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.
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)
“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
“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
“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
“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!continue reading
As all International School Community members know, each of the 2081+ school profile pages on our website has four comments sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information. Our members are encouraged to submit comments on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.
It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other teachers make a more informed decision before they sign any contract! *Additionally, for every 10 comments you submit (which are anonymous by the way), you will automatically get one free month of premium membership added on 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 14742 (out of a total of 31084+ 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. (1391 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school is set in 3 separate building, one being a 5 minute walk and the other across the road. Crossing the road is quite a safety hazard with the kindergarten class due to taxis over taking them whilst they are on the crossing and the local police not doing anything to monitor this. There is no proper play area and students are taken to local parks for lunch breaks, which is difficult when having to share with babies. No proper gym areas make p.e quite difficult.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan) – 93 Comments
• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1041 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) – 48 Comments
• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (628 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) – 51 Comments
• Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country? (1413 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Last year they were NOT hiring people with non-EU passports. Some positions that they had last year were local hires, even if the candidates weren’t the strongest of the CVs that they received. Most of this though is out of the school’s control and more the new/changing laws regarding hiring foreigners into the country.” – Southbank International School (London, United Kingdom) – 15 Comments
• Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school? (1312 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school is located near one of the hub stations in Tokyo, with easy access by several trains and subways. The school also has two school bus routes. The school will help the teachers find housing if necessary, but it does not itself provide housing. A transportation allowance is provided to cover the transportation cost from home to school and back.” – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan) – 30 Comments
• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (716 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Expectations are high but the atmosphere is supportive. Staff are expected to undertake duties on a rota bais before and after school, at break times and lunch times. Staff are expected to run one extra curricular activity for one term per year. There is a decent amount of non-contact time at around 20% of timetable.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 75 Comments
• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (731 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Class sizes are very small. In primary, they are normally a combination of two grade levels (i.e. Grades 1 and 2 together) and about 16 kids with a teaching assistant. In secondary class size is smaller and can range from four to twelve per grade level.” – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan) – 64 Comments
• Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group? (1106 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The Thao Dien (Primary) campus in the expat area has students from about 20 countries. The TT Campus, Primary, Middle School and Secondary is mainly Vietnamese. Korean is the next largest student group. Very few students from Western Countries. Has a large EAL population.” – Australian International School HCMC (Vietnam) (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 19 Comments
• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate. (1154 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Primarily expat teachers, without any one nationality dominating things. When I left in 2011 there were teachers from Australia, Canada, US, UK, South Africa, Belgium, and Tanzania just within my department. Some teachers stay 7 to 10 years or more, while others just 2 to 4 years, as in most international schools.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments
• What types of budgets to classroom teachers/departments get? (441 Total Comments)
Example comment: “budgets have been steadily dropping. Ownership slyly changed the school from a not for profit school to a for profit school, without notifying parents of the change.” – Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 22 Comments
• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school (158 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The mastery system is open to the interpretation of each teacher, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments
• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (615 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school offers a wide variety of after school activities which are run by teachers. There is no extra pay for this. Teachers can choose which activity they would like to lead.” – International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 47 Comments
• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (623 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) – 157 Comments
• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (531 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The students are generally great, however there are no entrance exams or behavior requirements. The owners Tehmine and Stephan want to make as much money as possible. There definitely are no requirements to enter this school.” – Surabaya European School (Surabaya, Indonesia) – 20 Comments
• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (286 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) – 70 Comments
• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (339 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The school has a health and wellness program where a lot of teachers connect and exercise together. Also, the PTO regularly hosts cocktail events after school. Plus there are scheduled tours and cultural events.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 69 Comments
• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (405 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) – 143 Comments
• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (252 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Get on your principal’s good side and you are fine. If they do not like you you will immediately get put on a corrective plan and ushered out. Just flatter the admin and you will be fine.” – Abu Dhabi International Private School (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 43 Comments
• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (382 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The number of students has increased. There is a waitlist for Year 6 now.” – UCSI International School Subang Jaya (Subang Jaya, Malaysia) – 11 Comments
• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (200 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) – 30 Comments
• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (147 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) – 350 Comments
• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (263 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) – 24 Comments
• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (373 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Remember state school teachers are paid twice as much for half the work. All the locals are on waiting lists for Govt. schools but they are years (centuries) long.” – International School of Paphos (Paphos, Cyprus) – 123 Comments
• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.) (235 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 Commentscontinue reading
Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“Q: What qualifications are necessary in order to become a teacher at an international school?
M: No matter what, to become a teacher you should have your teaching certificate (as mentioned several times previously, but hey- some people overlook it!). There are several programs available that last from one to two years, and others as short as nine months. There are also programs that will give you a master’s degree as well as a teaching certificate, but not ALL education master programs do that, so make sure you do your research…”
Related to what teaching qualifications that you need to work at international schools, we have 936 comments that have been submitted on this comment topic on our website: “Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.”
