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School social worker looking for an IS position

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:03 pm
by javjenatru
I’m a School social worker looking for an international position as a school counselor or social worker. I have my masters, LSW,, school social worker certification, and over 12 years experience. I provide both individual and group counseling to students but I primarily work as a case manager for our special education students. I work with an interdisciplinary team to evaluate and determine if a student is eligible for services. I then create and individualize education program for the student.
To provide some additional context I’m married with 3 kids my eldest is 5, our twins are 1 (so they won’t be attending school for a while). My husband’s background is in risk and compliance. He also has his TEFl and several years of English teaching experience.

Questions:

1. What are my chances of landing a job? You can be honest. Lol
2. Based on my special education background are there any other possible positions that would be a good fit?
3. Should I apply to every school counselor position i come across? Meaning is it possible to land a position due to a shortage in applicants and therefore worth throwing those Hail Mary applications?
4. Lastly, my husband and I are in our late 30’s we live in comfort and have good jobs. But something inside us both doesn’t want the next 30 years of our lives to be like the movie Groundhog Day. For any families that have done this has the overall living abroad experience been worth the comforts and stability you left behind?

Thank you for your time!

Re: School social worker looking for an IS position

PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:13 pm
by mamava
1. There aren't social worker positions in overseas schools.

2. If you have special ed. background, you may find schools willing to hire you on your experience, even though you don't have a license--although the teachers that I have known in that situation do have classroom or subject area teaching licenses. You will likely have a difficult time, though--academic support teachers have to teach as well as manage.

3. As well, some schools may consider you for a guidance counselor based on your background rather than your credential. Some countries may put up visa blocks, in that they can be picky about the credentials matching the job description.

4. Is your husband going to be teaching? If not, you would be carrying 4 dependents and that's a lot for most international schools. Even though your twins are young, they would need insurance, housing, flights, etc. and most school cap at 1 dependent per teacher, with some doing 3 dependents per teaching couple. QSI and ME schools are more generous with that number.

It's always good to give things a shot. You have good experience and I think some schools would consider you for guidance, less so for academic support. For HS counselors, they are generally looking for that college counseling experience, so that could limit you if you don't have that. Some schools have HS college counseling and HS social/emotional counselors, but those are bigger schools and will more likely have more (licensed) applicants. You never know until you try!

Re: School social worker looking for an IS position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:15 pm
by javjenatru
Thank you mamava for your input. I'm going to give it a go and see what happens.

Re: School social worker looking for an IS position

PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:51 am
by interteach
A fair number (it's impossible to say all) of international schools prefer not to hire applicants with a social work background as the skillset for school counseling is regarded as fairly different. You may find some schools who would like to offer you a job, but generally the first positions to be filled will be those with school counseling training and certification.

Re: School social worker looking for an IS position

PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:14 am
by Nomads
This year, my school hired an experienced social worker to be our elementary counselor and we are very pleased with her work. It is definitely possible, but the four dependents could be an issue at many schools. I would encourage you to create a file with one of the major placement firms and see what happens. The more flexible you are in terms of location the better your chances will be.

Good luck.

Re: School social worker looking for an IS position

PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:49 am
by whatkatiedid
Hi Javjenatru

I just wanted to give you a few words of warning as someone who is a current school counselor and a former SW.

Very few International schools and the teachers that run them have a clue regarding how to recruit someone who is not a teacher. They don't understand your skillset or background but their hubris leads them to believe that they do. Remember that many of them have only ever worked in schools and therefore they can't see outside their box very easily.

A specific "School Social Worker" position within an international school is rare and I don't hold out much hope for that outside the USA. You have to bear in mind that these schools are selective and not all of them accept LS kids or kids with serious behavioral problems.

Someone else on this thread has already demonstrated that they believe that a School Counselor or ("International" School Counselor) is somehow "a different skillset" from a Social Worker or in your case a School Social Worker. They are wrong, trust me I'm doing the job, but that is the fixed belief that you will be up against time and time again. It's not helped by the fact that many of these teachers put themselves onto a [ well known brand name] training center course which they believe "qualifies" them to be a counselor in a couple of weeks. It's an echo chamber of bullcrap, delusion and weak practice.

They will probably tell you that you need to be either a former teacher or do an "International School Counseling" Certificate/Masters with the same name. You will probably find that these qualifications are below the level you are used to functioning at in your previous profession and of no value therapeutically but nevertheless, they persist in this belief.

