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I Wonder... What Drew You to International School Teaching?

By Joy Jameson
I Wonder... What Drew You to International School Teaching?

If the truth were told and a tally taken, I wonder what would emerge as the top reason drawing teachers to international schools? Stop and think. What was the carrot on the stick that caught your attention and inspired you to work at an international school?
Sometimes people are drawn by a combination of reasons, but usually one stands out as the guiding force. Are the majority of teachers attracted to international schools because of:
a. A true love of teaching and a desire to expand their knowledge through the educational challenges of international school settings?
b. Travel, i.e., their number one goal is travel and the teaching job is just a way to pay for it?
c. Financial gain—international school teaching is a fast way to earn large sums of money, i.e., big salaries plus bonuses, no housing costs, free trips, etc.?
d. Other reasons?
What do you think the breakdown for each category would be at your school? It would make a very interesting and perhaps eye-opening study. A survey such as this would also provide valuable information for school administrators, recruiters, and for the international school system in general regarding the top reasons teachers apply for overseas jobs, and it might indicate how many staff members really have their heart in their teaching.
Maybe the data will show that money is not even a top motivating force. The data could also help administrators to better understand staff morale issues. For example, if most of the staff was drawn by the allure of travel, they most likely will have little interest in those frequent lengthy meetings related to curriculum planning that administrators love to schedule. Lastly, the data might also help to explain the high rates of absenteeism recorded for some staff members.
I wonder how many administrators will be open-minded and/or care enough to administer such a survey? It would be easy to do online or as a simple pencil and paper activity at a staff meeting. Of course, surveys should be anonymous; teachers should be asked to be totally honest with their answers, and hopefully they will be. The results should definitely be shared with staff members.
This could be a great team-building activity, since it would help administrators develop a better understanding of their staff, thus enabling them to personalize academic and in-service activities to fit the needs and personalities of the teachers. This, in turn, will result in higher productivity and buy-in for projects and new initiatives.
Be innovative and give it a try. You’ll be glad that you did!

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