The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

January 31, 2016


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 to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the Ruamrudee International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand), described her way to work there as follows:

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When you think of Bangkok you automatically think of bustling and busy streets which are lined with vendors with their food carts hawking their wares.  Well, when I travelled to Thailand as a tourist, that was the image that I had of living here.  So in January 2015 when I signed a contract to move to Bangkok from Dubai I thought I knew what I was moving into to.  How wrong could I have been….

Ruamrudee International School is not in downtown Bangkok, it is out towards the airport in an area known as Minburi.  A taxi to the airport might take about 20 minutes if the traffic is in your favour – a godsend when you are doing boarding pick ups the weekend before school starts and you have to go back and forth as the flights never seem to align where you can pick up more than one airline’s arrival…On the other hand, to get downtown in a taxi could take up to two hours.  The main road through Minburi is Ramkhamhaeng and it is a really busy road.  A couple of Friday nights ago it took us 70 minutes to travel about 6km – the traffic was insane – on the way back the same trip took 10 minutes.  But traffic flows eventually – there is no beeping like in Ho Chi Min or Beijing and the drivers are nowhere near as crazy as what we encountered in Dubai… these drivers just take it in their stride and no one gets upset – everyone lets everyone else merge without any problems…

Some teachers chose to live downtown, they have regular drivers who pick them up and drop them off each day.  They have to leave as soon as they are able as any delay could mean hours added to their drive home time. 

I chose to live in the community near the school – Perfect Place 2.  Perfect Place is a large secure community with wide leafy streets.  Within the community there are plenty of parks and lakes to walk around and most parks have exercise equipment available to use.  I have seen groups doing some kind of tai chi style exercise at sunset by the lake and it looks so peaceful and calming to the spirit.

imageLots of teachers use scooters to get around although some, like me, have hired electric golf carts – they can be driven around the community, as long as you don’t go out onto Ramkhamhaeng Road, they are perfectly acceptable. Plus, there isn’t that much road traffic in the community.  Once you get into the Pak Soi (where all the shops, restaurants and food carts are), traffic starts to build up as it waits to get onto Ramkhamhaeng Road.

I work in Boarding so I do crazy hours – no day is the same as the one before.  I work weekends and have other days off to compensate.  I might go in at noon but either not come home til noon the next day or if someone else is covering the overnight, I might leave at 10.30pm.  The journey is still the same regardless what time it is.  Traffic in the community isn’t an issue so I know I can leave any time and it will only take 7 minutes to get to school.

So, when I leave my house, I find myself in a quiet street (except for the dogs… not soi dogs – they all have homes, but they all bark).

A couple of turns and I say goodbye to the guards at the entrance to Perfect Place 2 – they click their heels and salute every entry and departure.

A left turn onto Ramkhamhaeng Soi 174 and I’m off….

The wide streets are incredibly clean – maybe something to do with the fact that every 500m there is a cleaner assigned to keeping her part of the street clean.

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We have a lady who walks up and down our streets in PP2 and sweeps up all the leaves and dirt off the street.

Through another security gate (it only takes about 3 mins to get to this point) and you are at the Clubhouse, overlooking the lake, it is a private gym and infinity pool but the space also houses a restaurant, coffee shop, hair salon (150 baht to wash and blow dry your hair) and the local 7-11 (they are everywhere….).

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Round the corner and its a lovely drive along the lake.

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Some days the fountain is working and it is really pretty.  There is another smaller lake on the opposite side of the road when you get to the end

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and at that point it’s a left turn into the road that finally takes you to the school’s entrance,

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albeit the one at the rear of the school, but that’s where the staff parking is located.

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The car park is full of bikes and scooters but very few cars.  Who needs a car when you can fit 5 on a bike… I wish I had a photo to share but it does happen all the time – 3 and 4 people on a scooter is a very common sight.

So, you’re now at school, ready to engage with whatever new challenges come your way.

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member.

What to know more about the many international schools in Bangkok?  Check out our blog article called – Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Bangkok, Thailand.

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.

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

February 9, 2015


The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers, when looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

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One of our members, who works at the NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) described her way to work as follows:

DSC_9540In February, it isn’t so hot in the morning. Still though, you might still be wearing shorts as you walk to work.

Not many people are out on the street that the school is on just yet, but there are some people getting things prepared for the day. There are a number of hotels nearby so there are taxis and their drivers waiting next to their cars. If the taxi isn’t moving around though, this typically means that the taxi guy is off-duty.  Off-duty can only take you somewhere without the meter on, meaning you will have to bargain the price.

There are motor scooter darting through the narrow street as well, so make sure you look both ways before crossing the street to the other side.

Actually, you should always watch what is going around you wheel walking on this street because the pavement can be uneven. There can also be some mysterious smells and puddles on the ground that you would do best to avoid.

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There are some secret entrances that you can get a glimpse at if you walk a bit slower and take a peek. Who knows what really inside those areas though. These areas, guarded only by light metal doors, don’t looks like much as you can see what looks like a bunch of nothing and garbage all over the ground.

You can see many of the locals preparing their food carts. Actually, a number of NIST students go to these stands to get their lunch for the day. Great business opportunity for the locals.

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And I think they are quite happy for the business from the NIST staff and students because you can see many smiles on locals’ faces, even in such early hours of the morning.  I guess the smells of good Thai food is better than the random smell of the rotten garbage just down the street before the food cart area.

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There are many beautiful colors in the Thai design to look at as well. Even the gates to some of the apartment buildings are quite nice to look at and appreciated.

As you get closer and closer to NIST, you can see that many of the locally hired people are all busy, getting ready for the rush of students that are to come. There are many locally hired folks that work at NIST to help each day run smoothly!

The entrance to NIST is a long walkway, ending in a beautifully designed mosaic. The NIST campus is one to be proud off. It is quite welcoming and you can feel the excitement from the staff and kids, all wanting to have a great day!

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Currently, we have 49 international schools listed in Bangkok on our website.  22 of them have had comments submitted on them by our members. Check out which ones here by using our school search feature and ticking the box ‘schools with comments’.  NIST International School is a popular school profile page on our website.  It has 65 total comments on it.  It also has 3 members that either currently work there or have worked there in the past.

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So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn 6 free months of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #32: David Walters (A director at an international school in Bangkok)

September 24, 2014


Every so often International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed David Walters:

6239_unnamedTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

My name is David and I have been working abroad since 2005. I am originally from an area just South of London. I came to Thailand straight from University and never really looked back. I started my career teaching PE and then went on to teach Year 5, all at my first school in Bangkok. I then changed to my second school, also in Bangkok, where I worked for 5 years in Key stage 1 and 2 positions. Whilst working at my second school I opened a Kindergarten with a colleague, which has now been going for four years. I love both travelling and teaching, so teaching abroad couldn’t be more perfect for me.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

A lot of luck was involved with my first job in, not only  international teaching, but in teaching itself. I had just been rejected from what at the time, I thought, was my dream job . It was a fast track management position at a well known leisure centre chain in the London. I was just out of University and it was a dream opportunity. Having made it down to the last 8 candidates from 400 odd, I fell at the final hurdle. It was a time when jobs in the UK were hard to come by, so I sought experience abroad. I luckily landed a PE teaching job in Thailand. After about a month of teaching I fell in love with the kids, the culture, the freedom and the teaching. I still wasn’t a fully qualified teacher at that point and after two years I returned to study in the UK to become fully qualified and pursue a full time career as a Primary and Early Years teacher. I consider myself lucky on three counts:

1) not getting that first job

2) finding teaching

3) starting my career teaching in Thailand.

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.

