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Teaching overseas

Search Associates Fair day 3 - Signing the contract

10:49, 5/5/2009 .. 6 comments .. Link
When I came to the hotel on Sunday morning I checked my file first to see if there were any messages. I realise I haven't told you about the file system yet so I will do that now.
In the candidates lounge there were several racks with files hanging in them. Green ones for the candidates, yellow ones for the school. Every file had a different candidate name on it. If one of the schools wanted to give you a message they could just write it on a piece of paper and stick it in your file. This worked the other way round too. If you wanted to drop the school a line you got stick it in their files. It was a simple but effective way to communicate. You can imagine it can be hard to locate people when there are hundreds running around a Hilton hotel.

My message
Sure enough I found a message in my file and it was from Al Maha asking me to come to speak to them as they wanted to offer me a job. I was elated!! All this hard work had paid off. I had spent months preparing for this and now it was just there, under my nose, smiling me in the face. "Hi Yvonne, come and work in Qatar!" Can you believe it?

What to do?
As excited as I was, I was now face to make a difficult decision. I wanted to wait for Japan to see what he had to offer me. I was to offer me a job too, I would choose for that one. To cut a very very long story short, I was declined by Japan. He told me I had everything going for me. I was an IB graduate, spoke two languages fluently, was Dutch (which is an asset as the school has an incredibly large Dutch community), played several musical instruments and most of all he like my personality. However, I had no PYP (IB primary) experience and he really needed someone who did. So he couldn't offer me the job. I was disappointed, I really was, but to my own surprise the disappointment wasn't as great as I had expected.

As Japan was out of the picture now I had time to have a closer look at Qatar. It's a nice school divided into a boys and girls department. The school population consists mainly of Qatari children but they follow the British curriculum completely. Because of the schools population the boys and girls are seperated. That to me was a bit of a no-no. But then I told myself to get over it. I really like the rest of the school. They will be moving into a beatiful brand new school soon and the opportunity for me is just great. So I told myself to get a grip and find that a girls school may actually be a lot of fun. So I accepted the offer! I sat down with Mr Wright and his colleague and talked about what they had to offer. This basically meant the following
  • a tax free salary
  • housing
  • utilities
  • insurance
  • annual return flight home
Before I signed anything I called my sister and told her all about it. We spoke about every detail and then she offered to call my dad (just to save expenses from calling overseas). My dad then called me and basically told me to go for it. The package deal sounds great and both my parents were very excited for me.

So here I am. I have signed an intent (a legal document which says that both the principal and I will sign my contract) and I will recieve the contract no later than Thursday. I will be flying off in September 2009!

Search Associates Fair day 2 - Talking, talking, talking

09:58, 5/5/2009 .. 0 comments .. Link
The day started around 7.30 a.m. We met at the hotel and met up again with the crew. The schools had by now put up their vacancies in the ballroom. The ballroom was a large room where tables were set along the walls. The countries of origin were on the wall behind the tables and there were also lists with vacancies. For about an hour you had the chance to walk around the ballroom and write down any schools that you would be intereted in meeting. There were about 33 schools present. It was nice to just look around and see what was on offer. Ofcourse you had some of these vacancies handy already as you could also see them on the internet, but this made it all very clear. At 8.45 a.m. Dr. David Cope started with a briefing. He basically told us what was happening that day and what to expect. What to do with which forms and when we had to meet for the reception, which was to be held at 7pm.

Signing up for interviews
I had a list of 6 schools that I wanted to meet up with. These were:
1) Yokohama International School - Japan
2) Bahrain Bayan School - Bahrain
3) Al Jazeera Academy and Al Maha English School - Qatar
4) Abu Dhabi Educational Council - Abu Dhabi
5) Nord Anglia ...... - Abu Dhabi
6) Victoria International School - Shanghai, China

At 10.00 a.m. the ballroom opened once again and all the staff of the schools were seated around tables. What happens then would be fun to look at from a birds eye view. People are waiting at the doors and as soon as these open they almost fly to the tables they want to talk to first. I didn't have time to look at what happened but I can imagine what it must have looked like. I flew to Japan first. I told the principal of this school that I wanted to talk to him and he told this was possible. My first appointment was scheduled for 11am that morning. I was excited!! The next schools I went to also granted me an interview except for the last school in China. They had vacancies only for early childhood teachers and I'm just not born to teach kindergarten. So we said goodbye! My appointment schedule was "filled" with three interviews on Saturday an two more on Sunday. Boy, I have never had so many interviews!!

