Seeking: English Language Learning Support Teacher for Essential English Program

July 18th, 2016 by Tsukuba International School | Permalink

Current status of this position: position filled

Tsukuba International School develops critical thinkers and lifelong learners by providing opportunities for inquiry, creativity, and discovery, where respect for self, others and the environment is a core value.

TIS is an IB World School authorized to implement the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB). We are a candidate school for the Diploma Programme (DP) and we are currently working toward gaining authorization to offer the DP from August 2017. (Note that candidate status does not guarantee that authorization will be granted.) Our students range from age 3 to 18.

We are seeking an English language learning support teacher to start in August 2016. The successful candidate will lead the “Essential English Program”, a multi-grade class of students who would otherwise not be able to access our programs due to a lack of proficiency in the English language. The students in the program will be primarily in the upper elementary grades (i.e. 8-10 years old). The teacher will also offer support and guidance to teachers of students in all grades who are not fully proficient in English. This may include offering professional development sessions that will help teachers improve their ability to support students who are not proficient in English. The English language learning support teacher will provide after-school lessons (i.e. Enrichment) to students in all grades who are not fully proficient in English. The teacher will share additional responsibilities (for example, pastoral care of students, playground supervision, organizing school events) with the other teachers at the school.

As TIS is an IB World School, experienced IB teachers will be given preference, although certified teachers with a strong interest in transdisciplinary studies, collaborative planning, and the International Baccalaureate programmes are encouraged to apply.

Pledge of Non-Discrimination

Tsukuba International School is an equal opportunity educator and employer. We will not discriminate against any student, prospective student, employee, or job applicant on the basis of race, color, gender, nationality, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We will take measures to ensure against such discrimination in all of our services and practices.


The following are non-negotiable credentials for applying for this position.

  • Native English proficiency.
  • University degree in education (preferably with specialization in supporting learning needs) from a country with an English language-based curriculum. (A degree in “Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language” is not sufficient.)
  • Qualifications to teach in a jurisdiction with primarily English-based education. (This means that the candidate must be a certified teacher in a country such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States.)
  • Valid and up-to-date first aid and CPR certifications (or willing to obtain or update certification within a few months of starting)

NOTE: All successful candidates will be required to submit a criminal history background check, or similar, for all countries that they have worked in as a condition of employment.

Range of Experience

We will give preference to candidates with the following kinds of experience.

  • Experience supporting English language learning
  • Experience supporting learning in a school environment
  • Experience supporting learning at various grade levels
  • Experience working within the International Baccalaureate framework
  • Experience working at an international school, or in a multicultural environment
  • Experience with collaborative planning
  • Experience living in Japan, or living abroad

Working Conditions

Salary: based on experience
School Year: Late August to June
Vacation: 10 days paid personal leave, Japanese national holidays, plus fall, winter, spring, and summer vacations
Visa sponsorship: available
Relocation: will pay for flight to Japan (for applicants who are currently residing overseas) and assist in finding accommodations

Please see our page on Tsukuba to learn more about living and working in the city.

Application Process

Submit a resume outlining your education and employment history (including your current position). Attach a one-page cover letter stating why you are interested in this position and what you could contribute to our school. Applicants chosen for interviews will be required to provide contact information for three references, preferably former employers or mentor teachers, and copies of relevant degrees, certificates, and background checks. Applications can be sent by email (preferred) or postal mail. Interviews may take place in person or by web conference. If you have a web camera and a Skype account, please mention that in your cover letter.

Tsukuba International School
Attn: Ms. Shaney Crawford
Kamigo 7846-1
Tsukuba, Ibaraki, JAPAN

Please write: “English Language Learning Support Application” on the envelope.

jobs at tsukuba international school dot org
Please submit your documents as PDF files or in plain text. Use the subject “Learning Support 2016”.

Applications are due by July 31, 2016, but we encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible. Applications will be considered as soon as they arrive and the position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found. We hope to make the final hiring decision by August 1, 2016.

Please note that Tsukuba International School is school where all classes are taught in English, NOT a private company that teaches English conversation lessons to children and adults; therefore, we will only consider applicants who have proper teaching qualifications (i.e. a degree in education, preferably specializing in elementary, middle, or high school education). A TESL/TEFL certificate and/or Bachelor degree in a subject other than Education would not be enough to meet these standards.

