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Nine Reasons How International Schools Create a High Morale Amongst its Staff

April 24, 2016

“Morale and attitude are fundamentals to success.”
Bud Wilkinson

A school can be a complicated place. There aren’t many jobs where you surround yourself with hundreds of children every day!

But like any other place of “business”, a school needs to have a think about how they will keep their staff feeling good about where they work and how they are doing their job.  We all know that teaching can, at times, be quite stressful on the teachers.

When you are feeling good about your workplace and job performance, everyone benefits; namely the students, but also your colleagues and bosses. But when teachers are stressed out and with a low morale about working at their school, typically nobody benefits.


You can, of course, be with high spirits on your own doing. But it is important to feel valued by the whole school community as that plays a factor as well. Feeling like you are part of a team can help you stay positive and optimistic at your school.

What, then, do international schools do to make sure their staff is feeling valued?

International School Community is full of thousands of useful and informative comments…16780 (24 Apr. 2016) to be exact. We scoured our database of comments, and we found nine that stood out to us as being some of the coolest ways to show appreciation and boost staff morale.

9. Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan)65 Total Comments

“The school administration does a lot to make life easy for expats. They have put systems in place that make it very easy to live here and feel looked after. Along with the board they also put on big social events for teachers and staff at least once a semester (start of year / xmas party / end of year etc). There is a social committee as well which has organised coffee afternoons, Nile boat trips, picnics and so on. Truth to say the morale in the Senior Section has dipped in recent years but many of those who were not happy have now left so we are all hoping that things will now improve. Morale across the rest of the school is great.”

8. Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 202 Total Comments
“Welcome back brunch and lots of staff socials. Set up a Social Committee to feedback ideas to Director on all aspects of school. Director regularly thanks and acknowledges staff through e-mail and meetings. There have been 3 cases of surprise bonus’ paid to all staff as a thanks.”

7. Copenhagen International School
(Copenhagen, Denmark)282 Total Comments 
“One way to create some “social capital” at our school year this was to have a whole-staff scavenger hunt the first day back. It was VERY well received, and everyone had a great time. There were like 30 teams of 5-6 people and we all went around the city to collect items and/or take pictures of certain things, all for various amounts of points. Super fun! It was all organized by teachers actually.”

6. Yew Chung International School (Shanghai)
(Shanghai, China)27 Total Comments

“There is a social committee at this school and they arrange different activities for the teachers. Like one night could be bowling or everyone meet at a bar. The group tries to do something every month. A lot of people participate. There was also a karaoke night and laser tag.”

5. Kampala International School (Kampala, Uganda)50 Total Comments

“At the beginning of each school year, we go to a resort for an overnight training and social. There is a PD during the day, evening there is dinner and a band. The next more there is breakfast and maybe go for a swim in the pool. There has been training in from people abroad. Last year, it was somebody with pivotal education, Darryll.”

4. American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)157 Total Comments

“There was a social committee in place for a couple of years, but it was a volunteer position and the demands of it weren’t worth the time anymore. There is an HR person in place now who has set up a wine tasting and other events for staff. The staff tends to socialize quite a bit outside of school, even with kids! The school puts on holiday parties and festive lunches around holidays, though not extravagant, most of the food-drinks are free.”

3. Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Total Comments

“The school has a health and wellness program where a lot of teachers connect and exercise together. Also, the PTO regularly hosts cocktail events after school. Plus there are scheduled tours and cultural events.”

2. Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan)64 Total Comments

“Christmas and end of year staff parties. It is also traditional to bring “omiyage” gifts (cookies and other small snacks) from teachers who have attended a conference or tournament elsewhere in Japan.”

1. KIS International School (Bangkok) (Bangkok, Thailand)70 Total Comments

“There are a lot of teacher and admin getaways as well as plenty of room for professional development. The management goes out of its way to answer questions before issues come up, and western holidays are recognized with food and decorations from home.”

If you would like to share what your school does to create a high staff morale, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

Top 10 Lists
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Top 22 Schools With the Most Comments on International School Community

November 12, 2015

Now there are 870+ international schools that have had comments submitted on them on our website.

Once schools have had over 60 comments, then it is very likely that you will be able to see how a specific comment topic has changed (or not changed) over time; with all the comments being date stamped.

Screenshot 2015-11-12 20.35.15
Western International School of Shanghai

If there is more than one comment in a specific comment topic, the more recent comments either add on, compliment, or amend the previous comments.

