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Advice sought for getting a job at an IB school

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by marilyn2, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. marilyn2

    marilyn2 New commenter

    Hi there,
    Apologies in advance if this has been discussed on this forum before but I didn’t see anything about this by searching the forum. I was wondering if anyone can help as I’m becoming disheartened.

    I have many years of experience in my subject as HOD in UK and also a few years international school experience also in my subject (not in IB curriculum schools though). I am looking to move to IB schools but I’m having real trouble even getting shortlisted let alone an interview. I think my CV is strong and I have good references. Signed up with search associates. I’ve done online (v expensive!!) IB courses in my subject out of my own pocket and think carefully about my cover letter, tailoring it to the school etc... I can only think that my lack of IB experience is holding me back.

    Any ideas how I can convince an IB school I’m worth considering?

    Many thanks in advance for your advice
  2. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    are you only looking at popular destinations like BKK, Singapore, KL, Hong Kong etc? if you are, try getting your foot in the door at a less desirable location for a few years then move on. also look at "lower tier" schools as a gateway into the system and then move up to better schools
    gulfgolf and yasf like this.
  3. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    I'd second this. Be super flexible on location and school to start off with. Also, you haven't mentioned which subject you are. That might not help either.
    gulfgolf and dumbbells66 like this.
  4. marilyn2

    marilyn2 New commenter

    Many thanks yasf and dumbbells66 for your replies. I am in fact in a desirable location at a tier 1 but am relocating. Do you have any advice what sort of things IB schools look for when shortlisting candidates?

    Many thanks
  5. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    honestly your subject could be the issue. if you are Humanities, or English then you are up against a lot of people.

    but are you only applying to desirable tier 1 locations and schools? some of these schools do get 1000's of applications for positions.
  6. marilyn2

    marilyn2 New commenter

    I understand, I have tried a mix of schools, some top tier which I do realise is unrealistic but also lower tiers as well, will look out for more of these going forward. I don’t teach humanities or English
  7. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Could there be some bad news in your letters of recommendation?
  8. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    If you're trying a mix of schools and not even getting interviews despite being a qualified, experienced teacher then I'd have a good look at your CV, covering letter and possibly think about your references. Possibly you could contact a school who didn't shortlist you and ask for some feedback
  9. Ms_Love_

    Ms_Love_ Occasional commenter

    How does one even get into teaching IB without any IB experience? I've taught AQA for 7 years and now iGCSE for one year but I want to move into IB.
  10. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Apply. Show your interest, preparation, philosophical alignment and knowledge of the IB.
    There is a growing number of IB schools. Additional IB teachers are needed every year.
    576 likes this.
  11. ToK-tastic

    ToK-tastic New commenter

    marylin2 you're making a good choice, I have found IB to be a far more fulfilling professional experience than teaching the UK curriculum. That judgement is based on teaching UK curriculum for 12 yrs, and have now been in IB for 14yrs . When I taught the UK curriculum it was very content focused, and exam oriented at GCSE & A Level. As far as I am aware The UK Curriculum didn't have any declaimed unifying statements of Philosophy nor explicit student outcomes (beyond exam grades). IB is made coherent by the IB philosophy of International Mindedness & the IB Learner Profile.

    When I'm looking at applications from colleagues new to IB firstly I'm looking for good practitioners who have an understanding of how to make inquiry into real tangible learning tasks, and structure all of their practice around inquiry questions (this is often a problem for colleagues who have a lot of experience, & success, with GCSE & A Level).

    Once I have established that the applicant has an inquiry based approach I look for some understanding of, and affiliation to the IB values. I'm not looking for a recital of the IB values, I'm looking for lived authentic examples of those values in action in the applicants prior experiences. As such, the number of years of teaching experience is not as important to me as examples of how the applicant has articulated IB values in their practice. I'm also looking for some critical engagement with those values, I don't want parroting disciples, but colleagues who have a positive critical reflective view of those values in the real world. It's always an interesting moment when I ask for a recommendation of a book that the interviewee has read in the last 12 months (or similar such question)

    Not all IB schools are the same, and not all IB educators, nor IB recruiters are the same. The advice I give here works for me, and the schools in which I have worked. I'm sure that other IB educators can/will comment that my advice is unrefined poppycock. Others, with their differences, may also be right.
    irie15 and adrixargentina like this.
  12. marilyn2

    marilyn2 New commenter

    Thank you all for your advice, I will take on board your ideas.