Only those candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. Documents that are submitted to the school will not be returned.

We look forward to hearing from you.

From the Principal: Message to our Graduating Classes of 2016

June 23rd, 2016 by Tsukuba International School | Permalink

Tsukuba International School
Graduation Speech
Shaney Crawford, Principal
June 23, 2016

Thank you all for coming today to celebrate the graduation of our kindergarten students into Grade 1, our Grade 5 students into the Middle Years Programme, our Grade 10 students into the high school program, and our first ever graduate of our high school program.

This year, our school has reached an important milestone in completing the construction of this new building that we are sitting in today. This has effectively doubled the size of our school, and this, with the eventual addition of our full high school program, means that we have an even greater responsibility to think about why we are all here, and make sure that we can be confident in sending our graduates into the world.

At our school, we are not only trying to teach you the knowledge that you may need in your future lives, we are also concerned with what kind of people you will become. It is, of course, very important for you to understand who you are, how the world works, and how we organize ourselves. And it is also very important for you to be a caring, open-minded communicator, no matter what your future holds.

I’m afraid, though, that since we hear words like “caring” and “inquirer” all the time, these words sometimes lose their meaning. We can get into the habit of not thinking deeply about ourselves and not really reflecting on our own strengths and weaknesses. For example, you might think that because you lent one of your friends a pencil, and you received a pink card for it, that that confirms that you are caring. And it may be true that you were being caring in that case, but do you also talk about one of your classmates behind her back? Do you shout out answers in class before others have a chance to think? And when someone hurts your feelings, do you try to find ways to hurt them back? If so, then you can’t give yourself full marks for being caring just because you sometimes do nice things.

You may follow the rules during recess soccer games, so you think you are principled. But are you always principled? Do you always do what is right, even if no one is watching? And do you take the time to question what is right? Because you cannot just trust that what you think is right is actually right 100% of the time. Your thoughts about right and wrong come from many experiences that you have had, and other people have had different experiences, so they might have different ideas about what is right and what is wrong. If you do not open yourself to questions about your own beliefs, then you cannot get full marks for being principled.

And if I may digress for a moment, I do think that this problem of assuming that we are right, that we are more principled than other people, plays a part in many of the issues that we face in our global society today, such as intolerance, corruption, and warfare. These are big problems, and they may seem unsolvable, but their solution has to come from all of us being just a little bit more humble, and a little bit more reflective.

We don’t know what kind of person you are trying to become. Are you going to be a scientist, or a politician, or a parent who stays at home to look after your children? Do you need to know to perfect a spaceship so we can fly to other planets, or how to build a water-tight trough out of wood for cows to drink from, or how to teach someone how to sew? We really don’t know. A student once complained to one of our former math teachers that she didn’t understand why she had to learn about a particular concept in math. The teacher said that if she told him all of the things she planned to do in the future, he would promise to teach her only the math that she would need for that. Otherwise, he would just have to make his best guess.

So, here is my best guess. In order for you to find success in the world, and for you to make a positive impact on the world, and therefore, in order for the world to become a better place, you need to become a better person. You need to be more knowledgeable than you are now. You need to be more caring and more principled than you are now. You need to be a better risk-taker, and be more open-minded. Just because you are graduating today, does not mean that you are finished. You, like everyone else in this room, including the other students at our school, the parents, and the teachers, are not a finished product. Today marks the day of your graduation, but I hope it also becomes a day when you reflect deeply on who you are and what you believe in. I cannot tell you what the future has in store for you, but I do hope that by dedicating yourself to lifelong reflection, you will play a part in making our world a better, and more peaceful, place for all people.

From the Student Council President: Message to the School Community Upon Completion of our New School Building

May 22nd, 2016 by Tsukuba International School | Permalink







From the Principal: Message to the School Community Upon Completion of our New School Building

May 22nd, 2016 by Tsukuba International School | Permalink

What if…?
A Dedication to Our New School Building
Tsukuba International School
Shaney Crawford
May 21, 2016

The building that you are standing in today comes at a price. Of course, there was a financial price that we had to pay, and the costs that were borne through the time and effort of people like Hisae Kitazawa, Joanne Handa, Haruo Aizawa, Akira Yokota, Takayoshi Nishitani, the Kano family, the staff of BigBox, and various offices of the Ibaraki Prefectural government. And there was a cost to the environment, as we had to cut down countless trees, destroying the natural habitat of many forest creatures. Was it worth it? How can we guarantee that the value that we give back is larger than the value that we have taken? If we have done all of this and paid this huge cost to graduate students who excel at getting good grades on tests, then we have not made a good investment. No, we need to pay a higher price. We need to graduate respectful students who can be thoughtful stewards of our beautiful planet and who can find ways to work together graciously with all of the people on it: students who know how to try and fail, and try again and again.

