United States 2/20
As a recruiter at this fair, I felt that UNI was extremely well organized. Tracey Godon and her staff were always visible and approachable, as well as helpful.
I agree with many of the teachers who have posted here regarding the fact that couples tended to be looked at a little more closely than singles – but not because of housing – I specifically looked to teaching couples in order to fill more job slots. If a teaching couple could take two positions “off the table,” then why would a recruiter look to singles? I agree that we may not always get the “best” candidate this way, and we may sacrifice in order to do this. I can’t speak for other schools, but hiring couples just to save on housing was not on my agenda.
Now, having said that, I can also say that I did interview and hire a few singles as well as those with non-teaching spouses. Just as teachers are asked to “do their homework” before attending the fair, as a recruiter I did the same thing by utilizing the database UNI provides. I tried to prearrange certain interviews that I knew were with people who would be an asset to our school. The interesting thing is that no less than two teachers I had requested interviews with didn’t even bother to show up. No note, no phone call, nothing.
While it is true that some jobs get filled before the fair, this is typical. As a recruiter, I am trying to fill positions as quickly as I can and if I find a qualified candidate before the fair that accepts a contract, I am not obligated to still interview others – I actually contacted all of my interviewees in order to give them time to look for other jobs. I understand teachers’ frustration but would they rather sit through an interview and then be told they won’t be getting the job?
From a recruiting standpoint, I would like to change the interview time format to be able to spend more time with candidates – and the round robin signup is crazy! Again, I think it would be good to be able to sit down with potential candidates and even “prescreen” those who are interested in interviews. I took a lot of resumes, but there was no way to realistically contact all of them over the course of a weekend where time is so valuable.
Overall, this is an excellent fair. I would say that this is the one fair that I would like to deal with exclusively in the future.
United States 2/20
This was our first time venturing into the world of international education and we were very pleased with our UNI experience, from the helpful reminders (even phone calls) about completing our credential files to the superior organization of the fair itself. We are a teaching couple, both in special areas and we interviewed with five schools, having only one school actually turn us down. Our understanding is that certain schools have the “right fit” in certain years and we seemed to have had the good fortune of having a few options from which to choose. In other years, we may not have been so fortunate, but having a “best fit” is what we were going for here. We do recommend contacting your schools of interest prior to the fair, and don’t be afraid to contact schools with postings for only one of a teaching couple, because positions seemed to be somewhat flexible even during the fair. We stayed at the Baymont Inn, which had the best price on hotels.com as well a good Wi-Fi, and the internet at the conference center was great. We rented a car and enjoyed having the freedom, although snow driving can be a bit scary if you aren’t used to it. Our interviews were all at least 30 minutes, but it does take longer for couples. Finally, the best thing about this fair was the people who attended. We met interesting, outgoing, and enthusiastic people that made this “roller-coaster” experience a bit less frightening. We met singles and couples who were hired (including us) and are looking forward to working with many of them overseas. The UNI Fair was a success and we would recommend it to anyone.
United States 2/19
My husband and I registered for this fair. The staff was super organized! UNI is a non-profit organization, so all proceeds will be going to helping the school. We chose this fair because it was in the Midwest and because we’re new teachers. We did find a school that fits our needs 🙂
United States (Florida) 2/17
Well organized, but I am not sure why UNI wants people to stay through Sunday. All the action takes place on Friday, with some on Saturday. The Fair and recruiters were a great experience for me as a first timer at the fair, but not a first timer teaching overseas. I spoke to many of the UNI students who were disappointed, but they were trying for the top jobs rather than the ones where schools were more likely to hire beginning teachers. The advice to go to the people that gave the yellow invites was bad advice. I had several offers, some were great places and others I politely declined. Ended up at a great school with a good package. I stayed at the Ramada and the chairs in the hallway were annoying as people were falling all over them at night when they were coming in from the celebrating. I chose this fair over the others as this is the best fair to attend.
United States (Florida) 2/17
Very well-organized, moves quickly, like a well-oiled machine. Over 240 schools attended, and though some positions were gone, most were open. Schools who attended were hiring, but they were also hiring at ISS Boston, so competition is very keen. ADVICE: Go “Shopping” for jobs as early as possible; contact schools early, be realistic, and NETWORK! You are in a room of 250 future employers at the round robin. Do NOT go to this fair if you are picky about where you go. Also be prepared to accept the reality that you will not get invited to any interviews, so you have to network. AND remember to take ISR articles with a grain of salt; most are written by dissatisfied teachers (it’s like asking last year’s teacher what problems they had with the class you have now). But be candid; AFTER you have landed the job offer, ask who will be your direct supervisor, and what challenges there may be. Finally, if you do not have 2 years experience teaching or are not willing to be flexible, you will have a tough time. But if you know you want to teach internationally, go if you can. You will meet 700 like-minded individuals, and make some amazing connections. Good luck!
