Name: Amanda Rydberg
U of M program: English Education
Graduation Date: May 2013
Employer: Colegio Inglés, Torreón
Position: 6th Grade Teacher
1. How did you learn about your current position?
I attended the Minnesota Education Job Fair and met the director of my school there. There was an entire row of international schools at the fair, and I went there right away. I researched all the schools that I was interested in the night before and had a cover letters prepared for the fair addressed with the recruiters' names and specifically addressing their mission.
2. Describe the application and interview process.
Since I met my supervisor at the job fair, I scheduled an interview with her for later that day. After the initial interview, she encouraged me to apply online. One important thing that she mentioned was to upload a picture with my resume and application materials to help her remember our interview and who I was. I also thought it was interesting in the interview and application that they were asking about things such as marital status and any health issues- those are generally things that U.S. employers are not allowed to ask or discriminate on. International schools might do things a little differently. [It is common practice for international schools to require a picture and personal information such as marital status.]
3. How did you make yourself stand out during the job search?
I always researched the school ahead of time if possible, or used the interview to find out what they valued in teachers. In the case of Colegio Inglés, they are looking for teachers who really understand child development. I emphasized my experience with children, which goes back farther than my teaching experience, and I had no international experience to talk about. I included work with summer camps, volunteering, and tutoring. During the interview, I also had some stories that I had prepared which highlighted my understanding of and experience working with kids.
4. Looking back, what did you find to be the most helpful during job search process?
I talked to people who I wanted as references early on. I asked right away if I could put them as references and let them know what kinds of jobs I would be applying for. I invited them to observe me in student teaching if they hadn't already. Since they are all busy people, I was glad I scheduled that time sooner rather than later.
My cooperating teacher was especially helpful as a mentor during my job search. She gave me advice on what to talk about during interviews and shared the wisdom that she gained from her own experience landing a teaching job.
It also took me a long time to get psyched up for the job search process, so I'm glad I started back in January adding a little bit to my cover letters, resume, and searches every day. That way it wasn't so overwhelming by April. One thing that really helped when writing cover letters was to read the teacher job description for schools that really inspired me and craft my teaching philosophy around those descriptions.
5. Did you utilize career services (on-campus interviews, career events, appointment(s), online resources)? If so, what was your experience like?
I registered for the job fair through CEHD career services/GoldPASS. I also used some of the campus interview events as both networking and practice interviewing. It was really helpful to interview with schools before I even started seriously searching. It helped me figure out what my teaching practice was about and what I should focus on in interviews.
6. What advice would you like to share with others about your experience finding a position in another country?
Be ready for anything because International schools run on a much different schedule and have different expectations. I was offered this job before most school districts had even started emailing candidates and it was a hard decision whether I wanted to accept a job before I had any other offers to compare it to. I also really had to manage my expectations of what the school would be like because the only information I had was from flyers/videos and other promotional materials. I couldn't go see it for myself so I had to be comfortable with some things being unknown.