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)
Learning Support, or teaching students with Special Education Needs is consistently referred to as one of the most difficult jobs in teaching. And with good reason. Typically, we work with the most challenged students. This can mean anything from a simple learning disability to severe mental health disorders or life-threatening issues. Often it includes complicated family situations with parents who are struggling to accept their child’s challenges. I have even worked with students who were recovering from traumatic brain injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders. Parents have broken down into tears at meetings, and students have flung chairs across the room in frustration.
But working with students is not the hardest part of my job. It’s the best.
No matter what challenges they face, they always rise to the occasion. Even when they fail to reach their own expectations, they often surpass mine. I am continually awed, inspired, and warmed by their perseverance and grit.
Ironically, the hardest part is working with the non-challenged. Teachers, by nature, tend to be highly intelligent people. For many of them, learning was easy and pleasurable. This makes it harder for them to empathize with students who don’t like school. For the most challenged students to be successful, they need everyone on their team. On the same page, in most cases, it’s easy to get everyone to agree that a child needs support. However, rarely will everyone agree on the best way to do it. This part is the most challenging. For a slightly hyperbolic metaphor, think of America’s response to mass shootings. Everyone agrees something needs to be done. Nobody agrees on how to do it.
The truth is, many international schools lag behind most public schools in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia when it comes to dealing with students with special needs. There are many reasons for this; the most obvious being the strict laws governing rights of the disabled in those countries. Most international schools exist in gray areas when it comes to disability rights and education, thereby allowing them to bypass laws protecting people with learning disabilities.
My current school, for example, has a special education department with a staff of five trained educators. However, for a public school of our size, our department would be woefully insufficient. We lack therapists, specialized counselors, psychologists, and other professionals that would otherwise be provided by a public school district. We do have IEPs and 504 plans, but as recent as five years ago we did not. Still, we are generally considered a well-equipped school.
Sadly, this is not the case in most international schools. Many do not have special education departments at all, and teachers are not equipped with the right kinds of training or support to deal with special needs. You might be lucky to find a school that acknowledges the existence of learning disabilities and has basic protocols in place.
When looking to work as an international school special education teacher it’s important that you talk to people other than the administrator. Ideally, you should talk to other teachers and ask how they support students with learning disabilities. Be sure to ask your prospective school about local rules and regulations governing learning disabilities. Also be cautious of administrators that want to grow their programs, as you may be signing on for more than you bargained for. Unless you have a burning desire to single-handedly create and manage a special education department, you should also be careful around these kinds of offers.
Special education is experiencing tremendous growth in international schools now, offering many unique opportunities. But with it, comes heavy responsibility. If you’re a special education teacher looking to work abroad, preparing yourself for a rewarding, yet challenging time.
This article was submitted to us by an International School Community member.
Using our unique Comment Search feature on our website (premium membership access needed), we found 29 comments that have the keyword “Learning Support” in them, and 20 comments that had the word “Special Needs” in them.
Here are some comments that shown a positive light on Learning Support programs at international schools:
“The St. Petersburg campus has recently added a learning support component to support teachers, parents and students.” – Anglo-American School of St. Petersburg (38 Total Comments)
“There are also student assistants. Student assistants are assigned to certain students or groups of students to offer them learning support. They move with these learning support students as they move classes and/or grade. Currently there are three student assistants at TIS one in Primary School and two in Middle School.” – Tokyo International School (63 Total Comments)
“The students are very delightful and respectful. It is a mixed ability school and there is a good number of students who need some support. Learning support has improved over the last few years, but it is still not adequate for all those who need it. The students are truly delightful and polite.” – Somersfield Academy (44 Total Comments)
“There are co-teachers in primary and learning support teachers throughout the school (in most subjects), depending on the specific needs of students in the group. This is an inclusive school that requires quite a high teacher/student ratio.” – Hong Kong Academy (67 Total Comments)
“We are in our sixth year of becoming an inclusive school, with about 2.5% of our population being special needs children–including Down Syndrome and Autistic students. There are three RTI teams and a “transitions” classroom to support learners with challenges (and our classroom teachers).” – International Community School Addis Ababa (80 Total Comments)
“The school offers a bilingual program for students in grades K to 12. DMS has a fully self-contained special needs Division within the main school.” – Dasman Model School (24 Total Comments)continue reading
Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?
Our 45th blog that we would like to highlight is called “2seetheglobe” Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works at American International School Bamako in Bamako, Mali.
“Bali, not Mali.
A year ago we signed a contract to teach in Mali, an African country that nobody had heard of before. People assumed we said Bali, even though it’s not a country and nowhere near Africa. But it does rhyme.
Or they thought we were heading to Malawi. It was also an obscure African nation, well, until Madonna adopted David Banda and Chifundo there and it was featured on E Entertainment News and in scholarly magazines like People, Us, and Star (whose current cover screams “It’s Demi! Cougar Goes Wild in Mexico: THE SEX WAS VERY LOUD”).
Then people would ask US, “What’s Mali close to?” And we would mention neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Mauritania. And they would do that nod-without-actually-understanding-what was just-said thing…”
It is sometimes a challenge for your home country friends and family to completely understand your life abroad, especially if you are living in a country that nobody has even heard of before (or maybe heard of once on a tv news channel maybe). For another interesting article related to this topic, check our our own blog article called “Going home for the holidays: No one cares about your international life!“.
“Last year, during a severe sugar craving bout, I found an old piece of hard candy in my desk at school. Despite the fact that this red sticky thing was probably manufactured back when Mali became a country in 1960, I still popped it into my mouth. Then it got stuck on my lower molars, and upon disengaging it I also yanked off a crown.
This is not a good situation to be in when you live in a developing country where some
dental work occurs roadside. But lo and behold, I discovered a Lebanese dentist (raised in Senegal) who operated a modern, dental practice in an actual building near our school, and he had a number of our students as patients. So off I went to have him reattach the old crown which I was sure would take ten minutes. Except the old crown was cracked and he needed to make a new one. And then he discovered that a root canal had not been done on that old tooth (thank you crappy Florida dentist).
So long story short, he did the root canal (even finding a 4th root which he said was rare)…”
Having a medical emergency while living abroad can be an international school teacher’s worst nightmare come true. Though most often than not, you will be able to figure out a plan to get your medical situation resolved, the process in doing so will most likely be stressful.
Check out some of our submitted comments regarding health benefits and experiences using the host country health care system in one of our our past surveys called “How is your experience using your health insurance and medical benefits?”
Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger? Currently, we have 162 international schools listed in this country. 58 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:
Kampala International School (Kampala, Uganda) – 50 Comments
American International School of Lusaka (Lusaka, Zambia) – 45 Comments
The School of St. Jude (Arusha, Tanzania) – 18 Comments
International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 143 Comments
Khartoum American School (Khartoum, Sudan) – 23 Comments
Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan) – 65 Comments
The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 44 Comments
International School of Seychelles (Victoria, Seychelles) – 18 Comments
TLC International School (Nouakchott, Mauritania) – 43 Comments
American International School of Mozambique (Maputo, Mozambique) – 32 Comments
Saint Andrews International High School (Blantyre, Malawi) – 41 Comments
International School of Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya) – 46 Comments
International Community School Addis Ababa (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) – 61 Comments
The American School of Yaounde (Yaounde, Cameroon) – 26 Comments
The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 59 Comments
Additionally, there are a number of International School Community members who currently live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 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
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?
Our 43rd blog that we would like to highlight is called “From the Principal’s Office.” Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works at Khartoum International Community School in Sudan.
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“It seems as if the further I travel, the less well trodden the paths, the more that the western so-called developed world in which I grew up becomes foreign and strange. Each person’s world-view is, of course, plastic and fluid, moulded by the environment in which we live and the experiences we undergo. Looking back to my own parochial working class Lancastrian upbringing in the late 60s and through the 70s I cannot even find the words to describe the changes that have impacted on how I now see the world. So, looking at my son and his experiences – and considering how rapidly the world is changing – I cannot even begin to comprehend how his world-view will develop in the decades to come. Multiply him by the 390+ other students in my school and the challenge of preparing young people for the future is wildly self-evident.…”
It is exciting working at an international school teaching an international curriculum as it is most likely not how most of us went to school back when we were younger.
At times, living overseas isn’t always the easiest thing and there are challenges that present themselves. On the other hand, if you keep an open mind, there are definitely some moments of enlightenment as well!
Want to read more about the guidelines of moving/living abroad? Check out our blog series called “Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas.“
“It is a world of carbonized paper and paper messages passed furtively from school to candidate and back again. It is a world of snap judgements and horse trading. It is a world where the relief at having survived trumps the ludicrous farce in which we all play a part.
Now that is some real insight into the recruitment fair experience, from the administrator’s perspective.
Heading off to a recruitment fair anyway? For some helpful advice, check out our blog series called “Nine Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs.” As a sneak peek, lesson number one is “Bad interviews are good things.“
Want to work for an international school in Sub-Saharan Africa like this blogger? Currently, we have 156 international schools listed in this area of the world. 57 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:
• The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 52 Comments
• International Community School Addis Ababa (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) – 61 Comments
• Saint Andrews International High School (Blantyre, Malawi) – 41 Comments
• TLC International School (Nouakchott, Mauritania) – 43 Comments
• The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 30 Comments
• Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan) – 65 Comments
• International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 141 Comments
• Kampala International School (Kampala, Uganda) – 50 Comments
• American International School of Lusaka (Lusaka, Zambia) – 45 Comments
Additionally, there are 87 International School Community members who currently live in Sub Saharan Africa. 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
In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school. A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part to your start at your new school, in your new host country. What are all the must-haves then? Check out our blog series here to read about the ones we have discussed so far.
Must-have #7: A dinner outing with the director and administration
In some cultures it is very much of a bonding moment between people when they share a meal together. It is a time when you can really relax and have some nice conversations with each other. Getting to know your director and other new teachers in this kind of setting will help you with future encounters with the director and also with your potential new good friends. Having a meal with your bosses can really start your relationship with them on the right track.
How nice is it when the administration treats you to a nice dinner out somewhere in your new town? It really just sets the stage right to have a great start to your first year. Sure it is not that important and of course it does not have anything to do with your job specifically, but it is nice to get some bonding time with the other new teachers as well as your new bosses. Also, there is the fact that you probably don’t have so much money when you first arrive to be going out to eat at a nice restaurant. Plus, you probably do not even know where the good restaurants are just yet anyway.
If there is not a dinner planned though for all the new teachers, it definitely feels like something is missing. If there is a dinner planned, then there are a few scenarios that might happen. Most often the admin plans a dinner out in the center of the city at a nice restaurant. You can really take in your new “expat lifestyle” in this scenario! If you have a director that is a little bit more personable, he/she might invite you over to have dinner at their house. In this scenario, the director is really making an effort to show the new teachers that they are now “one of the family” on the staff at the school.
A less desirable scenario is when the dinner is just held at the school itself. Maybe the admin staff will get the cooking staff to make something special for everyone. Having the “dinner out” at the school is probably not making a very good impression on the new teachers, but depending on cooks, it could actually be quite nice. Another way to not make the best impression is to have the dinner at some cheap restaurant (just across the street from the compound where all the teachers are living) with little planning involved on making the outing special in any way.
In either scenario, the conversations and experience had at the “dinner out” with the new staff will surely be ones that you remember. A fun time is usually in store with a lot of laughter. Take it all in because this dinner-out evening is just the beginning of your new and exciting expat life in your new host city.
Some members on our Facebook page have shared about eating out with their administration during the new teacher orientation week they experienced at their international school:
International School Geneva – Campus des Nations – “At IS Geneva there was barely an orientation week (just 2 half days) let alone any sort of dinner.”
International School Singapore (10 Comments) – “The head of school throws a BBQ dinner for the new teachers and one later for all staff to mingle with the new staff.”
Discovery College (Hong Kong) (5 Comments) – “We had a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Also a drinks/appetizers with the larger ESF organization.”
Not that you would ask about this topic at your interview or anything, but it might be important to ask the administrator who’s interviewing you the details of the new teachers orientation week. You do want to know how they support new teachers to make a smooth transition.
On International School Community we have a number of principals and directors of international schools that are members. Currently, we have 20 Directors/Heads of School that have joined. Some of the international schools they work at are:
• The Bilingual School of Monza
• International Community School Addis Ababa
• Olive Green International School
• International School of Dusseldorf
• ABC International School (Tokyo)
• International School Groningen
• Garden International School
Log-on today to check out the many comments and information submitted in this section topic! Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding out the benefits an international school offers to its new teachers.
So, does your international school include a dinner out with the director and administration as part of their new teacher orientation? Please share your experiences!continue reading
IB conferences/workshops can prove to be a very motivating and enlightening experience. Isn’t that what going to conferences is all about? Most people might say that teaching is viewed as a career, and with careers comes professionalism. Many international school teachers aspire to be the best professionals in the field. The IB (PYP and MYP too) teachers definitely have similar aspirations as well; to learn more and more about the new ways of thinking and teaching using inquiry. They are also looking to learn more about how to make their students’ thinking visible.
But like many workshops that you may attend at international school teaching conferences, the benefit of the workshop you attend greatly depends on the instructor that you get. It can also be said that the success of your workshop depends on the people that attend it as well. So many different factors come into play, but when all of them line up correctly, you are most likely in for an enlightening experience. Those types of workshops can really inspire you throughout the rest of the conference and stay with you when you return back to work.
In terms of staff development benefits, the IBO requires that the teachers working in approved/accredited schools get on going PD in the IB philosophy and latest strategies on how best to instruct students in their inquiry programme. Instead of using your own PD monies to attend IB workshops, very often the school will take the costs involved out of their own monies.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on which international school at which to work. Knowing about the professional development allowance (or lack there of) can prove to be helpful information to know; just to see what you can expect in terms of you getting the opportunity to attend workshops and conferences while you work there. Luckily on International School Community, we have a Benefits Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.
• Professional development allowance details.
Taken from International Community School Addis Ababa (35 Total Comments) school profile page.
There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.
One International School Community member said about working at Mef Int’l School Istanbul: “IBO certified IBDP and PYP training provided. Outside speakers such as Virginia Rojas brought in to provide in house PD.”
Another member said about working at Western International School of Shanghai: “Most teachers don’t get any out of school PD their first year of contract. Depends on the needs of the school.”
Another member submitted a comment about working at American School of Barcelona: “The PD amount is 390 Euros a year. You can roll over this amount for 3 years. But the reality some people get more, it is not so clear cut on who gets what amount and who gets to go to what PD opportunity.”
If you are currently a member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know by submitting some comments and information about the PD allowances at your international school. You can start by logging on here.
Stay tuned for our next survey topic which is to come out in a few days time.continue reading
Finding comments and reviews on the schools we want to know about is a top priority for most ISC members. We have a number of features on our website that help our members do just that!
Using the School Search feature on the ISC website, members can specifically search only for the international schools that have had comments submitted on them. All members need to do is use the filter feature + tick the “schools with comments” box. Here are the current results we got (from 12 July 2021) along with five random schools from that region:
Asia: 69 Schools
American International School Dhaka (130 total comments)
American Embassy School New Delhi (39 total comments)
Good Shepherd International School (409 total comments)
Kodaikanal International School (53 total comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 total comments)
Caribbean: 24 Schools
The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (83 total comments)
Somersfield Academy (44 total comments)
The Bermuda High School for Girls (41 total comments)
International School St. Lucia (West Indies) (21 total comments)
International School of Havana (20 total comments)
Central American: 32 Schools
International School Panama (64 total comments)
Lincoln School (San Jose) (54 total comments)
Marian Baker School (33 total comments)
The British School of Costa Rica (31 total comments)
The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (75 total comments)
Central/Eastern Europe: 73 Schools
International School of Belgrade (59 total comments)
Anglo-American School of Moscow (69 total comments)
Wroclaw International School (46 total comments)
American School of Warsaw (161 total comments)
International School of Latvia (33 total comments)
East Asia: 225 Schools
Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (168 total comments)
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (180 total comments)
Hong Kong International School (157 total comments)
Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan) (82 total comments)
Keystone Academy (129 total comments)
Middle East: 155 Schools
American International School of Kuwait (74 total comments)
International College Beirut (121 total comments)
Awsaj Academy (43 total comments)
Qatar Academy (Doha) (71 total comments)
Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (103 total comments)
North Africa: 41 Schools
Alexandria International Academy (79 total comments)
American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (64 total comments)
Cairo American College (196 total comments)
Misr American College (53 total comments)
George Washington Academy (97 total comments)
North America: 51 Schools
American School Foundation of Guadalajara (133 total comments)
American School Foundation of Mexico City (72 total comments)
American School Foundation of Monterrey (129 total comments)
International High School of San Francisco (37 total comments)
Atlanta International School (31 total comments)
Oceania: 9 Schools
Woodford International School (12 total comments)
Port Moresby International School (8 total comments)
Majuro Cooperative School (16 total comments)
Kwajalein Senior High School (24 total comments)
International School Nadi (9 total comments)
SE Asia: 187 Schools
Ican British International School (74 total comments)
Northbridge International School (59 total comments)
Green School Bali (168 total comments)
Sekolah Victory Plus (143 total comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (135 total comments)
South America: 66 Schools
The American Int’l School of Buenos Aires (Lincoln) (48 total comments)
Colegio Nueva Granada (60 total comments)
American School of Asuncion (145 total comments)
Colegio Internacional de Carabobo (114 total comments)
Uruguayan American School (32 total comments)
Sub-Saharan Africa: 72 Schools
The American School of Kinshasa (59 total comments)
International Community School Addis Ababa (80 total comments)
International School of Kenya (52 total comments)
Saint Andrews International High School (41 total comments)
American International School Abuja (77 total comments)
Western Europe: 172 Schools
American International School Vienna (81 total comments)
International School of Paphos (123 total comments)
Copenhagen International School (395 total comments)
International School of Stuttgart (78 total comments)
Berlin Brandenburg International School (87 total comments)
Well those are all the regions of the world on our website. In total, we now have over 1176 international schools that have had comments and reviews submitted on them! Our goal is to keep that number going up and up. Thanks to our hundreds of Mayors as well for keeping their schools consistently updated with new comments and information every one or two months.
* To access these school links you do need to have premium membership access. Become a paid member today! Or if you would like to become a Mayor and get free unlimited premium membership, send a request here.continue reading