On the road again…

If you had told me a year ago that I’d be on the cusp of accepting a Librarian job at an international school in China I would have thought you mad.  Yet here I am.lanterns in street

I have had two interviews in the past fortnight, unintentionally in the same city.  Both are great roles – the first qualified librarian for each school.  One has an ESL teaching element (not a terrible idea) and the other is librarian.

Having learned the hard way I made it as clear as I could in both interviews that libraries are my passion and the idea of being forced out of the library to teach in a classroom was Not Cool (plenty of other posts on that and when I finally tidy all my blogs into one place I’ll put a link).  Who am I kidding I will NEVER be that organised 🙂

Anyway, to my delight both principals understood completely and are interested in me because of my library background.  The second went on to say the current teacher in the library was not library qualified and desperate to get back to the classroom, so he was really looking for a librarian.

Now the tricky part of weighing up each position.

School 1

Pros

  • small
  • American
  • Montessori
  • younger principal, seems very easy-going and potentially easy to get along with; passionate about the school and what they are trying to achieve
  • IB accreditation happening this year
  • I have been offered a contract

Cons

  • small, which means they are the Wild Card – there is a chance they could be as disorganised as Ningbo
  • salary is lower than when I worked in Ningbo, 4 years ago before Masters and any library experience. Although salary is not top of my priorities, it is awfully disappointing to move down the pay ladder.
  • ESL classes – 10 periods per week. They have not indicated the format these will take, but it is already up to 10 hours away from the library each week – it is a slippery slope.

I agonised over the awful “please reconsider pay” email, but it had to be done. To his credit the principal seems to have pulled as many strings as he can to increase the pay, but it is still below my Ningbo earnings.

School 2

Pros

  • smallish
  • part of an education foundation who have schools across China. This means a ready network of other librarians, and potential for the future in terms of a reference and possible future jobs
  • this also indicates they will have a better payscale. The principal noted teachers are paid the same whether in Shanghai or Qingdao. I imagine they would struggle to appoint teachers to their Shanghai school if there were offering the same or less than School 1
  • full-time library role, no teaching
  • they are specifically looking for somebody to develop the library curriculum, and improve the use of the library as a teaching space, including already having an extension earmarked
  • Apple school. I am not sure how the Apple Educator program works in China, but this is something I have had my eye on for a while; it means my networks with apple educators in Australia could be put to use – getting them over to offer PD
  • Professional development: the school advertise this as a selling point for teachers and TBH I believe this school is far more likely to have the resources to support PD than School 1

Cons

  • Well I haven’t seen the library of School 1 but the School 2 library did look really small considering it is a primary and secondary library for potentially 800 students; saying that, the principal did mention an extension (which sounds like it will be an IT room)
  • Although the principal was great, I get the sense he will not be as laid back as the principal at School 1.  I know I work better when I am given a bit of freedom, so this is a slight concern
  • At this point I still have 3 steps to go in the recruitment process, although apparently I am the best candidate ‘so far’

It is a very difficult decision.  I think I am leaning towards School 2, predominantly because the role is entirely in the library – after my previous experiences I have learned anything less does not work out well in the end!

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