ISCommunity Milestones

Over This Summer We’ve Had 2000 New Comments For a Total of 22000!

August 19, 2017


It is hard to imagine that our website now has over 22000 comments!

Comments

Here is a bit of history about how many comments that we have had on our website since it started back in January 2011:

0 Comments – January 2011
71 Comments – May 2011
939 Comments – September 2011

2147 Comments – January 2012
4578 Comments – May 2012
5965 Comments – September 2012

6767 Comments – January 2013
8004 Comments – May 2013
9109 Comments – September 2013

10018 Comments – January 2014
10689 Comments – May 2014
11455 Comments – Sept 2014

12981 Comments – Feb 2015
15023 Comments – Nov 2015
16017 Comments – Feb 2016

18000 Comments – Sept 2016
19000 Comments – Dec 2016
20200 Comments – March 2017

We would like to formally thank our community of members (now at almost 10700!) for submitting all of the comments on our website.  The more comments there are, the more informed our members will be.  Being well-informed is especially important when you are recruiting and really needing to know specific information about the international schools you are considering. International School Community’s goal is to be the ‘go-to’ website for international school teachers!

Want to view all these 22000+ comments?  Check out our Browse All Comments page (viewable by basic and premium members).

Comments

Got a few minutes, login to our website today and submit some comments about the schools you know about! For every 10 comments you submit, one free month of premium membership will be added to your account!

Are you an international school teacher that wants to submit some comments but currently don’t have premium membership? Consider being a Mayor of a school you know about.  Check out the details here.  All Mayors get unlimited premium membership to our website!

We definitely would like to thank all of our current 280+ Mayors for their role in helping us get to 22000+ total comments on our website.

Celebrate!!!

continue reading

Comment Topic Highlight

How Is The New Teacher Orientation at Your School?

August 12, 2017


Starting at a new school can be scary and make you quite nervous, but it can also be extremely exciting and life enriching. To help new teachers experience more of the positive side of moving to work at a new international school, the staff and administration need a clear plan to how they will induct these new teachers to their school, routines and educational program.

orientation

The ISC blog has discussed in detail the many “Must-Haves” that international schools should consider when designing their new teacher orientation program.  Pretty easy to remember ones include just getting a thorough tour of the school campus when you first arrive at the school and an on-time pick up from an administrator when you first arrive at the airport with all your bags.

But new teacher orientation actually starts way before your arrive at the airport. One strategy is to set up the new teacher with a resource/contact person that they can ask all their burning questions to from the time they sign their contract. Administrators don’t necessarily have tons of time to be replying back to the sometime long-winded emails from their incoming staff. Having a (sometimes volunteer) contact person for the new teacher to communicate with can be quite helpful and efficient.

orientation

But once the new teachers arrive at the school and in their new country, there are even more things that can help and guide those new teachers into a more positive and exciting experience versus once that is more nerve-wracking and full of endless unknown surprises.  A few other things international schools might choose to do during their plan for new teacher orientation are to give all the new teachers a starter bag of groceries for their new apartment, a dinner outing with all the new teachers and the school administration, and a timely reimbursement of the settling-in money benefit and moving allowances.

It all sounds very easy when you just look at the simple things international schools could do to make a smooth transition for their newly arriving teachers, but we all know that challenges can arise and many things don’t go necessarily as planned. But when a new teacher orientation committee and the school administration are effectively working together and being well-planned in advance, the experience of all the new teachers will most likely be great and much appreciated!

155595-linebreak

Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new teacher orientation, so you can stay the most informed as possible. There are 69 comments (premium access only) that have the word “orientation in them, and a total of 98 comments (August 2017) have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in the comment topic called – “Details about new teacher orientation.”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“There is a native English speaker and a native Turkish speaker who run orientation which takes place one week before returning teachers report. You might have dinner in an administrator’s apartment, have a tour of archaeological sites in Ankara, be driven to IKEA or be taken to a nearby market. You will be taken to visit a nearby hospital and to the bank on campus to set up avbouts, to the phone company to get cell service set up, and to the clinic for a medical exam.” –Bilkent Laboratory & International School (Ankara, Turkey)128 Total Comments

“There is an initial few days for new teachers before all staff return after summer break. It is a decent mix of philosophy and practical things, with a day trip into Beijing thrown in for good measure. It can be long, as all our meetings can be, since it is done in both languages. The school tries to get all new staff to arrive just a few days before the beginning of school so all the bank account, cell phone, etc. details can be handled as a group. If you arrive before this ‘group’ session, you are on your own. Message the mayor (me) if you are in this situation.” – Keystone Academy (Beijing, China)48 Comments

“It is okay. They take you to some good restaurants and you get to bond with the new teachers. They are understanding of the new move and give you time to take care of whatever you need to take care of. They need to do something with the Itau, bank day so that teachers can get set up with online banking that same day instead of having to wait and figure it out on your own.” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay)107 Total Comments

“New teacher orientation is very unorganized. Many times you will be told to work on lesson plans and setting up rooms during the 2 week orientation. If you are given a grade level, you will not be told how many students to prepare for until often the first day of school. On the first day of school you will often receive your list of students names.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand)48 Comments

