What’s It Like To Be an Introverted Teacher

After our professional development training last Wednesday, one local teacher (Indonesian) asked me why I don’t hang out with my Filipino colleagues. Told her the truth: “I don’t want to, it’s draining sometimes.” It’s not exclusive to Filipinos by the way. I regularly turned down party invites back in Thailand, because, well. I like spending time with my boy and clean the house (I kid you not).

It’s not their fault, nor mine. It’s just I do get drained when I hang out with people, especially those who don’t get it. Sometimes it can even be like “go away”. I’m an introvert and possibly the most boring woman you’ll ever know.

Don’t get me wrong, I love people. I am not shy too. I can razzle dazzle people in presentations. I can host a party. I can party! I hold an interesting, long conversation. My colleagues think I’m funny and bubbly. Hell, I am a teacher, which gives me an opportunity to be in front of the crowd for seven solid hours everyday. However, I have to say, it can tiring. I don’t hang around after school most of the time, by home time, I pack my bag and leave the room to head home because nothing beats the freedom of being able to lounge around in your undies while lying on the couch, eating chocolate coated digestives. Do yoga. Meditate. Work out.

What’s the difference between introversion and shyness? According to Susan Cain, “Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it’s just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action. Whereas extroverts really crave more stimulation in order to feel at their best. Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that’s really a misperception. Because actually it’s just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers. Now, shyness, on the other hand, is about a fear of negative social judgment. So you can be introverted without having that particular fear at all, and you can be shy but also be an extrovert”

My brother and I talked recently and he was moaning about how people get to waste his time by “doing them a favor by saying yes when they ask you to hang out with them and end up sacrificing some beliefs or protocol when it comes to social situations” or basically saying “I don’t like what you’re doing, I’ll just go home now to surf the net”. He claims people think that going out with friends and family is a great fun thing but no, not for him (for us). We’d rather be at home with our books, internet and laptop.

I am grateful that my boyfriend is the same. We get each other (I think we are meant to be together because of this!) and we have the same needs. I don’t mind when the house gets quiet too as we need the peace, some alone time, but because a strange twist of fate called love, my alone time has to be punctuated with his presence, or at least, his voice filling up the room when we call each other. He is the extension of myself, my thoughts – he is the icing on the cake of my alone time.

BONUS!

Quiet Quiz: Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?
Excerpted from: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

To find out where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, answer each question True or False, choosing the one that applies to you more often than not.

1. ______ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.

2. ______ I often prefer to express myself in writing.

3. ______ I enjoy solitude.

4. ______ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.

5. ______ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.

6. ______ People tell me that I’m a good listener.

7. ______ I’m not a big risk-taker.

8. ______ I enjoy work that allows me to “dive in” with few interruptions.

9. ______ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.

10. ______ People describe me as “soft-spoken” or “mellow.”

11. ______ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it’s finished.

12. ______ I dislike conflict.

13. ______ I do my best work on my own.

14. ______I tend to think before I speak.

15.______ I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.

16. ______I often let calls go through to voice mail.

17. ______If you had to choose, I’d prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.

18. ______ I don’t enjoy multitasking.

19. ______ I can concentrate easily

20. ______ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.

The more often you answered True, the more introverted you are. This is an informal quiz, not a scientifically validated personality test. The questions were formulated based on characteristics of introversion often accepted by contemporary researchers.

From Quiet by Susan Cain. Copyright 2012 by Susan Cain.

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Temp Work: Pros and Cons

Article originally appeared in: Cassidy Education by Ashley Andrews

This article nails it. I started off as a temp worker for Brent International School in Subic when I was a fresh grad (or shall we say, fresh out of med school), and that’s the time I decided when I can actually work as a teacher. That environment was enabling and nice that I actually fell in love with teaching. However, getting a job in that workplace is tough because it takes care of its employees very well that the teachers don’t want to leave. I knew I wanted to be in, and so I worked as a temp as it provided me one step inside the house! Obviously that door led me to other places but I know for sure that if it had not be for temping, I know I won’t be in this place now!

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So, you have just finished your university degree!  You have celebrated with friends and family, it is only now you are realising you’ve spent the last seventeen years or more in a formal educational setting.  Now, you are given the most daunting task in your young life – getting your first job!