Mr. Kano taught me to dream big. I was a volunteer at this school for many years before I started working here and I remember the very lean years. The children didn’t have a building of their own. They didn’t have grounds to play on. The only resources they had were ones that were donated. Mr. Kano looked at the school at that time and saw not what it was, but what it could be. He saw bright, cheerful children and dedicated teachers. He saw a community of parents who cared deeply about the education of their children. And instead of dwelling on the problems, he started to dream. What if…? What would happen if this tiny school of eight children were given a chance? Everything that you see here today, the students, the building, the curriculum, EVERYTHING, came from this one idea. What if…? Mr. Kano thought, “What if I quit my job and dedicated the rest of my life to making an internationally-recognized school here in Tsukuba?” And he didn’t just stop there; he communicated his “What if…?” to many people.

His spoke about his idea to his wife, and the rest of the Kano family, who have been one of the school’s strongest financial backers, and without whose help, guidance, and constant support, none of what you see today would be here. He convinced many notable people to join our board, and those people have been a constant source of knowledge, critical feedback, and wisdom. He was able to communicate the significance of the school to the city and prefectural government, so the budding school could finally be recognized as an asset to the citizens of Tsukuba and Ibaraki. He persuaded teachers to leave their comfortable positions at other, more established schools to gamble on his dream. And he communicated his big idea to parents and students who were eager to share in his vision of a little school in a luscious green forest with a big heart and an enormous dream. That idea, and the telling and retelling of it by all of us since then, is what brings us together today to dedicate this new building to the future of not just our school, but the future of IDEAS and COMMUNICATION, and using them to make the world a better place.

This school, and this building, exist because of ideas. And my dream for this school, and this building, with its science lab, music room, and large assembly room where we are standing today, is that it become the birthplace of a hundred thousand ideas: good and bad, practical and impractical, successful and impossible ideas. There is nothing else that has as much power to change the world as a person with an idea. And so, in payment for the great costs that this building has incurred, I hereby dedicate this building and this school to the FUTURE, to the power of COMMUNICATION, and to great, big, messy, exhilarating IDEAS.

From the Principal: Message to our Graduating Classes of 2015

June 18th, 2015 by Tsukuba International School | Permalink

Tsukuba International School
Graduation Speech
Shaney Crawford, Principal
June 18 2015

Students, Parents, Teachers,

Welcome to the 2015 TIS Graduation ceremony. It gives me great pleasure to say a few parting words to the graduating classes and the students who are leaving our school. Last year, I asked Ms. Kono for some advice about what I should say in my speech. Her advice was that I should say, “Congratulations. Finish!” While I did not choose to follow her advice exactly, I did appreciate her help, so I asked her for some advice about what to say this year. Her response was, “Well done. Finish!”. I am beginning to notice a trend.

Every year I have to come up with a topic for the graduating speech, and every year I wait until I find something that inspires me. This year, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of community. I recently heard a story of a woman who found herself in need of assistance. Her teenage son was late getting home from school and she was worried about him, so she called the police. The police arrived and asked her to call her friends and neighbours and ask them to help look for her son. However, she replied that she didn’t have any friends who lived in the area, and she didn’t know any of her neighbours. She was a single parent, so she had to suffer through this problem by herself and could only rely on strangers for help.

I am happy to report that her son came home and he was fine, but this case makes me very sad. While Japan and other countries are hoping to educate children to be internationally-minded, I wonder if anyone is also thinking about making sure that our students are also community-minded.

I think both are necessary, so what does it mean to be both internationally-minded and community-minded?

Recently I took the Japanese Language Examination (日本語検定). These tests often ask you to fill in the blanks to create compound words. On my test, one question asked me to use the same character twice in a four character compound word. BLANK hito BLANK iro (in English, BLANK people, BLANK colours). The options for answers included the kanji for the numbers 1, 7, 10, and 10,000, and some other kanji that meant “many” or “several”. I hadn’t heard this expression before, I so had to guess.

