As all International School Community members know, each of the 2225+ school profile pages on our website has four comments sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information. Our members are encouraged to submit comments on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.
It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other teachers make a more informed decision before they sign any contract! *Additionally, for every 10 comments you submit (which are anonymous by the way), you will automatically get one free month of premium membership added to your account! The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!
So, what are the recent statistics about the School Information sections on all the school profile pages? The current total number of submitted comments in the School Information section is 19653 (out of a total of 42453+ comments).
There are 24 subtopics in the School Information section on each school profile page. Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific sub-topic and an example comment that has been submitted there.
• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1838 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school is set in 3 separate building, one being a 5 minute walk and the other across the road. Crossing the road is quite a safety hazard with the kindergarten class due to taxis over taking them whilst they are on the crossing and the local police not doing anything to monitor this. There is no proper play area and students are taken to local parks for lunch breaks, which is difficult when having to share with babies. No proper gym areas make p.e quite difficult.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan) – 93 Comments
• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1381 Total Comments)
Example comment: “It is a non-religiously affiliated school owned by a Christian affiliated college and operated on that campus. It is WASC accredited, but is not accredited by the Korean authorities and seems to be a limbo in regards to its local status.” –Global Prodigy Academy (Jeonju, South Korea) – 68 Comments
• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (943 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school is discussing becoming IB and has implemented Teacher’s College Readers and Writer’s Workshop as well as whole language learning in the primary schools. Secondary schools do MAPS-based action plans to show and monitor student improvement and compare them to US students.” – American School of Torreon (Torreon, Mexico) – 64 Comments
• Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country? (1716 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Last year they were NOT hiring people with non-EU passports. Some positions that they had last year were local hires, even if the candidates weren’t the strongest of the CVs that they received. Most of this though is out of the school’s control and more the new/changing laws regarding hiring foreigners into the country.” – Southbank International School (London, United Kingdom) – 15 Comments
• Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school? (1644 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school is located near one of the hub stations in Tokyo, with easy access by several trains and subways. The school also has two school bus routes. The school will help the teachers find housing if necessary, but it does not itself provide housing. A transportation allowance is provided to cover the transportation cost from home to school and back.” – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan) – 30 Comments
• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (970 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Expectations are high but the atmosphere is supportive. Staff are expected to undertake duties on a rota bais before and after school, at break times and lunch times. Staff are expected to run one extra curricular activity for one term per year. There is a decent amount of non-contact time at around 20% of timetable.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 75 Comments
• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (1010 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Class sizes are very small. In the primary, they are normally a combination of two grade levels (i.e. Grades 1 and 2 together) and about 16 kids with a teaching assistant. In secondary class size is smaller and can range from four to twelve per grade level.” – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan) – 64 Comments
• Describe the language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominant cultural group? (1364 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The Thao Dien (Primary) campus in the expat area has students from about 20 countries. The TT Campus, Primary, Middle School and Secondary is mainly Vietnamese. Korean is the next largest student group. Very few students from Western Countries. Has a large EAL population.” – Australian International School HCMC (Vietnam) (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 19 Comments
• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack thereof], etc.) and staff turnover rate. (1417 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Primarily expat teachers, without any one nationality dominating things. When I left in 2011 there were teachers from Australia, Canada, US, UK, South Africa, Belgium, and Tanzania just within my department. Some teachers stay 7 to 10 years or more, while others just 2 to 4 years, as in most international schools.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments
• What types of budgets do classroom teachers/departments get? (614 Total Comments)
Example comment: “budgets have been steadily dropping. Ownership slyly changed the school from a not for profit school to a for profit school, without notifying parents of the change.” – Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 22 Comments
• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school (312 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The mastery system is open to the interpretation of each teacher, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments
• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (803 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school offers a wide variety of after school activities which are run by teachers. There is no extra pay for this. Teachers can choose which activity they would like to lead.” – International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 47 Comments
• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (802 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school has an excellent music program that frequently presents music and drama to the local community and other schools. Students in the diploma program seek out ways to serve the community needs.” – Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 214 Comments
• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (707 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The students are generally great, however there are no entrance exams or behavior requirements. The owners Tehmine and Stephan want to make as much money as possible. There definitely are no requirements to enter this school.” – Surabaya European School (Surabaya, Indonesia) – 20 Comments
• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (430 Total Comments)
Example comment: “I’ve really enjoyed working at the school. I have always been able to approach admin if I needed to.” – The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (St. John, Barbados) – 83 Comments
• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (502 Total Comments)
Example comment: “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.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 69 Comments
• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (584 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Each teacher has a PC (windows only. The printer server won’t talk to macs) and a smart board. However, the smart boards are not all hooked up or working so it’s a very expensive video screen. Slow internet. Nothing Google, youtube, or Facebook works in China.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 182 Comments
• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (368 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Get on your principal’s good side and you are fine. If they do not like you you will immediately get put on a corrective plan and ushered out. Just flatter the admin and you will be fine.” – Abu Dhabi International Private School (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 43 Comments
• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (562 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The number of students has increased. There is a waitlist for Year 6 now.” – UCSI International School Subang Jaya (Subang Jaya, Malaysia) – 11 Comments
• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (294 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The one more important thing that changed for the positive, in around 2011-12, was the school initiated an 8000 RMB per year, per teacher, PD allowance. Before that there wasn’t an allowance. There was though PD for the DP teachers before that.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 53 Comments
• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (226 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Well one thing that my school had in the United States was a coordinator for reading in the Primary school. I feel that CIS would benefit from having one of those. We need somebody to coordinate how the primary school teaches reading and someone to coordinate resources. Also, someone to help us have a clearer stop and sequence across the grade levels.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 407 Comments
• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (372 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school hires foreign teachers but sometimes it is difficult for the teachers to integrate into the school. It is really a combination of moving to Chile and assimilating as a foreigner as well as the schools lack of support to receive foreign teachers. The administration has recognized this problem and is working to help future hires.” – Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 74 Comments
• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (535 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Remember state school teachers are paid twice as much for half the work. All the locals are on waiting lists for Govt. schools but they are years (centuries) long.” – International School of Paphos (Paphos, Cyprus) – 123 Comments
• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, Toddle, etc.) (343 Total Comments)
Example comment: “A curriculum coordinator offers huge levels of support for this. During the current year, this load is heavy because of where we are in the accreditation cycle. High School has used Rubicon for a while. Lower School is just starting to use Rubicon.” – American School of Marrakesh (Marrakesh, Morocco) – 29 Comments
• How did this school handle the COVID-19 situation? (14 Total Comments)
Example comment: “I was very impressed with ISHRs response to covid. No reductions in salary or positions cut, although some departing members of staff were not replaced. The school gave teachers the autonomy to work from home, although other schools in Germany asked staff to be on site. They checked in regularly to see how we were doing outside of school. I would go as far as saying it was probably one of the best responses in the international school world. We all got to keep our jobs, work from home when we felt like we needed to, and were treated with compassion…” – International School Hannover Region (Hannover, Germany) – 42 Commentscontinue reading
Many of us international school educators would ideally like to teach abroad and also have close access to nature.
Escaping into a forest or a big green park can often reset our minds and bring our stress levels down to manageable levels.
Some international schools are already directly in nature. Maybe they are in a forest or right next to a water source, or maybe they are just in a city center that has a number of very green parks.
But not all international schools are in cities that have easy and quick access to nature.
Some cities do have a few trees lining the streets and also a few small parks scattered around, but often the number of buildings outnumber these two things. And if you look closely, there can even be a layer of dust/dirt on the leaves making the green look more like a brownish color!
Even if there is not a lot of nature in the city center itself, it is still important to note that it can be worth it if you can find some nature close by via public transport or car.
Having access to a number of day trip options that go into nature can really be a selling point to working in a certain city and country.
Nature is important to many of us international educators, so it is necessary to ask around and do your research before making a decision to relocate.
Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 235 comments that had the keyword “Nature” in them. Here are 11 of them:
“The school is quite far from the center of Chiang Mai but it is possible to find nice places to eat and plenty of local shops and markets a short car or scooter ride away. The plus side is that you have total peace and are surrounded by lush green making it a wonderfully relaxed place to live and explore. Staff are given apartments on the school grounds with the option to live off-campus for those who wish it.” – Prem Tinsulanonda International School (55 total comments)
United Arab Emirates
“Single people enjoy their lives here. There are many other expats to date. There are a lot of things to do during the day and night here. There is a good coupon book that some people use. The book is huge so that means there is much to do. With regards to nature, there is actually a lot of living things in the desert. In our garden, there are many kinds of critters!” – American Community School of Abu Dhabi (30 total comments)
“There isn’t much to do in Putrajaya apart from nature walks and the lake activities. KL has lots to offer but lacks the excitement of other SE Asian destinations. It’s great for families though and has a charm of its own.” – Nexus International School – Malaysia (94 total comments)
“I would say there is a lot of nature here in Hamburg. There is water everywhere basically. There are many parks in the city as well. Just no mountains.” – International School of Hamburg (55 total comments)
“Anywhere you around in the city, you will be able to see beautiful mountains. The sun is typically shining as well making all the views of the trees and flowers so lovely. And if the nature in the city isn’t enough, then you are not too far away from more nature in other cities around the country.” – American International School of Costa Rica (12 total comments)
“There is so much night life here, if that is your scene. There is also a lot of nature here too with so many parks around the city. On a sunny, warm day, Paris just looks sooooo beautiful! Last night I saw two gay men holding hands while walk down the sidewalk, and then around the Seine, I saw a group of gay bears meeting up for a mini party/gathering. Seems like Paris is really gay friendly.” – International School of Paris (24 total comments)
“However it’s the best place for nature and getting out of the city in no time.” – Norlights International School Oslo (122 total comments)
“It is possible to find any kind of activities you want here. There is a lot of nightlife, but also easy access to large parks and nature. Buying or renting a car will allow opportunities to get out into the country and really experience nature, if desired.” – Qsi – Kyiv International School (36 total comments)
“There are so many temples/shrines to see here. Many of them are going up the nearby mountainside. There is such beautiful nature there with amazing trees everywhere. In the spring, it is awesome and in the fall it can be very gorgeous.” – Kyoto International School (65 total comments)
“There isn’t that much nature in the city of Muscat itself, but you don’t have to do too far to see some green. There are palm trees that are dotted around the area, like near to the Grand Mosque. There are even areas of beautiful green grass and flowers like near to the Corniche Mutrah. But most of Muscat is desert-like. Just flat and sandy!” – American International School of Muscat (34 total comments)
“School is built on a large hillside with beautiful views of the city. It is surrounded by a sort of nature preserve so it’s very green all around. The buildings are old and cannot be rebuilt due to building restrictions but they do their best to keep them repaired best they can.” – Colegio Nueva Granada (60 total comments)continue reading
Around the world, there are cities (like Abu Dhabi) 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 21 schools listed in Abu Dhabi on International School Community.
11 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:
Abu Dhabi International Private School (43 Total Comments)
American Community School of Abu Dhabi (30 Total Comments)
American International School (Abu Dhabi) (97 Total Comments)
Emirates National School (Abu Dhabi) (15 Total Comments)
GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi) (37 Total Comments)
Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi (31 Total Comments)
Raha International School (28 Total Comments)
Some teachers are putting aside at least 10000 AED a month. Saving potential is big here, but if you travel a lot and go out drinking a lot, then you won’t save as much…” – GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi)
“If you budget and don’t get a car you can have 2K saved per month…” – Emirates National School (Abu Dhabi)
“A family of 4 will not be pleasantly sustainable with one income. You will receive a deposit very close to $3400/month. Utilities are covered at 50%, so you may pay up to $300 for water and electric (have heard of some teachers having $700 bill). Internet is expensive, $100 will get you medium speed internet, but the best package is obviously higher. Basic but adequate groceries (avoiding western products and cheapest produce) is $400/month. This does not include “junk food” or carryout or dine-in eating…” – American International School (Abu Dhabi)
“Way too crowded. Campus is in villa area in city center. Old dated classrooms…” – Raha International School
“There are four campuses for the school. One in Abu Dhabi and three in the western region. I work at a school in the western region however, all of the campuses are very nice and well-manicured…” – Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi
“The campus is new, modern and mostly fully equipped. Good sport installations. The kindergarten wing is very inviting, with lots of color and open space and childrens’ work on the walls everywhere…” – GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi)
“If the First Party does not provide accommodation, a monthly accommodation allowance shall be paid to the Second Party, amounting to AED 2,500. In case a married couple employed by the First Party, a family furnished accommodation or a monthly accommodation allowance shall be granted only to one of the married couple…” – Emirates National School (Abu Dhabi)
“Housing allowance is grossly inadequate for any single person to get even a studio on their own without tossing in around aed10-20K…” – American International School (Abu Dhabi)
“Housing allowance is 2000 aed a month so you MUST take the school accommodation with is not great but is in the city center. Emsons building and Tourist club are the two main locations but if you are a couple or a family you will get a 2 bed apt near Wahada Mall. Must pay for own utilities 150 aed month. Not great housing but not horrible either. Housing is furnished and has lots and pans, etc. low-end furniture but acceptable…” – Abu Dhabi International Private School
“35%tuition discount for 1st child, 30% second child. Double tuition discount for teaching couples. Insurance provided for kids but NOT visas or flights…” – Abu Dhabi International Private School
“2 children: free if 2 parents teach; 50% if 1 parent teaches…” – American International School (Abu Dhabi)
“If you are a teaching couple you can get up to two children to attend for free. You also get a flight for your child, one flight per teacher…” – GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi)
“High. This is a top school…” – Raha International School
“There are ECA for elementary. High workload. Many teachers are teaching between 24 to 30 periods per week. They also have assigned duties…” – Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi
“Teachers have to do an hour a week of after-school activities for 2/3 of the school year. Some staff are giving leadership positions with a paid stipend…” – GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi)
(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 Abu Dhabi, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!continue reading
There are a few international schools to work at in United Arab Emirates! How do these schools stand out from each other?
How many international schools have done a sky-view overview of their school campus using a drone? Australian International School – Sharjah has!
Having an opportunity to see an aerial view of an international school really gives you a great idea of what life will be like in and around your future international school. Maybe all schools should consider doing this and then make sure to share that video when they are interviewing people to work with them.
The sunset scene of this video is truly beautiful, and look at all those beautiful trees on the campus!
Hopefully you are not actually leaving school at this time (assuming the sunset stays pretty similar throughout the year at around 18h or so), but if you were to, then it would indeed be a nice ride home.
This video is reminiscent of a blog series we have called, “The Journey to School.” In this blog series we get firsthand accounts of what it is like to travel both to and from various international schools from around the world.
Living in the Middle East does sound very enticing. For one, the sun will most likely be out almost every day of the year. The summer will be quite hot, but the winter won’t be too cool. It is important to note though that there appears to be some overcast can be see in the video, and it might be because of pollution and not clouds!
However, desert life can indeed be quite nice for many of us. The adventures of exploring the desert and its sand dunes are not too far away. Many of city’s buildings are constructed using traditional Arabic architecture with wind towers and finishes in colors reflective of the nearby desert and sea.
There are also lots of beaches, theme parks and movie theaters in nearby Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 76 international schools listed in United Arab Emirates. Here are a just a few of them (the number of total comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link):
• Al Mizhar American Academy (Dubai) – 54 Comments
• Abu Dhabi International Private School (Abu Dhabi) – 43 Comments
• American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi) – 68 Comments
• American School of Dubai (Dubai) – 98 Comments
• Jumeira Baccalaureate School (Dubai) – 104 Comments
• Raffles International School (South) (Dubai) – 59 Comments
• RAK Academy (Ras Al Khaimah) – 56 Comments
If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in United Arab Emirates, log-on today and submit your own comments and information. Become a Mayor of one of these schools and you will receive unlimited premium access to International School Community for free!continue reading
When you first arrive at your new international school, you don’t necessarily want to be scrambling around your new city looking for many things to buy. We all know that without the helpful guidance of a veteran international school teacher at your new school, it is very easy to end up making huge financial mistakes buying things left and right for prices a little too high than you should have paid (e.g. not knowing where to go to get the best price or get the “local price”).
In an ideal scenario: you arrive at the airport, get picked up promptly by someone who works at your new school, and they quickly and politely drop you off at your new home. After you open the door to your new place, there is a fully-furnished house with a recently purchased bag of groceries waiting for you to help you get through the day with minimal hassle and without having to leave your apartment/house too much.
But we all know that it doesn’t always turn out that way. There are always things that you will need to buy, sooner than later. Some things more important than others, of course. If they are small things (like an iron, maybe), then it shouldn’t be such a big deal to take a short walk down the road (to the Carrefour, maybe) and pick up a few things. It is good/fun to take the first plunge into your new neighborhood.
But if there are a number of small items (plus a few big ones) that you need to buy, then things could get a bit stressful; especially if you need to go somewhere more than just a short walk down the street.
Depending on your chosen living situation, you might end up needing to do some emergency purchases ASAP. A trip to a store like IKEA will definitely be in order for you on your first day. Some schools even will take you there in the school van, if you’re lucky!
And now, let’s not forget our new schools themselves. They might also have some things that you will need to bring or buy for the greater good of the school. If they gave you a head’s up on these items, you can make sure to pack them into your shipping container. But if you weren’t set up with a great contact at the school beforehand, you might not get the head’s up in time. Then you are left with possibly buying things for your classroom in the local shops. Hopefully, your school will give you a budget for those things, but that is not always the case!
Living abroad is not like our home countries. International school teachers do need to be open minded and adaptable. It is definitely tempting to want everything to be as perfect as it can be once you arrive, but we must be ready for a few surprises (i.e. surprise purchases) that will come our way the first few months.
Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out which things you might need to buy once you arrive in your new host country, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn’t know about beforehand?”
Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 111 comments in this comment topic (Jan. 2016). Here are a few that have been submitted:
“Beds are HARD in Thailand – if you rent a furnished place you might need a mattress topper or take the plunge and buy your own mattress/bed (or bring your comfy one with you – cost is irrelevant as it is important to be able to sleep comfortably at night). If you like a hard mattress you will be very happy here…” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand) – 75 Comments
“You will need deposit and first/last months rent to get your condo. No one told me this and I was not prepared with enough cash. When you arrive you don’t have a bank account yet and ATM’s limit how much cash you can withdraw. If you arrive early before new staff orientation, no one may tell you that NIST will loan you the money until your first paycheck. You just need to ask HR for the loan and it won’t be a problem. Or come with lots of cash that you can change to baht.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 109 Comments
“Your kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, dishes, and small appliance needs in the school apartment will vary widely depending on what the last tenant left. You will not receive a TV, iron, ironing board, etc., just furniture and one set of light bedding.” –American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 39 Comments
“Don’t worry if you forgot something here because the school has a relationship with the local embassy and teachers can use the commissary there. Teachers can order things even on amazon.com and have it shipped to Moscow through them, as you can use their “American address.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 61 Commentscontinue reading
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
Our 42nd blog that we would like to highlight is called “Wandering Whirligig” (A teacher who worked at Copenhagen International School). Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who recently worked at Copenhagen International School in Denmark.
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“I moved to Copenhagen in January 2011. Next week, I will leave. After four and a half years, I will leave this fabulous city for new adventures. There are so many mixed emotions pulsing through my body.
The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, the memories I’ve made… Do I feel happy? Or sad? Right now it’s a rollercoaster. A rollercoaster I know so many people have ridden. It’s the rollercoaster ride that takes you from one place to the next, that carries you and all of your belongings from one exciting adventure to another, hopefully bringing all the wonderful memories you’ve made trailing along in the wind: there’s a seat for every friend you’ve ever made during your adventure on this rollercoaster, but you know you’re now in different carriages.
I feel about Copenhagen what I have never yet felt about any other place I’ve moved to: I feel at HOME here…”
Leaving a school is tough, especially when you have been there for many years. You go through so many emotions. Change is good, but change is hard.
Want to read more about teachers leaving a school (and how many are leaving this school year)? Check out this survey we had back in March 2015 called “New Survey: How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?“
“I’ve written before about how refreshing a daily commute by bike can be and how I’ll never ever take for granted the opportunity I’ve had to do that every day since moving to Copenhagen in January 2011. By the time I arrive at work, I feel completely revitalised and thoroughly refreshed – I feel as though I’ve already done something for ME before the day has even begun. It’s free excercise that I don’t even realise I’m doing since I just consider biking my mode of transport. Anyhow… recently, I received a GoPro from my family for my (ahem, 30th) birthday and the first thing I (ahem, very VERY geekily) did with it was… film my daily commute to work.
My first attempt was to shorten my 8.5km, half hour commute…”
What a great idea to GoPro your journey to work! Riding your bike to work can be invigorating and get you starting on the right foot for your day at work.
Want to learn more about how international school teachers get to their international school each day? Luckily, we have a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this theme called “Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school?” Here are a few examples of the 761 comments (July 2015) from this topic:
‘I would disagree that it is close to downtown; that is American Community School. The school is about 20 minutes south of the downtown, which is still quite accessible by bus and taxi. The school does provide a van to work if you live in school apartments. Those not in school apartments can pay to ride the van or about half the staff buy used cars.’ – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan) – 16 Comments
‘The school is around a 10 minute drive from the city center. Al Ain is a fairly compact city, so nothing is more than 20 minutes or so away. Teachers are mainly housed around 10 to 15 minutes away in the northern part of the Jimi district. The housing seems tolerable, but being situated across the street from a sewage treatment plant, I’m told that there are serious odor issues there. Most staff either drive themselves or carpool to work.’ – Liwa International School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) – 23 Comments
‘The school is in an industrial park area of SIP about 20 minutes from most housing. School coaches pick staff up at compounds at a set time in the a.m. You can catch the coach home at 4.30 or 5 pm. Alternatively catch a taxi ( about 20 RMB) or get an ebike ( about ) 2,000 RMB and have fun riding to/from school in the separate bike lanes.’ – Dulwich College Suzhou (Suzhou, China) – 17 Comments
Want to work for an international school in Denmark like this blogger? Currently, we have 15 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:
• Aarhus Academy for Global Education (9 comments)
• Copenhagen International School (244 comments)
• Osterbro International School (17 comments)
• Esbjerg International School (12 comments)
• Odense International School (10 comments)
Additionally, there are 21 International School Community members who currently live in Denmark. Check out which ones and where they work here. Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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 Commentscontinue reading
Traveling Around: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Can you relate?
• Realizing that the expat life there can be very, very nice!
• Enjoying the Middle Eastern cuisine and wishing it was the cuisine where I live.
• Going to mall after mall after mall after mall.
• Feeling jealous about how big the grocery stores were there compared to my host country, so many products that I would buy if I lived there.
• Walking along the corniche. Corniches in the Middle East are just cool places to walk around, especially during sunset.
• Stopping many times in a taxi as my taxi driver asks stranger after kind stranger if they know where to go to find my friend’s house.
• Checking out the new, modernized souk and conversing with a souvenir store manager about where I could find original artwork. (Fail)
• Pulling up to hotels and restaurants and there always being a valet person to park our car for us.
• Meeting expat after expat and asking them many questions about their lives living in Abu Dhabi.
• Thinking how interesting that all the restaurants have a mock-tail menu rather than a regular cocktail menu (alcohol is prohibited in this country).
• Getting accustomed to taking taxis around town or driving in my friend’s car around town. Still a bit strange sometimes when many international school teachers live their lives abroad car-less.
• Hearing all about the different customs related to the clothing of the UAE man and woman.
• Being amazed at how diverse the city is. The majority of people here appear to be from India.
• Choosing almost not to go into the grand mosque because I wasn’t dressed appropriately. (I did end up going in and wearing the free robe on offer at the mosque entrance)
• Having a moment of surprise when finding out that the weekend here includes Friday and Saturday, not Saturday and Sunday.
• Taking a trip out to the desert and doing a dune bashing ride as our driver drove crazily around and on top of really high dune hills.
• Buying some excellent dates at the date market. Felt happy about my purchase until somebody reminded me that I should have bargained down the price!
Currently we have 14 international schools listed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profile pages:
• Al Raha International School Abu Dhabi (5 Comments)
• American Community School Abu Dhabi (12 Comments)
• American International School (Abu Dhabi) (11 Comments)
• Sheikh Zayed Private Academy (7 Comments)
• Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi (10 Comments)
• Institute of Applied Technology (Abu Dhabi) (12 Comments)
• GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi) (37 Comments)
• Horizon Private School (10 Comments)
If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at email@example.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences. Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock. Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!continue reading
v2012.05 – 5 May, 2012:
“Having left your own safe environment suddenly you no longer have control (which as teachers we typically enjoy in our classroom) over your world. As soon as you step out into the outside world in whatever country, you can be faced with:
It is similar to a new born chick who has just left the nest – since you lack confidence in your new surroundings you start out by going on small excursions, but then as you get more confident you go on further trips away from ‘the nest’.”
It is true I suppose that teachers prefer to have “control” in their classrooms. How ironic then that international school teachers put themselves in a situation where they for sure don’t have control. Living in another country is certainly you letting go of the control and safety of your home country and culture, or at least a familiar place to you. But that is what makes this career choice really exciting; you never know what to expect and what you will experience next. How frustrating though to not be able to read street and road signs, we can all relate to that. Additionally, not being able to understand the local language really makes you use all your other senses more in how to interpret body language and to gather meaning from body positioning, gestures and context. At this point native-English international school teachers are so used to being on a train or plane where everyone around them is speaking a different language than themselves that it is strange now (and quite over-stimulating) to be on a plane in the United States (for example) where they understand all the many conversations going on around their seat. We get very used to “tuning” out what is going on around us while living abroad, mostly because we just don’t understand what is being said.
This past month International School Community we had over 100 new members sign up! If this rate keeps up, we might have over 1000 members by the end of October! More members means more people that you can network with when you are job hunting or that you can ask questions to about a specific international school in which you are interested in working. Now, ISCommunity members currently work at or have worked at over 160 different international schools in over 53 countries!
From the staff at International School Community.
· Traveling Around: Tbilisi, Georgia (The life of an international school teacher is good!)
“Can you relate: Putting an update on Facebook on where I am and everyone not knowing where Tbilisi is…”
· International schools that were founded in 1932 (Hong Kong, Henderson, Masero & Lisbon)
“Founded in 1932 by Madam Tsang Chor-hang, Yew Chung has been providing quality bilingual education to the learners of Hong Kong for almost 80 years…”
· Overview of an int’l school #5 – Rainbow international School in Seoul
“Rainbow school is an international school established by Mr. Eshraf Saglam, a Turkish educationist in Seoul promoting multiculturalism and international diversity. With 260 students from 29 countries and 42 teachers from 6 countries…”
· Schools around the world get chance to sing in global recording
“An exciting global singing project has been announced. The project is called Voices around the World and the aim is for young people all over the world to learn and participate in a global recording…”
· International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #5: SE Asia
“We expect continued growth in Indonesia, Malaysia and even Vietnam as those emerging economies steadily prosper. Salaries may seem very low in these countries but…”
· The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #8 – “Benefits, preps, class sizes, and student mix.”
“If all these benefits and other factors don’t seem to match up for you at this point in your international school career, then the answer you will most likely give…”
Kazakhstan Attracts Teachers Looking for Career Development“Kazakhstan may not be the obvious destination for teachers wanting to work abroad. But the Nazarbayev Intellectual School Networkis offering experienced, English-speaking middle and secondary teachers a one-year contract that is proving very tempting for some.”“There are NIS schools in cities throughout Kazakhstan, all of which are leading a programme of educational reform in the country led by the President of the Republic. The aim is to develop a new way of educating the future elite of Kazakhstan and the NIS Network is enlisting the skills of experienced English-speaking teachers to spearhead the progress….”
Check out this blog entry to read more about what your life might look like as an international school teacher in Kazakhstan.
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
This international school teacher’sblog is about teaching and living in Dubai, Almaty, etc.One of their blog entries (International Schools: The circuit)is describing how small the international school community is and how many of us “hop” around from school to school:“It is in fact a very small community and the chances are that you will know someone who has been to a specific school, once you have been in one or two schools overseas. Don’t be surprised after some years if you walk into a staffroom in a different school, and country, and you meet someone you worked with in another school…”Another one of their entries (What to expect at a job fair) is about what candidates might experience at the international school recruitment fairs:
“During the afternoon, the school will have interviews in their hotel rooms – it is all a bit surreal, but the recruiters carry out the interviews in their rooms (this is normal procedure!) At the end of this day the schools will then look at the candidates they have interviewed (and if you are one of them) then they will either invite you for a second interview…”
The latest figures published by ISC Research show that the number of children attending the world’s international schools has passed three million. This is phenomenal growth in just ten years. In 2002 there were one million international school students. It is this increasing demand for places which is driving the rapid expansion of international schools worldwide; a trend that ISC Research predicts will continue for the foreseeable future.
Ten years ago, the typical international school student was from an expatriate family. Today, that student is from a local family. The number of expatriate children attending international schools has not decreased, indeed there are many more . What has changed is the recognition by local families that international schools are a means of advancing to further education at some of the world’s best universities. “Parents of the next generation are looking towards international schools to satisfy the need for critical thinking rather than learning by rote,” says Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications at Taaleem which owns and manages 13 schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “The parents clearly see international schools as a route through for university opportunities.” It is this recognition, coupled with increased income, which is making attendance at an international school a real possibility for the wealthier local families. Today 80% of students at international schools are local children.
In a number of cities, this demand from both expat and local families, is outstripping supply. Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha all have significant problems. So much so, that many relocating expats with families are now demanding security of their school places before accepting new placements. In certain locations, it is the availability of good school places that is driving job decisions by expats rather than salaries and destinations. As a result of this demand, a number of countries are actively encouraging the growth of international schools including China, India, Malaysia, Korea, and the UAE.
International schools are typically fee-paying schools that deliver the curriculum wholly or partly in English (outside an English-speaking country). The good quality of learning at international schools is recognised the world over. Many of these schools follow, to a large extent, the English National Curriculum. Others deliver such highly respected international curricula as the International Baccalaureate and the International Primary Curriculum. Others deliver alternative national curricula such as American or Dutch. The best international schools have extremely good reputations, are accredited, and are used as models by national schools the world over.
ISC Research, the organisation that researches and analyses data on international schools worldwide predicts that the number of students in international schools will reach six million in another ten years and that the number of international schools will increase from 6,000 today to 10,000.
Managing Director of ISC Research, Nicholas Brummitt, says “The international school market has become big business. There are now a number of highly respected, multinational groups of schools driving growth forward. Examples of these are Taaleem with schools throughout the UAE and partnerships in other Middle East countries, WCL with schools in the US and Qatar, Nord Anglia with schools in China and Europe, Cognita with schools in the UK, Europe and Asia, ESOL with schools in a number of Middle East countries, Yew Chung Education Foundation with schools in Hong Kong, China and the US, and GEMS with schools in many parts of the world. Most of these groups are expanding aggressively, either by buying existing schools, expanding current operations, or building new schools. There are also schools with campuses in several countries. These include a number of UK private schools with international operations such as Harrow (in Beijing, Bangkok with a third school in Hong Kong opening in September this year) and Dulwich which has schools in China and is opening several more in Asia over the next few years.”
For more information about the international schools market visit www.iscresearch.com. ISC Research is the only organisation that supplies data and market analyses covering all the world’s English-medium international schools; data that it has been tracking for over twenty years. The latest market updates plus individual school information, news, statistical overviews, and country reports are all available from ISC Research.
For more information about what it is like to work at many of these international schools, make sure to visit www.internationschoolcommunity.comcontinue reading
v2012.03 – 3 March, 2012:
We have had a surge of new members on International School Community this past month taking us over the 300 mark. With 67 new members joining, we are now at a total of 326 members! It is so interesting to look at the range of members that we have so far: veteran international school teachers, teachers new to the international school community, teachers who are thinking about getting into our community, retired international school teachers, international school parents, international school directors, etc. All premium members are able to send unlimited private messages to other members on our website to contact for information and also to network with if you have questions about what life at a specific international school he/she is currently working at or has worked at in the past.
Go ahead then and send a private message to one of our members that is currently living in one of the many different cities around the world represented on our website. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at over 115 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!
Our 320+ members have now also submitted over 3300+ comments and information on our 1120+ international school profile pages. To celebrate these recent milestones, you can now get 50% off of your next membership subscription by using this coupon code: MARCH3241. With the discount, you can renew your premium subscription for as little as 5 USD! Just go to your My Account page and click on “renew your subscription”. This offer will expire on 17 March, 2012.
Premium members also have unlimited access to our 1126 international school profile pages. On each school profile page there are 4 separate comment and information submission sections: School information, Benefits information, City information and Travel information.
There are many international schools profile pages getting updated all the time. In the international school community, it is important we share what we know to help others make better informed decisions when looking for employment at an international school.
Thanks again for everyone’s support! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the beginning of spring!
From the staff at International School Community.
· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #9 – Maintain a sense of humor, but most importantly be ready to laugh at yourself.
“When you are living abroad, there are moments when the locals are looking at you strangely. You might be thinking that they are making fun of you, being rude, or just plain staring at you. Most of the time though they usually don’t have an unkind intention towards you. The initial reaction is to…”
· Great resource: ISAT – International Schools Association of Thailand
“If your dream is to work at an international school in Thailand, the ISAT website can be a great resource for you…”
· International schools that were founded in 1947 (New York, Cali, Medellin, Rome, and Sao Paolo)
“The United Nations International School (UNIS) was established in 1947 by a group of United Nations Parents to provide an international education for their children, while preserving their diverse cultural heritages. What began as a nursery school for 20 children quickly grew, adding…”
· Overview of an int’l school #4 – Makuhari International School
“At MIS, at present, around 60% of our children are Japanese returnee children, the other 40% are either dual nationality or foreign children…”
· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #6 – “Remember to research.”
“When interviewing at an international school recruitment fair, it is indeed a difficult task to be 100% knowledgeable about each international school you interview with. You do some final researching the night/morning before the interview, but…”
· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #3
“The school goes through Search Associates. Teachers must have appropriate degree for teaching the subject of major concentration and by under 65 years of age. They are willing to hire interns for certain positions…”
Discussion Topic: Things I (an international school teacher) Have Not Done in a Year“After living abroad for so many years, I have forgotten all the things that you don’t do anymore. We used to have a different life, didn’t we? But now that you are living abroad, many of your routines have changed. Being that these changes have now become your new routines, you tend to forget about the things you used to do!Inspired by this blog entry by the Kirby Family, Things I Have Not Done in a Year, we invite our readers and members to discuss their list of things that they haven’t done in a year (or more for that matter).
Highlighted blogs of international teachers:
This international school teacher’s insight about moving back to your home country after teaching and living in Hong Kong is something we can all relate to:“I think I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said I was happy to be moving back to Canada. There are many things I am looking forward to about going back, foremost among them, being closer to our family, but there are many things I am going to really miss about Hong Kong, especially my job. In early June I included an article in one of my posts that I wrote in 2005 about what I will miss about Hong Kong. I’ve learned there…”* If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
Highlighted LinkGreat resource: Want to work at an international school in Germany?The How To Germany websitehas some excellent insight on the many international schools in Germany. There are many international educators interested in working at these schools. Currently, there are 21 international schools listed under Germany on International School Community. There are 20 international schools listed on the How To Germany website. Highlights from their website:”There are compelling reasons why you might choose to send your children to one of Germany’s many fine international schools. Many English-speaking expatriates are educating their children at Germany’s international schools, and an education at such a school has numerous advantages. There is, of course, instruction in the native language. And, since the student body is usually quite international, they expose the young people to a variety of cultures. They also do a better job than most German schools of introducing the students to computers, and the program of sports and extracurricular activities is more like what they are accustomed to at home…”
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
Culture Shock and the Expat Educator
“If you’re a new expat teacher (or an expat teacher in a new setting), you may be wondering what the #@!*% you were thinking when you decided to move. It’s normal. Perfectly normal. You probably moved in late July and are heading into the dreaded period of anxiety associated with culture shock. Even in countries lovingly termed “expat lite” (i.e. Hong Kong, Singapore) the most mundane things can be frustrating.”International Students Go to Camp: The Importance of Play
“When I taught in the US, students went to Outdoor School. The Oregonian children learned to read the age of a tree, the names of major plant species, and experience the Northwest natural habitat. Imagine my surprise when I first learned that my international school students go to Camp to play. So this is a really long recess? I wondered. I’m sacrificing hot showers, quality food, and personal hygiene so that students can PLAY? While I admit to Facebook grumbling about ants in the shower, plastic beds, and food representing only the white and brown food groups, I have come to see the value in free play for tweens in my setting.”*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here
v2011.07 – 12 November, 2011:
Using the School Profile Search feature on the main homepage of International School Community, we found the following stats about the 955 international schools currently listed on our website.
