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Old 24.05.2012, 17:52
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Teaching at an International School

Has anyone on EF moved to Swizterland, especially non-EU individuals, and gained employment at an International School in Switzerland? I have read through some previous posts about the International School and used google extensivley, but I have not been able to find someone to speak with about the process and what the experience was like. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:11
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Re: Teaching at an International School

My wife and I both teach at an International School here in CH. Most schools follow a recruiting process using international job fairs. Here is the basic rundown.

Step 1: in August (1 year before you would start your new job) you register with a recruitment agency like Search Associates www.searchassociates.com or International School Services www.iss.edu. They will have you upload all your info (CV, documents) and usually have Internet based refference surveys that have to be completed.

Step 2: Once you have registered and paid (between 200 and 400), you choose a job fair to attend. They are held around the world starting in January. London, Bancock, Boston are just a couple locations available. The best jobs are found in January and February fairs. The fairs beyond that usually just fill unexpected vacancies.

Step 3: During the fall, you will constantly get updated job postings and you should be looking closely at relocation packages. You can also send your information to the schools so they have it. Rarely will anything take place as far as official interviews or offers before the job fairs.

Step 4: Attend the job fair. This can be stressful as you will be interviewing back to back for 2 days. Do what you can to stand out from the crowd. My wife and I put our CVs and information on USB drives and gave them out to our top schools. The fairs are super competitive and often have dozens of teachers going for 1 position.

Step 5: Accept a job (if you are offered one) and then begin planning for the big move.

It is very important to understand that Switzerland is one of the most desirable locations to teach to due to the high living conditions. If you only set your sights on CH, you may be disappointed. Switzerland was top of our list and we got lucky that we really bonded with our headmaster. We were all but packed for St. Petersburg, Russia when the Swiss offer came at the 11th hour.

It is also very uncommon to be offered a job outside a job fair. Unless you are a CH or EU national going for a part time position, the full time teaching and admin jobs are filled at the job fairs. Hope this helps.
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:28
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Re: Teaching at an International School

jerallie, thank you very much for taking the time to write such a detailed response. I really do appreciate the time and the information.

Unfortunately, Switzerland is the only option as I was asking the question on behalf of my girlfriend. I was recently offered a position in Switzerland, moving from the US, and she is an elementary school teacher her in the US. To help with the move, both financially and to hopefully minimize the stress on the relationship, not to mention improve the likelyhood of her being able to stay in Switzerland, we have been trying to find a job for her. Unfortunately none of the schools will allow for subsititue teachers unless you already have a work permit, which she couldn't get without first having a job...its a vicious circle.

So, while I really do appriciate your response, most of it was pretty bad news for us.

Thanks again
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:36
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Re: Teaching at an International School

I know non-EU teachers and admin staff at international schools in/near Basel who have got the jobs after applying locally. In fact, hiring locally is preferred (just not always possible).

Keep an eye on the websites of the individual schools. If your girlfriend has qualifications and experience, it's just a matter of the right job coming up. Having a right to work here already is a significant advantage, but for permanent, fulltime jobs isn't a deal-breaker. They'd have to get one through the job fair route anyway.

Some schools like to have qualified teachers on their substitute list, just for their advertising.
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Old 24.05.2012, 21:03
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Re: Teaching at an International School

As NotAllThere said many international schools will take qualified teachers on their supply lists and if you get known in a school it may potentially lead to a job. However your girlfriend would need a work permit which, as I guess you already know, she is only likely to get with a full time job offer and even then it could be difficult.

