At Teacher Horizons, our community is at the center of everything we do. During these tough times, we have been re-enforcing our online platform, to make it a true virtual home for both teachers and schools. We are incredibly proud to introduce you to your new home from home, in the hope that it makes the experience of global teaching an ever more connected, collaborative and supported one.
Our CEO Alex Reynolds talks to us about the journey we’ve been on and what it all means.
Editor: This is an exciting new chapter for Teacher Horizons, what’s the drive behind it?
Alex: Our vision was always to build a ‘home’ for international teachers and schools, which means doing so much more than finding jobs for people and filling vacancies.
‘Real and long-lasting connections’
Building a ‘Home’ meant creating an active community, where real and long lasting connections are made, experiences are shared and lessons can be learnt, directly from each other. With Covid, having access to that kind of a community, online, has never been more valuable, so this felt like exactly the right time to elevate our functionality and call out our brand philosophy.
Editor: How does community building work in practice?
Alex: Teacher Horizons was built by the community, it’s always been ‘by educators, for educators’ and today is no different with over 3,000 international schools and 270,000 members ‘co-creating’ our platform. Our job is to get schools and teachers to contribute and update as much as they can, increasing the number of first person accounts and the depth of insight available.
‘Teacher Horizons was built by the community’
Our commitment is to make sure that the input is clear, transparent and constructive; all of the input is attributed to its author and none of our systems support anonymity. We do this because transparency is one of our core values and because we want to ensure that the entire international education community benefits from sharing feedback.
Editor: What has changed to make this process easier?
Alex: We have now doubled the amount of information that schools can submit to their profile pages. We are also actively encouraging better quality images and video footage. We want schools to highlight the positives, the challenges and everything in between, so that our teachers get an honest and full picture of the school.
For teachers, we have created some exciting new initiatives that we hope will make sharing easier and the information shared, more comprehensive.
Firstly there is a new ‘community’ section on each school page full of insider tips provided by teachers on lifestyle queries like family life, accommodation, integration etc.
‘I really like that there is so much more information now – the number of overseas teachers hired annually, turnover, whether they accept newly qualified teachers, benefits breakdown, teaching hours, FAQs… it is invaluable information for candidates’
Secondly, we have a new Teacher Ambassador programme, where one teacher in each school represents the global community and will actively encourage colleagues to share their experience of working at the school. Additionally schools can also encourage their teachers to contribute.
We also have a new SLT page that we are really proud of, it allows senior leadership to get more information about the school they are considering. This includes free advice from experienced leaders and transparent, detailed information on thousands of schools.
Editor: How does the new look reflect your vision ?
Alex: Well, firstly a thank you is in order, our re-design was only possible with the contributions, ideas and feedback that came from the community, so thank you!
When it comes to the overall aesthetic, every detail, from the in-motion swallows, to a fresh depth of perspective and richer colors throughout, has been considered to create warmth, invitation and connection for the community.
We chose the swallow as our new mascot because swallows are free-spirited, migratory birds who live in communities and create homes across the globe. Their arrival is also a symbol of good fortune in some cultures. We thought they were an elegant representation of our community of schools and teachers around the globe.
And perhaps most importantly, our new layout offers a more intuitive navigation system signposted with bold graphics and visual information systems.
And this is just phase one – there’s so much more to come.
Editor: How else are you serving our community?
Alex: We want to be able to support inspirational education institutions, no matter their status or income, so we donate 10% of our annual profits to educational charities. Currently, we are supporting See Beyond Borders, an award-winning education NGO bringing educational reform to Cambodia. Additionally and on a case by case basis, we can also offer pro bono advertising, advice or teaching support.
Editor: Is there anything you want to leave us with?
Alex: As we have grown over the last decade, we have kept a tight hold on our startup spirit and a fierce commitment to serving our community in the very best way we can. That means we must continually learn and continually evolve and for that we need you, our community.
‘We need you.’
Please continue to share your invaluable international teaching experiences, so that together we can build a place for you to call home.
Got some great tips or info to share about an international school you’ve worked at? Contribute your answers now and help us grow our community!