How Competitive is my CV? Looking for feedback!

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DaZhu
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:27 am

How Competitive is my CV? Looking for feedback!

Post by DaZhu »

First, cheers to all you hard working teachers who have had to work through this covid situation, deal with job loss, and having to find a new job in a crazy market! Hopefully 2021 will see sunnier skies.

I'm new to these forums and see that feedback has been given by many people for many candidates, so I was hoping some of you might take the time to put me under an honest microscope.

After my 3rd year teaching ESL, I got a break at a good international school, but it was drilled into my head that I 'got lucky' and that I was 'not qualified'. The 'qualified' career teachers (with 20+ years of experience etc) from the US treated me like the step-child, and talked down to me--so over the past 3 years I've worked hard to improve my profile. That experience lit a fire under my butt and I've worked very hard to improve my qualifications ever since.

My questions I'd like feedback on are this

1. How valuable are IB certifications do you think? I think they're super easy to get if you don't mind shelling out the money, so do you think having 4-6 certs would make me more attractive? Or is that an average amount? Or maybe a cert that would learn towards being an IB coordinator? I know there's a diminishing return at some point--but I don't quite know, and I'd like to stand out with my credentials. Any talented IB people who might answer?

2. I know my education and certifications are pretty strong at this point, and I know my weakness is my years of experience. I'm trying to over-qualify myself to help make up for my years of experience. Is there something that might round out my CV? Like..some SEL certification maybe? Any reccomendations?

3.How valuable is a PhD or EdD in terms of improving competitiveness? Again, I know I am lacking the lifetime of experience that career teachers have had, but would a school rather pick someone with their Doctorate in Education and 8 years of experience, or someone with an undergraduate degree with 15+ years of experience? I would think doctorate? Thoughts?

Here's my quick bio (USA)
Teaching Years Total: 6
Teaching Years at an international School: 3
Teaching at an authorized IB school: 3 (PYP)
Highest Degree: Masters in Educational Leadership
Highest Degree: Currently pursuing a second masters in TESOL (because I like the subject area)
Teaching License: Will be finished in 2 months@ TeacherReady
IB Certifications: 2 (Cat1+Cat2)
ISTE: In progress
TESOL Cert: CELTA
Other: I was an IT guy for 15 years--so I'm good with technology.

My SA advisor said that my 3 years of non-international school experience doesn't really count as experience in the eyes of an international school. She said staying at my current school for 1 more year would not help my CV, but wouldn't hurt my CV, and that I should try to aim for a Tier 1 international school as my next step. She said my qualifications were good, but I have little international school experience.

I only applied to a handful of schools on SA, and they were all Tier 1 schools in China and Thailand. I got interviews with 2, and declined from several others. Their feedback was really valuable though.

1. One said "We really like your CV but my manager is super strict about teaching licenses, so get that and give us a call."
2. Another said "We have filled the position" (only a few days after I applied, so I think I was late.
3. Another said "We are looking for someone with more PYP experience." And I have 3 years of PYP experience soo...tough market!
4. Another Tier 1 found me out of the blue and gave me an interview, certainly one of the top schools in China, by all measures. So I'm hoping for that one.
5. Got an interview with another Tier 1.

What I Learned
1. get that teaching license
2. Get more IB experience
3. Apply earlier. Start in November.

It was very satisfying to even be considered at these really prestigious T1 schools, so while I didn't land the positions I was looking for, I did see that I was in the running for several of them, but I applied too late for sure.

Any feedback on how I might stand out from the crowd of super talented and qualified teachers, I would appreciate!

Stay safe!

TCH12
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:22 am

Re: How Competitive is my CV? Looking for feedback!

Post by TCH12 »

Wish I had your experience/credentials!

Where were you teaching ESL, and how did you catch your lucky break, if you don't mind me asking? Also, what's your teaching subject?

DaZhu
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:27 am

Re: How Competitive is my CV? Looking for feedback!

Post by DaZhu »

I think I did most things in 2.5 years--doesn't take that long, you just have to commit to it full time (commit to improvement) Soon as I finish one thing, I just start another, that way it just kind of feels like a regular amount of extra work. You'd be surprised how fast 2 years slips by--and it's going to slip by. Might as well accomplish something during those years. Just look at it as a ladder, and you have to focus on the rung above you. That's what I'm still doing--trying to figure out my next step. What's your next step? Now take action to get there.

My Lucky Break
I was teaching in Vietnam at an English Center (a good one) and after 1.5 years left to Thailand for greener pastures. I didn't have any plan at all--was just going to see what popped up, or even just take a break for a while. But it was in early august, so I thought maybe I should throw up my resume on Daves ESL cafe to see what would happen.

All of a sudden, the same day, I had more contacts and interview requests than I could handle. I thought it was bizarre, because I wasn't particularly qualified (other than being a white American). One was in China, and they made me an offer. I counter offered, and they said if I could be there in 2 weeks, then I'm in--- and I never left.

