Information for Members

16907 Total Comments in All the School Profile “School Information” Sections

April 25, 2020


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2147+ 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.

Example School Information page on Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 172 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 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 16907 (out of a total of 36283+ 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. (1594 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? (1193 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

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• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (781 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? (1543 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? (1462 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. (828 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. (848 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

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• Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group? (1229 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 there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate. (1268 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 to classroom teachers/departments get? (518 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 (181 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? (701 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. (689 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) – 183 Comments

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• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (617 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? (342 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

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• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (400 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. (485 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) – 158 Comments

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• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (306 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. (460 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? (242 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

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• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (178 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) – 375 Comments

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• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (306 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

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• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (456 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, etc.) (280 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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An Insider's Story

International School Libraries: An Insider’s Story

July 27, 2017


Let’s daydream for moment, shall we?

A successful international school library is the center of the school, both physically and metaphorically. It is the hub of student learning, active and buzzing with the newest technologies, inquiry-driven investigations, maker space or STEM stations, and thousands of books available on any and all topics that could occur to members of the school community. The Teacher Librarian is an active part of the teaching community, integrating information literacy skills into the curriculum and supporting the teachers and staff in using best practices. He or she is passionate about all things literary and encourages a love of reading in students, matching reluctant readers with the perfect book to awaken their inner bookworm.

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Hey – a girl can dream, can’t she?

Because sometimes the library isn’t at the center of the school, and instead it’s in the basement. (Albeit the basement of an old mansion house.) And sometimes it’s a ‘Learning Commons’ or a “Media Center’ or it’s called-something-else-other-than-a-library. As is the case with most international schools, all international school libraries are not created equal.

I’ve been working as an International School Teacher Librarian for nine years now, and the more colleagues I meet and Facebook groups I join and listservs I read, that idea is drilled home. All libraries are not created equal. Some librarians have multiple assistants, healthy budgets, abundant resources and administrative support. A lot of librarians don’t have any or all of those things. Some libraries are full of amazing resources for their school community, and some are full of dusty old books that are older than I am.

Every library seems to have its issues. Here are a few examples from my own international career:

  • I was offered a job in one library that was hoping I could help it to automate from the old card catalogue to a computer system… in the 21st century!
  • In Barcelona there was one library – and only one librarian – for an entire EC-thru-grade-12 school. (They’ve since hired more people and built a gorgeous new library!)
  • In London there were three libraries and three librarians, but no assistants (which meant it was hard to ever leave the library, and therefore to do much collaboration), small budgets and no windows in my library.
  • In Dar es Salaam I have assistants (which brings along a whole other set of issues), a decent budget, and an elementary counterpart – but it is very difficult to get books into the country through customs and a corrupt governing system.

BUT.

But – each of these libraries has given me opportunities that I didn’t have as a librarian in the USA. I have always had the autonomy and support to make the library a central part of the school and of student learning. I’ve been able to collaborate with amazing teachers, had opportunities to win over reluctant teachers, and been involved with planning exciting interdisciplinary units. The Teacher Librarian role has been a leadership role, seated at the table with other leaders making decisions about what’s best for our students. And I’ve been supported to take leadership roles in the librarian community – to attend great PD, present at international conferences, join professional organizations, and to serve on the ECIS Librarian Special Interest Committee.

When schools in the US are getting rid of librarians, closing libraries, moving away from the written word – these have been blessings that make the rest of the issues worth it.

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If you’re thinking about working in an International School library, do your homework. We are research specialists, after all! Find out about staffing, budgets, PD opportunities, leadership roles, curriculum, attitudes toward the library and the challenges the current librarian faces. You know which of things these are most important to you, what you can handle and what’s a deal breaker. Automating an entire collection was not how I wanted to spend my time as a Teacher Librarian, but perhaps the thought excites you. Find the right fit for what you are looking for in your international experience, where you are in your career, and what fits your strengths.

The International School Community website has great resources to help you do this! See below for specifics on how to use the comment search to find information about libraries.

My last bit of advice – find a network! Librarians are often the lone librarian in a school or part of a small team. It’s important to find the connections and support of other librarians. Because most international schools are in big cities, there are often other international school librarians nearby to connect with. There are also regional associations – your school should be able to point you towards the ones they participate in.

There are always other librarians who have dealt with the same issues, solved the same problems, created the same resources, etc. And I’ve found the librarian community to be great at sharing, commiserating with and supporting one another. Some personal favorites are the Int’l School Library Connection Facebook group and the ECIS iSkoodle listserv. AND – most excitingly – the ECIS Triennial Librarian Conference is in February 2018 in Chennai, India. International school librarians from all over the world will come together to learn from each other, get inspired by each other, and learn how we can continue to be Leaders in our school communities. Please join us!

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 61 comments that have the keyword “library” in them, and 20 comments that had the word “libraries” in them.