United States (Florida) 2/17
The UNI staff was informative, friendly, and organized. Prior to the fair they were available to answer any questions that I had and the website that they maintain was full of useful information. I recommend contacting schools prior to the fair.
I am a part of a married teaching team and I must say that this is a double edged sword. It can be hard to find a school that is hiring for both of you, but if you do find a school that has a position for both of you, it can be perfect. The interviewers were interested in hiring and the interviews were more personal. I felt as though the recruiters worked hard to make sure that we were the right fit for the school and area. Surprisingly, they asked few questions about our teaching style and were more interested in our people skills.
I found the fair to be overwhelming during the round robin interview session. We had three interviews on Friday and three on Saturday. We found a school that was a “good fit” on Friday, but the interviewer had to check with his associate before he could give us a contract. We went home empty handed, but did receive a contract from that school the following Tuesday.
We used Shorts Travel to set up our flight and hotel. The shuttle was a little iffy in the morning and we had to catch a ride with those who had rented cars. We had no problem using the shuttle to return to our hotel. We also had no problem with it picking us up from the airport or returning us to the airport.
We are excited about our new jobs and would recommend this fair to others.
United States 2/12
I had a wonderful time at the UNI fair. I met some amazing people and had 6 very positive interviews. The staffing and organization were impeccable! UNI sends out lots of very helpful literature before the fair, which made the whole process a lot less overwhelming. That being said, future fair goers should be prepared for an intense weekend. The energy, excitement, anticipation and anxiety are palpable, especially during the round robin I did approach a few tables that had filled positions that were advertised as open on the morning of the interview sign up which was frustrating, but other than that everything ran smoothly. *A word of advice: Contact schools of interest well before the fair.
United States 2/11
The fair was very well organized. As a teaching couple I did not feel we had any advantage. It was hard finding schools with both of our certification areas and also one who would be willing to hire two teachers over 50. Age was an issue for us, and one school told us they would hire us except that their staff was mostly in their 20-30’s. The orientation advice was great and I was glad that we scheduled interviews with a school we thought we didn’t want to go to. After the interview we both felt that this school was a great fit for us and they did offer one of us a job. We are happy!! It seemed like it is a matter of being a good fit..for us a school open to hiring a couple where only one has a job, and also an older couple.
United States 2/11
A well run and organized placement fair. The staff was quite friendly, supportive and helpful. The facilities were good, but the room for the round robin interview sign-up was a bit cramped at times. There were quite a few less schools represented this year. Married couples and elementary positions seemed to rule at this fair. Quite a few of the schools I was targeting had filled their positions before arriving, including one that I had a pre-arranged interview time with–this was quite disappointing. I had 9 offers for interviews and did receive a job offer, which unfortunately I had to decline because right now I have the handicap of a condo I need to rent out–but the low salary concerned me a bit. I was concerned that the salary would be too low, in case I needed to put out any money for my rental while I was away teaching. I would recommend this fair to those seeking elementary positions.
United States (Florida) 2/11
Got my original job at UNI some seven years ago. Impressed then, impressed now. We had seven invites to interview, more than twice what we had when last there. I am reporting for the over 60 crowd. Most of the better packages ($$) had age restrictions, but if an older experienced teacher is willing to work for less money, there are still plenty of reputable schools/countries that don’t have work visa restrictions by age. I found it was the Middle East and China who were tight on the issue. I so enjoyed meeting people and following their progress. If you are open-minded, flexible, and really want a job, UNI is amazing. Recruiters there are there to hire. Be ready to sign! And true…many schools were working from two ends: Iowa and Boston, MA. Too bad, methinks, but that’s the game. Overall, UNI is a winner. Waterloo? Well, that’s another review!
United States 2/10
The fair was really well-run, and there were plenty of UNI staff around to help answer questions. The computer room that was available to candidates was extremely helpful, and it was easy to walk in and find a computer to use without having to wait for long. It seemed to me that a lot of schools were hiring, and I had a significant amount of schools to choose from who had openings in my area. I did receive offers from several schools, but I was also put “in limbo” and am still waiting to hear from one school who is now at the fair in Boston. From talking with several people at the fair, I heard both sides about the singles vs. couples preference. Some couples I spoke with said that schools told them they preferred singles, whereas, as a single myself, I heard from some schools that they were looking for couples. It really goes both ways. I’d definitely recommend this fair to other candidates, especially if you have not taught overseas before.