Many feel the pressure within a few hours of graduating. I know I did, so I went ahead and interviewed for a few companies, made use of the career centre on campus, but all my efforts were essentially fruitless in my search for the ‘dream job’ — one that would satisfy my passions and set me on the right path.

After several applications and interviews I finally found a job as a temporary employee. One year later, it turned out to be a great way to gain an insight on work environments and it allowed me the time needed to reevaluate career goals. I look back on those times with fondness and no regrets.

In case you find yourself in a similar situation, we at Cassidy Education have put together a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages in taking temporary work.

Advantages

Gain Experience

Temping is a great opportunity to see experience different company cultures and discover what you prefer as an employee. It may be that you work best in a fast-paced environment, hate sitting at a desk or like working with children.Temping is a fantastic way to discover the things you are good at and what you really enjoy doing. You are often exposed to career fields you might otherwise never have known, allowing you to make more informed career choices going forward.

Exposure

Temping can help you gain visibility in a crowded and uncertain job market. Plus, if you are just entering the job market, a temporary job could be one of the best ways to get your foot in the door to a permanent position.

As a temp worker, you’ll be represented and will benefit from our vast contact list and our inside knowledge on who’s hiring and what they’re really looking for.

Permanent Employment Potential

If a permanent role is what you ultimately want, the best thing you can do is be a pleasure to work with.  Once you’re on the job as a temp, the employer gets a chance to see you shine. Don’t be surprised if what started out as a week’s assignment turns into a permanent job offer. When that time comes, you’ll know if this is a company that you want to stay with long-term. You don’t have to accept the offer but if you do, be sure to let your recruitment consultant/agency know.

Take Advantage of the Flexibility

Many temp jobs will be 40 hours a week until your assignment is over, when the assignment ends you have the flexibility and can take some time-off if you want. You can also use this flexibility to continue searching for jobs that fall more in line with your career desires, while building on your experiences, skill sets and of course your all important CV.

Make sure to maintain some contact with your consultant and take the occasional placement to ensure they will want to continue working with and representing you.

Be Qualified

Make sure your job knowledge and technical skills are current and up to date. Now that you are entering the job market, agencies and employers are looking for people with first-rate skills.  You must stay sharp to find employment, including temping, make your best efforts at all times.

Seek ways to increase your knowledge and become a ‘mini-expert’ in your field you’ll want to present yourself as uniquely well-informed. Obtain certifications when available.

A combination of classwork and on-the-job experience is the ideal way to prepare yourself for a new line of work. If you can prove that you have some basic skills, it may be that we place you in jobs where you can work under supervision and further enhance your skill set.

Disadvantages

There’s always a downside:

  • You may feel isolated
  • There is a lack of certainty about income
  • You may not have health insurance, a pension plan, or paid vacations
  • There aren’t many disadvantages to temping – but if you like the security of a regular job and being around a consistent circle of peers, you may find temping unfulfilling.
  • Although temping can be great for building skills and knowledge, there is a  high turnover rate.
  • Full-time employment is NOT a guarantee.

In the end, being a temp worker has both advantages and disadvantages. Soak it all up and we hope this helps you make a decision when you are faced with the opportunity to apply for, accept, or deny a temporary position. Good luck and make the most out of temping and all the advantages it offers!

Why Choose Progressive Schools?

As mentioned in the previous post I have been back from traveling – and I know it’s not supposed to be an excuse, but I have to admit I neglected this blog for a week! Eeps! Exactly a week  ago I was eating brownies at the airport!

Anyway, the recent Philippine trip was short. Too short that I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do, like hangout with family, do some volunteer work in Raya (previous school I worked at which is just a happy place, full stop), chill at hot springs and do some wakeboarding. Everything was rush rush. Lesson now is, book a longer trip, so that I can do everything!

I mentioned Raya School and it being a happy place. It is.  It is a remarkable school in Naga City, offering a very modern take on educating children. It is a progressive school and as a fan of all things innovative and helpful – I really like it.

Now what is a progressive school? Buzzfeed helps us understand it in a hilarious way, but it’s true. The article implies that progressive education is a movement made by hippie parents teaching their children to rebel and love nature and be weird but it’s not entirely true. It’s a reaction towards the standard, mainstream, traditional education where the teacher is the authority and exams are the end all and be all of the child’s ability.

