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Job fairs- how do they work?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by BB2009, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. I am considering signing up to some of the teaching agencies. Whilst browsing one site I came across a schedule for the London fair. It seems to last 4 days (Friday to Monday). I am teaching full time in the UK at the moment. Is it normal to take days off from school for the fairs or is it possible to go only at the weekends? The schedule made it look like you should attend everyday but I think I may have misunderstood this? Do I even need to go to a fair? I have already found many of the recruitment pages for schools that I like the sound of. Is it likely they will meet/interview me if I don't go to a fair or do they request that you go to one?
  2. Also, the agency I looked at asked for references from parents. I had never even considered that I would have to do this. I feel that the parents of the children I teach are happy with me as a teacher but I would feel awkward about asking them! Is is typical to have to ask parents for references? I don't think i would want to let them know I was leaving so far in advance!
  3. can I ask what the site was?
  4. momentofclarity

    momentofclarity New commenter

    If you are serious about teaching overseas in a reputable school your best option in the first instance is to register with one of the well established and known agencies. If nothing else they will open your eyes to the true availability of work throughout the world. These are Search, COIS and ISS. If you are interested in a wider net including North American curriculum schools TIEonline is worth looking into. As for the people vetting you the individuals I have dealt with for both Search and COIS are highly experienced and professional educators with significant experience in both teaching and leadership positions. They are picky about references and experience, I have known colleagues who have been denied registration for lack of either. I think an agency is a good option to show respect for your referees as it creates a situation where you have the ability to apply to a large number of schools without having to hassle your references for a new letter for each application. The sign up on the first day of the fair is the most important, which generally occurs during a work day, without this you do not get interviews. Schools will generally not set anything up (other than 2nd interviews) after this initial sign up session. The majority of time is dedicated to interviews, at the Search Fair this year I booked 10, at the COIS fair I attended several years ago I booked and attended 13 initial interviews. Both resulted in work, but it requires a time and usually money commitment. Something to consider that nobody has mentioned yet, fairs are not a guarantee of work, they are a great avenue towards gaining a job, but not a guarantee. There are a ton of variables that go into these, feel free to PM me and I will give you some more specific details from my experience. Hope this helps.
  5. Thank you for your reply momentofclaity. I sent you a pm. Any information from your experience would be great.
    I think I will end up trying to attend one of the fairs..or maybe even both? Or is that a waste of time? I'm not sure how to pick other than it seems that search charges £200 (or possibly $) plus 50 to attend the fair, but Cois is free? Cois has a list of accredited schools but I can't seem to see anything on Search's site unless I apply/am accepted/pay.
  6. momentofclarity

    momentofclarity New commenter

    Pick one agency and go through them. COIS is a good first option as the registration is a little less intensive, the schools are still high quality and it does not cost the teachers anything. Search is excellent from my experience, and once you are registered you will have access to their job database which in my opinion is enough reason without the fair. I know there are some regulations in the UK and search does not charge the same amount for UK based teachers due to some recruitment laws, something to look into. Both agencies seem to have similar schools, although Search does have a considerably higher presence of IB schools versus state curriculum schools. I will reply to your PM shortly, good luck!
  7. Thank you! I really appreciate the advice I have been getting on this forum. Thanks momentofclarity.
  8. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    However, rather than pay Search's ransom, it's very easy to find all the schools you might be interested in by conducting an internet search. Most of these schools have an employment page on their website. However, if they don't, or you are worried about them not posting vacancies there, you could always send them your CV and a letter of application explaining that you have no intention of registering with Search.

    At present I don't want to go overboard helping people compete for jobs that I might be after. But once I'm settled somewhere I'll probably compile a list of schools and publish it. I'll be sure to make certain that Search Associates is a term the search engines pick up, so that I can save other people wasting their money.

    By the way, as you may have noticed, all other agencies openly publish their vacancies, or make them available after FREE registration. In fact I recently indicated interest in such a position and the agency sent me full details about it. That's the way things should work.

    So, please people, if you are going to use an agency DON'T USE Search Associates. the sooner this agency dies or is forced to change its ways, the better it will be for those who want an open and fair approach to recruitment.
  9. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Dave, I forget, have you ever actually been a member of Search?
    For the OP, the school database alone IS worth the money. Where else can you find detailed, generally accurate information about so many schools (e.g. salary, benefits, hiring preferences, where teachers and students are from, amount you can probably save etc).
    Yes, my associate has always been shite and the next thing she does for me will be the first (other than cash my check), but STILL, a very useful organization that draws a ton of good schools to their fairs.
    Besides, most people piss away $200.00 in a very short time. Why not invest it in getting the best possible information and opportunities for such an important, life-changing decision?

