For love, learning or money?

Over the last several months my vice principal and I have interviewed many candidates for a variety of positions within our school. We have had many excellent and experienced candidates that we have really wanted for our positions.

The international teachers’ market is very competitive and we have found ourselves in quite a dance. We spend a great deal of time reviewing resumes, sending out information about our school, and setting up interviews for candidates. With many of them in different time zones our math and geography are often tested which sometimes involves rescheduling because of time zone mishaps.

Our information package we send to prospective candidates is extensive. It has a great deal of background information about the school, Beijing, air quality, job descriptions, housing, sample contracts and our salary scale. In the package that we send we always ask candidates to thoroughly review the information prior to accepting an interview. We assume that if they accept the interview then they are accepting the salary package. It is all very clear to candidates what the salary and benefits will be.

We know that salary may be a factor in many decisions but beyond salary what are some of the intangible things that factor in decision making?

Professional Learning
Professional Growth
Leadership opportunities
Coaching and support
International Experience

How do you measure these things? What dollar figure can you place on these intangibles?

Professional learning, growth and leadership are entrenched in everything that we do. We believe that it is our duty to support the professional growth and development of all staff. We work to provide rich and meaningful opportunities for growth through job embedded PD as well as through conferences and courses outside of school. All of our teachers receive the PYP IB training. Our PD budget is rich and all staff have many opportunities throughout the year to participate in quality professional learning experiences. These experiences coupled with the in school support of a highly qualified extended administration team allow teachers to deepen their knowledge of content and pedagogy. Teachers are provided with multiple opportunities for leadership experiences and encouraged to develop their passions and interests inside and outside of the classroom.

New teachers are surrounded by an extensive support system. Instructional coaches, PYP coordinators, team leads, grade teams, and the administration team. All of these individuals work with new teachers to provide support and feedback for growth. We do our absolute best to set all of our teachers up for success. All teachers in the formal assessment cycle are evaluated twice each year and provided with meaningful and specific feedback for growth. We set up a plan of individualized supports so that our teachers will be successful.

Collaboration is an integral part of what we do each day. Teams are provided with at least 2 hours per week for collaboration and once per month teams are given at least another 1.5 hours to work with their teams. During these collaboration times teams work on their units of inquiry and planning ahead for meaningful and engaging provocations and lessons. The planning is intentional and student centred.

Community is a huge part of the Canadian International School of Beijing. We live and work on campus so we are surrounded by support and social activities at every turn. There is no time or opportunity to be homesick, lonely or even bored. We have wonderful facilities within our school community and outside there is a world of possibilities. You can immerse yourself in Western or Chinese culture because the possibilities are endless. You can explore the wonders of China or take a short flight anywhere in Asia to immerse yourself in the different countries and cultures around us. The lessons learned, the resilience developed, the friendships made and the personal and professional growth from living and working internationally is extensive.

When I made my decision to go to CISB it was not a decision rooted in money. I did need to maintain my current level of income in order to meet the responsibilities and obligations of my family but I was looking for an opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally. I wanted to spread my wings and try something different. It was a risk but one I did not take without weighing out the pros and cons. For me it was about the intangibles. They were the tipping point in my decision. I immediately felt connected with the leadership team and saw the endless possibilities for professional growth and development.

As I look back at my decision 6 months into the role I have absolutely no regrets! I know that I have grown as a leader, educator and a person because of this experience. I have met many amazing people that have forever changed the way I view the world. My eyes have been opened to endless possibilities and all that is still out there in the world to discover! Most of all, my passion and excitement for leadership, teaching and learning has been renewed. How do you measure the monetary value of those intangibles?

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