Here are some comments that shown a positive light on the library and their international schools:

“The library department recently got a lot of money to do some renovations which were done this past summer. It is almost complete and looks very nice.” International School of Tanganyika

“The SIS library supports the school curriculum, promotes the appreciation of literature, and guides all its patrons in information problem-solving with over 28,000 print and electronic resources.” – Surabaya Intercultural School

“The library also is great because we have 25,000 books for such a small sized school, in English and Italian.” – The Bilingual School of Monza

“The library has a new video viewing room that is useful for a small class of IB Film Making, or webinars, or our face to faith programme.” – Sekolah Victory Plus

and here are a few comments that stated their school library was in need of updating or some tender-loving care:

“The school’s library was very small and I was given no materials to use to teach language arts and social studies. Picture books were essential for my young learners and if you can, bring them from the states.” – Antigua International School Guatemala

“There are text books for main subjects but the media library resources are next to nil and specialists have zero to bare basics.” – Jeddah Knowledge International School

“No library for middle of high school!” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“There are more computers in the library but some are so old they still run Windows XP!” – EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi

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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.
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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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Information for Members

So Many International Schools WITHOUT Retirement Plans!

January 31, 2017


It is on all international school teachers’ minds. How am I helping to contribute to my future now (for after I retire) as a current teacher in the international school community?

retirement

Not that everything is all worry-free if you just stayed teaching and earning money in your home country, but living and teaching abroad can sound pretty risky to some people (maybe even many people).

If you are working at an international school that has an amazingly high salary with equally amazing benefits, then that is one story. Even if this type of school doesn’t actually offer a nice retirement plan benefit, you still have the opportunity to save a lot of money.

But if you are working at an international school and receiving a salary that helps you ‘just get by’ along with very average benefits (for example, there is not a retirement plan benefit that is on offer to you), then international school educators need to consider if the experience working at this type of international school is a good fit for their future plans.

Does an international school that doesn’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit immediately equate to being a bad decision for your future? Not necessarily. If you are only planning on staying there for one to two years, then it shouldn’t make that big of a difference. If you receiving a high salary along with paid housing, not having an established pension plan benefit shouldn’t make that big of a difference because your savings potential is high.

retirement

But for those of us that are not so smart with money and don’t have the expertise to manage our own savings/retirement plan, it can definitely not bit a good fit to accept a teaching job at school that doesn’t offer retirement plan benefits.

We did a keyword search on our Comment Search feature and found a number of comments related to international schools that don’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit.

We found 23 comments when we searched the short phase: “No retirement
Here are a few of those comments:

Amman Baccalaureate School (16) Total comments
No retirement plan right now is on offer as a benefit.”

Canadian International School (Tokyo) (50) Total comments
No retirement plan for teachers.”

We also searched the short phrase “No pension” and found 27 comments.
Here are a few of those comments:

Zhuhai International School (81) Total comments
“There are no pension plans from the school (included in the contract) although if you wished to establish one the office staff would be able to assist you in establishing one.”

Varee Chiang Mai International School (27) Total comments
There is no pension provision, but an end of contract gratuity is awarded in lieu.

On the more positive side, we had a quick search for this key phrase “matching” hoping to find comments related to international school that match the pension plan contribution of the teachers.  Here are a few of those comments:

American International School Vienna (38) Total comments
“Under the newest contract, teachers now have 10% matching for retirement fund commencing at first year. Certainly better if you’re there short-term, though perhaps not if you’d plan to stay 30 years.”

Hong Kong International School (110) Total comments
“I spend a lot of money here because I love to do eat out a lot, travel, and there are many things to do in the city. With that being said, I save about 1,300 USD a month, not counting the school severance/matching scheme which is another 1,300 USD.”

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Tokyo, Japan

June 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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Tokyo, Japan

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

Schools with the most submitted comments:
American School in Japan (Tokyo, Japan)20 Comments
Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan)41 Comments
Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan)23 Comments
Seisen International School (Tokyo, Japan)51 Comments
New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan)16 Comments
St. Mary’s International School (Tokyo, Japan)15 Comments

Average amount of money left to be saved?

“Most teachers can save around 20% here.” – St. Mary’s International School

“Maybe around 16000 USD a year for single teachers.” – Seisen International School

“Single teachers should be able to save around 12000 USD a year.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“Some single teachers and teaching couples can save over 25000 USD a year. – American School in Japan

Sports programs

“The school has zero proper sports programs and has no interest in implementing one. No specialist p.e. teachers” – Makuhari International School

“The school has a complete PE programme in all grades, as well as an active sports programme (basketball, volleyball, soccer, futsal).Two full-time PE teachers are an integral part of the faculty.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“Many activities of ASIJ’s close-knit faculty center around the school, including musical and theatrical performances, ikebana, martial arts, cycling, aerobics, tennis, swimming, basketball and volleyball.” – American School in Japan