My first interview was set for 11 am in room 262. I was there ten minutes early and waited for the principal to come up too. At 11 he hadn't shown up yet and I started to think I had misunderstood the time. I waited for ten more minutes. By this time I was sure I blew my chances as I was ten minutes late and apparently in the wrong place. I went back down to the ballroom to find the principal behind the desk. I walked up to him and as casually as I could asked him if I could just double check our appointment. At this time he realised that he was late. I'm sure to tell you I didn't mind. As long as I wasn't the one to make the mistake everything was fine. It was actually a nice start to our conversation as it took away most of the initial tension you can feel before an interview. We went up and had a lovely chat. I was absolutely over the moon by the interview and the school. The principal was also excited about me and at the end told me he would get back to me on Sunday. To be honest, I was quite sure I had landed myself a job! But there were more interviews to come.

My next interview was with ADEC. A council which organises education in and around Abu Dhabi. They teach in government schools and the idea is basically that you teach four subjects and the rest is taught in Arabic. I wasn't very excited but I went anyway. The interview went just terrible. They asked me all these questions I just didn't know any answers to. I just sat there saying uhm, and oh, and er, and........ nothing. Not a good start! You won't be surprised that I didn't get a job offer from these people but there were no regrets or disappointments from my side!

Al Maha English school
The next chat I had went very well. To be honest I wasn't extremely excited when I signed up for this interview but that all changed when I sat down to talk to the principal I grew more and more excited about the school. We had a very nice chat and at the end of it all the principal told me that he would probably come back to offer me a contract for next school year. I was flabbergasted. Wow....really?? Was all this work going to pay off. I was excited in one way but on the other hand I was so hoping to get Japan that I was a bit apprehensive still. Anyway, I told him I was delighted, thanked him very much and went away to talk to my new found friends at the fair. What to do, was the question!

Throughout the day all the schools did a presentation about their school and I went to see a couple. I tried to see all the schools I had signed up for. It was nice to see lovely presentations about the schools and their surroundings. Ofcourse it was also nice to hear what was on offer for teachers.

At the end of the day there was a reception for a candidates and recruiters. It was a great opportunity to meet up with everyone in a more casual atmosphere. I made a point of talking to the principal of Japan. I had remembered him telling me that he played the mandoline so I asked him about that. I thought I did a good job! We talked for a while which was nice. I also talked to a lot of candidates that were there and actaully made friends too. There was a lot of swapping of e-mail addresses and a lot of promises to tell others about the country you live if they were about to move to that country. It was great!

This was basically how the day ended. I had had three of my interviews and was now waiting for the other two on the Sunday. My hopes were set! I wanted to go to Japan!

Search Associates Fair day 1 - Meet the crew

09:37, 5/5/2009 .. 0 comments .. Link
While I'm writing this I am stil in London staying at my friends' house close to Crystal Palace. In the next couple of blog entries I will update you on the events that happened over the weekend.

Sign in
On Friday we had to sign in with the Search Associates (SA) organisers between 3.30 and 5.30 pm. I took the train and tube to Paddington station and arrived at around 3.15. I sat around in the lobby for a bit before I headed off to the candidates lounge where I met Dr. David Cope and Phil Brighty. They told us a bit about what to expect for the weekend and handed us an information packet with all sorts of sheets and papers. They showed us our personal files (I'll elaborate later) and the school files and also showed us where we can find certain information. After that we could spend our time in the candidate lounge till 5.30 p.m.

Personal (primary) goal of the weekend
My personal goal of the weekend was to find a job somewhere around the world, preferably in the Far East or in the Middle East. This job would involve teaching primary children in the upper primary  years but I would also settle with the lower primary years.

Secondary goal of the weekend
My secondary goal was to meet as many people as I possibly could. School staff, other candidates and the SA staff. The idea is to network as well as you can. Even though everyone is scattered all over the earth, the world is quite small, and it's no unimaginable that you will run into these people again some time in the future. The first people to meet and have a chat with were the entire SA staff consisting of Dr. David Cope (my sponsor), Phil Brighty (David's assistant), Mr. Harry Deelman (founder of SA), Margaret Deelman (Harry's wife) and Mike Deelman (Harry and Margaret's son). These people were around all weekend to help you out with any questions you could possibly have.

