What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

cbadnc
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Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:58 am

What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by cbadnc »

Hello,

I am taking this excerpt from a previous post of mine, since there are several different questions being asked.

Basically, could you all respond to the following questions below, and give me some brutally honest advice.

Career Synopsis:

Wife: 12 years total at IBPYP Dual Immersion (German/English) school in the USA. 2 years at a Tier 2 IS in Germany.

Husband (me): 12 years IBMYP/DP school teaching IB History/German/TOK/Diploma Coordinator (1 year). 2 years same school in Germany teaching German as a foreign language and MYP History. The last 4 years teaching IBPYP at same Dual Immersion school as my wife.

Both of us certified teachers in the USA.

We are possibly planning on returning to Germany next year, but are only applying to one school in Germany, the Frankfurt International School (FIS). We know our chances are slim, because this is such a great school, however we simply want to know what the chances are next year. We do not belong to Search or any other organization. Here are my questions:

1. The website states that in person interviews are needed. Do you all believe 1-2 Skype interviews would suffice? Or would the school insist on us going to a hiring conference.
2. My wife is German, my son has dual citizenship, and I am American. Also, my son would be attending the local German school instead of FIS. Do these facts enhance our chances of procuring positions?
3. Does our experience with IB and our two years at an IS in Germany give us a chance at all? Feel free to give your honest opinion.

Thanks in advance!

sciteach
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:49 am

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by sciteach »

To be honest - I don't think is really comes down to how much experience you have. It's really down to if those jobs will be available. In the current environment - I doubt that almost anyone would get a teaching couples position in Germany for only one school.

IE_sciteacher
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:05 pm

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by IE_sciteacher »

I'll provide my opinion under the asterisks that it is very hard to predict openings will actually be available.

1. If they say in-person interviews are needed, they are probably serious about it for child safe-guarding reasons (other top schools in Europe have similar policies). I have seen first hand of a school in eastern Europe, flying teachers from China to their school for an in-person interview after a couple of rounds. They have also asked teachers to meet before a job fair, even if they were not currently signed up for that fair (they were prepared to fly the teaching couple to the city and interview). That said, this year and the actual ability of in-person interviews it might look different, if they change that it will probably be in the number of 3 interviews minimum.

2. As far as experience, both of you have enough to overcome that hurdle. To clarify for you, you have 16 years of teaching (12 in MYP/DP and most recently 4 in PYP). What would you be applying for? At the bottom of experience for PYP years and removed from MYP/DP experience would be a concern if my summary is accurate.

3. Visa purposes, your situation helps, doesn't hurt. Others who have more insight to German visa laws will have better idea. Your son not attending FIS does not help your case, maybe hurts if anything? Looking at daily and year school calendars meshing and conflicts that could cause. Why not have your son attend FIS?

You have a chance, nothing to me screams as a red flag that would hurt you. If the positions were available, it would come down to how well you interview, who else is applying and what else you have done that can benefit the school that they currently need (DoE, Athletics, Activities, Curriculum adoption experience, Accreditation/Authorization experience etc). How have you kept up with relevant educational theory and implementation of pedagogy in your classroom? Top schools like FIS, that is how you would start separating yourself form the pack.

cbadnc
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Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:58 am

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by cbadnc »

Great insight. Thank you for taking the time to post. I would have thought though, that with both of us speaking German, and my experience throughout the spectrum of IB, would be an asset that very few candidates would possess. Very interesting that an administrator would look at the PYP years as a detriment that took away from the MYP/DP years.

IE_sciteacher
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:05 pm

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by IE_sciteacher »

Again these are my opinions. Also it comes down to how well you can sell it. If you are looking at a dp position PYP is harder to sell. But myp you can talk about having taught both ends of the spectrum and how you can transition students etc.

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

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by sid »

Chances of getting hired at any one specific school are low overall, and even lower for a couple. I've worked with a few couples who had identified their dream schools, the one place they wanted to get to and work at forever. They'd apply year after year, and get turned down every time. One couple got there eventually, and as far as I know the other 3 couples never did. These were seasoned international educators with strong CVs, applying to schools at a similar level as FIS.
So go for it, but don't put all your eggs in that basket. FIS may be the only school you dream of, but you are not their only applicants.

Verano
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2020 3:11 pm

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by Verano »

Do you have a reader’s and writer’s workshop background? If I am not mistaken, they do reader’s and writer’s workshop in the PYP or a form of it. Therefore, if you don’t have the background, it might be really hard to get an interview.

Heliotrope
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Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by Heliotrope »

I agree with @Sid: your chances of getting hired at any one specific school are low overall, and even lower for a couple.
And I'd like to add that that your chances are even lower still if that specific school you're targeting is FIS.
It's probably the most competitive school to get hired at in Germany, as it's one of the two tier 1 schools there, and one of the most competitive ones in Western Europe.
You do check a few boxes (IB experience, international experience) but a lot of the (many) other candidates will check the same boxes, and some will have very impressive CVs.
Of course your chances are not zero, but if you're set on returning to Germany next year I would definitely recommend you have a backup plan that you're happy with.