  10. momentofclarity

    momentofclarity New commenter

    Search does not charge a ransom. They charge a reasonable fee for a good service. Although there is the argument that the associates themselves are not really necessary in some cases I had all the help I could want from mine. Where does your bias towards them come from, rejection perhaps? I will agree that you can check out individual schools through their websites and this can be effective but hugely time consuming (particularly when you consider individually tailored CV's for each with effective cover letters) and until you have been on the circuit for a little bit it is hard to understand the sheer number of schools available, and/or which ones are worth the time to apply. The greatest benefit of using agencies like Search is that you can get on a school's radar. They are actively searching as well and that is why some postings are no longer available when it comes to the fair. Moreover, the use of an agency creates exposure to schools and regions you would not otherwise consider. ISS do not publish any of their posts if you are not registered (now their fees are almost extortionate); however, CIS publish some of their vacancies, but the fair I attended put on by them had substantially more positions available that were never posted on the site. I will come back to my original advice - if your aim is to work in a well established school using an agency will give you the best opportunity to get your foot in the door if you are new to the international scene.
  11. Thank you very much your replies David and wrldtrvlr123 and momentofclarity. It looks like I may not have to pay Search anything as I am based it the UK and they cannot charge. Some kind of legal thing! David- I can completely see your point of view in terms of charging and being able to find the schools yourself. I have been doing a fair amount of research of schools over the last couple of weeks and was hesitant to see what else Search or Cois could offer. But now that I know I won't have to pay them, and with starting back at school this week and realising I won't have a lot of time to continue my own research, I am leaning toward registering. I am now being incredibly annoying and indecisive about which company to choose. It looks like Cois is a lot more simple to register with and possibly less annoying for referees (the reference form is pretty simple) and it asks for three references which is easy for me to get. But search seems to have more schools, although a more complicated registering process and asking for four referees (not sure who my fourth could be at the moment!). I honestly have no idea. Thank you so much for all opinions and advice and if anyone has any further advice or experience in using these companies or has a preference for one or the other, then I would love to hear more. This will be my first international post (well as a 'proper' teacher anyway) so I hope to pick the best option for me.
  12. momentofclarity

    momentofclarity New commenter

    @BB - you have mail
  13. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    No. I simply expect agencies to only charge money for jobs they have set up. Once they have genuinely earned their commission I have no objection to them charging the school, the applicant or both. Outside of education I've dealt with many, many agencies and this has always been how things work: no job no dosh.

    Obviously the UK government shares these sentiments, as they are not allowed charge UK residents. And, I'm very tempted to send a letter to the European parliament, to see if that would stop them charging anywhere in the EEC.

    Finally, as I've already said, agencies provide an opportunity for abuse. At nearly 54, I worry about verbal (non provable) specifications that might be given, such as no one over 40 please . And I'm sure that people from ethnic minorities have similar worries. These things definitely happen, which is why I like to see jobs openly advertised, with as much transparency as possible.
  14. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    That idea has bounced around this thread and others. Rest assured that for us reference writers the process is just like writing end-of-term reports on students.
    In both cases we may cuss and grumble a bit, but we acknowledge that it is an inevitable non-negotiable duty which is very important for the other parties involved.
    In both cases, if we manage always to do the job honestly and thoroughly, our own professional standing is enhanced.
    In both cases, your heart may sink when you sit down to the job, but once you get into it, enjoyment can ensue.
    In both cases, tick-box forms are a loathsome abomination that run counter to the spirit and purpose of the exercise.
    As do those tired old questions like 'how would this candidate respond to being poked in the eye with a burnt stick by her head of department'? - with two square centimetres of space for one's reply.
    An agency sent me this morning a reference form with the usual cripplingly undiscriminating tick-boxes or rather, this being a cuttin-edge online job, drop-down menus.
    One of these was a yes-or-no to 'does Mr N have any criminal convictions?' The answer is that I think probably not but can't say for certain. Best to abstain - but I am not allowed to submit the form unless this field boasts either a 'yes' or a 'no'.
    So, 'no' it has to be, leaving me open to a charge of unwitting online perjury should the ostensibly blameless N happen to have a recreational looting episode buried deep in his misspent past.
    To be fair to Search and others, they do offer to read any additional comments you may write in joined-up English, but once the fatuous box-checking is done, the flesh is very weak.
    However, any irritation on the referee's part is directed at the agency, never the candidate.
    The mad thing is, that the form designers fondly imagine that they are making life fairer for candidates and easier for referees.
  15. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    I wanted to contact Search re their application process (I am working in a school where references are, let's just say, difficult to come by).
    When you click to contact them, it throws up a list of Associates but says you should not contact them before thoroughly reviewing the website, which kind of put me off, in case the answer was already there and they thought I hadn't bothered looking.
    If I do decide to contact them, would I contact the associate for the area I am in now, or for the one I would want to work in?
    Thanks for any advice.

    Curiously, while I was browsing their site, an advert popped up for a school I didn't know existed (despite google searches) and which I would be very interested in working in. I am hoping it was A Sign.
  16. Hi lunarita, I contacted the associate for the area I am in now. I don't know if that is the only way to do it, but that is what I did. I know that you need to provide four references.
    SMTdude- thank you for your reply about references.
  17. Am very interested in your post, I am looking to go to UAE with my partner next yr what advise would you offer?
    thanks in advance

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