It is a very strong fair in that it attracts many top schools and is run by a very personable and professional group of wonderful people. I also agree that it being held at a university is also a plus. It gives it a good vibe and draws from across the teaching spectrum.
We short listed and contacted five schools before the fair and almost landed pre-contact jobs at a great school in Hong Kong two weeks before the fair. Unfortunately 1/2 of the job was filled late at the Bangkok fair and so it failed to materialize – though I would highly recommend beginning the conversation – and getting your resume to the top of the pile if you can before you go – and even arranging interviews before you get there.
On the plane trip there we ordered school’s we were interested in and hoped to find requested interview cards in our welcoming package when we arrived. We received 6 requested interviews – but only one from our top five – though luckily it was our first choice and it was a request for an early interview the next day. (Early interviews are always better as administrators start mentally filling spots very quickly and are fresher – as you are earlier in the day.)
We too lined up in the gym only to be told by many of the top schools that not only was there no match to our qualifications – but they would not interview us for future openings even though they had only 1 art position to interview for there. So at the end of the day – after turning down the majority of requests from schools that did not fit our goals, we had ONE INTERVIEW for Saturday morning.
We were certainly having second thoughts about having come – but were optimistic our one interview would go well. It did. The director who interviewed us was everything you look for in a boss. He was sincere and passionate and professional and engaged us as teachers and as people and as parents. He asked insightful questions and listened to our answers and questions so in a very short time we were laughing and sharing stories like old friends. It was great!
But we were done by 10:00 and were asked to check in at the end of the day to see how the story would turn out. So we got some lunch and actually went to a movie (Lovely Bones – very under-rated movie – wonderfully storytelling). We came back later that afternoon and became the first 2 teachers hired by our #1 choice.
So, yes it was nerve wracking and yes, it was very close to being all for not (and yes it is a big cost as we flew from halifax, and left our kids with friends and stayed in a hotel) but yes, we did get a great job at a great school in a great city.
So, yes there were some happy endings.
That being said it was our second trip to this fair and 7 years earlier at our first fair we thought we had good jobs which fell through at the last minute and left us accepting a job we were not so sure of as we were swept up in the seeming need to leave with a job – and ended up spending a most regrettable year at a very bad school (Tarsus American School).
And last year we were accepted – but deferred our acceptance at the last minute as the jobs posted at the schools and locations we wanted did not match up.
So do go, but do be prepared that like everything else in international teaching you are rolling the dice a little bit. If you are reading this you are already making good decisions to improve your odds of winning.
In closing if you can avoid job fairs by securing employment by other means (friends, TIE, school visits) I would highly recommend it.
If you cannot I would also highly recommend you attend the earliest fair in the region you want to end up. Yes, GO TO THE BANGKOK FAIR if you want to teach in ASIA! The early hire is always the easiest and at the end of the day, a week off school and a few grand to get there is a small price to pay for landing a quality job at a quality school. You’ll make up the difference in your first pay and could end up in TARSUS if you don’t.
If in the end you must go to a North American fair – I think the Queen’s Fair is as good as any and better then most.
I found my first overseas recruitment fair at Queen’s University to be a huge success. I ended up having five interviews (I cancelled two others), and I received four job offers before leaving Kingston on Sunday afternoon. Despite what other teachers have reported about this fair, I found that I had a lot of opportunities available to me as an experienced teacher seeking a single placement. I am off to Cairo, Egypt in August and I couldn’t be more excited. I will definitely recommend this recruitment fair to other teachers.
My advice is to research the schools prior to the recruitment fair so you are familiar with what each school has to offer. Also, be sure to go to the fair with an open mind and a positive attitude.
United Arab Emirates 3/1
Appears well organized. Yes, there were jobs at all the schools present. However, schools were primarily looking for teachers with some IB experience, couples or a focus on younger ages. The posting of available jobs was adequate, yet as one reviewer said when you get up to front of queue and are told “sorry, that job is not available” or “the listing is wrong” that does not leave a good feeling in one. I lined up several possible interviews and had hoped I would have been a good candidate. Trying to line up amidst a pile of gym/exercise equipment is not good. Ventilation in that area needs to be addressed. As well as signs as to which schools are on the second floor.
Apparently there are selection criteria that has not been posted and appears when one approaches the desk, such as age. I hold a M.Ed. and have some international experience and was willing to go just about any place. Perhaps schools should reconsider that the salary levels must be reviewed and housing as well. Some would say we get many other benefits. That is true. While we do get paid most often without taxes, we should not be asked to share housing or accept rather low salaries (less than $30,000 US). Okay, not all places can afford top grade housing, but we should not asked to share. Are other professionals asked to do this when hired?
Regarding WiFi availability – it should be made clear to all candidates where this is available on campus and how to access it. Placing signs around so one may find the computer room would help.
Yes, after all this I would recommend this fair to other teachers due to the personal touch provided by the fair staff. I like the size of postings in lobby, yet wish that schools would be most honest about actual vacancies and their needs. PUT A COFFEE STAND IN LOBBY – machines don’t always work there and we are too busy to go into a cafeteria for just a coffee or tea. A month after the fair, am still waiting to find a job – a full-time job.
You must have teaching experience in the subject you’re applying for. They will only look at your TORF data sheet first for this. If your qualifications match your certifications for the position you’re applying for (usually 2-3 years experience), then they will look at the rest of your materials. I spent over 1 month preparing for this fair and left empty handed because my 4 years experiences overseas did not match my qualifications. Also keep in mind the following, which seems to be a shared sentiment among many who go to these fairs, but who are not informed in advance:
1) The majority of schools are limiting their interviews to teachers with IB experience,
2) Teaching couples have an advantage over single teachers, and finally,
3) Many advertised positions are gone before the first day of the fairs, leaving some teachers with no scheduled interviews. Read on, Rate the fairs you’ve attended, and Plan your recruiting strategy accordingly!
United States 2/3
Nicely organized, with plenty of friendly student volunteer-guides around to help, and a very pleasant wine-and-snacks evening in the library. Holding the fair at a university lends a good educational tone to the affair, though it is thus also less business-like (serious). After waiting in a long queue to speak with a recruiter, it is disappointing to hear “oh, we don’t have that position available; our sign is wrong” — this happened twice to us. We left the fair with no job, and no likely follow-up. It appeared that the recent graduates were getting job offers (fair enough, as it is sponsored by the university), while the couples did not. I would recommend it to recent graduates, not to established teachers.