Sunday, November 08, 2015

A Silent Time During International School Recruiting

Image Credit: silence by Rebecca Barray via Flickr CC

I was going to try to document our recruiting process a bit better, but right now, while I have so much to say, there's nothing I want to say publicly.

There is a long period of waiting as jobs get posted and as we apply... but there's nothing to report, although there are many ups and downs to our days - checking the job postings, finding or not finding positions at schools you want to work at and waiting for replies.

To sum-up our last few weeks, we've felt both anxiety and excitement. We've lost sleep, our (well, mind more than John's) brains are often running in a million directions, we constantly research schools and countries, and we fantasize about many "what-if" scenarios.

We have been lucky enough to have a couple of interviews.  It's still early in the process and this is not necessarily the norm.  However, Skyping to try to sell yourself to a stranger in a 60 minute interview (after a full day of work and getting the kids settled in for the night) is HARD!

In our thoughts and conversations, we have gone from Prague to Bangkok to Johannesburg to Buenos Aires to Vientiane to Luanda to Singapore to Sao Paolo and back again many times.  This is both exciting and exhausting!

We have not been offered any contracts.  It is still early.  Most schools do not have all their "definite" job openings yet. We would like to try to sign contracts before the end of November and we'd really like to not have to attend the job fair in Bangkok in January, but we've made reservations to go there, just in case.

While we feel extremely lucky to be able to move to another country to another amazing school, it is stressful.

There are A LOT of teachers in the international circuit and teachers in their home countries trying to get into the international schools circuit.  Our small school alone gets many applications EVERY day. I can't imagine how many applicants some of the large big-name schools must get for their positions. There are many qualified applicants for the same jobs.

In my opinion, it really comes down to this:

1 - Who you know
 *** Extra perk if they have hiring power ***
Since administrators receive CVs from so many qualified applicants (and really anyone can look good on a CV these days), it is good if the administrator knows you/has worked with you before.  (Or someone who has some serious weight is a close connection to both you and the person hiring.) Beyond how great a teacher you are, schools are looking for teachers/families that fit in well with the culture and need at their school.

2 - The puzzle piece of the jobs that are open for that year at schools
Right now there are 35 positions open for me on SEARCH Associates. I could add another 15 looking at the Middle School English jobs open right now, too.  Now I would easily narrow that down to about 10 schools where we would actually work.  Next, you match up jobs that I want coupled with John's position as a Secondary Librarian....  drum roll please...  we are down to 4 - FOUR - schools!  Now, they are four FANTASTIC schools, that we'd love to work in, but eesh.

For me, the scariest part of this is that you may not be hired, even though you are the best person for the job! If there is another couple that fits better, for example a Physics teacher and a Librarian, because the Physics position is trickier to fill than say a middle school teacher position, then they'll get that Library job, and we.are.out! *sob*

3 - LUCK!

Luck and timing are everything. I realize this is true in all parts of life.

So, we continue to hustle.  We can't catch the fish if we don't put our line in the water.  We are applying, talking to friends all over the world and we continue to wait (and try to be patient).

So the silence for us will continue a bit longer.  We don't know where the cards will fall.  I'm always a little wary of "jinxing" something that seems good and exciting, because you never know.  Last time we recruiting, we made it through the second round of interviews at a school and then didn't get it.

Hopefully we'll have exciting news to share soon, but until then.  I'll try to sleep and keep my excessive email checking to a minimum.

Monday, October 19, 2015

International Teaching: We Are All in the Same Place

I distinctly remember when John and I were about the head to Peru and thinking... this is going to be weird, working together.

Now, not working together seems even stranger.  There are so many perks of being all at the same place.  Once and a while, John and I have lunch together which is a nice treat.

But best of all, we get to participate in the kids' activities.  Last week John got to go to Kande Farms with Maximo as a part of their Farm to Table and Systems Unit and I was lucky enough to make bread with 36 second graders.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

So What DO we want?

Image Credit:

Searching for the perfect school and finding the perfect match is tricky.  We have decided this is our year to recruit... there is no going back. We have put our notice in.  But, now we are at the mercy of what positions open up at schools that we want to work at.  John and I have pretty specialized jobs, so that right there narrows down our opportunities.

There are so many factors that go into choosing the right place.  These are our thoughts...

First and for most, we want to be safe, happy and we want our kids to flourish.
No place is perfect.  BUT, there are a lot of great places out there that we would be very happy moving to.  When positions pop up, it's definitely a conversation of positions, school and country.

