The Global Read Aloud Project

One of the things that I love about technology is that as an international teacher it allows me to connect with classrooms all over the world! One of my professional goals this year was to find more opportunities to connect and build relationships with other teachers and classes outside Korea through the use of technology.

This past September, through the Global Read Aloud Project, I connected with classes from Canada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Australia, and more. It was really fun for my students to connect with all these different students while reading the same book, Tuck Everlasting. We communicated through edmodo, skype, wikispaces and blogging.

I know it’s a bit early, but I would highly recommend you start thinking about whether you want to join and sign up for the Global Read Aloud Project 2012 here!

How do you become an international school teacher?

When I first decided to leave the public school system in NYC and try this international teaching thing, I had no idea what I was going into. I didn’t know anyone else that had been an international school teacher. I just ended up researching international schools and stumbled upon two organizations that help place teachers in international schools. Now, I’m in my 4 years of teaching abroad, and plan on doing it for at least 2 more years.

How do you find an international school teaching job?

1. Sign up with an international school recruiting company.

I would highly recommend Search Associates or International Schools Service (ISS). A lot of the accredited and reputable international schools uses either or both of these companies. Both companies have multiple job fairs throughout the year in the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe that teachers can go to. Also, they have extensive online database that they put your profile in that many international schools look at to recruit. There is a fee when you sign up, but it is worth it. I would recommend Search Associates, because I’ve used that and had good success with finding jobs. Also, you will need confidential administrator recommendations and also parent recommendations for teaching positions.

If you’re interested in only Christian schools, there is Network of International Christian Schools.

2. Contact the international school directly.

If you have a particular country and/or school in mind, you can always contact them directly.  If you go their website, you can often find contact information for employment. Many of them may ask you to submit a cover letter and resume to the school directly. Some schools even have a separate online application. Do your research!

A lot of the more competitive schools do recommend you go to a job fair that is sponsored by either Search or ISS, however it’s not required. They like to meet candidates in person for an interview. Remember, that the hiring time line for international schools is a lot earlier than schools in America. Many schools know what openings they will have by December/January. So you should start contacting schools as early as November if you are really interested.

3. Be open! 

If it is your first time trying to find a job internationally, you need to be open. If you don’t have the international school experience, you will be at a slight disadvantage with another candidate with the same experience and international school experience. If you are set on one country and/or  particular school, your choices will obviously be very limited.

Be open to different schools and countries. Think about what are your priorities and the opportunities available at the school and country. Part of the joys of teaching internationally is getting to experience a different culture, country and school. Don’t limit yourself!

If you have any other questions about teaching internationally and finding a good school, please leave a comment! We will definitely be writing more follow up posts about  this topic.

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*UPDATE*

As we have continued to receive many questions concerning more details about how to become an international school teacher, we decided to write a FAQ post for you. Please refer to this post, FAQs About Becoming an International School Teacher, and see if we have already answered your question!

The Progressive Story Project

As international teachers, Jee Young and I are constantly looking for ways to be involved with other schools in other countries. Last year, we attended a yearly teaching conference in Seoul (KORCOS) and learned about the Progressive Story Project. To summarize it simply, five classes are partnered to write one story, and each class is responsible for illustrating their section of the story. They also record their section of the story on voicethread.

Karen Ditzler started this project several years with a couple classes in an elementary school district in the USA. Since then it has spread, and this past fall classrooms were represented from a total of 10 countries and 29 States… 289 classes altogether!

When my second grade class took on this project last Spring, our story started with a class in Australia and ended in Pennsylvania, USA. It is a great and easy way to incorporate technology into the classroom, and there is a chance that the classes you are paired up with will be in your same time zone, giving you the chance to skype with each other. Which is how my students made several Australian friends! We were able to have a couple of “skype dates”, and talk about the story we were writing together, we also had the chance to share things about our perspective countries and cultures. The students loved it.

I am a visual learner, and because of this I feel it necessary to include my students’ illustrations from last year, their story turned into a mystery and our section was describing “the suspects”. I will leave you with this:

  

and remember… two apples a day will keep your students happy^^

Tips for Successful Reading Buddies

This is our second year working together as reading buddies. It works out pretty well since I teach 5th grade and Melody teaches 2nd grade. Last year, for the first reading buddy activity, we had our students fill out Venn diagrams of their similarities and differences.

This year, we we wanted to try something different and incorporate our new IPADs. We had the students use the photo booth on the IPADs to take photos with their reading buddy. They had to take different photos, using each of the photo settings. We told them that both of them had to be in the photo. The students had a great time taking photos with each other.  The second activity we had our students do was create a list of their similarities using the notepad on the IPAD.

Students have fun using the photo booth options on the IPAD.

Students taking photos together.

Tips on Successful Reading Buddies:

1. Match up students carefully.

Take into account students’ personalities, behavior, and reading levels so that partnerships are successful.

2. Explicitly teach the older students how to read aloud.

 I will usually do a mini-lesson or demonstration with my students on strategies for reading aloud picture books before we read with our reading buddies.

3. Mix it up every week.

Sometimes we encourage the fifth graders to pick their favorite books in advance to bring to read. Other times, we go to the library together and students pick out books together and read. Some weeks, we do a hands-on activity together which helps deepen their relationships and allows them to get to know each other in another way. This is particular good for those students that are struggling readers, but excel in other areas like art.

4. Invite your reading buddy class to your class events.

Last year, we invited our reading buddies to come watch our poetry cafe. This year, we went into their class to share what we learned during our nonfiction unit in reading workshop.

5. Do a long term project together.

Last year, we had students create picture books for each other. It did take about 1-2 months to plan, draft, revise and publish their books. It was nice though because at the end, they gave their buddy the book they made. This year, they are creating a math picture book together.

6. Integrate the activity to your curriculum.

When our students were working on their poetry unit, we had them work on writing poetry together with their reading buddy. The fifth graders were good at teaching the second graders about poetry and they did a great job working together to create poems. Poetry is a great and easy unit to incorporate into your reading buddies and it’s part of the curriculum.

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“He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and… he was a beautiful butterfly!”
― Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar