Questions to Ask in Interviews?- Be Prepared

The Interview

Please come prepared with questions. Do you have any questions? What do you want to learn about us? What do you want to know about the school? Do you have questions about the country?

 

Interviews can be scary. You get nervous. You really want the job and you start to feel like you can’t it after a few rejections or when the school ghosts you. But really interviews should just be the time you let who you naturally are shine. I have found the more relaxed and open I was in an interview, I got along and understood administration better and worked better with them. The interview process should be looked at as a dating prospect. You both need to like each other for the dates and eventually a marriage to continue. In the international circuit, once you don’t like a school or a school doesn’t like you, the job change happens quickly.

 

 

Being mentally prepared with questions is ideal. Peter and I write all the questions we want answering. We make sure we at least have 15 questions ready. Sometimes, the school answers most of them but you have enough to seem intelligent, prepared and that you equally care about furthering this relationship.

Continue reading “Questions to Ask in Interviews?- Be Prepared”

Teaching in Venezuela- The Good, The Insane, The Danger


I will miss Venezuela when I leave in June. However, protests, economic disaster, tires burning as road blocks, and the fear of being robbed will not be missed.

 

To say the least, my two years teaching in Venezuela have been exciting. I had a near mugging experience at 7:00 AM waiting for the school bus to drive up the hill to take me to school. I was worried about my fiance who was misdiagnosed and the medicine that we found made his health worse not better. I had the class labeled, “the worst in elementary.” I had a student write “Miss Kristina es punta,” on a falta lleve form which is a reflection form given to the Ministery of Education and child services here. I had my card rejected a bunch of times after waiting 1 or 2 hours for food.

Although it feels like Venezuela handed me a terrible hand, there are so many awesome memories too. It feels like sometimes you need to take 5 bad things in Venezuela for the one magically, awesome life experience to happen.

I got free cake and shots at a bar when I was trying to ask if it was appropriate for me to buy shots for another table (because it was a lady’s 50th birthday party). I went on my first yacht on a girls weekend and got a ton of sun and swimming in crystal blue waters. Also, got to see dolphins up close! I attended a beautiful dinner with my best friend Daniela and her amazing husband. The chef was amazing! I went to my first Marine Ball. I went to a Marine House Party. I got to travel through Belize, Curacao, Cuba, and Brasil. I become closer to my finance and got engaged in our favorite steakhouse restaurant.

Why Don’t I just Leave?

Every placement will hand you a deck of cards. You will have great moments and you will have terrible moments. Venezuela, if you make dollars, has many possibilities to great moments but you need to keep an open mind through all the terrible moments. Empathy really affects you in Venezuela. You learn quickly that the majority of the country is struggling, yet you can pop to the steakhouse and get a delicious meal for two, including drinks, for $30 dollars. But that same $30, is one person’s monthly salary. INSANE!

ed2go

My finance also got extremely sick at the end of last year. The lack of resources doesn’t hit you until someone you love needs medicine and medicine is just not there. Americans take medication for granted. Yes, America has a flawed system. The hit TV show, where a teacher turns meth dealer to pay his medical bills, highlights the flawed system we have. But, I couldn’t just throw $300 dollars at someone to make Peter get his medicine tomorrow. I had to rely on strangers willing to give up a part of prescription that they traveled to Miami for or the people that traveled to Colombia in order to have the medications. I had to rely on the generosity of others. Thank God Venezuelans are very generous people.

The locals is a huge reason why I did not just pack all my bags and live once Peter was so ill. They were so helpful and really go me through the tough time of spending 3 hours daily finding a medicine that was nowhere to be found. They spent hours talking to me and visiting Peter and me in the hospital. I was an emotional mess and they made sure I got time to spend it with Peter. I love the locals here.

 

The TakeAway

Find out as much information about the country you are moving to. Find out about the culture. Find out about the current economic climate. Find out about how the government is run. Find out about the weather. Find out what American stores exist in the new country. Find out which foods you can find and which one’s you can’t. Find out how banks work and how you pay cell phone bills. Ask about any information. There are so many horrible news stories about Venezuela but living here I can create an equal amount of happy stories. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask to talk to teachers there. Ask to talk to local teachers there. Ask why the teachers before left. Gather as much information before you decide if the school or country is right for you.

 

I love and adore my experiences in Venezuela but I am glad I am leaving now.

Want to be a blogger and earn extra income? Join in on the fun!

Best Free Website Creators- Teacher Website Platforms

You Need a Classroom Website for the Parents


How many teachers out there have heard this sentence from the administration? I bet everybody. Well on the international school circuit, the administration will say this statement a lot but also provide no real support or system. I have worked at three schools that wanted a classroom website. None of them purchased a platform the whole school uses. All of them, wanted me to update parents on this website.
TIMESAVERS for TEACHERS.com specializes in printable, often-used classroom forms, report card comments, spelling activities, practical teacher tools, worksheets and downloadable teaching materials designed to save teachers valuable time.

What Do I Use?

I have used many three websites to create a classroom website. I will compare and contrast all three. The main question you may need to ask is what is the purpose of the web page. Is it to inform parents? Is it for students to use themselves and achieve learning? Is it so you can have virtual school when the country you are working for goes into a revolution? Either way here is the three I have used.

