Comment Topic Highlight

Teacher well-being and high staff morale at int’l schools: How to get there.

January 16, 2022


We all want to work at an international school that is a positive working experience and where there is high staff morale.

High staff morale means that you are happy to go to work, all your basic needs are met (e.g. you have good benefits and you get paid well and on time), and you are excited to work together with other staff members, the admin, the students, and the parents.

But keeping a high staff morale at an international school is not as easy as one might think. There are many factors that can affect this. And with ever-changing staff and students, the strategy needs to be ongoing.

Internationals schools can create a harmonious state of well-being by putting time and effort (and probably money) towards a number of different areas. Some of these areas being: sending out care packages when times are rough (e.g. remote teaching), giving Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Day notes/gifts, providing free (really nice) lunches and opportunities to relax with friends and colleagues, offering a well-organized onboarding process, etc.

But it is not just the admin that has the responsibility to do these things to promote a harmonious state of well-being, the other stakeholders can also play an important role in this effort.

Some international schools have a Sunshine Committee that provides a number of positive things to staff and also hosts events/parties throughout the school year. Even parents can offer different things to promote high staff morale like holding teacher appreciation buffet lunches on special days.

Each international school is on its own journey with creating a harmonious state of well-being amongst its staff. Before taking a job at an international school, it might be a good idea to find a way to ask about the current state of staff morale, why it is that way, and what is the school doing to address this topic.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of staff morale and well-being. In this comment topic, our members can share what their experience has been working at various international schools around the world. There are a total of 510 comments (January 2022) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers on this specific comment topic (one out of the 68 in total) called – “What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“Morale is good at the school currently even though we have had a roller coaster of both face-to-face and online learning due to the rise and fall of Covid. Teachers have been given shared planning time and we meet weekly on Wednesdays (early dismissal for students) as a staff to work on both professional development and other school/staff priorities…” – The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 84 Total Comments

“The school tries to place an emphasis on a work and life balance. It is trying to promote a healthy working community. With almost all the staff living on campus, this is very much needed as there can be a working all the time feeling and that you are always at work. The Christmas holidays is a welcome break after a long semester…” – Keystone Academy (Beijing, China) – 143 Comments

“The staff has pretty high morale, and that is shown again and again at the end of the year climate survey. The middle school tends to be known as the happiest division. The school has been working to increase wellbeing by adding wellness options (fitness, culture, fun activities) at each PD day, allowing mid-day workouts in the school gym, mental health days in addition to sick days, and a surprise Thanksgiving bonus this year…” – American International School of Budapest (Budapest, Hungary) – 73 Total Comments

“There is a wellbeing committee that is allowed to host wellbeing days. But this feels artificial when we aren’t structurally creating an environment where wellbeing is sustainable. Teachers with more than 5 preps (sometimes multiple preps in the same class), teachers who have obligatory after school contacts year-round, teachers who are chided for taking mental health days, not hiring enough teachers to support the programs, and acquiescing to demanding parents to change courses/grades/teachers. Not the conditions for wellbeing…” – Shanghai American School (Pudong) (Shanghai, China) – 197 Comments

“Last year they provided a masseuse and a free one hour massage to all staff who wanted it. They also gave Christmas ornaments to teachers and presents to kids. There are staff BBQs, pool parties, trivia nights, and more…” – Schutz American School (Alexandria, Egypt) – 61 Comments

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Information for Members

19653 Total Comments in All the School Profile “School Information” Sections

December 12, 2021


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.

The school information page on Seoul Foreign School’s profile page. (216 total comments)

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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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• 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

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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 Comments

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Morocco

November 21, 2021


Around the world, there are countries (like Morocco) 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.

Morocco

Currently, we have 10 schools listed in Morocco on International School Community.

7 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

American School Fes (18 Total Comments)
American School of Marrakesh (29 Total Comments)
American School of Tangier (10 Total Comments)
British International School of Casablanca (37 Total Comments)
Casablanca American School (39 Total Comments)
George Washington Academy (108 Total Comments)
Rabat American School (16 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“Single teachers can save up to $15000 a year and teaching couples up to $30000. The saving potential is high…” – Rabat American School

“Easily saved about $10,000 without living particularly frugally. The cost of living is generally quite low…” – American School of Marrakesh

“With a working couple, you can easily save one salary. That said a family of four would have to watch their budget as costs of things such as car hire can add heavily to expenditure…” – British International School of Casablanca

School Campus

“Nice open feeling to central campus areas. Able to take class outside and read a book under a tree. Limited facilities – no pool, etc…” – Casablanca American School

“A quiet area by the ocean, walking distance to a tennis club and a few local places to eat and shop. The school has two cars you can borrow to run errands, but the cars are manual only (fyi)…” – George Washington Academy

“Next to the campus there are many trees and low rise residential, shops and restaurants nearby…” – Rabat American School

Housing Information

“Housing is provided in an apartment complex. Utilities within reason included. Apartments have basic furnishings and wifi. There is a cable TV package or something similar, but few channels in English…” – American School of Marrakesh

“Furnished housing is provided. The school also pays for your utilities…” – American School of Tangier

“Accommodation is provided in a modern golf complex. Bills are to be paid by the teachers…” – British International School of Casablanca

Benefits for Teachers with Children

“If two parents are working for the school then the kid gets in free but if one parent is working for the school there is a fee that would need to be paid…” – George Washington Academy

“Free tuition for two children; half tuition for additional children…” – American School of Marrakesh

“Free child places. It is possible to hire a nanny for around 4000 MAD a month if needs be…” – British International School of Casablanca

Are the Expectations High of Teaching Staff?

“Having come from one of the big high pressure schools, I can honestly say the workload is not hard. Classload is light with only 2 or 3 classes per day, and extra curriculuar are optional and paid. The work day ends at 3:45 and only the new teachers with limited experience consider the workload “tough”. I’m home every day by 4 to cook dinner for my family, that is something I have never been able to do before in my professional career, and I think that is a real blessing of GWA…” – George Washington Academy

“In addition to teaching duties, you are expected to run one extra curricular activity and participate in one school committee. For most grades, there is a reasonable amount of prep time (entitled to 4 periods, but most people have at least 8 per week, some even more). You are also required to do 1-2 duties per week…” –American School of Marrakesh

“The expectations are high but not over demanding. Timetables are no different to other international schools although the day is long. Clubs are taken by staff, currently once a week…” –British International School of Casablanca

(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 Morocco, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!

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Discussion Topics

9 International Educators Share How Close the Beaches are to Their International Schools

June 6, 2021


Who wouldn’t want to live next to or very close to the beach? Better yet, a beautiful beach with amazing sand and turquoise water!

International school educators could only be so lucky!

But this actually does exist in the world of international schools. There are a number of international schools around the world that are very close to the beach.

Some are on islands and that life has its pluses and minuses, but other international schools are simply just located on the coast of their continent.

Either way, you could be listening to the crashing of the waves as you walk home from a day’s work at your future international school next to the beach!

After searching the keyword ‘beach‘ using our Comments Search function on our website (premium access required), we found 331 comments. Here are 9 of them that give some insight into the hospital experience in different countries around the world.

Al Sahwa Schools (40 total comments)

“The school has not changed their site since the comment. They are close to the beach and the school has a new building on each side plus a new astroturf pitch. The older buildings are in need of some upgrading…”

Qingdao Amerasia International School (56 total comments)

“The ample outdoor activities available within the comfortable confines of a modern city: 40km boardwalk, beaches, mountains – tons of opportunities for outdoors enthusiasts…”

American School of Recife (27 total comments)

“American School of Recife 10 minutes to the nearest mall. Uber taxi is the most popular transportation in Recife. You can hire Uber to get you to the nearest beach area i.e Paiva or Porto Galinha. Single teachers are housed in a fully-furnished flat (considered a hotel in the city). The flats are only a one-bedroom apartment with a nice view of the beach and 7-10 minute walk to the school. The flat is also nearby small groceries where you can get most the things you may need in terms of food…”

UWC Thailand (107 total comments)

“There are many awesome beaches for different tastes. Bang Tao and Layan are popular with the school community. They are within 30 min of driving from campus. Ao Yon and Karon in the south are also popular…”

Lucaya International School (30 total comments

“The relaxed vibe on the island, friendly people, and absolutely stunning beaches, on which you may not see another person. It’s like having your own private beach. If you love deserted, pristine beaches, you will enjoy living here…”

United Lisbon International School (12 total comments)

“Lisbon is near to the Algarve area which is a popular beach destination for Europeans. Once can get there by car in 2.5 hours and by train in 3 hours. Porto, the other large city in Lisbon is 3.5 hours away with train service as well. Then there are smaller cities all accessible by good roads and trains…”

International School of Western Australia (28 total comments)

“The school is in the lovely suburb of Doubleview. Not to far from the city and quite close to the beach. There are a few nice cafes nearby that are great and quick to get lunch for school. It is quite expensive to rent or buy near the school – most teachers live 15-20 minutes away and drive to work.”

The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (83 total comments)

“West and South Coast are great places to live and go out. Lots of restaurants, bars and beautiful beaches to enjoy after work and on weekends.”

Cayman International School (6 total comments)

“There is no housing allowance. Rent is extremely high if you intend to live on or near a beach. Traffic can really be a problem, especially if you live on the south end of the island. A two bedroom apartment will run about $2,000 away from Seven Mile beach, $3,000 on the beach.”

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Information for Members

Top 27 International Schools With the Most Comments on ISC

May 9, 2021


Now there are 1171+ international schools that have had comments/reviews submitted on them on our website (up almost 60 schools from one year ago)!

Once schools have over 70 submitted comments, then it is very likely that you will be able to see how a specific comment topic has changed (or not changed) over time; with all the comments being date stamped.

Western International School of Shanghai  (481 total comments)

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

Some of our schools that have many submitted comments will sometimes have over 15 comments in one comment topic!

Copenhagen International School (391 total comments)

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

So let’s get to it, which schools are in the top 27? This list comes from May 2021 with a sample comment for each school.

Here we go:

27. American School of Warsaw
(Warsaw, Poland) – 161 Comments
“Since housing isn’t provided by the school, you get a lot of leeway in terms of what kind of accommodations you choose and whether you keep within your housing allowance or “top up” for a bigger/nicer/better place. As such, how well-appointed your apartment or hou…

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

26. Vietnam Australia International School
(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 161 Comments
“Housing allowance up to 500 $ per month. Internet up to 40$ per month. The monthly allowance varies in relation to the qualifications of each teacher between 350-500 $ per month…”

25. Pechersk School International
(Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments
“Apartments are furnished by landlords so it can vary – but generally pretty basic. School gave me a metro card and a SIM card and phone til I sorted out my own…”

24. MEF International School Istanbul
(Istanbul, Turkey) – 162 Comments
“Teacher turnover is high. Everything from 1st-year teachers, teachers new to being overseas, to very experienced international educators. Living in Istanbul is a big draw…”

23. Canadian International School (Hong Kong)
(Hong Kong, China) – 165 Comments
“CDNIS is an IB World School, implementing PYP, MYP, and DP. In a recent report by the IB governing body, CDNIS must make major administrative and governing reforms in the next year…”

22. American School of Dubai
(Dubai, UAE) – 167 Comments
“Lately a number of teachers are heading to places like Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. They report great experiences! Oman remains the number one travel option, however, as it is right next door (door to door to Muscat is around the five hour mark) and has lots of great outdoor…”

21. Green School Bali
(Sibang, Indonesia) – 168 Comments
“As time has gone by the new airport has gotten better and better. Lots of eating options, good duty free, loads of places to sit. Departing is fairly straightforward. Check in, customs (who don’t care about your liquids as long as their not large), immigration, th…”

20. International School of Tanganyika
(Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments
“The IT infrastructure has improved significantly but is still not without its challenges. Internet speed is reasonably fast, much much better than it used to be. All teachers are provided with a Macbook. At secondary, there are 4 computer labs. The science department has 25 m…”

Barcelona, Spain

19. American School of Barcelona
(Barcelona, Spain) – 175 Comments
“The turnover rate is getting a bit higher because the cost of living in Spain is getting higher and higher and salaries are staying the same. Economically it is difficult in Spain right now. That being said Barcelona is a fantastic city to live in and no one wants to leave…”

18. Concordia International School (Shanghai)
(Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments
“The ‘common language spoken in the hallways’ depends on the grade level. Students who are only 3 or 4 might not have a lot of English. As the students get older, they are quite skilled in English…”

17. The International School of Dakar
(Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments
“Very low turnover this year but we had a large turnover the previous year. Teachers tend to stay 3-4 years but some have stayed much longer…”

16. Tsinghua International School (Beijing)
(Beijing, China) – 182 Comments
“There is a new airport going in south of Beijing to relieve the traffic at the main airport…”

15. Khartoum International Community School
(Khartoum, Sudan) – 186 Comments
“Teachers stay because they feel appreciated, their voices are heard, and they get to make a difference. Teachers leave because it’s not…”

Lisbon, Portugal

14. Oeiras International School
(Lisbon, Portugal) – 189 Comments
“Back in the re-accreditation mode again with the self study this year. The visit will be a joint visit next year with IB, ECIS and NEASC…”

13. Lahore American School
(Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments
“1/2 of the teachers are from North America and 1/2 from Pakistan, a few from UK…”

12. Seoul Foreign School
(Seoul, South Korea) – 193 Comments
“Tutoring through the school is available if it is not your student. The school takes a portion leaving you with about $20 for 30 minutes of tutoring. Coaching stipends from $350-900 and lifeguarding at the school pool can bring in 25-45 dollars an hour.”

11. Cairo American College
(Cairo, Egypt) – 196 Comments
“The subway costs 2 Egyptian pounds per ride. Taxis vary, since you might have to haggle. Many people at the school use a regular driver. The one I use charges less than 200 Egyptian pounds for a trip to the airport, which is about an hour away…”

10. Ghandi Memorial International School
(Jakarta, Indonesia) – 203 Comments
“Bahasa Indonesia is the official language, with English spoken in major cities and tourist areas…”

9. American International School (Vietnam)
(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 207 Comments
“Now, it is extensive as it has not been done at all. Atlas Rubicon full steam ahead…”

8. Tarsus American College
(Mersin, Turkey) – 272 Comments
“Down to two weeks of holiday in January. No other breaks and we’ve been told that in addition to losing our fall and spring breaks for intensive staff development other PD will be held on weekends…”

Bangkok, Thailand

7. NIST International School
(Bangkok, Thailand) – 304 Comments
“With the start of construction on the street the school is located on, the entire schedule has shifted to a later start. Elementary students begin at 8:00 and secondary students at 8:30. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive…”

6. Stamford American International School 
(Singapore, Singapore) – 307 Comments
“The school is the northeast corner of Singapore with very easy access to the city center. Staff can choose their own accommodation location based on their financial and lifestyle preferences. Most teachers live 2-3 MRT (underground) stations away. Public transport is excellent…”

5. Singapore American School
(Singapore) – 311 Comments
“Transport options are good. The taxi queue right outside of arrivals can be long at times, but the system works well to get people moving as fast as possible…”

4. KIS International School
(Bangkok, Thailand) – 358 Comments
“Using a mobile is now so cheap that many teachers do not have a landline. The Satellite TV provider is dreadful, neither their offerings nor their boxes have changed in 20 years. If you want to watch sport most teachers just go to the pub…”

3. Copenhagen International School
(Copenhagen, Denmark) – 391 Comments
“You can get travelers and accident insurance from your bank here, like at Nordea. It is really cheap and it gives you health insurance coverage anywhere in the world! It is important to know about this option because now the Danish CPR health social health care card doesn’t…”

2. Good Shephard International School
(Ooty, India) – 409 Comments
“Presently they are having their Trinity College London Music Examinations. This is an option but they try to maintain high grades although most students only take Initial to Grade 1 due to restrictions of the admin to practice music…”

1. Western International School of Shanghai
(Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments
“Airport is okay. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Immigration can take a long time to get through at peak times during the year but it’s okay. They have water fountains, which as a frequent traveler I really appreciate…”

You can see the rest of the Top 40 school profile pages with the most comments here on our website.

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

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Top 10 Lists

11 International Schools that have Hardworking Teachers and Students

January 31, 2021


Schools thrive when there are hardworking students in them.

It is a dream to have students at your school that are hardworking and who focus on their learning when they come to school.

But do all international schools have hardworking students?

Most likely not. There are over 10000 international schools throughout the world, so there are bound to be some differences.

There are some international schools that have very privileged students in them, and they often don’t prioritize completing their classwork or even on their learning in general.

Can having effective teachers play a factor in achieving a high level of hardworking students in the school? Surely that is important as well. If the teachers are disengaged, then that is often demotivating for the students.

But, of course, there are many international schools that have amazingly hardworking students. These students are focused on their learning and are typically supported by their involved parents. The schools probably also have top-notch teachers and an engaging way of teaching their curriculum.

So which international schools then have these hardworking students?

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 36 comments that had the keyword “hardworking” in them. Here are 11 of them:

China

“Kids are hardworking in general. Mostly well behaved and friendly, especially welcoming to new students.” – Western International School of Shanghai (481 total comments)

Zanzibar

“Positive, hardworking, driven, and respectful of adults.” – International School of Zanzibar (57 total comments)

Thailand

“The kids are wonderful. Adorable, very loving and inclusive. Mainly hardworking and keen to learn. We have a couple of challenged learners but our counsellor is fantastic at supporting their teachers and indeed the whole community in understanding their challenges.” – KIS International School (Bangkok) (355 total comments)

South Korea

“The school really is a great place to grow as a professional. There are many opportunities to develop new skills just by learning from other colleagues. The biggest comparison would be the student body – students at SFS are motivated, hardworking, involved, and love learning! It is a dream!” – Seoul Foreign School (176 total comments)

United Arab Emirates

“Respectful, conscientious, hardworking, courteous.” – American School of Dubai (167 total comments)

Myanmar

“The students are wonderful to work with. They are respectful, kind, hardworking, and smart.” – Yangon International School (81 total comments)

India

“Some stay for the great education for their own kids, and the opportunity to impact upon other students who by and large are hardworking and cooperative.” – Hebron School (35 total comments)

Tanzania

“The staff is great. There’s a good sense of communities. Students are generally well-behaved and hardworking. Parents are supportive.” – International School of Tanganyika (171 total comments)

China

“The students are hardly ever disciplined at the school, but thankfully that is not an issue most of the time as the students are very well behaved and hardworking by default.” – Beijing National Day School (81 total comments)

Uruguay

“My students were fantastic! Hardworking and well behaved. I loved every minute of my time at the school.” – Uruguayan American School (32 total comments)

Philippines

“Happy, hardworking, driven, excited about learning.” – International School Manila (96 total comments)

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Kazakhstan

December 21, 2020


Around the world, there are countries (like Kazakhstan) 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.

Kazakhstan

Currently, we have 12 schools listed in Kazakhstan on International School Community.

9 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

Haileybury Almaty (31 Total Comments)
Haileybury Astana (57 Total Comments)
Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan (110 Total Comments)
Miras International School (Almaty) (21 Total Comments)
Miras International School (Astana) (13 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“One can save unto $3000 per month with a fairly decent lifestyle…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

“You can definitely save at least 1000 USD a month…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

“Many staff are paying off a mortgage back in England on their second house…” – Haileybury AstanaA

School Campus

“In June 2017, Kazakhstan hosted EXPO 2017, the theme of which was “renewable energy”. This was a fantastic undertaking, and the legacy of the program is that many new buildings were constructed fairly close to the NISA campus. These buildings include a new mall called Silkway, which has a wide variety of shopping and dining experiences AND a cinema complex that features English-language movies fairly regularly…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

“Large square building of three stories with ‘quad’ in the centre. Football pitch, swimming pool, assembly and dance halls, two libraries. To the south edge of town, in a still-developing area…” – Haileybury Astana

“It is a purpose-built campus, so it is inspiring to work in. The classrooms have Smart Board like boards which is nice. The fields are lovely and new and there is a wonderful view of the nearby mountains. I can also see the mountains from my classroom…” – Haileybury Almaty

Housing Information

“The school provides housing and they also pay for your utilities. Housing comes furnished…” – Miras International School (Astana)

“Housing allowance is 1200 USD. Teachers live all over the city. Finding an appropriate apartment can be a challenge though. Some teachers have the utilities included in their rent…” – Haileybury Almaty

“You can choose to live on or off-campus. There is a housing allowance if you live off-campus. You also get a monthly allowance to pay for utilities. All apartments come furnished…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

Pension Plan Details

“We get 10% extra in-lieu of a pension…” – Haileybury Almaty

“No retirement plan for teachers…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

“There is no retirement plan…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

Are the Expectations High of Teaching Staff?

“Yes, most teachers have to do a compulsory 2 after school classes a week all year round, no pay. The workload can be heavy at times…” – Haileybury Almaty

“It depends upon many moving parts, but it is expected due to Covid that the class sizes will be increased and the expected hours will be near 30ish; but, it really depends upon department what that means for actual teaching…” – Haileybury Astana

“The expectations of the international teaching staff is very high, as they are seen as the experts in their fields, and are expected to share that knowledge. This means that much of the unit planning, detailed lesson planning, and teaching falls on the shoulders of the international teachers. This is in addition to a greater number of teaching contact hours than a local colleague…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

(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 Kazakhstan, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!

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News Reports about your Host Country

COVID 19 Update: What is the Current Situation and Well-being of Staff like at 4 International Schools?

November 30, 2020


International school teachers around the world are all going through challenging times at their schools. The range of experiences goes from complete lockdowns with the government mandating remote learning for all schools to basically doing “normal” in-school teaching with only a few precautions being taken.

Regardless of what your international school is doing, COVID 19 is and has been taking its toll on all stakeholders: teachers, parents, students, etc.

We asked some ISC members about their experience related to their well-being at the moment living in these days of COVID 19 and lockdowns.

We also asked them…

1. What is the current state of COVID 19 in your city and country?
2. How is that current state affecting your school and teaching?
3. Because of this state, how is your well-being and the well-being of the students and staff at your school?
4. What is your international school doing to help and be supportive to all stakeholders during this time?

The American School of London (London, United Kingdom)

The numbers are currently rising and we are currently in a one-month lockdown (although you wouldn’t know it by the number of people you see).

I have appreciated the school’s steps to keep us all safe – strict bubbles, SD, increased cleaning & mask-wearing from K-12. We have had a few cases, with the majority in the upper years, but in general, they have been mostly linked to outside contact. The school has an excellent track & trace system & I feel very confident in their protocols. Admin has been very gracious & understanding that stress levels are higher and have changed PD days into holidays. I feel ASL cares a lot about my well-being.

That being said, enrollment has dropped and there is some obvious financial strain. There is a lot of mistrust in the UK government as their policies have been very inconsistent and people are fed up. Local schools do not require masks and people are not really adhering to social distancing. Cafes, restaurants, etc. are only open for take-out. The economic fallout will be huge and apparently take 3 years to recover.

The school has a solid continuous learning plan for teachers/students who have to isolate and it has been offered to families for 2 weeks post-winter break.

Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen International School)

In Denmark, the numbers right now are at the highest they’ve been since the pandemic began, but they are staying steady at the moment and the deaths per day are low (compared to other EU countries).

Right now my school is doing in-person teaching, and we are doing “Normal +” which means we are basically doing our normal teaching, but with all the added precautions (like middle and high school teachers and students wearing masks all day, teaching teams staying in their “bubbles” throughout the day, etc.). It seems unlikely that we would go to full remote teaching or an emergency learning setup again, but we’ll see.

Because it is normal teaching pretty much, many teachers are just getting on with their teaching without too much worry, but we do have teachers that are worried and concerned. We’ve had a handful of teachers and students that have tested positive and for the most part, my school has taken the correct actions and precautions.

My school has a work environment group that looks out for the wellbeing of the staff, and they have been regularly meeting with admin to discuss the current situation and what more can we do to make sure our school is following the guidelines set out by the Danish government and how best to support teachers during these crazy times. There is some extra added pressure for classroom teachers to make sure they are doing all these extra precautions (cleaning desks, washing hands, etc.) while also doing their normal planning and lessons. It is a lot and can be overwhelming!

KIS International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

CoVid in Thailand has been very well handled. We locked down in March and the schools stayed closed until August. The borders are still closed to most outsiders. Although this is killing tourism, it is not allowing the spread of the disease. Most of our kids held up well even with the IB debacle and most graduates managed to get a place at university although most are still studying here online. At school, it is masks all around both in and out of classrooms which is a tad annoying in the heat, but most things seem to be running well. Both my wife’s school [in Thailand] and mine have been trying to help the local communities with food drives, etc.

Hope International Academy Okinawa (Okinawa, Japan)

Here in Okinawa (Japan), we are facing the beginning of the third wave of COVID-19, which is expected to bring a higher number of cases than the first two waves that we experienced last July and August. As of November 29th, we are currently on Stage 3 on Japan’s scale of the pandemic’s severity, just one level below the highest warning level of widespread infection level.

We have been fortunate thus far and have had no COVID-19 cases among our school community. We still can have “normal” days at school, so our teaching duties and practices haven’t changed. On school grounds, teachers, school staff, students, and parents wear masks at all possible times. Also, we wash hands regularly, take water breaks, and open all windows in the buildings during the day. Besides these preventive measures, we have canceled all the major school events for the next month, including Sports Day, Ice-Skating field trip, and the Parent-Teaching Conference will be a virtual event.

After experiencing one month of remote learning last April, it seems everyone in our school community is aware of how lucky we are to go to school, meet each other, and support each other in different ways. The level of collaboration and communication among teachers and staff has significantly improved. For instance, creating online groups has helped us share ideas, concerns, and, most importantly, get a sense of belonging. We are in these difficult times together.

For the last four months, we have updated our communication tools (website, blogs, Google sites) to provide more efficient and transparent communication with parents, teachers, and school staff. For instance, renewing Seesaw for School licenses to increase student and family engagement, purchasing Amazon Echo smart speaker devices for all classes to improve communication among teachers and school staff. In other words, our school has invested in updating tech tools to enhance the level of communication among stakeholders.

If you work at an international school and would like to share what it is like at your international school in a future ISC blog article, please consider joining the International School Community Advisor’s Facebook Group.

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Highlighted Articles

Making Friends Outside of Your International School is…

August 30, 2020


…HARD!

I don’t know about you, but I think making friends outside of your school community can be one of your biggest challenges when you live abroad.

International teachers hanging out in a bar

If you are an outgoing person, maybe it is a bit easier. However, if you are on an introverted side and also don’t know the local language, then you are up against a steep hill.

Either way, you could say that it is just safer and more comfortable to be friends with your colleagues at your international school. You usually have a lot in common with your colleagues as they also like adventure, share your love for traveling, and have the same vacation calendar as you.

But to get the most out of your international school teaching experience, the elusive goal of many international school teachers is to make some local friends, too.

Lonely expat on the street

If you don’t know the local language yet, then you are limited to the locals that are able to speak English (or your home language). Normally, these locals already have other foreigner friends and most likely have traveled internationally or had even lived abroad. These locals are easy to find as friends because you have a lot in common. For example, you probably have many places to go visit and hang out together in the city. If you are lucky, these locals are even available to do some traveling with you during your vacations.

To meet locals who don’t speak English and have a very tight-knit group of friends, let’s say, is a different story. To befriend the locals is typically easier if you have a partner or spouse that is also a local. If that is the case, then you have “a ticket in” to those exclusive groups of friends. Having these kinds of local friends really can give you the “VIP level” on the experience of the city and country that you are living in. These locals know what and where things are happening. International school teachers without these types of friends typically miss out on a number of cultural events and are left without a deep insight into the local lifestyle.

Expat friends talking

One of the ultimate events in your friendship with a local is to be invited over to their house, even better – for a meal. It can be that you invite a local to your house for dinner multiple times before finally, the stars align and they invite you back to their place. If you are at your international school for only two years, that might not be enough time for this to happen. Building this kind of relationship usually takes longer than that.

What is your experience with making friends in your host city/country? Logon to ISC and share what you know by submitting some comments on your school’s profile page.

When using the keyword search feature (premium membership required), we found 143 comments about friends. Read below a few that are connected to making friends outside of your international school.

Comments about Making Friends

“Leysin is a small mountain village and as a result, the community is limited. There is a definite LAS bubble and most of the staff spend time outside of work with each other. It is rare to meet and become friends with people outside of the school community unless you have worked here for many years. It isn’t easy being single here, but the lifestyle is worth it if you love the outdoors and the mountains. It is a quiet village and a great place to live if you don’t like the city.” – Leysin American School (113 total comments)

“I find my Albanian friends quite generous: they always fight to pay the bill in a coffee shop but also for lunch. It is a local tradition though, and keep in mind that, if you want to keep your friends close to you, next time will be your turn. It is important to understand quickly these cultural habits as it will allow you to make good friends. One thing that it is generally badly perceived is to be stingy in friendship.” – Albanian College Durres (111 total comments)

“The locals are very friendly and accommodating. We recently went on a one-day trip with a local tour company. As the only foreigners, we didn’t have much company at the beginning but we found out the locals on the trip actually spoke a very good level of English. By the end of the day, we made friends with many of them!” – Khartoum International Community School (153 total comments)

“Lots of people learning English in Saigon and they will all want to practice with you. Learning some Vietnamese helps with bonding and making local friends but generally, a lot of people speak or are learning to speak English.” – Renaissance International School Saigon (52 total comments)

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Information for Members

11 International Schools that have Relaxing Environments

May 31, 2020


Who doesn’t want to work in a relaxed environment at their work? Then after you leave work, you enter into a very relaxed local city environment and home. Sounds pretty nice, right?

However, the world of international schools and the cities they are situated in aren’t always so relaxing! On the other hand, it is important to note that there are indeed a number of schools that are!

Work-related stress can really take a toll on one’s wellbeing, so it is good to keep healthy and give yourself breaks and time to reflect. Talking about your worries and concerns also helps to keep you calm and focused. Meanwhile, it is nice when there are opportunities to do that at your school and you have supportive colleagues that are good listeners and in good spirits themselves.

If your host city is chaotic, that can take a toll on your wellbeing as well. Pollution and lack of nature around may give you less opportunities to recharge yourself and enjoy a well-deserved and relaxing break.

International schools can do a number of things to create a more laid-back environment for its staff. Some schools have a massage therapist come and do appointments on campus once every 2 weeks or so. Other schools allow more autonomy to their teachers in how they want to organize their workday and teach in their classes without being micromanaged. And the list of possible actions goes on…

Cities can and should also make choices that make their neighbourhoods more relaxed. Expanding the urban greenery, working on noise reduction, protecting the water and buildings, and inspiring public recreational facilities are only some of them.

So who are the international schools that have created a more relaxed working environment? And which local cities around the world have relaxing environment to live in?

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 45 comments that had the keyword “Relaxed” in them. Here are 11 of them:

Thailand

“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 (41 total comments)

Guinea

“The school is developing and needs innovative and creative thinkers to solve the issues that developed due to the location and lack of resources in the region. Those looking for an adventure and willing to sacrifice the comforts of schools in more developed countries can enjoy relaxed work, a family like setting if the right personalities are in place.” – American International School of Conakry (47 total comments)

Malaysia

“Teaching staff are given leeway to be the professionals in the classroom. Therefore, there is a relaxed, yet committed staff. Administration promotes and values the balance between professional and personal needs.” – Mont’Kiara International School (84 total comments)

Germany

“It’s a true non-profit school. Board is not breathing down your neck. In some ways, it’s quite relaxed (no one is inspecting your lessons, usually.) In others ways, there’s unnecessary stress (poor communication, some teaching loads piled too high.)” – Berlin Brandenburg International School (81 total comments)

Girls in Japan

Costa Rica

“The culture of UWCCR is much more relaxed and informal then in most other schools. Everyone is addressed by their given name and there is no dress code for students or teachers. Since it is a community there is a more egalitarian atmosphere.” – United World College of Costa Rica (108 total comments)

France

“The school provides a lot of flexibility for students and teachers in terms of the day-to-day schedule. There is a relaxed atmosphere at many points in the year.” – American School of Paris (51 total comments)

Norway

“We are a small team, we get on really well and are very supportive of each other. If you came here thinking that this is a wealthy school with amazing resources, you would be disappointed. If you come here thinking that this is a friendly, relaxed place where teachers and students really grow, then you would be happy!” – Norlights International School Oslo (114 total comments)

Ukraine

“It is a pretty relaxed city and low costs make eating out very easy. As stated below, the architecture is amazing!” – Pechersk School International (162 total comments)

Indonesia

“There is a Christmas tea hosted for the staff on campus where all the expat and Indonesian staff from all grade levels get an opportunity to spend some relaxed moments together.” – Gandhi Memorial Intercontinental School (203 total comments)

Indonesia

“People stay because it is relaxed, easy, and relatively safe. People leave because of the extra 9% taxes that kick in the 2nd year that are not offset and that you are not told about in the interview. People also leave because of the culture of the parents, not being able to grow, and not having a lot to do when not working.” – American School of Asuncion (145 total comments)

Cambodia

“People are leaving to pursue international teaching careers. People are staying because they enjoy the relaxed lifestyle.” – Ican British International School (74 total comments)

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Top 10 Lists

10 Consequences of Covid-19 on International Schools around the World

May 8, 2020


The vast number of international schools around the world are still closed and doing some kind of remote learning. It has truly been a challenge for these schools to adapt and adjust to this new way of teaching.

The pressure has been on the school’s administration to organize a clear plan that will follow the local government’s rules and guidelines. These administrators strive to clearly communicate to all stakeholders given the very short amount of reaction time to put the new ways of working in place.

When using ISC’s unique Comment Search feature (Premium Membership is needed), we found a number of comments that had the keyword Covid in them. Here are 10 comments that show some implications of Covid-19 on these international schools:

1. Peking University Experimental School (Jiaxing) (51 total comments)

“School communication has always been a struggle for the school, particularly for the foreign hires who generally hear things last. During the distance learning program due to Covid-19, this had huge repercussions in the trust of the school. Ultimately however the school eventually came to good decisions that people were happy with….”

2. American International School Dhaka (110 total comments)

“The school is currently going through the accreditation for NEASC and IB/PYP. This process may be delayed due to Covid-19…”

3. Doshisha International School Kyoto (134 total comments)

“DISK is working on accreditation with WASC, They were to do the initial visit before the end of this year, then Covid-19 messed it up. We expect them in September. Due to Covid-19, we extended the closure of campus to May 11. Learning is still taking place online…”

4. Copenhagen International School (375 total comments)

“Because of Covid 19, our school has been doing remote teaching for many weeks now. But after only 4 weeks, the Danish government has ordered that kids aged 0-10 should go to school (MS and HS still have remote learning, probably until the end of the year). The Early Years and Primary School sections are now teaching in person again on campus, but we have so many new rules and guidelines that we must follow. We are calling it “emergency learning”. One rule is that there can only be 10 kids per classroom because we need to have kids sit two meters apart and to limit the number of adults the students interact with. That in turn requires more teachers to teach a grade level, so the drama, art, music, etc teachers are now all classroom teachers teaching. It is very full on!”

5. Zurich International School (49 total comments)

“Students in EC-Grade 5 are using Seesaw as the primary platform for learning while students in 6-12 are using Google Classroom. This has been very helpful in transitioning to online learning due to the Covid-19 situation…”

6. Western International School of Shanghai (466 total comments)

“Pretty much all PD cancelled when Covid 19 hit. Even those that could have been rescheduled…”

7. American International School (Vietnam) (153 total comments)

Covid-19 has put teaching online. Added costs of increased electricity use and wifi upgrades (if required) must be born by teacher. One school in the vicinity has provided a bonus to its faculty for this increase in costs…”

8. Albanian College Tirana (20 total comments)

“New principal is hardly at school and doesn’t know teachers. In every critical situation (earthquake, Covid-19 closure) director was the first one to leave the country and ‘manage from distance’…”

9. Khartoum International Community School (142 total comments)

“As of March, 2020, KICS has switched to online learning/teaching as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a bumpy transition, especially as it happened right at the start of the spring break, which is why some teachers and families are out of Sudan…”

10. Hoi An International School (41 total comments)

“Salaries for primary and secondary teachers have been cut to 80% during the Covid-19 shutdown even though teachers are expected to teach their full course load. IB PYP candidacy was abandoned…”

ISC would like to hear from you! Log on to ISC today and submit a comment about the consequences of Covid-19 on your international school. You can submit your comment in the School Information section under the comment topic “Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).”

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Comment Topic Highlight

How much are international schools actually improving themselves?

May 1, 2020


Sometimes it feels like your international school is stuck in a rut. As hard as it tries and how well intentioned the teachers and administration are at attempting to make the needed changes, the school ends up just staying in the same lane doing the same things it has been doing for years/decades.

But many international schools do indeed figure out how to make the needed changes to help their school improve and move forward to be more current and progressive. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to get these changes to come to pass, sometimes it takes many months and more often years.

Maybe it has to do with international schools going through an accreditation process. They do need to go through a self-assessment phase to figure out what they are doing well and not so well. And then, finally after the accreditation is all over, they get an action plan with specific tasks to complete in the next few years. These tasks typically are required to complete with the aim at helping the school move forward and improve themselves.

Maybe the school gets a change of administration. New administrators in a school typically have a number of new goals that they’d like their new school to achieve and they inspire the staff there to join them. However, it is not always easy to get the staff to ‘get on board’ with the new changes.

More likely, it just comes down to the grassroots efforts of inspired teachers and administrators that are not only just doing their job very well, but often they will be doing things a bit outside their task portfolio. These inspired staff will find others to join them in the quest for change and improvement. And with a lot of hard work and figuring things out about how these changes could work, they get small and larger changes to happen. Getting change to occur is always a challenging task. But with an inspired effort and structured plan with clear expectations and purpose, these teachers and administrators get the job done!

Who doesn’t want to work for an international schools that is living their dream and their best self? When your international school is leading the way, it is the best feeling to be a part of that. The students will also want to be at that school as well!

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of the improvements international schools are making. Our members can share what their experience has been working at various international schools around the world. There are a total of 242 comments (April 2020) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 66 comment topics called – “How have certain things improved since you started working there?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“I’ve been in IAA for a few years now. In that time it has gone through some major and positive changes. Most of it has been extremely overwhelming to most of the staff as they were used to a different way of doing things. In my opinion though, it’s been for the best. Now, we are more organized and structured than before. There’s been tons of professional development and new / higher expectations as well…” – InterAmerican Academy Guayaquil (Guayaquil, Ecuador) – 62 Total Comments

“We’ve added a small coaching team, we’ve begun in-house PD, and we’ve hired more teachers with longer international experience…” – Shanghai American School (Pudong) (Shanghai, China) – 88 Comments

“They have been working on having policies in writing and following those policies with more diligence. Before, things were a bit ad hoc but they’re trying to be more systematic…” – International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China) – 61 Total Comments

“I would say one of the biggest changes (at least in my division) has been morale. With a totally new administration team in the lower primary, people are quite happy and there is a nice sense of community. We have had very few vacancies the past couple years…” – Hong Kong International School(Hong Kong, China) – 145 Comments

“There has been an adjustment in salaries which is good for local staff as hyperinflation is a big issue. Recently, local staff have started getting subsidized lunches which helps a great deal. Secondary now has a TA which was very necessary as several students have special needs. This allows teachers to focus on other students and keep the lesson going…” – British School Caracas (Caracas, Venezuela) – 35 Comments

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Albania

February 15, 2020


Around the world, there are countries (like Albania) 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.

Albania

Currently, we have 6 schools listed in Albania on International School Community.

