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.
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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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 Commentscontinue reading
The journey to work is indeed an important one. The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries at which they have never been. So let’s share what we know!
One of our members, who works at the Cheongna Dalton School (Incheon, South Korea), described the way he gets to work as follows:
I’m originally from Montana (in the US), which is a place known for its wide open space. I grew up driving very long distances at very high speeds in order to get places. I grew up commuting; it was simply a part of my life.
At my previous job in Korea, I had a 20-30 minute commute to work every morning. Because of my past, I didn’t find it to be that difficult to ride the school bus for that long. In the evening, the bus ride would be quite a bit longer due to traffic. I didn’t take that ride as much, but I dealt with it when I did.
Other teachers I have know have told me that living on a school campus is terrible. I never really gave it much thought until I came to Cheongna Dalton School, where I live on campus… And I absolutely love it!
It makes my life so easy. My commute is a two-minute walk from one building to another. That walk way in the photo (top of this article) — that’s it!
It takes two minutes. Yes, I’ve timed it.
The school itself is good and the kids are totally amazing. My job is the Director of EdTech and I am a department of one covering the entire school, Pre-K to G12. With 450 students and 60 teachers to serve, I keep busy, but I love the job.
This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author, Tim Bray.
What to know more what it is like to visit and live in South Korea? Out of a total of 31 international schools we have listed in South Korea, 28 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:
Big Heart Christian School (48 comments)
Chadwick International School – Songdo (78 Comments)
Cheongna Dalton School (60 Comments)
Dwight School Seoul (35 Comments)
Global Prodigy Academy (48 Comments)
Gyeonggi Suwon International School (47 Comments)
International School of Koje (47 Comments)
Korea International School (Seoul) (52 Comments)
Seoul Foreign School (147 Comments)
Seoul International School (86 Comments)
Singapore American School (104 Comments)
So what is your journey to the international school you work at? Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’. Email us here if you are interested.continue reading
We cannot just leave them behind. Well, sometimes we do, when we find a happy home for them (usually a friend or a relative). However, if there is a possibility of bringing our pet with us to our next destination, then we will do it.
Moving is a hard task, that is for sure. It can be even harder, though, transplanting yourself with a pet. There are so many hoops that you may need to go through before you have your pet with you, safe and sound in your new home/country.
Sign this form here. Sign this form there. Quarantine your pet for xxx amount of days, weeks, months??
Not so much fun.
For the love of this inseparable part of your family, you do it. Because at the end of it all, you will both be able to enjoy and explore the new land together and comfort each other when things get tough and lonely.
Bringing a pet to another country varies across the globe as there are different laws in different countries. Additionally, we must not forget about the international school itself. It is very possible your new international school highly discourages you to bring you pet (due to staff housing policies, etc…). Good to know these things ahead of time then!!
Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to international school teachers with pets, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Describe your experience bringing pets.”
There are a total of 79 comments in this comment topic (March 2015). Here are a few that have been submitted:
“This school heavily discourages pets since most teachers live on campus.” – Global Prodigy Academy (Jeonju, South Korea) – 48 Comments
“The school allows pets in housing with some restrictions. Small pets are probably okay, it’s difficult for larger pets.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 141 Comments
“Don’t do it. Too expensive and pets are against the school and accommodation rules.” – Abu Dhabi International Private School (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 43 Comments
“Several teachers have cats and dogs. It seems to be great! There are many animal shelters here where you can happily adopt!” – International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 51 Commentscontinue reading
Speaking the language of the host country is on every international school teachers’ mind.
How great to speak the language of the host country well enough so that you are able to have some local friends who may or may not know English! You might say that is every international school teachers’ goal when they move abroad. Communication is the key, and knowing the language will also give you direct insight into the host country’s culture.
Many international school teachers do their best to fit in. Meeting new friends or going on dates in your new country is difficult, if you rely only on English language capabilities of the locals. That is why taking language classes and dedicating some of your weekday evenings to attending them is very advisable. Until you reach a comfortable level of proficiency when you can converse with the locals (at the market for example), it is important to find some of them that might speak English, especially during the first few months.
Everyone marks well in their head, their very first successful conversation in the new language. It is a tremendously liberating experience, which is inspiring one to pursue their way to a high-level speaking fluency and understanding without stuttering and asking people to speak slower.
Out of the 60 comments topics on each school’s profile page, there is one specifically about languages. It is called: “Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there.”
From the Hong Kong International School (62 comments) school profile page.
Currently we have 150+ submitted comments in that comment topics on a number of school profile pages.
Here is a sneak peek at a few of them:
“The level of English here is intermediate I would say. Some taxi drivers know a lot and some don’t know very much. The people working in stores know an intermediate level of proficiency. People speak Italian here, but that is not to say that there aren’t people speaking other languages. There are many dialects of Italian that people speak.” – American School of Milan (Milan, Italy) – 23 Comments
“Spanish is the main language but you can get by with very minimal language skills. Most restaurants have English menus. Many taxi drivers can understand some English. In the markets the venders are usually indigenous and speak Spanish as a second language so speak slower and use more limited vocabulary.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala)– 40 Comments
“With basic level of Chinese it’s easy to manage. With zero Chinese it’s also possible but lots of things will be missed and at times it’s tougher to deal with everyday issues.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 162 Comments
“English is spoken only in the school. Korean is the dominant language, and many, many fewer people speak English than in places like Seoul, but there are still plenty of people who can help you communicate. Many menus are in English too even if the staff does not speak English.” – Global Prodigy Academy (Jeonju, South Korea) – 48 Comments
“You will enjoy your stay here much more if you can learn at least some basic conversational Japanese. Although they study English in high school, very few Japanese on the street that you might approach for directions will be able to speak to you in English.” – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan) – 64 Commentscontinue reading
A new survey has arrived!
Topic: What is/was your most successful strategy for finding vacancies for the 15-16 school year?
You can try a combination of all of the strategies, but usually one finally wins over the others in the end. But which one is the most popular nowadays?
Even if you find the most popular strategy that everyone is using, a strategy that works for one person might not work for the next. In turn, it is good to use as many as you can.
It is true though that different schools post in different places. For example, mostly British international schools post on the TES website. It is vital then to check out your top schools and where they are most likely to post their vacancies.
Additionally, there are some schools where no vacancies appear anywhere (or very limited places). These schools might be placing a high importance on whether the school has any personal connection to the candidate. If somebody working at the school already knows/has worked with the candidate, the person just might shoot to the top of shortlist.
Regardless of all the strategies, it is truly all about luck and timing. If you are recruiting this year, are you going to be at the right place and the right time to get the chance to interview for your dream job?
Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today on What is/was your most successful strategy for finding vacancies for the 15-16 school year?
You can check out the latest voting results here.
We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: 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?
Right now there are over 839 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website. Here are a few of them:
“It does not use the methods of most International or bilingual schools. It is not on Search, TIE, or ISS nor does it use any job fairs. Face to face interviews are for local hires, and skype interviews are common.” – Global Prodigy Academy (Jeonju, South Korea) – 48 Comments
“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 (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 130 Comments
“I believe that they usually go to the Search Associates job fair in London. And they hire face-to-face, as well as via Skype. As long as there are valid teacher qualifications, immigration generally gives few problems. When I was hired I received a lot of informative emails that let me know about the school and Barbados. They also gave me the emails of a couple of current staff members.” – The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (St. John, Barbados) – 68 Commentscontinue reading