“The school offers a wide variety of extra curricular activities for all levels. These include such team sports as cross-country, tennis, wrestling, swimming, basketball, soccer, track and field, and baseball. Fine arts and activities offered include vocal and instrumental music, speech, debate, drama, musical, student government and publications.” – St. Mary’s International School

School Building

“ASIJ has two campuses offering outstanding facilities. The Early Learning Center is located in the Roppongi area of Tokyo serving ages 3-5 with an exciting educational program. The Chofu campus houses three divisions in separate buildings on a 14-acre site located in Tokyo’s western suburbs. This campus includes three gyms, an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, two athletic fields, three libraries with over 70,000 titles and a new 570-seat, state-of-the-art theater incorporating a flexible main auditorium, black box theater, choir and practice rooms and a digital video studio. All classrooms are air-conditioned.” – American School in Japan

“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)

“The school occupies two complete buildings and parts of two others in Minami-Ikebukuro, right next to Zoshigaya. It is convenient to several trains and subways, including Ikebukuro Station, which is one of the hubs around the city center.” – New International School of Japan

“The school is in an older building. However, the furniture and classroom supplies are all up-to-date for collaborative teaching and learning.” – Seisen International School

Housing

“Housing allowance is USD1,200/month. Teacher pays for utilities.” – St. Mary’s International School

“Landlords in Japan have a lot of rights. For example, the apartment needs to be returned to it original condition or a lot of money will be coming out of your deposit. Many apartment require a ‘gift fee’ for the landlord. For example, giving 1 or 2 months rent as a gift to the landlord. Most apartments you forfeit your cleaning deposit when you leave.” – Seisen International School

“Accommodation allowance is very poor compared to rental cost. The school pushes expensive housing on new teachers which are 120000yen ($1200) a month. housing around the school is quite expensive.” – Makuhari International School

“Housing allowance is 600$ in cash.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

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

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Overview of an Int’l School

Overview of an int’l school #4 – Makuhari International School

March 2, 2012


How great that each international school is unique!

In this overview of an international school, by Tokyo Families, we would like to highlight Makuhari International School.

“Being the newest addition to the international schools in the community, TF asked its principal Paul Rogers to explain what MIS offers to children.

1. What is the Makuhari International School?

Makuhari International School is the only recognised international school in Chiba prefecture. We are a new international school, having opened in April, 2009. We educate Japanese children who have returned to Japan from overseas or dual-nationality, and foreign children already residing here.

2. What qualities make MIS unique?

We are unique because we are the only Article One international school in the whole of Japan. As such, we have unique benefits as an international school. We are also the newest such school operating in Japan at this time. As such, we have no history to fall back on but make our own history as time goes on.

3. What is the curriculum like?

At Makuhari International School, our curriculum is Japan-based. This means we teach the same subjects and at least the same amounts of time for each.  In actual fact,  we teach longer hours than in most Japanese schools and certainly in English and maths. We add on to this Japanese curriculum base, content and objectives from other curricula, mainly that of the UK. This makes our program of study not only extremely full but also suitable for children going into a Japanese school system after leaving us or back to another international school.

4. How does the school’s ‘Article One’ status affect it?

Financially, we can offer lower tuition fees than many other international schools because of tax benefits that Article One schools have. Educationally, children who leave MIS at the end of Grade 6 have legally completed their elementary education and cannot be refused access to taking any entrance tests to Japanese junior high schools.

5. Are there any extra-curricular activities or clubs?

We offer at present over 20 after-school clubs (as well as after school care) ranging from such clubs as chess, frisbee club, homework, rugby, art and yoga club.

6. What facilities are available to students?

At MIS, we not only have excellently resourced classrooms (with the most up to date technology such as interactive SmartBoards) but also specialist rooms. We have a large media centre (including a library, museum and ICT study area), art room, science lab, music room, media areas for all elementary grades, a multipurpose hall, ESL class and cookery room.

7. What kind of children comprise the student body?

At MIS, at present, around 60% of our children are Japanese returnee children, the other 40% are either dual nationality or foreign children.

8. What nationalities are the teaching staff?

We have teachers representing the following countries: UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America and Japan.

9.  Are there services offered to students and parents?

We offer ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) as a support for those children whose English needs assistance.

10. What opportunities can MIS provide?

MIS offers an excellent rounded educational experience for all children in our care. This experience is based around the Mission Statement at our school – ‘all children are unique and special’. Our class teachers are at the core of this process and we believe that we have employed the very best teachers we can. Ultimately it is our aim for all children to make as much progress educationally, socially, physically and emotionally as is possible during their time at our school.”

Currently there are 20 international schools listed in Tokyo on International School Community. Some schools that have some comments and information submitted on them are:

American School in Japan (19 Comments)
Canadian International School (Tokyo) (9 Comments)
International School of the Sacred Heart (5 Comments)
Nishimachi International School (7 Comments)
Makuhari International School (7 Comments)

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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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