4 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

World Academy of Tirana (41 Total Comments)
Albanian International School (32 Total Comments)
Albanian College Tirana (12 Total Comments)
Albanian College Durres (103 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“You can save around 1000 to 1500 Euros each month depending on your lifestyle. Traveling around the region is quite tempting, so you will have to prioritize if you really want to save some money or explore the world…” – Albanian College Durres

“Extremely easy to save money. Restaurants and local hotels are not expensive…” – World Academy of Tirana

School Campus

“In south of city, owner just bought a field in front of school for student play…” – Albanian College Tirana

“The school has serious safety concerns. The railings could easily fit a small child through them. The ceilings on the main floor have collapsed. There is a pool in the basement without proper ventilation. The only outdoor space for the children to play is on the roof and it is woefully inadequate…” – Albanian College Durres

“The school moved to its current 4-storey building in 2015, with a purpose-built Science Laboratory, Design workshop, Permaculture Garden, multi-functional Sports Court, Gymnasium, Visual Arts studio, Dance Studio, Music Studio, two Libraries, Cafeteria and Bistro…” – World Academy of Tirana

Housing Information

“Housing is provided by the school. Value is 300E per month. Staff pays their own utilities, cable, internet, etc…” – World Academy of Tirana

“Housing allowance is 400 Euros per month for a single teacher…” – Albanian College Tirana

“Housing allowance ranges from 300-400 Euro’s per month depending on single status and number of dependents…” – Albanian College Durres

Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc.

“Prices much lower than surrounding countries…beer in local restaurants range from 1.2 E to 2.5 euros…” – World Academy of Tirana

“To take a taxi from within the center of the city, it will cost you around 350-450 LEK. Quite cheap! Going out for food will probably cost you around 1600-1700 LEK for two people, and that includes a few drinks and appetizers…” – Albanian International School

“Housekeepers prices vary. Some expats pay 10,000 Leke per month for a housekeeper visit 2 per week…” – Albanian College Tirana

(These are just 4 of the 66 different comments topics that are on each school profile page on our website.)

If you work at an international school in Albania, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!

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Discussion Topics

The Interview Process: Insight into 12 international schools on what they do

February 2, 2020


International School Community is full of tens of thousands of useful, informative comments…35536 comments (2 Feb. 2020) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website. In one of the 66 comment topics, they are encouraged to share their experiences interviewing with international schools. How did it go? Was it easy to get? Recruitment fair or Skype? What did you have to do? Was the experience positive or less than ideal?

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and insightful about each school’s interview process.

1.

“Interviews are usually handled via Skype by the Head of School. HR manages the hiring process very well. Faculty recommendations for new staff are heavily considered.” –North Jakarta Intercultural School (99 total comments)

2.

“GIS uses renowned recruiting agencies and also posts its vacancies in its website. Candidates must send their CVs and educational statement to:
principal@issaopaulo.com.br . Initial contact is done via email, inviting candidate for skype/ whatsapp interview. Should they pass this phase, then they are interviewed by the educational consultant. Once both parties are happy, a letter of engagement is sent and visa process which is taken care of by the school is initiated. Teachers must have a fully qualified teaching degree and at least two years experience. The school is committed to offer PYP training.” –GIS – The International School of Sao Paulo (22 total comments)

3.

“I had a very positive interview experience, yet no job offer. The process was fast. I applied one day and the next was called for a skype interview. The next day I interviewed for a second time. No restrictions that I am aware of.” – Veritas International School (3 total comments)

4.

“I was interviewed by skype, first with 2 persons from my department, nearly a month later there was a 2nd interview with the school director.
The whole process lasted about 2 months.” – Euroamerican School of Monterrey (10 total comments)

5.

“Each interview comes with a demo lesson. The main purpose is to see if you click with the kids and can get their attention. The second main criterion is that you must be able to not be teacher-centered. Basic.” – Assumption College Sriracha (47 total comments)

6.

“Hiring is done through direct applications as well as through Search Associates. First interview is with the head of school (which they call “principal” here), followed by a second interview with the head of section (secondary, primary, or little KICS). No hiring restrictions I’m aware of, even age limit doesn’t seem to be a problem, although I’m not 100% sure on that one.” – Khartoum International Community School (116 total comments)

7.

“If you want to apply to NIST, prepare for it well in advance. Whether you go through ISS-Schrole or Search, have all your docs ready to upload and make sure your referees are ready to submit their recommendations online. There’s also a recorded safeguarding interview that you’ll have to complete as one of the final steps if you’re being considered for a position, so think about how you would answer questions related to that area.” – NIST International School (298 total comments)

8.

“The complete hiring took a pretty long time. I went through 4 interviews and had to do a very extensive background check. Make sure you apply with plenty of time. The interviews were pretty nice, people seemed always friendly and requested a live demo lesson.” – The Village School (24 total comments)

9.

“Religion is not discussed in hiring, except to ensure that potential staff members have read and are in agreement with their open and inclusive Religious Life policy. Interviews are far more focused on teaching (newly adopted MYP/DP means they’re looking for those with experience) and whether the active lifestyle (walking up and down the hilly campus) would be a good fit. Single parents would do well here; with a large of number of staff kids and the school’s activities, there would be a community of support.” – Woodstock School (128 total comments)

10.

“Once shortlisted, an applicant will be scheduled for a panel interview that consists of the headmaster, principal, assistant principal, and head of department via Skype. HR will contact the successful applicant with a job offer. Age restrictions have been relaxed.” – TEDA Global Academy (85 total comments)

11.

“CMIS advertises openings on the school website and TIE online. interview process is fairly direct, generally consisting of 2 to 3 interviews with section administrator and then the school superintendent.” – Chiang Mai International School (24 total comments)

12.

“I just interviewed with this school over Skype. There was the first interview with the actually staff that you would be working with, and then a follow up interview with the Principal/Head of School. Each interview lasted around 50 minutes. Just a note to consider, Singapore/the school doesn’t allow for non-teaching partners to get a work visa. They will need to get a work visa themselves if they want to work there, or they can also sign up and register a company (which I guess is easy to do and cheap) and then they can do work there.” – Nexus International School – Singapore (54 total comments)

If you have interviewed at an international school and know first hand knowledge about their interview process, log in to International School Community and submit your comment. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Blogs of International Teachers

International School Teacher Blogs: “Education Rickshaw” (Two teachers that work in China)

December 11, 2019


Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 49th blog that we would like to highlight is called Education Rickshaw Check out the blog entries of these two international school educators that work in China:

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Taking the Plunge: Should America’s Teachers Consider Moving to Teach Overseas?

“Followers of this website will know that Education Rickshaw is a blog on teaching and living overseas. My wife Stephanie and myself, both raised attending public schools Tacoma, Washington, were teachers at a Native American school before “taking the plunge” and moving to teach at an international school in Vietnam. Since then, we’ve taught in Khartoum, Sudan, and are now teaching in an international school in China.

There are a lot of benefits to moving to teach in international schools overseas. While not all international schools are created equal, for the most part international school jobs come with decent salaries and savings potential (See our previous post, 5 Luxuries Bestowed Upon Thee As An International Teacher). Teachers can expect to receive flight allowances to and from their home countries and have their housing paid for. In my experience, students at international schools are often quite clever and well-behaved, and parents are generally quite respectful and involved in their kids’ learning. Many international schools, due to how they are funded, are at the cutting edge in education compared to their stateside counterparts, providing students with opportunities to learn in tech- and information-rich environments and express themselves through the arts, makerED, and robust athletics and extracurricular programs. Because international schools invest in their teachers by paying for professional development, both in-house and by sending their teachers to conferences abroad, international school teachers have the chance to really grow as professionals and improve their craft…”

There is a comment topic related to Professional Development on our website called “Professional development allowance details.” There are 540 total comments that have been submitted in this comment topic on 100s of schools. 

Here is an example comment that was submitted about The English Modern School (Doha): “Professional development subsidaries are connected to the type of PD you are applying for. If you are taking the Suny Masters PD subsidary then other PD will not be subsidised. If you use your subsidy for a Cambrsdge PDQ you will also not get small PD courses for free. Smaller PD courses from Seraj the sister company at EMS usually amount to 3 free a year per teacher. You can also aply for other PD outside school and a judgement will be made on how much the school will support you in the cost.”

5 Luxuries Bestowed Upon Thee As An International Teacher

“The typical American teacher is afforded few luxuries. A coffee at Starbucks is seen as a rare treat. A PB&J for lunch is the norm. When I was teaching in a U.S. public school I remember clearly the time when the conversation at the faculty lounge centered around counting how many in the room had a tarp covering some part of their car (to protect from the rain in Washington State) to raise their hands. I’m not even playing, in a room full of 30 educators there were five hands that raised that day admitting to having a tarp on their cars.

While, in my opinion, most international educators are still underpaid for what we do, the cost of living in many of our host countries allows for some pretty sweet perks. That coupled with the built-in savings potential that comes with many international teaching contracts (free housing, free flights, etc) makes it so that many international teachers find the benefits of international teaching to be too lucrative to ever want to return to teaching public school back home.

Compared to teachers back home, we have it good. We have teaching assistants. Our classrooms are well resourced. The class sizes are smaller. There is money for PD. These are all things that we experience in the international school classroom. But on this educationrickshaw.com post, we will be looking at 5 luxuries that most international teachers enjoy* that teachers back home just can’t afford…”

There is a comment topic related to comparing international schools to schools back in our home countries on our website called “How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?” There are 167 total comments that have been submitted in this comment topic on 100s of schools. 

Here is an example comment that was submitted about American School Foundation of Monterrey: “The school is much better equipped than schools in my home country and the students have the financial means to supply their own high-quality MacBooks and smartphones, so the school doesn’t have to worry about providing computers (except some emergency checkout Chromebooks for students who forgot their Mac or it breaks down).”d

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Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger?  Currently, we have 523 international school teachers that have listed that they currently live in this country. Check them out here. We also have 44 members that are from this country.

* If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #40: Amber Acosta (A teacher at the American International School in Egypt)

August 28, 2019


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Amber Acosta:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Hi! My name is Amber Acosta. I grew up in Connecticut, but when I am back in the United States, I call Vermont home. I have a bachelors degree in business from Fordham University and a masters degree in teaching from Sacred Heart University. I have taught grade 2 for the past 5 years at the American International School in Egypt (West Campus) and am excited to start a new position this year teaching lower elementary technology, using my certification as an Educational Media Specialist. My professional interests outside of technology are STEM education, library, and makerspaces. I recently became certified in STEM and am looking forward to using my skills this year, as well as creating a makerspace at my school. I have a husband and an 11 year old son. My husband is a teacher, too. He teaches economics and business at the same school.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I did not really plan to teach internationally – I fell into it and ended up loving it! I taught in Egypt for one year after college before starting my masters, but did not necessarily intend to come back. However, my husband and I decided to move to Egypt (where he is originally from) in 2011. I contacted a previous administrator and found they had an opening for me at their school. The rest is history! I knew I would continue to teach internationally after that, especially after my husband joined me in teaching as well.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

I have worked at Global Paradigm International School and American International School of Egypt (West Campus), both in Cairo. Global Paradigm was in its second year when I joined, so there was a lot of room for me to be a part of the accreditation process and really help build the foundations of the curriculum. I enjoyed the challenge! Also, we had small class sizes and I loved feeling like my students and I were a little family. At the American International School of Egypt, we have a large student body and staff. I have really benefited from meeting so many teachers from around the world and learning from them through discussion and observation. Another great thing about AIS is that we not only have professional development in our staff meetings, but also have the chance through our stipends to take classes or attend professional development anywhere we wish. I have had the chance to grow so much in my time at AIS, as well as have fun! Our Seuss-themed Literacy Week is a blast for both students and teachers. Also, it is fantastic to take my students every year to the pyramids- where else can you do that?

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

My son has grown up with both Egyptian and American cultures and we also travel internationally for many of our vacations. He has developed such a broad perspective of the world and a curiosity about different cultures. I think one of the best cultural encounters anywhere is always trying the food in a new country!

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

My husband and I would absolutely love to teach in and explore a new country in the near future, so we have been thinking about this recently. It is very important to me that the school is progressive, has opportunities for professional development, and values teacher-input into curriculum. I would also like for there to be emphasis on project-based and real-world learning. My husband and I started and currently run the school gardening program, in which students grow, pack, and sell produce, so we would love to work somewhere that we could still be involved in gardening or eco-initiatives. 

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Teaching around the world – awesome!

teacher

Thanks, Amber Acosta!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will receive one year free of premium access to our website!

Interested in comparing the schools and comments in Egypt. Check out our blog post here.

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #39: Rachel Owens (A veteran international school teacher)

July 31, 2019


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Rachel Owens:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Hi my name is Rachel Owens! I am an elementary school teacher and have taught pre-k, kindergarten, grade 2 and grade 3! 

I love teaching in the elementary school because the kids are so excited to learn and their energy is contagious! 

I grew up all over the Midwest in the United States. Born in Ohio, raised in Michigan and Illinois and then back to Michigan for college. 

When I was in 3rd grade, I started figure skating. It became my life. When I was 16, I was fortunate enough to join an elite group of synchronized skaters from Dearborn, Michigan called The Crystallettes. It was with this team that I learned the value of traveling. Being one of the three top skating teams in the country, I was able to represent our country in two international competitions- in Prague and Berlin. It was when I arrived home from those competitions that I realized I’d caught the travel bug. I couldn’t wait to grow up and see the world. 

My husband and I are both elementary teachers and have now lived and taught overseas for 7 years. We have two little boys who were both born during our time abroad. Jonah (3) was born in Kuwait and Eli (1.5) was born in Jordan. 

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

During my student teaching year in 2011, I started looking into what it would take to be an international school teacher. I come across the Counsel of International Schools (COIS) website and they happened to be having a job fair the following week. I booked a ticket on a bus to Chicago for $1 and made my way the Windy City. When I arrived at the fair, I was in way over my head.

I was surrounded by seasoned educators with years of international experience. What I thought was surely a small group of people interested in leaving the United States to teach in distant lands ended up being a whole community of teachers that I am so glad to be a part of today. After 7 interviews of hearing I needed experience before I could come to their school, I finally heard my first yes; which is how I started my international teaching year in Kuwait.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

My husband and I have taught at 2 international schools.

The first school was The American School of Kuwait. It was a great place for us to start our teaching careers. The school was already establishing programs such as Lucy Calkins R&WW and Responsive Classroom long before a lot of more prestigious schools were. It was also a great place to start our family. All the teachers live in two apartment buildings on a small compound which meant I had a built-in community of friends for ourselves and our little one. What made this school a unique and fun place to work was the staff that worked there. There isn’t much to do in Kuwait besides shop, go out to eat, and hang out at the pool (gosh that doesn’t sound too bad actually!) so you develop really deep and lasting friendships with your colleagues.

Then we moved to Amman, Jordan and worked at American Community School (ACS). We loved living in Jordan! It really has the perfect climate- mild and short winters, warm springs and hot summers. There is so much to do for both kids and adults there. The Dead Sea is just a 45 minute drive south and 45 minutes north is forests and mini mountainous areas for hiking. The school was wonderful! It is a smaller school, which we found we prefer and love because we got to know all the kids from multiple grade levels, knew all the staff well, and it truly felt like one big family. We grew so much as educators during our time at ACS. Being trained in Adaptive Schools, working with Paul Anderson for NGSS science, and working with Tim Stuart for PLCs were all experiences that we will carry with us to our next schools. Something unique and fun about ACS is every year at the end of the year the teachers make a End of Year Staff video that is shown to the students to kick off the summer. This year’s video was one of epic proportions as we took on legendary Queen! It turned out amazing! Here it is > https://youtu.be/MYybe0QmXzs

As for where we work now… well that’s what we are wondering too! Back in Dec 2018, we were hired to work at the Anglo-American School of Moscow. We were thrilled to begin working at an IB school where we knew we would grow exponentially as educators and where our children would thrive in their first classroom experiences. Unfortunately, due to political strife with Russia, our work visas were denied and the school had to cancel our contracts. 

Newspaper article link

AAS has been very supportive in our process of figuring out what comes next for our family- but we are still disappointed that Moscow isn’t going to be our next home. For now, we will be living in Fort Collins, Colorado, where we will continue to search for jobs overseas that will be a good long term fit for our family. We are excited to see where we end up next!

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

This summer while staying with my sister-in-law in Michigan, my 3 year old son heard us talking about some upcoming workshops she was attending, including one on masonry. My son asked “what’s masonry?” and he was told it is when you build things with stone. And his immediate response was, “Oh, so like the pyramids in Egypt?” In that moment I knew we were doing the right thing by raising our kids overseas. The cultural knowledge and appreciation my 3 year old already has is well beyond what most kids (and even adults) in the United States have. 

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

First and foremost we look for a location that is going to be safe and has a good quality of life for our children. Having both of my children born overseas, this life away from extended family is all they know. So we want to make sure that if they don’t get to be around grandparents and cousins, they need to be in a spot where they can still thrive, have friendships, be safe, and be happy.

Professionally, we look at the what programs/standards are being used by the school (Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop, NGSS, etc) and what professional development opportunities there are. We also look to see if we think this is a school where we can grow either in our teaching practice or in leadership opportunities. 

I also think that the ability to save money is important. If we are choosing to take our children and ourselves away from family, then I’d like to be saving a bit of money to prepare for our kids’ long term futures.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

 The. Best. Way. To. Teach

teacher

Thanks, Rachel Owens!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will receive one year free of premium access to our website!

Do you think you have what it takes to be a veteran international school teacher like Rachel Owens?  What character traits does it take?  We have an article on our blog that discusses this very question. It is called the “Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher“. Read the whole article here.

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Mexico

June 13, 2019


Around the world, there are countries (like Mexico) 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.

Some countries, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, 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.

Mexico

Currently, we have 31 schools listed in Mexico on International School Community.

21 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

American Institute of Monterrey (61 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Guadalajara (111 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Mexico City (72 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Monterrey (105 Total Comments)
American School of Durango (39 Total Comments)
American School of Torreon (51 Total Comments)
Madison International School (32 Total Comments)
Westhill Institute (23 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“Depends on you, if you are single you can save 10,000 a month. If married with children then maybe 2,000.” – American Institute of Monterrey

“If you have any debt – school or mortgage – you will find it difficult to save any money as peso has weakened.” – American School Foundation of Guadalajara

“Depends on your lifestyle but I saved nothing because I had a child.” –
American School Foundation of Mexico City

School Campus

“The school building is excellent. The area surrounding the campus is desert and a nice suburban that is newly developed. It is on the outskirts of the town, but it is very safe and the building is new and very well-maintained.” – American School of Torreon

“The school caters for Elementary, PYP and MYP. It is quite a big complex and it is still expanding to cater for more classrooms. It is walled like any international schools over here so it is relatively safe.” – Madison International School

“School facilities are quite nice for Mexico (wifi, projectors, top notch gym and exercise equipment, etc.). As others have alluded to, the surrounding area is MUCH more proletarian than the school clientele.” – American School Foundation of Mexico City

Housing Information

“You have to live in the middle of nowhere (close to school) for your first year, unless you demand a housing allowance. It’s very unsafe. Someone was killed in our backyard a few years ago, and one of the teachers got his passport stolen. You have to pay for the utilities, but only if they confront you about it.” – Madison International School

“The teachers now have their own apartments. The houses are random.If you are a married couple you will be placed in a house. Some single teachers have houses due to availability.” – American School of Torreon

“Houses are very basic. Little or no furniture. When something is wrong with the house neither the school or landlord will help.” – American School of Durango

“I would recommend taking photos of your accommodation (walls, any marks, shabby painting) as now that I am transitioning out I am being asked to pay for things that may or may not have been my fault but I didn\’t expect the school to nickle and dime me at the end so I don\’t have any proof.” – American School Foundation of Monterrey

Health Insurance and Medical Benefits

“The private health insurance is only for major accidents, otherwise is pretty much useless and you must pay out of pocket if you get sick.” – American Institute of Monterrey

“There is no preventative care. Insurance is private and supported by the national health care program. For example, maternity leave is mandated by the state and paid for via IMS (national health care ). There is no international coverage – just 50,000 for accident coverage while you are visiting the US or Canada. Coverage is poor compared to other international schools. Doctors and service at private hospitals is very good!” – American School Foundation of Guadalajara

“Health insurance and dental but find a good doctor. Many are not good here.” – American School Foundation of Mexico City

“Unfortunately this school year the deductible went up substantially and the coverage is still not covering anything preventative. This was not told to staff until the week before school started which in essence dropped a lot of people’s salaries as now more is going towards health care costs. As someone who did not previously make any claims I did not appreciate this change when it finally came time to use the insurance.” – American School Foundation of Monterrey

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

If you work at an international school in Mexico, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in India

December 27, 2018


Around the world, there are countries (like India) 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.

Some countries, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, 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.

India

Currently, we have 133 schools listed in India on International School Community.

32 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

American Embassy School New Delhi (39 Total Comments)
American School of Bombay (34 Total Comments)
Good Shepherd International School (409 Total Comments)
Hebron School (35 Total Comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 Total Comments)
Kodaikanal International School (35 Total Comments)
Oberoi International School (36 Total Comments)
Woodstock School (95 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“It depends on lifestyle. If you like the posh life, your money will be spent quickly at Mumbai’s many hotels and bars. However, if you live a more modest lifestyle and travel around India, you can easily save half of your salary. Expat couples with no kids can live on one salary.” – Oberoi International School

“Bonuses paid to expat staff who renew contracts are the main savings or opportunity to pay down student loans. Very little savings monthly, most people spend it during the generous breaks sightseeing Asia. Comfortable cost of living in India.” – Woodstock School

“See above for monthly salary – due to the unique nature of the school and it’s ethos, this really depends on your own situation, budget, and spending habits.” – Hebron School

School Campus

“The school has a beautiful green campus in the heart of Delhi’s diplomatic district. There are three elementary buildings, and separate MS/HS buildings. In addition, there are shared spaces for PE and athletics, swimming, Performing Arts, cafeterias, etc. The neighborhood features many embassies and other compounds, but there is also a “camp” with a large population of squatters across the street from the on-campus faculty housing complex.” – American Embassy School New Delhi

“The campus is beautiful. It is probably the best thing about the school. It has its flaws, but it is a terrific environment for living and learning.” – Kodaikanal International School

“Not much changes in the Fernhill Campus, the reason is that the Junior campus will soon move together with the Main Campus.” – Good Shepherd International School

Housing Information

“The school owns all the apartments and they are all beautiful safe and guarded either inside the campus or walking distance from the school” – Good Shepherd International School

“School provides furnished housing for expat teachers.” – Oberoi International School

“Cold winters with little indoor heat – wood stoves most common. Think rustic and adventure and you will not be disappointed. Some of the homes updated, others have more historic character. All require walking/hiking to work and to town. Utilities negligible, except cost of fuel for heat in winters.” – Woodstock School

“There is an allowance for housing which covers expenses as well.” – American School of Bombay

Health Insurance and Medical Benefits

“Fine for minor things. Setting not recommended if specialist consultation is required or for faculty with ongoing medical conditions. The hillside alone requires a decent level of fitness (or will soon provide an opportunity for fitness!).” – Woodstock School

“Health cover within India is included, and if need be can include arrangements for travel to home country in extreme circumstances. There is on site team of nurses who provide care in a ‘hoz.’ Local clinics and hospitals are surprisingly good for India.” – Hebron School

“They will count your absence when you are sick as deductible unless you have worked during your day off or exeats which translate to 7 days a week of work. Even the car that you used to go down to a decent hospital will be charged to you.” – Good Shepherd International School

“There is a doctor on site but in general the schools’ medical services are not well respected. Staff can now go to other local hospitals for medical treatment.” – Kodaikanal International School

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

If you work at an international school in India, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Discussion Topics

Why Do International School Educators Teach Abroad? To Work AND Party!

December 1, 2018


The majority of international educators are professionals. They are some of the most innovative and progressive teachers out there.

However, International schools teachers certainly like to have their fun as well. Some might say the whole point of teaching abroad is to escape their boring home country/city life and inject some more excitement.

When not teaching at their international schools, there must be time to take in the city life and party!

Teach Abroad

It is not that difficult to find a group of colleagues at your international school to go out and party with you. And depending on what city you are living in the world, there are always certain spots at which to hang out.

People teach abroad for many reasons, and one of them is for a good nightlife. Some cities in the world are better known for their nightlife than others, so it is good to do a bit of research before your move. But anywhere there are expats, there is bound to be a neighborhood or two that they like to hang out in.

Teach Abroad

And let’s not forget the annual school Christmas party! Many international schools go all out to put together a nice Christmas party for their staff. Crazy antics usually happen at an international school Christmas party, thus proving that numerous international school educators indeed like to balance doing their job and also saving some time to party!

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Using our ISC’s unique Comment Search feature, we searched the keyword “party.” We found that we currently have 71 comments (Dec. 2018) with that keyword on it.

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“There is so much nightlife here. If you want to go out and party in the city centre, there are endless place to do that. Locals love to go to a pub and stand outside of it and drink away with their friends, even if it is cold out outside. But I must say that last night, we saw at least spots on the sidewalk where someone had vomited. So people are definitely getting piss drunk here. LOL.” – American School of London (London, UK)15 Total Comments

“Plenty of nightlife. Clark Quay is probably the most known of the party scenes, but there are lots of other options from a plethora of rooftop bars, brewpubs to small local clubs…” – Singapore American School (Singapore)184 Comments

“Foreign staff usually are offered accommodation in an apartment complex that is next to the school. The complex features a small pool, gym and party area. Parties are held by neighbours regularly so it can be noisy at times, but it dies down after a certain time. Also, the size of the bedrooms are a bit small but you get used to that….” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)72 Total Comments

Teach Abroad

“New staff start a day earlier and are invited to a welcome breakfast, where we met all the academic coordinators and people in key roles, such as the nurse and admin staff. Christmas is a special time, where we had a special staff breakfast on top of a glamorous Christmas party! The principal is also very friendly and arranges social gatherings…” – SEK Catalunya International School (La Garriga, Spain)29 Comments

“They’ve started having an annual New Year’s party after the winter break where parents, faculty, and alumni have a very relaxed evening, catching up after their holiday adventures…” – Canadian Academy (Kobe) (Kobe, Japan)68 Comments

“You can find anything for any taste. You can opt for some quiet activities or team sports, quiet walks or a wild party in the city. There are excellent clubs and bars, and some quiet places. Ask the locals or more “experienced” expats and they will guide you…” – Knightsbridge Schools International Panama (Panama City, Panama)39 Comments

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Comment Topic Highlight

Back to School Initiatives and New Demands: Welcoming or Stressful?

September 20, 2018


Every school year, a school always goes through some new changes or simply experiences new things that the staff is now required to do or complete. The changes could be related to the school’s curriculum, to some new professional development based on new initiatives, new building procedures (like fire drills), new mandatory training (like child protection), etc.

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For many things (like ones actually dictated by the host country), they are mandatory and the admin simply just needs to fit those required things into their yearly meeting schedule.  Combine those required things with the other things and initiatives that a school wants to do, it can make for a sometimes stressful school year for the staff (and admin!). Furthermore, balancing these new things with your normal planning work and actually teaching students can prove to be very challenging.

So what are some of these new initiatives that international schools are focusing on in recent years?

A number of international schools are having their staff work with the Managebac program. There are 57+ comments related to Managebac on our website.

It’s also fairly certain that your school is now or will very soon be going through an accreditation. ISC has 347+ total comments related to school accreditation on 247 international schools at the moment.

With regards to curriculum, it appears that a number of schools are doing training with the Common Core curriculum. There are 24 comments that are about the different schools taking on this in recent years.

There are also 25 comments on IB training.  117 comments on different workshops going on in 90+ international schools.

And the list goes on…

What is a possible plan then for balancing all of these newly added things so that staff and admin don’t get too overwhelmed?  As one ISC member wrote about working at United Nations International School (Vietnam), “the [needs to be a] conscious adoption of a “less is more” ethos.”

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new things added at a school. Our members can share what current international schools are doing in this topic. There are a total of 567 comments (Sept. 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 65 comment topics called – “Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“The use of Kagan cooperative structures is the focus for this year. The entire faculty had 2 days of training before the commencement of the school year with another session upcoming later in the year. The goal being student engagement. Most of the faculty have been receptive and are already using the structures in their classrooms…” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)147 Total Comments

“The school just finished a multi-year curriculum initiative designed to put the entire Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum documents onto Rubicon Atlas. The school seems to focus most on literacy in the Lower School, innovation and design in the Middle School, and IB/AP in the Upper School. School-wide, there is a focus on Differentiated Instruction, but this takes different forms in different divisions. There is a new Head of School coming in for the 2018-2019 school year…” – American School of Paris (Paris, France)47 Comments

“The administration said they care more about kids learning English and Maths rather than any other subjects. What makes the school unique, seems independent of what they are pursuing; bring more local students no matter what their academic level is…” – Changchun American International School (Changchun, China)122 Total Comments

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“Professional development this year has included IBDP two-day Category 3 in-school workshops on the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. All staff also completed a Stewards of Children online course and a one-day first aid and CPR course…” – Tsukuba International School (Tsukuba, Japan)25 Comments

“The school has offered, over the past two years, very little in terms of professional development. There has been talk of a curriculum change to the Cambridge Primary Curriculum for September 2018…” – Cambridge School Doha (Doha, Qatar)57 Comments

“The school is just setting up a Professional Learning Centre to improve instruction and practice at the school first. The school has designated professional learning time on Friday afternoons and encourages professional development…” –  YK Pao School (Shanghai, China)38 Comments

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #38: Tareq Hajjaj (A teacher at The American School of Belo Horizonte)

September 11, 2018


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Tareq Hajjaj:

member spotlight
Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I very much consider myself a third-culture kid despite living 25/31 years in Western Sydney. This area is the most culturally diverse area in the southern hemisphere and I grew up experiencing both Australian and Arab cultures.

Born in Kuwait, I spent the first four years of my life there before migrating to Australia. Throughout my life I frequently travelled to Jordan to visit my extended family. My family originates from Palestine before it was partitioned. And previous to that, we have routes in Egypt.

My schooling and tertiary education were completed in Sydney. When I was completing my high school studies, I was considering teaching as my profession. Although, I decided to study a Bachelor of Commerce first knowing that obtaining a Masters of Teaching would only take two years of full-time study on top of that.

Throughout my tertiary studies, I worked in a variety of education and community welfare jobs. At that time, I never thought I would be embarking on an international teaching journey. I was very much a typical guy in his 20s in Australia. I loved Rugby League, Touch Rugby and cycling and all my travels with friends via domestic trips. By the time I graduated, I was ready to experience a life-changing international journey.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

During my last semester of university, I attended a job fair organised for the post graduate students completing educational courses in my university. At the fair were some recruiters looking for teachers to work in the UK and I immediately was interested. The process was straight forward. The recruiter organised an interview with herself and then a principal within a school. They liked my enthusiasm and how I was looking forward to the adventure and willing to learn about the UK curriculum. From there I had to collect documentation such as police checks, and I was helped to apply for a Youth Mobility Visa. Before I knew it, I was offered a short term maternity leave contract for a Grade 5 class and a few weeks after graduating, I was ready for a September start in the UK.

Before going to the UK, I took a detour to visit a close friend of mine in Shanghai for one week. He was about to begin his 2nd international teaching post. It was a wonderful visit which opened my eyes to a new culture.  It wasn’t long before I was back there teaching kindergarten.

In my first year of teaching I was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to have completed six weeks of casual teaching in Australia, a semester block as a Grade 5 homeroom teacher in an East London public school, and being the first teacher to open the one of two new kindergarten classes (a first for the school). My life was very different; I met so many new people, learned how to speak basic conversational mandarin, enjoyed a diverse lifestyle in two major world class cities and grew a lot as a teacher.

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Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

I have worked in England (Brookside Junior School), Egypt (Cairo English School), China (Shanghai United International School, Fudan International School and Guangdong Country Garden School), and Brazil (The American School of Belo Horizonte.) In this time I have had the opportunity to teach Canadian British Columbian, UK National Curriculum, American Common Core Curriculum as well as the International Baccalaureate. All schools were fun places to work.

Cairo English School stands out as the school with a stunning campus. It had over 1500 students and chaotic hallways but the students were always cheerful and there were always many extravagant events going on around the school.

An even bigger school was Guangdong Country Garden School. They had over 4500 students! It was impossible to even meet all the students. I worked in the kindergarten. I remember the play times with over four hundred 3-5-year-old students running around in many directions. It was a boarding school, and it was common to see even kindergarten students still having lessons in the evening.

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Both Fudan International School and The American School of Belo Horizonte are smaller schools with approximately 350 students from K-12. I was the Grade 5 homeroom teacher at both schools so I was given a lot of freedom in planning a lot of the curriculum according to the American Common Core and IB syllabi, and the school’s scope and sequence.

It is still hard to decide whether I prefer the larger schools or smaller schools. They both have their advantages. Every school was unique in its own way.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I have been in Belo Horizonte for two months now. My impression is that Brazilians are very social and love to enjoy themselves. Every weekend there is loud music coming from different places in my neighbourhood and many social gatherings within my apartment complex. Just about everybody greets you in a friendly manner and people are usually excited to hear where I am from and speak of their desires to visit there.

Belo Horizonte is considered the Brazilian Belgium. It may not be known for having beautiful beaches like the other places in Brazil, but it is known for producing beers of good quality such as Krug Bier, FalkBier, Backer, Küd, Wäls and Artesamalte. To complement this you will find the popular night spot of Savassi heaving every weekend complemented by music festivals.

Whilst Belo Horizonte seems to be unknown from the outside world, it is the third largest city in Brazil. It boasts the most bars per capita with over 12,000 bars in the city. Most of these are informal sit down spots where you can enjoy an informal meal. Beagá (the city’s nickname which is its initials in Portuguese) also boast a fine arts culture with beautiful street art sprawled around the city. It is definitely a hidden gem (and ironically the mining capital of the country).

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What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

It is very important to be responsible and choose your employer well. That means finding out as much as you can about the position and the school, where you will live and information about the country you will be living in. After you have found out as much as possible, evaluate what is really important to you.

For me, as I have moved around a few times in my 7 years of teaching. Now I am more inclined to look for supportive school that will offer me 2-3 year contracts and ongoing professional development so I can take my teaching pedagogy to the next level.

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In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

An amazing and unforgettable experience.

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Thanks, Tareq Hajjaj!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive one year free of premium access to our website!

Do you think you have what it takes to be a veteran international school teacher like Tareq Hajjaj?  What character traits does it take?  We have an article on our blog that discusses this very question. It is called the “Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher“. Read the whole article here.

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Highlighted Articles

Americans Filing Taxes From Abroad: It Can Differ Depending on Your State

March 1, 2018


While many overseas filers don’t realize it, you probably have to file a state return (unless you are from one of the seven states with no state income tax, or perhaps from one of the two that tax only investment income. When you move overseas you still have a domicile in the US, normally the last state where you lived before moving overseas. That requirement applies to forty-one of the fifty states.

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Potentially you have further complications depending on what state you are from. Six states don’t allow the foreign earned income exclusion. If you are from California, Maine, Massachusetts or New Jersey you have to limit your days in those states each year or they will want state tax on your foreign earned income. If you are from Pennsylvania and don’t own a residence there you can escape their state tax; otherwise pay up. If you are from Alabama they don’t have any exceptions, but a tax professional may be able to help you escape tax even there.

We had clients from California who didn’t believe us when we told them to limit their days in California. When they reported more than 45 days in the state and we prepared the return showing California state tax due on the return, they elected for us to NOT file the return. They prepared and sent in their own return. The California Franchise Tax Board is notorious for its persistence in attempting to collect tax. As all states receive copies of federal returns that use an address in that state, when California received the federal return showing days in the US as about two and one-half months in the summer and another two weeks over the year-end holidays, they sent a tax deficiency notice taxing the foreign earned income. When the taxpayers were not able to PROVE that they were NOT in California for less than 45 days, they ended up paying state tax on all of their foreign earned income. They subsequently returned to us as clients, and now keep proof of where they are each day they are in the US.

New Jersey is another difficult state. If you maintain a residence there generally you have to pay tax on your foreign earned income, regardless of days in New Jersey during the year. If you are domiciled there, don’t maintain a permanent residence there, do maintain a permanent residence elsewhere, and spend 30 days or less there, you can file as a nonresident. We had clients for whom we prepared tax returns, including a New Jersey return showing all of their foreign earned income subject to New Jersey state tax. They maintained a home there and were stuck. They became very irate with us, and went to a CPA firm in New Jersey hoping for better results. The results were the same. They returned to us as clients and did what we recommended – put the house up for rent. They were stuck paying New Jersey tax for one year only. They remain overseas, still are domiciled in New Jersey, but no longer pay state tax there.

You may run afoul of a state’s tax law due to changes in those laws. Formerly if you were domiciled in Michigan or Oregon and you lived outside the state for an entire year, you were exempt from filing a state tax return. Both states changed their laws, and now if Michigan or Oregon is your domicile, even if you don’t spend any time in the state during a year, you are still required to file a state tax return. Because both recognize the federal foreign earned income exclusion for many of our clients that is not a problem, but for some higher earners, they now have to file, and pay, state tax in those states.

There may also be issues with whether or not your state tax return is filed in a timely manner. While some states recognize the federal automatic extension of time to file for overseas filers, not all do. And while some states recognize the federal extension to October 15th, others require that a separate state tax return extension be filed. The safest thing to do is to get a start on preparing your tax returns to see if you owe money, file both a federal and state extension, and pay any amounts due. Then you have until October 15th to file the returns. That doesn’t mean you should delay your filing until October – it is easy to forget you haven’t filed after the subject of taxes is off of your mind for several months. Pay timely, and then file as soon as you are sure the returns are complete.

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If you have questions you may want to contact a tax professional. Email: info@globaltaxonline.net for more information or go to www.globaltaxonline.net.

This article was submitted by Global Tax. 

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An Insider's Story

International School Drama/The Arts Teachers: An Insider’s Story

January 24, 2018


In my earlier career in public schools in Alberta, Canada I was a Drama teacher. The arts always seemed to be under threat in the public education system, and in my experience Music, Art and Drama teachers always seemed to be fighting for their survival. We had thriving Drama classes and a popular extra-curricular programme at my school where students in Junior High and Senior High competed in Zone and Provincial Drama Festivals, but when I went to teach in Australia on a year-long exchange they cancelled the Drama programme to save money, and only the Art classes and the Band programme survived the arts cuts that year.

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Teaching in Queensland, Australia for a year was an eye-opener as far as the arts went. Programmes seemed to be very well supported with excellent facilities and had far more to offer students such as many workshops in specialities like mime, street theatre and dance for example than the much more basic curriculums I was used to in Canada. The arts curriculums seemed to be very extensive and arts taken for granted as a part of an Australian school. After a huge well supported musical “Annie Get Your Gun” I returned to my school in Canada where we had no theatre and I taught Drama in a regular classroom, pushing aside the desks as needed.

I had to return to Canada and teach as an English teacher even though I wanted to teach Drama. For many students in my experience, the arts are vital to balance out academics and sports. All students need an opportunity to excel and be successful in something, and for many that is not their regular exam classes or a sports team. So the art teacher and I collaborated and kept the school productions going, a total of 25 Junior and Senior High shows over the years where students could act, sing and dance or work backstage, or designing the set. Students loved the opportunity to be creative, and often it was the behaviourally challenged students or those who didn’t quite ‘fit in’ in other classes that loved Drama the most. We continued to participate in the Zone Festivals winning many times, and what a treat it was to be in a real theatre! The highlight was going to the Provincial Drama Festival and winning Best Ensemble and raft of other awards for our huge production of “The Canterbury Tales.’

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Before I left Canada I was chosen for a Commonwealth Teacher Exchange to the United Kingdom. I went to teach in beautiful Norwich, Norfolk and became familiar with the British National Curriculum at KS3 and KS4 in particular. In England I was exposed to the rigour of a Drama programme shaped around students completing exams for their GCSE’s. I liked in particular how Drama, Music and Art were all exam subjects with strict, demanding curriculums and the disciplines were treated the same as academic subjects. In Alberta, Canada the arts are not exam subjects and the curriculum is very much left up to the teacher. I left England after our huge whole-school production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” with much to think about.