Later I found out they only hired qualified, experienced teachers with IB experience--but they didn't tell me at the time. They had hired some guy who had fake credentials, so that opened the spot. When I arrived, I was kind of looked down on by those with more experience, and asked things like "Why'd they hire you?" etc.

I teach English, Math, IB, Phonics if necessary, and whatever else they need me to teach (Spanish, Science, ECA, or several other things).

But yeah, started off in ESL in Japan and Vietnam, and I had a moment when I was in Vietnam when someone posted in the job forums "hey guys, I'm a teacher with my MA and 5 years of experience with this and that" and I'll be honest, I recall feeling super inferior; that guy would get a job over me any time at a job I would really want; he was this super star of education who could pick and choose, and there was me--a college graduate with a CELTA--I felt very vanilla.

Now I'm in a better place, but man--how does one compete with a genuinely good teacher who has a masters and and 15 years of experience? I can't except for hopefully becoming super qualified to help try and makeup some of that difference, so that's why I'm looking for advice from the wisest of teachers here :)

PsyGuy
Posts: 9978
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Response

Post by PsyGuy »

IB certificates arent worth much. They are something an IB IS needs, beyond that the 17 hours or so you put into one isnt particularly valuable. Most of them, especially CAT 1 workshops are little more than an intro to IB terminology and reviewing the curriculum syllabus.

No, the rule is no amount of training equals any amount of experience, its not a compensatory metric.

Doctoral degrees are of little value outside of leadership in IE. Unless your degree is from a global Ivy, your not even likely to get a further salary band in many ISs. You are also going to run up against leaders with a doctorate who believe they are the only ones in the iS that should be called doctor.

They would rather have the IT with 15 years experience, though at 8 years youve reached the end of the inflection points where an IT significantly improves their craft.

Your three years of ESOL experience dont count.
Staying another year isnt going to help.
Youre more aligned to tier 2, but your just getting your credential now which may be a limitation despite being in PYP.
There arent that many tier 1 ISs in China or Thailand.
Early recruiting generally starts in Late October/Early November.
Only offers matter.

DaZhu
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:27 am

Re: How Competitive is my CV? Looking for feedback!

Post by DaZhu »

Thanks for the info. Clear and direct.

"No, the rule is no amount of training equals any amount of experience, its not a compensatory metric."

Interesting. I'm sure there is a cutoff somewhere though--do you think if there was a teacher with 15 years of experience applying with one with 20 years--that there would be a big difference in those (presuming all things equal?)--they should both be experts no? On SA, they have two columns in terms of salary,

1. 4 years with an undergraduate
2. 8 years with a masters

And I'm wondering why they chose those two numbers. Do you think 8 years is considered 'very experienced', and that's their standard? (while 4 is considered entry level?)--I saw you wrote "at 8 years you've reached the end of the inflection points where an IT significantly improves their craft."--is this anecdotal, or is this research based?

I didn't think about ego conflicts with the doctorate, interesting note.

"You're more aligned to tier 2"

Yeah, I'm thinking actually that COVID is why I'm getting some interviews at these schools that are among the best in China. I don't mind.

I've actually looked around on how one considers tier 1 or tier 2 etc--how do you classify these schools? I've googled and it seems a bit arbitrary.

Thanks!

Heliotrope
Posts: 913
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: How Competitive is my CV? Looking for feedback!

Post by Heliotrope »

DaZhu wrote:
> Interesting. I'm sure there is a cutoff somewhere though--do you think if
> there was a teacher with 15 years of experience applying with one with 20
> years--that there would be a big difference in those (presuming all things
> equal?)--they should both be experts no? On SA, they have two columns in
> terms of salary,
>
> 1. 4 years with an undergraduate
> 2. 8 years with a masters
>
> And I'm wondering why they chose those two numbers. Do you think 8 years is
> considered 'very experienced', and that's their standard? (while 4 is
> considered entry level?)--I saw you wrote "at 8 years you've reached
> the end of the inflection points where an IT significantly improves their
> craft."--is this anecdotal, or is this research based?

I once asked my Associate about that and those numbers are somewhat arbitrary - they're just chosen to give a range between a bit of experience, and a good deal of experience plus the MA.
There's no specific cutoff, and it will vary between recruiters.
I don't think 15 or 20 years of experience will be viewed differently, as you said they will both be viewed as experts, assuming they've moved up through the tiers a bit over the years instead of still teaching at crappy bilingual schools.
I think good teachers will keep improving their craft, but if you've taught 10 years and have been at a few different schools, the improvement you'll still make will be significantly smaller than the ones you make in the first years of your career. However, I've also seen teachers at my first schools who were very experienced, but were still pretty bad and very set in their ways.