I love that idea where education is practical and not tests-based. Don’t get me wrong, as a kid I aced exams easily but I knew I wasn’t good enough, that my perfect scores don’t mean I’m perfect (I didn’t have any friends so maybe that’s why I thought I was far from perfect lol). One of the key moments in my early childhood education was when I got a perfect score in my science finals test in grade five (taxonomic classification – ha!) but I knew my teacher didn’t know what a blue green algae is. That’s the time when I started distrusting teachers, and school for that matter. Is it really worth it? What’s the point? I mean, my parents aren’t telling me that corals are animals and they belong in phylum coelenterata, you know?

Add to the fact that I was really poor in rote learning. I was one of those rare children who’d rather have essay tests because I can fully express my thoughts given a free rein of thinking. I was a confident speaker and one of my teachers said I didn’t give a fuck in my essays – and I think that gave me the confidence to speak my thoughts and my ideas as a person. I knew I passed scholarships because I can communicate well, like in instances when I’m a mayor of a city and the problem was overpopulation – this was my make or break question at the entrance interview for the Science High School – I answered arcologies because I played with Sim City 2000 then. Gaming helps, I tell you that. I owe Sim City my life, come to think of it.

Progressive schools are student-centered, creative and open. They teach children critical thinking skills, emphasize self-direction and teamwork but also collaboration and communication – not to mention using digital technology. As a teacher, I consider myself not an authority but a guide. I mean, I know I don’t know everything but I also know I know more than them because I have life experiences. My point is, I want to equip my children with life skills and the love for life-long learning. I know I sound like a brochure for your school but tell you what, if I have a child of my own, I can’t care less if she knows about Schrodinger’s cat at age 11 if all she wants is to make a perfect apple pie!

I can go on and on about how making a perfect apple pie is more advantageous in life skills and is cross-curricular across the board compared to learning about Schrodinger’s cat but I will spare you the torture. In order for you to understand it more, here is a table (Source: Robert G. Peters, with thanks to the books Schools of Quality, by John Jay Bonstigl, and In Search of Understanding, by Martin C. Brooks and Jaqueline Grennon, Independent Schools.)

Traditional Progressive
School is a preparation for life. School is a part of life.
Learners are passive absorbers of information and authority. Learners are active participants, problem solvers, and planners.
Teachers are sources of information and authority. Teachers are facilitators, guides who foster thinking.
Parents are outsiders and uninvolved. Parents are the primary teachers, goal setters, and planners, and serve as resources.
Community is separate from school, except for funding. Community is an extension of the classroom.
Decision-making is centrally based and administratively delivered. Decision-making is shared by all constituent groups.
Program is determined by external criteria, particularly test results. Program is determined by mission, philosophy, and goals for graduates.
Learning is linear, with factual accumulation and skill mastery. Learning is spiral, with depth and breadth as goals.
Knowledge is absorbed through lectures, worksheets, and texts. Knowledge is constructed through play, direct experience, and social interaction.
Instruction is linear and largely based on correct answers. Instruction is related to central questions and inquiry, often generated by the children.
Disciplines, particularly language and math, are separated. Disciplines are integrated as children make connections.
Skills are taught discretely and are viewed as goals. Skills are related to content and are viewed as tools.
Assessment is norm-referenced, external, and graded. Assessment is benchmarked, has many forms, and is progress-oriented.
Success is competitively based, derived from recall and memory, and specific to a time/place. Success is determined through application over time, through collaboration.
Products are the end point. Products are subsumed by process considerations.
Intelligence is a measure of linguistic and logical/mathematical abilities. Intelligence is recognized as varied, includes the arts, and is measured in real-life problem-solving.
School is a task to be endured. School is a challenging and fun part of life.

I suppose you can say it is the Montessori-style but geared for older children. Some people call it Holistic Learning. It is curiosity-driven, but I love to think that this will be the future of education. It does not stop at elementary, nor high school. When you instill the love for learning (or reading) in a person, you improve a society. They will be better, responsible and kind adults that will improve and enhance our world as we know it.