(Updated from our May 2011 statistics)
Age of School:
Schools more than 51 years old: 197 ( 37)
Schools from 16-50 years old: 412 ( 81)
Schools from 0-15 years old: 346 ( 121)
(How interesting that there is indeed an influx of new schools starting up all over the world! The vast majority of the ones on our website are in the East Asia and Middle East areas of the world.)
UK curriculum: 281 ( 72)
USA curriculum: 350 ( 66)
IB curriculum: 378 ( 70)
(Each type of curriculum appears to be increasing at relatively the same rate. The USA and IB curricula seem to be equally represented around the world on our website.)
For-profit schools: 336 ( 142)
Non-profit schools: 619 ( 97)
(Non-profit schools are still double the amount of for-profit schools on International School Community.)
Schools in East Asia: 129 ( 33)
Schools in South America: 70 ( 10)
Schools in Middle East: 118 ( 46)
Schools in Western Europe: 167 ( 37)
(The clear winner…still Western Europe. Though it looks like the Middle East is increasing at a higher rate with regards to schools represented on our website.)
Feel free to make your own searches based on your criteria on International School Community. Members with premium membership are able to do unlimited searches on our website. If you are already a member, you can easily renew your subscription on your profile page. If you are not a member, become a member today and get 1 month free of premium membership.
· Educators Overseas: International schools definitions (the schools, the students and the teachers)
“From Argentina to Zimbabwe international schools come in all shapes and sizes. Some schools are non-profit and are affiliated with an embassy (most often British or American). while others are proprietary. Originally established to educate children of expatriates, or “expats”, (diplomats and international business people who have relocated to that country) international schools have become the elite schools of most major cities around the world…”
· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #3 – “Interview questions make the interviewer.”
“International schools though only have a limited amount of time during the actual interview session with the different candidates at the recruitment fair. Because the candidate before inevitably goes longer than he/she should of and because the interviewers themselves sometime need a break between their back to back interviews…”
· Highlighted article – The IPC: a curriculum growing in popularity amongst many international schools (Part 2)
“With schools in over 63 countries learning with the IPC, opportunities abound for children to share their local experiences related to an IPC unit with children in dramatically different environments…”
· Teachers International Consultancy (TIC): Teaching from Australia to Abu Dhabi
“Prior to his current post, Charles was teaching at the International School Aamby in India and, since leaving Australia as a qualified teacher in 2001, has also taught at an international school in Turkey. ‘This whole international teaching experience has definitely been a positive move for me,’ he says…”
· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #1 (Singapore, Kuwait & Beijing)
“I interviewed with this school last March. It was over Skype with the elementary principal. She was very nice. The interview was professional, but also a bit informal which is what I prefer, a more casual conversation about my teaching experience and the school…”
Charles Tripolone is explaining the rains: “In my first few months in India, back in 2008, we had 5 ½ metres in 4 months!” he says. “That’s quite a contrast to the millimetres of rainfall that we normally measure in Australia.” He goes on: “In 2009 the monsoons were very light. It was fascinating for science teaching; soil erosion, sedimentation; it could easily by taught through real life experiences there.”
Since moving on from India, 39 year old Charles, now works with Taaleem Edison Learning in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, as a Science Consultant for local schools. This has been an excellent move which has allowed him to consolidate his teaching experience – experience that has spanned several countries. Prior to his current post, Charles was teaching at the International School Aamby in India and, since leaving Australia as a qualified teacher in 2001, has also taught at an international school in Turkey. “This whole international teaching experience has definitely been a positive move for me,” he says. “You just learn so much by moving out of your comfort zone. I’ve learnt five languages at various levels, travelled to about 100 countries, taught a whole mix of national and international curricula, and have done things I’d never thought I’d do before I left Australia,” explains Charles. “I’ve got so much more confidence because I’ve not been placed in one education system for an extended period of time, and, as for teaching in India, that experience definitely helped me to calm down. Life happens at a much calmer pace there; things always get done but everything is so much more chilled.”
Charles taught Science and IT at the International School Aamby which involved working with a wide range of curricula including the IPC, CPC, IGCSE and IB. “I really enjoyed the blending of different curricula as it helped me to crystallize in my mind how children learn best. This definitely benefitted my career,” he says.
As with most international schools, the intake of students at Aamby was a mix of local children and expatriate children and, as with all international schools, every child was learning through the medium of English. As for teaching colleagues, Charles worked alongside UK, American, Indian and other Australian teachers. “It’s a great atmosphere,” he says. “International school teachers are all very supportive of each other. And the children are fantastic. Their behaviour is excellent. You never need to raise your voice. I spend most of my time teaching rather than managing behaviour and that makes such a difference academically and on a personal level too.”
Charles is one of over 260,000 English-speaking teachers now teaching internationally and many more are heading that way thanks to the significant growth in international schools. In the last year alone, over 500 new English-speaking international schools were opened across the globe, taking the total number of international schools worldwide to 5,700. This is anticipated to grow to 8,000 international schools within five years according to data provided by ISC Research, the organisation that analyses developments in the international schools market.
“Recruiters from international schools are looking for qualified teachers from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, South Africa and Canada,” says Andrew Wigford, Director of Teachers International Consultancy (TIC), an organisation that specialises in international school recruitment. The reason why: “English is the language of choice for international schools wherever they may be in the world. So if you’re an English-speaking teacher and have a few years teaching experience, you can literally work anywhere in the world,” says Andrew.
Charles was helped by Teachers International Consultancy to find his job and offers this advice to other teachers considering working in an international school: “Do your homework. Make sure it’s somewhere you’d like to live for a while. Research the school and the contract they offer. Ask as many questions as you can before you make the decision; it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting in to. Use all resources available to you including friends, recommendations, the internet and specialist organisations. You also need to very flexible and accommodating to changes along the way. TIC provided me with a lot of insight and guidance that I couldn’t get anywhere else. They helped to match me with the right job and, before my interview, spoke to the school about me and that was all so important. It was much better than applying independently.”
As for home in Sydney, Charles says he does miss it and he does miss his family and friends. “The internet can sometimes be patchy and communication can be a bit of an issue, but I wouldn’t have missed these opportunities for anything,” he says. “There’s a whole world out there and the options now for me are tremendous. This experience has opened up many new doors and when I’m ready, I’ll head back home. But not for a while!”
For more advice about international teaching opportunities, visit the Teachers International Consultancy website at www.findteachingjobsoverseas.co.uk and to search for the international school that meets your search criteria and to gather information and read comments about various international schools around the world, visit the International School Community website at www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.continue reading
http://www.dubaifaqs.com/ has some excellent insight on the ins and outs of teaching at international schools in the UAE.
There are for sure a fair amount of “international schools” in the UAE. When that is the case for a country, there usually are a lot of differences that are very important to keep in mind as you are interviewing with some of them. That is surely the case with the many “international schools” all over China.
Sections International School Community would like to highlight:
They came up with a list of schools that were deemed the “best” in UAE. They first explained though a bit about how they came up with the list.
– This list is our very subjective opinion only. By “best” we mean relatively professional working environment, administration for the most part is supportive of teachers in a professional capacity, resident visas are organised promptly, salaries and benefits package are decent to good (roughly AED 15k-20k per month in 2010-2011), salaries are paid on time, and teachers should suffer from minimal or no bureaucratic hassles on arrival, during employment, or when departing.
– If a school is not in the list below, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad (although there are plenty that are), but it’s not regarded as one of the best ones, or we don’t have enough information to add it to the list. The list is deliberately kept short.
– Jobs at schools in this list are usually hard to come by. You’re unlikely to find them advertised on job websites. Best approach directly to the school early in the academic year, and/or keep an eye on the specialist teaching recruitment agencies and publications. You’d be expected to have at least 2 years experience, be properly qualified, and have achievements that make you stand out from the crowd.
– Many schools (and companies in general) in the UAE often make things particularly difficult for departing teachers, attempting to withhold gratuity and/or other payments that are due to them.
– Before whining and jumping up and down, teachers should at least check the UAE labour law since confusion over contracts and other employment related matters is common in the UAE.
– Schools in this list are usually western or international curriculum. Even the better Asian curriculum schools still have relatively low salary scales.
– Schools in this list usually coincide with schools that are also the best for students, in the opinion of parents.