> I've actually looked around on how one considers tier 1 or tier 2 etc--how
> do you classify these schools? I've googled and it seems a bit arbitrary.

There are no official criteria for what makes a school tier 1. It's also not an official designation and there's no organisation that decides which school is what tier. If a school is tier 1 depends on what you value in a school. So what's a tier 1 for you can be a tier 2 for me, and vice versa.
However, there are schools that are tier 1 for a lot (like 90+% of teachers) because most teachers look for the same things in a school (salary being at the top of that list for most), and there are schools that might be tier 1 for only one teacher because it's exactly what that teacher is looking for.
On the member forum I've made list of 'schools that are often mentioned as tier 1', but some will disagree with some mentions or omissions there because of their personal set of criteria.


With regards to "There arent that many tier 1 ISs in China or Thailand":

Going by which schools are often mentioned by many as tier 1, China has five tier 1 schools, which ties them for first place with Switzerland (although personally I'd say Switzerland has six).

Thailand has three, which ties them for second place (along with about four other countries that also have three, or two countries by my count).

EyEyEy
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:32 pm

Word of caution

Post by EyEyEy »

I work in Switzerland and have worked here for many years at some of the best international schools in the Alps. I would say Switzerland has 4 first tier schools. Maybe 5 but not 6.
And that is only true if you are not interested in saving money. While salaries may be high you will save almost nothing of that salary or less than nothing if you are not a single teacher or a teaching couple.
I am here for the good schools and the scenery and because my parents live nearby but I struggle to save and my school pays well for a Swiss international school and I am reasonably frugal.
Teachers often come here blinded by the high salaries only to find out that everything here is crazy expensive and saving is tough. Teachers that bring a family and want to live on that single teacher's salary will leave a lot quicker than they planned to. Nice country, good clocks, delicious chocolate, but don't come here for the money. Goes for the whole part of Europe that was never occupied by Russia.

PsyGuy
Posts: 9978
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@DaZhu

It plateaus of course, the last inflection point is at 8 years in an ITs career development. ITs are very indistinct from one another though, once you get to around 10 or 15 years its not an issue of competence anymore and no little bullet point achievement or obtainment matters any more its really, really all about fit. An IS will take the IT with 15 over 20 years experience if if feels like the one with less experience fits into the culture and is likely (perceptually likely) to be a better fit.

The inflection points of an ITs career are at years 1, 2, 4, 8, since the recognized bar of entry is 2 completed years that leaves years 4 and 8, and by 8 years ITs are more likely than not to have earned a Masters at that point. Its research based, though the research isnt based on an experimental design.

Disagree with @Heliotrope. There are absolutely formal criteria for tiers.
Tiers are not individual perception, you can be happy as a dove in a tier 3 IS, its still a tier 3 IS, likewise you can hate a tier 1 IS, but its still a tier 1 IS.
The list published by @@Heliotrope is grossly inaccurate.
There are varying models used for tier placement, the number of first tier ISs tends to be very small, and also very stable. There are about 5-8 tier 1 ISs in China (2-3 ASs, 1-2 BSs, 1 FS, 1 IBWS, and 0-1 GSS).

Theres a substantial treatise written on the subject of tiers, and many contributors have discussed the topic at length. Ive included my seminal review of the topic:

There is no objective definition of Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3, and as such there is no "master list" of who is in which list, and to that end even if there was no one would agree on it. The greatest consensus is found in the middle of the tiers, and the least in the margins, but there would still be a lot of disagreement. As a community we tend to agree achieve consensus on the top and the bottom of the tiers. Our biggest disagreement is the margins in-between and the middle. Though if your on the international school circuit long enough you get a feel for which schools are at which tier. School quality also has a lot to do with where you are a tier 2 school in Hong Kong, might be a tier 1 school in mainland China...

Its not all subjective, but there is no 'definition' of Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3, There are several models generally applied to dividing of the tiers, the teacher model is:
Elite Tier: Top schools in the first tier usually 1-2 schools.
1st Tier: The top 5%
2nd Tier: 75%-95%
3rd Tier: Bottom 75%
Upper tier is typically the elite, first tier and some portion of the second tier. Lower tier is the third tier and some portion of the second tier.
In general when teachers describe a tier 1, etc school from one another it comes down to

1) Compensation package
2) Work environment.

Historically the compensation package is the priority, not because of greed or anything, but because its easy to quantify. If your in Brazil, $30K is better then $28K. Schools that pay more for a given region tend to have more stable finances (a sign of longevity, given enrollment, and reputation), and have larger endowments, meaning they have been around long enough to develop efficiency and have well planed capitol projects. Better schools can charge more in fees, and be more selective in their admissions. This creates more "cash" on hand for salaries and benefits.

