I’ve reviewed applications and interviewed prospective staff for over 20 years, and in that time I’ve seen some candidates excel, and others fall short for the simplest reasons. If you are applying for a teaching post in an international school, here are some dos and don’ts that will increase your chances of landing your dream role.
If you are lucky enough to get an interview, then:
Gavin Lazaro – Deputy Head, The Lisboan International School, Portugal
Gavin initially trained as an industrial chemist in the UK and worked in agrochemicals, perfumery and catalysis before moving into teaching. He has spent nearly 30 years working in and leading international schools in the Middle East and South-East Asia. Currently working at The Lisboan International School in Lisbon he is relishing the challenge of helping to create a school from scratch with a clear focus on a culture of kindness, holistic learning and high expectations.
Above image from https://images.pexels.com/photos/4226140/pexels-photo-4226140.jpeg?auto=compress&cs=tinysrgb&w=1260&h=750&dpr=2
Where – besides the International School Community – do you go to learn about and stay connected to International Education? We have a new one-stop shop for you! It’s called Educators Going Global.
We just started a new enterprise with multiple channels organized around school life, recruiting, transitions, finances, and travel.
The central portal of our endeavor is the Educators Going Global (EGG) website. There you will find a podcast, a blog, a resource library, and links to our YouTube videos where international educators share their “Going Global Stories.” We also have a Facebook group where we post resources and crowdsource questions on topics such as potential guests, questions we need help with, and lots more.
We hope you will see our website as an additional tool for your international teaching toolkit. Have a question about finances or your upcoming transition to a new school? Visit our site to select “Finances” or “Transitions” to see podcast episodes, blog posts, books, and website resources for your review.
At the same time, you can subscribe to the Educators Going Global podcast on your device using your favorite podcasting app to listen to our shows. We have posted 15 shows now and we have many more in the works. Our guests have been interesting and informative, and there is something there for everyone, whether you are new to International Education or a long-time veteran like ourselves.
We will share with you how to travel, teach and connect!
That should cover What Educators Going Global is. Now, here’s the Who! We are Audrey Forgeron and David Carpenter.
Audrey is a thirty-year international teaching veteran of seven international schools on four continents. She has variously taught Health and Physical Education, Social Studies, French, Film and Design Technology in grades three through twelve and has been an instructional technology educator. She is now a trailing spouse and mother of two grown Cross-Cultural Kids (CCKs), and she is currently training to become a life coach.
David is also a long-time international educator, having worked in ten international schools over a 30-year period. He has worn many hats, from Social Studies teacher to Counselor to Curriculum Designer to Instructional Technologist to Instructional Coach for Wellness. David is now semi-retired, wearing his dad hat whenever possible to support and learn from his adult sons, Maxwell and Samuel.
So Why are we keen to share our insights and the expertise of our guests? We want to give back to the community of educators that gave each of us so much. We see our effort as a public service.
Our mission is to inform both veteran and aspiring international educators about working overseas – What it’s like and how it’s changing, Where to find more information, Why “going global” is so attractive, and How and When to work through the recruiting process. We do this via targeted podcast episodes that include informational interviews and personal vignettes related to these five Ws of international education.
We work to tell the whole story, so you are really in the know about international schools. Our motto is: Eyes wide open!
The bottom line is that just like when we worked in international schools, we want to build community and be of service. Please connect with us as we go global together!
Around the world, there are countries (like Myanmar) that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.
The big question always is…how do the comments about each school compare to each other?
This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same country.
Currently, we have 15 schools listed in Myanmar on International School Community.
