »

It’s not awful, but it’s not great either. Leave after three if you must, but know that your next post will ideally need to be four or more. That could be hard if it turns out to be not quite your cup of tea.
Or stay four where you are, and there’s less pressure on your next post.
As a recruiter, I really resist hiring people with a string of two and three year stays. I may be wrong, but it seems predictive to me. If you’ve tried three places already and not found any worthwhile, well, I’m not convinced you’ll ever find what you’re looking for.

fine dude
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:12 pm

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by fine dude »

Have to wholeheartedly disagree with sid. What matters is the circumstances in which folks leave, not looking at the situation using an obsolete admin rule or cliched practice. Teacher recruitment practices are so 19th century.

As long as the teacher has the expertise to contribute holistically, rest should not matter. Flight costs and relocation allowances are peanuts when you compare them to the profits schools make. Teachers might try more than three places because they don't have the power or comfort to choose where they can work. Some folks are just trying to make a decent living or saving up for kids' college tuition. Teachers are simply powerless as it is a buyers' market and will ironically remain so in the years to come.

Heliotrope
Posts: 686
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by Heliotrope »

fine dude wrote:
> Have to wholeheartedly disagree with sid. What matters is the circumstances
> in which folks leave, not looking at the situation using an obsolete admin
> rule or cliched practice.

The problem is that anyone can (and will) come up with a good reason for having left their previous schools, and I've heard a lot of old colleagues coming up with reasons that find no basis in reality, and I know at least one recruiter that knows this is always a bit sceptical of the reasons given because they're very often impossible to verify. Having stayed somewhere 4+ years is very easy to verify however.

But I think it's very normal for teachers new to the international scene to do one or two '2 and go' stints before staying longer, and I think most recruiters know this. My guess is that at least 50% of ITs nowadays do a '2 and go' at their first IS, at that percentage might be a lot higher.

vandsmith
Posts: 338
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:16 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by vandsmith »

sid wrote:
> It’s not awful, but it’s not great either. Leave after three if you must,
> but know that your next post will ideally need to be four or more. That
> could be hard if it turns out to be not quite your cup of tea.
> Or stay four where you are, and there’s less pressure on your next post.
> As a recruiter, I really resist hiring people with a string of two and
> three year stays. I may be wrong, but it seems predictive to me. If you’ve
> tried three places already and not found any worthwhile, well, I’m not
> convinced you’ll ever find what you’re looking for.

i'm curious if you resist doing this based on your experience of hiring these teachers
and then they predictably flake off? or if it's just your preference?

personally, i think it's a bit much to offer a 2-year contract and then be
disappointed that a teacher leaves after fulfilling a contract. many teachers
want stability - i know i do, having a young kid - but changes within schools
themselves (admin) is usually what has driven me out. at the same time, some
teachers enjoy the transience and freedom - i wish it wasn't such a stigma.

v.

Heliotrope
Posts: 686
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by Heliotrope »

vandsmith wrote:
> personally, i think it's a bit much to offer a 2-year contract and then be
> disappointed that a teacher leaves after fulfilling a contract. many teachers
> want stability - i know i do, having a young kid - but changes within schools
> themselves (admin) is usually what has driven me out. at the same time, some
> teachers enjoy the transience and freedom - i wish it wasn't such a stigma.

Schools want stability as well. Thats' why good ISs (and most ISs in general) prefer to retain staff themselves for longer than 2 years (assuming the IT does a good job) because they add more value to the school. Also, new teachers take some time to settle in and adjust to their new school, and if they might be less motivated or their last half year.
So I can totally understand why schools prefer to hire teachers that are more likely to stay longer, and someone who has a long string of 2 year contracts will be more likely to leave again after 2 years than someone who has demonstrated longer commitments at a previous schools.
Even if you don't believe they add more value to the school if they stay longer, they will simply cost less (employing one IT for 10 years is cheaper than hiring five 2 year-ITs).

I'm only referring to the ITs that have had more than two successive 2 year-stints on their CV.

Being a tourist teacher (having a string of 2 year stints on your CV) certainly doesn't make you unemployable, but it will make it harder to get into an upper tier 2 or tier 1 school, where they have so many good applicants that they can easily hire a teacher that is both great in the classroom and is more likely to stay longer.

But I'm not a recruiter. Maybe @Sid can say what his reasons are to prefer teachers that are more likely to stick around.


EDIT:
Have a look at this topic: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7201

shadowjack
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:49 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by shadowjack »

fine dude wrote:
> Have to wholeheartedly disagree with sid. What matters is the circumstances
> in which folks leave, not looking at the situation using an obsolete admin
> rule or cliched practice. Teacher recruitment practices are so 19th
> century.
>
> As long as the teacher has the expertise to contribute holistically, rest
> should not matter. Flight costs and relocation allowances are peanuts when
> you compare them to the profits schools make. Teachers might try more than
> three places because they don't have the power or comfort to choose where
> they can work. Some folks are just trying to make a decent living or saving
> up for kids' college tuition. Teachers are simply powerless as it is a
> buyers' market and will ironically remain so in the years to come.