Just to give you a flavor of what you're dealing with, I personally know of an English accredited counselor who has worked with kids for years who was told the other week by an Internatonal school that he didn't have the "right skill set" and hence was not even called for an interview! The same guy is famous on the circuit for his work with ODD teens but all they saw was "no teaching qualification". I have seen them overlook countless Social Workers, Probation Officers, and Licenced Counselors time and time again on the basis that they don't have a certificate in "International School Counseling" or have never been a teacher. It's perverse.

My advice to you at this point is to log onto Linkedin and look for a Social Worker/UK Probation Officer/former private sector counselor who is already in post and reach out to them. A lot of these people are in the more established British Curriculum Schools. I got my current job by reaching out to someone like that on Linkedin and it was the first time I actually felt that the person who interviewed me knew what they were talking about and didn't speak in silly buzzwords.

There are also some school directors out there who have lived part of their lives outside of teaching so tend to be less myopic but you have to look around for them.

As for your husband, his TEFL qualification is only likely to get him into a smaller school teaching TEFL only. The money won't be great. He needs to go back and get his teacher's license and a few years of (non-TEFL) teaching experience in your home country first.

The "three kids" thing also puts you at a massive disadvantage. Sorry to be discouraging but even if you do get lucky enough to have someone sensible read your CV:-the 3 kids are a financial burden to the school. If you are willing to put your kids into the local schools then this would no longer be a barrier.

Re: School social worker looking for an IS position

PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:23 pm
by javjenatru
Thank you for the response! Is it possible to chat with you via email? My email is austin.jen@gmail.com. I’m not very familiar with this forum so I’m not sure if there is a way to message you privately.

Or you can leave me your email and I’ll reach out!

Thank you!

whatkatiedid wrote:
> Hi Javjenatru
>
> I just wanted to give you a few words of warning as someone who is a
> current school counselor and a former SW.
>
> Very few International schools and the teachers that run them have a clue
> regarding how to recruit someone who is not a teacher. They don't
> understand your skillset or background but their hubris leads them to
> believe that they do. Remember that many of them have only ever worked in
> schools and therefore they can't see outside their box very easily.
>
> A specific "School Social Worker" position within an
> international school is rare and I don't hold out much hope for that
> outside the USA. You have to bear in mind that these schools are selective
> and not all of them accept LS kids or kids with serious behavioral
> problems.
>
> Someone else on this thread has already demonstrated that they believe that
> a School Counselor or ("International" School Counselor) is
> somehow "a different skillset" from a Social Worker or in your
> case a School Social Worker. They are wrong, trust me I'm doing the job,
> but that is the fixed belief that you will be up against time and time
> again. It's not helped by the fact that many of these teachers put
> themselves onto a [ well known brand name] training center course which
> they believe "qualifies" them to be a counselor in a couple of
> weeks. It's an echo chamber of bullcrap, delusion and weak practice.
>
> They will probably tell you that you need to be either a former teacher or
> do an "International School Counseling" Certificate/Masters with
> the same name. You will probably find that these qualifications are below
> the level you are used to functioning at in your previous profession and of
> no value therapeutically but nevertheless, they persist in this belief.
>
> Just to give you a flavor of what you're dealing with, I personally know of
> an English accredited counselor who has worked with kids for years who was
> told the other week by an Internatonal school that he didn't have the
> "right skill set" and hence was not even called for an interview!
> The same guy is famous on the circuit for his work with ODD teens but all
> they saw was "no teaching qualification". I have seen them
> overlook countless Social Workers, Probation Officers, and Licenced
> Counselors time and time again on the basis that they don't have a
> certificate in "International School Counseling" or have never
> been a teacher. It's perverse.
>
> My advice to you at this point is to log onto Linkedin and look for a
> Social Worker/UK Probation Officer/former private sector counselor who is
> already in post and reach out to them. A lot of these people are in the
> more established British Curriculum Schools. I got my current job by
> reaching out to someone like that on Linkedin and it was the first time I
> actually felt that the person who interviewed me knew what they were
> talking about and didn't speak in silly buzzwords.
>
> There are also some school directors out there who have lived part of their
> lives outside of teaching so tend to be less myopic but you have to look
> around for them.
>
> As for your husband, his TEFL qualification is only likely to get him into
> a smaller school teaching TEFL only. The money won't be great. He needs
> to go back and get his teacher's license and a few years of (non-TEFL)
> teaching experience in your home country first.
>
> The "three kids" thing also puts you at a massive disadvantage.
> Sorry to be discouraging but even if you do get lucky enough to have
> someone sensible read your CV:-the 3 kids are a financial burden to the
> school. If you are willing to put your kids into the local schools then
> this would no longer be a barrier.