United States 2/10
Even though I did not receive any job offers, I would recommend this fair. The staff was available and things ran smoothly. There were about 115 schools present; a good deal less than the previous year. Most people seemed to come away with job offers, even if they weren’t in the country that they had anticipated.
Recruiters seemed to really be looking for couples. Surprisingly, teachers with very little or no experience seemed to have job offers as well. I’d say it was a virtual paradise for the single, young teacher willing to be open-minded about location. The schools were hiring although a few said they were waiting until after the fair in Boston. Almost all of the activity happened on Friday. You easily could have gone home by Saturday evening. Earlier if you didn’t get any interviews set up for Saturday on Friday (although I did get 3 of my 5 interviews on Saturday).
I did not receive any slips inviting me to interview, which threw me off from the beginning. I thought that someone would be interested in me with certifications in Special Education, Elementary, Middle, and English and additionally with an attorney background. I did get 5 interviews during the round robin sessions. I believe that having 2 dependents was my main problem, but the UNI staff called me and warned me of this when I registered. I only have 2 years teaching experience, but I was disappointed by the unwillingness of a lot of recruiters to grant me an interview.
I stayed at the Baymont and rented a car. Both were inexpensive and fine for the fair.The teacher’s chat was helpful in choosing a hotel and a roommate.
United States 2/8
As was said, the couples ruled at this fair. I met couples who had no experience overseas and very little experience in the States getting hired over single candidates with much more experience and credentials. I spoke to recruiters and asked why and a lot of them were hiring couples to save on the housing. So they ended up hiring the person that they REALLY wanted while getting the other spouse in the package which filled a slot and reduced the cost of housing by only having to have one apartment for 2 teachers. So more qualified single candidates were going home with no offer, or taking an offer just because…it was a job.
I talked to a lot of people who had attended this and other fairs in the past and they couldn’t believe the low salaries being offered compared to past fairs. Of course the schools don’t have to offer the high-dollar salaries in this economy, especially with a sort of feeding frenzy mentality on the part of the candidates to take anything that they could get.
The fair was well organized except for the erratic shuttle service from the convention center to the hotels on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of people had to catch rides to the convention center from their hotels with people who had cars. I would recommend this fair to young couples, at least in this economy where the schools can pick and choose and low-ball the offers and save on housing.
About 600 attendees at the fair. Having Search Boston on the same weekend made things a bit frustrating as some recruiters needed to check with their Boston counterparts before they gave the jobs away. That being said, recruiters were eager to fill jobs, and I walked away with a job I’m very happy with. A lot of the new attendees who had very specific geographic areas walked away disappointed, but overall more people were getting jobs that not.
Very well organized, free wi-fi in the convention center and adjacent hotel. For next year, UNI either needs to push their fair ahead a weekend, or arrange with search not to have the fairs the exact same weekend.
United States 2/8
I agree with the previous evaluation. The event was well organized and the staff were very helpful and friendly. The UNI fair was definitely the fair to be at, if you were a first timer. I felt most of the schools were serious about offering contracts to candidates. I did not get the impression they were “just shopping”. Again, as with most of the fairs, teaching couples were the “darlings” of the fair. I was very worried because I have a non-teaching spouse and everyone told me it would be a challenge finding a school that would accept our situation. Well I have to say, I had an incredible experience. My five invitations, four interviews and three offers restored my confidence. What a grand slam for a person with a non-teaching spouse in a specialist position. I did accept a position with one of my top three choices. Soooo, to the teachers with non-teaching spouses, Go For It!!! I would highly recommend the UNI fair to everyone, especially first timers. This is the fair to attend if you are looking for your first opportunity to teach abroad.
My only complaint would be, not enough schools were represented on the second day for the second round robin. It appeared that if you had not scheduled any interviews on the first day, your chances on the second day were very slim to none. I would have been disappointed to have put so much into preparing for the job fair and most of the directors have packed up and gone on to the next fair. If it’s possible, UNI should schedule their job fair on a different weekend from ISS and Search. I noticed UNI was sandwiched between the two fairs. It appears like the ISS and Search fairs are trying to squeeze out UNI. Please don’t let that happen. We need at least one fair representing the Midwest!
United States 2/7
The fair was extremely well organized with very helpful staff. I found everyone to be very professional.
There seem to have been a lot of first timers, which was refreshing if one is an ‘old-timer’. Lots of couples and lots of singles as well. Also seemed like there was the typical situations to be found at any fair – lots of offers per teacher, no offers or lots of pending situations. The most frustrating is knowing that schools had numerous representatives at the different fairs going on at or near the time of the UNI fair, so many final decisions were put off until all of the fairs were over. Otherwise, I’d highly recommend this fair. I did not at all feel like a ‘number’, and there were just as many availabilities for my subject as I have found at any other fair. I’ll be back!