Fine Dude - 2 years and 3 years in the first two contracts are not super alarming. By the 3rd go round, if you are only there for 2-3 years, it is a warning sign and it would make recruiters more leary of hiring you.

sid
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by sid »

Good things have been said.
Why do I resist? It’s not the cost of recruiting and re-recruiting, though it is expensive. For me, I just don’t see short-timers being able to contribute enough to a school’s long term development. It takes at least half a year to settle in, and then you’ll be revisiting your cv by September, interviews, fairs, shipping companies for the rest of year two. Doesn’t leave much room for anything beyond basic teaching. And since it can take three or more years to plan, develop, implement, institutionalize and improve something in a school, that’s off the table. Whatever you do with curriculum and pshe etc, will die when you leave. What’s the point?

fine dude
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:12 pm

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by fine dude »

Curriculum, PSHE etc. are all team efforts. Leaving of one committee member isn't that big of a deal unless this person is curriculum coordinator or something. We still need to look at the context under which a teacher quit, not mere length. I'm not saying all teachers should do 2 year contracts, but circumstances matter. Teacher calibre is paramount.

sid
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by sid »

All true. No argument there. But if there are too many short term teachers, those team efforts will fail. It’s an issue of critical mass. There will always be some teachers who only do two years, because no matter the school or location, someone will find that two years is enough for them. International schools expect that. But if I hire teachers that are more likely to move after two, I’ll increase the percentage of short termers. That’s a bad idea.
Teacher quality is paramount. But I don’t believe that a teacher can show their full quality if they move every two years. And my students are not equally served by a series of quality teachers. They get more from a single teacher of quality who stays for a while.

sdakota
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:28 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by sdakota »

Thanks for all the replies. I suspected as much. I was hoping to mitigate the 'stigma' by staying an extra year but I don't think I can stay longer than that.

Will have to hope it doesn't count too much against us and focus on making sure the schools we are applying to know that the next place we go we want to settle down at.

fine dude
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:12 pm

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by fine dude »

There is no stigma. Your happiness matters. Plan well, create a portfolio or website to highlight your accomplishments. Videos could be even better. Update profile with Search/Schrole by uploading credentials, police clearances, PD certificates etc. Reach out and connect with educators/administrators on social media. By August 2021, you'd be ready to hit the ground running. Settling down could be tricky, but Amsterdam, Hague, Lausanne, Munich, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo (if you can put up with an insular yet polite locals), and Toulouse are all great first-world places provided you have two salaries at a tier 1 school.

shadowjack
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:49 am

Re: How does 3 years at one school look?

Post by shadowjack »

sdakota, I agree with fine dude that at this point in your career, there is no stigma. BUT... after one more school it is a bit more of a warning sign for schools that you might want to work at. You can always find a school to hire you, but they might not be the ones you want. I had friends who did 2 years here,2 years there for 3 or 4 contracts - then targeted their dream school because they were 'ready to settle down'. Problem was, dream school looked at their pattern and didn't even interview them. This has happened 2 recruiting cycles now, as they keep trying to get to said dream school.

Also agree with Sid. As admin, recruiters' job is to hire people who will stay hopefully longer than 2 years. 4 -5 is good. 3 is OK, 2 is meh. Why? It is about building continuity in teaching standards, curriculum, familiarity for students to improve learning, and build a stronger student community. Yes, others have said that schools offer a 2 year contract - BUT - imagine being at a school where everybody left after 2 years. I've been at a couple of those (and been part of the change in culture/environment to improve retention) and it's hard for students when teachers are all 2 years and then leave.

So I echo Sid in that you want to find a school to stay 4 - 5 years at for your next recruiting cycle.

PsyGuy
Posts: 9402
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Response

Post by PsyGuy »

There is no stigma or damage to your utility by NOT staying 3 years or now as @sid claims 4 years at an IS for whatever nonsense bunk theyre prophesying. It is nothing more then fearmongering by leadership to reduce maturation and attrition with cheap talk rather than incentivizing ITs to stay longer and make greater commitments with something other then benefits and coin. If recruiters and leadership wanted or needed longer commitments from ITs they could offer longer contracts. If you have a two year contract you are obligate to two years and nothing more and staying an extra year adds nothing. As long as 1) You complete your contract. 2) Have a positive reference. 3) Have a reasonable response for the movement in an interview, you can bounce around IE as much as you want. There is no you have 2 or 3 contracts before you must somehow do more than your contract, or its doom and gloom.

Post Reply