I was once flown in from Asia for an in-person interview at a different tier 1 school in WE, along with two other candidates for that position, so it's definitely not unheard of. However, it's 2020, and it might very well be that this year for obvious reasons they will decide Skype interviews will suffice, and the text on their website just hasn't been updated.

cbadnc
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Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:58 am

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by cbadnc »

Thank you everyone for your input. We definitely have a back up plan, which is to stay here. I love where we live, and we have a beautiful house near the beach. My wife misses Germany and her family, and the thought of teaching at a top notch school near my wife's family does peak my interest. Hence, should we apply for any positions, I would not be at all discouraged, if we do not get interviews or positions.

PsyGuy
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Location: Northern Europe

Response

Post by PsyGuy »

In direct reply to your inquiry:

1) Maybe 3-4 virtual interviews, but ISs at that tier fly IT candidates in and expect youre prepared for this.

2) Only if you relocate to Germany in advance and are available for an urgent vacancy. Th IS is probably going to ask why you dont want your child to attend, a simple rational that you want the language of instruction to be in German will likely suffice. Otherwise there arent any significant advantage to the factors you described.

3) Sure but its very small, the tier of IS your interested in can get 1000 applicants for a vacancy and theres no shortage of high quality candidates and your logistical factor necessitate two matching (your secondary (MYP/DP) experience is getting dated, so your basically two competing PYP ITs) but overlapping (lot of 'German' experience between the two of you) appointments which further reduce your utility.

Very few candidates posses that skill set because its not very valuable at a AS in Germany, a German/Swiss IS in Asia and youre more valuable niche candidates.

cbadnc
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Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:58 am

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by cbadnc »

Thanks PsyGuy for your direct answers!! Much appreciated!

Thames Pirate
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Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by Thames Pirate »

Why only FIS? MIS is every bit as good, and there are a number of places in Germany with smaller schools or Tier 2 schools that are great. With your language ability, you could also consider taking one job and having the other partner work in the local system, for example. There are public IB schools in several German cities. The Frankfurt area has a number of ISs, so if it's the city you want, you also have other options.

A big part of it is having two openings that fit you--and for which you are either the best or very strong candidates. So they might have a PYP job for your wife and another primary job, but prefer giving that to someone whose specialty is primary even though you have been teaching PYP. Would you be willing to do sub work or other jobs? Would she? Would you be willing to work on one salary?

There is no magic formula; you both have the qualifications. Your language abilities may or may not be an asset as FIS is a truly international school, but they may be an asset at another school.

As for in-person interviews, under normal circumstances they might insist on it. With Covid, it's hard to say. There is no harm in indicating a willingness to figure out an in-person situation that is safe under the current circumstances.

cbadnc
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Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:58 am

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by cbadnc »

Thank you for the thoughtful response and the questions! FIS is about an hour away from where my wife's family lives, and we would only be willing to leave our jobs and life here for a school like FIS. My wife is not eligible to teach in public German schools as all of her credentialing were done in the states. Although she would love to teach at a public school in Germany!

Yeah, the two openings at the same time might be a problem. I would have thought (from everything I have read) that a teaching couple would be preferable to two separate candidates (assuming the cv's are roughly the same). I feel like I would be relatively marketable as a PYP teacher and a German as a foreign language teacher. My initial position a the IS in Germany was to teach German, even though I am an American. Apparently, German local teachers would rather teach in public German schools because of their status as civil servants and the amount of work at IS schools. I got lots of questions initially why they would bring an American over to teach German.

Also, since we both teach at an IB German Immersion school, I would have thought that that would give us an advantage (maybe someone can comment on this). But who knows. Time to get our CV's in order and try to get our contacts in Germany to make a call to FIS.

Thanks again for the reply!!!!!

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

Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@cbadnc

German immersion experience at an IS such as FIS that uses English as the language of instruction, just isnt worth much.

Thames Pirate
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Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:06 am

Re: What are the chances at Frankfurt International School? Need some advice from the pros!!!

Post by Thames Pirate »

Some schools prefer filling one job and keeping the partner in reserve for cover or jobs they are unable to fill. I once heard an HR director say that they preferred hiring one because if they liked both, they could keep both, but if they only liked one, it was easier to let one good teacher go rather than upsetting the apple cart in two departments. Or maybe they prefer having the strongest candidate in both roles. Or they might prefer couples, but simply not have two jobs. Anyway, the point is that this will absolutely be the biggest stumbling block.

The other schools in the area vary--some good, some less so. But I would say stay open to jobs at different schools within reason; once you are there, the other partner can always more easily slide over if something becomes available later. I would keep an open mind on other ISs in the area.

Finally, don't rule out the German system. Germany is desperate for qualified teachers, and there are options for getting foreign credentials recognised, some of which are actually not that onerous (by German paperwork standards). You could potentially even both work in the German system. It depends on your qualifications--Masters, etc.--and the rules of Hessen.

And I disagree with PsyGuy. It's actually common in German ISs for non-Germans to teach German as a foreign language or even some of the middle grade native classes. For DP German A it's less common but also not unheard of. So being able to teach German, even as a non-native speaker, is definitely helpful. And while the language of instruction may be English, by far the largest need in the language department will be German. So yes, your experience will be worth something, even if not as much as one might think.

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