If we were going to make a criteria of what we are looking for kind of in order, this is what it look like:

1. Bigger school (like 850-1500 Pre-K - 12)
2. Strong, established school with vibrant curriculum and programs
3. Library position for John
4. Safe country
5. Interesting city/country
6. Warm climate

Extra perks:

  • Being able to communicate better (either a language we already speak =: English or Spanish OR I language easier to learn than Japanese, preferably with a phonetic writing system).
  • Cool living space with a bit more room.  Extras:  an outdoor area, grill, pool?

We have been talking about moving a lot with the kids, so they aren't freaked out about it.  Luckily they have seen a lot of friends come and go, so it isn't as foreign as it would have been to me as a child.  When we asking them things about moving, some really funny conversations come up.  This is what the kids want in our next home:

Maximo's Wishes
1. Two bathrooms in our home
2. To be near a beach
3. A pet

Lola's Wishes
1. To move to Legoland
2. A pet

Part 1 of Our Process of Recruiting as International Teachers

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Recruiting Season as an International School Teacher

Photo Credit: Travel by Moyan Brenn via FlickrCC

Most of our family and close friends know that we are leaving Japan at the end of the school year. This is our seventh year at Canadian Academy and it's been a good run:
Our family of babies has transformed into a family of funny, independent elementary schoolers...

John and I both changed our jobs within teaching with more courses, certifications and determination.

We have enjoyed our time in Japan... but it is time.

We got into international teaching to travel and see the world as we got to work at some of the best schools in the world. We are ready for new adventures, new jobs, a new culture, a new home.

The international recruiting thing is quite a process.  Let me share our past few months with you... and where we are now.

First, it takes a LONG time to revise a resume, get recommendations, writing a bio and/or education philosophy statement. It's really hard to sell yourself on one piece of paper for one database. This is what John and I both worked on over the summer.

Next, we paid for SEARCH Associates to represent us in our recruiting and add us to their database. We also signed up for the Bangkok job fair in January, but we hope that we will already have a job by January and not have to go. *fingers crossed*

Third, we contacted administrators that we know and want to work with again and are at schools that we want to work at. We have some criteria and have narrowed down our "top" schools... I'll share that in another post.

And now, we wait.

The crazy thing about recruiting as an international teacher is you pretty much have to give up your job to get a new one.  We have sent in our resignation letters for June 2016! [I still feel like this is so crazy] It actually felt really REAL when we saw our own jobs posted on the database... there's no turning back now.

Every morning we get an email from the database of new jobs posted that day and the database allows us to search schools and jobs.  It also allows us to see the profile/packages of the schools which varies immensely.  Most schools have early decisions bonuses in October, so more will be posted then, but many schools have to receive contracts by December, so that is more the definite date.  This date is even later in Europe.

So now, we dream ...  We are enjoying the daily job notifications over our morning coffee.  John and I have gotten really specialized over the past few years (Librarian and Tech Coordinator/Coach), so it's tricky to find a perfect match.

But even with this, our conversations have ebbed from Africa to South America to Asia to Europe... It's fun to imagine ourselves somewhere new next year. It's fun to research more about the school and living in that country. Hopefully we'll have a contract in the next two months. For now, it's fun to dream and think about how lucky we are to have the opportunity to be somewhere else in the world in 10 months.  But for now we wait...
Image Credit: Travel Journal by Kasaa via FlickrCC

Saturday, June 27, 2015


We are happily at Frogtown Cottage and really enjoying our new porch!

Here is the photo album we'll be posting to over the summer:

Summer 2015
or you can check out the loslemleys Instagram.

Monday, June 01, 2015


"Um, Mom, do you know where soap comes from? [pause] Starfish blood."  - Lola

"Mom, I love you more when you are away." - Maximo 

[after I came back from two nights away, I hope it's his take on 'absence makes the heart grow fonder']

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What We're Up to These Days

I love blogging and I hate that I am not blogging more here.  I am blogging a lot professionally and always sharing through social media, but I like the sharing of this space...

The sharing of our family, our life as expats...  I have hopes to write in this space more frequently... and I hope to make it happen soon.

For now, here are to little snapshots of life for us right now with Mo and Lo.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Little Lola is Four!

We've had an action packed day that started with family gifts  - continued with a party with her friends - and is ending with a smorgasboard of leftovers and a playing with all of her new toys.

It was a great day and she's really gotten so big.  I still remember being in Rokko Island Hospital like it was yesterday.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Maximo's First Presentation - Family Book

Maximo has a presentation tomorrow.  He brought his notes home to practice this weekend.  I think this may be the first oral presentation he has ever really done... and it's in Japanese.