PGCE Do’s and Don’ts

This article originally appeared on Cassidy Education Blog

Hey guys, I am back. Sorry I missed out on you, but I have gone to the Philippines to fix some banking papers I need for summer as I cannot open a bank account here. It was a strange sensation going back home but I’ll explain it in another post. It got too busy and my mother got attacked by a dog :-/

As i am back and it’s school day tomorrow, let’s go back to the academe. Cassidy Education did another fantastic post and I bookmarked it for future speeches and as a daily pick-me-up when work gets too boring or difficult. PGCE is your ticket to becoming a teacher under UK law. It’s not easy but many people do it! Here are some pointers for you to consider when undertaking such a role.

PGCE: Cassidy Education Do’s and Don’ts!

So, you have decided to complete your PGCE, first thing you need to consider – it won’t be easy.  In fact it is a hard and intensive course, especially when you consider the academic requirements alongside working on the job, it can be quite a daunting prospect. Of course, it is likely to be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. You will experience newfound skills firsthand, whilst making life-long friends as well as finding out your new passion for work – in a job you actually love doing.

How you tackle the PGCE year is ultimately your choice but we’ve laid down some of our recommendations – here are our do’s and don’ts:

Teaching Practice:

As the heading suggests, the PGCE placement is for you to ‘practice’ your ability as a teacher.  You are not expected to be the ‘finished article’ and perfect at everything, no one expects that. What they will expect is for you to be:

  • responsive to constructive criticism
  • well prepared
  • a hard worker
  • improving
  • a team member
  • able to learn from mistakes

Understand that you will improve and gain confidence quickly, make sure you give yourself the time you need to learn and practice your craft. Remember, this is your chance to guage yourself as a teacher and how you want to progress.

Top tips: Observe your peers, inside and beyond your subject. Get involved in the after school activities, leave your comfort zone from time to time – you’ll be surprised what you may learn.

Academics:

Even if you found your university degree a breeze, be assured you will find your PGCE assignments demanding. This will be more so for graduates from an engineering / technical background, as they may be less used to writing reports or long, drawn-out essays.  If this is you do not worry, help is at hand!  Universities usually have great support for helping with reading and writing skills – make sure you use it!

The Standards:

These are the Teachers’ Standards for use in schools in England since September 2012. The standards define the minimum level of practice expected of trainees and teachers from the point of being awarded qualified teacher status (QTS).

The Teachers’ Standards are used to assess all trainees working towards QTS, and all those completing their statutory induction period.

We are confident the last thing you want to do is spend your weekends digging through your work trying to catalogue everything for a check on Monday morning. You will be well advised to collate your work for each of the sections as you progress through the year. Your mentor will check on your work from time to time, and you will want to demonstrate a well-organised and presentable system. We recommend that you file your work weekly; this will surely save you many lost weekends.

Professionalism:

It can take time to adjust to an expectation of ‘professionalism’ especially if you are fresh out of university. You will have to quickly become accustomed to it however, as students, teachers and parents will all expect you to be professional in everything you do, and it’s essential for a successful and rewarding PGCE year.

You will demonstrate your professionalism through your knowledge and understanding of your subject(s), the learning process, your values and the development of you and your students.

Top tip: If in doubt, ask your peers, tutors and mentors for guidance, they will only be too happy to help.

Life Study Balance:

Make sure you find a balance between your PGCE and other things you enjoy doing, don’t give up your life; you’ll gain a lot more from the course that way!

Remember to:

  • find time for family and friends.
  • invest in lots of stationery (especially lever-arch files)
  • manage your time and stay organised
  • be creative, patient and flexible

YouTube Kids App

I use technology in the classroom a lot. It makes my work easier and makes my class engaging, especially to little children who are generally visual in nature. May it be a projector or whiteboard, I need a screen and internet to make sure I deliver my learning objectives well. Also, it’s fun.

There is nothing worse than using YouTube in class only to be cut by an advert from L’Oreal or Krung Sri Bank. Like most teachers, I use YouTube a lot to teach, especially with my 2-3 year olds before when we used to sing a lot! Having adverts, trolls (on the comments – but I’m lucky my kids can’t read yet) and suggestions are some pitfalls that you can have as a teacher when using YouTube.

There’s great news though! YouTube has a new app called YouTubeKids. This is useful for parents and teachers alike as it will sift through inappropriate comments, and will only show posts that are child-friendly. This is a big step for YouTube, and I hope Google will develop a YouTube app that is geared toward teaching. The app with its kid-friendly design will work on tablets and smartphones and it’s free. It also has a built-in parent timer so that you can control how much your child gets to watch online.

