International schools, which have a high percentage of local native language speakers, there is a juxtaposition between the language of the school (English) and the first language of the children (Mandarin). To support these children, I have reflected and developed techniques of working with these students in a supportive way, valuing their native language, and ensuring their well being is of utmost consideration when I plan and teach.
In this talk, delivered at 21CLHK Online, I was able to share strategies I use to improve the confidence and self-esteem of young, EAL children.
This month is an interesting blog title. When I first reflected upon this word, I considered it as ‘happiness’. But is being fulfilled being happy? I decided to consult the dictionary definition:
the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted,”winning the championship was the fulfilment of a childhood dream.”
the meeting of a requirement, condition, or need, “the fulfilment of statutory requirements”.
I find myself currently caught between these two definitions, as perhaps many of us who are actively seeking a new role are. Having scoped out schools and attended a recruitment event, often I am presented with a dream. The dream is embedded with the requirement to find a suitable place of employment for my family.
When I research a prospective new school, I imagine my life within a new society and workplace. I visualise it: my daughter, laughing in the playground with a group of new friends, care-free and without pressure. I imagine myself, in an Early Years unit, one where the children are exploring, laughing and full of joy. Where I am an active participant with them in this new environment, expanding upon my own practise and learning from others. I even imagine autumn, a season I haven’t seen in many years due to living in Asia. I can picture the leaves turning colour on the trees outside the school, beyond the gates where the forest school begins.
These musings I know are idyllic. But my way to begin step closer to fulfilment is to search for a great place to call home. One where I can settle, build a community, and thrive. A place where my ethos is shared, to build and support others and to consider every action through the lens of kindness. I know that the new location will be likely not able to tick every box, as the imagination paints the grandest of pictures. But I know my move to a new environment, school and home will be one of adventure. In this I will feel fulfilment. I know for sure I can predict that the move will bring me closer to love, my family, who have waited for the connections to be re-established for more than two years now. A third Christmas holiday separated.
Covid 19 has tried to strip away all dreams. In its wake lies fear and worry. I too felt this for a long time, weighing up my choice to move on. But the pandemic will not stop my desire to move to a better place for all of my family. It will not stop my dreams at being part of an amazing school and community. The move promises a change.
Fulfilment is taking risks, living life to the full, and not looking back. When a decision is made, the change must be embraced. Unless you already consider yourself fulfilled. I would say when fulfilment is reached in a certain area, you would consider yourself happy. Otherwise why would you change it?
As I search for my next position, I promised to let other teachers know my processes at each stage. At the moment, I have narrowed down the countries in which I would really like to work, would be an excellent fit for my family, and which I aspire to live. Within these countries, I have closely looked at the schools. My first point of call is always the mission statement and ethos. Then the message from the director. Following this, I check the curriculum offered, any community/well-being initiatives and where available, data on the students and faculty.
This week I will write some prospective applications. At this point, I feel my job search has real direction. However I didn’t just decide upon certain countries and schools by chance or on a whimsy. My info graphic should hopefully give other aspiring international teachers ideas on what to do after joining agencies and creating a great CV.
I am excited to announce that I will be delivering at this upcoming, 2 week conference, with a host of fantastic speakers, including Guy Claxton and Dr. Darya Yegorina, as well as Twitter colleagues, Annie-Jane Finch-Johnson and Louise Heard. I will be sharing this presentation with my school team also in November. Check the site for more information: a great resource for all educators.
This article, “What makes employees empowered to speak up”, is so interesting to me. It would appear that participation is based on choice. “We found that thinking about choices makes people feel stronger and more powerful, which makes sense because the act of choosing allows people to influence their environment while expressing their preferences, values, and beliefs.” I certainly can relate to this and agree: in the workplace, where employee voice is important and valued, I have felt much happier and willing to contribute and volunteer. Then I thought about the classroom I wish to create. I have always loved #EYFS as the children have voice and choice in their actions and learning. This I feel becomes limited in KS1, within the confines of the National Curriculum. A second aspect of article was also interesting. #Agency and #empowerment decreases when there are far too many choices. On Friday, I stood back and looked at my provision and told my colleague, there are too many provocations here. The children were scattering around each area, unable to focus as they usually do in one or two. These parallels between my Community of Learners (my class) and wider organisations for an employee shows in Early Years at least, we have got #learning right.