The thinking led me to the Search Associates Recruiting Fair in London, England and a decision to work in International Schools. I accepted an offer to teach GCSE Drama and IBDP Theatre at one of the top British Curriculum schools in China. The school was expanding from the Junior School to a brand-new Senior School. Before I became a teacher I had done a degree in Technical Theatre and so I had a lot of input into the building of the brand new Black Box classroom I would be working in and the incredible state-of the-art Theatre. What a treat it was to work in such amazing facilities with such keen students and such small classes after public education! I was familiar with the GCSE Drama curriculum and put students through both the EdExcel and the Cambridge exam board. My top tip for teachers wanting to work in British curriculum schools is don’t apply unless you already know the British National Curriculum, and the requirements of at least one GCSE exam board. It’s a very steep (I would say almost impossible) learning curve if you don’t already come in with that knowledge. It was no problem that I had no IBDP Theatre experience. The school had an unlimited budget and was quick to send me for training for my Category 1 IBDP Theatre course and countless other IBDP workshops. It’s easy to do well and get good results working in this kind of environment. Don’t kid yourself though-the results and marks really matter to the students, the parents and the school and if you don’t deliver you’ll be out. My love of Theatre and the performing arts in particular was well supported here with productions of “Aladdin,” “Macbeth,” “Blood Brothers,” “Cinderella” and “Marriage Proposal” amongst many other class and exam productions.

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In my current school in Singapore I’m in a different role. I am Head of Arts for the Secondary school. I supervise the Music, Visual Arts, Drama and Theatre programmes. I have six teachers working in the Arts Department. We are an IB World School and run PYP, MYP and IBDP curriculum. It’s important as HOD Arts to make sure we offer a balanced programme, no one art discipline can take precedence over another. Our students in Years 7, 8 and 9 all take all three arts classes. In Years 10 and 11 they choose one of the Arts disciplines to specialize in for two years and complete their exam ePortfolio of four assignments in Year 11. At the school we also offer IBDP Visual Arts and Theatre for two years. I teach some Drama classes and Theatre, but I am also given a lot of HOD time to manage staff, take care of the budget, ensure curriculum is being taught well, arrange standardisation and moderation of marks and a myriad of other responsibilities. I have my IBDP Cat 2 now and am an Examiner for the IBDP Theatre curriculum.

We run Arts Nights for the performing arts in each semester, as well as a school Talent Show. The Visual Arts puts up displays of art at these times as well as participating in the huge IN Exhibition of Visual Art from fifteen International Schools in Singapore as well as the IBDP Visual Arts Exhibition in the Spring. We run extensive co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for the students in the arts like bands, singing groups, drumming lessons and arts workshops. We are an International School Theatre Association School and run a lot of workshops through them e.g bringing the theatre company ‘Frantic Assembly’ in from the UK or Marco Luly- a Commedia dell’ Arte expert in from Italy. We run two Musicals a year, the Secondary Musical for Years 9-13 and the Primary/Middle School Musical for Years 3-8. The last four years we have done “Urbs, Urbis,” “Arlecchino and the City of Love,” “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, “ “A Christmas Carol” and currently with a team of ten teachers and over 75 students “Cinderella, Rockerfella.” All of our shows are performed in professional theatre facilities we rent in Singapore. All of this is such a pleasant change from fighting for the arts survival in a Canadian public school, and having to fight for every cent we wanted to spend. I wish I had gone to work in International Schools much earlier in my career, but better late than never!

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This article was submitted to us by International School Community member, Sara Lynn Burrough. Sara Lynn Burrough has worked as a Drama/Theatre teacher for the past 38 years in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, China and Singapore. She has a BEd, an MEd, was a professional stage manager at the Banff Centre for the Arts and studied Technical Theatre at McGill University in Montreal. In Canada as a teacher she worked for many years for Northern Gateway Schools in Alberta, and during that time was selected for two teacher exchange programmes. Her first exchange to Australia was with Alberta Education and the Queensland Department of Education where she taught at Costessey High School, in Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast. Her second exchange was with the prestigious ‘League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers’ (LECT) where she was one of two Canadian teachers selected to go to the United Kingdom for the millennial year to the United Kingdom. The Queen Mother was the patron of LECT and as she was celebrating her 100th birthday that year Sara Lynn was privileged to attend the celebrations in London as an invitee. In 2013 Sara Lynn decided to teach in International Schools and attended the Search Associates recruiting fair in London, England. From there she went to Dulwich College in Suzhou, China to teach GCSE Drama and IBDP Theatre in the Senior School. After China Sara Lynn went to Singapore for almost five years as Head of Arts (Music, Visual Arts, Drama) at Chatsworth International School where she taught MYP Drama and IBDP Theatre.

Using our unique Comment Search feature on our website (premium membership access needed), we found 96 comments that have the keyword “Drama” in them, and 14 comments that had the word “The Arts” in them.

Here are some comments that shown a positive light on Learning Support programs at international schools:

“The school just celebrated its 50th anniversary and there are many banners around the school. The school in involved with the SITS programme which is a quality drama and arts programme for kids.” – Oslo International School (17 Total Comments)

“Stoke City FC just started this school year and there are several other “big” initiatives as well, mostly in music and drama departments.” – Western International School of Shanghai (312 Total Comments)

“It is limited. In primary there is futsal, while secondary usually has volleyball and basketball. Baseball is popular but it is not offered in any organised way. The school usually participates at the MUN conference in Kobe in February each year. Drama and arts offerings have increased in recent years.” – Hiroshima International School (64 Total Comments)

“The school offers no sports programs, and occasionally offers a drama Club to students, depending on teacher interest.” – Alexandria International Academy (78 Total Comments)

“Piloting the iPad initiative this year and also looking to expand the arts program with the addition of the multi-purpose hall that houses a mini-theater.” – Universal American School in Dubai (57 Total Comments)

“There are opportunities in the arts (dance, voice, musical instrumental, drama), a good number of sports offerings (climbing, competitive sports, etc.). Lots!” – American School of Dubai (98 Total Comments)

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Top 10 Lists

11 Member-Submitted Comments Related to Single International School Teachers

November 5, 2017


With the hiring season upon us, there is a divide amongst us international school teachers. Will the international school you are interviewing with prefer to hire a teaching couple or a single teacher?

I guess it could seem like the international school is being a bit discriminatory when they state their preference (sometimes in the job description vacancy itself), but there might be a number of factors that come into play in their decision to be so explicit in what they are looking for.

Single

Sometimes hiring a single teacher can be more expensive than hiring a teaching couple. We all know schools love saving money! Money aside though, the administration at international schools also know the lifestyle that prospective teachers are signing up for. The set up could be good for both singles and teaching couples, but the city and country where the school is located could also lend itself better to a single person OR to a teaching couple.

It is hard to guess which type of teacher would be better for which set up, but the administration can see patterns developing amongst their staff. For example, are the single teachers or the teaching couples staying longer (or shorter) at the school? Are single teachers finding it difficult to save money there?  Are single teachers able to easily meet up with other expats or locals in the city for a date?

The fact is, though, that single teachers get hired all the time during each recruitment season. If you are a quality teacher with a good resume and references (+luck and timing), the school will definitely consider hiring you. However, it might be good to know which international schools have a good record of hiring single teachers.

Single

Additionally, if a school gives an offer of employment to a teacher who is single, what are the exact details about the benefits the school is offering you specifically?  What is the lifestyle like for single teachers that live in different cities around the world?

So many factors and things to consider!

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teaching couples and single teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 92 comments that had the keyword “Singles” in them. Here are 11 of them:

United Arab Emirates
“Dubai is a big city in most ways with very modern nightlife etc. singles should have no trouble meeting other singles, and couples will find the city enjoyable as well. Sex between people who are not married is illegal and people DO go to jail for it/get deported for it, but usually only when it is something very blatant (like having sex on a public beach). Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE and is still prosecuted. UAE is trying very hard to balance between a modern, cosmopolitan city while at the same time being respectful of traditional Arab culture.” – Raffles International School (South) (59 total comments)

Japan
“Kyoto has a pretty balance for all interests. singles may find it difficult here, however, as there isn’t much nightlife in Kyoto (a lot of things close around 8 or 9) and it can be hard to meet people. Osaka is 30 minutes to an hour away, however, and has a lot of options in that department. There are plenty of parks and outdoor spaces in Kyoto, unlike Tokyo or other metropolitan regions of Japan.” – Doshisha International School Kyoto (92 total comments)

Hong Kong
“The housing allowance for singles was increased to 23,000HKD (2900USD) which allows for a bit more choice. Because of the price discrepancy among singles, teaching couples and a teacher with dependent(s), singles were the only ones who received an increase.” – Hong Kong International School (118 total comments)

El Salvador
“The school itself is a very family orientated place, though there are lots of singles in the school. Often group trips are organised renting beach houses and lake houses.” – Academia Britanica Cuscatleca (30 total comments)

Thailand
“Chiang Mai is a great place to live for couples and families. Singles who like the Great Outdoors will also be satisfied. Those seeking a full on nightlife need to save their Bahts for a weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya. Chiang Mai has some great pubs and restaurants, but currently all are forced to close at midnight.” – Varee Chiang Mai International School (62 total comments)

Qatar
“Staff housing is provided. 2 bedroom apartments for singles, just in and around Doha (Al Saad, Al Marqab) or in Education City (mostly families because of the parks and facilities that in and around the compound). You can ask for rent allowance but once you forfeit housing you can’t get back in! QF policy. Think it’s around 8,000 qar a month plus 500 for utilities.You’ll never find anything as nice as the housing provided for that money, without getting a roommate (then you can save money)” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (65 total comments)

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Tanzania
“The school generally recruits at the Search fairs, in Johannesburg, Bangkok and London. There are some long-term local hire teachers. Many local hires are expats who are here with their partners. I believe they also hire through Skype interviews. There is a good mix of people – couples, families and singles. Recently there have been a lot of singles hired which has put a bit of a crunch on housing.” – International School of Tanganyika (171 total comments)

Zambia
“Lots of activities for singles, but people generally agree Lusaka is great for families, less so for singles wanting to find love. There is a small gay culture, but not vibrant due to the country’s general conservatism.” – American International School of Lusaka (45 total comments)

Colombia
“I am a single parent with a 5-year-old so life is very quiet for us. singles seem to have a very active social life as there are a lot of bars and Manizales is very safe. In terms of gay life, I know there are gay bars here and gay couples but I they feel they need to be discreet in public.” – Colegio Granadino Manizales (44 total comments)

South Korea
“Staff housing differs for singles and married couples. They are both located near the school and are in an area which has plenty to do. Major bills include gas, electricity, internet, etc. The most expensive is the gas in the winter. Teachers are responsible for their utilities.” – Busan Foreign School (5 total comments)

France
“There is a mix of local and expat teachers. The majority of expat teachers come from the UK, but others come from other English-speaking countries as well. There is very low turnover rate at the school- maybe one or two positions open up each year. The staff are mostly married couples- very few singles.” – International School of Lyon (12 total comments)

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An Insider's Story

International School Learning Support Teachers: An Insider’s Story

October 25, 2017


Learning Support, or teaching students with Special Education Needs is consistently referred to as one of the most difficult jobs in teaching. And with good reason. Typically, we work with the most challenged students. This can mean anything from a simple learning disability to severe mental health disorders or life-threatening issues. Often it includes complicated family situations with parents who are struggling to accept their child’s challenges. I have even worked with students who were recovering from traumatic brain injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders. Parents have broken down into tears at meetings, and students have flung chairs across the room in frustration.

Learning Support

But working with students is not the hardest part of my job. It’s the best.

No matter what challenges they face, they always rise to the occasion. Even when they fail to reach their own expectations, they often surpass mine. I am continually awed, inspired, and warmed by their perseverance and grit.

Ironically, the hardest part is working with the non-challenged. Teachers, by nature, tend to be highly intelligent people. For many of them, learning was easy and pleasurable. This makes it harder for them to empathize with students who don’t like school.  For the most challenged students to be successful, they need everyone on their team. On the same page, in most cases, it’s easy to get everyone to agree that a child needs support.  However, rarely will everyone agree on the best way to do it. This part is the most challenging. For a slightly hyperbolic metaphor, think of America’s response to mass shootings. Everyone agrees something needs to be done. Nobody agrees on how to do it.

Learning Support

The truth is, many international schools lag behind most public schools in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia when it comes to dealing with students with special needs. There are many reasons for this; the most obvious being the strict laws governing rights of the disabled in those countries. Most international schools exist in gray areas when it comes to disability rights and education, thereby allowing them to bypass laws protecting people with learning disabilities.

My current school, for example, has a special education department with a staff of five trained educators. However, for a public school of our size, our department would be woefully insufficient. We lack therapists, specialized counselors, psychologists, and other professionals that would otherwise be provided by a public school district. We do have IEPs and 504 plans, but as recent as five years ago we did not. Still, we are generally considered a well-equipped school.

Sadly, this is not the case in most international schools. Many do not have special education departments at all, and teachers are not equipped with the right kinds of training or support to deal with special needs. You might be lucky to find a school that acknowledges the existence of learning disabilities and has basic protocols in place.

Learning Support

When looking to work as an international school special education teacher it’s important that you talk to people other than the administrator. Ideally, you should talk to other teachers and ask how they support students with learning disabilities. Be sure to ask your prospective school about local rules and regulations governing learning disabilities. Also be cautious of administrators that want to grow their programs, as you may be signing on for more than you bargained for. Unless you have a burning desire to single-handedly create and manage a special education department, you should also be careful around these kinds of offers.

Special education is experiencing tremendous growth in international schools now, offering many unique opportunities. But with it, comes heavy responsibility. If you’re a special education teacher looking to work abroad, preparing yourself for a rewarding, yet challenging time.

This article was submitted to us by an International School Community member.

Using our unique Comment Search feature on our website (premium membership access needed), we found 29 comments that have the keyword “Learning Support” in them, and 20 comments that had the word “Special Needs” in them.

Here are some comments that shown a positive light on Learning Support programs at international schools:

“The St. Petersburg campus has recently added a learning support component to support teachers, parents and students.” – Anglo-American School of St. Petersburg (38 Total Comments)

“There are also student assistants. Student assistants are assigned to certain students or groups of students to offer them learning support. They move with these learning support students as they move classes and/or grade. Currently there are three student assistants at TIS one in Primary School and two in Middle School.” – Tokyo International School (63 Total Comments)

“The students are very delightful and respectful. It is a mixed ability school and there is a good number of students who need some support. Learning support has improved over the last few years, but it is still not adequate for all those who need it. The students are truly delightful and polite.” – Somersfield Academy (44 Total Comments)

“There are co-teachers in primary and learning support teachers throughout the school (in most subjects), depending on the specific needs of students in the group. This is an inclusive school that requires quite a high teacher/student ratio.” – Hong Kong Academy (67 Total Comments)

“We are in our sixth year of becoming an inclusive school, with about 2.5% of our population being special needs children–including Down Syndrome and Autistic students. There are three RTI teams and a “transitions” classroom to support learners with challenges (and our classroom teachers).” – International Community School Addis Ababa (80 Total Comments)

“The school offers a bilingual program for students in grades K to 12. DMS has a fully self-contained special needs Division within the main school.” – Dasman Model School (24 Total Comments)

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Highlighted Articles

International School Hiring Season Trends for 2017-2018

October 11, 2017


When it comes to landing a position at an International School, there are several ways candidates can increase their desirability in the eyes of the employer outside of the usual suspects (Degree in education, teaching license). Of course, a degree in education and teaching license will go a long way and there are some schools that do not look beyond this, with some International schools there are other factors that can be taken into account. Here are some things you can do to help you land that international school position you have been looking at:

hiring trends

Curriculum Experience

Although there are many different curriculums, the big three curriculums in International Education are British (Key stage/GCSE/A-Levels), American (Common Core/AP Level), and IB. Included in this for Earl Childhood Education is Montessori kindergartens. Having experience, or even taking a course in one of these will increase your hireability if this is the curriculum that the school you are applying for uses. The school will be able to see you have a level of familiarity with their materials which should help with the transition into the school. Simply put, it increases your dependability in the eyes of the school.

On a related theme, having consistency in your resume and experience is something that International schools do take into account. Being able to show a level of reliability with previous positions where contracts were completed, or maybe even extended, is great. International schools are looking for candidates who will stay with their school for many years. Address any gaps or potential red flags in your resume, as being proactive and explaining experience will prevent hiring managers minds from presuming the worse.

hiring trends

Professional Image

An International school is always looking to portray a professional image, and therefore want their teachers to do the same. Responding to emails in a timely manner, being on time for the interview and dressing smart seem obvious, but at the same time are essential. Also, be sure to do your research on the school beforehand by looking through their website, furthermore looking at the LinkedIn profiles of some of their current teachers is a smart move. By looking at people they have already decided to hire in the past, you can generate a good idea on the kind of people they are looking for. Whilst looking at current teachers LinkedIn profiles, be sure to update your own LinkedIn profile as well as social media accounts to ensure you are portraying the right image you want to give.

hiring trends

Showing Initiative

International schools like their teachers to show initiative and a willingness to take on responsibility. Be sure to show examples of this in your resume, for example if you have been involved in any coaching or extra-curricular activities. Linked back to point number one in this article, showing initiative by taking courses in a curriculum is great and highlights how serious you are about teaching in an international school, and about how you want to improve as a teacher.

hiring trends

Flexibility

Being flexible with certain requirements will improve chances of landing a position at an International school. For example, a level of flexibility with the school’s location can help, as International schools in certain cities and countries find it harder to attract teachers than in other areas. Another area which can help to be flexible on, if you are capable and comfortable on doing so, is the subject that you will teach. Some schools may find themselves in the situation where a candidate who can teach a couple of subjects in a hybrid role is exactly what they are looking for.

hiring trends

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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!

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Comment Topic Highlight

Has Your International School Appraised Their Teachers This School Year?

May 13, 2017


Schools say they are going to do them, but for some reason they just don’t get done for one reason or another. It maybe that it is truly an impossible task to complete in one school year, to appraise all staff members.
appraisal

Even when the administrators divide and conquer (to appraise all the many staff members), it still often times doesn’t get done. Sometimes they start off in August-October with a few goal making meetings, but often that is as far as it goes for that school year.

This begs the question, are appraisals really necessary? I guess there are pros and cons to doing appraisals, maybe all pros. But if the appraisal is not done so in an effective manner or is perceived as an unauthentic experience, it seems like it will not be so meaningful for both parties.

appraisal

It is possible to just go on with your jobs and through casual drop-ins make informal appraisals. It’s possible that if you are not really doing your job very well, most staff members know…including the administration.

It is also nice when staff members just organically make their own professional goals though and work towards achieving them for that school year; inviting their administration and other staff to observe certain lessons or to even get involved.

It’s certain that some international schools have indeed figured it out, doing appraisals from start to completion every year. But for many, maybe those with a high administration turn over, it is still a long-term goal to get a formal appraisal system underway and working effectively for everyone involved.

This article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of appraisals, so you can stay the most informed as possible. “There are 51 comments (premium access only) that have the word appraisal in them, and a total of 144 comments in our comment topic called – “Details about the current teacher appraisal process.”  Here are a few of those 144 comments related to appraisals about various schools from around the world:”

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 144 comments in this comment topic (May 2017).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Primary teachers are observed by newly-appointed Heads of Department that have little to no experience” – Wycombe Abbey International School (Changzhou, China)78 Total Comments

“The school has worked with Pam Harper over the last year to define student learning and align teaching to it. The model that has been adopted, the Teaching for Learning Index, serves as the framework for professional learning and appraisal.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)176 Comments

“Teachers are observed, given a print of the evaluation and a brief feedback meeting. No data is formally collected/recorded.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan)93 Total Comments

“In a year and a half of teaching here, I have only had one formal classroom observation. The principal gave me an excellent evaluation and apparently hasn’t felt the need to return!” – Misr American College (Cairo, Egypt)53 Comments

“They have a system called Responsibility for Learning which is tailored to the situation. New teachers go through a pre-determined portfolio process supporting professional standards. Returning teachers are given options as to how to best support their own growth. Administrative visitations are ongoing and both formal and informal.” – American School of Dubai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)84 Comments

“Teachers are observed twice in an academic year. At the end of the year, the results of these observations are then combined with evaluations from the senior Thai admin (who never see you teach). The score is then tabulated and you are given a bonus based on this score. Teachers can see the results of the observations but are not allowed to see the evaluations from the Thai admin.” – Assumption College (Bangkok, Thailand)21 Comments

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #36: Cassandra Anthony (A teacher at Stamford American International School)

March 11, 2017


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Cassandra White:

member spotlightTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I’m originally from Sydney, Australia however as a child I lived in both Germany and the UK for various amounts of time. I first did a Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, followed by a Graduate Diploma of Education at the University of New England, Australia. A couple of years after this, with an interest in Education Psychology which had been piqued whilst studying Music Education at the Conservatorium, I decided to do a Masters of Arts (Music Psychology in Education), at the University of Sheffield, UK. This masters degree really opened my eyes to the world of Academia as well and I’m currently halfway through a PhD in Music Education at the University of Queensland, Australia. I guess you could say I’m the eternal student!

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

The travel bug hit me big time in my early 20’s and I travelled extensively around Europe, Asia, the USA and Africa. I became very interested in the International School scene after meeting a music teacher who worked at WAB in Beijing and had been international for the last 15 years, this really opened my eyes to what could be an amazing lifestyle overseas whilst still teaching. This friend kept me in the loop of ‘good’ jobs that were coming up in various countries but due to study commitments, it wasn’t until I was 30 that I was truly ready to embark on an International School journey. I found my job on the schools website and applied, within a month I had a job interview and a job offer a few days after that. It was definitely a case of right place, right time for me.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

member spotlightI began working at Stamford American International School, Singapore in August last year. I have close friends who live in Singapore and have visited them very regularly so knew that Singapore was an ideal ‘first international school’ country for me. SAIS is an IB world school which also follows the AERO (American Education Reaches Out) standards, this was my first IB PYP experience and it’s been a learning curve but I absolutely love inquiry education and I’ve learnt so much in my first 8 months already. My school has a huge mix of nationalities, Americans, Canadians, Brits, Aussies, New Zealanders, as well as several other nationalities. It’s a cultural melting pot and it’s one of my favourite aspects of the school. My school is quite large with over 3000 students from 2 years-grade 12. The students are exposed to a wide variety of CCA’s and they have a Global Mentors Program which brings leaders in various fields to the school to give presentations and engage with the students, already this year we have had a Nobel Laureate, a Real Madrid soccer player and the ex-flautist of the London Symphony Orchestra visiting the school! 

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

Singapore is a unique place, a lot of people say it’s boring but there is so much to do here! I have funny cultural interactions with my colleagues a lot, I share my classroom with an American teacher and she has learnt a lot of Aussie slang from me! The first time I described a lesson as a ‘ripper’ she looked very concerned until I explained a ‘ripper’ meant a great lesson, it still makes me laugh! I can’t convince her to like vegemite for breakfast but she does love weetbix now! 

member spotlightWhat are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

DO YOUR RESEARCH! I read as many reviews as I could possibly find about the school, read the good, the bad and the ugly so you can make the most informed choice. Find out about the professional development opportunities (ie if you’re new to a curriculum, will they send you on training?). Good leadership is also essential, ideally you want those in positions of authority to have several years of classroom experience behind them so they can be supportive of decisions for staff as well as students. The internet is such a powerful research tool now, use google maps and google images to find out about the location of the school, if there is accommodation nearby that is affordable or will you need to spend a lot of time in transit to and from, check out expat forums to get an idea of salary or prices of food/travel/transport. 

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Exhilarating, Challenging, Adventurous, Broadening, Inspiring

teacher

Thanks Cassandra!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive one year free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in the Singapore like Cassandra?  Currently, we have 24 international schools listed in Singapore on International School Community. 13 of them have had comments submitted on their profiles. Here are just a few of them:

EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)30 Comments
International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)17 Comments
Nexus International School (Singapore, Singapore)22 Comments
One World International School (Singapore, Singapore)16 Comments
Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)26 Comments
Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore)44 Comments
Stamford American International School (Singapore, Singapore)47 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

13 Insightful International School Interview Experiences Submitted by Our Members

October 21, 2016


International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…18371 comments (21 Oct. 2016) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website. In one of the 65 comment topics, they are encouraged to share their international school interview experiences. How did it go? Was it easy to get? Recruitment fair or Skype? Was the experience positive or less than ideal?

interview

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 13 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and insightful interview experiences.

13. “The school has improved its hiring practices during the last few years. Now department heads sometimes get involved in hiring decisions. Don’t let the director’s lack of enthusiasm during an interview throw you off – that’s just his personality – and don’t believe anything that he promises you, unless it is writing.” – Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main (Frankfurt, Germany)33 Comments

12. “Speaking from the Director’s office, you need to have a focus on collaborative action toward mission. Knowing our mission and core values is key to interview for our team. While we are happy to train, we are also looking for good experience and foundation that will add to our body of expertise and keep us refreshed in best practice.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Comments

11. “The school has not met any of my expectations in professionalism. Many of the things I was told in my interview turned out to be untrue. The fall of the peso has not been addressed by administration.” – Colegio Anglo Colombiano (Bogota, Colombia)32 Comments

interview

10. “Singapore age restrictions keep hiring (and renewals) under age 60. First round interview is typically done via Skype, but they want to do second round interviews in person, in Singapore or London.” – United World College South East Asia (Singapore, Singapore)6 Comments

9. “They rely a lot on hiring people who are recommended by current employees. You still go through the interview process, etc. My initial contact to the school was through a connection I had to somebody already working here.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)27 Comments

8. “Please be careful when considering to work at this school! I wasn’t and am in quite a fit now…. On May 5, 2014 I had a telephone interview with the director and the head of secondary. On May 30, 2014 I got a firm job offer for September 2014. We discussed several contract details via mail (school fees, moving allowance etc.) but I did not receive a formal contract. On June 11 I wrote an email asking for a contract copy. On June 13 the job offer was revoked, giving as a reason that “the position no longer exists on the curriculum plan, so we cannot proceed with the appointment”. Draw your own conclusions about the school’s level of commitment and organisation.” – British School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)3 Comments

7.
“Face-to-face. As in most international school in Bangkok, it is much easier to get a job if you know someone on the inside of the school. The pay-scale is shrouded in secrecy (as in many schools here). The interview process is not that difficult, being from a native English-speaking country is a huge plus.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand)38 Comments

6. 
“I was hired via Skype, as well. The interview was very informal but informative about the school and life Venezuela.” – Escuela Las Morochas (Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela)28 Comments

5. “The school does not attend any fairs. Hiring is done via announcements on the school’s website. The hiring process is not quick. Expect to be interviewed, via Skype most likely, four times. Each interview is with a person a bit further up the food chain. At the moment Indonesia has an age cutoff of 60.” – Green School Bali (Denpasar, Indonesia)54 Comments

interview

4. “They do tend to hire internally a lot. The interview process is a bit intense with multiple interviews being set up for one person. They ask questions from a list. They are usually open to sponsoring visas for non EU candidates.” – International Community School London (London, United Kingdom)49 Comments

3. “I met with Julie Alder at the school campus because I was already in the city. I contacted them before I came and they were more than willing to give me a time and a place to meet and interview with me. The interview lasted 45 to 60 minutes. I also got to walk around and visit some classrooms.” – International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)17 Comments

2. “The school is quite small, so it doesn’t attend job fairs. I was interviewed by phone and got the job from there. I know they have also brought in teachers whom live nearby (within Western Europe) to interview them in person. Hiring restrictions: YES- they will now only hire people who have valid working papers to work in France. The school also now typically only employs expat teachers from the UK or within the EU. Many of the teachers who work at the school have a French spouse.” –International School of Lyon (Lyon, France)12 Comments

1. “I interviewed with the elementary principal this feb at the search associates fair in boston. She was very kind and sweet to me. The interview went very well, she was willing to allow me to lead the interview by showing her my portfolio. She was a very experienced teacher in the international school world. She was kind enough to send a note to me in my folder to let me know that I didn’t get the job, and she also highlighted somethings that I said in the interview. Very professional!” – American International School Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)20 Comments

If you have an interesting and insightful international school interview experience that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Top 10 Lists

Retirement: Nine International Schools With Excellent Pension Plans

July 30, 2016


It’s never to early to think about your retirement plan. As many of you know, we have a wealth of information on the International School Community website.  There are now over 17500 reviews and comments submitted on over 900+ international school across the globe. We’re certain to reach 20000 by the end of this year! A number of schools have reached the 100 comments milestone (with a few even going over 200 comments!).  Check out this blog article regarding the most-commented schools on our website from July 2016.

saving for retirement

A number of our members are curious about their future, especially if their future is to become a “seasoned international school teacher“.  Part of our future is planning for retirement. Many of us have unfortunately stopped contributing to the retirement plans we were paying into before we moved abroad.

In turn, we now are hoping that international schools will help us do the saving. But not all international schools are a great help in this area; the truth is that some have non-existent retirement plan options for their teachers.

There are a few though that are leading the way in terms of helping you save something for when retire. Using our unique Comment Search feature (premium membership access only), we found 203 comments that have the keyword “retirement”.  After scouring through these comments, we would like to share nine of them that highlight some schools that appear to have some excellent retirement benefits.

1. Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)
“SFS is a treasure amongst international schools. It is not spoken of as much as other “top” Asian international schools–this is what keeps it special. This school has allowed me to grow professionally and in my faith, has set me up with a hefty retirement for my future and plush savings for the present. The amount of on site training, college certificates, and international conferences I have been allotted to participate in haa been fully funded by the school. The package retains teachers and the demand of hard work keeps the professional teachers here for the long haul. It is a living, learning, and growing community with lots of busyness and potential to never become stagnate.”

2. American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico)
“There are 2 things:
1. Mexico has a “social security” plan and you pay into that so you pay in for your years, leave, and you can come back when you are 65 to collect.
2. The school has a 13% matching program that you can collect 1 or 2 times a year based on your choosing. This is the retirement plan but it is up to you to do move the money somewhere.”

3. International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
“We get paid monthly but receive July’s salary in June also. Salary is paid in RM with up to 40% at a fixed USD rate. Tax is around 21-23 % depending on salary. Average for 8 yrs experience (max entry point) and an advanced degree would be appx 5000 USD after tax and deductions (this includes travel and housing allowance) Additionally 11% is previously deducted for retirement fund with an extra 17% added by the employer. On same criteria this would be 1500 USD per month into a retirement plan.”

man thinking about retiring

4. American School in Japan (Tokyo, Japan)
“The school provides a retirement plan and contributes 5.27% of base salary in each of the first two years, 11.57% in year three, and increasing each year up to a maximum of 16.82%. The school does not participate in US or Japanese social security. The retirement age at ASIJ is 65 years old.”

5. Escola Americana do Campinas (Campinas, Brazil)
Retirement plan is 8% school contribution a month. School pays 8% of salary to local savings plan for employee.”

6. United Nations International School (Vietnam) (Hanoi, Vietnam)
“In lieu of a school-established retirement plan, the school currently reserves an annual salary supplement of fifteen percent (15%) of the annual base salary and disburses the total amount of this annual salary supplement to the expatriate professional staff member upon termination of employment with UNIS. Alternatively, this supplement may be paid to the employee on an annual basis.”

7. Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong)
“With a reasonable mix of some travel and eating out it is possible for a single teacher to comfortably save anywhere from 8,000-12,000 US$ per year not including the 10% +10% of base salary matching retirement plan.”

8. American School of the Hague (The Hague, The Netherlands)
“The school offers a retirement plan which is open to all employees on a voluntary basis. ASH offers two different plans: Nationale Nederlanden (pre-tax) and ECIS. ASH contributes 8% of the pensionable salary to the plan. Participation in the ECIS scheme on a pre-tax basis is only possible if one has vested and contributed regularly at another school before coming to the Netherlands. The teacher may make additional pre-tax pension contributions based on his/her age, ranging between 0.2% and 26% of the pensionable salary for employees. The pensionable salary is the gross annual salary minus about € 12,500 (on a full-time basis).”

9. Seoul International School (Seoul, South Korea)
“I have 14 years experience and my Masters. I earn about $1,500 per month in Won (about $400 of that is taken out of my paycheck for a retirement plan which is matched by school which I have access to at the end of the school year), and then another $2,000 in US dollars which is sent to my US account every month. I pay no taxes. The school takes care of it. I am paid 12 times a year although we get the summer pay all at once, in May.”

retiement piggypank

It’s never too early to think about retirement.

Of course there are many more schools that have attractive retirement plans for their teachers, but the nine schools we’ve highlighted here sure do seem nice! It all depends on what stage you are at in your career and how old you are, regarding how attractive a retirement plan would be to you. But we suppose that any retirement plan option is better then none at all!

Please share what you know about the retirement plans of the international schools you’ve worked at. Login to our website today and submit some comments here!

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Surveys

New Survey: How does your international school compare to other schools in your city?

May 11, 2016


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How does your international school compare to other schools in your city?

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Once you move to a city to work at your new international school, you find out pretty soon how your school compares to the other ones in the same city. Who knows how that happens, but it does.

The teachers at the schools labeled the worst feel embarrassed to even bring up their international school in conversation with other international school educators in the area or even throughout the world. In comparison, the teachers at the school labelled the “top” school in the city can have their heads held up high.

So then the question is what makes a school get the top or the worst ranking in the city? At International School Community, we like to think that all schools have something cool about them that makes them unique; which in turn makes them have a great learning environment for their kids.

See our blog article called “What Makes Your International School Unique?” for a look at this topic and also some related comments about a number of international schools around the world.

But it is not just these unique things that get internationals schools to the top or the bottom of the list, it has to do with a combination of different factors. Factors that come into play are the current state of the school’s building and campus, the quality of teachers and teaching, the benefits package for the teacher (the salary), the professional development opportunities, etc.

Though it is true that some cities in the world only have one international school in them, which in turn, I guess makes them the best international school in the city. But other cities in the world (e.g. Bangkok, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, etc.), there are many international schools to choose from (for both parents and teachers). These cities have international schools that are actively competing for the top spot!

So, how does your international school compare to other schools in your city? Please take a moment and submit your vote!

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We have a comment topic related to this survey, except it is comparing international schools with home country ones. It is called: “How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?

Here are a few sample comments from this comment topic:

“One of the biggest differences between the NIS schools and most other schools around the world is to do with vacations. In many countries, when students are not in school, neither are the teachers, with some exceptions for things like PD Days and report writing, etc.. This is not the case at NIS schools; regardless of whether the students are in school or not, teachers are expected to attend. If a teacher wishes to be absent, she or he must request leave – paid or unpaid. Given that international teachers have a total allowance of 56 days of paid leave (which includes weekend days if they are within the leave period), this can have a serious impact on vacations.” – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana (Astana, Kazakhstan)37 Comments

“It is very much based along English public school lines, but with a strong international flavour and ethos. There are many more nationalities present in the school than you would normally find in an English school.” – St. Julians School (Lisbon, Portugal)9 Comments

“Compared to teaching in the UK this is a dream, as long as you are prepared for the culture shock of living in a small village of thirteen million. Small classes, good behaviour and a genuine interest in study, excellent resources, great quality of life. Admin is less than in the UK although it is creeping up. Some of it good, some of it of limited value (just like the UK). I enjoy my teaching and the travel opportunities this place offers.” – Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)54 Comments

“Different: The teacher’s salaries and the new teacher induction and support program are dismal. Same: Budget and lack of professional development opportunities within the school due to very strict labor laws.” – American School of Bilbao (Bilbao, Spain)26 Comments

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Cyprus (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

May 6, 2016


Traveling Around: Cyprus

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Can you relate?

• Driving on the left side with a steering wheel on your right side and feeling weird by every crossing.
• Thinking it was going to be much warmer than it actually turned out to be. I guess hanging out on the beach was not in the plans.
• Going into the mountainous region in the middle of the country and finding an empty cafe to sit down and have a drink to enjoy the view. We tried a local drink made from almonds. They served it warm like a tea, and it was actually quite tasty.
• Staying the whole time in what was probably the coolest AirBnb I’ve ever seen. This place was so unique and was a refurbished old monastery.
• Our AirBnb host was so great. We wanted to buy the best olive oil on the island and we asked him for his advice. He ended up showing us a secret bottle of olive oil he received from one of his relatives. He said he would ask his relative for another bottle and get it to us during our trip. He ended up just giving us his own bottle!  What a nice guy!
• Very much enjoying the city’s stray cat population. These cats would hang outside our AirBnb as well, mostly during night-time. We tried to feed them some food one night, but they were picky on what they would eat.
• There was a holiday happening in Cyprus during our stay there. They were celebrating the Greek liberation from the Turkish empire. We were so lucky to run into a huge parade. The local military dress was very interesting. Also in the parade were big groups of students, each from a different college. They all had to walk in a very special way, lifting both arms up as they walked down the street.
• Waiting in a long line to get to the Turkish side of the downtown area and watching some people trying to pass without having to show their passports.
• Enjoying the Turkish side of the country, but feeling bad that we didn’t explore more. We rented a car, but we weren’t allowed to drive our car on that side.
• Loving the first breakfast that I had in the country. It was a very cozy restaurant with lots of locals in it. I got served a piece of toast with avocado with asparagus and poached egg on top. Then they drizzled olive oil on top. It was so delicious. Too bad that we never went back to that place.
• Arriving to a seaside town and having to choose a fish restaurant to eat at. The one we ended up sitting down at didn’t serve us at all in like 15 minutes of sitting there. We left and try another restaurant that was full of people. Right when we walked in a table opened up. We sat down and within a minute our order was taken. After another minute we were served our food! The fish dishes were so delicious. It is funny choosing restaurants when traveling. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.
• Driving off the main road in the mountains to find a beautiful hidden waterfall.
• Coming back to Lefkosia in the night and seeing a huge Turkish flag made of lights on a hill in the Turkish part of the city. During the day, the flag is painted on. Seems like the rivalry between the two nations is still very high.
• Visiting the coastal towns of Limassol and Larnaca, to find many shop and restaurant signs in Russian. It seems like they do a lot of business in Cyprus.
• Stepping into the Mall of Cyprus and getting disappointed how empty does it looked. Maybe the business is better during the summer tourist season?
• Finding out that the capital has two names – Lefkosia and Nicosia. Road signs only say Lefkosia, though.
• Eating healthy breakfast in hip cafes in the central Lefkosia and finding an Icelandic woman’s vegan restaurant in Lefkosia.

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Currently we have 4 international schools listed in Cyprus on International School Community. Here are two that have had comments submitted on them:

•  American International School of Cyprus (27 comments)
•  International School of Paphos (77 comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.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 you 6 free months of premium membership!

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Top 10 Lists

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

April 24, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when teaching abroad #8: Paying (sometimes at high prices) for a housekeeper, cook, etc. while living the expat lifestyle

March 31, 2016


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

How NOT to save money when teaching abroad #8: Paying (sometimes at high prices) for a housekeeper, cook, etc. while living the expat lifestyle

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Is it affordable to hire a housekeeper in your host country?

Many of us have never had a housekeeper while living in our home countries. We never even had the idea that we would need one or even be able to afford one. But while living abroad as an expat, international school teachers potentially can live a very different life and lifestyle in comparison to their former home country lives. Many times they will find themselves in situations where they can now financially afford certain help around the house. And who doesn’t want to hire somebody to clean their house and iron their work clothes every week?

Of course the cost of this help can be quite varied in different parts of the world. Hiring a house cleaner in Spain might be cheaper than hiring one in Norway, but then could be more expensive than one you would pay for in Japan.

There are international school teachers that refuse to get help like a housekeeper. They are quite content to continue their lifestyle as they were living in their home country. But in many 3rd world counties, there are locals that could very much benefit from employment from an international school teacher. Some might say hiring a local and having them come on a regular basis (and also paying them an accept rate for the area) to help you out around the house is a good thing for the local economy.

