Comment Topic Highlight

What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at your school?

June 29, 2015


Oh, if we were to have all the insider information before signing the contract of an international school that has just offered you a job.  In theory, knowing the insider information about working at a specific school could definitely help you make a more informed decision.

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There are so many international schools in the world. Each international school is in a different situation. Even if you try and keep the most up-to-date with reading every review about the school that you can get your eyes on, it is difficult to know exactly what it is really like to work there.

But, the more you know, the better. Or is it the less you know, the better? Our guess though is that most teachers recruiting to work at international schools want to know as much information (good or bad) as possible; with a preference for firsthand information.

How then can you get this insider information?  One of the best ways is to have some communication with a veteran international school teacher. If you are already a veteran international school teacher yourself, it shouldn’t be so hard to find somebody who knows somebody who has worked at a certain international school.  The longer you stay in the international school community, the number of connections that you have increases.

Once you find a good connection, he/she is more than willing to share with you what they know and answer your burning questions.  The connection shares about what life is like living in the city, all the ins and outs of what it is like working at the school, how the money situation is along with all the other benefits (or lack of benefits), etc.  It would appear that there is actually an endless list of insider information topics.  This connection will most likely also tell you answers to questions that you never even had thought to ask.  The more information the connection shares with you, the more at ease (or nervous) you become. It definitely feels good to finally get some answers from real people who have recently worked there.

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But for the newbies, who don’t know many (if any) international school teachers yet, it would appear they have a much more difficult task of getting this insider information. Maybe they can try to get some insider information at the recruitment fair that they might have attended.  There are always other candidates that are walking around the hotel common areas.  These newbies might even try to starting chatting with some of the administration from the other schools.  You would be surprised how much administration enjoys talking about these insider information topics as well.

If there is one thing that is certain, people in the international school community love talking about the schools they currently work at or have worked at in the past. Insider information is what we want to know and what we are all craving to know.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out some of this insider information about working at certain international schools, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?

Our veteran international school teacher have submitted a total of 71 comments in this comment topic (June 2015).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“The secondary is laid back and you will enjoy it if you have good classroom management. There won’t be much actual support from admin regarding discipline. The elementary is micro-managed, meeting-heavy and overloaded.” – American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)19 Comments

“One important thing to note right now is that the primary and middle school principals are leaving at the end of this year, and the director and the high school principal are leaving at the end of the next school year. So, there will be a complete change over of admin staff in the next year or so. There is no specific reason why these admin are leaving, just a coincidence that they are all leaving at the same time. Most of them have been at the school between 4-6 years.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)244 Comments

“You are given a lot of autonomy to make it or break it in the classroom. The salary won’t make you rich, but you can live off it on a Mediterranean island for a couple years. There’s always something to complain about, and the facilities are sometimes more functional than glamorous, but all these reflect the island itself. You’re given everything you need to do a great job and the kids appreciate it.” – Verdala International School (Pembroke, Malta)22 Comments

“Working here requires a great commitment of time and energy to the school; though this may be said of many boarding schools, it may be that this one requires an even greater time commitment. Families with children struggle here as the local public schools have a different vacation schedule and the meeting schedule can be a little bit punishing; families with smaller children and two working parents are discouraged from applying. A very good school if you adore outdoor activities, it must be said, though there are already plenty of staff members to represent this side of life. The students are, in general, wonderful. As most are “pre-screened,” behavioral problems in the classroom are very, very rare, and many students are academic high-flyers. Teachers get a bit spoiled here based on the caliber of student and with the compressed timetable, you may find you leave behind many aspects of good teaching and resort to more lecturing, though the students seem to do well nevertheless. Housing here is varied; you may find yourself in merely adequate accomodations. Cliques among the staff make it difficult to find ones place socially within the school community. The school can be a very rewarding place to work, but the idea of the school as a miracle of education is not a reality, and there are many frustrations, especially in lack of commuication and the decision-making process at the top, that leave one asking how the school has maintained said reputation. In short one might gauge that of the new teachers in the past five years, many or most are not fully happy at AC, but only some to the extent of considering leaving. The turnover rate may well remain low. The upshot: Don’t be blinded by the reputation of the school in deciding whether to come here. Talk to staff members and students, for example, especially those who have left recently. This author remains glad to have had the chance to work here, but the challenges here have aged me.” – UWC Atlantic College (St Donat’s, United Kingdom)14 Comments