Job Hunting: How To Make Your CV Stand Out

Job hunting is a tedious task, especially if you are tailoring each application for very specific positions. Whilst you have to present your best in a matter of a single (or two) pieces of paper, there are some things that you have to remember when you submit your CV.

They say it only takes 20 seconds for an employer to decide whether your CV is for the bin or not. Unfortunately, that is true. My mother has been an HR Department Head for an international organization for long time in her career, and she confirmed this.

Lucky for me, I got her to teach me how to stand out from the pile of applicants. Here are some things that mama knows, and trust me, even if some of these points seem to be common sense, you will be surprised on the quality of CVs she received.

Use a single, standard photo

Choose a photo that would be your default one, no matter how you’re tailoring your job hunt is. You don’t need to stand in front of a black board if you’re applying for a teacher, or behind a shop counter if you wanted to participate in sales. Choose an ID picture quality photograph because that’s what it is – identification. Boring white background for the picture? You bet. It’s the first thing that the employer sees so you better make the right impression.

Use a professional-sounding email

If your email is cottontail55@yahoo.com, well, employers will think that you don’t make an effort to be professional, or at least, change from personal to work email, which is worse. You’re definitely not making a good impression here.

Research on the company you’re working for

At this point, you’ll show dedication and resourcefulness to your future employer then. Tailoring your cover letter is a serious task so do some research on the company, on your head of office. Figure out how you can link your skills and experiences so that you know you’re a perfect fit. Be personal and use the name of the person you’re addressing to rather than stick to the usual “Dear Sir/Madam”. It all helps.

Practice brevity

Keep it short and sweet, as employers don’t have time for bullshit – they don’t need to know you’ve won Spelling Bee 2003 in Barangay Santa Cruz. Make sure the information you put in is relevant and job-related. Make it easier for the employer to have a one page CV and letter. My mom says CV is like a trailer of the movie – the interview is the more important part to decide if you’re a perfect fit.

Attach files

And also, name it correctly. I am guilty of this. After spending A LOT OF TIME tailoring my cover letters, I sometimes forget to attach my CV. I am so lucky that gmail has that command to remind you if you forgot to attach something. Helps a lot!

That’s it. Short and sweet so as not to take your time if you’re looking for a job. Good luck!

Why Teach Abroad?

Teaching, they say, is a noble profession.

I say teaching is like any other profession: it requires focus, professionalism, sacrifice and sense of humor. Where the noble part came from, I don’t know but for me that’s making the teaching profession look better than it should.

But I know I can say this of teaching though, that it’s not stagnant. Every day is a different day, it’s very social as you get to talk to people (little people), it’s creative because you can twist a lesson to suit your teaching style (not fully creative though as you have parameters to work on, thanks to the curriculum), and you get to be loved by children – priceless! Then of course, travel.

Before I started teaching, I thought the biggest perk was the holidays. I was wrong. Teaching proved to be quite stressful that you actually need to have holidays – like the children need holidays. It’s not a perk – it’s a must. But the other reasons are totally valid, it feels like you’re in the service sector but it’s more personal as you get to develop minds and people.

I grew up in an international setting and I knew I wanted to travel the world. I just didn’t know how. I tried to be a doctor because my psychiatrist-uncle travels around the world working for the United Nations, and it’s always an all expenses paid trip. I loved looking at this display cupboard full of turtle sculptures from Indonesia, glasses from Czech Republic, paintings from Japan – I want that.

So I went to medical school armed with a very different motivation compared to my classmates’ and of course, I flunked. Then I tried teaching in an international school. From medical school and the government office full of locals and the usual Filipino bureacracy, international school teaching for me was back to feeling at home. I can be weird and not judged because, hey, it’s cultural (I’m such a prick). I met various people there that honed my worldliness (hahaha). I get to learn about their culture and learned to be open and tolerant, and not to mention admire the diversity of it all!

My headteacher was from Honduras, the deputy principal was American, the English teacher was British, my Filipino friend there was an ASEAN tae kwon do athlete, the other one was brilliant SEN teacher/cougar and my best friend there was filthy rich and teaching was her hobby! It was colorful and fun. We were housed in a middle of a jungle and all we did after school was cook, go to the beach and play Nintendo wii.