1. Wealthy Affiliate

This website uses SiteRubix to give free domains and a domain platform. With a free subscription, you have two free websites. As a teacher, free always sounds great. All the free websites are clean and crisp and you can do so much added to pages and posts in your WordPress website.

You can create posts and pages that fall into Categories. For example, if I were making my classroom website, I would want homework, newsletters, calendar or reminders, helpful tips, program recommendations(if you want to earn money on commissions), classroom websites, student writing center, class pictures, classroom curriculum, and conferences. These categories will extend to pages and posts that you can link to a category. This makes it easy for parents and students to navigate.

During times of virtual school, the teacher can take screen shots of math problems or upload documents to share with the class.

Essentially, on Wealthy Affiliate, your free domain website can possibly earn you a bit of cash if you affiliate yourself to teacher and parent resources for education. This is easily done and I would be glad to show and help you.

2. Wix

Wix also offers a free platform. You can add just as much however you do not get the option of categories. Wix can be daunting because it gives too many options and also because if you are not OCD with your creation of a Wix website it can look sloppy.

For virtual school, I had a few parents contact me because they were confused how to retrieve documents. Quite frankly, it was a headache. However, I really like this site if the main purpose is for the students. You can make it look extremely kid friendly. Just apparently, not adult friendly.

 

3. Google Websites

Many schools use a google platform and you can create google websites. I found this platform the most confusing, the most challenging and quite frankly a boring website. I do not think it is user-friendly and it requires a lot of work to look decent.

I used this website for about 3 months and gave up. I switched to Wix and now I am happy as can be using wealthy affiliate.

 

 

Conclusion

Even if your end goal is to make a beautiful website to inform parents and upload homework, Wealthy Affiliate has a place for you. You can sign up for free and Course One gets you set up to make a beautiful website. There are so many people on the platform to help answer questions. And maybe in the future, you would want to try to monetize a website. Whether you want to earn extra income or create a free clean website, choose Wealthy Affiliate is great. Wix is a close second. Google Websites give me a headache and make me want to cry.

Want to be a blogger and earn extra income? Join in on the fun!

How to Teach English In China- Simple First Steps

“Mom, I am moving to China.”

I said this sentence to my poor mother one morning in May, about 7 years ago. I have not lived in the United States of America since my first move.

“Are you nuts? Kristina, please tell me you are kidding!”

I spent the whole night before researching different ways I can get to China. I used WorldTeach but there are plenty of over websites that offer a quality service.

How Should I Teach English?

While I worked in China, I always wanted 90 percent of my lessons having students speak. I usually liked showing a funny cartoon to get the kids laughing. Next, I would teach 5-8 new vocabulary words. Afterward, we play a game. I have the game modeled before we start. Finally, the students will have a normal conversation with a partner trying to use the vocabulary.

Let Me See That In Action?!

Transportation

Key Vocabulary words: Train, Bicycle, Car, Truck, Bus, Limo, Moped, Motorcycle

I show these words with pictures via a powerpoint.

I supply a few sentence starters.

“Today, I came to school on a/the _______________.”

“I need to get my ______ cleaned.”

“My ______ needs to go to the shop. It is broken.”

“I need to ride the _________.”

“I took my ________ to work.”

They practice copying my sentences and putting in the different vocabulary words is extremely beneficial.

 

GAME: If I am teaching a smaller class, I enjoy playing memory. The students match a picture and the word. For more advanced students, I have them use the word in a sentence. I give extra sweets if they make their own sentences.

Another game which I found useful and fun is called hot potato. You play hot potato as normal. However, when you stop the music, whoever has the ball or “potato,” needs to use a vocabulary in the sentence.

For more advanced learned, I enjoyed playing 21 questions. I gave them a list of potential questions and ten to fifteen minutes to think of some more questions. They asked and tried to guess which key vocabulary word I was thinking about. As the students improved, I had students come up and pick the secret word.

As you can see, I just take basic games that we love to play and add a spin of language with it. The students in China highly enjoy learning through interactive methods. I know from experience, mainly older teachers are still using drill-and-kill methods and it is very hard for the children to love school.

TIMESAVERS for TEACHERS.com specializes in printable, often-used classroom forms, report card comments, spelling activities, practical teacher tools, worksheets and downloadable teaching materials designed to save teachers valuable time.

 

Would You Go Back Again?

In a heartbeat! There are some flaws in rural China, but I loved the celebrity status in these parts you get. Remember, many Chinese people have never seen or interacted with a foreigner, so it is very intriguing to them. I had many children asks me for pictures in supermarkets.  However, when I was in Beijing, no one cared that I wasn’t Chinese.

PROS
  • Interaction with Chinese students
  • Fun life experiences
  • Can save money
  • Living in another completely different part of the world
  • Locals are extremely friendly
  • Locals love when you try to learn Mandarin
CONS
  • In smaller cities, children use the street as a bathroom
  • Squatty potties
  • Loud spitting noises
  • Personal Space Issues

Ways To Get You To China

  1. Worldteach
  2. TeachAnywhere
  3. TIEonline
  4. TeachAway
  5. Search Associates
  6. Impact Teachers
  7. Ready to Teach
  8. Premier TEFL
  9. Love TEFL

 

Recruitment Agencies Worry Me, What Else Can I Do?