What's in the folder?
After arriving we were handed over a folder and our badge. The next thing to do was see what exactly was in the folder and also to see what you had to do with it all. There was a lot of information about presentation times, lists of schools, lists of candidates, contract examples, appointment schedules, evaluation forms etc. It was nice to have some time to quietly sit down and look at all that. Some schools had left their brochures around the lounge so you could read through them. Unfortunately not all schools had done that.

Closing off the day
After this there wasn't much left for the Friday. It was just a day to basically "day hello". My first impression of the SA fair was a good one though and I was thoroughly looking forward to day 2.


07:34, 27/4/2009 .. 0 comments .. Link

Only a couple more days till I leave for London. In the past weeks I have applied for several jobs, all of them in the Far East. I applied in China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Some of these schools will also be attending the fair next weekend and I hope to be able to make some appointments with them for an interview. I'll try to explain how it all works.

First of all you have to sign in on Friday and meet up with the Search Associates "crew". You recieve a package with information about the schools and some other important information about the fair. On Saturday we have to be at the hotel at 7.30 a.m. (!) to attend a briefing on the rest of the two days. All the schools have information stands which you can visit throughout the day. In the afternoon the schools show presentations about themselves. During the day on Saturday the aim is to meet up with as many schools as possible and to try and organise interviews with them. In the evening there is a reception where you can meet with everyone in a less formal atmosphere. Then on Sunday all the interviews take place. If things go really well, but that is really an exception to the rule, you might be signing contracts on Monday.

As I said before I applied to several schools but none of them replied to any of my letters. I was a bit panicky about this but it seems that this is quite normal. Schools generally wait for the fairs and meet up with candidates there. The fun thing is, is that I've been asked to be interviewed by a school. I haven't sent them a letter but they found me through the SA website. Last night I recieved an e-mail in which they asked me to please come by their stand and meet up with them. How cool is that! It's a school in Abu Dhabi! I'm sure you can imagine that I'm completely over the moon! I called my parents and my sister and they were excited for me too, so that's all the more a bonus!

Anyway, I leave next Thursday and I'll be back on Tuesday to tell you all about how it went. I really hope to be able to tell you that I found a cool job in cool (warm) place!

Take care


18:06, 1/3/2009 .. 4 comments .. Link

Hello everyone,

This blog will be written in English so it will be possible for all my friends to keep up with my plans and adventures. I am Yvonne and currently live in Rotterdam. I am a primary school teacher, teaching in a school in Delft, The Netherlands. I enjoy my work but now want to further develop my career by moving abroad and teaching in International Schools.

At the moment I am twenty-nine years old and I have lived in many places both in Holland and abroad. I have now been living in Rotterdam for almost 5 years and it feel it's time to spread my wings and move abroad on my own. Via this blog you will be able to keep up with all my plans and activities. I hope you will enjoy reading this. If you do it would be nice if you would leave a message for me :)

Lots of love,


Search Associates

08:23, 1/3/2009 .. 0 comments .. Link

In order for me to be able to find a teaching job abroad I have signed up with an organisation which helps people find these specific jobs. Search Associates (SA) is based in the UK and they do all sorts of things to help. First of all you sign up and answer lots of questions about your teaching career and former schooling. You next need to ask several (former) supervisors to fill in an evaluation for you. This evaluation is then attached to your profile in the SA website.

When all the evaluations are added your profile is activated for you so you can search for job openings. These openings are all around the world in every country you can possibly imagine.

So I got my evaluations in order and a couple of weeks my profile was activated. I have been searching through the website ever since and actually applied to two schools so far. I applied to a school in Vietnam and one in Cambodia. I'm most interested in schools in the Far East. To be honest I don't really know why. I wouldn't decline a nice job somewhere else in the world as long as it's a safe country for a woman to live "alone".

I've asked my parents which countries really do not appeal to them for me to live in and actually that list was relatively long. They also had a list of countries where they would like me to live but that was only selfish ;) Canada is their number one wish! The Far East is my number one wish!

In May I will be attending a recruitment fair in London. This fair is also hosted by SA and gives schools and applicants an opportunity to meet up. The fair is 4 days and I'm very excited about attending. I don't expect to leave with a job in the pocket but the experience should prepare me for further applying.

Ofcourse I will keep you posted!

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Search Associates Fair day 3 - Signing the contract
Search Associates Fair day 2 - Talking, talking, talking
Search Associates Fair day 1 - Meet the crew


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