“There is a week of new teacher orientation before returning teachers commence. During this time, new staff are assisted in setting up bank accounts and doing the mandatory health check as well as more formal aspects of induction into the school. There is usually at least one social activity.” – Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)58 Comments

“Very little help is offered to new teachers, although the primary school seems much more organized that the high school. The school has a very ‘sink or swim’ approach (there was no curriculum or resources in place when I arrived).” – Beijing Huijia Private School (Beijing, China)32 Comments

continue reading

Information for Members

Comment Contest + Back 2 School Special: 48h Free Premium Access for All Members

August 4, 2017


Are you an International School Community member that wants to submit some comments but currently doesn’t have premium membership?

contest

This 48 hours free promotion will expire on 6 August, 2017 (11:59pm PST)

48 hours of Premium Membership Promotion: During this long weekend only, all members can enjoy free premium access to our website!  That means that all members are able to access all the different pages on our website (e.g. the school profile pages, the member profiles, our comments search page, etc.).

Don’t forget to submit comments during this time (which are done so anonymously, by the way), though, because now is your chance to also earn some free premium membership. You get one free month of premium membership automatically added to your account for every 10 comments you submit (there is no limit!).

PLUS, there is a Comment Contest going on right now where you can win an amazon.com gift card! The top three comment-submitters will win one + one year of premium membership to our website. Check out all the Comment Contest details here.

FYI: There are 65 comment topics on each school profile page. If you submit a comment in all 65 comment topics for the school you currently work at or have worked at in the past, you will have earned yourself six months of premium membership! You will then continue to have premium membership once this promotion finishes.

We want give back to the members who participate and share what they know. For it is them that keep our website up to date and full of useful comments!

membership

After you submit some comments, feel free to check out the other things you can do with premium membership access:
1. Leave a comment on a school profile page wall; maybe post a vacancy your school has right now.
2. Take a look at our compare school salaries page. (639 schools with 936 comments about salaries are listed on this page.)
3. Make a search on our Comments Search page. Find the specific comments you’d like to read about, faster!
4. Do unlimited school profile page searches and check out our easier to use/updated school results page.
5. Contact one of our 10611+ members and use our Member Search feature to find someone to network or ask a question to.

continue reading

Information for Members

‘Back to School’ Comment Contest: Top 3 Comment-Submitters Win Amazon Gift Cards!

August 1, 2017


Following the good response we got during our last comments contest in January 2017, we would like to announce that we are offering a new contest this August 2017 as an incentive for our members to submit MANY comments.

contest

Many of our members want more comments on more of the schools on our website, especially now as many people are just about to begin a new school year. In turn, why not have a strong push for more comments?!

The top 3 members that submit the most comments (during this August 2017 contest) will win prizes!

contestThose luckily three members will receive an amazon.com or amazon.co.uk gift card + 1 free year of premium membership to our website (for each winner).

1st place gets a USD 35 gift card (or 28 GBP)
2nd place gets a USD 25 gift card (or 20 GBP)
3rd place gets a USD 15 gift card (or 12 GBP)

So that ALL International School Community members can participate in this contest, here is a coupon code for 2 days of free premium membership: AUGCOMM16 You can enter this code here.

Contest Rules:
• Submit as many comments as you can about all the schools you know about.

•  You need to submit at least 30 comments to be eligible for this contest and there are 65 comment topics on each school profile page. So if you’ve worked at three international schools, you can potentially submit over 195 comments!

• You will have one week to submit your comments. The contest lasts from 01 August, 2017 (Tuesday) to 07 August, 2017 (Monday, ending at 23:59 PST).  Only comments submitted during this time period will count in the contest. Winners will be notified by email on 9-10 August, 2017 (they will not be announced publicly).

Mayors are also able to participate in the contest!

Things to remember about submitting comments:
• Keep your comments useful and informative for other members. Each comment must contain at least one full sentence (no single-word/short-phrase comments are allowed). The more details, the better.
• All submitted comments on the school profile pages on our website are done so 100% anonymously.
• Repeated comments (submitting the same comment on multiple school profile pages or on the same school profile page) are not allowed.
• Copying and pasting another member’s comments is also not allowed.
• Leaving multiple comments in the same comment topic is not allowed (that is, if the comment dates are within the same two weeks of the contest).
• Comments submitted on the School Walls don’t count in the contest.
• Don’t work at an international school right now? You can still submit comments in the City Information and Travel Information sections of the city you currently live in now or have lived in previously.
For every 10 comments you submit, you will still automatically get 1 month of premium membership added to your account.

contest

So, who will win this contest??  How many comments will the top three members submit??  Good luck!

continue reading

An Insider's Story

International School Libraries: An Insider’s Story

July 27, 2017


Let’s daydream for moment, shall we?