So, before you just have anybody come to your place and do some work for you, it is advisable, of course, to check with your colleagues at your school about their experience hiring housekeepers, for example. Often there is another teacher that is currently using one that is also looking for more work. Sharing a good housekeeper amongst work colleagues is a great way to assure you are getting a trustworthy person.

Even if you get a trustworthy person it is not always smooth sailing once they start working at your place. In some situations, the housekeeper might not speak English. And if you not fluent in the local language yet, there can be some issues with communication and getting things done in the ways that you like and prefer. One solution is to get one of your local friends to come over and help interpret for you; for some bigger issues that may arise.

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Some international school teachers hire a local to cook some meals for them during the week.

If you are lucky, you will find a great person that fits your needs. Maybe you’ve set up a schedule where the housekeeper cleans your place while you are at work. Then when you get home, you have a fresh and tidy house in which you can immediately relax. It is always nice to see the little things that your housekeeper might do in certain parts around the house; like a special way of folding the towels or making up your bed.

It all sounds good, doesn’t it?  But it does come at a cost. So to make sure that you are still saving money while living abroad, be certain that you can find a balance between how much you have your housekeeper do things for you around the house.  On the other hand, hiring a housekeeper does save you time!

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We have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of how much it costs to pay for these types of extra help in your international school life living abroad.  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. Here are a few examples of comments related to housekeeper costs:

“Housekeepers, but law, must be full-time, though some are hired part-time, unofficially. Minimum wage for housekeeper is ~4500HKD per month.” – Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (55) Total comments

“Individuals make their own contracts with housekeepers, nannies and gardeners, though the school assists with obtaining visas for nannies and housekeepers. (This process can be frustrating at times based on the Omani bureaucracy, but gets done.). A nanny/housekeeper will make anywhere between 170 and 300 OMR/month and the number of hours in that frame go from a regular 40 hr week with weekends and holidays off with overtime provided (along with yearly airfare and insurance — can be obtained for under 200 OMR/year), to 24-hour on-call, no benefits or overtime.” – American British Academy
(33) Total comments

“You can get a housekeeper here that comes for 1/2 a day, every day of the week, for 250,000 Shillings a month! It is wonderful! The person will do all the cleaning and all your laundry (and you need someone do do your ironing here as some washing needs to be done by hand, etc.).” – International School of Tanganyika (141) Total comments

“One thing great about teaching in Malaysia is the opportunity to have a different lifestyle than would be affordable in the Western world. Most teachers with kids have a full time (some live in) nanny and maid. A full-time nanny is paid $500 -$600 a month. Part time help is affordable, costing between $6 and $10 an hour. For $300 a month, you can have a part-time housekeeper come 3 times a week.” – Mont’Kiara International School (27) Total comments

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Germany

December 31, 2015


Around the world, there are cities 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.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, 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 city (in this case, the same country).

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Germany

Currently, we have 43 schools listed in Germany on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
Berlin British School (Berlin, Germany)31 Comments
Strothoff International School (Frankfurt, Germany)49 Comments
Metropolitan School Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Germany)36 Comments
Bavarian International School (Haimhausen, Germany)30 Comments
International School of Stuttgart (Stuttgart, Germany)30 Comments
International School of Dusseldorf (Dusseldorf, Germany)22 Comments
Berlin Brandenburg International School (Berlin, Germany)22 Comments

School Building and Campus

“The school building is actually a historic sight. There are a lot of different buildings included in the whole campus. They are connect with stone arches overlooking a lush forest and lakeland. There are running tracks and football pitches that are well taken care of. The campus is also very secure, there is a gate with a guard.” – Berlin Brandenburg International School

“The campus is located in a beautiful little hamlet north of Munich. The school includes a new sport center and a 18th century German Castle (Schloss). There are purpose built trailers located on either side of the middle building. But these are high-end, double story buildings that would rival the any classroom. The primary school is located in a different part of the campus than secondary, but they are connected. There are Promethean boards in every classroom and dedicated wifi.” – Bavarian International School

“2 km from the nearest U-bahn station. It’s in a road with offices and factories. It’s a strange place to put a school. The road is busy and I’m surprised there hasn’t been an accident. Why isn’t there a crossing for the children? The playground is far too small for the student population. It’s very dangerous. When you’re on duty you can guarantee there will be bloodshed every time.” – Metropolitan School Frankfurt

“It is not a perfect technical environment. Equipment is outdated; Strothoff IT are idiots and do not help; however, in general, grounds and building are OK.” – Strothoff International School

Expectations of Staff

“Teachers in secondary, have 2 duties per week, and attend at least one meeting per week after school. We are expected to be in school form 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.” – Berlin British School

“Workload is much heavier than other international schools I have taught at. ALL teachers (yes, all!) have 5 preps. Yes-5 preps. You will work more hours here than at any other international school in the Frankfurt region. Extra hours and additional time are not compensated in any way.” – Strothoff International School

“Teachers at ISS are required to cover for other teachers who are sick or absent. Teachers are expected to do extra curricular activities and this duty is classified as a B role on the salary scale. Meetings are held weekly and after school – they are badly organised and usually a waste of time.” – International School of Stuttgart

Flight and Moving-in Allowances

“Moving allowance is approximately 500 (quoted in USD). They pay for your ticket there, but there isn’t a flight allowance after that.” – Berlin Brandenburg International School

“Moving allowance is 2000 for single teachers and 4000 for teaching couples. There is a flight allowance every 2 years. Amount depends on location of point of origin.” – International School of Dusseldorf

“Travel expenses is an area that school needs to improve on. New staff members receive 1000.00 Euros moving allowance but that is taxed, so it is about 700.00 Euros It is not possible to move into such an expensive city on that allowance.” – International School of Stuttgart

“You also can apply for some personal days, but you don’t get paid for them typically.” – Bavarian International School

PD Allowances

“In theory you get to do an IB workshop every second year. In reality it depends on how much people in power like you. If you schmooze with them you get good PD opportunities and if you don’t they relish hurting you.” – Metropolitan School Frankfurt

“The school is pretty good at offering PD for all staff.” – Berlin British School

“Professional Development is not a good as it use to be. They have capped it and it is hard to receive PD based on what you need. They provide some in house PD.” – International School of Stuttgart

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

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If you work at an international school in Germany, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Comment Topic Highlight

Which technologies are available at your international school and how are the staff using/not using them?

September 13, 2015


Sometimes it feels like we are working in an international school with the worst technology available. Looking around, teachers only see laptop computers and iPads that are so out-dated that their battery life is almost non-existent. These schools might also have interactive white boards that are not so “interactive” anymore, and staff just use them as overhead projectors instead.

Some international schools even have teachers that are scared of technology. They think they can’t or don’t need to use it; depending on staff they work with to “take-over” when a certain technology is needed for a lesson.

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It is not fun being de-motivated by technology that depresses you, confuses you or just plain doesn’t work.

On the flip side, many of us are working at international schools that are well-resourced in the latest technologies.  Everywhere a teacher looks, there are new technologies popping up around the school. Maybe there’s a teacher down the hallway is using a new App and having success, thus inspiring and prompting the other teachers to quickly get that app on their device as well. Exciting times!

These “technology-friendly” schools typically have an inspiring group of ICT teaching professionals on hand that are making sure the technologies are being used (and used effectively for that matter). The ICT teachers educate the students AND the teachers on how to use these technologies in an educational setting. Furthermore, they also collaborate and team-teach classes with classroom teachers during lessons that integrate use of technology.

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Cool technology is great in schools, but there’s a downside. If the technology is not literally in your classroom all the time, often it is not being used to its full potential (meaning the impact it can have on the students’ learning).  Having all technologies available in EVERY teacher’s room is just not a reality in most (all?) international schools.

But, there are dream stories that do happen. I heard a real story about a private international school situated in the mountains in Switzerland. This school wished to have some new computers, and surprisingly, one of the parents came to school the next day bringing with her many Mac computers (you can assume they were the latest version as well). There were enough new computers for all the students at the school (the school’s population wasn’t that large by the way).  Now that’s a nifty 1:1 programme that the school just adopted!

Not at international schools are so lucky though, and their teachers are left with years-old technologies to use with their students with little to no hope of a plan to upgrade everything (I mean it costs thousands of $$$ for schools to even try and stay up-to-date!).

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It is also a time-consuming job to keep a school updated with new technology.  There needs to be a clever person in charge and one that has a master plan on how to fund and organize a school’s technology resources. The big question then is which international schools have just gone through an overhaul of their technologies and which ones are currently at a stand still?

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out what technology an international school has and how they use it, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 75 comments in this comment topic (Sept. 2015).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Teachers are provided with a MacBook and iPad for professional use. Elementary classrooms are stocked with a wide variety of technology: 1:1 iPads, Apple TV, Promethean boards with surround sound, iPad stands, projector…” – Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore) – 17 Comments

“The technologies available are reasonably good. Most classrooms have projectors and some even have the interactive white boards. Teachers usually have a computer in their classroom to work on and laptops can be borrowed by staff to use at home if absolutely necessary. The IT department has a full computer suit with reasonably modern computers and printer etc. but you would have to ask permission if this could be used for any other lesson than ICT.” – Wesgreen International Private School (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates) – 23 Comments

“2015-16 – Currently overhauling IT department and school IT infrastructure to support high-speed internet across the campus. Has a computer lab with 25 computers available for students. Teachers are provided desktop computers for classroom use.” –American Pacific International School (Chang Mai, Thailand) – 18 Comments

“The school has site-wide high-speed broadband (20mb) with a really hardworking tech support team. All teachers are required to operate in a blended learning environment with Moodle. This has been introduced over the last two years as part of the board’s new KICS 2020 strategy to integrate C21 approaches to learning. There is a full time EdTech integration coordinator who supports us all as we build our Moodle classes.” – Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan) – 65 Comments

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Riga, Latvia (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

August 27, 2015


Traveling Around: Riga, Latvia

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Can you relate?

• Enjoying a wonderful view from our hotel window. Perfect for relaxing in the hotel room after walking around all day.
• Rolling my eyes a little bit as I watch all these tour groups walking around the city; the tour guide with some sort of funny umbrella so that the group won’t lose him/her.
• Arriving at one of the important buildings in the main square only to find it covered up by scaffolding, I guess it will have to be the next time I visit that I see it.
• Seeing well-designed and well placed wall murals on old buildings throughout the city, quite beautiful some of them!
• Getting to Riga at just the right time for raspberry and strawberry season; some tables at the market had huge lines waiting to buy some of these unbelievably delicious fruits.
• Finding a restaurant that was in a building built way back in 1221, well at least that was the year that was on the building.
• Listening to some street performers and being amazed at their talent; I could only guess that they were professionals.
• Spending time with an old friend in a foreign city for both of us; just so nice and get to make some new memories.
• Feeling fortunate and lucky that we had really great weather every day of our trip; the sky and clouds were magnificent.
• Going back to a restaurant more than once because of the great food and great restaurant staff, so nice.
• Laughing out loud a bit watching a local trying to count out change in EUR, a currency they just started using a year ago I think.
• Using my Russian every chance I got, only to find myself in a conversation at the main market where I could only nod my head like I understood everything that the saleswoman was saying to me.
• Singing the Latvian Eurovision song from this year in our hotel room, and watching the performance on Youtube.
• Getting a tip from the hotel receptionist to take a certain tram, thinking it was going to give us a nice tour of the city, only to find out that it took us way out into completely nowhere.
• Looking at a pastry display case and being in awe of the decadent sugar masterpieces. (and then not trying any of them!)
• Loving the central market here, located in an old German Zeppelin hanger. You can get everything here!
• Being a stupid tourist and probably paying a tourist price to get on a boat and take a 30 minute ride up and down the river running through the old and new parts of Riga.
• Going up the main tower here to get a good view of the city. We went up on the perfect evening with amazing clouds and sun shining!
• Walking by an 60s restaurant with a live honky-tonk band playing American music, how strange it’s here. People love it too, always a packed house.
• Entering a museum, getting all the way into the entrance and the ticket counter and NOT buying a ticket to get inside.

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Currently we have 2 international schools listed in Riga, Latvia on International School Community:

•  International School of Latvia (15 comments)
•  International School of Riga (12 comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.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 you 6 free months of premium membership!

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Highlighted Articles

Gay International School Teachers: Can You Feel Comfortable Everywhere?

August 23, 2015


For all international school teachers, it is hard to adapt to your new host country.  For gay international school teachers, it can be even more of a challenge.  In recent months, it made world news that the USA’s government legalized gay marriage.  Not all countries have gone down a similar path though. As a result, there are varying gay rights (or lack there of) across the globe.

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Regardless of the kinds of gay rights the country has, there are definitely gay international school teachers and couples that work at international schools all over the world. But like we all know, not all countries (and schools for that matter) are all that welcoming to gay teachers. On the other hand, some schools (and the countries they are in) are very welcoming.

Maybe a good strategy for gay teachers is to just ask the administration during their interview, to ask them how things are at their school and in their country.  Better to know more information before you decide to sign a contract with a school.  Some schools might respond by telling you that they currently have gay teachers working there and that they don’t experience any discrimination both at work and in the community. Other international schools will stare back at you blankly, not knowing how to respond to your direct question about being gay at their school.  If a school shows hesitation, it might be a good indicator that they are indeed not the best fit for you at that time.

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You might say though, that regardless of what the administration says, it is important to do your research about each city and country. Even if the gay rights are not so progressive in a certain country, it does not mean that you should give up an opportunity to work there.  There are always other gay people to connect with once you arrive, both in the community and hopefully also at your school.

A great website to stay up-to-date with the current events (all things gay related) of each country is globalgayz.com.

Another great resource is the International School Community website. Using our Comments Search feature, we found 33 comments (a premium membership feature) that talked about what life is like for gay people in that city. Here are just a few that we would like to highlight:

“The city is huge and very diverse. City center is inhabited by lower-income citizens, as it’s very loud and dirty. The city is muslim and definitely not gay-friendly, though you could see a gay bar here and there and there was a transsexual pride going on this year. The city itself is very lively, with nice bars and cafes in a walking street Yeni Carsi near Taksim square.” – MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey)50 Comments

“Berlin has a long history as being gay friendly. Schöneberg is considered the gaypart of the city, and if you walk anywhere southern form Lietzenburger Straße you will see a lot of rainbow flags on balconies as well as in bars and shops. If you want to avoid nightlife, don’t live in Kreuzberg: this is the party/hipster area. Friedrichshein and Prenzauler Berg are emerging as a very popular places to live, and the prices in these neighbourhoods are rising. Charlottenburg is a very nice and quiet neighbourhood especially for the ones for kids and it’s not far from anything (check out Goethestraße area).” – Berlin International School (Berlin, Germany)12 Comments

“I’ve heard from my gay friend here that dating can be a bit difficult. If you’ve seen the new show last year called Looking, then that pretty much is accurate in our dating is here for gay men. There are definitely endless bars to go to at night. Just be careful of the location of the bar and how safe is it there at night. Good to use Uber to get yourself home after you dance the night away!” –International High School of San Francisco (San Francisco, United States)37 Comments

“Do not go to a night club unless you know they are foreigner friendly. Fights occur at the other ones. There is a gay club in town, but homosexuality “does not exist” in their way of thinking/culture. Ulaanbaatar (UB) is the ugliest city in the world in the world’s most beautiful country. UB is quiet, as their aren’t that many people. A great place for a single male, but couples may find it boring. Many foreign women marry Mongolian men, too, so it’s okay on that front.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)68 Comments

“I had friends who were gay that had no troubles while living here, they just maintain a low profile…not all over one another in public. I made sure to avoid public displays of affection while out with my husband too though. I mean, it is an ultra-conservative society and one should behave accordingly. We also wore clothing that covered our shoulders and our knees because of respect for the locals which are uncomfortable with all the skin that Westerners like to show off. My husband and I are a mixed race couple and we had no issue with that at all. We did not know what to expect when we came to Cairo but for two years we were treated very well and never experienced any racism that we noticed.” – Misr American College (Cairo, Egypt)37 Comments

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature #16: Check out which schools met the criteria!

August 16, 2015


Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you.  You get the possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria.  There are many different kinds of international schools: ones that are small in student numbers to ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit to ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities to ones that are in towns of only 1000 people, etc.  Each international school teacher has their own type of school that best fits their needs as a teacher and as a professional.  Your personal life is also very important when you are trying to find the right match.  Most of us know what it is like to be working at an international school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!

Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search our 1843 schools (updated from 1773 on January 2015) for the perfect school using up to 9 different criteria.  The 9 criteria are: Region of the world, Country, City, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Age of School, Kinds of Students and Metro Population.  You can do a school profile search in two different locations on our website: the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page. Check out our past school profile search results here.

Search Result #16

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Criteria selected:

  1. Region of the world (Western Europe)
  2. Country (All)
  3. City (All)
  4. Curriculum (DP)
  5. School Nature (Non-profit)
  6. No. of students (300-700)
  7. Year founded (All)
  8. Kinds of student (Mostly Int’l)
  9. Metro Population (Medium 750K-3m)

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The 16 international schools that met the criteria were found in 9 different countries and in 13 different cities. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on them:

International School of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland)41 Comments
American School of Milan (Milan, Italy)23 Comments
American Overseas School of Rome (Rome, Italy)5 Comments
Marymount International School (Rome) (Rome, Italy)7 Comments
International School Turin (Turin, Italy)15 Comments
Oslo International School (Oslo, Norway)17 Comments
Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (Lisbon, Portugal)22 Comments
International School of the Stockholm Region (Stockholm, Sweden)7 Comments
ACS International School – Hillingdon Campus (Hillingdon, United Kingdom)10 Comments
UWC Atlantic College (St Donat’s, United Kingdom)14 Comments

Why not start your own searches now and then start finding information about the schools that best fit your needs (available to premium members only)?  Additionally, all premium members are able to access the 14309 comments and information (updated from 12936 on January 2015) that have been submitted on 864 international school profiles on our website.

*If you are not a member yet, join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria with a free 2-day trail of premium membership coupon code sent to you in your welcome email after joining.

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Singapore

August 13, 2015


Around the world, there are cities 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.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, 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 city.

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Singapore

Currently, we have 23 schools listed in Singapore on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (30 comments)
ACS (International) Singapore (10 comments)
International School Singapore (17 comments)
One World International School (16 comments)
Overseas Family School Singapore (16 comments)
Singapore American School (17 comments)
St. Joseph’s Institution International (7 comments)

School’s Location

“The 2 campuses are in the west side and east side of the city. The west side, Lakeside, is on the MRT line that will go into the city centre. The east coast campus, Tanjong Katong, you need to take a bus to the MRT which will then go into the city. The bus will also take you into downtown within about half an hour to 40 mins depending on where you live. Most staff take the MRT (subway) or a bus to school. Many also ride bicycles. You choose where you want to live, so you can be as close or as far as you want from the school.” – Canadian International School (Singapore)

“The campus is located in the east coast of Singapore close to East Coast Park and seafront. It is approximately 8 kilometres from CBD & 15 kilometres to the airport.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

“It has an excellent location. It is right next to the Orchard Road metro stop. 5-10 minute walk from that metro station exit. Orchard Road is one of the main shopping and commercial distract. Plenty of malls, stores and food options. Teachers don’t tend to live centrally because it can be more expensive.” – International School Singapore

“The school campus is in the eastern area/coast of Singapore. It could take you 20 minutes or so to get to the center of the city.” – One World International School

Hiring Policy

“SAS attends the London Fair, but many teachers are also hired via Skype interview.” – Singapore American School

“OFS normally does not advertise and they do not go to any recruiting fairs. Hiring process is by CV received and the need of what teacher for the next year.” – Overseas Family School Singapore

“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. I actually was emailed again to have a 2nd interview. After the 2nd interview I was told that they were going to go with a local hire. She told me that they have hired expat in the past that have been surprised (not prepared) to handle the high cost of living in Singapore vs. the salary and benefits of the school.” – International School Singapore

“The school prefers to hire western expatriates with at least 3 to 5 years experience. 60 years old is the age limit for hiring. Singapore has stringent entry criteria so single teachers are preferred by the school.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

Housing Allowance

“Refund of actual rent amount and allowance up to a cap of US$1000 per month.” – Singapore American School

“You get 2000 Singapore dollars for a housing allowance (which is included in your salary) for a single teacher.” – International School Singapore

“Housing allowance is more like 1500 USD.” – One World International School

“Housing is 2000$, quite low considering cost of living.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

Other Benefits

“Settling-in allowance 750 Sing. Moving allowance 500 Sing. Flight allowance is every two years. Teachers get free lunch at school.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

“There is a paid flight here and back to the country of origin at the end of that first contract. Flights remain at every two years after the first contract. There is an allowance of 1000 Singapore dollars at the beginning and end of the contract to transport personal effects.” – International School Singapore

“I got 350 USD for a moving allowance. You get a return airfare to your home every two years.” – One World International School

“Annual home leave (excursion fare), based on home of record. Settling-in allowance is $1500, double for married couples. There is a moving allowance, it is based on weight/volume.” – Singapore American School

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

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If you work at an international school in Singapore, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Bangkok, Thailand

April 16, 2015


Around the world, there are cities 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.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, 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 city.

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Bangkok, Thailand

Currently, we have 49 schools listed in Bangkok on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
Bangkok Patana School (Bangkok, Thailand)17 Comments
Concordian International School (Bangkok, Thailand)23 Comments
KIS International School (Bangkok) (Bangkok, Thailand)61 Comments
NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)65 Comments
Ruamrudee International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)21 Comments
Wells International School (Thailand) (Bangkok, Thailand)18 Comments

Recent things they have taken on
“In 2012 the school implemented the Literacy by Design program for K3 – Grade 4, and the IB Diploma Programme in 2013. It also began scheduling more consistent weekly professional development meetings in 2013, including WASC focus and home group sessions, and grade-level meetings. As of 2012, it joined EARCOS and now regularly sends its staff to the annual conferences.” – Wells International School (Thailand)

“The ELD team just attended the ELLSA conference in Bangkok.” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

“In 2014 the school will be launching the Professional Development Hub, which is intended to be a central location for teachers in the Southeast Asian region to receive professional development.” – NIST International School

“The school is well-known for IB standards as quite a few of the teachers are IB Examiners and moderators. The Head of School is also on the Board of the IBO worldwide. Currently they are participating in a pilot study for the MYP.” – KIS International School (Bangkok)

Expectations of staff
“Teachers are assigned a maximum of 25 contact periods (45 minutes each) per week, while department heads have a maximum of 20. Minimum expectations include curriculum mapping on Atlas, and personal daily or weekly lesson plans that are attached to the maps. Weekly professional development is mandatory. Staff are encouraged, though not required, to take on extra-curricular classes or activities.” – Wells International School (Thailand)

“Expectations are high but lots of support.” – Concordian International School

“(Sorry, as admin it’s hard for me to comment, but teachers seem to work hard, but get non-contact time).” – KIS International School (Bangkok)

“High expectations, but with exceptional support and resources. Teachers are expected to participate in 2 extra curricular activities each year, which is quite manageable.” – NIST International School

Kinds of teachers that work there
“Approximately 30% of staff are from the United States, while the rest are a mix of over a dozen nationalities. While the school will hire inexperienced teachers in special circumstances, prospective hires should expect to be turned away if they don’t have a degree in education (or their subject areas at the secondary level) and a few years of experience. Nearly 70% of the teaching staff has master’s degrees.” – Wells International School (Thailand)

“Most teachers are from USA (there around 180 in total). A few are from the UK and Thailand.” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

“All teaching staff are fully qualified. Most are British, with some Australians, South Africans and Filipina. turnover is high. Last year 40% left. Most leave due to the lowish salary rather than because they are unhappy with the school.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School

Housing
“Ruamrudee does have a housing allowance – B20,000, but it is part of the actual salary, so it’s taxed at 30%. So, effectively, the allowance is B14,000 – enough for a small local house/apartment.” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

“There is a housing allowance which is sufficient to rent a small studio. There is no extra for married teachers.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School

“Around 40000 Baht a month for singles and 60000 Baht for teaching couples.” – NIST International School

“Small housing allowance.” – KIS International School (Bangkok)

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

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If you work at an international school in Bangkok, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Surveys

New Survey: How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

March 8, 2015


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

Screenshot 2015-03-08 21.57.33It is always a mix of emotions when you or your colleagues are leaving the school. Change is good, but change can be hard.  It is not the best feeling in the world to find out one of your closest colleagues is leaving. On the flip side, you might be elated to hear that a certain annoying colleagues is leaving as well!

There are many reasons why teachers leave their current international school. Maybe they have come to the conclusion that the benefits are just too low for the lifestyle that they want to live.  If you are worrying too much about money, it might be time to move on to another international school.

Teachers also might be leaving because the international school that they are at is going in a direction that does not make sense for their career anymore. A new director might have started this year and is making too many changes to the school that you just don’t agree with.

There are many, many more reasons teachers decide to leave.

International schools know that teachers come and go for a variety of reasons, but it’s true that they don’t want too many people leaving at once.  It could give a bad reputation to the school, having so many staff leaving at once.  It could also cost the school a fair amount of money trying to recruit and replace the teachers who are leaving. If you need to recruit for so many people, it is also possible that the school won’t find that many quality candidates.

But, many international schools go through cycles of low and high turnover rates.  It is pretty normal.  The best international schools just know how to deal with those cycles in the best ways.

Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today on How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

You can check out the latest voting results here.

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We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.

Right now there are over 670 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“Spanish teachers are Guatemalan, most other teachers are from North America. Turnover varies with most renewing their contract at least once. Large percentage of teachers have a masters and there are local opportunities to work towards a masters at a reduced cost.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala)– 40 Comments

“All teaching staff are fully qualified. Most are British, with some Australians, South Africans and Filipina. turnover is high. Last year 40% left. Most leave due to the lowish salary rather than because they are unhappy with the school.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 17 Comments

“There seem to be a lot of Australian, Canadian, British and American teachers. A few New Zealanders, too. In all grades up to Grade 2 there are local assistants in each class. From talking to the teachers here, there is a turnover of staff, but it’s not huge. People seem to be pretty happy with the school.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 65 Comments

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Casablanca, Morocco (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

January 30, 2015


Get inspired to make your next travel purchase!

Traveling Around: Casablanca, Morocco

Can you relate?

• Arriving at the airport in Casablanca and not expecting such pleasant and cheerful passport control officers.
• Standing in a small SIM card shop at the airport for 10 minutes while two sellers are talking in Arabic to 5 other people at the same time trying to open you an account.
• Getting 2000 Dirhams (MAD – Moroccan currency) and hoping that it’s gonna cover you for 5 days.

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• Being surprised by quality and punctuality of the Moroccan railway.
• Getting attacked by numerous taxi drivers in front of Casablanca’s Gare du Voyagers train station (our hotel was within 2 minutes walking from the station).
• Smelling smoke in a non-smoking hotel room.
• Learning how “q” is pronounced in Arabic.

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• Being wowed by Casablanca’s brand new tram system.
• Eating your first tajin and not being amazed, like you’ve heard.
• Using FourSquare and having it find us just the right place to eat at.
• Being served that tasty, round Moroccan bread with EVERYTHING.

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• Ordering food at a restaurant that we were planning to eat it, double checking first that they could accept our credit cards, only to find out later that they only accepted Moroccan based credit cards. (low on local currency)
• Having always somebody just outside of the hotel, restaurant, etc. who was there to help you flag down a taxi. Nice.
• Deciding to attend an expensive “party evening for tourists” even knowing that it was going to have a lot of tourists and potentially going to be lame, but then actually enjoying the show/dinner (some excellent local, traditional bands and performers…they were pretty good and entertaining)
• Sitting in a train car cabin with a local and her being super nice to us, even offering some of the snack she was eating.

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• Learning about amlou, a Moroccan spread made of almonds, honey and argan oil. Buy yourself a big jar of it! It is totally worth it.
• Trying to bargain and get a better deal at the market will lead you to getting called “a cheap American”. Works better if you say you are from Eastern/South Europe. 🙂
• Seeing cute, stray cats everywhere…even in the restaurants!
• Trying to talk in broken French as many of the local people did not know much English.
• Walking around and not see really any tourists wondering about, anywhere.
• Finding a Paul’s Bakery to get a sandwich to go right before we headed out on our flight home.

Currently we have 8 international schools listed in Morocco on International School Community. Here are the ones that have had comments submitted on them:

 Casablanca American School  (36 comments)
• George Washington Academy (34 comments)
• American School Fes (7 comments)
• American School of Marrakesh (29 comments)
• Rabat American School  (15 comments)
• American School of Tangier (10 comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.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 you SIX free months of premium membership!

PHOTO CONTESTS!  Don’t forget to enter your trip photos in our photo contests. Top three photos win free premium membership. Actually, every that participates wins 1 week of free premium membership.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Teach. Travel. Taste.” (An American teacher at Colegio Panamericano)

January 17, 2015


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 39th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Teach. Travel. Taste. A peek into the life of an American teacher in Colombia”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who has worked at Colegio Panamericano in Colombia.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

What Now?

“Soon I’ll be on way to South America to teach 1st grade in an international school! While the prospect of going down to 1st grade is terrifying, even if it’s only one step down, I couldn’t be more excited (and nervous) for this change. To answer some of the questions I’ve been receiving: This is a two-year contract…at that point, I’ll see how I’m feeling. I will be teaching in English with my own classroom, literally identical to here in the states. They use the Common Core standards, Daily 5/CAFE literacy model, Everyday Math, and more American-based curriculums. They speak Spanish in Colombia, though naturally every country (and city!) has its own dialect and slang. I know it’ll be a rough adjustment, not only coming from English everyday for the last two years, but also because the Spanish I got okay at was “Spain-spanish”. One of my ultimate goals in doing this, however, is to become truly fluent…not stumble along in broken Spanglish with my students’ parents as I have been doing. Any other questions, please comment…”

So exciting to get your brain thinking about your future move to your new country. So many things to be thinking about! 

Good to know a bit about how the school runs and about their curriculum too, so you can plan ahead. 

Want to learn even more about what new programs and curriculum that international schools are taking on?  We have a comment topic called “Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).”  Currently there are 183 individual comments in this comment topic talking about 100s of different international schools. Check them out by doing a search for the school you want to know about here.

A Few Thoughts on Being Home

“As it always is when you move to another culture, you find that you miss certain parts of your own culture, while discovering that parts of your new culture really make a lot of sense if you stop to think. Being home was great, but vacations are always a bit haphazard and I’m ready to get back to my regular routine…”

It is always a mixed bag of emotions when taking a trip back to your home country.  The culture that you surround yourself in 24/7 in your host country is now gone and you are surrounded by your home country culture. 

It is good to go back home, and many veteran international school teachers can relate to just wanting to get back to you host country and your daily routine there.

Want to learn even more about what international school teachers think of the local customs in their host country?  We have a new comment topic called “What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about?”  Here is an example of one of them:

‘If you travel somewhere, you are expected to bring back “omiyage” snacks for co-workers and friends; these are normally or other sweets that happen to be the specialty of whatever city or region you have visited and which you can pick up at any train station when you are on your way back.’ – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan) – 64 Comments

Want to work for an international school in Colombia like this blogger?  Currently, we have 17 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:

• Colegio Karl C. Parrish (Barranquilla, Colombia) – 24 Comments
• Colegio Anglo Colombiano (Bogota, Colombia) – 17 Comments
• Colegio Nueva Granada (Bogota, Colombia) – 15 Comments
• Colegio Panamericano  (Bucaramanga, Colombia) – 34 Comments
• Colegio Albania (La Guajira, Colombia) – 19 Comments
• Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 43 Comments
 Columbus School Medellin (Medellin, Colombia) – 22 Comments
• Fundacion Liceo Ingles (Pereira) (Pereira, Colombia) – 28 Comments

There are 11 International School Community members who currently live in Colombia. 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!

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Highlighted Articles

Expanding opportunities to work at international schools: prepare yourself to teach abroad!

November 30, 2014


Who wouldn’t like a life of world travel, acquiring new languages and learning firsthand about new cultures?  Many teachers find the opportunity of working at an international school too hard to pass up!

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Over the past 14 years, there has been a 35% increase in the number of teachers employed at international schools. International teachers are mostly from the United States, Canada, U.K., and Australia, but not necessarily limited to these countries.

Currently, there are more than 7,300 international schools throughout the world with over 3.7 million students attending. The reason students attend international schools is varied.  Some are children of embassy personnel, other families are business expats or work for international organizations.  Like the children who attend them, international schools can be very different. The majority of schools use English as the main language of instruction, although there can be a preference for British or American English.  There are also bilingual schools or schools teaching in a foreign language such as German or French. Though many schools have a truly international student population (i.e. up to 40 or more languages and cultures represented in their student bodies), there are other schools where host-country nationals make up the vast majority of students. Regardless of the differences, there is a growing demand for trained teachers to teach abroad at these international schools.

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One of the main differences is found in the type of curriculum international schools use. International schools typically offer one of the following curricula: USA, UK, or the internationally recognized IB programme (International Baccalaureate). Need to get prepared:  When researching international schools, find out what curriculum they use and what qualifications are necessary to teach it. Though not always a prerequisite, most international schools recruit teachers experienced in teaching their curriculum. The minimum requirement is often a valid teaching license, two years of teaching experience, and a Masters degree in Education.

The life of an international school teacher can be fascinating and exciting. There are so many reasons which make teaching abroad desirable, but it typically boils down to these five: money, love, travel, location and career. In general, international school teachers who want to live a successful, happy expat life need to be tolerant of diversity and uniqueness, flexible and adaptable as well as curious and open-minded to try new things. They live abroad in order to  explore more of the world. Need to figure out: Your own reasons for wanting to move abroad and your flexibility with the location and type of school.  At best, teaching abroad can enrich your career and change your life. At worst, it can be stressful, expensive, and sometimes dangerous. Thus, it requires independence, resilience, and a lot of question-asking. In other words, do your homework!

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An international school teacher exploring the local culture.

Teaching abroad has its perks, that is for sure. Some of those perks can include a housing allowance, a relocation package, and a flight to and from your home country at the beginning and the end of your contract to name a few. Another benefit that is often offered is an annual Professional Development (PD) allowance. To get school support to explore more of what you are personally interested in learning more about is a dream come true for most teachers. Need to research: Because benefits and packages can vary enormously, it is important to do your research. Network with experienced international school teachers to gather all the information you can. The International School Community website also has numerous submitted comments about benefits that members can check out regarding hundreds of different schools.

You might have heard that one of the biggest perks to take a position at an international school is to earn lots of money!  Many teachers want to earn more than they are making in their home countries. They also desire living in a location where there is a lower cost-of-living and where they can pay little to no taxes, thus providing them an excellent opportunity to save money.  Even if you get a position at a top international school with an excellent salary and benefits, it is not so easy to actually save that money you were hoping for. You need to be smart with the money you are making abroad. It is important to research the cost-of-living for the location in your host country and then compare that to your take-home salary and benefits. Couples can live on one salary in some places, but in other areas of the world that can be problematic.  Furthermore, if you move to a new international school every three to five years, have a plan for your pension and retirement accounts!  Need to know: Monthly take-home amount and in what currency, allowance amounts (housing, flight, baggage, etc.), savings potential and about the school’s pension plan or your private pension plan options.

If you have figured out your goals, made a plan and gathered all the information about an international school, the next step is to get that interview! It is becoming increasingly more convenient to land a job at an international school. There are recruitment fairs that have been around for decades, like the UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair, but now an increasing number of schools are recruiting over Skype. It can be expensive for both parties involved to attend an international school recruitment fair, so the internet has become the way of the future for hiring. Need to do: Start researching prospective international schools in the spring or during the summer a year before you plan on moving. Have a good cover letter, update your CV, and setup an online teaching portfolio. Figure out if going to a recruitment fair is the right thing for you to do. Get prepared and read the Nine Lessons Learned Regarding International School Recruitment Fairs and spruce up an area in your home to potentially do some Skype interviews.

Be careful not to get your hopes up too much when you are job searching for a position at an international school. It can be a challenge to stand out and be at the top of the list when you are first starting out in this community. Like many businesses, it is all about who you know. Many international schools value experience teaching abroad (especially at other international schools). The idea behind this is that it will be a better “gamble” on the school’s part to hire somebody who already has experience living abroad and working with an international student body; having worked with English as an Additional Language students will be to your advantage. But do not worry if you are new to teaching, there are many international schools willing to hire candidates just starting out in their teaching career. Getting a position is basically all about luck and timing regardless of your background experience.  When you finally land a job, you must prepare yourself for the big move and for the first few months after your arrival in your new host country. Need to read: Take a look at the Ten Commandments to Relocating Overseas.

Some people just want a change in their life; they want a new and exciting challenge.  International school teachers seek out this challenge. The catch is once you start in the international school community, it is hard to stop. The lifestyle you live is one that allows you many more opportunities than if you were teaching back in your home country. If the time is right for you to take a chance and make the move abroad, remember to do your research so that you are well-prepared.  Finding a good fit for you and your goals is paramount. The international school community is waiting for you!

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Surveys

New Survey: How much Professional Development money do you have to use this school year?

September 14, 2014


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How much Professional Development money do you have to use this school year?

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Working at international schools has its perks, that’s for sure.  One of those perks is getting an annual Professional Development allowance (well at most international schools). Public-school teaching back in your home country does have it moments of getting PD for its teachers, but typically that money is being decided on by somebody other than you!  At international schools, you are (mostly) in charge of your own personal PD monies and how you want to use that money. It is important to note that international schools do dictate some of the PD for their own teachers (e.g. for in-house PD), but the other PD money (the money that hopefully you are getting as part of your contract) is for you to use on your own PD theme and topic.

It is so important for our careers to keep learning new things in the field of education. Luckily there are numerous PD options for international school teachers. There is the annual ECIS conference (who’s going to Nice this year?).  Maybe you live in Asia and are planning on going to the annual EARCOS conference in Kota Kinabalu.  Some international schools are leading the way and hosting their own conferences like NIST International School. They recently have started their annual ELLSA Conference in Bangkok.

905866_320405608135805_7598251834492740465_oIf conferences aren’t looking the best this year, then there are still many other options for international schools teachers on which to use their personal PD allowance. The Creativity Workshop has been very popular this past year as well as the staple Teachers College Summer Institutes (Reading and Writing) in New York.

Wherever you end up going this year, you are bound to learn a few new things and get inspired for your return back to work.  You are also bound to run into some people who you know in the international school community; good times catching up with former colleagues.  Going to these conferences and workshops are also a great place to network and meet others teachers in your field.  It can be quite helpful having some new peers to contact when you want to get some feedback on something or learn more about a new technology that person is using for example.

The main problem though in getting to these workshops and conferences is money. Not only do you have to pay for the conference registration fee, you must also pay for your flight to get there and the hotel. Many times one year of PD money is not enough to get you to a conference every year.  Some teachers can save their PD money from one year and add it one to the next one (up to three years typically).  If you don’t have enough money to attend a certain workshop, then it doesn’t hurt to ask your boss if there might be any PD money around that you can use to help you pay for the rest of costs involved. Your administration might say no to you, but they also might say yes!  It’s worth a try.

All international schools handle their PD allowance differently, so let’s share about the international schools we know about.  Go ahead and vote on How much Professional Development money do you have to use this school year? Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Professional development allowance details.

Right now there are over 180 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“In general, the school has a four-tiered approach: in-house PD, required external PD, goal related PD and personal professional support.
Upon school approval staff have access to a personal professional development sum that can be used annually or accrue for up to three years.” – 
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)28 Comments

“Professional development is a strong focus. Quality of in-house varies wildly as it does in every school. Lots of training for IB available and all IB teachers go on prep courses as soon as possible.” – Nexus International School (Putrajaya, Malaysia)44 Comments

“PDs are usually done in-house therefore there is no structured amount for PD per teacher. Principals are up to date regarding international and local PDs so when there is an appropriate PD some teachers are selected to attend. Teachers, on the other hand, can always search for possible and appropriate local/international PDs.” – Royal Tots Academy (Jakarta, Indonesia)35 Comments

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Highlighted Articles

Working with the Support Staff at your International School: Be Nice to the Lunch Lady

August 6, 2014


I am sure all of you have heard this old adage and think that it is great advice to take to be sure you get the best service from the person who is responsible for feeding you! But it goes way beyond just being nice so that you get good service.

