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What if . . . International Schools Recruited Locally?
By Joy Jameson 19-Nov-15
Note: It is hoped that through thoughtful consideration and dialogue related to the topics in these articles we can work together to make the international school system the best that it can be. The topics or situations mentioned should not necessarily be considered as applicable to all international schools in general. International schools are always looking for new ways to improve curriculum, assessment, technology, and campus facilities. However, policies and practices regarding staffing often stay the same year after year. Perhaps the time has come to change our thinking about how things are done in an effort to help international schools face these times of financial belt tightening and ever-rising operating costs. In the past, it was necessary to recruit teachers in the U.S. in order to find candidates with the high level of expertise and training expected for international school staff. However, now many well-qualified expat teachers can be found already living around the world, perhaps accompanying their spouses on a job transfer or just living out a desire to settle in a foreign country. What if headmasters became innovative and started hiring expats living abroad, instead of flying off to U.S. job fairs to recruit staff? Think about it. This would save the schools thousands of dollars, since there would be no airfare/per diem costs for the recruiting trips; nor airfare, moving, and housing expenses to be paid for the new hires. The money saved could be used for new curriculum materials, high-quality teacher training, new physical facilities at the school, and so forth. This substantial financial savings could also mean that school fees would not need to be raised on such a frequent basis to finance school initiatives. This would be welcomed by parents and could be used as a selling point for schools, possibly resulting in increased enrollment. By hiring teachers already living in country, there would be less frequent staff turnover, thus promoting continuity and advanced development of programs rather than the usual retraining of new staff every few years. It would also be great for team building, since with everyone considered as local hires they would be on the same salary scale. The common problem of finding or creating jobs for international hire spouses would be eliminated. In addition, schools would no longer need to devote the time of Personnel Office staff to finding housing for overseas hires or helping new staff members acclimate to the country. It is likely that, at first, some jobs could not be filled by expats; these positions could perhaps be filled by highly qualified local teachers from the host country. With time, however, all former overseas hires could be replaced by highly qualified expats. International teachers already in the system could simply write to the school of their choice regarding employment and interviews could be done through Skype. This would save them the expense of attending overseas job fairs and the headache of figuring out childcare in their absence. Just think, this simple change in hiring practices could have a major positive impact on international schools, both from an educational and an emotional standpoint. The financial gains for the school would be amazing, not only for administrators, but also for teachers, students, and parents. Be a true innovator: try it!
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