It was a lovely surprise this morning to see a review which appreciated the detail in my guide about starting a family abroad and being abroad with a family. When I moved abroad to teach, this had never been my plan, but I think many international teachers will have these questions!
Exciting news for all those in the UK or with a Kindle UK account, my countdown deal has started! You will not find a more detailed, informative book at this one time amazing deal! I would like to help teachers have amazing experiences by starting a career abroad, hence my start price is the lowest it can be, 99p!
Do you fancy living in Dubai next year? Make it your reality by using the advice from my guide.
My amazing offer day is fast approaching, on 21st September my digital copy of ‘Becoming a Successful International Teacher’ will be part of an Amazon countdown deal, so will be a fraction of the price at just GBP 99p! Every day for a week the price will increase in increments. Grab it on the 21st!
Full of helpful information, personal experiences, tips, and helpful links, the book includes:
How and where to find the best international teaching jobs
Which countries and environments will suit you, your partner, and your dependents
Different types of international schools and what to expect
How to find the ‘perfect fit’ in terms of location and school
Advice on creating winning applications and excelling in interviews
Information on salaries and benefits
The practicalities of movingHow to survive, thrive, and be highly successful in your new job
Key considerations for single teachers, teaching couples, trailing spouses, and families
Access to a huge network of those involved in education: connections and advice is available from fellow teachers, leaders and experts and those who work towards social change (such as diversity and inclusion). These connections and discussions allow you to reach out to others globally. For example, you can ask about working in different countries, earning a teaching license, and the best courses to those who have or are experiencing them.
Through accessing this network and any of the WomenEd divisions (worldwide) we can gain support for our needs, be it advice, training, courses and information. Our network moves from a small Taiwan Facebook group to worldwide!
Building up your own network is excellent for future career prospects. You can see how schools are run by following the Principal or engage in conversations with them and/or teachers at a particular school. This is a way to get yourself known in the sphere and develop yourself within a ‘community of practice’.
Through Twitter you can further your own understanding in education by reading/contributing and creating your posts with questions. Furthermore, you can keep up to date with current trends in education, perfect for prospects and interviews.
You can improve your own practice through discussions, debates and also images posted of classrooms and work that takes place.
If you like to blog, you have a platform in which to post them which will receive a wide audience. Similarly, you can read other blogs and have access to articles to improve your skills and knowledge.
We can hold online chats to discuss any issues we have in our workplaces. Relevant webinars and conferences will be posted on Twitter, from all of the WomenEd groups as well as outside groups. We would like to create webinars or discussions covering and supporting your needs and questions.
The Twitter world is a kind and supportive one, which will help you on your education journey.
How to Start
Join first and choose your name (handle). I use the app on my phone, it is quick and easy to access.
Look at ‘followers’ and add each person (click follow); these are all the people interested in following WomenEd Taiwan. This means you are connected and you will see what they write. They may or may not follow you back, it does not matter.
Then, you can follow the other WomenEd groups world wide (to name a few there is Thailand, Singapore, Netherlands, UK, USA) and any other group you are interested in.
Depending on where and what you teach, check out a #. For example, I teach pre-school. I look at #earlyyears or #kindergarten. I scroll through the posts and click on the profiles of teachers that are interesting to me. I may then follow them and check who they follow, then add them also. This way you build your network as often people will add you back.
As part of WomenEd Taiwan we will post networking questions such as ‘What are you doing today?’ and we will make a hashtag which everyone uses, such as #WomenEdTWtoday. People reply to this question and write the hashtag. Then you can connect with them also. We will begin with introductions but we may use these conversation starters for anything – such as Taiwanese culture questions, support for special needs etc. If you hashtag anything in your reply, people from these areas can find it.