10414487_10153186830635021_5754806015597075628_nThe reason we should all show kindness to our support staff is not to get things done in a timely manner because it will make our work much easier, but we should be nice to the support staff because they are just as important to the running of a school as we teachers are.

I have taught internationally since 1995 and I have worked in seven different countries in five different continents. I have worked with numerous nationalities and I have always gone out of my way to get to know the support staff in each and every one of my postings. When working in international schools, usually the support staff are host country nationals, who make very low wages, some might not even speak English very well, but they take pride in their work and most of the time, strive to do the best job they can to help support the running of the school.

Every time I get to know one of these individuals I learn so much about their background and home life.  Their stories always fascinate me as many of them have hidden talents or have intriguing tales to tell! But the pure joy I get from these interactions is from the smiles I receive from these individuals. There is nothing better than walking down the hallway each day and being greeted by one of these fantastic human beings!

Most recently, while I was working at The American Cooperative School in Tunis, I was greeted by one of the custodians who did not speak much English, but every morning he would greet me with “Hello! Good morning, Bonjour, How are you today?” Accompanied with a great big smile!  What a way to start off my day! Of course I reciprocated with a similar greeting and a smile.

10474728_10153231008190021_4274539594740662001_nAnother staff member that I got to know very well was the young Tunisian man in charge of the copy room. Despite his delightful smile and charming personality, he had a hidden talent as a cartoon artist! Over the course of the year he showed me his work that had been published in magazines and in newspapers. He had no professional training, just the passion to draw. It was his hobby, which turned into a way to earn extra money. When I left the school this past June, he gave me a personalized cartoon sketch that he made just for me! I was so honored!

And then there were the cafeteria workers, the actual ’lunch ladies’. These lovely Tunisian women who worked so diligently to get our meals prepared and served in a timely manner were always willing to greet us with a smile. “Bonjour, ça va? Bon appétit!”.  Just these simple interactions between colleagues made the work place so much more pleasant.

And last, but not least, and the main reason that inspired me to write this article, was the interaction I had with the Filipina IT ladies at the school. They all worked so hard in trying to accommodate all of the teachers and students with proper technology in order to facilitate great learning experiences in the classroom. Once again, these ladies always had a smile and a friendly hello to pass along whenever I encountered them.

10247240_10153231669165021_3198708658470551939_nBut it was not until the last week of school that one of these lovely ladies came up to me and told me how much she appreciated my friendly smile and my eagerness in which I took the time to chat with them about their life. She shared with me, that often times teachers take them for granted and do not take the time to get to know the support staff. She said that she often felt that some of the teachers look down upon them and never would take the time to have a personal conversation with them.

This comment struck a chord and pulled at my heartstrings, as I do realize that there are some teachers who view support staff as lesser beings and often do not give them the full respect they deserve. The old proverb of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” rings true here!  We are all equal, no matter our religion, nationality or role in the work place. We all deserve to be treated with the utmost respect! We are a team and each team member has an important role.

So the next time you encounter one of your support staff members, remember that they are just as important to the function of the school as teachers are and that they have wonderful stories to share and would greatly appreciate a short little chat with you. And do this for the sake of showing kindness to others and not just to be able to get your photocopying done in a timely manner!

What goes around comes around – and with kindness it really does. Research shows that being kind to others increases our own levels of happiness as well as theirs. What’s more it has a knock-on effect – kindness is contagious, so it makes our communities nicer places to be.”

http://www.actionforhappiness.org/take-action/do-kind-things-for-others

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UntitledThis article was written by International School Community member Joni Kerr. Thanks Joni for such an important reminder and inspiring article!

If you would like to be a guest author on our blog, email us here.  All guest authors get six free months of premium membership!

International School Community is also an excellent place to network with other international school teachers. All premium members are able to send a private messages to one or all of our 4680+ members.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs for international school teachers: “Cliff Jumping: Risk-taking and New Beginnings” (From a retired international educator)

June 3, 2014


Our 37th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Cliff Jumping: Risk-taking and New Beginnings”  Check out the blog entries of this retired international school teacher that currently is back living in her home country (United States).

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

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“I’ve slowly dealt with the red tape of health insurance, car purchase, phone decisions, computer, internet, cable, condo painting/remodel/furnishing, and getting my household shipment through the delays of NY homeland security exams, Mpls. customs, and condo association regulations. Each step has been fraught with exasperation.  Why am I so thin-skinned, so impatient? How could I deal with daily power rationing, hideous traffic, and oppressive heat in India, and not be able to accept the processes I must go through here more easily? I feel as though I’ve been in a time warp for 40 years, and I don’t know how to do things in this new age. I’ve lost my confidence…”

Are you a veteran international school teacher thinking about retiring soon?  We have a very popular article on our blog that discusses this issue.  An International School Community member shares her experiences about working for 30+ years in international schools and what her plan is for her retirement.   It is called ‘Where do international teachers go when they retire and what do they do?‘. Check it out here.

We also have a few other articles on our blog related to this topic of going back to your home country and feeling a bit of reverse culture shock:
Culture Shock and Misplaced Normal (An int’l school teacher’s experience in Tanzania)
Going home for the holidays: No one cares about your international life
The summer vacation dilemma: To go home or to not go home…that is the question!

Elegy to my Beloved…Profession

“I have had the privilege of enjoying a 40-year career in the most exciting and satisfying field there could be: international education. It’s a vocation that young and old should consider, whether at the beginning of their working years, midway through as a ‘reset’, or after retirement. If you’re already a teacher and you’re bored, worried about getting ahead financially, tired of overcrowded classrooms, or wanting to see the world, this is for you. Take a leave of absence or sabbatical, or attend a recruiting fair, and take a job at an overseas school with an American or western curriculum. You’ll earn more money, experience more adventures, and probably never look back. If you’re young and unsure of your direction, love working with kids, feel curious about other cultures, and want to make a difference, this is also for you. And if you’ve already got a pension, going overseas could be icing on the cake. Or if you can’t find a job– get your teaching certification, and head on out…”

If you don’t already have a pension and want to know more about what pension plans are like at other international schools, take a moment to check out one of our 40 comment topics on the school profile pages in the Benefits Information section.  It is called: Pension plan details.  Right now there are 320 comments in this comment topic. Here are just a few:

“No pension plan, hopefully the school will address this issue in the future. (Although the school gives a bonus of one monthly pay for every year served at the school after 3 years and this may be considered retirement, but technically it isn’t.)” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 54 Comments

“The school provides no pension, but 9% is deducted from the monthly paycheck to pay into IPS, which is sort of like Social Security. If a teacher retires in Paraguay, he or she will receive money through IPS. So for the most part, saving for retirement is in the hands of the foreign hires; they must have the discipline to do it themselves.” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 58 Comments

“There is a pension plan that is in accordance to the labor law. For every year you work you are to receive 12 days pay. After your 6th year you will get 24 days pay. (roughly 2 weeks pay for the first 5 years and a month for every year after 5). Now for clarification: Your pension (called indemnity) is to be paid at the end of service at your highest pay, according to the labor law. However, the school does not follow this and will pay it to you yearly when you return in September. This seems like a good plan until you realize after 5 years how much money you lose out on.” – American Creativity Academy (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 31 Comments

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If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2: Go out to eat all the time!

March 16, 2014


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2 – Go out to eat all the time!

IMAG0333 When you are on a trip, it is easy to spend lots of money going out to eat. I mean most likely you are staying at a hotel or in a room at some hostel and not able to cook a dinner for yourself there.  So you can justify going to a restaurant for both lunch and dinner when traveling.  It is a luxury, that’s for sure, because you wouldn’t normally being going out to eat for lunch and dinner where you are living.  Not unless you are an international school teacher though!

In some locations in the world, you can indeed justify going out to eat for most meals during the week.  I mean it could be that you are living somewhere where the food is really ‘cheap’.  Even if you are making a lot of money (and have your housing, etc. all paid for), it is always nice to get a bargain for your meal and you would be a fool to not take advantage of this supposedly cheap and good-tasting food while you are living in your host country.

You could also justify going out to eat a lot in your currently location because going out to eat is more convenient than going somewhere to buy groceries, and then going back to your home to cook them (for maybe 1-2 hours let’s say…maybe you are short on time as well).

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Some international schools in Shanghai have deals with nearby restaurants which allows for easy ordering if you want to buy a lunch from them.  It is a nice perk if your school is waaaaay out in the suburbs somewhere.  And because it is cheap, why not go for it?

But even in these types of locations where many international school teachers eat out a lot, it can start to get a bit excessive.  All your pocket-money might start to dwindle away.  Additionally, in locations where there is cheap food and you are also making a nice salary, there are also going to be more expensive places to choose to eat at as well.  It is nice to live it up and take advantage of the expat life in most cities in the world, but there is a price to pay for that kind of lifestyle and you must be mindful of the amount of money you are actually spending!  At some of these ‘expat-priced’ restaurants you pay a premium to get the style of food that expats like.  Problem is that you most likely would NOT pay the same price for that same food in your home counties.  A ‘you deserve it’ attitude comes into play and your wallet pays the cost.

IMAG0117Now to the locations where it is ridiculously expensive to eat out, let’s say Norway.  What is an international school teacher to do then?  Going out to a restaurant in these expensive cities will really take a toll on our bank account.  Some people though still choose to do it.  I think it is related to the idea that they are still ‘traveling’ in their host country.  Like I said before, when you are traveling, you go out to eat all the time.  Not all teachers do it in these expensive cities, but some do and it can get out of control real quick.  Gotta be careful so that you are saving some money as well.

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To save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme.  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.

‘Spanish Stairs is the great place to hang out. It has many nice shops, restaurants and a beautiful view, especially in the sunset. For restaurants, I recommend Pastaritto-Pizzaritto in Via Quattro Novembre. Prices are decent and the food is delicious.’ – Marymount International School (Rome) (Rome, Italy) – 7 Comments

‘I like “Witwe Polte”. It’s a small restaurant in the 7th district. It’s called the Spittelberg area, where you can also find a beautiful Christmas market in winter.’ – AMADEUS International School Vienna (Vienna, Austria) – 13 Comments

‘There are some great places to eat near and in the main market, Mahane Yehuda. There are always people around there and it is very lively. Though it can be a bit touristy, there are also a lot of locals that are here as well.’ – Jerusalem American International School (Jerusalem, Israel) – 8 Comments

‘It is a bit touristy, but there are many restaurants around the Dam tram stop. Just a short 5-7 minute walk in many directions you can find some cozy restaurants to eat at. There are Christmas markets already set up right now, it is nice to walk around during the evening.’ – International School Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – 26 Comments

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #14

February 20, 2014


Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you.  You get the possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria.  There are many different kinds of international schools: ones that are small in student numbers to ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit to ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities to ones that are in towns of only 1000 people, etc.  Each international school teacher has their own type of school that best fits their needs as a teacher and as a professional.  Your personal life is also very important when you are trying to find the right match.  Most of us know what it is like to be working at an international school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!

Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search our 1606 schools (updated from 1535 on 19 February 2014) for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.  The 8 criteria are: Region of the world, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Country, Year Founded, Kinds of Students and Size of City.  You can do a school profile search in three different locations on our website: the homepage, the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page. Check out our past school profile search results here.

Search Result #14

Criteria selected:

  1. Region of the world (All)
  2. Curriculum (DP)
  3. School Nature (Non-Profit)
  4. No. of students (Medium 300 – 700)
  5. Country (All)
  6. Year founded (More than 51)
  7. Kinds of student (Mostly Int’l)
  8. Metro Population (Medium 750k – 3m)

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Schools Found: 10

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The 10 international schools that met the criteria were found in 7 countries. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on them.:

• American College of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria) – 7 Comments

• Academia Cotopaxi (American International School) (Quito, Ecuador) – 6 Comments

• American School of Milan (Milan, Italy) – 13 Comments

• American Overseas School of Rome (Rome, Italy) – 5 Comments

International School of Penang (Uplands) (Penang, Malaysia) – 9 Comments

• Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (Lisbon, Portugal) – 13 Comments

• Taejon Christian International School (Daejeon, South Korea) – 14 Comments

• Chadwick International School – Songdo (Incheon, South Korea) – 7 Comments

Why not start your own searches now and then start finding information about the schools that best fit your needs?  Additionally, all premium members are able to access the 10304 comments and information (updated from 9600 on 20 February 2014) that have been submitted on the hundreds of international school profiles on our website.

Join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria (with a free 7-day trail of premium membership).

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #21: Shekou International School, American School Madrid & ASF of Mexico City

January 14, 2014


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Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:

14 Jan    Shekou International School (14 new comments) Shenzhen, China
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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “Folks that live in Shekou can smell home from miles away…distinctly smelly and fishy. There is a staff bus that now runs to designated areas…”

 

12 Jan    American School Madrid (7 new comments) Madrid, Spain:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “The school sets high expectations of all faculty and staff, and there is a high degree professionalism displayed by all members of the school community. The workload is fair – teachers are given a prep period for every course taught. Teachers who agree to teach a sixth section are compensated monetarily…”

 

11 Jan    American School Foundation of Mexico City (16 new comments) Mexico City, Mexico:

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One of the new comments in the Travel Information section: “If you are traveling with luggage, only use city taxis, which is more expensive but trustworthy…”

Check out the rest of the last 40 international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #29: Melissa Pritchard (A teacher who has most recently taught at Benjamin Franklin International School)

November 1, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Melissa Pritchard:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

1368634_10152010004753623_331690204_nI was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.  I am one of five siblings and therefore always had an active childhood being outside, playing sports, and being social.  It has definitely influenced the adult I am today.  My parents decided to send us to a public school with a Spanish immersion program when we were young, and so from 1st to 12th grade, I did half my day in Spanish and also went to an IB diploma high school.

Learning a different language influenced my idea to travel abroad in college, and studied in both England and Spain during my Junior year.  I loved my experience so much I wanted to go back overseas, but also grow professionally.  I had studied art and design at Alfred University in New York, and wanted to continue with this.  I was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and was able to continue studying art and design in Barcelona.  My one year scholarship, turned into living abroad in Barcelona for 10 years.  I like to say that the novelty of living abroad never wore off.  There is so much to do and see living in Barcelona.  I started road cycling, running more competitively, and doing all sorts of outdoor activities in this beautiful and sunny region of Spain.  I also learned Catalan, and enjoyed being immersed in the culture.

I miss my family, but visit often and I still love Oregon.  It is an outdoor mecca, despite the rainy weather and we have a lot of great hiking, biking, and skiing.  I wanted to get out of Oregon as soon as I could and went to Western, New York for college, and never really returned to Oregon, except to do my Master’s in bilingual education at Oregon State University in 2007.

For the last seven years, I was teaching at The Benjamin Franklin International School (BFIS) in Barcelona.  I taught elementary art, second and fifth grade.1381001_10152010004763623_1816178198_n

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I was studying contemporary jewelry design in Barcelona and doing private English classes in Barcelona.  I was interested in more stable work and noticed a lot of American English speaking kids on my bus ride to university in the morning.  I went and explored where they all were going one morning and stumbled across the school.  I started subbing there in all classrooms until a part time art position opened.  After working there for two years teaching art, I decided teaching was really for me and I went back to get my Master’s in bilingual education, but returned after completing my studies to be a homeroom elementary teacher.

I’ve really only worked at one international school and that was BFIS.  I have grown a lot professionally there and enjoyed collaborating with different grade level teams.  You have a lot of freedom to try out different teaching approaches at BFIS and colleagues are supportive and excited to collaborate.  The school is relatively small so the community is close and supportive.  In fact for a lot of the sport competitions I did, students and teachers came to support and cheer me on.  There is a great mix of ex-pat’s and locals and a diverse population.

Recently on my bike trip, I’ve seen a dozen different schools and I love seeing the way they work, their curriculum, and approach to learning.  It has been a unique experience to be a guest speaker and visitor at different international schools around the world.

Where are you currently teaching?

1387928_10152010004758623_1594569286_nGreat question.  I had reached a point in Barcelona where I was itching for a bit of change, and there were still some things I wanted to do out there in the world.

On August 23, I embarked on a bike journey to follow my dreams of cycling around the world.  I’m pedaling from Barcelona, Spain (my current home), to Oregon (my native home), on bike—the loong way.  I will pass through 4 continents, about 20 countries, and cycle approximately 30,000 kilometers during the next year.

My project, The Loong Way Home combines my passion to cycle, travel, and teach.  I believe there are a lot of other ways to contribute positively to a community without attaching a monetary value. Rather than raise money for a charity, I have decided to work and talk with students as I go cycling around the world as the “Teacher on 2 Wheels”.  This will be the first year that I don’t have my own classroom since I started teaching and the thought is daunting.  As much as I want to carry out my adventure, teaching fulfills me and it’s part of my identity.  Therefore, my adventure wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include some element of teaching.

During my trip, I will be posting my biking statistics, sharing data from my trip, and travel experiences.  Part of my website, www.theloongwayhome.com will be dedicated to documenting these school visits and interacting with the children using data I collect along my route and the bike as a topic of conversation.  My hope is that this section of my website can be used by teachers in their classroom in different subject areas to make more meaningful connections with learning in our everyday life.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

On my bike, traveling alone as a female tour cyclist, I feel like I have cultural encounters every day. For instance, most people wouldn’t dare cycle on a toll road, right?  In developed countries, cyclists aren’t even allowed on these roads.  I tried to avoid them when I entered Albania, thinking they worked the same way as in other European countries.  I tried to avoid them at first and looked for an alternate route. However, their road system is so poorly developed that it isn’t worth taking a less main highway because they aren’t cared for in the least.  As I found myself merging onto the highway in Albania, there was a caution sign there for drivers to watch out for walkers, horse-drawn carriages, and of course cyclists, and although it had the toll road symbol, there weren’t any booths, nor were there painted road markers, and I saw everything from chickens and sheep, to donkeys, fishermen, and horse-drawn buggies.  Yet you look at the map of Albania, and it looks like an autobahn in Germany, it intimidates cyclists!1278343_10152010004768623_664840940_n

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I feel like I’m at a point in my career where I am really excited to try a new teaching approach.  I’ve been doing a lot of research and incorporating inquiry-based learning into my teaching, and it will be important for me to seek out a school with this similar approach, whether or not it be an IB school with a PYP program.  Location is also key for me as I am such an active outdoorsy person.  I love being able to leave my front doorstep and access all sorts of running trails, paths, and city parks and quiet streets in Barcelona.  I need to be close to the mountains for hiking and winter sports, but also enjoy having sunny weather, regardless if it’s cold. I prefer smaller schools, but I’m open-minded about this as well.  I could go back to Barcelona, it feels like home, but, now more than ever, I realize there are so many different schools out there and places to explore, that I am open to the idea of changing location.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

The novelty never wears off!

Thanks Melissa!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in Spain like Melissa?  Currently, we have 26 international schools listed in Spain on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• American School of Barcelona (110 Comments)

• Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (49 Comments)

American School Madrid (20 Comments)

Sotogrande International School (6 Comments)

American School Valencia (21 Comments)

El Plantio International School Valencia (4 Comments)

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #27: Sudha Sunder (An international school educator currently working in UAE)

August 31, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Sudha Sunder:

SSunderTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am originally from India, living and working in Dubai, UAE, for the last 19 years. So UAE is sort of ‘home’ to me.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I took a career break from an Indian school at which I worked for 6 years in the UAE. I left the school because I wanted to pursue further education and hence applied for part-time positions in various schools in Dubai and was offered a part-time position in an international school in Dubai (Universal American School in Dubai). I have remained in this school for 7 years now and moved from being a part-time teacher to full time teacher, to Department Head to ICT and Curriculum Coordinator; and currently holding the position of the Staff Development Coordinator. It has been a steep learning curve professionally and personally for me. I am currently a certified curriculum consultant in concept-based teaching (Lynn Erickson) and offer curriculum consultancy workshops in many international schools in the region and hence get to meet and work with a diverse range of international teaching staff.

Having said all of that, moving from a national system of education where students are “disciplined” from questioning the teacher in the name of “respect” ( at least when I was a teacher in the 90s – and agree that much has changed now) an international school environment was very challenging for me and my initial days were very draining.  Often times, in the early days of my international teaching career I have drawn solace on the fact that I was not a ‘permanent’ teaching staff and that my tenure was part-time. But I somehow wanted to make it work even for the short time. I turned to reading literature on international education and read avidly. During this time my admissions into the doctoral program at the University of Bath came through. My first assignment was about “teachers as reflective practitioners” that looked at my transition from teaching in a national system of school to an international school.

I give below some excerpts from the study:

What is my concern?

The classroom atmosphere and student interaction in my newly inducted environment in an international school concerned me. I was experiencing myself as a living contradiction (Whitehead 2006), because as a teacher I felt it was my primary responsibility to create a positive learning environment in the classroom and yet I was denying them the opportunity to do so (or at least that is what I thought).  Little did I realize the classroom management techniques in a multi-cultural environment are so different from schools where students are from the same nationality, particularly in the Indian system.

Why am I concerned?

I am concerned because as a teacher, it is essential for me to sustain and derive my joy in teaching. Students’ apathy bothered me.  A deep sense of dissatisfaction as well as a strong conviction that it was possible to make a positive change inspired me to become a reflective practitioner.

What kind of evidence can I produce to show why I am concerned?

I narrate below one classroom incident that raised my awareness of how my values were being denied in my practice, whereby I was experiencing myself as a “living contradiction” (Whitehead and McNiff, 2006).

Situation 1:

Date: Sunday, October 7, 2006.

(In the Middle East, Sunday happens to be the first day of the working week)

A project assigned to the students is explained with the help of a Power point. During this explanation, most students are talking to each other, some are painting their nails, and others detached and disengaged.  This overall atmosphere makes it difficult and de-motivating for the few students who are trying to focus attention.  At the end of the ten minutes of introducing what students are supposed to do, I ask them if they have any questions.

(Response) Student A: “So miss, what are we supposed to do?”

(Reaction): The whole class breaks into laughter, chaos and commotion follows. Some students slyly glance at me to comprehend my reaction.

The above scenario is common in most classes, perhaps with different questions at the end: highly non-contextual or insignificant such as:

Me (at the end of explanations): “Any questions?”

B: “Miss, may I go to the washroom?”

Or

C: “Nice dress, miss!”

In my previous teaching experience in the national system of education, students could be addressed easily as a single class or a group and the student-teacher relationship was highly disciplined with the teacher holding a lot of ‘power’. Students were often well behaved and  wanted to learn more from teachers and the interaction with teachers was highly respectful.  The current situation puzzled me. Where was I going wrong? I was not a “new” teacher. I had been teaching for 7 years! Before dismissing the current situation as “student apathy”, “indiscipline” and “disinterested in learning”, I realized this situation demanded a deeper understanding through critical analysis and reflection.

Turning into a “reflective practitioner” helped me realize that teaching in international school setting need to go beyond “Power Points” and that Power Points are often “Power Pointless” unless they can engage the students and provoke their thinking. Teaching in international schools demand paying significant attention to the fact that students are from various cultural backgrounds, and teaching and learning require differentiation strategies and project based learning wherein every student is engaged and challenged. I am not saying these are not applicable to national system of schools. But in my experience, I do think in national system of schools much of the learning is “controlled” in the name of “discipline”. This does not happen in international schools. Teachers have to move from being “sage on stage” to a “knowledge facilitator” at all times. “Respect for the teacher” is something that cannot be demanded and has to be earned in an international school setting. And if that happens, trust me, the students are the most adorable and fun to work with and more importantly they help you grow, as each day, each hour, they will challenge you. Flexibility and being a “life-long learner” is the key to success. Again, I am not saying these are not essential in national system of schools – of course they are- just that they are highly imperative in international  school settings due to the diverse multi-cultural student body found in such schools.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

This is my first and only international school experience (but a valuable and enriching one indeed!) [at Universal American School in Dubai]. Having been in this school for seven years and it has been a very rewarding experience and a huge learning curve for me. It has helped me grow as an individual and as a professional. I have drawn on experiences in the school for every single of my doctoral assignments and currently working on my dissertation which again in a Case Study at the school.

The school I work at is a very warm and friendly place where individuals who are willing to go the extra mile are truly valued and the relationship amongst staff very collegial. With over 75 different nationalities being represented in the teacher and student body combined, one can imagine that each day is a new cultural learning experience, that shows we are so very diverse culturally, yet the same as human beings.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

1. A Korean student of mine (Grade 8) came to me very upset one day. She was upset because she sat in her History class for weeks together learning about this “new Greek philosopher – a name she had never heard of before” until that morning when she had realized that her teacher had been talking about none other than the Greek Philosopher, Socrates. The way in which her teacher from Australia was pronouncing the name “Socrates” was entirely different from how she had heard it being pronounced in her school back home in Korea, and it took her weeks to realize this!!

2. We have a board that hangs on the door of our English Department that says: “ENGLISH DOES NOT BELONG TO ANYBODY- it is a medium of communication and it belongs to anyone who wishes to use it!”

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I think most international schools call themselves “international” without any depth to the meaning of the term. I specifically say this in schools that call themselves “international” yet have a significant and sometimes 95% of staff from the western world. I truly question the notion of “internationalism” is such schools and would certainly not want to work in such a school as I am not convinced that the learning experiences there would be of ‘international’ dimensions. There is some very interesting literature published on this (see Canterford 2003). So the first think I would look for is how “international” is the school in terms of its multi-cultural population. On the same lines, I would also want the school to respect every nationality equally as I truly believe that unless there is strong “nationalism” in each one of us the “internationalism” we pose will be empty and shallow.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Culturally enriching, questioning true internationalism.

Thanks Sudha!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in the United Arab Emirates like Sudha?  Currently, we have 29 international schools listed in Dubai on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

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• 

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: New York, United States (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

August 25, 2013


Traveling Around: New York, United States

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Can you relate?

• Being amazing on how there were not just one but multiple restaurants to choose from for all the different cuisines of the world.
• Checking out the China Town area and couldn’t believe how it really seems like we were in China (after having working at an international school in Shanghai for some time).
• Loving the new area to chill out next the Staten Island Ferry terminal, great views and not too crowded.
• Going to look at the new 9-11 memorial, long line to wait in…but the two water fountains were pretty spectacular.
• Buying too many things at all the unique cafes and stores, couldn’t resist wanting to try things not available in my host country.
• Traveling to this awesome city to see three of my friends from two of the countries that I have lived in, who now live in New York.
• Using the New York Subway system to get around and trying to act like I knew my way around it like a local (a bit of a fail).
• Thinking I saw Michael Cera near China Town, took a picture of him, and then hearing what my friends thought on Facebook…if it was really him (some thought so, some no).
• Trying to keep my head down while walk around in the city…couldn’t stop looking up at all the cool skyscrapers.
• Taking a stroll through 1/3 of Central Park and watching all the exercisers, relaxers, etc…the nature in that park is really wonderful.
• Looking at the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry…the second time that I’ve done that!
• Purchasing a Groupon for a grocery store there and getting $40 for only $20…stocked up on some supplies for when I go back home.
• Getting to see the Manhattan skyline both in the morning, afternoon, sunset and night…thanks to my friend for letting me stay at his awesome Brooklyn apartment.
• Enjoying my fair share of bagels…toasted with a bit of honey…for my breakfast.
• Going to see a concert at a old jazz/blues club just right off of Times Square…what a location!
• Thanking my friend for letting me use their Museum of Modern Art membership pass. Probably wouldn’t have gone if I would have had to pay.
• Taking pictures of all the New Yorkers doing their thing as they walk down all the streets…there are some very interesting people walking around New York!
• Walking to Bryant Park at night at having a cool drink with a friend for some catching up.
• Going into Grand Central Station and thinking about all the movies that have been filmed there.

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Currently we have 4 international schools listed in New York on International School Community:

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.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!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Expat Teacher Man” (An international school teacher at Hong Kong International School)

August 2, 2013


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 32nd blog that we would like to highlight is called “Expat Teacher Man”  Check out the blog entries of this veteran international school educator who currently works at (53 Total Comments on our website) in Hong Kong. He also has worked at  in Kobe, Japan and at 

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

WHAT DID I LEARN DURING MY FIRST YEAR AS AN EXPAT?

Find friends not associated with your school. International school teaching is incredibly demanding. Find friends outside your realm that will not remind you of work.

Accept yourself and your current situation. My dad told me often that I am going to have to learn to appreciate being alone if I am to survive overseas. He was so very right. I remember him specifically telling me to quit feeling sorry for myself and that if you are experiencing culture shock in Singapore….”Try moving to Mississippi!”

You are a professional, act like one. Do not personalize decisions made from your administrators. Move on…”

It is a great idea to make friends that don’t also work at your school.  Making other friends can depend on: whether or not you can speak the local language at a highly proficient level, how many other expats that live in your new host country/city, and your personality.

It is also good to come to terms with your current situation with your new living and working spaces as quickly as possible; there does need to be some time to adjust though.

The drama at international schools can sometimes be very high, but many schools in your home country also have drama as well. Always great advice though; to make sure that you are being the most professional when working at your international school.

RECRUITMENT TIPS FOR ASPIRING INTERNATIONAL EDUCATORS

“I now teach at a prestigious school in Hong Kong. I have taught at Singapore American School and the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan. The following is a body of thought on what to expect if you are fortunate to interview for an overseas teaching position. Most of my thinking comes from successfully securing jobs at three separate recruitment fairs.  I am also sharing my learning from the Principals’ Training Center for International Educators. I hope it helps.

International School ServicesSearch Associates and the Council of International Schools are three of the top recruitment agencies that connect teachers with international schools. Each has recruitment fairs all over the world.Each is pretty similar in their approach and I recommend that you choose the one that is right for you. I have had a lot of luck with International School Services.

Currently there are over 6,000 international schools in over 230 countries. I am one of nearly 300,000 staff members that make a living at an international school. If you have three or more years experience as a certified teacher and you have proper references, I imagine you are likely to get a teaching position somewhere overseas.

However, the most sought after positions are highly competitive. My Hong Kong interview process spanned three consecutive days. I spoke with my current supervisor a total of seven times before finally signing my contract…”

It is interesting that this blogger hasn’t mentioned getting hired by Skype as that seems to be getting more and more common these days.  There are good reasons to decide to attend a big recruitment fair, but sometimes that isn’t possible for everyone. At one of the big fairs you can: interview with many different international schools from all over the world, network with many international school teachers and administration, and hopefully sign a contract then and there!

Want to work for an international school in Hong Kong like this blogger?  Currently, we have 26 international schools listed in the Hong Kong on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• • • • • • • • 

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Budapest, Hungary (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

July 2, 2013


Traveling Around: Budapest, Hungary

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Can you relate?

• Being thankful that during the whole trip there was a lot of sun.
• Not being thankful that it was so hot all the time, walking around in the heat as a tourist
• Surprised to find many companies handing out bags of drinking water for random passersby to take and drink. Nice!
• Hating that I wore my new, comfortable sandals all day because of the pain they caused my feet…being that I hadn’t worn in the sandals just yet. Ouch!
• Eating at a restaurant in a basement of a normal building that had cool ambience because it was in an old, renovated cellar.
• Going back to a city that I had been to seven years ago with a different friend during a different time of the year. Good to go back to cities you’ve already been to before.
• Trying to find a restaurant that I went to seven years ago, but then finding out that it had closed three years ago. The new owner tried to get us to stay and eat there but it wouldn’t have been the same! 🙂
• Unfortunately sitting across from two Americans during one dinner, there is nothing worse than watching and listening to other Americans while traveling! Ha ha!
• Analyzing the local language and trying to understand it by relating it to all the other languages we know.
• Thinking that the sounds on the underground train system sounded like we were in a circus show.
• Not being able to easily find places to buy tickets for transportation and finding it confusing the limitations of one ticket after you validate it.
• Thankful that the Danube River had gone down a bit after the recent rise in the river’s water level after lots of heavy rain.
• Staying a hotel that looked just like an apartment, with a kitchenette. But then we ended up not ever using it because of eating out so much.
• Going on a ‘London eye’ type ferris wheel that was temporarily in the center of the city to promote their big summer music festival.
• Walking along the Danube during a wonderful sunset and appreciating every moment!
• Listening to a seller talk about his goods at the grand market in the center of the city, and then ending up buying some things from him because he was so nice!
• Trying to use my credit card (no international fees and earning points for free travel) during the whole trip and attempting to not use the local currency at all.

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Currently we have 5 international schools listed in Hungary on International School Community:

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.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!

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Discussion Topics

It is time to say goodbye to your current international school: getting rid of your things before the big move!

June 15, 2013


lostluggagebhpIt is sad to say goodbye.  Even more so when you are an international school teacher.  Goodbye new country, goodbye new teacher-friends, goodbye new local friends, goodbye the excellent local cuisine and your new favourite restaurants, etc. And let’s not forget….goodbye to some of your possessions.

At this time of year you already know the teachers for whom it will be their last year working at your current international school.  There is almost a stage of denial that you go through.  You don’t want them to leave for many reasons, some personal and some work-related. On the other hand, you might be quite content with them leaving!

Whether you want them to go or not, international school teachers have to plan and think about a lot of things when they decide to leave an international school.

Selling your things: Some international schools have an end-of-the-year flea market where leaving parents and teachers can bring their stuff to sell.  What a great way to get some money for the things you won’t be taking with you.  If there isn’t an organized flea market, some international school teachers use Facebook and Craigslist-type websites to sell their things.  You can also get in contact with the new hires that will be arriving in the fall to see if there are a few things that they would like to buy…as there will be probably many things that they will need.

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Giving away your things: Sometimes it is not worth the ‘hassle’ of trying to find people to which to sell your things. In the international school teaching community where you’re at, you will always find others that will take your unneeded things!  One time I received 2-3 boxes of things (that I didn’t ask for) from a parting teacher, and there were some really nice things!  Also, it is fun to give away your things, and it leaves a little bit of you with them. One time I took out all the artwork in all the frames in my apartment. Then I had my good friends choose a favorite picture that I had taken during my time there.  I blew up the chosen pictures and put them into my frames (can’t always take big frames with you when you move anyway!).  It was a nice gift to give to them as it came closer to my last couple weeks before my official moving date.

Taking your things with you: If you are lucky, your next international school will have some shipping benefits.  You can use that money to send most of your personal belongings to your next location.  Some international schools don’t have that benefit though, so make sure to get all the details. If you are even luckier, your current school will also have some shipping benefits for leaving teachers as well (Double the money!).  Sometimes international schools have a date that if you formally resign before that date, you will be eligible to receive another baggage/shipping allowance.  In the international school teaching world, it appears it pays to plan ahead then.  I have never used a formal, professional moving company, but many do.  At first, it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of things to move (especially if you are living in a furnished apartment), but then as you start packing, the number of boxes always always seem to multiply!

We have a comment and information topic (in the Benefits tab section on all of our school profile pages) directly related to shipping/moving allowance.  It is called “Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)?

Here are some other example comments and information that our members have submitted in this topic:

“You get up to 2000 Euros to use for a moving allowance. You also can get 2000 Euros (interest free loan) if you need some extra money for a “settling-in allowance”. No flight allowance, though the school does pay for your first flight there. (1000 USD for people in Europe and 1500 USD for overseas hires).” – 

“Moving allowance is around 450 Euros. They will pay for your airfare to get there, but there is no annual flight allowance. The school gives you a lunch allowance as well, around 126 Euros a month.” – 

“Moving allowance provided is 1200 USD for singles and 2300 USD for teaching couples.” – 

“The school pays for your flight, visa costs and a shipping allowance of 500USD…but no shipping allowance when you leave. You also can pay for lunch at a nominal cost. Tuition is covered for two dependents but you still have to pay for transportation and food costs which is approximately 230,000 COP per month.” – 

If you know about the shipping and baggage allowance details of the international school you currently work at or have worked at in the past, log-on today to share what you know!  For every 10 submitted comments and information, you will automatically receive one free month of premium membership added to your account.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #24: Cherry Doromal (An int’l school educator working at Mahatma Gandhi International School Manila)

May 18, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Cherry Doromal:

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 5.34.47 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Mabuhay! Let me take you to Manila, Philippines! I am Dr. Cherry Moriones- Doromal, Bachelor of Mass Communication, Bachelor of Laws, Master in Business Administration, Doctorate of Strategic Studies, Licensed Teacher, Secondary Education—specializing in English and Literature, multi-awarded educational and community leader, composer, blogger, Generalist Educator for MGIS International Primary Curriculum, Quad-Media Director of Mahatma Gandhi International School, and a lifelong learner .

My career, in sum, has been 19 years of exciting journey, allowing me to meet different kinds of people, in different walks of life, in different parts of the world. These experiences have not only molded me to become versatile and sociable, but also prompted me to devote my future in the academe. I believe that being an educator is the perfect avenue where I can best serve my purpose, and is the noblest profession where I can maximize, utilize and impart my God-given talents.

As to the other things about me, such as my quotes, family life, hobbies and writings, they may be found everywhere on the Web.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

All my life, I worked as quad-media (that is radio, television, print and online) and public relations practitioner locally and internationally, such as in the United States and in my home country, with clientele in Malta, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, France, Hong Kong and many more. Along the way, I have been actively involved in political and non-governmental organizational and ecclesiastical leadership, as well as in community service. My teaching experience of more than 20 years is mostly evangelical church and community-based; and the first international school exposure I had was working with one owned and operated by a British national where I taught Social Sciences and Communication Arts. I have vast teaching experiences from pre-school to post graduate.

I am currently working at the Mahatma Gandhi International School Manila, or MGIS for brevity, and I am truly thankful to our Headmaster Lawrence M. Buck for this opportunity.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

Mahatma Gandhi International School Manila , or MGIS, is exceptional in many aspects. My two sons are enrolled here. Here are some of its unique features, and please bear with me as I try my best to shorten my description:

• Individualized teaching – Generally, less than 10 students per class; in rare cases, maximum of 15 pax per class
• Comfortable indoor learning environment: air conditioned, spacious, sanitized classrooms; Smartboard facilities, computer sets, ICT Room, E-Library, Physical Library etc.
• Outdoor learning: students regularly explore different places outside of the school for experiential learning as integrated in their subjects/ units of learning.

At MGIS, potentials are determined, recognized, enhanced and supported. Here’s just one out of the many examples. There’s one 6th Grader, James Ketcher, who loves singing. When the teachers saw this interest in James, they believed and supported the kid’s potentials, such that he was diligently coached and guided by the MGIS Music and Theater Arts specialists making James Ketcher one of the most admired lead role actors in the series of theatrical shows of The King and I at Resorts World Manila.

At MGIS, we let your kids think. We don’t teach religion; we teach VALUES. We respect individual and inter-cultural differences and freedom of expression where the students are heard. Plus, there’s no haircut policy, which is common in our local schools where the boys are required to have their heads shaved or cut at a certain length.

Most of all, at MGIS, the teachers who are all specialists in their respective subject area are passionate about teaching, practicing empathy towards the learners. Our staff are supported towards being life-long learners where they are being sent to local and international conferences and seminars regularly; thus, assuring that MGIS 21st century educators will acquire the competence expected of them.

In this school, international and professional quality performing arts is taught to students at all levels. Each year, before the end of the last term, MGIS comes up with a school-wide play/musical, participated by all students, faculty and staff. Last SY 2011-2012, we had Notre Dame de Paris– French Version; the year before, we had Cats the Musical.

Another feature is that MGIS connects daily with parents and students through our state-of-the-art online facilities; and yes, we use Edmodo.