COMPENSATION:

Typically includes (in this order of importance/priority:

1) Salary (based on number of contract or teaching hours per week)
2) Housing (including utility costs)
3) Tuition (If you have kids. In addition if you have a non teaching spouse, how easy is it for them to find a job)
4) Transportation (Including Airfare, moving, and settling in allowances).
5) Insurance (Mostly how good the medical is)
6) Retirement (Including end of year bonuses).

WORK ENVIRONMENT:

Working conditions is the far more subjective of the two. It means something slightly different to everyone. But can include as a general principal (and these get more "fuzzy" the lower I go):

1) Staff/Faculty/Parents:How qualified are your co teachers? Do they know what they are doing? Do the aids, secretaries try and help you? Is the PTA crazy helicopter parents? Are the parents really the ones running the school?

2) Admins Management Style: Biggest reason for a school to go down hill. Does the admin back the teachers? Are they just a spokesperson for the owners? Do they yield to parent pressure? Do they value faculty input? Do they care?

3) Organization: Does the front/back office run efficiently? Do you get reimbursed in a timely fashion? Are salaries paid on time? Is the school relationship with the local immigration bureau good, can they process visas, permits, etc quickly?

4) Resources: Do you have a projector? Access to computers, internet? Can you make copies when you need too. What about textbooks, are they old and out dated, do teachers even use them? Whats the library look like? Whats the cafeteria look like (do they feed the teacher lunch?) Do you have a classroom/department budget, or do you have to ask for everything?

5) Academics: Do they have a curriculum? Do they use the curriculum? Does the department share a common curriculum or does everybody teach what they know and prefer? What are the assessment/grading policies and procedures?

6) Community: Are the people nice, friendly, helpful? What's there too do in the area? Is it safe? Clean? Is transportation easily accessible? Availability of shopping/groceries? Medical Care? This could be a long one....

JOB SEARCH:

1st tier schools are typically non-profit private preparatory schools that focus on an international student body. They are very westernized, and would be very similar to a private school in western cultures.

2nd tier schools are private/private non-profits that act like for profits. They are predominately domestic students, who are affluent. They are equivalent to a "good" public school in a western culture.

3rd tier schools are for profit (or masquerading non-profit) schools that are run as a business. The purpose is to make generate revenue, and provide the owner with some level of prestige and status. Education is just the product, the students parents just the consumers.

Most 3rd tier schools advertise on TIE Online, Joy Jobs, and with SEARCH. You can also find them on Daves ESL Cafe (They advertise everywhere, except the "selective" recruitment agencies, such as ISS)

Tier 3 schools either pay very well because the only reason someone would work there is the money, or they pay enough to get by. Most of these schools are in the middle east or africa. There are some very "beautiful" schools that Dante could use to deepen the levels of hell a bit, and the only reason they have faculty is because 1) The money, 2) Desperate teachers who cant do any better. Of course one issue that i see common with Tier 3 schools is related to "safety" either the regional culture is very very rigid, with serious consequences for what you might consider "minor rule infractions" or the region/area could become quickly hostile and dangerous...

Your typical "ESL School" is right around the border between bottom tier 3 and floater tier 3 schools.

"Elite" (also called prestige or premier) schools are a subset of tier 1 schools, that represent the top school(s) in the region.

An "elite" or "premiere" international school is simply the top (or contested top) tier one school in a region (or city). What differentiates them is they usually have the best reputation in an area as "THE" school, and you see that in a compensation package that is substantially higher then the other tier one schools in the area, as well as in their staff support, resources, and facilities.

Tier status is only comparable to other schools within a region. Local economies, costs of living, cultural differences make global comparisons unhelpful. For example; most European schools dont provide housing, and taxes are high so even though salaries would rival many that you would find in a place like China, the savings potential and lifestyle you can live are very different (and often better in asia).

Elite (also called premier) doesnt equal easy. Elite schools typically expect a lot from their teachers. Some teachers thrive in that environment, some dont.
Why a separate category? well there is typically a substantial and significant increase in work and compensation between the "elite" school and the other tier one schools.

I guess thats 4 levels. Is there a lower level, some people throw tier 4, and lower levels around, but I have to think that is really just an individual adding insult to injury when they call a particular school a "tier 4" school.

fine dude
Posts: 583
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: SE Asia

Re: How Competitive is my CV? Looking for feedback!

Post by fine dude »

The definition of 'elite' only applies to a handful of top-tier schools in East and South-East Asia (Bangkok, KL, Taipei, and a couple of them in Tokyo) where you'll earn every single penny, but can live like a true expat, especially if you're a teaching couple. No other region offers savings like schools in these cities, but if you're not the hard working type, you'll leave sooner than planned.

PsyGuy
Posts: 9978
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

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Post by PsyGuy »

@fine dude

Not every region has an elite IS, but plenty of regions outside Asia including the EU have an elite tier IS. Tier is regionally restricted.

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