Best schools for teachers in Abu Dhabi
Schools worth trying in Abu Dhabi if you can’t find a job at one of the best ones
– Brighton College Abu Dhabi (new in September 2011 so we’re not sure yet)
Best schools for teachers in Dubai
– DESC (Dubai English Speaking College)
– DESS (Dubai English Speaking School)
– JAPS (Jebel Ali Primary School)
– JASS (Jebel Ali Secondary School)
– JESS (Jumeirah English Speaking School)
– JPS (Jumeirah Primary School)
Schools worth trying in Dubai if you can’t find a job at one of the best ones
– Dubai International Academy (maybe)
– Jumeirah College (maybe)
– Repton School Dubai (maybe)
Teacher job satisfaction in Abu Dhabi – mid 2011 survery
There is supposed to be a minimum teacher salary of 2,000 dhs/mth in the UAE according to the UAE Ministry of Education (for most jobs in Dubai there is no minimum salary) but some schools try to pay less than that, at least according to several press articles. See the teacher salaries in Dubai discussion. Update (16 June 2010): the minimum might be higher – Gulf News reported that Asian schools teachers are among the lowest paid in the market with the minimum salary fixed at Dh2,500 by the Ministry of Education. Figure unconfirmed. Update again (22 February 2011): the minimum is apparently still AED 2,000 per month – Emirates Business 24-7 reported that Currently, most teachers in schools with Indian curricula earn less than Dh2,500 – just above the UAE Ministry of Education’s minimum wage cap of Dh2,000.
Salary range for classroom teachers is 1,000-6,000 dhs per month for most government schools and 1,000-20,000 dhs per month for private schools. Schools with IB, UK or US curriculums usually pay the highest – the better ones are 10,000-15,000 dhs per month (with accommodation, flights etc included), at the top of the range secondary school teachers could get over 20,000 dhs per month. Indian schools pay about 2,000-4,000 dhs per month. Other Asian schools are similar, other European schools are closer to UK/US curriculum schools with their packages.
In the list of Dubai schools, if there is no teacher salary information, the school fees will give an indication of the salaries on offer. Divide the annual secondary school fee by 3 to get a very approximate monthly salary figure, or divide the primary school annual fee by 2. Reduce the result by 25% for profit-making schools. This should give you a mid to high point on the school salary scale.
v2011.01 – 10 May, 2011
The first International School Community newsletter has arrived! First of all, we would like to thank all our current members for their support so far. Many thanks go out to all those members that had a part in the development of this website. International School Community strongly encourages for members to leave comments and submit their votes on the schools they currently work at or have worked at in the past. We also encourage you to take a minute to update your member profile so that others will be able to network with you more easily. Enjoy being an active member on this website and help yourself and others to continue on in the “International School Community.”
Current Promotion: All new members that sign up will automatically receive a free 1-month subscription of premium membership. If you are already a member, you can still benefit from this promotion. Just sign-on and click on the My Account tab and then the renew your subscription link. Use the coupon code “1FREEMONTH” on the payment page, and you will automatically receive the free 1-month subscription of premium membership. Make sure to forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues so that they can also benefit from this promotion.
“I enjoy the way students of different cultural backgrounds play together and include each other in games in spite of communication challenges.”
“It all started on New Year’s Eve 2003. I was talking with someone at a party whose sister was teaching in Malaysia. This person was telling me the exciting and lucrative life her sister was leading by working internationally…”
•The whole sign-up process has been revamped.
•The recently updated school profiles feature has been improved. Comment tidbits and map feature added.
•The map feature can now be enlarged on the school profiles pages.
•The survey section is now available to non-members.
Shanghai Rego International School (city section)
American School of Barcelona (benefits section)
New Survey Topic:
Which area of the world would you prefer to work in?
When I was a kid, three of my closest friends went off the rails. They ended up in prison. In each case, they apprenticed with a bit of shoplifting. Things went downhill from there. I didn’t grow up in a bad neighborhood. But it wasn’t all sugar and lollipops.
That’s why my mom didn’t work when I was young. She stayed home. She wanted to give my brothers, my two sisters and me stability in a world that wasn’t stable.
My mom was careful with money. My dad was a mechanic. They had four kids. That’s why I was surprised when my parents asked if I wanted to take trip around the Mediterranean Sea with a bunch of other 7th grade students. “I’ll take a part-time job to cover the cost,” said my mom. “But you have to save at least $350.” It was 1982. I was a 12-year old with a paper route. The trip cost $2,800. That was five times more than what my cash strapped parents had paid for their family car.
Today, I understand why they wanted me to do it.
For 4 months, I took weekly night lessons with a dozen other kids in a retired teacher’s home. The teacher volunteered. We learned about the countries we would see. We studied their geographies, cultures, architectures and religions. I became our 12-year old expert on Islam.
I left for my month-long trip on March 28, 1982. I still remember the date and most of what I saw. We went to England, Greece, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. I spent two extra weeks with relatives in England.
It was, by far, the best educational experience that I ever had.
Thousands of parents take it one step further. They raise their children overseas. Their kids attend international schools. These aren’t French schools servicing French children, or Thai schools servicing Thai students. Instead, they support the families of expatriates working abroad. They’re like the United Nations.
For many kids and parents, these schools are a dream. Almost every child who graduates from an international school eventually goes to college. In the 12 years that I taught at one, I wasn’t aware of a single high school drop out.
Although it may have happened, I wasn’t aware of a single teen pregnancy. Racism was almost non-existent. There was a heightened awareness of different religions, cultures and demographics, both social and financial.
I taught at Singapore American School. It’s the largest American school outside of the United States. There are 4000 kids from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Most are U.S. passport holders. But the student body represents more than 50 different nationalities. Most of the teachers have children.
In 2014, ICEF Monitor stated that there are more than 7000 international schools worldwide. Devin Pratt and his wife Dianna have worked at six of them. Devin began his career as a Social Studies teacher in Texas. He’s now the Assistant Head (Superintendent) at Frankfurt International School. Dianna works at the same school as an educational technology coordinator. Their two children, Dagan and Dominique, have lived in Cote-d’Ivoire, Africa; Saudi Arabia; Taiwan; India and Singapore.
I sat with Devin on his porch in Frankfurt. Some of the neighbor’s homes peeked through the trees on the sunny hill below. Birds chirped. I couldn’t see or hear a single car. I couldn’t hear another voice.
“For part of my childhood, I grew up in government subsidized apartments in the Dallas, Texas area,” said Devin. “We eventually moved to Plano when my mom remarried. It’s a high socioeconomic area where many of the kids’ parents expected them to go to college. Just having that influence helped me.”
Devin says that there are few negative distractions at international schools. “Almost all of the kids are focused on education and their school based activities. Most don’t consider not going to college. They’re positively pulled by their peers and by supportive communities that value global education and diversity.”
But raising kids overseas isn’t perfect. Derek Swanson is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He teaches at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Previously, he and his wife taught in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The couple has two sons. The youngest is four years old. The oldest is seven. “Maintaining relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members is challenging at times,” he says. “But technologies [like Skype] help considerably.”
Derek’s children follow a U.S. curriculum. But they learn much more. “Our two boys have learned a fair amount of Vietnamese, Arabic, and Tagalog,” says Derek. “They also have a fair understanding of the conflicts in Vietnam and how that affected the people there.”
Kate Smith (I’ve changed her name to protect her identity) is another American overseas. She teaches 2nd grade at Pechersk International School, in Kiev, Ukraine. Kate, her husband, and their thirteen year old daughter have also lived in Turkey and Belgium.
“My daughter has been exposed to many different cultures, languages and different ways of thinking,” says Kate. “She has grown up thinking it’s normal to be able to speak 3 languages. She isn’t as materialistic as her cousins who live in the U.S. and she has learned to value experiences and people over things.”
Kate credits a lack of exposure to U.S. based television. “When she was younger, I asked my daughter what she wanted from Santa. She looked puzzled and didn’t know how to reply because she has what she wants and needs. She hasn’t been exposed to the advertising on American TV.”
But living overseas, for Kate, isn’t without its challenges. “Buying clothes and shoes in foreign countries is always interesting. In our current country, they speak Russian or Ukrainian (and I know neither). I have bought some foods expecting them to be something they are not!”
Gael Thomlinson and her husband, Brad, teach at the British Columbia Canadian International School, in Cairo Egypt. It follows a Canadian curriculum. As with most international schools, the students come from dozens of different countries. Gael teaches music. Brad teaches math. Previously, the couple taught in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
Their two nine-year olds, Lisa and David (I’ve changed their names to protect their identities) enjoy living overseas. Gael says, “We’ve made great friends from so many different countries. We travel a lot and have visited places like Sri Lanka and Nepal– places I had never dreamed of going. My kids are comfortable amongst many nationalities and they get over language barriers quickly so they can play with new friends.”
Broad cultural acceptance and confidence are common traits among these global kids. Stacy Bradshaw (I have changed her name) is a high school English teacher. She’s a single mother of two children, aged nine and six. For two years, she and her children lived in Taiwan. They recently moved to Korea. This fall, her children will attend Osan American Elementary. It’s a U.S. Department of Defense School.
Stacy and her children have visited 10 different countries in the Pacific Rim region. “My daughter is now a fluent speaker of traditional Mandarin,” says Stacy. “She’s also my translator. My children love the adventures that come from exploring new cultures, which have provided a hands-on, visual learning experience that they continue to reminisce.”
Devin and Dianna Pratt’s daughter, Dominique, is now a Master’s student at Clark Univeristy, in Massachusetts. She earned a scholarship through the Global Scholars Program for international students. She grew up in six different countries. Dominique graduated from high school in Singapore.
“I’m proud of how I grew up,” she says. But Dominque admits that living overseas has created a pull to live in other places. “I don’t feel like I’m a local anywhere. I like the idea of moving on. I feel myself getting antsy about moving somewhere else.”
