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Goal: setting up my living room as a professional “skype studio” for the interviews with international schools abroad. Hmmm, my walls are pink, I have a very nosy cat running around. and the interviews will be at night, or very early morning for me because of the time difference. I had made many notes on the schools extra curricular activities, all the abbreviations they could talk about (IB, PYP, etc), things I had to ask them, etc. I stuck those on a cardboard box behind my laptop, so looking at them wouldn’t be too obvious. Me so smart, but obviously looked ridiculous. No picture…ahhhhhh

Power, check. Notes, check. Lighting, check. Password Skype, check. Clothes, check. Hair, check. Alright, let’s go!

Indonesia was the first. Three people sitting there, camera pointed at the first. Brief introduction, which I barely listened to because of my nerves and then he started. “Tell me about yourself”. Ahh, I know this one, easy. “What is your experience with PYP?”, crap, you read my letter right? No experience, but excited to learn, bla bla bla. Next guy. “Why would you fit in at this school?” “Which qualities do you have that fit in with IB learner profile?”. Guy number three. “What would you miss most living here?” “Why did you choose Indonesia?”.  Do you have any questions, Nancy? Yeah, can I bring my cat?

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My beautiful but way too curious cat.

Next day: “We’re sorry to inform you….”

Thailand was number two, about a week after the interview with Indonesia. Not very confident, since I had my first rejection already, but again well prepared. One guy, the principal, sitting in his car. This made me laugh and relax a little. He said it was too noisy in his office with all the kids running around. Perfect, I already like this guy. “Nancy, can you tell me the one child that you will never forget and why?”  I love this question! I had to make sure to not be too excited and babble on about this kid, it’s still an interview. “What do you do besides teaching”. Seriously? He clearly thinks that the personality of a teacher is important, which makes me want to work at that school even more! It was lovely to have a chat with you Nancy, I’ll talk this over with some other people and get back to you. And so he did. A few days later. But sadly, they chose somebody else. He explained that  they needed someone to clean up the mess of another teacher who left mid-term and this other applicant had lots of experience in PYP already, so they went for it. Makes sense, but it still hurts.

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Me in Thailand, really wanted to go back!

Anyways….I kept going. Interview number three, China. 4 am for me, so I was worried about the lighting. I shouldn’t have worried, she only had the audio function on, while I had switched on the video. I still don’t know if she could see me the whole time, but it was horrible listening while smiling to a black screen. She was the recruiter for all Eton house schools in south China and she talked about the vision of the school, the procedure of getting hired and the benefits and salary when working for EH. “Are you familiar with the Reggio philosophy? “ yes, I….and she went on. I guess I talked for about a minute and she filled in the rest of the 20 minutes. I would be contacted by the principal of the school soon, if I agreed to these terms. Ehmm, yes?

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So the final skype interview was with one of the investors of the school and the principal. The school would open in September, but I should come in February to help set up. The principal I hardly saw or heard. Her English was quite poor and she looked nervous. The investor talked a lot about his own experiences, and asked about me living abroad before. It was a very relaxed conversation in which I wasn’t sure what the purpose was. “It was very nice to meet you Nancy and I hope to see you in real life soon”. Wait…what? When we hung up, I had no idea if I got the job or what was going to happen now. This was my first encounter with the Chinese culture although I didn’t realize that at that time.

I was working the next day and there I got an email with the winning words: Welcome to the team!