San Francisco Job Fair

Oh my God, what a big relief it was to finally accept an offer and sign a contract at the ISS San Francisco job fair. I must admit I suffered from many sleepless nights since the unproductive ISS Bangkok job fair, and even more when we realized we didn’t have a choice but make an unscheduled (and expensive) trip to San Francisco. Relatives and friends kept reminding us to keep the faith, that God had something planned for us, and that the right school — the school that will recognize both our talents — is still out there.

After interviewing with schools in China, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia (two schools), Thailand, Vietnam we got a firm offer from Nigeria and a tentative one from a yet-to-be-opened school in Saudi. It was not an easy decision, but we knew right away we made the right choice when the American International School of Lagos promptly began exploring job opportunities for me. By the time we were back in Islamabad three IB courses were already presented for discussion.

So what is the lesson here? As a veteran of five overseas job fairs all I know is every recruitment season seems to be different. We saw the signs when an administrator told us in 2005 to get IB training and certification, because more and more schools were interested only in teachers with IB experience. But last year our superintendent reported there were more openings than candidates. Everyone we talked to seem to agree that this year was definitely belonged to the recruiters — there were more candidates and they could afford to wait until the next fair as fairs were scheduled back to back from January ’till March.

Many of our colleagues had similar experiences. Our friend, a high school AP Biology teacher, said he was “coupled out” at the Bangkok fair when many schools were concentrating only on couples. But even the teaching couples with a lot of overseas teaching experience did not do as well as expected.

So even if this sounds like a cliche, one must never lose faith … and an open mind/attitude, because opportunity does come from the least unlikely places. Hey, aren’t we in Pakistan after all?

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