MGIS listens to suggestions, addresses needs, and cares for your kids the way you would at home. Simply said, MGIS serves the community, celebrates with the world, values nationalism, promotes internationalism, loves the earth, and makes a difference.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

First off, MGIS is a small school with a total population not exceeding 250, inclusive of the staff.  So you can just imagine that the tendency is for “everybody to know everybody”.  Each day is a fresh cultural encounter for me, with a British headmaster, and colleagues whose nationalities vary. Although the school is situated in the Philippines where I am a local, our school community is home to, as far as I can recall, at least 13 nationalities—Australian, Israeli, Russian, Nigerian, Indian, Korean, American, Filipino, Japanese, British, French, Russian, and Hungarian – who live and learn together idyllically in harmony despite diversity.

What puts a smile on my face? Well, I am a satisfied parent- educator with two kids studying in MGIS! Witnessing how my own children and the rest of our international students get to easily adapt to MGIS upon entry, and how they develop camaraderie among their classmates and schoolmates, is such an affirmation of the kind of convivial environment we have here in MGIS where the school values of C.E.R.T. (Compassion, Empathy, Respect and Tolerance) are truly thriving.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

All I want is a school that genuinely promotes a positive learning and working environment for all. One that empathizes with and cares for the teachers, administrative staff, and the students, hence, providing their needs to be more effective in teaching and in learning.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Successfully making a positive difference!

Thanks Cherry!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in Manila like Cherry?  Currently, we have 8 international schools listed in the Manila on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

The British School Manila (7 Comments)
International School Manila (32 Comments)
German European School Manila (12 Comments)
• Brent School Manila (4 Comments)

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #10

April 10, 2013


Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you.  You get the possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria.  There are many different kinds of international schools: ones that are small in student numbers to ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit to ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities to ones that are in towns of only 1000 people, etc.  Each international school teacher has their own type of a school that best fits their needs as a teacher and as a professional.  Your personal life is also very important when you are trying to find the right match.  Most of us know what it is like to be working at an international school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!

Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search our 1401 schools (updated 10 April 2013) for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.  The 8 criteria are: Region of the world, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Country, Year Founded, Kinds of Students and Size of City.  You can do a school profile search in three different locations on our website: the homepage, the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page. Check out our past school profile search results here.

Search Result #10

Criteria chosen:

  1. Region of the world (North America)
  2. Curriculum (All)
  3. School Nature (All)
  4. No. of students (All)
  5. Country (All)
  6. Year founded (16-50)
  7. Kinds of students (All)
  8. Size of city (Medium 750k-3m)

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Schools Found: 5

Mexico – JFK American School of Queretaro (10 Comments) and American School Foundation of Chiapas

Norway – Denver Montclair International School, International School of Indiana (10 Comments) and The International School – Portland

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Why not start your own searches now and then start finding information about the schools that best fit your needs?  Additionally, all premium members are able to access the 7799 comments and information (updated 10 April 2013) that have been submitted on the hundreds of international school profiles on our website.

Join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #23: Kerry Tyler Pascoe (An int’l school director working at The British School Quito)

March 29, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Kerry Tyler Pascoe:

Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 10.03.39 AMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am an Australian who calls Brisbane her hometown but I currently resides in Quito, Ecuador where I am the Director of The British School Quito.

I am an educational leader, motivational speaker, international educator and businesswoman who has nearly twenty-five years experience in education in the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, Asia and South America. In 2006 I founded my own business, Teepee Consulting, through which I have had the opportunity to facilitate positive and effective change within learning communities around the world, through the delivery or leadership and professional development and coaching programs.

I obtained my undergraduate degree in education from the University of South Australia and I hold a graduate Diploma in Management. I have been an invited speaker at a range of international and national conferences speaking on such topics as, positive, effective and ethical leadership; positive staff development, appraisal and retention programs; higher order thinking skills; creating cultures of excellence; curriculum development for 21st century learners; and capability building in education teams.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I got started in international education in 2001 shortly after the birth of our third daughter. The then European Council of International Schools had a position advertised for ‘model teachers’ in an international school in Romania. Having had some experience in consulting at that point, and having a partner who was also an educator and consultant, I decided to take the leap and move our family overseas.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

Before moving to Ecuador I have lived in Peru, Russia, Romania, Australia and the UK but I have worked with many other schools in Asia, South America and Europe as a consultant. In Russia I was the Deputy Head of the British International School Moscow where we loved the culture, history and art of the city and the country. If you love architecture and history this is a great country to visit and live in.

In Peru I was the Director of Primary and Early Years at 1200+ student school called San Silvestre. This is an amazing all girls’ school in Miraflores, a lovely superb close to the Pacific coastline. If you are looking for a professional and personally nurturing school in which to work, then look no further than San Silvestre. My time there was some of my happiest both personally and professionally. The school has an inquiry based approach to teaching and learning and offers the IB Diploma. The staff are a wonderful team and the school ethos and ‘feel’ is more like a smaller, community school.

Whilst in Peru I led the “Re-Building Childrens’ Lives” concert project designed to contribute to aiding communities, in the south of Peru, after the devastating earthquake that occurred in 2007. I helped to organise, and participated in, a range of concerts and musical events to raise funds for this, and other, important community service projects.

Now I am here in Quito, Ecuador enjoying all that Ecuador and Quito have to offer. The British School Quito is a small but growing school with an excellent reputation and a high standard of academic excellence. We offer the British National Curriculum and the IB Diploma and we are proud to be accredited by both the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. We are currently the only school in Ecuador that offers all three sciences in English at Higher Level in the IB Diploma. The school has a truly warm and collegial atmosphere with very supportive parents and an engaged learning community. I am truly enjoying my experience at BSQ.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

Whilst South America has its challenges it also have wonderful rewards including its wonderful array of food, superb climate, majestic landscapes and scenery, and bounteous travel and sporting opportunities. However, when we live and work outside of our own countries and cultures there are always things that make us think, huh? or put a smile on our faces. Just recently here in Quito we had to close the school for three days so that the government could move the airport from its old location to its new location! Well that put a smile on a few people’s faces….it certainly wouldn’t happen at home!

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

When I am looking for a new school I look at the culture (the feel of a school). How long do staff stay? What do staff say about the school? What retention programs are in place? What do the children say? Are the learners happy, engaged, active learners? If I think the culture is right for me then I ask myself…Why am I right for this community of learners? What can I contribute? If I have an answer that delivers positive outcomes for the learning community then I go for it!

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

The international school teaching experience is – truly rewarding challenging and capability enhancing

Thanks Kerry!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in Ecuador like Kerry?  Currently, we have 8 international schools listed in the Ecuador on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• InterAmerican Academy Guayaquil (13 Comments)
• Academia Cotopaxi (American International School) (6 Comments)
• Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (21 Comments)
• The British School Quito (24 Comments)

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #21: Eugenia Papadaki (An int’l school director currently working at The Bilingual School of Monza)

February 2, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Eugenia Papadaki:

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 1.59.40 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am from Greece, have carried out all my higher education studies in England where I gained a BA in Foreign Modern Languages, an MA in Applied Linguistics and a PGCE (Post graduate certificate in Education) from the Institute of Education, London. I have taught in many educational settings in both the UK and in Italy. I have brought up both of my daughters trilingually from birth, who, now as young adults, speak several languages and who have been my inspiration for founding a Bilingual International school here in Italy 17 years ago.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

My first experience was at the International School of Milan.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

ISM: the diversity of languages spoken by the pupil population.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I have always been in an administrative position, but if I were to look for a job in an international school for me professional development opportunities and career advancement together with a collaborative learning environment and a real sense of community spirit would be the things that I will be looking for in a school.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Opportunity for growth, an eye opener.

Thanks Eugenia!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in Italy like Papadaki?  Currently, we have 30 international schools listed in the Italy on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

American School of Milan (13 Comments)
Sir James Henderson School (7 Comments)
Bilingual European School of Milan (16 Comments)
The Bilingual School of Monza (8 Comments)
International School of Trieste (9 Comments)
Ambrit-Rome International School (7 Comments)
International School of Bologna (8 Comments)
International School in Genoa (10 Comments)
The English International School of Padua (12 Comments)

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Surveys

Survey results are in: Which international school teacher conference do you prefer to go to?

January 19, 2013


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted have had the most success at IB conferences.

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IB conferences/workshops can prove to be a very motivating and enlightening experience.  Isn’t that what going to conferences is all about?  Most people might say that teaching is viewed as a career, and with careers comes professionalism.  Many international school teachers aspire to be the best professionals in the field.  The IB (PYP and MYP too) teachers definitely have similar aspirations as well; to learn more and more about the new ways of thinking and teaching using inquiry.  They are also looking to learn more about how to make their students’ thinking visible.

But like many workshops that you may attend at international school teaching conferences, the benefit of the workshop you attend greatly depends on the instructor that you get.  It can also be said that the success of your workshop depends on the people that attend it as well.  So many different factors come into play, but when all of them line up correctly, you are most likely in for an enlightening experience.  Those types of workshops can really inspire you throughout the rest of the conference and stay with you when you return back to work.

In terms of staff development benefits, the IBO requires that the teachers working in approved/accredited schools get on going PD in the IB philosophy and latest strategies on how best to instruct students in their inquiry programme. Instead of using your own PD monies to attend IB workshops, very often the school will take the costs involved out of their own monies.

There are many factors to consider when deciding on which international school at which to work.  Knowing about the professional development allowance (or lack there of) can prove to be helpful information to know; just to see what you can expect in terms of you getting the opportunity to attend workshops and conferences while you work there.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a Benefits Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.

• Professional development allowance details.

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Taken from International Community School Addis Ababa (35 Total Comments) school profile page.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at Mef Int’l School Istanbul: “IBO certified IBDP and PYP training provided. Outside speakers such as Virginia Rojas brought in to provide in house PD.”

Another member said about working at Western International School of Shanghai: “Most teachers don’t get any out of school PD their first year of contract. Depends on the needs of the school.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at American School of Barcelona: “The PD amount is 390 Euros a year. You can roll over this amount for 3 years. But the reality some people get more, it is not so clear cut on who gets what amount and who gets to go to what PD opportunity.”

If you are currently a member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know by submitting some comments and information about the PD allowances at your international school. You can start by logging on here.

Stay tuned for our next survey topic which is to come out in a few days time.

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #20: Jack Murphy (An veteran int’l teacher currently working as an Int’l School Consultant)

January 3, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Jack Murphy:

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 8.53.56 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I grew up on Long Island about 30 miles from New York City. I attended college in North Carolina and did graduate work at Notre Dame University. My career gravitated from teacher and coach to guidance counselor and then to college counselor. However, that developmental process took twenty years.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I taught history and coached in Charlotte, NC for several years after military duty. At a certain point I decided to see more of the world and thought that teaching abroad might offer that opportunity. My first overseas teaching assignment placed me in a castle in Scotland. From that experience onward, with the exception of a few stopover years back home, I was to be an international educator.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

Many international teachers travel the world and work at a variety of schools. I may have taken that tendency to a different level.  During my career I taught, coached and counseled a twelve international schools located on five continents. The schools ranged from smaller to larger, proprietary and private, American to international, IB curriculum and otherwise. Each school was unique but each had energetic, vigorous and dedicated faculty. International teachers bring a certain active and innovative spirit to their profession and students thrive on that spirit. Two of my favorite places were at schools were in Amsterdam and Venezuela.  However, I had the most fun at the International School of Kenya and the Jakarta International School.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I have experienced many but one that comes to mind occurred at a golf course in Vietnam. After attending an EARCOS Conference in Ho Chi Minh City we took a short holiday in the highlands. We decided to play golf one day and arrived at a lovely course and small club house. Our clubs and equipment were taken by several Vietnamese women caddies but we expected to find them on the other side as we proceeded into the building to pay and shop at the Pro Shop. When we departed the building on the other side and expected to join up with our clubs and caddies we were surprised that the clubs were no where to be found.

After a few long minutes of confusion and panic, two Vietnamese woman pointed to the road and tried to give signal that our clubs were on the course or near the driving range. None could speak English so they pointed, laughed and acted out and what they needed to say. Then they drove us up the road to the driving range giggling all the way. When we arrived at the driving range, near the first tee, their was a French couple hitting golf balls and I immediately recognized that the tall man was swinging my clubs next my golf bag. As we approached I could also see that he was wearing my shoes and my golf glove next to my golf bag.

To make a long story short we cleared up the matter and I set out to play one of the finest rounds of golf of my life. The priceless part was watching the Vietnamese ladies enjoy the hilarity of the mix-up and take it all in stride with lovely smiles, soft giggles and an ability to bring warmth and kindness to what first appeared to be both a stressful and embarrassing to all the westerners involved.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

When I looked for the next school it was the location that counted most. My purpose was to try a new place in a new region each time I moved schools. Secondly, I also wanted to grow with each move and I sought schools that might finance my own professional development and provide opportunities to attend conferences in my field.  And, of course, when I was a younger teacher I wanted to go places that had an active school and social life.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Exciting, inspiring, educating, challenging and fulfilling.

Thanks Jack!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in Kenya like Jack?  Currently, we have 9 international schools listed in the Kenya on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

International School of Kenya (13 Comments)
Aga Khan Academy Mombasa (3 Comments)

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “A Leaf Around the World”

December 5, 2012


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 26th blog that we would like to highlight is called “A Leaf Around The World”  Check out the wealth of information in the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at Yokohama International School in Japan.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How to be an explorer – Day 1

“I have been reading this book called ‘How to Be an Explorer of the World’. It’s basically a guidebook/ reminder of my creative thinking, whenever I feel like, I turn the pages and roll in. Last night, I came across the exploration #4 which is a very simple practice. During your walk to your work/school,etc. you pick up 30 things. A collection of 30 random things… I decided that I will pick one object everyday and will record my findings and thoughts here. It will take a month and in the end I will try to create an artwork with my findings. It is a challenge for me to break away from my daily routine of speed walking to the train station while I am nibbling over  my so called breakfast consisting a piece of  toasted bread with cheese, paying attention to nothing but the road that leads me to my destination. A nice challenge though, one that will make me look at things rather than seeing them passing by…”

What a great idea!  I think every one should have a go at this if they are living in a foreign country.  Sometimes we can walk down a street many times in a foreign city and not notice certain things, even things such as a store.  If we can remember to take a look around ourselves while living abroad, it could only help us to better understand our current situation and aide you in making new connections with regards to your life living in your host country.

Recycling in Japan

“If you are living in Japan, you make a big commitment to recycle. The moment that you register with your neighbourhood ward, you are given an A4 paper of how to separate your rubbish. There are certain days for certain garbage and you need to tie them up as shown in the picture and moreover you need to wash your plastic garbage before you put it out in front of your door…”

I love the topic of recycling in other countries. Each one does it slightly different.  Sometimes it takes awhile to get into the swing of things when trying to recycle things from your home after you have just moved to a new country.  If you are living in Shanghai, there isn’t really a city recycling programme.  But that doesn’t mean people in Shanghai don’t recycle.  There are always people with big bags going to and looking inside of garbage cans in Shanghai.  They are the recyclers.  Actually, they look at their recycling other people’s garbage as their job, according to an article I read on the That’s Shanghai website.

My Morning Walk in Yutenji

“Every morning, I walk to the train station in Yutenji. On my way to the station I meet the same people everyday, the little old lady neighbour who sweeps her front door, the young woman on her fancy bike with a trendy green backpack, the father and daughter walking down to Nakameguro, the big old neighbourhood watchman sitting on a bench in Yutenji park which is the smallest park ever with its own rules and regulations written on a sign in both Japanese and English. The most interesting thing every morning for me, is the board that hangs on the wall of a very old house with weekly messages from a wise neighbour. Everyday when I walk down that road, I stop, read the message and think about it on my way to the station…”

Your journey to work is an important one. Going to work in a car is a bit different than going to work by bike or walking.  You can see and interact with more people when walking to work.  You can get some exercise biking to work.  It is important to research how teachers get to work at international schools you are intersted in working at; will it be a good match with the preferred way you like to get to work?

If you are also interested in starting your career in the international school community, feel free to check out the 1300+ international schools that are listed on International School Community here. Also, don’t forget to check out our latest submitted comments and information about these schools.  We have over 6000+ submitted comments and information as of this blog entry!

Want to work for  an international school in the Japan like this blogger?  Currently, we have 37 international schools listed in the Japan on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

American School in Japan (19 Comments)
Seisen International School (22 Comments)
St. Mary’s International School (14 Comments)
Kyoto International School (9 Comments)
Horizon Japan International School (9 Comments)
Canadian Academy (Kobe) (10 Comments)
Hiroshima International School (17 Comments)
• Gunma Kokusai Academy (8 Comments)

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #6: Khartoum Int’l Community School, Int’l School of KL & Vietnam American Int’l School

November 10, 2012


Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community.

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?)

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:

Khartoum International Community School (36 total comments)
“The school has a structured pay scale. Entry depends on qualifications or experience. Advanced degrees attract more money as does extensive experience. There are responsibility steps, particularly in Seniors. Every teacher receives a step each year and there are inflationary/cost of living adjustments annually. The school pays 1 year (2500 GBP pounds) and 2 year (6000 GBP pounds) resigning bonuses (very appealing to couples!).”

International School of Kuala Lumpur (28 total comments)
“There is a clear and structured pay scale. You enter it according to experience and qualifications, up to a maximum experience level. Within the school you receive an annual \’step\’ for every year of experience, plus there are usually small inflationary raises to the salary scale. Additionally stipends are paid for team leader responsibility. There are resigning bonuses after 4 years of employment.”



Vietnam American International School (26 total comments)

“I don’t know about all salaries. However, I don’t believe there salary increased with increased education, experience, or years of service. For example, there were no increases in salary between the first year of teaching at VAIS and the second year. Another example, one teacher with ten years of experience received the same salary as another teacher with only 2 years experience.”

Check out the other comments and information about these schools (and 1000s of others) on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.com

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #18: Sheldon Smith (An international teacher currently working at Al Khor International School)

November 2, 2012


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Sheldon Smith:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Currently my family and I reside in Qatar but I got here via Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. I left Vancouver, Canada, June 1998 to meet up with some friends who worked for an international airline and decided to make Kota Kinabalu their base. Previously I founded and was the owner / operator of Woodsmith Hardwood Floors which I sold but still exists today and has become quite a brand in the Vancouver flooring industry. After working in the flooring trade for 17 years I had to give it up. We weren’t aware of the dangers of the industrial components we were using (lacquers, polyurethanes, solvents, etc) and my body literally could not take the toxicity levels anymore. So, I sold ‘lock, stock and barrel’ and began working casually with a friend in a language centre teaching English to Chinese children.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

When I arrived at Kota Kinabalu I wasn’t really looking for work as I had recently sold my business and the rest of my worldly goods before leaving and was quite happy ‘living the life of Riley’. Amongst the people I met was a local lawyer; an Indian man with the loudest voice I ever heard and one of the funniest persons I have ever met. One day, over a coffee, he asked me what I planned on doing since my funds would dry up some day. I told him what I had done and mentioned the brief teaching experience I had before leaving Vancouver. He then sat straight up and asked if I wanted to meet a friend of his, the principal of Kota Kinabalu International School. A phone call and 10 minutes later a very hot and sweaty cyclist pulled up, ordered an ice coffee, declared he was just on his way back from a 10 km ride and introduced himself as the principal in question. Within 15 minutes he had asked me what my plans were and offered me a teaching job at his school. For the next 8 months I spent my Mondays to Fridays with some Taiwanese teens and my international teaching was underway.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

After teaching at the International School of Kota Kinabalu, I taught at a language centre at Medan, Indonesia then at another in Nilai, Malaysia then a small prep school in Bangkok called Sabai Jai International School (Sabai Jai means happy heart in Thai) where I taught the graduating class – K3. From there I began my first real international school experience when I was hired to work at Shrewsbury International School, Bangkok; a franchise-type of sorts based on the Shrewsbury School in the UK, where Charles Darwin was a student by the way. Then, after 5 ½ years, I moved my family to Qatar where after 4 years I still work for Al Khor International School.

The various places I have lived at and the different people I have met along the way have given me a broader perspective for language, religious and cultural diversity. There is beauty everywhere on the planet. I never knew other people would be so interested in what a foreign westerner had to offer or say. Previous to leaving Canada I would, as do most people, head to some hot sunny spot for a 3 week holiday and feel I understood the people and customs of that place. How far from the truth that was. Teaching and living in different communities has helped me to really get to know intimately the traditions and cultural beauty of people up close. I have frequently been invited to local families’ homes for dinners and have had wonderful opportunities getting to know local people really well; almost like I was adopted by some. The students in South East Asia are so well behaved and polite; it really is quite a different experience any teacher from a western country would encounter. The schools I have worked at have been very generous in the salaries and accommodation, and have been very supportive for my own professional development. Over the past 14 years I have met and still keep in touch with so many colleagues. I can travel to almost any country and know someone to meet up with.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

My latest cultural encounter entails a recent charity fair we had at our school. To raise money, some of the local Qatari lads brought falcons to school. Students paid money to pet and hold the birds. The lads looked so proud in their local dress holding their beloved falcons. I certainly don’t recall that happening when I went to school.

Qatar, as most know, has been blessed with copious amounts of natural gas; Rasgas and Qatargas are the world’s leading distributors of LNG (liquid natural gas). This has shot this small country up to the top of the GNP scale – now at approximately USD 80,000 per family. Now about 20 years on, the children have adopted a different approach to what many may expect. Recently, during one of my business studies lessons, I explained how the students needed to come up with a project. Before launching their project though, they would have to do the normal due diligence of enterprise – brain storm, mind-map, SWOT, SMART targets, risk assessment, etc – to support the coursework part of the course which would be externally marked. They looked at each other and then looking quite confused and perplexed one lad raised his hand and asked why. “If I like something, I buy it. When I get bored of it, I throw it away. If I want to make a project, I do it. OK, if it fails, I just do something else. Why do all that other stuff?” Money is a disposable concept here and this not only put smile on my face but it put me in my place.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I really can’t stress enough how no matter what international school is advertising, investigating as thoroughly as possible is a must. I would also stress avoiding websites that seem to serve as platforms for disgruntled teachers. No school is perfect for every teacher’s situation – being calm, flexible and keeping my sense of humour have been my weapons for personal success. In searching for new post at a new international school, I am interested in the school’s philosophy, aims and goals. I am interested in who the owners are and how keen they are in branding their school. I am not interested in schools which are content in the mid-stream. Personally, I am really looking for upstart schools and working at the school’s foundation level as I did when Shrewsbury International was just beginning. Being a part of the initial growth, seeing the founding students and staff work through the first couple of years and seeing it all come together is so rewarding – very rigourous but very rewarding.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Open-minded            Professional            Dedicated            Discovery            Fun

Thanks Sheldon!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for  an international school in the Qatar like Sheldon?  Currently, we have 23 international schools listed in the Qatar on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

American School of Doha (13 Comments)
Newton International School (23 Comments)
Al Jazeera Academy (9 Comments)
Qatar Leadership Academy (9 Comments)
Al Hekma International School (Qatar) (15 Comments)
Awsaj Institute of Education (20 Comments)

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #5 – Does the school have a clear primary language of instruction?

October 24, 2012


What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  How important is finding out about a school’s clear primary language of instruction? It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school to work at.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  Our new blog series will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #5 – Does the school have a clear primary language of instruction?

In most international schools, the primary language of instruction is English (although there are French, German and other primary-language-focused schools), but it is best to confirm this (especially at the pre-school and kindergarten level).

A good question on a few levels and a good understanding of the layers surrounding language of instruction and how it is implemented within an international school context need exploring. On the surface, most prospective new teachers and parents would feel a strong measure of confidence just knowing that English is the primary mode of instruction, that the school uses a western country of origin in the name (British School of…, American School of…), and that the school has past some form of accreditation, which to a parent mostly means the school has been checked and measures up to a credible standard and English language would undoubtedly have played an important role in the process. All of the aforementioned in many cases would suffice most parents’ concerns.

However, in Thailand, for instance, a school is officially pronounced ‘international’ when it meets at least a 60% non-Thai student base. Unfortunately, many international school intake numbers reflect a much greater Thai national student roll. (Thailand is just one example; this goes for any ‘international’ school in any country where the bulk of the student body is made up of students from the country the school is in.) If this is the case, even though the primary language of instruction is English, students may find getting to know others who come from another primary language base quite challenging. Even within the classroom, when English is often the only language ‘allowed’, if the greater number come from a country other than an English-speaking one, much of the student conversation reverts back to the home language. Once out of the classroom, students automatically revert to their native tongue and an English-speaking student can easily be left out of friendship groups, study groups and other aspects of school, like team sports, may end up not being pursued even if it was a passionate option a student may have been involved in previously. Developing good peer groups with shared interests is absolutely vital for students moving to international schools, especially if the one they are moving to is their first.

Some schools have tried coming up with ‘English-speaking policies’ which could stipulate English as the only language spoken on campus.

  • Difficulty number 1: teachers become policemen; they endlessly are approaching students telling them to speak English only; much like trying to enforce a dress code whereby boys are to always have their shirts tucked in.
  • Difficulty number 2: students who continue to be caught not speaking English can begin to view this exercise as a way to annoy certain teachers (they love to watch some get all red-faced and look as if they are either going to implode or explode, or both), or it can become a way to show a measure of rebellion.

Students may even begin to view English punitively, negatively, as something they have to do which can mean a negative outlook on education as a whole impacting on concentration, learning and formative assessments. There is much empirically-based written about this and the debate rages on – to what extent should English language be promoted throughout a school. The Australian Government of Child Services advocates, as one example, home languages should be encouraged and actually help fortify classroom learning when the primary language is English. The difference is in the teacher’s ability to differentiate individual student needs.

Some international schools (selective ones) may try to defer this rationale by claiming they have strict admission criterion but if the student population numbers are home country lopsided the outcome is certainly going to follow, to some measure, what is stated above. It is just a natural way students will gravitate towards.

Some international schools (Shell or other gas and oil company owned schools) are non-selective as they are primary education facilitators for the children of their employees. Shell schools are primary curriculum based and so English language acquisition and delivery is almost seamless; young learners pick up language nuances almost effortlessly. However, this is not true for older students moving to English language based curricula. Some parents are so keen to have their children in an English-speaking school that they forget to take into consideration their children’s ages. I have personally interviewed Algerian parents who enrolled their almost 17 year old son in an international school using the national curriculum of England. The lad knew no English. His Arabic turned out to be good but his French was below average. Because of limitations the school could offer, he was only able to take GCSE Arabic and French lessons, and Maths, which he really struggled in. The fact that the language of curriculum delivery was English had almost no benefit in this case.

My advice, interview the school, ask about student ratio intake numbers and definitely ask for other parent contact information. Parents need to take into consideration their child’s needs by closely monitoring and analyzing their educational progress and language proficiency ability both in the home language and in English. Learning in English, like any language, has to be understood from a multi-layered perspective not from osmosis; physical presence does not equate to language proficiency and successful grade scores.

Teachers scoping out new international schools to work for would do well to get a clear picture about how English is used in the context of the international school in question. Sometimes this does not become clear until INSET before the next academic year begins but after all the effort made in moving and uprooting your family for an international school experience, it is worth making sure as many bases have been explored before signing not only for your own work satisfaction and professional development but for the sake of one’s family’s happiness and stability. An international school experience can be a beautiful thing but I have also met many others who would disagree and won’t touch it again with a 10 foot barge pole. It’s not a vacation, it’s an investment. Assignment: Does the school have a clear primary language of instruction?

This article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member:  Sheldon Smith (contact him here – shelaomily@yahoo.com or visit his BLOG at http://shelaomilyblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/)

On International School Community all school profile pages have a topic in the School Information section that specifically addresses the language ability of the students and the “common language” spoken in the hallways.  For example on the Uruguay American School’s profile page there have been 1 comment submitted so far on this topic:

If you are an international school community member currently working abroad, please log-on today and submit your comments and information about your school’s language policy and the language ability levels of your students.

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and become a part of our over 1200 members.  Many of our current members have listed that they work at over 200 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions about an international school’s accreditation status and get firsthand information about how the accreditation process is going for them.

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #18: Kodaikanal International School, Future-Harvard International Kindergarten, & American School of Ulaanbaatar

October 16, 2012


Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:



16 Oct  Kodaikanal International School (8 new comments)      Kodaikanal, India:

One of the new comments in the school information section: “As KIS is a residential school you could be assigned duties and responsibilities, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, in addition to the area of your primary focus. All Professional Staff (Teachers) are expected to chaperone/supervise; 3 evening student activities per semester, 1 camping weekend at Poondi campsite, a week-long field trip during field trip week…”

14 Oct  Future-Harvard International Kindergarten (9 new comments)      Dalian, China:

One of the new comments in the benefits information section: “Regular teachers get 8000 RMB a month (one year contract), team leaders get 18000 RMB a month (two year contracts)…”

13 Oct  American School of Ulaanbaatar  (8 new comments)      Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia:

One of the new comments in the school information section: “Age restriction is 50 years old basically, the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is reluctant to issue a work permit to teachers who are over the age of 55. Most short listed candidates will be contacted by telephone and email. The school prefers to interview candidates with teaching certification from Ontario. New teachers usually start around 20 August. 2 year contracts are offered…”

Check out the rest of the last 40 international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #17: Mary Anne Hipp (A former administrator currently working for a major Int’l Accreditation Organization)

October 3, 2012


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Mary Anne Hipp:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I currently live in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I am a retired Catholic School administrator with 44 years of teaching and administration in public, private, and charter schools.  I have taught from coast to coast in the US and am now leading accreditation teams for a major International Accreditation Organization.  I try to reserve special family time in my schedule to enjoy our two little princesses, Abigail and Zoe.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

Several years ago, I was invited to be on an accreditation team for a private school in the Dominican Republic.  The school and the people there captured my heart and soul.  I actually cried during my flight back to the states because I had been so touched by that visit.  Although I had no idea how this would happen, I knew in my heart that I was going back.  About six months later, I received a call from the owners asking me to serve as the Vice President of their Board of Directors.  That experience has totally changed my life.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

I have been affiliated only with The Ashton School of Santo Domingo by serving on their Board and providing some professional development and parent activities.  Ashton is privately owned and is transitioning into a Christian School.  The factor that has impacted me the most is the remarkable difference it makes when owners can make critical decisions that add to the school’s success and outreach to students, family, and the greater community.  There seem to be few limitations to creative endeavors.  The spirit of the Latin people is evident in the manner in which they live and think.  Naturally, it is a culturally-rich experience that provides international acceptance for all entities.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I must share two such encounters.  First is the fact that the school’s owner was able to get an extremely successful Soccer Camp instituted for the children of Santo Domingo with a contract with the Milan Junior Camp officials.  Major corporate sponsors supported the camp and it will be continued.  The long range plan is for the Ashton Foundation to open a sports facility to enhance the sporting options for the children in the area as well as those at the school.

The second big smile came in the opening of two classes called the H.O.P.E. classrooms in the city.  These classes are filled with 44 needy four-year-old children who will be sponsored by other individual families for all fourteen years of their education.  This sponsorship includes participation in the children’s school life, attending events, filling gaps in life.  Families that can give the monetary support and not the human support are paired with families that want to give the human support but cannot afford the financial commitment.  The owner sought the sponsorships and built the classrooms. (Check out a video about H.O.P.E. here)

These two smiles would still be in the dream stage in the US.  We miss many opportunities to turn dreams and possibilities into realities.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

As I am asked to help other international schools, I look for the Vision of the owners and the leadership of the school.  Those are key factors for me to be able to work effectively.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Transforming    Exciting    Challenging    Embracing    Engaging

Thanks Mary Anne!

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for  an international school in the Dominican Republic like Mary Anne?  Currently, we have 6 international schools listed in the Dominican Republic on International School Community:

• The Ashton School of Santo Domingo (12 Comments)
• Saint George School (Dom. Rep.) (4 Comments)
• American school of Santo Domingo
• Carol Morgan School Santo Domingo
• International School of Sosua
• Putacana International School

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #7

September 13, 2012


Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you.  The possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria.  There are many different kinds of schools: ones that are small in student numbers to ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit to ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities to ones that are in towns of only 1000 people, etc.  Each international school teacher has their own type of a school that best fits their needs as a teacher and a professional.  You personal life is also very important when you are trying to find the right match.  Most of us know what it is like to be working at a school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!

Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search our 1280 schools (updated 13 September 2012) for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.  The 8 criteria are: Region of the world, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Country, Year Founded, Kinds of Students and Size of City.  You can do a school profile search in three different locations on our website: the homepage, the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page.  Past search results: Search Result #1 posted in December 2011, Search Result #2 posted in January 2012, Search Result #3 posted in March 2012, Search Result #4 posted on April 2012, Search Result #5 posted in May 2012 and Search Result #6 posted in July 2012.

Search Result #7

Criteria chosen:

  1. Region of the world (Eastern Europe)
  2. Curriculum (All)
  3. School Nature (All)
  4. No. of students (Medium 300-700)
  5. Country (All)
  6. Year founded (16-50 years ago)
  7. Kinds of students (All)
  8. Size of city (All)

Schools Found:11

Armenia – Quantum College

Azerbaijan – International School of Azerbaijan (12 Comments)
Sample comment – Being that the campus is on the outskirts of Baku (which lies on the Caspian Sea), the city centre is a 15 minute drive away.

Bulgaria – Anglo American School of Sofia (7 Comments) and Zlatarski International School
Sample comment – Salaries are paid in Euros. Monthly salary is around 2300 Euros (no taxes are paid by teachers).

Czech Republic – English International School Prague and Riverside School

Hungary – British International School Budapest

Romanian – International School of Bucharest and Mark Twain International School

Russia – British International School Moscow

Ukraine – Qsi – Kiev International School
Sample comment – “Teachers get a furnished apartment with back-up power, telephone/internet, with underground parking. There is an allowance for utilities.”

Why not start your own searches now and then start finding information about the schools that best fit your needs?  Additionally, all premium members are able to access the 6001 comments and information (updated 13 September 2012) that have been submitted on the hundreds of international school profiles on our website.

Join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1985 (Copenhagen, Tehran, Istanbul & Riyadh)

July 13, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1985

There is much history in the international teaching community.  We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1854 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century.  The numbers are increasing for sure.

Utilizing the database of the 1238 (13 July, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 international schools that were founded in 1985 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Atlanta International School (4 Comments) (Atlanta, USA)

1985 AIS was founded by a group of parents, international educators and members of the business community whose aim was to provide the Atlanta area with the kind of international educational opportunities found in major cities throughout the world. Support from major corporations and public figures was obtained because of the school’s importance in the development of Atlanta as the premier international city in the southeastern United States.”

Al Hekma International School (9 Comments)  (Sanad, Bahrain)

“Al- Hekma International School (AHIS) is a co-educational international school offering an American curriculum to classes from Preschool through High School (PS-Grade 12). The school was founded in 1985 and is fully accredited by the Bahraini Ministry of Education and the Middle States Association for Accreditation of Colleges & Schools (MSA) in the U.S.A. AHIS is also affiliated with worldwide recognized educational institutions, that provide professional development and support for improvement and growth such as (NESA, NBOA, ASCD, AAIE, PTC, NAIS). Students in high school are also trained and tested to receive ICDL certificates through the schools accreditation with ICDL organization to provide students with the latest computer skills required for the future.”

A’takamul International School (0 Comments)  (Al-Rumaithiya, Kuwait)

“A’Takamul International School (ATIS) was founded in 1995, with our first graduating senior class in 2002. ATIS strives to provide a high quality international education based on the American-curriculum, while maintaining an Islamic ethos and Kuwaiti values. ATIS is a private, independent college preparatory school, and we enroll students from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Students are encouraged to take part in as many different school activities as possible and to excel in all of their endeavors. ATIS is a member of Kuwait Foreign Schools Activities Conference (K.F.S.A.C.) and participates in sporting events throughout Kuwait.”

International School of Stuttgart (6 Comments)  (Stuttgart, Germany)

“The International School of Stuttgart, founded in 1985, is a co-educational, English-medium day school, serving the needs of the international community of the state capital of Baden-Württemberg in Germany.”

Stafford International School (3 Comments)  (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

“Founded in 1986 as an independent and private educational institute, Stafford is a coeducational, international school. It follows the British curriculum which prepares the students for the London University IGCSE and Advanced (A/S, A/L) Level examinations. High performance in these British exams qualifies students for entry into British and other foreign universities. The curriculum is stringent and comprises a broad and balanced range of subjects.”

Chaing Mai International School (5 Comments)  (Chaing Mai, Thailand)

“Missionaries returning to work with the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) after World War II established a school for their children in Chiang Mai. Classes began on June 1, 1954 with eight students. In 1958, construction was begun on the present campus for “The Chiang Mai Children’s Center.” As more expatriate families moved to Chiang Mai and sought an English-language education for their children they, too, were accepted at the school.

In 1984, representatives of the Thai Foreign Ministry and the CCT agreed that the formal establishment of an international school in Chiang Mai was a necessary step to achieving the school’s legal status. Classes under the new name, “Chiang Mai International School” (CMIS) began in September of 1985 for Kindergarten to Grade 8. High School grades were progressively added from 1992 to 1995.”

The International Philippine School in Riyadh (IPSR) (0 Comments)  (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

“ The school originally started in the mid 1950’s with about a dozen pupils. It was government run, and was housed in a succession of buildings in Central Honiara. By the early 1970’s the need for a new school was recognized, and in the later half of the 1970’s, a new Woodford School project was included in the Solomon Islands National Development Plan. This project recognized “That a primary educational system offering a curriculum meeting international standards is a critical infrastructure requirement necessary to support Solomon Islands objectives of attracting investment and technical expertise.”

ISTEK Schools, Istanbul (8 Comments)  (Istanbul, Turkey)

“The İSTEK Education and Cultur Foundation was established in Istanbul on the 5th April, 1985 by a group of  eminent persons and institutions on the initiative of the former mayor of the municipality of greater  İstanbul, Mr.Bedrettin Dalan. It is an educational trust, aims to develop productive, creative and responsible  attitudes in individuals while adopting the principles and reforms of Atatürk. Working in national and  international contexts, aiming to make positive contributions to both the country and the world’s future,  and giving priority to scientific thought defines İSTEK as a foundation apart.

We currently operate ten K-12 schools and three separate kindergartens. In 1996, the Foundation also  established a university, Yeditepe University, which has now grown to become Turkey’s biggest university.  The Medical Faculty of the University runs one of the top rated hospitals in the region as well as  ophthalmology clinics. The School of Dentistry has a hospital on the Asian side and a clinic on the European  side of the city.”

Amager’s International School (0 Comments)  (Copenhagen, Denmark)

“AIS was founded in 1985 by teachers and parents who where concerned about the decline of educational standards.  It is located on the island of Amager (Copenhagen) which is joined to the mainland of Zealand in Denmark.”


Tehran International School (0 Comments)  (Tehran, Iran)

“T.I.S was established in the year 1985 with the goal to build educational links to other countries and render educational services to foreign students in Iran . Since its establishment, the school has been continuously involved in the educational progress where numerous foreign students are continuing their education in much the same manner as in their previous schools with most satisfactory results.”
Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1238 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.06 – 2 June, 2012

June 2, 2012


v2012.06 – 2 June, 2012:

Summer vacation is the time of year all teachers are waiting for (and I suppose all students as well!).  The 1.5 to 2 months of summer break is especially important though for teachers who work at international schools because it is typically when they take their annual trip back home.  When you live in a foreign country, half way across the world, it does indeed feel good to go home.  Even though you do create a new ‘family’ when you live abroad with the other international school teachers that you are working with, your home is most likely where your birth family lives.  Going home too can simply mean just going back to your home country, not necessarily going back to where you grew up.

There are some positives to going back to your home country during the summer:

• You get to see your old friends from when you went to University maybe or people that you went to high school with.  It is important to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances; Facebook still can’t compete with real face to face meetings with these people from your life. Also, you can tell them all about the adventures you have been on while they have been staying-put most likely in the same city that they went to high school in!

