Career Advice Job Market Trend Report

Kellett School seeks 'techno-tutors'

Hong Kong is seeing a growing job market for educators, from primary school all the way to college level, as opportunities open up with the establishment of new schools and the expansion of existing ones.

Kellett School, the British international school in Hong Kong whose main campus is in Pok Fu Lam, is building a second campus in Kowloon Bay, ready to receive students in September 2013. The move will allow Kellett to launch an additional primary school section and increase its secondary section, temporarily based in Shau Kei Wan, and offer through-train education up to A-levels.

The new campus will boast outdoor gardens, playground, art and drama studios, a performance auditorium and sport venues, including a six-lane indoor swimming pool.

“Currently, we have 145 staff members, including all teaching, assistant, administration and support staff. When the Kowloon Bay campus is fully operational, the total number will be approximately 220,” says Kellett’s principal, Ann McDonald.

The school currently teaches students from four to 15 years old. It will be recruiting about 30 teaching staff to handle students from early years and primary stage through to secondary in most subject areas, and who also have experience in teaching A-levels. Kellett usually looks within Hong Kong before exploring overseas talent, but positions are advertised both locally and internationally.

The basic requirements are native-level English fluency, deep knowledge of the English national curriculum the school teaches, and minimum work experience of two years.

The school’s mission is to promote a “love of learning and confidence for life” by providing students challenge, offering them opportunity and giving them responsibility.

“When we look for teachers, we look for a teaching pedigree. They themselves should have a good, well-rounded education, academic qualifications and teaching track record in good schools that would share similar values to ours,” McDonald says.

Teachers should have lots of personality, which helps them make an impression on children and to stand out. They should also be good communicators, equally well-versed in connecting with children and with parents.

Although teachers often have to work on their own, they also have to be team players and work well in a group when preparing the year’s planning, attending school camps, as well as on other occasions. Social maturity and resilience are also necessary.

IT skills are also essential. “Kellett is well-resourced with high investment in information and communication technology. Our constantly evolving and innovative use of learning technologies prepares our students for the 21st century,” McDonald says.

Consequently, teachers need to be computer-literate and able to work on a laptop, iPad, interactive whiteboard, as well as use a digital camera and digital video. New hires receive a comprehensive induction both to Kellett and Hong Kong. A performance management protocol helps identify teachers’ professional development needs and career development opportunities.

Kellett offers a wide range of professional development opportunities. “The greater the investment, the more [the teachers] give back,” McDonald says

The school invites speakers who are leaders in their field and does workshops with teachers in class. It is also a member of the Federation of British Schools in South East Asia and East Asia, which offers a strong professional development framework and good further-education courses. It is particularly useful for teachers who teach some rare subjects and have no immediate colleagues in the same school.

“They can talk across countries, hold workshops and travel to meet up,” McDonald says, explaining that some teachers recently travelled to Suzhou for a series of presentations, and see the school in action. On their return, they introduced new practices they had learned there.

The number of support staff at Kellett is also growing incrementally, and more staff – such as teaching assistants, administration and ancillary staff – will be recruited next year. Candidates should be comfortable with change, because the opening of the new school will bring a lot of changes, McDonald adds.