06DavePhonicsAlthough I was lucky to get into the international school setting and teaching to start with, being that I wasn’t qualified, the school that I worked at didn’t exactly set high standards. The first school, Heathfield International School, was not very good at all and I didn’t spend long there. When I joined I didn’t have much experience an like I said I wasn’t qualified at the time, so it was at least a good stepping stone. The second school, Rasami International, was better but still had a lot of problems. The first two years that I worked there were fantastic, the third good but after that it was all downhill. To begin with I was surrounded by really good teachers and a very supportive Head but the school was badly run and the good teachers began to leave. When the Head left I knew it was time to go and at that point the school that I had opened myself was more or less established.

I set up my own school with a close colleague of mine. He was one of the teachers I met at Rasami. We decided to open a school because we both had dreams and ideas of how a school should be run. Both of us think alike and have always fostered ideas and teaching philosophies that break the norms of how we are taught to teach. I am somewhat of a rebel in this sense, often going against suggested practices for teaching. The freedom to teach the way I want to teach makes everyday amazing. What could be more fun than doing the job you love however you want to do it?

Even though I have had ups and downs in the schools where I have worked, I would definitely recommend working abroad to anyone. Even through the downs I have enjoyed every moment of my working life and not many people can say that. I never look at my job as work. I don’t think of that 6am alarm call as the start of a boring day but rather one of excitement and discovery. If I could, I would go back and do it all again, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The things I have seen, the people I have met, both good and bad, have made me a better, stronger, more rounded person. The fact that I could open the school of my dreams at such an early age, is a testament to the opportunities available when working abroad.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

The list of cultural differences between Thais and Westerners is never-ending. With so many talking points, from floods through to coups, the ways in which we think is so much more different and this becomes apparent the longer that you stay here. We all think our culture has it right and that the others are doing something wrong, but given that they think that about us as well, one of us has to be wrong. Nevertheless you have to accept the differences and move on but even after living here for 9 years and being fluent in Thai, I still don’t understand a lot of what Thais do and every day I find my jaw dropping to new lows. Sometimes it’s frustrating (most of the time) but sometimes it can be the cause of laughter too.

In my first Year of teaching here I made a grave error that to my good fortune the Thai “victim” saw the funny side of. The Thai staff greet each other with what is called a “Wai”. To do this you put your hands together in prayer form and rest the fingers either below the chin, nose or on the forehead. The higher up the Wai, the more respectful it is. This is because Thais believe that the top of the body is the most revered part and the feet or bottom is the least. One day after changing for swimming an elder Thai teacher walked past and gave a Wai. At that exact moment I had a shoe in hand and being slightly startled I raised my shoe to my head and gave what was probably the first and last “Shoe Wai”. This is actually quite a big insult but the Thai teacher found my embarrassment more amusing than the insult of the action.

DSC_0058What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

After being my own boss for some time now, it is very difficult to know what I would look for if I was to find a new school. It might happen one day and if everything went badly and I found myself having to look for jobs again I would definitely look at working in Japan or Taiwan. I have visited many places in Asia and several places from other parts of the world and these are the only two countries I really felt at home from the moment I arrived. It helps that Japanese food is my favourite.

I have obviously set up my school the way that I think a school should run and finding another one that matches my vision would be difficult, but I would hope that the way the world is changing it won’t be too long before schools around the world follow suit. I would definitely like to see a school bend the rules a little and put the focus back onto the children. Schools that give time to the teachers to develop new teaching ideas and games rather than pushing teachers to mark books or fill in paper work can achieve wonderful things with the children. I would also like to see a school caring about the environment. I love following scientific trends and it is important to me that a school looks after and is part of the community in which it is situated. Schools have a responsibility to teach children how to look after the world, how to recycle and how to keep fit and eat healthily. I would look for a school with a social conscious and a moral compass.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

The opportunity of a lifetime.

Thanks David!  You can check our more about David at his blog.