I asked her about U.S. based teachers. If they have kids, and a sense of adventure, should they consider moving abroad?
“If I were to have kids,” she says, “I would see it as a positive thing.”
This article was originally posted on Assetbuilder.com.continue reading
Choosing a place to teach English can be an overwhelming feeling. With so many things to consider from salary ranges, local languages, social scene, and quality of the job; one will have to take a lot of time to filter their preferences down to a few choices. Fortunately, we took the time to compile a list of some of the top cities to Teach English.
Shanghai is the largest city in the world by population and the financial hub of China. And the teaching English opportunities are reflected in the market. There’s a surplus of jobs ranging from online, primary schools, International schools, and training centers. Shanghai has a population of around 25 million people and 1% of it is expats, being 250K people, so you’ll be able to meet plenty of foreigners in similar or different walks of life. Nightlife in Shanghai is globally recognized as one of the most vibrant and beautiful scenes. If you’re looking for a chicer look, you can head down to The Bund or if you want to bar hop, Yongkang Lu is popular with expats. Nearby cities such as Hangzhou, Suzhou or Nanjing are just train rides away. These cities provide a more historic view into China’s history as well as some time outside the big city. Shanghai is also very close to South Korea with flight times below two hours. Salaries range from $1,500 to $2,700 USD each month, with the cost of living; you’ll be able to save a large amount.
Shenzhen is an up and coming city in China but don’t let that discourage you. Shenzhen is the 2nd largest trading hub in China behind Shanghai so there’s ton of development and expansion. With close proximity to Hong Kong and Macau, this is a traveler’s dream situation. Teaching English jobs available range from training centers to international schools, so no matter your preferences, there’s a position right for you. Shenzhen has a sub-tropical climate so the weather will be pleasant most times of the year and no sight of snow. Don’t forget you can go to any number of beaches in the city. Salaries range from $1,300 to $2,600 on average. For football (soccer) lovers, Shenzhen has two clubs: Shenzhen F.C. and Shenzhen Renren F.C. Due to the architecture and relaxed laws, skate boarders around the world travel there.
Dubai is one of the most competitive ESL markets and for good reason. Teaching English in Dubai offers top-tier packages for their teachers. Offers may include high salaries ($2,500- $5,000) monthly, paid housing, insurance and travel allowances. Dubai is in the dessert so no worries about cold weather and the landscape will be at your disposal. The outdoors will have plenty of adventures to enjoy from sand boarding, sky diving, jet skis, and boat riding. Traveling to neighboring places such as Abu Dhabi, Muscat, and Saudi Arabia will be a hop skip away.
Jobs in Teaching jobs in Riyadh will include universities, international schools, language institutes with teaching hours averaging 25 hours each week. Riyadh as well with other Middle-eastern countries is tax-free. Salaries range from $2,500-$5,000 USD monthly. Most schools will provide housing for you in addition to your cash compensation so your saving potential rises greatly. Foreigners and other expats will generally live within designated complexes so you’ll be amongst others new to the country. Employee contracts will range between 2-3 years so you’ll have job security and ample time to save more money.
Seoul is known for its technology community and nightlife atmosphere. Samsung is headquartered in Seoul and has a huge influence on the tech scene. Also, there’s WIFI everywhere from the metro, parks, and more. With a huge expat population there will be plenty of local and foreign people to befriend. Also, don’t forget there are daily flights to fly directly to Japan, China, and Thailand. Salary ranges average about $2,000 USD with accommodations including flight and housing allowances or reimbursement. Your choices will include public or private schools. Seoul is known for its party culture and is internationally recognized for it. The metropolitan area includes about 23 million people. Baseball is the country’s nation sport so you’ll be able to attend a game in the season and it’s a big event. K-Pop is internationally known for its musical influence not only in South Korea but also throughout eastern and southeast Asia. Make sure to attend a concert to discover what the buzz is all about. Make sure to try Korean BBQ, as it’s an international recognized cuisine. And for you ravers out there, Ultra Music Festival Korea comes to Seoul annually bringing some of the top artists in the EDM realm for a weekend of music, friends, and good vibes.
Busan is the 2nd largest city in South Korea with a population around 3.5 million. In Busan, the outdoors will be your best friend. If you choose to teach English in Busan, you’ll have your choice of beaches to visit daily. Busan attracts tourists, expats, and travelers globally for its 6 beautiful beaches, just to name a few: Dadaepo Beach, Songdo Beach, and Gwangalli Beach. Busan also hosts the Busan International Film Festival, which is one of the most popular film festivals in Asia. Busan is the Baseball capital of South Korea and has the Sajik Baseball Stadium. Salaries average about $2,000 USD. Most schools will pay for your travel and housing so you’ll be able to save anywhere from $500/month based on your saving and traveling habits.
In addition, you can hike Geumjeong Mountain if you’re up for a challenge with a well worth view. Just like Seoul, Busan has a huge expat population so meeting people in a similar experience will be easy.
Off the course of the Mainland rests Taiwan, a small island full for culture, history and teaching English opportunities. With a population of 7.8 million people, Taipei has Mainland China to its west, Japan to its east, and the Philippines to its south. Taipei has a huge expat population whether they are fellow English teachers or students studying Chinese at one of the local universities. The tropical climate and surplus of beaches easily at disposal makes every single day a vacation. Dabajian Mountain is a hiker’s favorite so give it a try. To get a breathtaking view and Instagram porn, make sure to go to the top of Taipei 101 formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, which was the world’s tallest building from 2004 – 2009. Taipei is the capital of Taiwan but with a thorough public transportation system, buses and trains, you’ll be able to reach all ends of the island with ease. Don’t forget about the clean air. Teaching English in Taipei usually requires 25 hours of teaching time while having an average salary of $2000 USD. Given the lost cost of living, you’ll be able to save more than $500 USD each month.
This article was submitted by guest author Teaching Nomad. They are an American owned and operated education recruitment company based in Shanghai, China. Their goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, they have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, they have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online here for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad makes finding a job teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact them with any questions or inquiries!continue reading
In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school. A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part to your start at your new school, in your new host country.
Must-have #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!
Sure, you can prepare ahead of time and get some of the local currency at a bank in your home country before you get on the plane. Sure, you can make it a point to visit an ATM at the host country airport or try and find a local bank near your new house that has an ATM. But even then, you will have to use the money that you have in your home bank account and for many people, they might not have the finances to support starting up a completely new life and home.
How nice then if the international school that you will be working at gives you a settling-in allowance on your arrival to your new host country?! Getting cash in the local currency straight away is definitely a perk and a very nice benefit to look out for when searching for a new international school at which to work.
International School Community members have a wealth of information to share! Here are a few comments about their experience getting a settling-in allowance at an international school they have worked at:
“As soon as I got off the plane and claimed my baggage, I met the school principal at the arrivals gate, he introduced himself, and handed me an envelope with 1,500,000 won (roughly $1,500). Seriously, it was that quick.” – An international school teacher at Seoul International School (68 Comments).
“Upon arriving at our apartment, we were given an envelope with some cash in it. This was our settling-in allowance. It was enough to go to a Walmart-type store and get all the basics you don’t bring with you but need right away. Cleaning supplies/trash can/kitchen utensils (beyond the basics). The school already provided all the basic furniture, bedding, and kitchen stuff (pots/plates/cutlery) but all of the odds and ends were purchased with that settling in allowance. It was great to have local currency right away…but it sure didn’t last very long!” – An international school teacher at Graded School Sao Paulo (16 Comments).
“They gave the first month’s salary in cash upon arrival.” – An international school teacher at GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi) (23 Comments).
“The Canadian Academy has a decent size settling in allowance. Seems large at first, but was used up quite quickly, as Japan is VERY expensive. So perhaps not as good as it seems. (I think it was about equal to one paycheck….?)” – An international school teacher at Canadian Academy (Kobe) (10 Comments).
Getting at least some help monetarily during your first days in your new host country is very much welcomed by all international school teachers! Though you typically go through your settling-in allowance very quickly, it is still nice have. At many postings, you often don’t get your first paycheck until the end of the month that you start working. There are way too many things to buy during those first few weeks, that it would be impossible to wait until you get your first paycheck! Not to mention all the money you end up needlessly wasting when you buy certain items impulsively at one store (because it is near to your house), not knowing that the other store (down the block) sells that same item for half the price. I’m sure that has happened to all of us at one time or another!
In the Benefits Information section of the school profile page on our website, we have a topic related to the settling-in allowance: Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? There have been 100s of comments and information submitted in this topic on our website and many of them refer to the settling-in allowance you will get (or not get) working at that international school . Here are a few of those comments:
“You get one flight per two year contract. There is a 1500 USD appx. local settling allowance, and the school gives an interest free loan of one months salary to assist with settling costs. Shipping – be careful as if you are transitioning from another international post, you must use your home of record for quotations. Some people buy furniture, others rent furnished, some take out car loans, others buy 2nd hand cars. There are plenty of different options.” International School of Kuala Lumpur (55 Comments)
“At the end of your contract the school provides travel and transportation to home of record. Annual flight allowance (KIS pays up to Rs 12,000 / person once every term contract). Shipping allowance for staff on term contract upon joining and at the completion of service. Also there is a transportation allowance. Settling in allowance is given upon every term contract signed. Lunch / tea in our school cafeterias while the school is in session is provided to teachers.” Kodaikanal International School (25 Comments)
“VAIS paid for round trip airfare from the US to Hanoi and back to the US for school year 2011-2. For school year 2012-3, there’s a cap of $1,700. VAIS paid $500 settling in costs. For school year 2012-3, there’s no settling in allowances. There are no free lunches. Lunches cost $3.50.” Vietnam American International School (26 Comments)
Log-on today to check out the many comments and information submitted in this section topic! Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding out the benefits an international school offers to its new teachers.