A few of our schools that have many submitted comments will sometimes have over 10 comments in one comment topic!

Screenshot 2015-11-12 20.38.33
Copenhagen International School 

Just click on the “Show all” link to see the complete history of comments in this comment topic.

So let’s get to it, which schools are in the top 22? Here we go:

22. Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (Dammam, Saudi Arabia)60 Comments
“Expat teachers are provided with fully furnished and air conditioned housing at one of three locations. All housing will have electricity and water provided as part of the housing package. Therefore, they will not be expected to pay any rent or related costs. Teachers pay for their own telephone, mobile, and internet service.”

21. QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China)61 Comments
20. Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)61 Comments
19. Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)61 Comments
18. KIS International School (Bangkok) (Bangkok, Thailand)63 Comments
17. Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan)64 Comments

16. Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan)65 Comments
“The school tries to hire the best person for the position. Skype is used heavily. The principal plus one other member of the leadership team usually attends SEARCH bangkok and SEARCH London. The school has no policy on preference with regard to couples or singles, simply that couples with small children tend to stay longer.”

15. Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (Barcelona, Spain)66 Comments
14. Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)68 Comments
13. The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (St. John, Barbados)70 Comments
12. American School Foundation of Mexico City (Mexico City, Mexico)72 Comments
11. Greenfield Community School (Dubai) (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)72 Comments

10. Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)73 Comments
“Tutoring through the school is available if it is not your student. The school takes a portion leaving you with about $20 for 30 minutes of tutoring. Coaching stipends from $350-900 and lifeguarding at the school pool can bring in 25-45 dollars an hour.”

9. Nexus International School (Putrajaya, Malaysia)73 Comments
8. NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)81 Comments
7. Seoul International School (Seoul, South Korea)82 Comments
6. Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)83 Comments
5. Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)89 Comments

4. International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)99 Comments
“There is a clear and structured pay scale. You enter it according to experience and qualifications, up to a maximum experience level. Within the school you receive an annual \’step\’ for every year of experience, plus there are usually small inflationary raises to the salary scale. Additionally stipends are paid for team leader responsibility. There are resigning bonuses after 4 years of employment.”

3. American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)143 Comments
2. Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)193 Comments
1. Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)266 Comments

Keep the schools that you work at now (or have worked at in the past) updated with new comments. Want to share what you know and get unlimited premium access to our website? Become a Mayor today!

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New Survey: How is your experience using your health insurance and medical benefits?

July 15, 2015

A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How is your experience using your health insurance and medical benefits?

Screenshot 2015-07-15 20.38.276425100253_0ccab65947_z

It is not fun worrying about your health when you live abroad, as medical systems can vary from country to country in their efficiency, price and quality.

Some cities have only local hospitals on offer; meaning ones that are staffed by locals and that serve mostly locals. It is not uncommon for these hospitals to have a staff with poor English or any foreign language fluency. It might be necessary for you to find, or in a best case scenario – for your school to provide someone who can accompany you at the hospital to serve as an interpreter. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe quality of these hospitals isn’t necessarily poor, as one may suggest, but not knowing the local culture of “how things work” in a local hospital can indeed be quite nerve-wracking.

Other locations have more expat-oriented medical facilities and/or special-health insurance plans for foreigners. These types of hospitals can put expats at ease in how they are served.  They have foreign-hired doctors on hand that can speak their language.  Expat-oriented hospitals typically also have all the different types of medicine and prescriptions that you may need while living abroad. In less developed areas (ones that have lower employment desirability), you are in luck if you have access to these types of expat-oriented medical facilities.

8566688298_45da9904cc_zIt is all fine and dandy to have super accessible and well-resourced hospitals in your host country, but let’s not forget out the health insurance benefits package that you are receiving through your school.  It is clear that your medical insurance coverage can vary from school to school in their efficiency, price and quality as well. In one international school, they give you amazing health coverage with everything covered (including health insurance for you around the world), no co-payments, with most dental needs included. In the next school, you find yourself very limited to what you can do with your benefits.  A less desirable health insurance package might not include dental or cover you during your travels around the world or back in your home country.

Your health insurance benefits package should always be talked about and maybe even negotiated with your international school before you sign the contract.

Because things are so different for each of us at international schools across the world, take a moment to go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!

If you are interested, you can check out the latest voting results here.


We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.