• If you go to your home country during the summer, you get to stock-up on all the favorite products from your old life.  Many international school teachers love to go to their favorite grocery stores to stock-up on all the products not available in their host country supermarkets.  Be careful though, food products weigh a lot and can easily make your suitcase go over the allowed weight on your flight back!

• You get to see your nieces and nephews in person, noticing how they are getting so much older now and all grown-up.  You can do things with them like taking them to the movies or going out for a few games of bowling.

A few alternatives for your summer if you don’t fancy going home:

• Some international school teachers just want to stay put in their host country during the summer.  Some feel that you don’t have the time to really explore the city, the nearby cities, or the other cities in the country during the school year. And if you are currently living in the northern hemisphere, summer is the best time typically to explore these cities.  Some teachers also just simply stay put to save money.

• A month-long trip to Africa or a month-long trip to the Chicago area where your family lives? A question you might be asking yourself in April. Some are faced with this international school educator’s dilemma each summer.  For many international school teachers, the price of the flight to go home is actually the same price it would take to go to more exotic places like Kenya or Costa Rica or even Bali.  Who would want to go home (a place you have seen many times already) in place of going on an exciting adventure?  Many choose the adventure option each summer!

So, are you planning on going home this summer? Are you the international school teacher that makes their annual trip home each summer, the one that stays in the host country, or the one that is traveling to another country on some adventure?  Share your stories and reasons for your summer plans here!

From the staff at International School Community.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 02 Jun  The English International School of Padua (12 new comments)
Padova, Italy
“Members of staff are expected to be on the school premises no later than 08:30 a.m…”
· 01 Jun  The British School of Tashkent (6 new comments)
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

“The school provides accommodation and access to the local international clinic with direct billing for all treatment including GP visits but excluding dental cover…”

· 31 May   North Jakarta International School (13 new comments)
Jakarta, Indonesia
“Teachers live in school-provided, furnished housing in the vicinity of the school…”

· 30 May  Yongsan International School of Seoul (8 new comments)
Seoul, South Korea
“Many of the teachers are from United States with just a few more single teachers than teaching couples…”

· 28 May  Bina Bangsa School  (13 new comments)
Jakarta, Indonesia

“There is a baggage allowance of US$500…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #8 – “Courtesy is cool, good will is good stuff.”
“As an international school teacher you definitely don’t want to intentionally close any doors that might lead to other opportunities in the future…”

· Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children #3: Young children soak up languages like sponges.
“I think the key with students learning the target language faster than adults is that they are going to school (their job) every day for 7-8 hours…”

· International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #7: Latin America
“I find that growth in international schools often follows a construction boom, and Brazil in particular…”

· Survey results are in: How much does your school pay for your housing benefits?
“Some of my international school teacher friends don’t get any housing allowance, namely those that are living in Western Europe…”

·  New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools #1: A Trip Around the City
“Should your new international school be organizing a trip around the city for all their new teachers…”

· Which international chools do IS Community members represent?
“Currently, International School Community members work at or have worked at the following 179 international schools…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 101 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 629 ( 123)
School profiles
: 1222 ( 17)
Blog entries
: 271 ( 17)
Posted comments & info
:
4913 ( 335)
Twitter followers: 349 ( 13)


Ways to get free premium membership:

1. Write and submit 15-29 comments and information on the schools you know about  for 6 free months.
2. Write and submit 30+ comments and information for 1 year free.
3. Become our next member spotlight for 6 free months.
4. Submit a blog article (e.g. a Can you Relate? blog entry) for 1 free month.


New members:

· Benjamin Wagor
(Xiamen International School)
· Topic Dog
(QSI International School of Brindisi)
· Sobelle Belcaid
(El Alsson British and American International School)
· Jeffrey Goldberg
(Dhirubhai Ambani International School)
· Joseph Levno
(Brent School School)
· Tassos Anastasiades
(Day Waterman College)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Anne Llewellyn
“Then I said: “Now I am going to see the world”.  I am going to learn all that cultural/language/life I didn’t have time for when studying science…”

“The best part of teaching for me was instilling into my students a knowledge, respect and love of their own country.”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Article
Why for-profit schools can be good.“GEMS schools director: ‘We don’t care about profit.’ GEMS currently runs 10 schools in the UK, but it acquired these schools from other operators, rather than creating them from scratch. It now plans to open six new schools over the next two years, and promises that they will charge more competitive fees than many existing private schools.”
“In 2009, the firm’s then chief executive Anders Hultin warned that the Conservative’s proposed free school programme would fail, if private firms weren’t allowed to run schools for a profit…”



Check out this blog entry to read more about for-profit international schools. Out of the 1222 international schools listed on ISCommunity 499 are for-profit and 723 are non-profit schools.  If you prefer to work at a non-profit international school, it looks like you are in luck as they are currently in the majority on our website.

 

Highlighted blog of an international teacher:

This international school teacher’s blog is about teaching at British International School Shanghaiand living in Shanghai, China.One of their blog entries (New Year, new role…building the team) is describing how international schools are sometimes in a pickle trying to organize good, useful, purposeful, effective, etc. professional development on the few days back after a break:

“Following our wonderful Christmas break in India, it was great to get back and see our colleagues at BISS; and especially the Humanities team, who I am excited to now be leading.  Although, I cannot believe how cold Shanghai has become!  Our first day back was a training day and was well structured and enjoyable; following a warm welcome back from Sir Terry, the secondary and primary staff split to follow separate training schedules. Our day (secondary) was focused on Formative Assessment and was extremely interactive and practical…”

Another one of their entries (Cutting Ties…) is about how each international school is different and has their own rules about how they would like their school to be run:

“I was recently contacted by my previous employer, an International School in Vietnam, who politely asked me to close down the Edmodo groups I had set up whilst at the school. In particular they wanted me to close a group I had set up named ‘Social Connections’ that was created to allow students (and staff) to remain in touch after moving on…as so often happens on the international circuit. They stated that new school policy dictated that any contact with students must cease when you leave…”

* If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Gary and Sally: About international teaching”

April 29, 2012


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 18th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Gary and Sally: About international teaching”  Check out the blog entries of these international school teachers who have worked in both Dubai and Almaty (including even a few other cities around the world).

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

International schools – “The circuit”

In the world of international education there are many teachers who are “on the circuit”. 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.

School reputations are developed among the teachers through word of mouth, staff at a good school will be very positive and upbeat, staff at a school with issues will not be so positive. You have to learn to read between the lines – sometimes what is left unsaid is more important than what is said – in the similar way that recruiters are careful to give you the good side.

When you attend a job fair, one of the best things you can do is talk to other candidates in the recruiting lounge, over a coffee etc, and ask about the international schools in their country, and also their current school. For example you can find out if there is a stable staff or a regular high turnover – things that most recruiters are unlikely to pass on. In some cases there are one or two international schools in the country, so it is worth asking – in other countries there are numerous schools. Word of mouth and the reactions and knowledge of people “on the ground” is very important – as they are not only able to tell you about the school, but also the general lifestyle, cost of living, social opportunities, potential for saving etc etc.

Other teachers are your best resource, in my opinion, for honest information about schools. Of course there will be some teachers who will be unhappy in a school (not because of the school, but because of themselves) and will be negative, but these are easy to spot, so you can usually discount their vitriol against a school and its administration.  Most people will give you a balanced view of the school, point out some of the negatives and things that need to be addressed, but will also be honest about the positives in the school as well. One sign of a good school is one which will put current teachers in touch with you (after you sign the contract :) ) so that you can ask them direct questions about the school.

A recent development I have noticed in the last few years is that some teachers encourage colleagues from a previous school to come to a school where they are, this has many benefits, for the school and the people coming in –

* they do not have to recruit the teacher through Search or CIS,
* the school is trusting the staff they have to bring in tried and tested staff who they rate,
* the people being employed usually do not have to attend a job fair,
* and they have the safety of mind that their friends have checked out the country and school for them.”

The international school community is indeed quite small.  With a prediction of there being over 10,000 international schools in the next decade (there are just around 6,000 right now) the community of teachers might be just getting a little bit larger.  I think there are many factors that determine the school’s reputation in the community.  Word of mouth is definitely one of those ways.  I think the benefits that the school offers sometimes is related to the school’s reputation as well (i.e. Shanghai American School in Shanghai).  I wonder how fast reputations change about a school or if they change even at all.  If you are new to the international school community, then you might not necessarily know the current reputation of the international school you are interviewing with at the fair.  You can get some information from the internet and certain websites, but now we have International School Community.  On our website, you can go to the school’s profile page that you are interested in and contact a member that either currently works at that school or has worked at that school in the past.  You can easily get a first hand account of the reputation from a current or former teacher at that international school.

Living overseas

Having left your own safe environment suddenly you no longer have control (which as teachers we enjoy) over your world. As soon as you step out into the outside world in whatever country, you can be faced with

  • street signs and scripts you cannot read (eg in Asia, Middle East etc)
  • language you do not understand
  • how to get the simplest thing done (fix a tap leak, AC problem)
  • who to ask for help

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’.”

This entry made me laugh out loud a bit.  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.  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, I can relate to that.  Additionally, not being able to understand that 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 I am so use to being on a train or plane where everyone around me is speaking a different language than me that it is strange now (and quite over-stimulating) to be on a plane in the United States where I understand all the many conversations going on around my seat.

What to expect at a job fair

“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 next day – or drop a note in your folder to say that they no longer wish to continue seeing you. In some cases – and this has happened to us – some schools will show a lot of interest in you at interview, and be very enthusiastic, but then not inform you either way. It is quite depressing when this happens, but most schools are professional and will let you down easy instead of just ignoring you.

There is often the “shmoosh” – an informal drink in the evening with recruiters and candidates. I feel it is very important to go to this and network – with other candidates as well as recruiters. It can give you the chance to ask a few informal questions of recruiters of a school you are contemplating, and you might even meet a candidate from that school, or who has worked there.

Day 2 : This is the callback day – the recruiters will hopefully have narrowed the field and you will still be in the running. If you are lucky, you will have a second interview. After a second interview one of two things will happen, either the school will offer you the position or they will say that they will get back to you later. If they say the second thing, ask them to give you a definite date. If you are offered a contract, then you sign a preliminary document which is a legally binding agreement to inform the fair organisers that you have accepted a position. Later, when the recruiters return to their schools and countries, they will send you the proper contract to sign.

I describe a job fair as “an emotional roller coaster” as you go from the depths of despair to the heights of elation, usually in the space of a few minutes.

It is a bit surreal to have job interviews in hotel rooms, but the international school community has been doing it so long at recruitment fairs that now it is normalized.  Do the administrators actually sleep in those rooms though?  That I’m not so sure of.  The folder at an international school recruitment fair: it is the most looked at mailbox of your life.  Be prepared though to hardly get anything at some fairs.  It all depends on your past experience, but also is related to who has the “power” that year: the international schools or the candidates.  You know I have been to three recruitment fairs and have never gone to the informal drink event at the end of the first day.  Never thought it was something I was interested in going to.  What does everyone think of this event?

Check out the international schools that are listed in Almaty and Dubai on International School Community.

Currently, there are 25 international schools listed in the Dubai area on our website, with 13 of them being schools that have had information and comments submitted on them.  Check out the submitted comments about these schools here.

Currently, there are 5 international schools listed in the Almaty area on our website, with 3 of them being schools that have had information and comments submitted on them.  Check out the submitted comments about these schools here.

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #3

March 8, 2012


Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you.  The possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria.  There are many different kinds of schools: ones that are small in student numbers to ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit to ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities to ones that are in towns of only 1000 people, etc.  Each international school teacher has their own type of a school that best fits their needs as a teacher and a professional.  You personal life is also very important when you are trying to find the right match.  Most of us know what it is like to be working at a school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!

Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search our 1136 schools (updated 8 March 2012) for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.  The 8 criteria are: Region of the world, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Country, Year Founded, Kinds of Students and Size of City.  You can do a school profile search in three different locations on our website: the homepage, the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page.

Search Result #3 (click here to look at Search Result #1 posted in December 2011 and here for Search Result #2 posted in January 2012)

Criteria chosen:

  1. Region of the world (Middle East)
  2. Curriculum (USA)
  3. School Nature (All)
  4. No. of students (Medium: 700-1200)
  5. Country (All)
  6. Year founded (0-15)
  7. Kinds of students (All)
  8. Size of city (All)

Schools Found: 5
Bahrain – Hawar International School (5 Comments)
Qatar – Modern American School (0 Comments)
Kuwait – American Academy for Girls Kuwait City (0 Comments)
Kuwait – American Bilingual School (14 Comments)
United Arab Emirates – Universal American School in Dubai (9 Comments)

Why not start your own searches now and then start contacting the schools that best fit your needs!  Additionally, all premium members are able to access the more than 3400 comments and information (updated 8 March 2012) that have been submitted on the hundreds of international school profiles on our website.

Join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #10: Beverley Bibby (Seisen International School)

February 26, 2012


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Beverley Bibby:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Auckland, New Zealand

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

My husband died and I decided to register with Search Associates with another couple who I taught with in Auckland – we decided we wanted to teach abroad in an internationals school, so we registered with Search Associates.  We attended a fair in Sydney – initially on registration we had all been approached by a Principal from a school in the Middle East but decided to attend the Fair before making a decision.  At the Fair, they were offered (and accepted) jobs in the Middle East, and I returned to NZ .  I declined the job in the Middle East and was later offered a position in Tokyo, which I accepted, to start in August 2008.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

I have only worked at the one international school – Seisen International School from 2008.  I am in my 4th year of teaching at Seisen.  Seisen was my first experience in a PYP school.  It was a new learning curve, but one which I was happy to engage in and has been a great experience.  I love teaching the PYP programme and consider my years have been both personally enriching and intellectually and professionally very exciting.  I love my profession and delight in seeing and sharing in my students learning.  I see teaching as a holistic profession and never cease to be amazed with my students.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I recently traveled to Yudanaka, up north, to see the snow monkeys.  The town was a winter wonderland:  gigantic icicles that sparkled like jewels, snow drifts as pristine as one would imagine, powder snow that wafted into space when one took a handful and blew on it,  and monkeys that romped in the snow, rolled up snow balls and threw them at each other and dive bombed their elders in the hot pool.  Those in the pool wore faces of absolute contentment and relaxation, as the hot water warmed their bodies, and all this midst a constant fall of gentle snow flakes.  From there to Zao, to freezing temperatures and white out.  Huge trees covered in snow that had frozen to give them the look of ‘snow monsters’ – and all this in sub zero temperatures at the top of the mountain where one couldn’t stay up there for too long coz of the sheer rawness and frigid temperatures.  Nature in the raw!  Magic!! and such a contrast from the concrete and human jungle of Tokyo!  Japan – a country of contrasts –  from ancient tradition and human culture, to the raw beauty of nature.

Solemn contrast to our school trip to Ichniomake – where we saw the negative power of nature – the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and the Tsunami, as we worked throughout the days to support those clearing up the aftermath.  The sheer magnitude of the destruction was almost beyond comprehension, and has left memories that quell the heart and leave one reminded that we are at the mercy of nature, despite our human progress!  Left me feeling so humbled by the courage and fortitude of those who survived the disaster.  Their tenacity, courage was living testimony to the frailty and yet strength of the human will to survive!

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

Personal health and well being – the social support system, the medical system and insurance, the political stability, an income that allows one to live and travel to see the culture and history of the country, and personal freedom.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Challenging,  invigorating, demanding, breathtaking , fun!

Thanks Beverley!  If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to teach at an international school in Japan like Beverley?  Currently, we have 34 international schools list in Japan on International School Community.  Some of our members have left comments and information on the following schools in Japan:

International School of the Sacred Heart (5 Comments)
American School in Japan (19 Comments)
• Canadian International School (Tokyo) (9 Comments)
Kais International School (2 Comments)
Makuhari International School (7 Comments)
Nishimachi International School (7 Comments)
Fukuoka International School (5 Comments)
Osaka International School (6 Comments)
Yokohama International School (4 Comments)
St Michael’s International School (7 Comments)
Hokkaido International School (7 Comments)
Hiroshima International School (16 Comments)

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1947 (New York, Cali, Medellin, Rome, and Sao Paolo)

February 25, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1947

There is much history in the international teaching community.  We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1854 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century.  The numbers are increasing for sure.

Utilizing the database of the 1111 (25 February, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 5 international schools that were founded in 1947 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

United Nations International School (New York City, USA)

“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 grades, students and faculty.  The rapid growth of the School demanded new and larger facilities.  By the late 1950’s, the School had campuses in Queens and in Manhattan, and broadened it student base to include the UN community, the Diplomatic Corps, the non-governmental international sector, and local New York Families.”

St. Francis College  (Sao Paolo, Brazil)

Colegio Bolivar  (Cali,Colombia)

“In 1944, Mrs. Gladys Bryson, foreigners residing in Cali and educator by profession, became a room of his home in San Fernando, in a classroom, the College was born Anglo – American Cali.  In 1947 the school already had up to 8 th grade students and tuition had cost $ 20 pesos from first to eighth grade and $ 15 pesos for kindergarten.  As the name of Colegio Anglo Americano in Cali was very similar to the American College, was officially changed to Colegio Bolivar in 1950.  In 1955, each student had his own desk. Also built a kiosk for the students to use during the lunch break and, years later, he built a larger one, and as the school grew to nearly 300 students, the kiosks were first used as classrooms.”

The Colombus School  (Medellin, Colombia)

“In 1947 a small group of American and Colombian businessmen founded The Columbus School in order to provide a U.S. style education for expatriate children and Colombian children who sought an alternative to the predominantly parochial education that was prevalent in the mid 20th century. Our founding fathers envisioned the need to prepare their children for a world that would be increasingly “internationalizing” and pledged to prepare students to achieve academic excellence through critical and creative thinking, global mindedness and bilingualism.”

American Overseas School of Rome  (Rome, Italy)

“For the first half of its existence the school was called the Overseas School of Rome. There actually was an OSR before 1947, but not the same school that was incorporated in that year. It was a little US Army school bearing the same title, located near Ponte Milvio started in September, 1946. We are greatly indebted to them for both starting the idea of our school and for their help when the school had to move at the end of its first year.

When news came that the allied troops were being moved to Trieste, five American and five British mothers (some from the original Ponte Milvio school) got together and decided to form a school which should be nondenominational and international, combining the best of the British and American systems. This group is responsible for the organization of the official corporation that became our school.

Next they had to find a place for the school. They managed to get the British and American Ambassadors, as patrons of the school, to put pressure on the Torlonia family to rent the palazzetto of Villa Torlonia on Via Nomentana as our first home. The school opened its doors to the public on October 16, 1947, with a grand total of 60 students.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1110 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Great Resource

Want to work at an international school in the Netherlands? – Tips for Expats in Holland

February 14, 2012


Life in Holland does indeed sound nice.  Riding your bike to work and watching the canals as you dart in and out of the streets of Amsterdam could be something very easy to get used to every morning.  The Insego website has highlighted some excellent tips that international teachers and their families could find very beneficial.  I wish there would be a resource like this on every country in the world!

We have highlighted some of the tips’ categories:

10 Tips for Unemployed Expats
“Whether you are an expat’s wife or you came here because you fell in love or you just moved to a foreign country looking for new opportunities, whatever the reason, you may find yourself without a job. Well, I’ve been there. Without a job I lost my professional identity and I didn’t like this feeling at all…”

Media for Expats in Holland
“One of the most popular discussions on Insego is finding out the cultural faux pas in The Netherlands. Faux pas is a French term which literally means “misstep”. But for most of us, it means defiance from accepted customs and traditions. Faux pas varies from different cultures. Some behavior might be acknowledged in one culture while it is a no-no for another.

Here are the collected comments from our members on what they think are the cultural faux pas in Netherlands…”

What are the most common issues faced by expatriates?
“Transferring to another country whether for work, personal expedition or reasons of the heart can be tough and challenging. Aside from difficulty in adjusting to the new environment and culture, we also struggle with homesickness, making new friends and for some, finding a job and raising kids. Being an expat is a tough call. See what your fellow expats struggle with and may their experiences act as your inspiration and encouragement that you are not alone. You share the same experiences with many other expats in the world, so don’t be totally dismayed…”

What are some cultural faux pas in The Netherlands?

  • Dutch News– Quality English-language news about the Netherlands.
  • Dutch Daily News – Covers, analyzes, comments on and defines the news, culture, entertainment, lifestyle, fashion and personalities that drive the Netherlands.
  • Expatica.com- The biggest online English news and information provider for the international community in 11 European countries. It’s mission is to help Expats settle into their new country of residence. The content Expatica supplies covers various aspects of expat life, including relocation, culture, education, tax, immigration and local events.
  • IamExpat– Online media platform that covers the local needs of the expatriate population, plenty of practical information.
  • InterNations – Netherlands Expats Community, membership is invitation-only. Let us know if you want to join it, we will send the invitation.
  • RNW- Radio Netherlands Worldwide. daily news in English as well as daily Dutch press reviews, opinion articles and links to the radio programs
  • The Holland Times– News magazine covering Dutch current events and perspectives in the Netherlands.
  • The Hague Online News for expat communities in The Hague region, including reviews and regular listings of cultural and leisure events.
  • Xpat.nl -Publisher of famous Holland Handbook and Xpat Journal.


Amsterdam, Holland

Currently there are 9 international schools listed in the Netherlands on International School Community. They are:

Rotterdam International Secondary School
American International School of Rotterdam
American School of the Hague
International School of the Hague
The British School of the Netherlands
British School of Amsterdam
International School Amsterdam
Amsterdam International Community School
International Secondary School Eindhoven

Check out their school profile pages on internationalschoolcommunity.com by clicking on the links above.  If you currently work at one of these schools or have worked at one in the past, share what you know by leaving some new comments and information on your school’s profile page today!  Out of our 281 members (since 14 Feb. 2012) we have one member that has listed that they work at or have worked at an international school in the Netherlands.

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: Mumbai’s new genre international schools

January 30, 2012


We found an interesting article around the international school community in the city of Mumbai.  It discusses the business side of the international school, the big business sometimes international schools can be to a community.  We have read before that the future of international schools are ones that are actually For-Profit ones.  Why is that a fact for the future of international schools?

Why might there be a resurgence of international schools in a community?  It could be very much related to the new upwardly mobile middle class in a society like as in the case of Mumbai.

Another issue with a resurgence of international schools is finding highly qualified teachers to work at them.  Hiring international teachers can be a big business as well with sometimes many international schools fighting over to get first pick at finding suitable candidates.

Currently there are 9 international schools in Mumbai India on International School Community.  They are: American School of Bombay, RBK International Academy, Dhirubhai Ambani International School, B.D.Somani International School, Oberoi International School , Podar International School, École Mondiale World School, NES International School (Mulund) and Singapore International School (Mumbai).  Overall, we have 39 international schools listed in India.

According to the article, Dhirubhai Ambani International School is the first of this new genre of international school.

Highlights from the article:

Although globally famous as resurgent India’s commercial capital, synonymous with Bollywood, the stock exchange, premier corporates and fashion houses, perhaps because of prohibitive real estate prices, the island city of Mumbai (pop. 13 million) is less than renowned for quality education institutions, particularly its schools. The city’s handful of vintage high profile schools such as Cathedral & John Connon (estb.1860), St. Mary’s (estb.1540), Campion (estb.1943) etc have reigned as Mumbai’s most difficult-to-access secondaries for half a century. Now somewhat belatedly, the city of gold’s school education scenario is about to experience a radical makeover.

During the past four years India’s commercial and entertainment capital has witnessed the promotion of over 35 new genre international schools. Launched with massive budgets ranging from Rs.10-50 crore, Mumbai’s latter-day five-star schools which offer fully-wired campuses bristling with hi-tech equipment and teaching aids, expat headmasters and affiliation with highly reputed offshore examination boards, are beginning to eclipse the city’s vintage secondaries as the first choice of the new upwardly mobile middle class.

The city’s first new genre international school the Dhirubhai Ambani International School, promoted by Nita Ambani (wife of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries (annual sales revenue: Rs.110,886 crore) admitted its first batch of students in 2003. Since then on average in this city of fast-track private enterprise, ten new genre international schools have been promoted every year, dizzy real estate prices and land scarcity notwithstanding.

Indeed, somewhat belatedly some of Mumbai’s most well-known business families the Goenkas, Podars, Somanis, and Ajmeras as well as other private entrepreneurs have hopped aboard the school education bandwagon. Among them: the Podar World School (estb.2004) and B.D Somani International School (estb.2006). Next year, two high profile international schools the Aditya Birla Group promoted New Era School (Cambridge) in South Bombay and Oberoi International School in Goregaon are scheduled to admit their first batches, and in 2009, industrialist and page 3 celebrity Yash Birla intends to open the doors of the Sunanda Birla International School on South Bombay’s plush Napean Sea Road. According to the state government’s directorate of education in Mumbai, over 90 proposals for inaugurating new schools have been submitted in the past two years (2005-2007) and are pending clearance.

Coterminously with the boom in international schools, India’s commercial capital, which is receptive to new ideas including education philosophies, is also witnessing the promotion of alternative schools which abhor conventional school education practices crowded classrooms, uniforms, competitive exams, and authoritarian, omniscient teachers. Started by four parents disillusioned with conventional schools, the Tridha School (estb. 2001) subscribes to the alternative education philosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner, the late 19th century Austrian philosopher and educator. Steiner schools aka Waldorf schools, focus on educating and developing the whole child, not just her intellect. In consonance with the Waldorf system, Tridha provides its students a stress-free environment striving for a balance between academics, arts and crafts, music, dance and environment awareness. Tridha is one of three Waldorf schools in India (the other two are in Hyderabad) with an enrollment of 233 students who pay annual tuition fees ranging from Rs.29,000-33,000.

While Mumbai’s international schools are perceived as rendering valuable service by offering students much sought after international certifications, all’s not well with them. Most admit to being confronted with severe shortages of high-quality teachers, a pre-requisite of delivering the globally-reputed syllabuses and curriculums of the CIE, UK and IBO, Geneva. Given their academic rigour and broad-based life skills content, these international curriculums mandate stringent in-service teacher training and continuous skills upgradation programmes. Therefore recruiting, motivating and retaining best teachers has become a top priority of Mumbai’s five-star school managements. And it’s hardly a secret that most of them have signed up recruitment firms and headhunters to poach, purloin and entice the best teachers from schools across the country with unprecedented pay packages, including housing and other perks.

“There’s a drought of quality teachers globally and a severe shortage of new blood in the teaching profession. Therefore international schools are experiencing considerable difficulty in recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. Indian teachers trained in India’s new international schools are now being offered jobs abroad and tend to jump ship as soon as opportunity knocks. Therefore the attrition rate in five-star schools is very high. The only option for them is to hire expat teachers, but the government is creating hurdles to importing them. This is to India’s disadvantage,” says Capt. Raj Mohindra.

If you would like to read the whole article, check it out here:

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Great Resource

Great Resource: want to work at an international school in Shenzhen, China

January 25, 2012


The Start in China website (http://www.startinchina.com/) has some excellent insight on the many international schools in Shenzhen, China.


There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  There are around 16 international schools listed on the Start in China website.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are: Sheck Hard Kindergarten, Green Oasis International School, Quality Schools International (Futian), etc…

Highlighted sections from their website:

GREEN OASIS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“Green Oasis offers the CIPP (University of Cambridge International Primary), CLSP and IPC. It provides programs for children aged 4 to 14 and has classes in Mandarin and Maths that meet national standards. Green Oasis has professional facilities, labs and so on. The campus is located near Shenzhen’s Central Park, close to SEG.”

SHENZHEN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“The SAIS school was created by the efforts of a group of businessmen from Shenzhen and Lee Academy of Lee, Maine USA. The school offers Pre-school and Kindergarten as well as grade 1 – 8 (American system). High school tuition fees are 95,250 RMB per year but include free lunch, transport and books. The school now has 163 students from more than 15 countries.”

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF SINO-CANADA

“The International School of Sino-Canada (ISSC) was founded in 2002. ISSC teachers are hired in Canada by “Atlantic Education International” and then sent to China. Students will receive a program that is fully certified and inspected by the Department of Education from New Brunswick, Canada. Graduates will receive a regular Canadian diploma and transcript. The school offers programs for pre-grade one and grade one to five (elementary school), middle school and high school. Tuition for high school is US$ 7500.00 per term (about 51K RMB).”

SHEKOU INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“Shekou International School is a non-profit school originally founded by oil companies in 1988, but now sponsored by International School Services. It is the oldest international school in Shenzhen. ISS is based in Princeton, New Jersey USA. The school offers programs for children aged 2 to 18. The school has two locations in Shekou: Jingshan Villas and Bayside. SIS is the first international school in Guangdong to hold the Chinese NCCT (National Council of Curriculum and Textbooks) accreditation as well. Tuition for kindergarten is 132K RMB, elementary and middle school is 148K RMB and high school is 156K RMB per year. Shekou International School presently has over 650 students representing 40 different countries. Among them 20% are American, 55% are Asian and 20% are European.

Currently, there are 3 international schools listed under Shenzhen on International School Community:

Shekou International School
QSI International School of Shekou
Green Oasis School

Check out the latest comments and information that have been submitted on these schools or submit your own at International School Community.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #8: Gloria Hewitt

December 26, 2011


Each month International School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Gloria Hewitt:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Spain, attending international schools in Barcelona and Madrid.  My father’s American  and my mom is Spanish, so I was always considered ½ and ½ .  I went to college in the U.S. and got a B.F.A. (Fine Arts) from Otis College in Los Angeles.  I started teaching at a public school in L.A. in 1998 and never looked back.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

In 2006 I made the decision to move back to my “home town” and applied for a job at my old school, The American School of Barcelona.  I worked there for 4 years where I shared students and classrooms with some of the elementary school teachers from my childhood.  My experience at ASB was a wonderful experience.  Once I had those years under my belt…I was hooked on the International School life-style.  Our initial idea was to move to Argentina, where my husband is from, but when the opportunity came up to move to Brazil and teach at Graded, my family and I were thrilled to take on the challenge.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

The American School of Barcelona and Graded – The American School of São Paulo.  The best part of ASB was it’s location,  Barcelona.  Graded is challenging in a professional way, but São Paulo is a tough city.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

Graded is very strong on offering Community Service opportunities in the area.  I am the staff leader for one of those groups, in which a group of high school students fund-raise for and visit a Cancer Shelter close by.  Every time we visit this location I am further impressed by how mature and resilient our students can be.  It’s quite inspiring.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

Location is key.  I look for a place that I can picture myself living for at least 3-4 years.  In my case, I need to consider my non-teaching spouse.  He can legally work in South America & Europe, so I’m going to be drawn to those areas.  Another really important factor is the true savings potential.  Each school has it, some more than others, and I’m more interested in saving money than traveling.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Stimulating,  unpredictable,  addictive,  inspiring, challenging.

Thanks Gloria!  If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1988 (Budapest, Johor, Berne, Bordeaux, Hanoi, Rome, etc.)

December 25, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1988

Utilizing the database of the 1018 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 international schools that were founded in 1988 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Koc International School (Istanbul, Turkey)

“Founded in 1988 by the Vehbi Koç Foundation, the Koç School has quickly become one of Turkey’s most selective and competitive university preparatory schools. It attracts an outstanding academic staff of Turkish and foreign teachers, and students who score at the highest levels of entrance examinations. Koç School seeks to be a leader and a pioneer in Turkish education and to set standards for other schools to follow.”

Bordeaux International School  (Bordeaux, France)

“Bordeaux International School, also known as BIS, is a private (fee-paying) international school for ages 3–18 located in Bordeaux, France, established in 1988 by the non-profit making Association Linguistique et Culturelle Internationale. Students are from both France and other countries. The medium of instruction is English and French in the primary streams and mainly English in the secondary school. The school moved to new premises in rue Judaïque in August 2005.”

British School Bern (Berne, Switzerland)

“The British School of Bern is an English-speaking, International day school established in 1988. It is for pupils of all nationalities from the ages of three to twelve years. It is an independent, nonprofit day school located in Gumlingen, a suburb of Bern. The school provides a modern British curriculum. The teaching allows each child to develop to his/her particular need through both same-age and cross-age groupings.”

International School of Budapest (Budapest, Hungary)

International School of Johor (Johor, Malaysia)

United Nations International School (Vietnam) (Hanoi, Vietnam)

“The United Nations International School of Hanoi is an international school in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1988 with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in Vietnam (UNDP) with the aim of providing an education to the children of UN staff and others. It now caters to the children of diplomats, aid workers, businessman, and other expatriates living and working in Hanoi. Classes range from pre-school to high school, and the IB Diploma is available to students in grade 11 and 12.”

Rome International School (Rome, Italy)

“RIS opened its doors to its first elementary school students in September 1988. We offer an international education to children aged 2 to 18. The Middle School opened in September 2001 and the High School in 2007. The school is located in a fully equipped campus comprised of classrooms, ample sports facilities, science labs, music rooms, libraries and computer labs, next to several acres of a public park, Villa Ada.The location is well connected by public transport.”

Khalifa School (Safat, Kuwait)

“Khalifa School, founded in 1988, is recognized as the first private educational institution for special needs students in Kuwait. Motivated by her grandson, Khalifa, Mrs. Lulwa Khalifa Alghanim established Khalifa School with the vision of providing equal opportunities for special needs students. The school combines the latest teaching methods and state of the art technology to provide appropriate educational opportunities for the students. The school is located in the capital area of Kuwait and is accessible from all locations of the country.”

German-American International School
 (Menlo Park, California, United States)

“The concept of a German-American School in the Bay Area in order to promote the German language and culture started in May 1980, with an ad-hoc committee under the leadership of Dr. Liedkte, Professor of German at the San Francisco State University. He was assisted by a group of dedicated parents and Mr. Rothmann, the German consul at that time and the Swiss consul, Mr. Frey. The result of many years of dedicated work, the German American School (GAS) was created by a small group of parents wanting to provide a good bilingual education for their children.”

Adana Gundogdu College (Adana, Turkey)

“Adana Gündogdu College was founded in 1988 by Mr. Yunus Gündogdu. It started with 88 students and now there are approximate 2000 students. Our school is located in Adana, which is located in southern Turkey. Adana is the city in the south of Turkey and has a university and several colleges. We have many attractions, a lake and not far from the center is the ocean. Our school includes a kindergarten, an elementary school and one comprehensive school.”

Check out the rest of the more than 1018 international schools listed on International School Community here.

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Great Link

Are you ready? The international school recruitment fair season is a few weeks away! (A Search Associates fair experience)

December 22, 2011


Highlighted firsthand-account of what it was like for this international school teacher at a Search Associates recruitment fair in San Francisco:

“Many people have asked my process of applying to teach overseas and so I will share my experiences, typical or not.  The first step, of course, was research.  Finding out what the schools that interested me considered a priority revealed that they are different in their own region.  Carefully reading the different mission statements not only showed priorities, but also gave me direction in my cover letters which needed to be outstanding.  Some schools stressed academic achievement, others developing the whole child but almost all emphasized a global perspective.  Mediocrity was not a part of any, it was super high expectations the whole way.

Each cover letter that I sent was specifically targeted with carefully chosen words that reflected my interpretation of the schools’ intent.  I connected my skills to what they required, my educational philosophy to theirs and used as many “teacher words” as I could.  The format was strictly old school business formal with the date written as day, month and year rather than the western style of month, day, year.  My first attempt to cut and paste resulted in an incomplete sentence and the wrong date being sent to a prospective employer so I decided to recreate each one.  Yes, that took a lot of time.  Yes, it was worth it.

International resumes are referred to as CV’s; Curriculum Vitae.  Many things are different from American resumes, including a recent photo, just a simple head shot, and both your age and marital status, believe it or not.  Think full disclosure.

I signed with a recruiter, Search Associates, to access their data banks of detailed information of teacher packages and recommendations, as well as the semi-security of a having an informed professional to ask questions and anticipate any possible problems.  The fee was $200 and the school has to pay the recruiter a larger fee, I believe it is $1200.  It was worth it.  This also gave me an invitation to the Search Associates International Teaching Fair in California this past February.  More about the teaching fair in another post – it was an experience, that’s for sure.

Reading the school’s websites was crucial to understanding exactly how to apply.  Some wanted a cover letter and cv, some had an online application form, others would only review applicants through one of the recruiters.  No matter what the route, I put effort into making each sentence, each question answered, the best possible.  High level schools are looking for teachers with high level skills and an incorrect subject-verb agreement or misspelled word will definitely stand out – negatively.

Part of my process was my notebook.  I kept track of each letter, each response and tons of printed information of the schools I had applied, in addition to a chart comparing things like salary, contract length, etc.  Without it, I would have been lost and confused.

Remember timing.  International school are actively hiring January through March.  Are you ready?”

Check out the over 100 comments and information about international schools and their hiring policies and other recruitment fair information about a variety of international schools on International School Community’s website.

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Highlighted Articles

Looking for Work? Willing to Move to the UAE? Many Americans (including teachers) are looking to working abroad.

December 21, 2011


With the jobless rate in the United States holding steady at 9.1 percent and the market showing no signs of near-term recovery, many Americans are considering looking abroad to combat their unemployment problem at home.

The Middle East could be the newest hotspot for jobs, according to a new report entitled “Going Global Employment Outlook: United Arab Emirates,” by Mary Anne Thompson, founder and president of Going Global.

It is clear that with this new influx of foreigners to the Middle East, there will also be a high need for their children to attend an international school.  In turn, many teachers are also trying to find jobs teaching in the Middle East, namely in the UAE.  Currently there are 125 international schools listed in the Middle East region of the world on International School Community.  There are presently 34 international schools listed in the UAE, far above the second highest number of schools of 18 which are in Kuwait listed on our website.

Thompson’s thesis states that “despite the continuing volatility in the region, the UAE, with almost no corporate taxes, no income taxes and a relatively low import duty of 5 percent, remains a favorite of multinational companies, expats and would-be expats. As its economic recovery from the global recession gains strength and its stability remains intact, business confidence in the UAE is slowly improving, which should help accelerate economic activity and with it, employment.”

As expats search for jobs abroad, and specifically in the UAE, the questions are where are the high growth sectors, and are the opportunities diverse enough in the UAE to attract expats. Traditionally, job seekers have thought that only oil- and energy-related positions present growth there, but that assumption might not necessarily be accurate.

“UAE experts predict oil and gas production will remain the backbone of the UAE economy for years to come. While this is true, the non-oil sector of the economy is expanding rapidly. Major growth areas include aircraft and parts, security and safety equipment; IT equipment and services; medical equipment, services and supplies; architecture, construction and engineering services; building products; air conditioning and refrigeration equipment; and environmental and pollution control equipment. Because of the UAE’s increasing demand for water and electricity, water and power projects continue to offer opportunities for growth.”

“Nearly 60 percent of businesses in the UAE are looking to hire at managerial and professional levels, up from 46 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to a survey from Antal, an international recruitment company with an office in Dubai. Sixty-eight percent of companies also expect to hire staff for various middle and senior-level positions in the near future,” Thompson explained.

The prospects sound promising, but an important consideration is the local landscape and competition in the UAE. If jobs are abundant, skeptics may ask, then why does the UAE have an estimated 12 percent unemployment rate—one that’s believed to be even higher among its youth? With a large number of Emirati university graduates flooding the market, why may expats be sought to fill the available positions over local candidates? The answer to those questions comes down to skills and training, something that the UAE and the rest of the Middle East struggle with.

In her report, Thompson says, “a recent Middle East Job Index Survey conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov Siraj found those with a degree in business or engineering-related fields have an edge over other job seekers in the region. Twenty-seven percent of employers in the UAE are looking to fill positions with graduates and postgraduates in business management, and 26 percent would like to see engineering graduates and postgraduates join their organization. The survey found that commerce degree holders are also in demand, with 22 percent of companies seeking them to fill positions.”

Meanwhile, many expats never consider seeking job opportunities abroad because they don’t possess local language skills. But Thompson says that non-Arabic speakers shouldn’t assume that language skills will be their Achilles heel.