6 of these schools have had comments submitted on them:
Ayeyarwaddy International School (66 Total Comments)
International School of Myanmar (23 Total Comments)
Myanmar International School Yangon (33 Total Comments)
The International School Yangon (17 Total Comments)
Total Learning Academy (9 Total Comments)
Yangon International School (81 Total Comments)
“Single- 30, 000. Couple- 60, 000…” – The International School Yangon
“Most people will save more than half their salary. You have to be trying hard to spend your money. Keep it for traveling…” – Myanmar International School Yangon
“It depends on your lifestyle, but most people can save between 50-80% of their salary, easily…” – Ayeyarwaddy International School
“The surrounding area of the campus is quite suburban. There are grocery stores and restaurants within walking distance of the campus…” – The International School Yangon
“The building is not for purpose. With the school role rising, pupils are being stuffed into classes not big enough to accommodate them. Primary especially are struggling. The area around the school is not really adequate for play or PE. Outside the grounds has roaming dogs and an ever-accumulating number of car wrecks in various stages of being dismantled. The teachers are overworked, it has got worse in the past two years. While appreciating the need for setting standards, the overloaded teachers are burning out. Staff are generally great, friendly and helpful. There will be another big turnover this year. Many teachers are completing contracts and getting out. Others were forced into signing 2-year contracts even though they had been on 1 year contracts for a few years. In saying that, the contacts are not worth anything. Major changes made by the management last year means that they are invalid. Students are nice, salaries are on time, housing allowance is decent…” – Myanmar International School Yangon
“There is a small pool and some playground equipment for the younger kids…” – Ayeyarwaddy International School
“Housing is provided by the school, which comes fully furnished, and all utilities are included and paid for…” – International School of Myanmar
“Teachers are living in either a shared house or in some cases apartment-style living closest to the branch you will be working at…” – Total Learning AcademyC
“Utilities are included in your benefits. All the housing comes furnished…” – The International School Yangon
“Non-trailing spouses can be an issue. Visas have been much easier to get than in previous years but the application process is not smooth compared to other countries. A shorter visa is often granted before a 1 year visa is issued. Not a big deal but it can be an inconvenience to have to deal with the Myanmar Embassy for a spouse. The school will need to sponsor the spouse in most cases…” – Yangon International School
“100% free tuition for 1 child…” – International School of Myanmar
“Free tuition for up to 2 children…” – Myanmar International School Yangon
“Workload is increasing. school hours have changed as well. 0800 – 1600
Classes in Primary finish 1445 and secondary 1500. The additional after-school time will be taken up with 2 after-school activities and meetings…” – Myanmar International School Yangon
“The workload is very reasonable. Foreign staff is never given breakfast or lunch duty, and the after-school activity is only required once per week…” – Ayeyarwaddy International School
“The expectations of teachers is that students are learning and doing well in class. There are very few demands outside of the classroom. In the elementary school, each teacher is required to do one after-school activity for a 9-week period…” – Yangon International School
(These are just 5 of the 66 different comments topics that are on each school profile page on our website.)
If you work at an international school in Myanmar, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!continue reading
The opportunity for teachers to ply their trade in the international school setting offers many unique experiences, both professional and personal. From the professional perspective, none is more rewarding than engaging culturally diverse groups of students in their learning on a day-to-day basis. Every student in the class brings their own unique language experiences, beliefs and values, along with their travel and unique third-culture experiences. In these settings, the opportunity exists for teachers to extend their repertoire of teaching practice, to ensure all students are engaged in the learning journey in their classes.
As a teacher, one quickly learns to see students in the class for what they can do, and what they bring to the table in terms of classroom discussions, group work and dynamics. Additionally, each student has a unique view of classroom behavioural ‘norms’ through their own cultural lens. Some cultures have very few teacher-student interactions in the classroom, whilst in others, this is a constant. The latter can be quite a shock for students from particular cultures, and take some time to adjust, extending the well-known ‘silent period’. Often these students become the most outspoken in the class!
Viewing curriculum outcomes through various cultural lenses represented in the class is key to a teacher effectively engaging the students in their international school classes. Valuing each and every student’s views or experiences, and positively acknowledging the political and economic systems from which they come is paramount to a positive and engaging classroom culture, based upon the saying “just because it is different, does not make it wrong”.
The practicalities in terms of ‘scaffolding up’ for students whose first language is not the language of instruction at the school is a vital aspect of teaching in the international school sector. As teachers know, schools have various approaches to catering to students whose first language is not the language of instruction, from fully-sheltered language schools, to partially sheltered programs, and most recently the much-espoused collaborative teaching (co-teaching) domain. Having been fortunate enough to experience all three of these approaches, a well-organised and data-driven co-teaching program is the most effective for these students, both in terms of the all-important student well-being, along with academic performance. In short, in an effective co-teaching program, students feel connected to their school as they are not being sheltered away from the mainstream cohort for language lessons. In turn, students whose first language is the language of instruction are always in awe of what their peers achieve on a daily and hourly basis, this in turn makes the students in question extremely proud of their achievements, and this pride is clearly validated as they are seeing the academic bar which is set in their mainstream classrooms each and every lesson. Students rarely linguistically fossilise in effective co-teaching programs.