Here is one of them from American School of Torreon: “It is roughly 60% local and 40% import. The staff turn-over rate is on average 2-3 years. The turn-over has been higher in the past due to instability in the area that has declined and stabilized recently. Almost all new staff is licensed and from the states. Many teachers are retired from the US or very young, new teachers. It has a good internal culture though.”
“How do you find an international school teaching job?
1. Sign up with an international school recruiting company.
I would highly recommend Search Associates or International Schools Service (ISS). A lot of the accredited and reputable international schools uses either or both of these companies. Both companies have multiple job fairs throughout the year in the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe that teachers can go to. Also, they have extensive online database that they put your profile in that many international schools look at to recruit. There is a fee when you sign up, but it is worth it. I would recommend Search Associates, because I’ve used that and had good success with finding jobs. Also, you will need confidential administrator recommendations and also parent recommendations for teaching positions…”
Recruitment agencies are definitely a part of many international school teachers’ experience trying to secure a job in the international school community. We have a number of articles (9) that have been submitted in our blog category called “9 Lessons Learned Regarding Intl School Hiring Fairs“. Here is a blurb from our latest one titled “Remember to check yourself in the mirror before you leave your hotel room for the day’s interviews.”:
“The first fair that I ever went to, I didn’t even own a suit. I had to get one from a department store a couple of weeks before. I remember not even knowing what the “rules of wearing a suit” were at the time. I ended up getting advice from the “suit expert” at the store; when and when not to button the 3rd button, which tie colours were best “suited” for interviewing, etc. I felt a bit silly when I wore this suit at the time of the fair, but I ended up getting 4 offers, so maybe my new clothes were having the right effect. I only had two sets of shirts and ties (using the same suit), so I hope that none of the schools noticed being that many teachers have multiple interviews with the same school over the 2-3 days of the fair...”
Want to work for an international school in South Korea like these bloggers? Currently, we have 97 international school teachers that have listed that they currently live in this country. Check them out here.
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
Our 28th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Consider the Ordinary” Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at The American School of Tampico (10 Total Comments on our website.) in Mexico.
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“Here is my beautiful school!!!!:) It sits on over 33 acres of land…Here is my classroom from the outside (the one with the circle window)…Here are pictures from the outside and inside of the classroom…Here are the lovely stairs up to my class (before these there are 2 other flights! haha)…”
It would be awesome if all international school teachers took as many photos of their campus to share with everyone. It is important and very helpful to know exactly what the school looks like before you sign the contract to work there. Thanks for sharing pictures of the The American School of Tampico campus!
“My apartment is wonderful! The school provides it and they were so helpful, already had telephone hooked up, a little food and drinks in the fridge, and everything we needed set up!:) I’m so glad I’m here…Here is my roomies room- Her name is Robyn. We met her and her mom (Melissa) tonight..so far seems great!…There are 2 bedrooms (with AC) with bathrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, a large study room, a laundry room, and another room with bathroom that is in the back of the place—it’s all soooo big!!!…”
What a nervous situation…arriving at a new, foreign country and finally seeing the apartment that you will be living in. Luckily for this educator, it turned out really well. It is definitely a relief after having seen your new place, and then get started with making it your new “home”. Also, meeting your new roommate can also be a bit nerve-wracking. But you never know, the person just might turn out to a really good friend of yours. What a nice surprise too when you take notice of the nice, big size of your new apartment. Sometimes international school teachers get lucky when they are living in a city where their benefits package or salary affords them the opportunity to live a bigger apartment than what they are used to.
“I went to the beach for the first time last Saturday here in Tampico! It was great. I stuck my toes in and waded up to my ankles, but didn’t swim yet. The foreign staff from school went for a birthday barbeque for Michael—he’s our librarian. There was great food, a campfire, fun people, and sand, water, and sun—-all in all it was a beautiful day and a fun time:)…”
It is great to take in all the new places that you can go to in your new city, especially if your new city is on the coast of an ocean so that you can enjoy its beaches. Some international school teachers are very luckily indeed! It is also important to say yes to any opportunities to go out with the school staff. Being open to exploring the city and to get to know the staff better are two important things to try and accomplish your first few months working at your new school.
Want to work for an international school in Mexico like this blogger? Currently, we have 23 international schools listed in the Mexico on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:
• American School Foundation of Guadalajara (15 Comments)
• American School Foundation of Mexico City (35 Comments)
• The Peterson Schools (Cuajimalpa Campus) (11 Comments)
• Colegio Atid (17 Comments)
• American School Foundation of Monterrey (16 Comments)
• Instituto San Roberto (15 Comments)
• American School of Durango (12 Comments)
• Colegio Inglés A.C. (Torreon) (12 Comments)