Conveying appropriate personal attributes and qualities to the recruiter or hiring manager when applying for an international teaching position is vital.
Of course, you want to come across as the best choice for their school, so your attitude and personality must shine through in the interview process. So, do you know the personal attributes that international schools are seeking?
Keep in mind, recruiters or hiring authorities are looking for an adaptable and flexible teacher to fill vacancies. They want teachers who will quickly adjust to the move and with living in a new country and will fit in well with existing school staff. Finding the perfect international teaching position can be tough, but can be easier if you do due diligence and research the country where you are considering teaching.
Personal Qualities Recruiters Seeking When Interviewing Teachers
Outgoing Nature: if you enjoy getting to know new people, engage in unfamiliar experiences, and explore different settings, you’ll likely benefit from the process of acclimating to a brand-new culture.
Easy-going Personality: you’ll need to adapt to a range of new things to be successful in your new teaching role.
Flexibility: plans will change, things won’t go as planned, and you’ll be able to thrive if you can work with this changes.
Adaptability: If you adapt to your new environment well, you’ll be ready to succeed in the classroom you are assigned.
Team-focused and Collaborative: Your colleagues will likely be the people with whom you socialize, and you may even be roommates with some of them. If you thrive in an energetic team environment, you’ll thrive on your teaching team abroad.
Optimistic: With an international move, there will always be things that don’t go according to plan. If you are the type who doesn’t get discouraged, looks for the positive in any situation, and helps others to see the good during tough times, you’ll do well in adjusting to a new culture.
Ambitious: Are you interested in international teaching because you want to conquer a challenge, or because you want to run away from problems closer to home. Guess which motivation is likely to lead to a more successful teaching experience.
Confident: Moving to a new country and taking on a leadership role in the classroom is a big challenge. You’ll want to sell yourself not only as a capable teacher but as a person who is comfortable with moving to an unfamiliar place and setting up a new life there. If confidence was important during your domestic teaching job search, it is even more crucial today.
These personal attributes and qualities are essential for a reason. They are necessary attributes for a candidate to succeed in an international environment. Think about how challenging it is to move to a new city within your country. This move is going to dwarf that experience as you will know the language, and you will be fully immersed in a culture that might be very different from your own. There are many job search tips to land an international teaching position to make it easier and quicker.
How to Manage Culture Shock as an International Teacher
Recruiters are searching for teachers with certain personality attributes, including those who can take on challenges and enjoy new experiences while coping with culture shock. Culture shock is a very typical side effect of dealing with a significant cultural change, but you will still be expected to perform your job duties while you adapt to your new culture.
In most countries, there will be places where you can meet up with other expatriates. This can be an excellent way to meet fellow travelers, help one another adapt to your surroundings, and provide support and friendship to help you deal with any culture shock or homesickness.
If this picture I’ve just painted looks scary to you instead of exciting, then maybe this kind of change is not for you. Or, perhaps it would be better for you to take a teaching position in a country that is similar to your own.
If you live in North America, try looking for teaching positions in The United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia. Because these countries share a language, this can be an easier transition compared to moving to a country with a different language and cultural norms. This career move can be a great starting experience from which you can branch out and take more culturally different teaching positions.
Don’t shy away from who you are when applying to international schools. Listen to your inner voice, and trust your gut when reviewing postings and meeting with school representatives. When moving internationally, it’s more important than ever that you make sure you accept a position in a place where you can thrive.
If you take a job and feel miserable, you can’t always just move back to your home country and start over. It’s important that you know what type of experiences you can handle.
Chances are you will know before you leave whether or not an individual country sounds like a great place to live or not. Don’t fall into the trap of applying to more and more positions that don’t appeal to you because you may wind up gaining a position in a country or region that just isn’t a good fit for your teaching style, lifestyle, family needs, and personality.
Try to keep all of these factors in mind when applying for international teaching positions. And remember that when you are in an interview, you need to showcase your personal attributes and qualities that schools are looking for in a new teacher.