Nobody wants to be worked to the bone. And then not have any time to enjoy life outside of work.
Many of us left our home countries to escape being worked too much at our home country schools.
Teachers want to do their best and have time, inspiration and encouragement to do just that.
Just like the schools located in your home country, there is also a wide range of work-life balance situations at international schools.
Sometimes the work-life balance is affected by the norms of the host country’s laws and culture. Other times it is more influenced by the school itself and its admin.
But luckily, there are some international schools out there striving to have the best possible work-life balance for their teachers. As they say, teachers are more able to keep their focus and do their best if they are not so stressed at work.
So which international schools then have some good work-life balance conditions? Can you guess which countries/schools around the world would make for the best conditions for a good work-life balance?
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 30 comments that had the keyword “Life balance” in them. Here are 11 of them:
“There is a good work-life balance at the school. Teachers are required to lead an after school activity (1 hour/8 weeks) each semester…” – Khartoum American School (44 total comments)
“Expectations are high and teachers work hard. There is very reasonable non-contact time and staff gets paid if they do extracurricular activities. The workload is not excessive and there is a good work/life balance…” – Lanna International School (LIST) (18 total comments)
“The expectation of quality is very high, but this is reflected in giving ample prep-time. One can also request a “retreat” morning/afternoon/day if you would like to spend some extra time planning with a team. I find this to be one of the best places for work/life balance, without sacrificing quality…” – International School Hannover Region (38 total comments)
“Reasons to stay:
– Amman is pretty easy to live in – most things are available in stores
– The staff is a lot of fun and friendly and enjoyable to work and play with
– Jordan has a lot of amazing things to see and do, especially if you enjoy an outdoor life
– The school program is strong but the expectations on staff are realistic
– The school values a healthy work-life balance, there is not a workaholic mentality here…” – American Community School (Amman) (55 total comments)
“It is a great place to work at and the work-life balance is good too…” – Norlights International School Oslo (122 total comments)
“In general people stay because they feel supported, welcome and have a good quality of work/life balance…” – The English Modern School (Doha) (99 total comments)
“There are pros and cons but I think it depends on what you value. If you want a good work-life balance you can find that here. You don’t need to bring work home with you once you are established. The school also has great kids and the lack of structure means you have a lot of creative freedom…” – The Canadian International School Vietnam (147 total comments)
“KAS is the best international school in Kaohsiung as far as school resources, work/life balance, collegiality among staff, pay, vacation time, and students who work hard. As of yet, it is not the best in Taiwan (those would probably be TAS or TES in Taipei), but it’s working towards it…” – Kaohsiung American School (43 total comments)
“There is a good work-life balance at the school. Teachers are required to lead an after school activity 2 out of 3 trimesters…” – International Community School of Abidjan (68 total comments)
“There are many couples at our school, mainly young couples that are actively having children. There are so many staff having children each year! It is a great place to have children because of the long maternity and paternity leave, etc. What I’m trying to say is that if you are a couple and want to work at our school, it is a great match because couples really enjoy their work/life balance here…” – Copenhagen International School (391 total comments)
“There is a lot of work, but everyone can maintain their work-life balance. The school is supportive of on-campus wellness activities before and after school…” – International School Manila (110 total comments)continue reading
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:
“Kids are hardworking in general. Mostly well behaved and friendly, especially welcoming to new students.” – Western International School of Shanghai (481 total comments)
“Positive, hardworking, driven, and respectful of adults.” – International School of Zanzibar (57 total comments)
“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)
“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)
“The students are wonderful to work with. They are respectful, kind, hardworking, and smart.” – Yangon International School (81 total comments)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“My students were fantastic! Hardworking and well behaved. I loved every minute of my time at the school.” – Uruguayan American School (32 total comments)
“Happy, hardworking, driven, excited about learning.” – International School Manila (96 total comments)continue reading
Schools thrive when there are enthusiastic teachers and students in them. But, do all international schools have this?
With around 10000 international schools currently, there are bound to be differences between them. However, it is certain that all international schools strive to students that are excited to come to school and do their best to learn in the lessons and engagements in their classes.
But do students just come to schools already engaged or is it the environment and staff that helps with that?
Some could argue that hiring engaged and excited teachers plays a huge factor in the enthusiasm of students. If the teachers are interested and excited in their lessons, typically the students will follow suit.
If the teachers are jaded, overworked, and caught in a low staff morale spiral, then this feeling is sure to be reflected in the students.
But even if the students and teachers are not so engaged at the moment, what can be done? International schools need to make drastic and carefully planned changes to achieve this change to more enthusiastic stake holders!