In the next international I worked in, I met Ash. I grew from hanging out with friends to hanging out with my man, who happens to be of a different nationality from me! It is all about growth, and I’m lucky that I have someone I can share intimate details with and learn a different perspective while talking about it.

International schools put a premium on the diversity of cultures that there are always festivals to make the foreigners feel at home. You have to consider that these people left their comfort zone and that is one heck of a difficult thing to do, so you give them stuff to do and things to enjoy, and of course, more money.

I learned that everything changes when your title is an “expat”.

So that’s what I did. I moved countries.

It’s not the easiest thing to do because you just left your whole world but it’s a goddamn great experience to be treated really well (read: spoiled): We are always asked what we need, the owner of the schools treated us to different places (in Hatyai), we never got no for an answer whenever we make a request, may it be school supplies or travel itineraries. It’s so easy to get what you want because the company doesn’t want you unhappy because if you are, you might go home – and they spent a fortune on you! So they have to have a return of investment from you (which means the goodness you experience is fake lol).

However, to sum it all up, teaching internationally is a dream because I can develop my profession in strange and exciting places I wouldn’t thought I’d be in. In international schools, I work with excellent resources and having highly motivated kids make it easier to work. I also work with very compentent teachers because international schools have excellent standards. My adaptation and EQ skills are constantly tested. I know I am a more patient person now. And I can save more now, plus I have enjoy a different kind of respect from the locals, so that’s good. And of course I enjoy a lifestyle that enables me to dream and travel!

At the end of the day it is still a job, and because of the perks, you have to work hard to get to that level. But if you love what you’re doing, or at least you’re doing it for a purpose, you know you will do whatever it takes to be happy, and this is what it is.

Teachers and Teaching: Common Misconceptions

Oh to be a teacher. It’s both a bane and boon. There are people who tell me that they can’t teach because they can’t bear to be with children all the time and it’s too difficult to teach, yet there are also those who say teaching is the easiest job there is and is for backpackers who just want to finance their travels.

As a teacher, I can say that both are truths about the teaching profession and for teachers. But you can also say that for any job: it’s difficult, it’s for lazy people, that they’re only doing it for money, etc. I believe that teaching has more unfair misconceptions though.

Cassidy Education (aka my new favourite education website – useful for those of you looking for teaching jobs too) has enlisted the most common misconceptions about teachers, and I’m sharing it to all of you because it’s a great read, meaning it hits the right spots! Before I became I teacher, I have to admit I judged teachers too, but now that I’m doing it, I know teachers should be respected (like any profession) and this article sums it up pretty well. I swear I muttered “YEAH!”, “so true” while reading, because personally, I hate the “Teaching is easy” misconception. Try keeping your cool while you have 30 odd children either bored or asking for your attention to listen to a grammar lesson! Anyway, you will know what I’m talking about while reading this. Enjoy!

Teachers and Teaching: Common Misconceptions

by Ashley Andrews, originally appeared in the Cassidy Education Blog

Everyone seems to have an opinion on teachers and teaching, from what makes a good/bad teacher, how to teach, what to teach, why teach – the list is endless. Below we explore some of the most common misconceptions and why we believe they’re misconceptions.

Teachers can’t do, that’s why they teach

We hear the statement, “those who can’t do, teach?” all the time. Teachers do so much that it’s hard to believe this statement ever became common place.

Teachers need an in-depth knowledge of their subject and in order to engage their students daily, need to develop many skills, such as;

• adaptive classroom management methods
• have an approach that fosters students’ growth and progress
• provide personalised learning processes

As with all careers a certain set of competencies need to be developed and implemented daily to succeed.

It’s easy being a teacher

It’s easy to see why this is a common misconception. People often think teachers turn up for class at registration, then leave at 3pm and have the summer all to themselves. This is far from the truth.

In actuality, teachers have one of the most emotionally demanding jobs available, they are involved in the lives of their students every day. Teachers care and worry about their students well-being, academic attainment, family and home life, their friends and social lives, and their self confidence.

They invest in their students, dedicating a lot of their personal time honing their skills. The 8am- 3pm workday is fiction, and teachers regularly participate in whole-school activities like curriculum development, prepping lesson plans, marking, parent-teacher consultation and interaction, and after school activities.