Right now there are over 598 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“The insurance is pretty good. At hospitals that accept it, you pay approximately $13 U.S. for the visit, treatments and prescriptions. The difficulty is not with the insurance, but the hit and miss quality of care available in town.” – Liwa International School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)23 Comments

“You can get travelers and accident insurance from your bank here, like at Nordea. It is really cheap and it gives you health insurance coverage anywhere in the world! It is important to know about this option because now the Danish CPR health social health care card doesn’t cover you anymore in Europe, well for non-Danish people with a CPR card.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)244 Comments

“Macau offers free health care coverage to all residents and all who hold work permits. This kicks in after about 3 months of living in Macau. The school helps facilitate private insurance until the government insurance starts up.” – The School of the Nations (Macao, China)20 Comments

“Health insurance is not the best. It only covers emergencies and specialist doctors, not a General Practitioner. I have been to the doctor here, and it was a good experience. Doctors were efficient and I got taken care of pretty quickly. I would advise asking people who have lived here a while, who to go to though.” – The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (St. John, Barbados)70 Comments

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We now have over 1770 international school profiles listed

January 10, 2015

At International School Community, we now have over 1770 international school profiles listed on our website!

Screenshot 2015-01-10 12.48.36

The last 5 schools to be added:
Kingsworth International School (Paris, France)
Vermont International Academy (Shanghai, China)
Kang Chiao International School (Taipei, Taiwan)
SIS Swiss International School Basel (Basel, Switzerland)
Tenby International School (Miri) (Miri, Malaysia)

The top 5 schools with the most members:
American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 131 Comments
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 213 Comments
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 60 Comments
American International School in Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 31 Comments
Shanghai Rego International School (Shanghai, China) – 74 Comments

The top 5 most viewed schools:
American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 131 Comments
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 213 Comments
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 60 Comments
International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand) – 18 Comments
Bangkok Patana School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 17 Comments

The last 5 schools to have something written on their wall:
Osterbro International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 12 Comments
Cebu International School  (Cebu City, Philippines) – 7 Comments
Al Corniche International School Jeddah (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 52 Comments
Newton International School (Doha, Qatar) – 33 Comments

But check them all our yourself!  Get answers to your questions about the international schools you are interested in by clicking on the geographic region of your choice.  It’s a great way to learn about different international schools around the world and gather information!  International School Community has the following 1772 international schools listed on our website (last updated on 10 January, 2015)

Results: (181) Countries, (717) Cities, (1772) Schools, (12809) Comments

Asia (178)

Caribbean (36)

Central America (43)

East Asia (240)

Eastern Europe (93)

Middle East (231)

North Africa (60)

North America (92)

Oceania (30)

SE Asia (268)

South America (90)

Sub-Saharan Africa (142)

Information for Members
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‘Where Our Members Have Worked’ feature update: Check out the latest stats!

December 30, 2014

Our 5325 current members (up 1001 members from May 2014) work at or have worked at 766 international schools (up 155 schools from May 2014)!

Screenshot 2014-12-30 23.09.28

How amazing is that?!  In just four years, our “international school community” has grown into an excellent network of international school teachers.  With so much experience and knowledge about life working at over 750 international schools on our website, the other members are able to stay updated and the most informed about schools in which they are interested.  Additionally, now it is even easier to find the right members to contact for networking purposes and for gathering more information about the specific questions you may have about working at a certain international school.

This useful feature page lists all the international schools that either our members currently work at or have worked at in the past.

We have organized this list of schools alphabetically by country, all on one page.  But for faster access to the country you are specifically looking for, just click on the letter that the country starts with at the top of the page.

Which international schools on our website have the most members you ask?  Here are our top 10 schools:

• American School of Barcelona
(14) members

• Copenhagen International School
(13) members

• International School of Kuala Lumpur
(12) members

• Shanghai Rego International School
(10) members

• Istanbul International Community School 
(9) members

• Seoul International School 
(9) members

• American International School in Egypt
(9) members

• Cairo American College
(7) members

• Ajial Bilingual School
(7) members

• International School Manila
(7) members

Want to see the top 40 list of schools with the most members?  Check out this page which displays the names and avatar pictures of each member that either currently works at that school now or has worked there in the past.

Screenshot 2014-12-30 23.08.49

So take a moment to have a look at our “Where Our Members Have Worked” page. Maybe you will find that we have some members who know about the international school about which you are looking to gain more information.

Information for Members
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