Recruiting Quality Educators
by Jacquie Pender, Elementary School Principal
We are very fortunate to have a relatively low turnover of teachers each year at YIS. Our teachers have an average tenure of nearly seven years, which is above the average for most international schools. One of the most important jobs we do as a Leadership Team is to ensure we employ and retain the best possible teachers to continue to improve learning for our students. Recruitment is a complex process, ensuring we employ the right candidates for the positions we have available each year, one we do not take lightly and spend considerable time on.
What are we looking for when we are reviewing the hundreds of applications we receive each year for each position we have open? International teaching presents different demands for both schools and teachers.
At the forefront of our recruiting practice is child safeguarding. In line with the recommendations from the International Task Force on Child Protection, we implement safe recruitment procedures to ensure all potential employees undergo comprehensive criminal background checks, reference checks, and all employees are compliant with our Child Protection policy.
We seek experienced teachers - teachers who have gained considerable experience in their home country or in other international schools. This is important because a newly qualified teacher requires considerable support and mentoring and sustained professional development in the early years of their career. Most international schools do not possess the resources to support and mentor teachers at the early stage of their careers. International teachers are often coming from other overseas positions or from their home country which brings with it many challenges. Therefore, it is important for our teachers to be resilient, risk-takers, independent, have a sense of humor, cultural sensitivity, a global perspective and sense of adventure to enable them to live a happy and fulfilling life here in Japan. To live well is to work well, and these attributes are important when living far away from the familiar support of friends and family.
Teachers who have the relevant qualifications and experience for the position, and preferably experience teaching in the IB programs, are our first consideration. If they have not had direct experience with IB programs, it is important for candidates to be committed to an inquiry and conceptual approach to learning and teaching and to have an understanding of the relevant IB programs at YIS, an IB continuum school. Potential teachers need to be aligned with our school’s mission and values and able to articulate this throughout the interview process. Due to the nature of our programs, it is important for our teachers to be able to collaborate, be flexible and work and learn with other colleagues.
Diversity is also something we consider. This applies not only to the country of origin of the candidate but also to personality, abilities, languages, interests, etc. as diversity enables us to grow and learn from others and value ideas and opinions from multiple perspectives, and contributes to our diverse learning community. We are always looking for educators for their creative and unique talents as this helps us to move forward, challenge our thinking and continue to enhance the programs and curriculum we offer.
Since improving learning is always our focus, our teachers also need to continue to grow professionally. A teacher’s commitment to their own professional learning is extremely important and is a trait we value when assessing new teachers.
YIS is actively involved in the international school community. Our involvement in the Collaboration for Growth conferences, both in the Elementary and Secondary School; the Global Citizen Diploma; in being a host for the IB Regional workshops, in the Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA), and other networks, also helps us in recruiting educators who are aligned with our programs and culture of our school. We host many events for international educators, many of whom, after experiencing YIS’ culture and atmosphere, enthusiastically apply to work here.
In considering all the criteria involved in hiring educators, recruiting kind and caring teachers who are going to be a good fit for our school and community, and aligned with our school mission and values, is our ultimate goal.