Her other issue is she is an elementary teacher, had she been in a shortage subject it may have been easier for her.
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Old 24.05.2012, 21:09
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Re: Teaching at an International School

Pepper,

She teaches in an Elementary school. She has advanced degrees in reading and writing. As a teacher she has spent the bulk of her career helping children that read or write below the expected levels. She also has worked as a literacy coach...this is a position where she teachers other teachers how to teach reading...hopefully those experiences will help huh
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Old 24.05.2012, 21:13
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Re: Teaching at an International School

A good idea is find the ones in your region. Many of them look for substitute teachers who live in the area to fill in when there is a need. You make a good enough impression and somewhere down the line, you could find yourself getting something a bit more permanent.
I am a no-EU and that was the process I went through. Also apply for any positions you think you are suitable for. Scour the internet and bookmark anything positive and keep checking. I literally sent out over 50 cvs in a 4 month period.
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Old 24.05.2012, 21:15
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Re: Teaching at an International School

I got a job teaching part time at an international school as a non EU citizen. I was already living here.
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Old 24.05.2012, 21:22
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Re: Teaching at an International School

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As a teacher she has spent the bulk of her career helping children that read or write below the expected levels. She also has worked as a literacy coach...this is a position where she teachers other teachers how to teach reading...hopefully those experiences will help huh
It sounds like a special need teacher, learning support (I googled that one) or differentiation assistant. That's also a job as such.
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Old 24.05.2012, 22:42
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Re: Teaching at an International School

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It sounds like a special need teacher, learning support (I googled that one) or differentiation assistant. That's also a job as such.
That's what my wife does for one kid. Funny thing - when she's in the school, she's employed by the parents. When she's doing the after school support, she's employed by the school.
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Old 24.05.2012, 23:00
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Re: Teaching at an International School

For teaching posts I think you have to have a teaching qualification that gives qualified teacher status. It seems to be that there's also a lot of support staff either helping with individual children or as teaching assistants etc (particularly in primary).

Who pays seems to be whether the child is deemed to be 'mainstream' enough to be integrated. If a child has needs that are too severe then parents have to pay extra for support in the classroom.
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Old 25.05.2012, 15:06
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Re: Teaching at an International School

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A good idea is find the ones in your region. Many of them look for substitute teachers who live in the area to fill in when there is a need. You make a good enough impression and somewhere down the line, you could find yourself getting something a bit more permanent.
I am a no-EU and that was the process I went through. Also apply for any positions you think you are suitable for. Scour the internet and bookmark anything positive and keep checking. I literally sent out over 50 cvs in a 4 month period.
This is true. Supply teachers who build up a good reputation can be hired more easily. The problem is that it is hard to get a work permit as a supply teacher from the US. My sister tried and was flat out denied.

While there are schools who will hire outside of recruitment agencies, it is very uncommon for most of the big schools. The major schools have contracts with the agencies and part of that deal is that positions are filled through them. Our school does not hire full time outside of the recruitment fairs. While you may get interviews, most schools cannot hire without doing it through the agencies.
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Old 25.05.2012, 15:24
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Re: Teaching at an International School

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... While you may get interviews, most schools cannot hire without doing it through the agencies.
The three biggest schools in the Basel area can and do.

While I can understand that the educational business might be different from others, I've never yet worked for an organisation (and I've worked in utilities, government, travel, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, communications, and IT) where recruitment is locked into one or more agencies. We've always been able to bring people in direct.

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...Who pays seems to be whether the child is deemed to be 'mainstream' enough to be integrated. If a child has needs that are too severe then parents have to pay extra for support in the classroom.
In the case of my wife - the school pays her for the extra tuition, but the parents pay the school. It's only for the on-site help that the parents pay direct. In both cases, the parents pay in the end.
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Old 25.05.2012, 18:53
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Re: Teaching at an International School

Hi!

I am non-EU and tried desperately to get a job at an International school. Once my husband and I got married, I had SO many offers, I could choose! Before was a totally different story, it was a nightmare. Do you already live in Switzerland legally? If you do, skip the next 2 paragraphs and read the end.

Before we got married I applied to all (and I mean ALL) open vacancies, and cold-contacted any other school I could finde over a period of 8 months. I even applied for praktikant postions that would net me 1000 francs a month for 100% work. I am a Canadian native English speaker, a qualified teacher with two university degrees, experience working in Zurich (as an Au Pair) and tons of diverse childcare experiences and extra training.

You shouldn't hope to find a job here by sending out resumes. I have met some teachers that work for the really big schools here and are non-EU. These teachers have many years of experience at well-known schools, and all the ones I met were recruited through the job fairs already described on this thread (www.tes.co.uk). These teachers were already working in the International school system (many were working in Singapore or the UK). I was not allowed to take time off from university (really) so I was unable to attend these 3-4 day long fairs (needing a plane ticket and hotels, I didn't have any money to attend them anyways!)

Ok, if you already live in Switzerland, know that there is a huge need for teachers here! Look at Swiss schools, they offer English classes. There are smaller international schools throughout Switzerland that need qualified teachers. I work at a small bi-lingual international school, and I love it. I got the job by cold-contacting them with a personalized cover letter and my comprehensive online CV and portfolio (I can send you the link if you're interested in seeing it). I also occasionally do supply teaching at a big international school with a high profile- and I personally dislike it there. All schools need supply teachers, so always apply for those. Cold contact schools and make sure that you read-up on their mission/philosophy so you can personalize your contact with them. Once you get a supply teaching job, make sure the principal knows how DIVERSE you are (no matter how small those experiences are) and that you hope to get a long-term contract at the school. There are always coverages, maternity leaves and other issues that pop up at these schools, but you have to make sure they know that you want it!

All the best (but if you aren't legally living here yet, my personal advice is not to bother)
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Old 25.05.2012, 19:20
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Re: Teaching at an International School

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In the case of my wife - the school pays her for the extra tuition, but the parents pay the school. It's only for the on-site help that the parents pay direct. In both cases, the parents pay in the end.
We do this for our child who needs to have extra french (well, we want him to maintain his french as he can't do it in scheduled lessons).

I imagine it must simplify things for everyone.
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Old 25.05.2012, 19:52
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Re: Teaching at an International School

I would like to thank everyone for there time and their very detailed responses, though much of the news is fairly disheartening...I hope everyone has a great weekend
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Old 26.05.2012, 00:23
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Re: Teaching at an International School

Good luck with you search. While you may be able to find a job outside the agencies, I would go ahead and sign up. Search Asociates is 200 USD and keeps you active for 3 years. They also include a job far ad part if he 200. 3 of our new staff this year were hired from Search fairs. Hope it all works out.
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Old 18.06.2012, 12:47
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Re: Teaching at an International School

None of my business (she said intruding anyway) but, if your relationship is serious enough for your girlfriend to move to Europe with you, why not just get married? Since you have the job already, it will allow her to move to Switzerland with you legally, and then she can work. Not sure of the legalities exactly, but am pretty sure that would be a solution. How are you on commitment? Though that's probably another thread .
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Old 04.04.2013, 15:50
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Re: Teaching at an International School

Hi,
I am in the same position like your girlfriend and I am just curious as to how it turned out. It seems to be a catch 22 and I am just interested in seeing how it worked out. I even tried to get a volunteering position and they said it wasnt possible. uggg


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jerallie, thank you very much for taking the time to write such a detailed response. I really do appreciate the time and the information.

Unfortunately, Switzerland is the only option as I was asking the question on behalf of my girlfriend. I was recently offered a position in Switzerland, moving from the US, and she is an elementary school teacher her in the US. To help with the move, both financially and to hopefully minimize the stress on the relationship, not to mention improve the likelyhood of her being able to stay in Switzerland, we have been trying to find a job for her. Unfortunately none of the schools will allow for subsititue teachers unless you already have a work permit, which she couldn't get without first having a job...its a vicious circle.

So, while I really do appriciate your response, most of it was pretty bad news for us.

Thanks again
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Old 06.04.2013, 16:57
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Re: Teaching at an International School

Hello

Please guys let us know how it worked out with you two, did she get a job if yes then how
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