Great teachers get great results

Parents and carers often believe teachers to be the only ones responsible for a students’ learning. Teachers are of course an integral part of this, but are definitely not the beginning and end.

Parents play a big role in the learning process, they need to be encouraging at home and show an interest. The biggest factor are the students themselves, if they are not prepared to engage in the subject matter, even if the teacher has delivered on their promise, the student still remains out of the learning process.

Teachers usually have a trick or two they’ll use to engage a disinterested student. A good teacher will attempt to make their lesson plans reflect the students’ interests, in an effort to connect them with the subject material. To further break down any barriers and to peak interest, a teacher should listen and allow students the time to share what is important to them. This element of classroom management becomes more important as an international school teacher, your students will often have very different backgrounds, cultures and experiences and will benefit greatly from a personalised approach to their learning process.

We hope the above helps to debunk a few of the myths and misconceptions about teachers and teaching and you enjoyed reading my blog.

10 Common Questions Teachers Are Asked During The Recruitment Process

I have had 5 workplaces in 5 years, so I think that kinda makes me an experienced job interviewee. Do you know that it’s prime time to look for teaching jobs right now? I know we have had the article How To Ace Your Job Interview but just let’s have another practice before you jump into that interview.

The following article is one of the best resources I have read regarding teaching job interviews. I found it on the teacher recruitment site called Cassidy Education. That blog has some useful articles (it’s new though, so you have to wait for it) on education, especially about SEN teaching. Anyway, here goes.

10 Common Questions Teachers Are Asked During The Recruitment Process

Originally posted on Cassidy Education 

In preparation for your interview, we’ve assembled some common questions that will likely come up during the interview process. See our list of hints and tips below:

Question #1 – I walk into your classroom during one of your lessons, what can I expect to see?

Possible responses:

  • Enthusiastic discussions
  • Clear progress being made both orally and written
  • Engaged students
  • Well-behaved and respectful students

When responding, elaborate on your experiences, achievements and student results.

Question #2 – Describe an account of when you have adopted a behaviour management policy and the effect this had on your students?

When providing your example, remember to explain why the need for the policy in the first place, how you implemented it and the response of the students.  It is also good to demonstrate your own growth from this experience and discuss how you could implement/adapt/improve such a policy in the future.

Question #3 – If I spoke to one of your colleagues, what would they say about you?

The question is really trying to get you to demonstrate your own contribution to school life, not just for students but your peers also.  For extra points you can detail how you wish to be viewed by your colleagues in the future, this is especially important if you are applying for a senior position.

Question #4 – Why is (insert any subject here) taught in schools?

This question looks obvious on the surface but it can be quite a difficult question to answer.  This is more evident when the subject is Maths or English etc as the answer appears obvious initially but when trying to validate the inclusion of said subject in the curriculum it can be very difficult to quantify.

Possible responses:

  • To enhance other subjects
  • Improve a student’s career prospects
  • Encourage independent learning
  • Develop skills (Literacy, numeracy, ICT, etc)
  • Promote self-discipline
  • Improve health and fitness

Your responses will of course be dependent on the subject you teach. Be honest and think outside of the box, provide realistic reasons and support with good examples of how your subject has enriched the life of your students.

Question #5 – Why do you want to work in special education?

Be honest and explain your reasons, remember that your interviewer is looking to see that you understand a need for education over just simply caring for students with Special Educational Needs.

Question #6 – Random question based on an inclusion in your CV.

This is another reason why your CV should always be up to date and only contain genuine qualifications and experience, that way you don’t need to prepare for this too much.  Be honest and answer fully, providing details and examples wherever necessary and possible.

Question #7 – What is it about our school that makes you want to work here?

It is important that you demonstrate to the interviewer you have done some background work about the school and you have specific reasons for wishing to join the school.  Initially you will need to scour their website to familiarise yourself with the school, their policies, campus, etc.  Pick out something that genuinely appeals to you and for extra points, identify some reasons based on your visit and experiences during the interview process.

Question #8 – What do you think students look for in teachers?

To be: fair and consistent, enthusiastic, humourous, passionate about their subject with an ability to involve everyone in the lesson and encourage contributions.