    Thank you especially Tok-tastic, your feedback about IB learner profiles and values really helps to know I need to provide a wider range of examples of exactly how I have covered these things in my own teaching. Very helpful and much appreciated

    many thanks
  13. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Good advice from Tok-tastic and of course much of what he mention is available on the IBO website, if you can get access to the MyIB website (the old OCC) as well that will also give you more documentation and information especially past papers and subject guides. You need to show that you have been proactive.

    'Not all IB schools are the same, and not all IB educators, nor IB recruiters are the same. The advice I give here works for me, and the schools in which I have worked. I'm sure that other IB educators can/will comment that my advice is unrefined poppycock."

    Also very true, while there is an 'IB way' in some respects it is not the prescriptive monolith that some on here try to suggest and their are as many variations in IB authorised schools as in any other curriculuum.
  14. MissTilscher

    MissTilscher New commenter

    I also made the decision to drop down from HoD to Teacher Of in pursuit of IB - I think that probably helped me secure the role I am in now as they knew I was very qualified but that I wanted to dedicate myself to my professional development.
    Just a thought.
  15. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    What do you mean by an IB school?

    Some are all in IB schools. MYP isn't for the feint hearted imho.

    IBDP plus IGCSE plus some kind of UK KS3 type of school is much easier to break into.

    Even then some of the above really push IBness, some just treat IBDP as a super A level package.

    As always, subject, experience, size of family, trailing partner, age, and extra curricular offerings all make a difference. So can, very unfortunately - race, in bad schools.

    But often third tier IB schools can be nice places to work, but low salaries, but great to break into IBDP with. Then upgrade school later. Also less popular destinations are worth looking at for a starter school.
    towncryer and makhnovite like this.
  16. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Good comments/advice from Nemo.

    Btw why Nemo and a picture of Che?
  17. irie15

    irie15 New commenter

    Hi there,
    I interviewed for a position at one of the schools on my 'would love to work at' list, but unfortunately wasn't successful. The feedback was that while I came across well at the interview and the outcomes for my students at GCSE are very impressive, there is currently a lack of knowledge and experience of the IB curriculum within the department, so they are ideally looking for someone who has taught the IBDP.

    While I was disappointed, I get it; it makes life easier to hire someone who has taught the curriculum previously. They will be able to hit the floor running and you don't have to pay for training. But naturally, I want to make myself a more attractive prospect for IB schools in the future.

    There have been some really useful ideas on this thread so far re: becoming better acquainted with the qualification more generally, but I'm also looking for some more info about the Lang/Lit course to see where there is crossover with my own knowledge and skills from A Level teaching. Unfortunately, this is proving more difficult than I had anticipated. Without a login, the most the IB website shows is a summary of the course. There doesn't seem to be much free info only and Amazon is listing some of the course guides at £30+.

    So any help in terms of sharing your own experience or signposting me to useful websites would be greatly appreciated!
  18. Bytor

    Bytor Occasional commenter

    Like many others, I went from A level to IB.

    It's just about perseverance, and getting that first break into IB.

    Noone trained to be a teacher of a specific exam board.

    Too many schools are precious about someone having IB experience. But most teachers have had to change from one curriculum or exam board to another.

    Sell you experience of the changes you've gone through.

    I found alot of information and resources online that other IB teachers had produced. This helped my acclimatisation. Used and modified these to supplement the resources I had from A level.

    Also take a look at student forums.

    There will be many for your subject and you can make your own comparison, and use it to further sell yourself.
    irie15 likes this.
  19. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    It should be noted the the IB DP is much closer to A levels than the IB MYP or IB PYP are to their respective British equivalents.
    irie15 likes this.
  20. irie15

    irie15 New commenter

    Useful to know as both the schools I applied to this year were British schools that teach IBDP at 16-18 but IGCSE and a KS3 curriculum younger groups. It was starting to feel like all my years experience with the UK curriculum would count for very little on the international circuit.

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