So, does your international school offer a settling-in allowance? Please share your experiences!continue reading
Have you ever wondered what teaching in London or Paris is like? Are you curious about Norway, Turkey, or the Philippines? Would you consider teaching in Kuwait, Indonesia, Zambia, Bangladesh, or Abu Dhabi? Education World interviewed four teachers who did more than just consider.
“I knew I wanted to see the world,” Donna Spisso told Education World. “I had a masters and eight years of experience when I left the United States. When I taught in Rockingham County, in Virginia, I took five years to save up for a two-week trip to England. At that rate, I was not going to see much!”
“I’ve been abroad for 20 years now. It began as a one-year break after ten years of teaching in New York City,” Laura Forish told Education World.
“If I had to do this all over again, the only thing I would do differently,” said Bill Jordan, “is to get out of stateside public education sooner than I did.”
“Although our lives have been very ordinary in one sense, they have been filled with adventure and new learning every day,” added Karen Dunmire. “Both our girls (ages 28 and 21) were born overseas. Our best friendships have come from the ranks of teachers who’ve chosen this life, even for a brief time. Our girls speak several languages and easily navigate around the world, as that has been their world.”
Those are just a sampling of comments from four teachers who have taught abroad. They have taught in more than 15 nations and have more than 60 years of combined international teaching experience.
For Laura Forish, that one-year break became a new way of life. Since her first foray into international teaching, she has taught at the American Community School-Cobham (England) and at American Schools in London and Paris. Twenty years later, Forish was still teaching abroad.
Education World: You have taught in what many people would consider “dream” places — Paris and London. Is it hard to get positions there?
Laura Forish: It’s all a question of being in the right place at the right time and being persistent. A solid rsum and a minimum of two years of experience is a requirement. Flexibility is also necessary because international schools do not have the same support services United States’ schools offer. Often one is called upon to wear a variety of hats. Although such places as the Munich International School are Christmas-card beautiful, for someone from New York City being in a city was very important.
EW: Did you know the language or about the culture before you left?
Forish: I spoke minimal French, but it certainly has improved. The language as it is spoken bears some — but not much — resemblance to the language as it is taught in textbooks. Culture shock is real and happens to everyone. It is not a fleeting thing but something that lasts through the years. Culture shock was just as real in the United Kingdom, so it should not be thought of as language-based only.
EW: As a foreigner, were you accepted?
Forish: Tough one. I’m always an expatriate American. Those with whom you bond tend to have similar backgrounds. Although they may be Brits or French, they have lived outside their culture. Except for a short stint in Guatemala, I have always lived in places where physically I “fit in,” and that’s a big difference. I can look the “native” when it’s appropriate and act the “foreigner” when I feel like it. For me, that’s a wonderful combination.
EW: What is life like as a teacher in France?
Forish: The physical environment may change, but teaching is something that changes very little once you’re in the classroom. In my current position, our day lasts from 8:45 till 3:30. After-school sports and activity programs run until 6:15.
EW: Was there anything special about teaching in the places you have taught? Were there negatives?
Forish: The big negative is professional. You’re out of the mainstream. Going to a conference is a big deal. Continuing education can be hard to arrange as well, although with online courses becoming more popular, that is easing some.
Another negative is compensation. I am not paid as well as my cohorts in the United States are. Some of this differential is because of the dollar to French franc exchange rate. Salaries vary greatly from school to school. In general, schools in what are considered “hardship” areas tend to pay better than those in “prime” locations: Paris, Rome, London. In my experience, this is based not on the cost of living in these areas but on the availability of teachers.
However, as I’ve done this for 20 years, I obviously feel that the positive outweighs the negative. I have met some wonderful people — as colleagues, as students, as parents of students, as neighbors.
The school population is really exciting. Many students are true global nomad. They’ve lived all across the world. In my current school, the 850 students from grades pre-K through the 13th year of the International Baccalaureate program represent approximately 45 nationalities. Roughly 50 percent of them hold U.S. passports.
EW: You’re a 30-year teaching veteran. In your opinion, is teaching abroad mainly for the young?
Forish: No way! Living in a different culture expands horizons and empathy levels. It’s not always easy, but it’s rarely boring.
Karen Dunmire and her husband, Denny, have been teaching abroad for more than 30 years. Currently, she is middle school principal at the American School in Warsaw, Poland.
Education World: You have spent more than 30 years abroad. Where have you taught?
Karen Dunmire: After the Peace Corps, Denny and I met and started our married life in a very remote boarding school of 700 in Sesheke, Zambia. Our first girl was born there. She was delivered by kerosene lamp in a government hospital. Very memorable and wonderful.
We returned to the United States to complete graduate degrees at Michigan State and then went to Indonesia. Our second child was born in Singapore. We came home to Lake Placid, New York, for what we thought was to be forever, but we stayed only two years, returning to Indonesia for two years and then [moving] to Abu Dhabi for three. In 1992, we went to Kuwait. In 1994, we moved to Poland, where we’ve been for seven years.
EW: Did this nomadic life affect your children?
Dunmire: Our kids were always ready to explore a new country. They have probably been the ones who’ve kept us moving. It is a wonderful life for families who are open to new experiences. We just kind of fell into this and love it.
Donna Spisso has taught in Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the Dutch Caribbean. For the past six years, she has taught in Bangladesh.
EW: In Bangladesh, you were a foreigner in a country with a culture very different from your own. Were you accepted?
Donna Spisso: Bangladeshis like to be associated with foreigners. There is some status attached to it. Teachers are respected. It is harder to become part of the community in Europe if you don’t speak the language. In Bangladesh, everyone’s second language is English.
EW: What are the schools like in Bangladesh? Is it safe there?
Spisso: My school has approximately 600 students in pre-K through 12th grade. My day runs from 7:30 to 3:30, and we’re on a block schedule. We do have air conditioning, but when the power goes off, we lose it.
Safety? Driving a car in Bangladesh requires the utmost attention. At any given time, a motorist must watch out for men walking their cows or goats — they graze on the median sometimes. Women are walking to the garment factories. Rickshaws and taxis clog the roads, waiting for customers. Brightly painted trucks, horns blaring, stop for no one. People cross the street without looking where they are going! There are no sidewalks, no traffic lights, and no stop signs in our area — and if there were, no one would pay any heed!
EW: Why did you choose to teach in Bangladesh.
Spisso: Bangladesh offered a great package. In Europe, you pay taxes. In Bangladesh, we pay none. My school, like many others in the developing world, provides free tickets home annually; pays rent, utilities, and health insurance; and, for a nominal fee, provides a car and pays for its maintenance.
The trade off, of course, is quality of life. No one would agree to work in the developing world if the benefits were not excellent. If you work in Europe for only two years, you don’t worry about the future, and schools capitalize on that. If international teaching becomes your career, that’s a different story. You have to be able to save.
I find the students here very dedicated and their parents solidly behind their education. I have a lot of academic freedom and few discipline problems, and my husband and I are saving for our retirement. Travel is excellent. I have fulfilled my dream of seeing the world.
Bill Jordan taught in Norway, Turkey, and the Philippines and then created WWTEACH.com, to help other people find overseas teaching jobs.
Education World: Bill, you have taught in three very different places. Few Americans know much about the Philippines. What was teaching there like?
Jordan: It was in the Philippines that I found out why teachers rarely go back to teaching in the United States after teaching abroad. Where else can one be paid to hike a volcano, snorkel beautiful coral reefs, or learn about survival deep in the jungle?
My school had a resource center that rivaled those in universities. The science department had a full-time lab technician who took care of the labs. I’d just tell her what equipment I needed and poof — it was set up in my room. If I wanted to work with a video recorder, the equipment arrived — Hollywood-style, with a camera person to take care of all the recording while I just worried about teaching! I requested a small radio, and I received a brand-new $200 dollar portable stereo system in my room for the year. More than a dozen people staffed the large library. Ready and waiting to help, they were an interesting mix of locals and expatriates from all over the world.
EW: Did you have any teaching experiences that you think you will always remember?
Jordan: We had frequent power outages, making teaching computers challenging. I used pantomime to teach my beginning English as a second language classes. And I butchered the pronunciation of everybody’s names: Si-Nyong Lee, Nobuyoshi, Umer Khaldoon Aftab Ahmed …
Think of New York City and how different it is from rural Montana. The same is true overseas. Every place is very different from the other places, but it is always fun and exciting. In the Philippines, I learned that kids will be kids no matter where you are. Teaching, learning, testing, and sharing is fundamentally the same no matter where you live.
Students came and went constantly, but I never got used to the gifts they gave. Things like that just didn’t happen to me stateside. It was nice being in a place where teachers were valued.
Taken from the Education World website.