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 1 year free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in the Thailand like David?  Currently, we have 44 international schools listed in Bangkok on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• Bangkok Patana School (17 comments)

• KIS International School (Bangkok) (40 comments)

NIST International School (29 comments)

Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok (16 comments)

Wells International School (Thailand) (18 comments)

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Rasami (Thai-British) International School in Bangkok, Thailand

June 18, 2014


The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers, when looking for jobs at schools and cities/countries to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the Rasami (Thai-British) International School, in Bangkok, Thailand, described his way to work as follows:

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I open my front door to the sound of a disparate chorus of tropical birds and the waning night time sounds of cicadas and bullfrogs. Bangkok is one of the hottest and busiest metropolises on the planet and by 7am it is already nearly 30 degrees Celsius and my shirt is sticking to my back before I have walked downstairs, past the spirit house that is a feature of almost every building in Thailand, with its strong sweet scent of burning incense sticks and onto the soi (narrow side street) below. The traffic congestion on the soi is considerable, though it never reaches the proportions of the average Bangkok street as one end leads into an army base through which only authorised vehicles may pass. Fortunately working at RBIS entitles me to one of these passes for the princely sum of 200 Baht (about GBP4) per year. I don’t drive the 300 metres to school though! If the morning is cool enough I elect to walk, but on particularly sultry mornings I take a motor-cycle taxi which costs 10 Baht. The journey may be short but it is not uneventful.

The morning aroma emanating from the Bougainvillea and Frangipani is a delightful treat for the nostrils and its heady perfume more than compensates for the less appealing stench of the Bangkok sewage system which competes for nasal attention. The vivid colours of the flowers against the almost ubiquitous azure blue sky, relax my eyes and help to mentally prepare me for the impending day’s teaching. There is no pavement (sidewalk) on the soi, so one can never entirely drift off as the need to avoid military vehicles, taxis and scurrying motorcycles as well as the cars of our parents hurrying to drop their offspring at school before going on the lucrative employment that enables them to send their children to an international school.

When I arrive at the school, I greet the School Director – a former army officer, who is always present to greet staff and children – with a wai, a prayer like gesture which he cheerfully returns, before entering the compact campus and commencing the days teaching.

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Currently, we have 38 international schools listed in Bangkok on our website.  19 of them have had comments submitted on them by our members. Check out which ones here by using our school search feature.

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So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn 6 free months of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: KIS International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

June 17, 2012


There are so many international schools in Bangkok.  Which ones are good places for international school teachers to work at?  How does the international teaching community view the international schools there?

KIS International School (Bangkok)

The school building looks quite big.  Also, there is a large outdoor swimming pool and a climbing wall.

The outdoor playgrounds appear to have tarps installed on the trees to aid in shading the heat from the sun.

Looks like the students enjoy playing soccer as most students at international schools do during their play time.

The school has the students wearing uniforms appropriate to the tropical climate of the country.

Every shot of a classroom makes it seem as if there is much learning space allotted for the students. It is nice to have a lot of space for students to explore and not be so distracted by others in the room.

The indoor shot of the atrium looks impressive and definitely creates a welcoming feeling as you walk along the hallways of the school.

I noticed a shot of an exercise room on campus.  I still haven’t had the chance to work at an international school that had one of these.  Would be nice to have access to a gym on campus!

Wow their special celebration days look to be quite the spectacular!  There is a great open space outside on the field to hold these types of big events.

There have been 39 comments and information submitted on this international school on our website.  Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – KIS International School (Bangkok) (39 Comments)

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 24 international schools listed in the city of Bangkok.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

Bangkok Patana School (14 Comments)
Harrow International School (Bangkok) (10 Comments)
International School Bangkok (16 Comments)
St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)
Hampton International School (13 Comments)
Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok (7 Comments)
Berkeley International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Bangkok, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

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Video Highlight

Video highlight: St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

January 2, 2012


St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok)

How great to start off each day with the flag ceremony and the Thai National Anthem!

Being that the majority of their students are Thai, they have a strong focus on honoring and respecting Thai and Asian cultural values.

It looks like they also have a focus on having the students learn by doing, including doing a lot of learning outside of the classroom.

Another apparent focus is to provide their students opportunities to be active in community service experiences that help out less fortunate children.