Question #9 – Can you evaluate your one-off lesson?

Teaching a lesson as part of the interview process is often a source of anxiety, but it shouldn’t be, it’s a great way for you to evaluate the school and for the interviewer to evaluate you.  The interviewer will want you to be honest and be self-critical when necessary but also recognises what went well.

Question #10 – What do we lose if we decide not to offer you the position?

This is the closing question often used by interviewers, they want you to sell yourself, let them know what you are about and how you can enhance their school. Remember to be confident and enthusiastic, this is your chance to close the deal.

Right! Now that you’re ready for the interview, let’s take a look at what jobs are currently available.  Click to view Live Jobs on Cassidy Education website or submit your CV so we can aid you in your search.

Cost of Living: Thailand

I think it’s true if I say every expat wants to know if she can “survive in this new country with this salary”. It’s a smart question to ask after all, especially since your brain is still getting itself around the fact that your currency isn’t the same anymore. Truth be told, I still can’t get the fact that I’m a millionaire here in Indonesia (everyone is, don’t worry, I’m far from rich) because of their weird currency setup. It’s difficult paying your 2M groceries you know. All that paper. Damn. But I’m not complaining, gimme my millions!

Anyway, I think it’s worthy to have a cost of living article just to compare spending habits and lifestyles place to place. I know for a fact that my lifestyle has changed from being a yuppie, middle class bourgeois in Manila to being a backpacker teacher in Thailand to being a normal (I think) expat here in Indonesia. Add the fact that I am saving up for Europe at this point so there’s that.

Anyway, thank you to Ajarn.com by the way for inspiring this post.

Currency references: 

33 Baht to one US Dollar
50 Baht to one Pound Sterling
37 Baht to one Euro
25 Baht to one Australian Dollar
0.74 Baht to one Philippine Peso

Working in Hatyai, TH

Monthly Earnings: 30, 000

Q1. How much do you earn from teaching per month?

I take home around 30,000 baht a month from my job as a Prenursery Teacher in a British School in Hatyai. I started at 25,000 but upon learning that my co-teacher who technically hasn’t graduated yet is earning 5,000 more (she’s Australian and I’m Filipino), I complained and got a raise. But everyone still got a raise so yeah, there’s that.

Q2. How much of that can you realistically save per month?

Nothing, really. I don’t know why, but even with my partner contributing to expenses, we constantly find ourselves with no savings. That’s because we are both settling in in that place. There’s always something to buy, like a blender or a toaster or a Scrabble. Plus we don’t skimp on food. And we eat well.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

My boyfriend and I rented a studio apartment for 6,000 a month.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?

a) Transportation

My school is a 15 minute walk, so there’s nothing there but we go to the gym everyday and that takes 40 back and forth from the house for the two of us. So that’s automatically around 1,200 a month, not to mention trips to the mall on the other side of town and some emergency tuktuk rides when it gets too late. Let’s say 1,500.

b) Utility bills

We pay around 2,000 baht. We use a lot of aircon because the boyfriend works at home and it gets hot and humid in the day. At night we use the fan sometimes.

c) Food – both restaurants and supermarket shopping

We eat at home a lot because we are vegetarian but we treat ourselves to guilty pleasures like pizza, chips and burgers! Beer and whiskey also takes the budget, so let’s say around 14,000 (holy shit). That’s 2k a week on groceries so that’s 8k a month plus liquor and cigarettes.

d) Nightlife and drinking

Yeah as mentioned above liquor and cigarettes cost about 6,000.

e) Books, computers

Zero expenses because… piracy!

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

Pretty good but I know we have a lot of expenditures on luxuries like alcohol, etc. We should be saving more.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real ‘bargain’ here?

I think food is way, way cheaper here, if you are not choosy, like you can get your fill for 65 egg noodles (but not soul satisfying). Saying that, the usual Western food that I’m used to is an acquired taste here hahaha! So we pay an extra for premium Western Food. That’s why we cook at home. The boyfriend is an excellent cook but the imported ingredients for our culinary repertoire is quite pricey too. Oh well. Food is our weakness.

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

I think 50,000 will be a really good minimum. In my mind, that will enable me to have my bourgeois MNL lifestyle which includes Starbucks, clothes and gifts to the boyfriend, travels PLUS SAVINGS.