Researching the International School Sector

Leadership

The biggest stumbling block (for a very green international¬† job seeker) was trying to determine where to start. Searching online can be a most time consuming activity and depending where you’d like to further your leadership and experience (from Asia to the Middle East to the Americas) there are many different paths you can travel to get there. Like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland says, “If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take”, and if you are not careful, after many hours of internet surfing, you could find yourself in the same place where you started.

It is important you think about what you want to get out of teaching/leading and what kind of school will best suit your needs. Each school has its own ethos, culture and learning atmosphere which is shaped by the school leadership team and the vision of its community.

Once a type of school is decided upon the next step is to seek actual positions. In short, for me, I distilled my online searching to the following sites. Some require lengthy applications, others a simple CV. Some required an application fee while others were free. (For the record, in my experience, the free ones were most helpful).

However, it was International Teachers Plus that were most beneficial in supporting my application and securing my appointment in Dubai.

Then, when you have noticed a school with a vacancy it might be useful to research and find out about its student body, staff members, school reputation, how the community is involved, the educational goals and and vision of the school, an overview of recent and planned initiatives and the type of extracurricular activities they provide.

Finding a school to best fit your needs should be the priority. Happy hunting!

First Step to Personal (and Professional) Growth – Identifying the Need

Leadership

I have been a principal in schools across three educational jurisdictions and two states in Australia for over twenty years. My current principalship, in a very successful school, in a beautiful part of the Mid North Coast of NSW, has reached the ten year mark.

There is a tendency for leaders to cement their stance on a school and then enter the plateau phase of leadership. Some say it’s best to leave on a high, before the sedentary side of leadership takes hold.

That said, life long learners seek further learning opportunities. They need the next challenge to keep relevant and on top of their game. For me, coming to that realisation has been tough as, like all people looking at their future, there is more at stake than what’s in it for me. There’s family to consider, mortgages, kids’ schooling, spouse’s career, your own ageing parents and extended family members, and even your friendship circles.

There are many reasons one decides to take the leap into a new job. Once decided and announced that you are leaving, people only see the top of the iceberg, they don’t see what is happening under the water, or the myriad of contexts, conversations, rationales, barriers, that lead to the decision. Usually the first response, naturally, is how your decision will impact them?

This introduction brings me to the purpose of this blog!

I have, with the blessing of my family, made the decision to resign my position to take up an international leadership position in Dubai. This blog will be an attempt to share my journey, firstly with my family, who will, for the first part, remain in Australia, until our youngest finishes her HSC in 2015.

I hope to chronicle my experiences, more as a therapeutic or reflective process, but hopefully, like other similar blogs, offer insight into the highs and lows of moving into an expat life.