Feb 01 2010
Queens’ Teaching Overseas Recruiting Fair (TORF)
Or as I like to call it: “Thanks God I already signed for a great job” Recruiting Fair (TGIASFAGJRF)! As you may remember, I was signed up for two job fairs this holiday break: Queens’ TORF and Search Cambridge. I cancelled both quite easily, but decided to still attend Queens’ school presentations on Saturday since I was going to be in the general neighbourhood (Belleville) anyhow.
So on Saturday morning, I decided to get to the fair for the first presentation at 8am. International school recruiting fairs basically consist of two activities all-weekend long: 1) job interviews and 2) school presentations, where the directors/principals show a short film or powerpoint on their school and have a Q&A session at the end of their allotted 45 minutes. I thought it would be good to see as many school presentations as possible to research possible jobs later, as well as determine future travel destinations, especially in the Middle East.
I would sometimes stay for the whole presentation, but most of the time, I had too many to visit, so I’d sneak out after the first 20 minutes or so. This system allowed me to see a whopping 13 school presentations, and boy can I say that I’m sure happy that I signed up with my new school when I did!
First of all, there were only a total of 7 schools at Queens looking for French teachers: Ecuador (a surprise since South American schools usually have Spanish teachers teach French as well), Egypt, Kuwait, Turkey (IICS), Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Vietnam. I was not only relieved to see that there were so few choices (and pretty terrible ones at that!), but especially to see that no European schools had French jobs available. Coming to Queens sure confirmed my choice in choosing Oman.
Here are the thirteen school/country presentations that I attended and a few notes about each:
- Luxembourg International School – they offer French from Kindergarten to gr.12, and the day they’d have a job opening, I’d be the first to sign up! Beautiful campus and lifestyle, right in the heart of Europe – who could ask for more?
- Qatar Academy Al-Khor – a national school (meaning 100% local rich students) situated outside the capital city, I’d neither work there nor vacation there; after 15 minutes, I moved on to the next presentation.
- Abu Dhabi’s Raha Int. School – an interesting and young school (2006) offering IB but nothing exciting to write home about…
- Guatemala’s Colegio Interamericano – a national school that offers single teachers shared housing in a safe “zone” in the city, uh.. no thanks!
- India’s Woodstock School – an international school located in the northern Himalayan foothills, very isolated but gorgeous scenery with even the occasional snowfall! Way too far from the city life for my taste, but it certainly opened up my eyes to the possibility of one day touring through Northern India.
- American School of Dubai – a solid reputation and I’ll definitely be visiting this city as it’s only a 5-hour drive from Muscat, but it’s not different enough to warrant working there after Oman.
- Canadian Int. School of Hong Kong – they actually had a French position back in December, but at that time I wasn’t too interested for some reason. Perhaps because they had no housing allowance or airfare but I learned why at Queens: they offer big salaries to make up for it and you can actually save lots and travel with what you make. I’d definitely apply next time they have an opening!
- Ecuador’s Colegio Alberto Einstein in Quito – a national school with only 30% of the teachers coming from overseas, reason enough to not join that school. I’d prefer an international school with mostly expat teachers.
- Kuala Lumpur’s Taylor’s Pre-University College – a strange “school” that offers only a grade 12 Canadian curriculum, ie. there are no other grades at this school. I didn’t spend too much time at this presentation, as I’m not interested in teaching gr.12 exclusively.
- Thailand’s Int. School of Bangkok – the Mecca of all international schools (great location + great package + great school), however the principals didn’t even show up, they just had the Queens’ organizers show us a 7-minute video. I’d still pinch myself if I ever got an interview with them!
- Syria’s Int. School of Aleppo – 3 points about Syria that I got out of the presentation: 1) it’s underdevelopped, 2) it’s conservative and 3) it has internet bans (no Youtube or Facebook) – I left after 15 minutes.
- Next up was an organization called ESOL (Educational Services Overseas Ltd), ie. a for-profit organization that runs 6 schools throughout the Middle East. The thing about for-profit schools is their bottom line isn’t education, but making money. A non-profit school (as most international schools are) means all tuition is re-invested into school infrastructure, materials and teachers’ salaries. I’ve heard enough horror stories about for-profit schools to know to walk away from them, as fast as possible.
- And finally the Int. School of Macau (China) – the city is deemed Asia’s Las Vegas, that’s reason enough for me to check things out! However after a great 30-minute presentation from the young Canadian principal from Alberta, I found out they only offer Mandarin, no French. *sigh* Someday maybe…
I finished off the day at the Revenue Canada’s presentation at 4pm on residency status and taxation. I waited 45 minutes until the end, to ask my pertinent question: as a non-resident, can I buy land in Canada without it affecting my residency status? I was ecstatic to find out that it would be no problem at all! If/when I sold it, I’d have to pay taxes on the capital gains, that’s all. So anyone know of a nice chunk of waterfront property for $40K Cdn?