So which international schools then have enthusiastic teachers and/or 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 17 comments that had the keyword “Enthusiastic” in them. Here are 11 of them:
“Students in primary are overwhelmingly kind, caring, and enthusiastic learners. The middle and high school will benefit from having a full-time secondary principal next year.” – Esbjerg International School (50 total comments)
“You need to be enthusiastic, open-minded and flexible. There is a strong community at school that is very involved in every aspect of the school’s life. School is looking for teachers who are passionate about their job and willing to differentiate for every student.” – Bishkek International School (57 total comments)
“The students are mostly respectful, enthusiastic, and hardworking. You might not be that impressed if you’re coming from Korea or another academically-driven Asian country, but compared to Latin America or any Western public institution it’ll be a big step up.” – Oberoi International School (36 total comments)
“The pupils are very affectionate, and the school has a very family-like feel. They are eager to please and enthusiastic about topics etc.” – The British School of Marbella (36 total comments)
“Students are very well behaved. Behavioural issues are very minimal, and most students are enthusiastic to learn and prove themselves to teachers and their classmates.” – Tokyo International School (104 total comments)
“The students are extremely polite and respectful. They are positive and enthusiastic though somewhat reserved.” – Global Jaya School (60 total comments)
United Arab Emirates
“While I have not myself worked elsewhere in the Emirates, I get a sense that our students are relatively well behaved. Understand that, while kids are kids, well behaved in the Emirates is not the same as say, well behaved in South Korea. That said, Liwa does not generally find itself subject to the kinds of behavior found in the government schools of the area. The kids are generally quite enthusiastic about Liwa and as capable as any children anywhere.” – Liwa International School (23 total comments)
“Very curious and enthusiastic learners. PYP and IB encourages this and students are excited to be at school every day!” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (69 total comments)
“The students are respectful, creative and enthusiastic. They love to chat and socialize!” – Santiago College (24 total comments)
“Students are enthusiastic about being at school, in general. Almost 100% of our students are involved in activities or athletics after school and on weekends.” – International Community School Addis Ababa (80 total comments)
“The students are amazing. So welcoming, so enthusiastic to learn.” – The British School of Brussels (36 total comments)
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
Our 42nd blog that we would like to highlight is called “Wandering Whirligig” (A teacher who worked at Copenhagen International School). Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who recently worked at Copenhagen International School in Denmark.
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“I moved to Copenhagen in January 2011. Next week, I will leave. After four and a half years, I will leave this fabulous city for new adventures. There are so many mixed emotions pulsing through my body.
The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, the memories I’ve made… Do I feel happy? Or sad? Right now it’s a rollercoaster. A rollercoaster I know so many people have ridden. It’s the rollercoaster ride that takes you from one place to the next, that carries you and all of your belongings from one exciting adventure to another, hopefully bringing all the wonderful memories you’ve made trailing along in the wind: there’s a seat for every friend you’ve ever made during your adventure on this rollercoaster, but you know you’re now in different carriages.
I feel about Copenhagen what I have never yet felt about any other place I’ve moved to: I feel at HOME here…”
Leaving a school is tough, especially when you have been there for many years. You go through so many emotions. Change is good, but change is hard.
Want to read more about teachers leaving a school (and how many are leaving this school year)? Check out this survey we had back in March 2015 called “New Survey: How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?“
“I’ve written before about how refreshing a daily commute by bike can be and how I’ll never ever take for granted the opportunity I’ve had to do that every day since moving to Copenhagen in January 2011. By the time I arrive at work, I feel completely revitalised and thoroughly refreshed – I feel as though I’ve already done something for ME before the day has even begun. It’s free excercise that I don’t even realise I’m doing since I just consider biking my mode of transport. Anyhow… recently, I received a GoPro from my family for my (ahem, 30th) birthday and the first thing I (ahem, very VERY geekily) did with it was… film my daily commute to work.
My first attempt was to shorten my 8.5km, half hour commute…”
What a great idea to GoPro your journey to work! Riding your bike to work can be invigorating and get you starting on the right foot for your day at work.
Want to learn more about how international school teachers get to their international school each day? Luckily, we have a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this theme called “Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school?” Here are a few examples of the 761 comments (July 2015) from this topic:
‘I would disagree that it is close to downtown; that is American Community School. The school is about 20 minutes south of the downtown, which is still quite accessible by bus and taxi. The school does provide a van to work if you live in school apartments. Those not in school apartments can pay to ride the van or about half the staff buy used cars.’ – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan) – 16 Comments
‘The school is around a 10 minute drive from the city center. Al Ain is a fairly compact city, so nothing is more than 20 minutes or so away. Teachers are mainly housed around 10 to 15 minutes away in the northern part of the Jimi district. The housing seems tolerable, but being situated across the street from a sewage treatment plant, I’m told that there are serious odor issues there. Most staff either drive themselves or carpool to work.’ – Liwa International School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) – 23 Comments
‘The school is in an industrial park area of SIP about 20 minutes from most housing. School coaches pick staff up at compounds at a set time in the a.m. You can catch the coach home at 4.30 or 5 pm. Alternatively catch a taxi ( about 20 RMB) or get an ebike ( about ) 2,000 RMB and have fun riding to/from school in the separate bike lanes.’ – Dulwich College Suzhou (Suzhou, China) – 17 Comments
Want to work for an international school in Denmark like this blogger? Currently, we have 15 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:
• Aarhus Academy for Global Education (9 comments)
• Copenhagen International School (244 comments)
• Osterbro International School (17 comments)
• Esbjerg International School (12 comments)
• Odense International School (10 comments)
Additionally, there are 21 International School Community members who currently live in Denmark. Check out which ones and where they work here. Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!continue reading
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 1535 schools (updated from 1474 on 26 November 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 #13
Schools Found: 13
The 13 international schools that met the criteria were found in 10 countries. Here are a few that have had comments and infornation submitted on them.:
• Esbjerg International School (Esbjerg, Denmark) – 12 Comments
• Amsterdam International Community School (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – 6 Comments
• United World College Maastricht (Maastricht, Netherlands) – 14 Comments
• Compass International School (Doha, Qatar) – 6 Comments
Renaissance International School Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 17 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 9600 comments and information (updated from 9000 on 26 November 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 (with a free 7-day trail of premium membership).continue reading