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New Teacher Orientation is Now Underway: 14 Must-Haves

August 1, 2022


Stressing out about what your new international school is actually going to be like once you finally arrive?

Want to get a good idea of what you can expect (or not expect) during your first few weeks at your new international school?

Wondering what you can do before and after your move to put yourself more at ease and to be better prepared?

Take some time then to read this 14-part series on the ISC blog. It is the go-to series for staff in charge of inducting their new staff members.

Here are the 14 must-haves with a little excerpt of each article:

1. “A trip around the city

“A friend just told me that there is a hidden rule amongst international school teachers, and that is that you shouldn’t accept any visitors to your new home within the first six months of living there.  I suppose that is true in some ways and not true in other ways.  One time I did have a friend visit me during…” READ MORE

2. A pick-up from the airport from administration

“To start things off right, it might be the most ideal if the person who hired you picks you up from the airport when you first arrive. Starting off on the right note is very important for an international school teacher, especially when you are bound to experience a bit of culture shock.  One way to start off in the right way is how you get…” READ MORE

3. Lunches provided by the school during the orientation week at the school campus.

“Having a catered, home (cafeteria)-cooked lunch is NOT a given when you start working at an international school.  Some international schools include free lunches in their benefits package all year round (for all teachers mind you!), but some international schools don’t offer this benefit…not even during PD events or during new teacher orientation. It is definitely a nice gesture on the school’s part to offer…” READ MORE

4. Help finding a place to live!

“Finding a place to live in any country can be a headache! When you involve different languages, different cultural traditions and norms, etc. finding an apartment can be even more of a headache. In turn, it is much appreciated if the administration/business staff at your new school can help you out. Some international schools just place you in a compound that the school owns and you must live there for…” READ MORE

5. An organized trip to help you get furniture for your new home.

“It is not ideal to arrive the first day/night in your new host city only to arrive at your new apartment and find it VERY unfurnished.  It doesn’t necessarily start you on the right foot with regards to settling-in with your new life when maybe you do not even have a bed on which to sleep.  For sure there are many international schools out there that place their new teachers directly into…” READ MORE

6. A settling-in allowance given to you in cash (local currency)!

“You just get off the airplane.  You have what seem to be a million bags with you. You are quite tired from your long flight journey to your new host country.  You are frantically looking for the person that said that they were going to pick you up from the airport.  You find them and they bring you to your new place that will be your home for the next few years.   So many things on your mind, so many things to worry about, and SO many things to buy…” READ MORE

7. A dinner outing with the director and administration

“In some cultures, it is very much of a bonding moment between people when they share a meal together.  It is a time when you can really relax and have some nice conversations with each other.  Getting to know your director and other new teachers in this kind of setting will help you with future encounters with the director and also with your potential new good friends. Having a meal with your bosses can really…” READ MORE

8. A starter supply of groceries for your new home.

“Luckily, many international schools out there are getting this one right.  Someone in the “new teacher orientation” committee is going out to a grocery store before you arrive and getting you the basic necessities for you. What are the basic necessities?  Typically you get some…” READ MORE

9. Resource person with a contact number and email address

“There is so much going on for international school teachers in their first days, weeks, and even months after starting at their new school.  There is just as much going on for you before you arrive in your new host country.  Being that there is so much to think about, one of the most important things that international schools can do for their new hires is set up so that they have a resource person.  New teachers actually need…” READ MORE

10. Getting access to the internet AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!

“Please schools (the ones that help teachers find apartments or have new teachers move into school-owned housing), the best thing you can do to help out your new staff is to think ahead and somehow get the internet set up in their houses…before they arrive or VERY soon after they arrive…” READ MORE

11. Beginning-level host country language classes.

“At times there is nothing worse than the feeling of not know how to communicate with the people in your community. Many of us decide to move to countries where we do not know the host country language.  It is impossible for people to know every language spoken in this world, especially really local languages that are not even possible to learn in universities in your home country…” READ MORE

12. A tour of your new campus

“Finally you are at your new school!  After the initial shock on seeing the campus for the first time and getting introduced to tons of important people at the school, you take a deep breath and get ready to really see the campus…” READ MORE

13. Learning how to get reimbursed and meeting the business office staff

“It takes so much money to move yourself from one place to another.  Now add in the fact that you are shipping boxes and whatnot half way across the world, and the cost just gets higher and higher. Many times, international school teachers need to pay for these shipping costs upfront.  Hopefully you are getting an relocation allowance…” READ MORE

14. A sit-down with an admin to go over each part of your contract

“Contract details can be easily overlooked. They are not overlooked because you are not interested in them (because of course you want to know ALL the details when you are in the initial stages after being offered a contract), but because there are too many fine details to fully understand everything you see…” READ MORE

Do you have another must-have to add to our list? Email us here and ask about submitting a new article for this series as a guest author on our blog. All guest authors receive one free year of premium membership to our website!