One person, one colour?
Seven people, seven colours?
Many people, many colours?

All of these answers seemed reasonable to me, but I think the best answer is 10,000 people, 10,000 colours, so I said 「万人万色」(man nin, ban shoku). It seems to do the best job of conveying the idea that it is a good thing that there are lots of people in the world, and we should expect that they will all have different ideas.

Unfortunately, I discovered later that that was not the correct answer. Do you know what the correct answer is? (10 people, 10 colours — juu-nin, to-iro). I have often been told that Canadians exaggerate, so perhaps “10,000 people, 10,000 colours” is the Canadian version of this expression.

Since we are an IB World School, I looked at the IB Mission Statement to see whether it includes both international-mindedness and community-mindedness, and it certainly refers to international-mindedness when it says that it “aims to develop people who will help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect”. Another important point is how it “aims to encourage students to understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right”. I believe that our school is built on this idea, so we are indeed working towards making our students more internationally-minded.

So, what are we doing to make our students more community-minded? Of course, the PYPs have the concept of action, and the MYPs have the concept of service and action. These are both ideas that help our students pay attention to their community. We also have the learner profile, which urges us to be caring, good communicators, and open-minded.

However, one important point is missed, I believe, and that is are we teaching and learning how to build communities? We can be caring and open-minded in communities that already exist, but how do we go about building up new communities?

The world has changed a great deal since the advent of the internet. We can now have communities in both real and virtual space. This means that people can join many different kinds of communities in their lifetimes. However, there will almost definitely come a time in your life when you are — hopefully only temporarily — without a community around you. You might move to a new city, or a new school. You might start university, or a new job. And when you do, what will you do to ensure that you have a community around you? How will you interact with those around you so that you are accepted into an existing community? And if you happen to come to a place — like Tsukuba — where sometimes it can be hard to find a community, what will you do? I hope the answer is clear — you need to make your own community. And you can do that by trying to make connections with the people around you, and bringing those people together under a common cause. You don’t need 10,000 people with their 10,000 colours. You only need two to start. And then each of you need to find two more like-minded people, and so on. Don’t wait for a community to find you, you can become your own community!

Our school is a community, and sometimes we feel like full members of the community, and sometimes we are made to feel like we are not. This is the spot where international-mindedness and community-mindedness intersect. It is all well and good to be open-minded about foreign cultures and ideas, but if you also spend your time gossiping about the people in your immediate community, you are not helping to create a better and more peaceful world. Similarly, if you are only kind to the people you know, and are “cold” to those outside your immediate community, you are not helping to create a better and more peaceful world. International-mindedness and community-mindedness are two sides of the same coin. You need both sides for your coin to have any value in changing the world for the better.

My point today is that there are many different kinds of people in the world, and there are many different kinds of communities that you will find yourself a part of in your lifetime. There will be people in those communities that you don’t particularly get along with. There will be people who you feel you need to compete with. There will be people who are mean to you. What I would like you to think about during these times is the idea that is common in many martial arts. “Respect your opponent”. Many martial arts start with bowing to your opponent because without having someone to fight against, first of all, you can’t play, and second of all, you can’t get better. While I don’t recommend that you think of everyone else in the world as an opponent, I do hope that you consider the need to give everyone their due respect. The people you come into contact with can play an important role in your life, whether you like them or not. Your attitude towards them, by which I mean your behaviour both in front of them, and behind their backs, will determine whether you really are both internationally-minded and community-minded, or whether you just think you are.

Graduates, please accept my challenge to develop both sides of your thinking on this topic. Do not just do a bit of service and action and assume that you have made the world a better place, if you then go and gossip about your friends behind their backs. Your good action towards your community on one hand gets cancelled out by your negative action on the other. If you really do want to make the world a better place, please start by thinking about how you can do a better job of being both internationally-minded and community-minded, and how you can demonstrate that through your everyday actions.

Also, is it okay if we make our new school motto「万人万色」(man nin, ban shoku) ? It may be a Canadian exaggeration, but I think it sounds really nice.

To all of you who are finishing one of our programs, or leaving our school, I would like to say both congratulations and well done.


TIS Main Website

Contact TIS

Kamigo 7846-1
Tsukuba, Ibaraki

Tel/Fax: 029-886-5447 (email)