A successful international school library is the center of the school, both physically and metaphorically. It is the hub of student learning, active and buzzing with the newest technologies, inquiry-driven investigations, maker space or STEM stations, and thousands of books available on any and all topics that could occur to members of the school community. The Teacher Librarian is an active part of the teaching community, integrating information literacy skills into the curriculum and supporting the teachers and staff in using best practices. He or she is passionate about all things literary and encourages a love of reading in students, matching reluctant readers with the perfect book to awaken their inner bookworm.

libraries

Hey – a girl can dream, can’t she?

Because sometimes the library isn’t at the center of the school, and instead it’s in the basement. (Albeit the basement of an old mansion house.) And sometimes it’s a ‘Learning Commons’ or a “Media Center’ or it’s called-something-else-other-than-a-library. As is the case with most international schools, all international school libraries are not created equal.

I’ve been working as an International School Teacher Librarian for nine years now, and the more colleagues I meet and Facebook groups I join and listservs I read, that idea is drilled home. All libraries are not created equal. Some librarians have multiple assistants, healthy budgets, abundant resources and administrative support. A lot of librarians don’t have any or all of those things. Some libraries are full of amazing resources for their school community, and some are full of dusty old books that are older than I am.

Every library seems to have its issues. Here are a few examples from my own international career:

  • I was offered a job in one library that was hoping I could help it to automate from the old card catalogue to a computer system… in the 21st century!
  • In Barcelona there was one library – and only one librarian – for an entire EC-thru-grade-12 school. (They’ve since hired more people and built a gorgeous new library!)
  • In London there were three libraries and three librarians, but no assistants (which meant it was hard to ever leave the library, and therefore to do much collaboration), small budgets and no windows in my library.
  • In Dar es Salaam I have assistants (which brings along a whole other set of issues), a decent budget, and an elementary counterpart – but it is very difficult to get books into the country through customs and a corrupt governing system.

BUT.

But – each of these libraries has given me opportunities that I didn’t have as a librarian in the USA. I have always had the autonomy and support to make the library a central part of the school and of student learning. I’ve been able to collaborate with amazing teachers, had opportunities to win over reluctant teachers, and been involved with planning exciting interdisciplinary units. The Teacher Librarian role has been a leadership role, seated at the table with other leaders making decisions about what’s best for our students. And I’ve been supported to take leadership roles in the librarian community – to attend great PD, present at international conferences, join professional organizations, and to serve on the ECIS Librarian Special Interest Committee.

When schools in the US are getting rid of librarians, closing libraries, moving away from the written word – these have been blessings that make the rest of the issues worth it.

libraries

If you’re thinking about working in an International School library, do your homework. We are research specialists, after all! Find out about staffing, budgets, PD opportunities, leadership roles, curriculum, attitudes toward the library and the challenges the current librarian faces. You know which of things these are most important to you, what you can handle and what’s a deal breaker. Automating an entire collection was not how I wanted to spend my time as a Teacher Librarian, but perhaps the thought excites you. Find the right fit for what you are looking for in your international experience, where you are in your career, and what fits your strengths.

The International School Community website has great resources to help you do this! See below for specifics on how to use the comment search to find information about libraries.

My last bit of advice – find a network! Librarians are often the lone librarian in a school or part of a small team. It’s important to find the connections and support of other librarians. Because most international schools are in big cities, there are often other international school librarians nearby to connect with. There are also regional associations – your school should be able to point you towards the ones they participate in.

There are always other librarians who have dealt with the same issues, solved the same problems, created the same resources, etc. And I’ve found the librarian community to be great at sharing, commiserating with and supporting one another. Some personal favorites are the Int’l School Library Connection Facebook group and the ECIS iSkoodle listserv. AND – most excitingly – the ECIS Triennial Librarian Conference is in February 2018 in Chennai, India. International school librarians from all over the world will come together to learn from each other, get inspired by each other, and learn how we can continue to be Leaders in our school communities. Please join us!

This article was submitted to us by an International School Community member.

Using our unique Comment Search feature on our website (premium membership access needed), we found 61 comments that have the keyword “library” in them, and 20 comments that had the word “libraries” in them.

Here are some comments that shown a positive light on the library and their international schools:

“The library department recently got a lot of money to do some renovations which were done this past summer. It is almost complete and looks very nice.” International School of Tanganyika

“The SIS library supports the school curriculum, promotes the appreciation of literature, and guides all its patrons in information problem-solving with over 28,000 print and electronic resources.” – Surabaya Intercultural School

“The library also is great because we have 25,000 books for such a small sized school, in English and Italian.” – The Bilingual School of Monza

“The library has a new video viewing room that is useful for a small class of IB Film Making, or webinars, or our face to faith programme.” – Sekolah Victory Plus

and here are a few comments that stated their school library was in need of updating or some tender-loving care:

“The school’s library was very small and I was given no materials to use to teach language arts and social studies. Picture books were essential for my young learners and if you can, bring them from the states.” – Antigua International School Guatemala

“There are text books for main subjects but the media library resources are next to nil and specialists have zero to bare basics.” – Jeddah Knowledge International School

“No library for middle of high school!” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“There are more computers in the library but some are so old they still run Windows XP!” – EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi

continue reading