“While the job index indicates that graduates with certain degrees and Arabic-English speaking skills are in high demand, job seekers who don’t meet the criteria should not be discouraged. Industry experts said getting the right person for the job is crucial, so employers always look beyond formal qualifications when recruiting a new member of the team. Experience and professional achievements count for a lot when seeking the right employee.”

And of course there is the question of salaries; are paychecks in the Middle East competitive by Western standards?

“Salaries in the UAE are high, and they are tax free. GulfTalent predicts UAE salaries will increase 6.3 percent this year…CEOs’ salaries in the UAE are not increasing these days, and the lack of salary hikes may be causing a shortage of candidates,” Thompson said.

(Highlighted article from the CNCB website)

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #1

December 8, 2011


Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you.  The possibility to search for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria.  There are many different kinds of schools: ones that are tiny in student population and ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit and ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities and ones that are in towns of 1000 people, etc.  Each international school teacher has their own type of a school that best fits their needs as a teacher and a professional.  Most of us know what it is like to be working at a school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!

 

Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.  The 8 criteria are: Region of the world, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Country, Year Founded, Kinds of Students and Size of City.

 

Search Result #1

 

Criteria chosen:

  1. Region of the world (All)
  2. Curriculum (USA)
  3. School Nature (Non-Profit)
  4. No. of students (Medium: 300-700)
  5. Country (All)
  6. Year founded (16-50 Years Old)
  7. Kinds of students (Mostly International)
  8. Size of city (Medium: 750K-3 Million)

 


 

Schools Found: 3
China – Nanjing International School
Zambia – American International School of Lusaka
Ghana – Lincoln Community School

 

 

Why not start your own searches now and then start contacting the schools that best fit your needs!  Additionally, all premium members are able to access the more than 1600 comments and information that have been submitted on the hundreds of international school profiles on our website.

 

Join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria.

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9 Lessons Learned Regarding Intl School Hiring Fairs

Lesson 4 at International School Hiring Fairs: “Being yourself is better, come what may, than trying to be someone else.”

December 5, 2011


“Think about it. Not only does pretending to be what you’re not cheat your interviewer – it also cheats you. Show your true colors now, so you’ll know whether it’ll be okay to show them over the length of your contract.

I love the fact that, at my second interview with the two interviewers for the school I chose, Singapore American School, I replied to a question by saying something to the effect of, “There’s no denying that people’s first impression of me is often, ‘Damn, Burell, you’re too intense!’ But after a while they see the rest of me, and realize I’m also mellow in my own way.” “Damn” is a soft enough word these days – and I certainly don’t toss out higher-level potty words like rhymes-with-fit or ends-many-limericks-about-Nantucket or leads-to-supposedly-eternal-damnation in professional company – and I wondered about the wisdom of the utterance after it escaped my mouth (and this was in like the middle of the second hour of the interview), but somehow the fact that the offer was still made left me feeling even happier than otherwise about accepting it when it came in hour three.”

Is it really that difficult to just be yourself, and just for a moment, maybe pretend that you are a better version of who you really? The thing about admitting your own true colors is that you might have to admit some of the things, that you yourself, might find questionable, or that society deems one thing or another.  Even worse is when you realize mid-interview that you are indeed not the “best fit” as you had hoped you would be…for that international school you have been wanting to work at…in the city you really had been wanting to live in.

hiring fairs

The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung operates with something called archetypes. Two of those archetypes are known as the Shadow and the Persona. The Persona is the way we want the world to see us at our very best, the peak of our personality, but always with a mask that protects the ego, and paints an uneven picture of the person we are. The Shadow is the exact opposite. This is, according to Jung, the essence of us. The Shadow contains all our traits, the good and the bad, the flattering and unflattering, but it is our true personality. With age comes sagacity, and we start to know more about who we are, and as years pass we learn to accept ourselves, flaws and all. We learn to deal with our shortcomings, and learn to see beyond what we aren’t and what we are. The human being is of a complex size, we contain so many different traits, and as we get older we learn, and become better to deal with what is giving and what we achieve, what we learn and the wisdom we obtain.

The thing about job interviews is that we only want people to see us at our very best, or to put in a more accurate sense: what we think they want! We somehow create an illusion, that’s inevitably going to burst, it might turn out for the better, but it could as easy turn out for the worse. Honesty is the best policy, especially in the international teaching world. We so desperately want to be everything a job applicant is looking for, when in the end, all that weighs the most, probably is our personality. Our own true personality and how that matches up with the administration and staff at a school.

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?” is a quote by comedienne Fanny Brice. When you create illusions or pose in a manner that is untrue to yourself, can you really expect to be liked or hired for the person you are. What sets us apart, and makes us different, is in the end what makes us unique, and when it comes to a job interview, it is the way we should be judged.

So is it really so difficult to just be yourself? If you let go of some kind of perfect perception of yourself, and just act natural, it really isn’t. Of course it takes years to accept yourself and to fully come into your own, but you will find that it somehow feels better in your own skin, when you are simply just yourself.  And maybe, just maybe you will make one of the hardest and scariest decisions you will make in your life (accepting a job at an international school in a location of the world you have never been to; and not knowing anybody there) a bit easier on your mind knowing that you have done your best to show your true self at the interview.

“Nine Lessons Learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: Which international school job fairs do you recommend and the job fair circus!

November 26, 2011


In these two blog entries by Greg Clinton, he discusses the topic of the international school job fairs.  He is currently working in the international school community at American Embassy School, New Delhi.

Parts of the two entries we’d like to highlight:

Job Fairs: Which One Do You Recommend?

“The international school community is known for relatively high change-over rates in faculty, compared to schools that are rooted in a particular community “back home”.

The most traditional way to get a job overseas is The Job Fair.  ”Are you going to the job fairs?” is a question we will all hear and ask more often as the end of the calendar year approaches.  But job fairs are expensive to attend and some candidates have to travel thousands of miles, without the guarantee that it will net them a new job.  More and more interviews are being conducted over Skype and more connections are being made through online services such as TIE Online’s resume service and databases like the NAIS candidate pools.

Question for administrators:  Is it necessary to meet a candidate face-to-face, or can hiring be done effectively over Skype?  Also, which job fairs do you prefer, and why?”

As we write this blog entry, some of the staff at International School Community have friends that have already informed us that they have received and accepted offers to work at their next international school.  No job fairs were involved, just Skype and over the phone.  Also, in a few of the situations, the power of the people you know in the international school community has helped.  You work with a director at one international school in Europe and then that director moves to a school in South America.  Four years down the road, you find yourself being offered a job at the director’s new school.

It is important to remember not to burn any bridges as you never know what the future may hold in terms of which school you find yourself working at next in your life.  Many international school teachers are indeed getting hired more and more over Skype.  It just might be the way of the future of getting hired at international schools.  Sometimes though it is a bit of fun to go to an international school job fair anyways as you never know what you might find there and who you might interview with at those things.  I remember seeing somebody in the elevator at a Search fair and then nine months later seeing them at the same IB conference.  We remembered each other just in that brief moment in the elevator!

The job fair that most teachers prefer is the one that cost the least money probably.  They all seem to be doing relatively the same format anyways.  One key factor though is knowing which international schools go to which job fairs.  No good going to one fair when the schools you are most looking at are not going to that fair that year.

International Job Circus

“Hiring fairs are where most teachers looking for international teaching jobs line up new positions.  Some schools and administrators have been looking elsewhere for their hiring needs, including websites and online databases of candidate information.  The International Educator, a “newspaper”/resume bank, is one such stalwart company offering an alternative to job fairs.  There are some other upstart websites that charge schools an exorbitant fee to see candidate info, but they won’t last long.  Really, it’s all about being face to face.

There are three main institutions that provide the most complete job search settings: Search Associates, International Schools Services, and the University of Northern Iowa.  They have their strengths and weaknesses, but they offer a comparable experience.

I attended the Search Associates fair in Bangkok not long ago.  It took place in a swank hotel that I couldn’t afford, but I enjoyed wearing my new suit, drinking coffee in the lobby and pretending.  There are two things I love about the fair experience, and two things I think are not so great.

Things I love:

Everybody’s there.  It’s like a gigantic, international school orgy.  The schmooze is thick, and the glad-handing is non-stop, but come on!  It’s exciting, you get to meet new people (I personally know two couples who have met at job fairs and gotten married the next year – perhaps Search and ISS should start a teacher match-making service?  Something to consider!) and you get to play the hunter or the hunted.  Right now, if you’re a decent candidate without a criminal record and no facial tattoos, you are probably one of the hunted.  But there are lean years and fat years for teachers.  Anyway, there you are, in the ballroom, surrounded by potential bosses all trying to be as nice and smart as possible.  You might run into old friends, or you might impress a superintendent and make a contact for later.  It’s an extrovert’s dream.

Note passing.  Not only are we auditioning for roles as school teachers, but we get to re-live our school days by passing secret love letters in the little bins.  What joy when you receive a note saying “I’d LOVE to sit down and chat with you…  I’m in room 275.”  What heartache when your bin is empty!  It’s all so deliciously human.  Composing your own notes is equally fun and tense.  What tone do I use?  Do I want to come across as playful?  Professional?  Smart?  Serious?  Do I just let my feelings flow: I’m in love with your school and want to spend the rest of my life with it?  Your school completes me?  You had me at “2 bedroom apartment”?  Or do I hold back, play hard to get?

Things I don’t love:

Being in a stranger’s bedroom.  I don’t see a logistical way around this problem, but it’s one of the creepiest parts of the hiring process.  Have you ever walked into an interview only to be faced with a pile of dirty clothes or someone’s underwear sticking out of a suitcase, or just a rumpled, used bed?  It’s distracting, unsettling.  Who was in that bed last night?  I don’t really want to be thinking about it, thank you very much.  I suppose the lesson is: administrators beware: your hotel room is a direct reflection of you.  In other words, arrange your most important interviews over coffee at the restaurant or something.

The cost.  This is why more and more candidates are turning to the Interwebs.  Search Associates charges something like $600 just to register as a candidate. [Correction: $200 for fair registration, includes one hiring fair.  Thanks, Jim.]  You’ll have to fly yourself there and back, and the hotels are usually up-scale.  A teacher could easily spend a month’s salary or more to attend a fair, and have no guarantee of landing a new position.  Schools spend tons to jet their administrators around, and then they pay sizable finders fees to the agencies.  Again, I’m not sure I see an easy solution.”

It is a bit weird to be going into a stranger’s bedroom at a hotel.  A person can’t get that comfortable in a hotel room I guess.  One question: have international schools been using their bedrooms for interviews since the inception of the international school job fair?  Seems like there might be a better option.  What other industries hold job fairs at hotels?

Indeed there are many things to love and hate about the fairs.  Thanks to the Wandering Academic for your excellent insight into the international school job fairs!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1991 (Hong Kong, Osaka and Lesotho)

November 22, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1991

Utilizing the database of the 963 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 17 international schools that were founded in 1991 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)

“In 1991, the Canadian International School of Hong Kong first opened its doors to students in small rented facilities in Causeway Bay. Founded upon the recommendation of the Hong Kong Government, who wished to expand the number of international schools offering a North American curriculum, the school was established as a non-profit, charitable organisation and was initially home to only 81 students.”

Osaka International School  (Osaka, Japan)

“The uniqueness of our Two School model sets us apart from every other school in Japan and indeed the world. The faculty and staff who jointly founded OIS and SIS understood this and established an ethos to match it. This continues today with professional educators, administrators and staff who understand why we are here and what it is that give our schools a particularly important role in the world of international education.”

American International School of Lesotho (Maseru, Lesotho)

“The American International School of Lesotho (AISL) is a nonprofit, independent coeducational day school which offers an American educational program to students from preschool (age 3) through grade 9. The School, founded in 1991, serves the needs of the American community and other students seeking an English-language, American-style education. The school year is divided into 3 trimesters extending from late August to November, December to March and March to mid-June.”

Clavis International School (Mapou, Mauritius)

Wesgreen International Private School (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

“Wesgreen International School was founded in 1991, and in the years since it has grown to become one of the most successful schools in the area. Now we offer a first class education, based on the British Curriculum, for all ages from Nursery to Grade 13.”

Emirates International School (Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

“EIS-Jumeirah was established in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates in 1991 as a community service of the Al Habtoor Group (www.habtoor.com) and was the first school in Dubai authorised to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.”

International Community School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)

“In 1981, expatriate families began a cooperative to educate their children from a biblical worldview. The cooperative continued for 12 years, providing first grade to sixth grade education. In 1990 many of these expatriate families and The Network of International Christian Schools met to discuss the feasibility of establishing a Christian school to provide kindergarten through twelfth grade education to the English speaking international community in Bangkok. In 1993 a suitable site was leased and the name International Community School (ICS) was chosen. The school was located on Soi Prong Jai in the Sathon area of Bangkok and welcomed 120 students when it opened in August 1993. The school’s ownership was given to, and remains with the International Community School Educational Foundation, a not-for profit foundation registered in Thailand.”

St. John’s International School (Thailand) (Bangkok, Thailand)

“For over 20 years we have been providing high quality International Education to both Thai and non-Thai students in Bangkok. The focus of this education has always been about learning and growth, academically and socially and as individuals. We are able to achieve this through providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment, alongside qualified, experienced and dedicated teachers and support staff.”

American International School of Kuwait (Hawalii, Kuwait)

“The school opened in 1991 after Kuwait was liberated from occupying Iraqi forces. Dr. Kamil Al Rayes, the founder,sought to create a school of high caliber with a disciplined, yet relaxed atmosphere that would provide opportunities for local and ex-patriot children to gain access to the world’s best universities. During the first year twenty-five teachers and 300 students dealt with shortages of textbooks and classroom supplies, an inadequate library and a skeleton curriculum. The school developed rapidly. In October of 1994 it became fully accredited and in the ensuing years dedicated professionals worked hard to develop what has become an excellent university preparatory school with 1600 students.”

American School Foundation of Chiapas (Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico)

King Faisal School (Riyadh) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

“The King Faisal School emerged after all procedures for launching the Boys’ Elementary Section were completed in 1991. It is a non-profit institution and one of the most important academic projects sponsored and developed by the King Faisal Foundation.  The School lies on a beautiful, aesthetically – designed campus in the Diplomatic Quarter. On its fascinating gardens, fourteen building have been erected, and a variety of athletic playfields. All these facilities and buildings have been put together in full harmony that is consistent with the prestige of the Diplomatic Quarter.”

Skagerak International School (Sandefjord, Norway)

“Skagerak Gymnas was founded in 1991 by a group of enthusiastic individuals and companies from Sandefjord led by Elisabeth Norr. They believed there was a need to offer a non-selective alternative to the Norwegian state education system. The school established itself quickly in the revamped shipbuilding premises on Framnesveien 7 at Framnes. The founders were committed to making the school a centre of educational excellence. When the school introduced the IB Diploma Programme (DP) it phased out the second and third years of the Norwegian national curriculum and changed its name to Skagerak International School. By October 1992 it was an authorised IB World School offering the DP.”

Providence English Private School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Greater Grace International School (Hungary, Budapest)

“Greater Grace International School is a private English-language preperatory – 12th grade school located in Budapest´s beautiful 12th district. Since 1991 GGIS has provided expatriate and Hungarian families with a college preparatory education; equipping the student academically, spiritually and physically; teaching and demonstrating in the context of a Christian biblical world view.”

Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)

“Singapore International School was first established in September 1991 in Kennedy Town with an enrolment of 200 pupils. In 1995, SIS moved to its current premises in Aberdeen. The new purpose-built school was built on land granted by the Hong Kong government, and the cost of the building was borne by the Singapore Government. Presently, the school has an enrolment of approximately 1200 pupils of more than 20 nationalities with Singaporeans and Hong Kong citizens forming the majority.”

Tirana International School (Tirana, Albania)

“In May of 1991 Mr. Gilson traveled to Albania to have a look at a country just emerging from over 45 years of dictatorial rule. During his time there, he met some key people in the Tirana community and made a decision to begin Tirana Int’l School. This expansion has resulted today in an organization offering excellence in education in 25 different countries.”

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: The benefits of international schooling

November 21, 2011


The benefits of international schooling: First-person account of the life and prospects of international pupils.

The graduation gown of the school was a uniform blue, but when the students lined up for the final photos they could not look more different from one another.

The picture my father took of me and my friends included an American born in Egypt, a Chinese girl, and a Dutch girl – and there was my friend Annelie, who is half-Swedish and half-Sri Lankan.

My school was the Overseas School in Colombo, Sri Lanka, an International School attended by what educators call “Third Culture Kids” – young people who grow up in two or more different cultures and try to live with their own, “third,” mix of this experience.

Around 17,000 German students attended German Schools overseas in 2006, part of a growing group of such children, Melanie Schulz from the German Foreign Office told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The daughter of a German father working in international development, I first went to Sri Lanka when I was barely 17.

Two years later and back in Germany, my world appears very different to me and to that of other teenagers in my home town Dortmund in western Germany.

“It is strange to see people in suburban terraces, who finish school, do local apprenticeships, marry their kindergarten sweetheart, have two children, and just seem to stay in a little world for the rest of their lives,” says Jenni Griewel, 21. Also from Germany, she finished one year abroad in Ireland in 2006.

Ruth Van Reken, from Indianapolis, a former nurse, who now works with children of diplomats, members of the army and missionary workers, confirms the overwhelming experience of children who grew up in different worlds.

“Life is learned in living out a full three-dimensional view rather than through history and geography books alone,” she tells dpa.

I still remember the day when my father received a phone call in our Colombo flat and later told my younger sister and me that the LTTE had moved their attacks from the north of the country and bombed the airport in Colombo just 30 kilometres away from our flat.

Even though we were normally not exposed to Sri Lanka’s civil conflict, I was frightened. When I mailed my German friends in Dortmund about this, nobody knew about it.

Nobody even knew what the LTTE – Tamil rebels fighting for a separate state in Northern Sri Lanka – was.

It is not just that your school pals can come from more than three continents. As a Third Culture Kid, you feel in the middle of things that appear very far away for other children.

For Reken, who spent her childhood in Nigeria and later co-authored the book Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Between Worlds, everything she does today is connected to her multicultural childhood.

“The applications of lessons learned from and in my life shape my entire way of thinking and viewing things,” she says, adding she is now far more sensitive to seeing “hidden diversities” that other people may miss.

As a result, Third Culture Kids can adapt better to the modern globalized world, she points out: “They use what they have learned from life including for many language acquisition, larger world view, comfortableness in moving and living between cultural worlds etc. Perhaps above all is often they can think outside the box.”

However, the impact of the cultural transitions Third Culture Kids are forced to make is not necessarily only positive. Some children don’t learn to grieve and cope with the separations they experience, Reken says.

As a result, they can develop depression, emotional difficulties and career problems in later life.

In German overseas schools it is part of the school’s task to prepare the children for reintegration into their home country, according to Schulz of the German Foreign Office.

Sometimes, however, even the term “home” is not clear when it comes to Third Culture Children.

“I never realized until I was 39 that when I left Nigeria as a child of 13, my entire world died except for my immediate family.

“All my friends, my trees I loved to climb, the sights and sounds of the market that were all part of ‘home’ to me, were gone forever. But I had no language or understanding of it when it happened,” she tells dpa.

Other children, who lived in many countries, don’t know at all what “home” is, she has learned from her work with Third Culture Kids. Basic identity questions remain for them, as well as a fundamental feeling of “belonging everywhere and nowhere.”

I do know where home is, but I now feel an unspoken connection especially with those friends in Germany who have also been far away from home.

Jenni did not want to move back in with her parents when she came back to Germany. “It wasn’t because it was not great there but I just felt it was time to be independent.”

Everytime I see my graduation photos, I am proud to have friends all over the world.

Having lived the experience – and the trauma – that the world is a bigger place, many Third Culture Kids seem to embrace the difference, complexity, and multiculturalism also in their later career choices.

Jenni is now studying to be a social worker. I have applied to study political science in Austria. My Chinese friend is studying environmental studies in Canada.

And Annelie, after living in Sweden, Sri Lanka, the Kashmiri mountains and Spain, plans to study sociology and work on human rights with the United Nations.

Reprinted from the expatic.com website here.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.07 – 12 November, 2011

November 12, 2011


Site Stats:
Current members: 172 ( 21)
School profiles
: 955 ( 58)
Blog entries
: 127 ( 22)
Posted comments & info
:
1427 ( 348)
Facebook likes: 105 ( 14)
Twitter followers: 195 ( 26)


Bookmark a school profile function on our website:

When you are a member at International School Community you can bookmark the school profile pages that you are most interested in on your member profile page.

Just go to the school profile of the international school that you are most interested in and click on the “Bookmark this school” link at the top.  Once you have successfully bookmarked a school profile page, then that school will show us ap as a link on your member profile page.  The next time you want to access that specific school profile page (e.g. to check out any new comments that have been written, to write some more of your own comments and information, etc.), just click on the bookmark link!


New members:

·Antonina Kleshnina
(Sunland International School)
·Walter Munz
(Harbin No. 9 High School International Division)
·Neil Howie
(British International School – Serbia)
·Jane Evans
(The International Academy)
·William Watkins
(The Blake School)
·Enrique Damasio
(Colegio International de Carabobo)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Check out our last 6 member spotlights here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


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.)

School Curriculum:
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.)

School Nature:
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.)

School Region:
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.

With regards to our current members, International School Community’s members work at or have worked at 77 international schools! Check out which schools here.


Recently updated schools:

· 11 Nov  The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (6 new comments)
(St. John, Barbados)
“You have to buy your own car. The school will lend you money to do so. It took about 45 minutes from my house…”
· 11 Nov  Hokkaido International School (7 new comments)
(Sapporo, Japan)
“Sapporo is a fantastic setting for outdoor enthusiasts with excellent camping, hiking, biking, fishing and winter sports including skiing and snowboarding…”
· 09 Nov  American International School Bucharest (12 new comment)
(Bucharest, Romania)
“BA +5 = 34K, BA +10 = 38K, MA +5 = 36K, MA +10 = 40K. All in USD. There are no deductions for taxes as long as the teachers does not obtain Romanian citizenship or permanent residence status…”
· 08 Nov  International School of Bologna (3 new comments)
(Bologna, Italy)
“I went through CIS online. I applied directly through the website. Then I interviewed with them over the phone…”

· 06 Nov  International School of Paris (8 new comments)
(Paris, France)
“The teachers are mostly European. It is very hard to get a job at an international school in Paris. They prefer to hire native speakers of English because the French parents prefer it…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· 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…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 66 countries around the world!

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Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #1 (Singapore, Kuwait & Beijing)

October 29, 2011


A new blog topic on International School Community: Comments and information about hiring policies

Every week members are leaving information and comments about the hiring policies at international schools around the world.  Which ones go to the Search Associates Recruitment Fairs?  Which ones hold interviews over Skype?  Which ones have hiring restrictions imposed on them by the host country?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of which international schools go to which recruitment fairs and which international schools employ which interview style and tactic.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for information about hiring policies easier for international school teachers. In the school section of each international school profile page on our website, there is a section specific to the school’s hiring policies.  The topic is: “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?”

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to the hiring policies of international schools that have been posted on our website:

Western Academy Beijing

“Go to SEARCH fairs in Bangkok, London and Boston. Also other fairs in New York, San Francisco and Toronto Some people hired after SKYPE interviews – often people who have been recommended.”

American Bilingual School

“If the candidate is not present in Kuwait, the interview will take place via phone. Standard questions related your experience and suitability for the position will be covered. In addition, you will be asked about your age, your marital status, your state of health, and height/weight. Such questions are customary for overseas positions. All successful applicants will be required to email or send a 3 minute DVD of himself/herself delivering a sample lesson within their subject area.”

International School Singapore

“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. I actually was emailed again to have a 2nd interview. After the 2nd interview I was told that they were going to go with a local hire. She told me that they have hired expat in the past that have been surprised (not prepared) to handle the high cost of living in Singapore vs. the salary and benefits of the school.”

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Great Resource

Great resource: Want to work at an international school in Germany?

October 21, 2011


The How To Germany website (www.howtogermany.com/pages/internationalschools.html) has 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.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are:

Highlighted sections 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.

Physical plants and facilities are usually quite modern, clean and comfortable, with new equipment more conducive to learning. And the curricula among international schools is uniform, allowing ease of transfer. They usually are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and normally offer the International Baccalaureate. They may also offer the American high school diploma, British A Levels and, sometimes, the GermanAbitur.

The costs vary from school to school and in some cases may approximate what a US college education commands: as much as €16,000 per high school student per year. Preschool and elementary school grades may cost 30 to 50 percent less. Additional costs could include transportation, lunches, class trips and various special activities.”

Berlin Brandenburg International School


“Berlin Brandenburg International School (BBIS), founded in 1990, is an inclusive, coeducational English language day and boarding school serving the internationally-minded community of Germany’s capital region and beyond. The BBIS campus is located in the village of Kleinmachnow, bordering the southwest of Berlin, on a large, quiet wooded hill known as the Seeberg.

BBIS offers an international education programme. An International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, BBIS is the first IB school in the world to be fully authorized by the International Baccalaureate organization in Geneva, Switzerland to teach all four IB programmes covering the 3 to19 year-old age range. The school is also fully accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).

From Early Childhood to grade 12, BBIS is truly an international school, with 680 students representing 60 nationalities. Classes are small, usually with fewer than 18 students. The school offers excellent facilities and an extensive extracurricular programme for students of all ages. In addition, specific support is provided for students with special needs and those for whom English is not a first language.

In grades 11 and 12 students have the opportunity to earn the IB Diploma, a qualification recognized by top universities throughout the world, or the IB Career-related Certificate, an exciting new professionally-oriented programme that, with a flexible and individualized curriculum, aims at helping students develop a broad range of career-related competencies.

The BBIS boarding facility, located directly on the school campus, houses 30 international students from grades 9 through 12. It is the first international, English-language IB World Boarding School in all of Germany.   For more details please visit www.bbis.de.”

St. George’s International School


St. George’s International School has been an integral part of the international community in Nordrhein-Westfalen since 1985 when it was founded by an English family in Cologne. Since then, St. George’s has founded further schools in Duisburg (2002) and Aachen (2007). With over 1000 pupils in its three schools, St. George’s success lies in its aim to offer children happy school years.

St. George’s provides a full school day for pupils aged 3 to 18 and incorporates all school years including Nursery School and Reception Classes, Early Years, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School until A-Level or IB diploma. Both diplomas are accepted world-wide for university entrance.

Individual support and attention are placed on pupils in regard to their native school system thereby enabling them to return smoothly to their native country’s system if necessary. 45 % of St. George’s student body is comprised of German pupils and the rest comes from 35 different nations; hence integration is not only theory but is practiced on a daily basis. A school uniform further enhances integration and solidarity between pupils. All children are introduced and immersed in traditions, holidays and history of the local German culture.

It is St. George’s aim to achieve the highest possible academic standard by means of small classes (maximum 20 pupils per class), a dedicated and enthusiastic staff and a positive atmosphere throughout the school. The student-teacher ratio of 7.5 to 1 allows for individual attention to be placed on each pupil’s specific need, for stronger and weaker pupils alike. Non English speakers are given extra support through the ESL department. The first foreign language taught is German which is divided into German for native speakers and German for non-native speakers; the second foreign language taught is French. After school clubs are offered on a regular basis.

More information on the programs can be found at:
www.stgeorgesschoolcologne.de
www.stgeorgesschoolduisburg.de
www.stgeorgesschoolaachen.de

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Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #1 (Hong Kong, Shanghai & Seoul)

October 1, 2011


A new blog topic on International School Community: Comments and information about salaries at international schools.

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do schools keep their salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?”

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:

Seoul International School

“I have 14 years experience and my Masters. I earn about $1,500 per month in Won (about $400 of that is taken out of my paycheck for a retirement plan which is matched by school which I have access to at the end of the school year), and then another $2,000 in US dollars which is sent to my US account every month. I pay no taxes. The school takes care of it. I am paid 12 times a year although we get the summer pay all at once, in May.”

Western Int’l School of Shanghai

“Net salary for someone with over 10 yrs exp is currently 24000 rmb. Not bad in rmb but doesn’t convert very well! Payment is monthly.”

American International School (Hong Kong)

“Taxes are low in Hong Kong and there is no sales tax. Teachers must pay for housing, though, and that is quite expensive, unless you want to live outside the city and/or in substandard accommodation. I was able to live comfortably and travel when I wanted to, but I was not able to save anything.”

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Great Resource

Great resource: Want to work at an international school in the UAE?

September 19, 2011


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

– American Community School (ACS-Abu Dhabi) – US curriculum (not related to the American International School of Abu Dhabi)

– Al Khubairat British School Abu Dhabi (BSAK)

Schools worth trying in Abu Dhabi if you can’t find a job at one of the best ones

– Al Muna Primary School

– Al Yasmina School

– Aldar Academy schools

– Al Raha International School

Brighton College Abu Dhabi (new in September 2011 so we’re not sure yet)

Best schools for teachers in Dubai

– American School in Dubai (not related to the American International School of Dubai)

– Dubai College

– 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)

– JESS Arabian Ranches

– JPS (Jumeirah Primary School)

Schools worth trying in Dubai if you can’t find a job at one of the best ones

– Dubai American Academy

– Dubai British School

– Dubai International Academy (maybe)

– GEMS World Academy

– Jumeirah College (maybe)

– Kings School Dubai

– Repton School Dubai (maybe)

Universal American School

Teacher job satisfaction in Abu Dhabi – mid 2011 survery

  • A WAM news report 15 August 2011 had the headline Teachers’ professional satisfaction rate in Abu Dhabi Schools is as high as 78.3%. The conclusion was the result of a survey conducted during June and July 2011 whereby 5022 public and private school teachers completed a questionnaire on the ADEC web portal. It wasn’t clear from the report how random the survey was or how participants were chosen.
  • There was a confusing line in the report about overall job satisfaction (the first question) which said … related to the teacher’s salary and as predicted, the levels of satisfaction were relatively low, in both public and private sectors, with 31.9 in the public sector and 43.8 in the private sector (but didn’t say who made the prediction or when it was made). Presumably referring to a component asking about pay and salaries. Whereas the first paragraph of the report said A recent survey conducted by Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) on teachers’ job satisfaction in Abu Dhabi Schools showed a satisfaction index in public schools of 77.7% while in private schools, it reached 78.9.
  • The National had a slightly different slant on the survery, with a headline on 16 August 2011 that said Teachers criticise apathetic parents, and highlighted that In a survey of 5,000 teachers, carried out by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) last month to gauge job satisfaction, it was found that 76.3 per cent of public school teachers and 67.3 per cent of private school teachers were unhappy with behaviour in the classroom.

Salaries for teaching jobs in Dubai and the UAE

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.

  • For example, a British curriculum school in Abu Dhabi (unnamed) was advertising in August 2010 for a primary school teacher to KS1 with salary range of AED 11,000-15,000. Benefits included family housing, flights, medical, free schooling for 2 children (presumably if they attend the same school as the employee, not clear if fees paid to send them to another school). School claimed to be offering one of the top Abu Dhabi international school teacher salaries.
  • The ADEC was offering Abu Dhabi teaching jobs in their Abu Dhabi PPP schools program which started in 2006, with salaries advertised up to AED 20,000 per month from some providers. But that’s a maximum. Range is probably something like AED 5,000 to 20,000 per month.

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.

  • Teachers should check carefully what the salary package includes. Most overseas hire packages will include accommodation (which can vary from very good to slum), medical (which can also vary substantially – a government health card is only regarded as a bare minimum), return flights once a year (if the school insists on making bookings for you, this can be an aggravating experience). Some will include allowances for transport and utilities, and free or reduced tuition charges for children attending the same school.
  • If a school offers an accommodation allowance instead of accommodation, it is likely to be insufficient for good accommodation – assume it will cover about 50% of your rental costs (which are normally paid one year in advance in full). Especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and until 2009 at least, it’s difficult to even find properties for rent.
  • Teachers on local contract hires will normally not be offered any of the above and may find it difficult financially if they have to cover their own accommodation costs – rental properties are very expensive in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  • Check also the policy for salary increments. Some schools do not move teachers up a salary scale irrespective of years of service or additional qualifications gained.
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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.04 – 13 August, 2011

August 13, 2011


v2011.04 – 9 August, 2011:
Back to school!  If you are new teacher at an international school this year, right now is the most exciting time.  You are now officially in the honeymoon phase of your culture shock. Enjoy it.  Many times for new teachers there is a nice BBQ at the director’s house, catered lunches during workshop days, a nice tour around the city, etc.  If you are lucky, there is a nice group of new teachers at your school this year.  Why, you ask?  The other new teachers that start at your new school at the same time as you will typically become some of your best friends that you will make there.  It is because you guys will be sharing the same experiences as you explore your new city, new country and new school together at the same time.  So, new teachers enjoy your first few months!  Take everything in stride and appreciate every minute.  Try and say “yes” to all the invitations you will receive from other teachers in their attempt to make new friends with you.


Recent blog entries:

· International schools that were founded in 1978 (Mauritania, Egypt, Kuwait, etc.)
“The Vienna International School was founded in September 1978 to serve the children of the United Nations and diplomatic community in Vienna. It is also open to children of the…”

· Blogs of international school teachers: “Ichi, Ni, San…Go.”
“It has some great insight into how important the first few weeks are for new teachers during their orientation days to their new city and new school.  There is also much information to be …”

· School profile highlights #6: Luanda Int’l School, Amer. School of Tokyo and Int’l School of Iceland
“Candidates should note that most foreign-hire teachers live near the main campus in Chofu, a suburban environment one hour west of downtown Tokyo by train…”

· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #2 – Anticipate a challenging adjustment period of six months
“Some international school teachers tend to experience different levels of culture shock and can pass though the stages quite quickly, but I still think for those people that you need to give yourself six full months to decide…”


Recently updated schools:

· Stafford International School (3 new comments)
(Colombo, Sri Lanka)
“Religious activities are promoted with weekly assemblies by each group and the celebration of festivals in which all participate…”
· Copenhagen International School (10 new comments)
(Copenhagen, Denmark)
“The apartment that I got was complete unfurnished. I had to buy everything for it. Luckily, you can use the relocation allowance to help you buy furniture and what not (which is around USD 2000)…”
· Greengates School (British Int’l School) (5 new comments)
(Mexico City, Mexico)
“The PTA is very strong. International Day Fair is the most interesting event that you will see. High School graduation is very respected with Ambassadors as guest speakers …”
· Robert Muller Life School (3 new comments)
(Panajachel, Guatemala)
“The school has around 11 teachers and they are from Guatemalan and the United States…”
· International School Dhaka (3 new comments)
(Dhaka, Bangladesh)
“This well-resourced school has a purpose-built centrally air- conditioned buildings and classrooms, specialist teaching rooms including…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 51 countries around the world!

 

Site Stats:
Current members: 114
School profiles: 840
Surveys: 5
Blog entries: 78
Posted comments: 606


100 members:

Back in July we celebrated our 100th member on International School Community!  We are definitely on our way to our goal of having 200 members by the end of the year.  Please refer your international school teacher friends to join our community.

Officially, we also have 66 likes on Facebook and on Twitter we have 119 followers. How exciting!


New members:

·Carolyn Brown (Seoul International School)
·Duncan Rose
·Deirdre
·Sonia Chan (Cempaka International School)
·Silvia Chavez
·Etsuko Yamamoto (AI International School)

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Top 10 Lists

Top 12 Most Controversial Comments Submitted by Our Members (2nd edition)

May 30, 2022


International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…44256 comments (30 May 2022) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website, and sometimes they need to share how it really is working at their international school.

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most controversial.

12. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“Disorganised. Micromanagement from leaders who haven’t been teaching a range of schools before. Limited experience from Tier 1 schools which reflects the disorganization and reactive rather than proactive approach to problems. Leadership runs to stomp down teachers, bully them and drain their enthusiasm for teaching. AOBA has a huge staff turnover, which was a question that I asked when interviewed. I was told a very low turnover rate until I turned up and was met with a large new teaching cohort. Leadership sees good teachers, and lies to get them because they know that what they offer is not good enough for the truth-telling of how this school is actually run…” – Aoba Japan International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 49 Comments

11. Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about?

“The ONLY contract that matters is the teacher’s contract with the government of Azerbaijan, and that is for one year and one year only. The “2-year” that is issued by the school? It’s not worth the paper it is written on. The business office regularly ignores sections of that contract that it finds inconvenient! Coming from a country where contracts are considered sacrosanct, that was a shocking realization…”European Azerbaijan School (Baku, Azerbaijan) – 7 Comments

10. What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective.

“Leaders have been fired without any forewarning shocking leaders and staff. Replacements were hired who are not trusted or have a reputation for being unpleasant. Student leaders behaved in a manner this year that caused a great number of problems for staff, parents, and admin. This is not a new behavior but rather part of the school persona and spirit…” – Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 278 Comments

9. What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?

“This is a top-down working environment and your professional opinion is not expected or valued. Smile, agree and do your best to follow through with all directives. Lay low and never make ripples, much less waves. This is a great place for 1st ever international teachers, but an unacceptable post for professional international educators…” – American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 97 Comments

8. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“No, Not at all. There is no PAY SCALE as promised. Teachers even don’t get paid what they should get paid when inflation rises. Salaries stay the same every year. no way you can discuss this further with your HOD or director. Different building with more facilities was said to change, during my interview. During Covid, online teaching they cut salaries. Can you believe that? We spent more time in organising online learning and then they cut salaries! Flexibility only comes from one side in this school. I would not recommend this school to any teacher nor student!!!!” – International School Ruhr (Essen, Germany) – 65 Comments

7. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“No, the interview process was great yet when I joined there were clashes of values and I was constantly asked to stop and ‘listen’ (listen in the sense of ‘do what I say’ rather than ‘listen’ from the heart to hear and incorporate perspectives). As a creative person with ambition and well-read and connected, I had to keep lowering expectations until I felt there was no way I could continue working here. I had a completely different ethic, based on quality international school standards. I was highly disappointed by the lack of innovative thinking and the authoritarian and competitive feel of the majority of the leaders. I think the school is too American and not enough “international”. the culture was not healthy…” – Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria) – 74 Comments

6. Pension plan details.

“It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end…” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments

5. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“The school has changed severely since the new head of school started this school year. 6 people had been fired so far, the morale is really low, there is a fear of “who will be the next”. The environment is not healthy at all…” – Benjamin Franklin International School (Barcelona, Spain) – 116 Comments

4. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“My first impression of the school was that it was warm, welcoming, and compassionate. I thought I would truly matter as an employee – I was eager to find a school with a family-like atmosphere that I could make home. The family-like atmosphere is a total illusion. Employees are expendable. HR put out a health survey to prepare for Covid-19. Anyone (local staff and teaching assistants) seen as expendable that marked that they were at a higher risk of Covid on that survey was fired at the end of the school year. The motto for the year was “We Are One.” The irony was not lost on the foreign staff with this. Generally, the moment you have a differing opinion, an issue, or a criticism, you are treated like garbage. This school is the epitome of the term “toxic positivity…” – School of the Nations (Brasilia) (Brasilia, Brazil) – 41 Comments

3. Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extracurricular responsibilities? Describe workload details.

“Workload has increased, as teachers have been fired/let go… those remaining are regularly requested to cover (during their planning periods) for those who are out sick…” – Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments

2. Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?

“This is a great school with a fantastic community of teachers and staff. Such a shame that the owners will ignore the contract and refuse to pay health insurance above a yearly total of $180 per year, but then use the poor wording in the contract to cheat other people out of their final month’s salary. Beware if you want to work here…” – Sekolah Victory Plus (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 143 Comments

1. Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?

“No raise last year and I believe no raise this year as well…. Makes you wonder if the school is having some issues…” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 226 Comments

If you have an interesting story in your school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Information for Members

The Total Comments in All the City Information Sections: 6457!

May 30, 2021


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2201+ school profile pages on our website has four comments and information sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments and information on one or all of these