As an international educator, one of the scariest challenges I face is recruiting.
Overseas teachers don’t spend their whole career in a single school. That would defeat one of the goal of teaching overseas – experiencing exciting new places! We work at a school in an adventurous part of the globe and then, when the thirst for a new adventure gets too strong to resist, we move on. This moving on process is a little intimidating. First we have to resign from our existing position. That usually takes place somewhere between November and December (depending on your school). Then, we search for a new home for the following school year. It’s like swinging from one vine to another – you have to let go of one before you grab hold of the next one. It can be a little nerve wracking.
Besides the opportunity to move to some new, exotic locale, this regular recruiting process provides educators with an amazing chance to learn about ourselves.
We know that we’ll be completing online profiles, creating descriptive websites, and preparing for interviews. Before we tackle all this, we need to sit down and reflect on who we are as educators. We have to think about our overall philosophy of education. What are our beliefs? What are our priorities? Then, we have to consider fundamental practices like collaboration, differentiation, innovation, and integrating technology. We also spend time pondering questions like Why did I get into education?, How would my peers describe me? and How would my students describe me?
By the time we’ve completed the 15th online application and wrapped up our third interview, we’ve developed a very clear understanding of who we are as educators and where we need to grow.
Regardless of the outcome of the hiring process, or where we end up, this understanding of ourselves and our practice is invaluable. We become more focused in the classroom. And, we start tackling those next steps we are always putting off for later. For instance, it we’ve defined ourselves as innovative, then we should go out and integrate that new idea we read about on Twitter. If we feel that we’re all about cross-curricular experiences for our students, then we should knock on our peer’s door. If we think we’re committed to professional growth, then we should order that book from Amazon. Amazing things start to happen when we really know who we are.
Currently, my spouse and I are recruiting for new teaching opportunities around the globe. It will be our fourth international home. Wherever we end up, we can’t wait to get there and start sharing this newfound clarity as we help prepare the next generation for their future!