An effective co-teaching program in this context requires staff who are truly willing to share, collaborate and build professional relationships, through co-planning, co-teaching, co-assessing and co-reflecting through regular meetings (See Cycle of Collaboration graphic below). Having co-taught in this context across Year 6-8 Science and Humanities classes for six years, rest assured that co-teaching is the best professional development a teacher will ever have, and it is daily! Subject teachers become excellent academic language teachers, and language co-teachers become quite confident subject teachers. Effective co-teaching programs are first and foremost relationship-based, and without positive and collaborative staff relationships much effectiveness for effective student learning is sadly lost.
A Cycle of Collaboration
Students’ academic language proficiency progression is accelerated exponentially in effective co-teaching programs in upper primary and middle school year levels (see data provided below – school name withheld), however, the catch is students who are in the beginning phase of their academic language acquisition journey can for various reasons become lost in the shuffle and may require sheltered instruction to accompany their mainstream class experiences. Experience and data demonstrate that intermediate and advanced academic language level students thrive in true co-teaching environments. This linguistic progression is doubled down in terms of acceleration through an effective mother tongue program at the school, ensuring additive bilingualism is occurring.
The role of the co-teacher is to flesh out the academic language embedded in each unit of work and explain to students the regular independent study habits required to learn the required tier two and tier three academic language needed for each unit of work, prior to and during the teaching of the unit in question. Furthermore, effective co-teachers provide resources such as comprehension, pre-reading/viewing activities and provide notetaking scaffolds, along with support resources for production tasks such as structural scaffolds (relevant to text type), sentence frames and writing samples as required. There is much more to co-teaching than this brief overview, however these are very sound pillars upon which to build, along with knowing each student’s current year-level appropriate academic language proficiency in the reading, writing, speaking and listening domains. The wonderful by-product is that all students benefit from these ‘scaffold up’ resources, not only the students whose first language is not the school’s language of instruction.
Next time you apply for an international school role, ask if the school has a co-teaching program, because it is one of the most satisfying teaching experiences a teacher can enjoy, and proudly watch your students fly.
This article was submitted by Tim Hudson, an academic language acquisition expert with 34 years of experience in teaching and leading EAL and other subject department teams at the secondary level in international school settings, including Shanghai American School and more recently the Australian International School in Singapore. Tim was also instrumental in building the very successful international student program at Fraser Coast Anglican College in Queensland, Australia.
He is currently on sabbatical, offering tutoring services for EAL learners and consultancy services for schools in the EAL domain.
His skills include curriculum design, assisting schools new to this domain in developing context-appropriate EAL programs, and enhancing existing EAL programs in schools. He has extensive experience providing professional development to subject-teaching teams across the curriculum in the realm of academic language acquisition and has a passion for EAL co-teaching. You can reach him at email@example.com
At International School Community, we now have over 2273 international school profiles listed on our website!
Sunway International School (Iskandar Puteri) (Iskandar, Malaysia)
International School of Rimini (ISR) (Rimini, Italy)
The Lisboan International School (Lisbon, Portugal)
The International School (Karachi, Pakistan)
Tenby International School Tropicana Aman (Selangor, Malaysia)
American International School in Egypt (Main Campus)
(New Cairo City, Egypt) – 31 Members
International School of Kuala Lumpur
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 29 Members
Copenhagen International School
(Copenhagen, Denmark) – 27 Members
MEF International School Istanbul
(Istanbul, Turkey) – 26 Members
International School Manila
(Manila, Philippines) – 26 Members
Jeddah Knowledge International School
(Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) – 203748 views
Al Hada International School
(Taif, Saudi Arabia) – 172031 views
International School of Chile (Nido de Aguilas)
(Santiago, Chile) – 82486 views
British International School Moscow
(Moscow, Russia) – 72162 Views
The Universal American School
Salwa, Kuwait –56341 views
Hillside Collegiate IS
(Geoje-si, South Korea) – 0 Comments
American International School Riyadh
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) – 48 Comments
British Columbia International School (Thailand)
(Bangkok, Thailand) – 6 Comments
Taipei European School
(Taipei, Taiwan) – 84 Comments
Light International School
(Nairobi, Kenya) – 0 Comments
But check them all out 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 2273 international schools listed on our website (last updated on 26 February, 2023)
Central America (46)
Central/Eastern Europe (128)
East Asia (331)
Middle East (306)
North Africa (69)
North America (113)
SE Asia (355)
South America (104)
Sub-Saharan Africa (183)
Western Europe (347)continue reading