Other ways is to google for bilingual and international schools in China.

For example, these are the international schools in Beijing. I took this list from Wikipedia.

I sometimes research a city I want to teach at and apply directly to the school. Most of these schools will ask to apply through other means such as TIEonline or other application processes. During the interview process, you can tell a lot about a school if they are forward with the package and information they provide you.

 

Would You Go To China?

Want to be a blogger and earn extra income? Join in on the fun!

 

 

International Teachers Vs. English Teacher

International Teacher vs. English Teacher- Which is Better?


 

Quite frankly, the first question is are you already a certified teacher? If yes, being an International Teacher is a better opportunity. The different between an English Teacher (usually just teaching Oral English Literacy) and an International Teacher is skill and training. You need significantly less training to go abroad and teach English. While to be an International Teacher you need the same training as you do to teach in the United States or Britain.

 

Teaching English Abroad

What Do You Need

Teaching abroad requires a lot more than a checklist. It requires a mindset. You are a jet setter. You want to see the world. Teaching abroad can be a great way to earn while you take a gap year or a new career path.

  • TEFL certificate
    • A way around getting a certificate is to join the program WorldTeach. They did not require any experience. This is a volunteer opportunity. The year-long placement pays you enough to buy food. If you choose a summer program you pay to attend. However, they do a little training at the beginning of each session. Year-long placements receive longer training. My training in the summer sessions was two days. The supervisor of each placement has experience working in that country. So they can help explain what is going on and help you create lessons.
    • If you want to get paid, you need to earn a TEFL. This requires some studying! Are you ready? Costs are around 300 to 500 dollars. TeachAway, another program that gets English Teachers abroad offers a course before they send you to foreign destinations. (Another post will come soon with possible certification and courses offered online.
  • Visas: You will need a visa for whichever country you choose
    • You will also need a Federal Background Checks (the date should be after the letter the company or school invited you),
    • health checks with a doctor’s note for approval, and your vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Valid Passport (at least for 6 months- usually to obtain a Visa)
  • Picking A Country
    • Europe Problems
      • You are usually an Au Pair
      • Want many years of experiences
      • Openings are hard to find
    • Realistic Expectations
      • Asian countries (The Far East)
      • South Korea treats English teachers the best.
      • Middle Easter Countries pay ver well too. (Make sure you get accommodations)
  • Year-long contracts available
  • Teaching local population


Continue reading “International Teachers Vs. English Teacher”

I Have No Friends, Why?- Making Friends as an Adult

Loneliness…


It is a funny business. Since working overseas, I found being by myself is one of hardest barriers to overcome.  You want to build long lasting friendships. You want to feel included and part of the group. You want to feel like you belong. You want to fee like people truly care about you. Sometimes these feelings don’t manifest in real life. You find yourself with no friends. You find yourself not being invited. You find yourself being the outsider looking in. Finally, you find yourself questioning if people care and like you.

Good news is you can change this with your mindset.

In an earlier post, I wrote how you need to think if you would be friends with this person back home and need to know the difference between friendships that will develop further vs. a friendship for the season.

Signs to Look For- Making and Building Friendship

The friendship seems too perfect.

You have a 15 percent shot, he/she is your best friend. 15 percent shot they may be your nothing to you. Finally, the other 60 percent chance will be just an okay friend. Continue reading “I Have No Friends, Why?- Making Friends as an Adult”

Overcome Homesickness Abroad- Skype Saved My Life

 

I Miss My Friends Back Home.


When you start working abroad, you are exposed to many people and new cultures. The initial thinking is to compare everyone you meet to your best friend. You know, the person who has been through everything with you! Some people met this person in elementary school. Those people are lucky ducks! But eventually, most social people have a best friend.

 

I had a very strange experience because I really didn’t meet my best friends until college or university. After graduation, everyone moves back to their hometowns. So I always felt that I was never truly missing a lot being away during the school year.

 

The school year hits. You see new faces. You put a brave face on and try to build friendships. I learned the hard way that friendships are not just built because we work at the same school. Friendships are not just built because the school put us on the same floor in the same building. But I also learned some of my “bestest” friends are those I meet while working abroad. They inspired me and changed my life. Continue reading “Overcome Homesickness Abroad- Skype Saved My Life”

Review of World Teach

World Teach was a fantastic experience. I was humbled by fundraising. I was humbled while working in China. And at the end of my month journey, I told my supervisor, “Get me a job and I will come back!”

World Teach was very helpful getting you information. They were a great program to get your feet wet. I would recommend a summer program first to anyone unsure if they should international teach. Summer programs usually cost the volunteer money. However, I enjoyed the process of fundraising. It challenged me. I hate begging for money and I did not want to feel like I was doing that. Summer programs also last a shorter amount of time. I never missed home during the time of the summer program. So this could be a great step if someone is unsure they will like working in a foreign country with new friends. Continue reading “Review of World Teach”