Using the school search feature on our website, there are 31 international schools listed in Thailand.  19 of those schools are in Bangkok and 13 of them are teaching the UK curriculum.

Check out St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok)’s school profile page on International School Community here.

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Discussion Topics

9 International Educators Share their Hospital Visit Experiences from Around the World

March 18, 2020


One time in Bangkok, I was walking around the streets by myself in the heat of the summer. By accident, I tripped and fell down on the sidewalk. After I got myself up, something felt extremely wrong. I walked around for a bit, but I didn’t know what was wrong and I started to panic.

I found a taxi and decided to have him take me to my hotel. At first, the driver said a price for the taxi ride. I would have paid whatever, but I immediately started crying. The taxi driver immediately lowered the price (I originally got the tourist price I guess) and became very worried for me.

I got to the hotel, but then immediately realized that I needed to get to the hospital ASAP. I got into another taxi and arrived at a local hospital in Bangkok. When I first got in, they helped me immediately (remember I’m still on my own and don’t know how to speak Thai). The nurses put me on a gurney, and then started to proceed opening my backpack. I got stressed about that and was getting confused. I found out later that they were putting my valuable things into a safe place. How nice! But the nurses didn’t speak English, so there wasn’t a way of knowing what was going on when it was happening.

I was seen quite quickly by a doctor or maybe even two doctors. The problem was that I had a dislocated shoulder (first time it happened to me). They put it back in its place. And even though I was drugged a bit, I had to be on my way. I sincerely thanked them all I hope, but years later I had thought to send a thank you note to that hospital for such a kind and helpful experience there.

After searching the keyword ‘hospital‘ using our Comments Search function on our website (premium access required), we found 210 comments. Here are 9 of them that give some insight into the hospital experience in different countries around the world.

Vilnius International School (23 total comments)

“They are just now implementing a level of international health insurance so will have more information about that later. The current uses the local system which is all in Lithuanian so can make it difficult to get seen as you have to go to an assigned doctor (who speaks little English) and to an assigned hospital. It is very difficult without knowing Lithuanian.”

Lycee Francais de Shanghai (30 total comments)

“Health insurance is great and comprehensive. You’ll be provided with a list of fully covered hospitals and dentists and those that are co-pay. The hospitals are great. I’ve not had any bad experiences.
When I had a dental emergency I paid up front and was able to claim it all back.”

Escuela Bella Vista Maracaibo (59 total comments)

“The insurance is quite good in Maracaibo and in the USA. The doctors are trained, but hospitals are not equipped to serve patients right now. The price for medical care has increased by 10 fold in one year. It is a terrible situation for Venezuelans and foreigners who get sick.”

Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo (64 total comments)

“Albert Einstein Israelite hospital is considered one of the best in South America and is located in the same neighborhood as the school.”

Renaissance International School Saigon (52 total comments)

“Health insurance works ok. Most hospitals for foreigners have a direct billing accord with the insurance. More hospitals are getting built at the moment and there a few very decent expat hospitals but they are also money making machines. Local hospitals are ok but can be a very different experience.”

American International School Dhaka (94 total comments)

“Insurance is great. That said, most go to Bangkok or Singapore for yearly check ups and anything requiring a knife. Used a local hospital for PT and found it very ineffective. Okay for stitches or advice on passing a kidney stone. Super cheap MRI and X-rays. AISD has a on-site clinic that most use for colds, flu, dengue, vaccinations, etc.”

Roong Aroon School – International Programme (18 total comments)

“Local hospitals [in Bangkok] vary – government hospitals usually have good doctors working off their government college loans; private hospitals are quite flash and many have decent reputations. International hospitals can be quite pricey, and while their reputation may sound great they can sometimes not provide the same value for service as the private and government hospitals.”

North Jakarta Intercultural School (101 total comments)

“School covers AETNA insurance. It is worldwide coverage EXCLUDING the USA. Local hospital is conveniently located near school. HR and Operations is very helpful to support new employees on any medical issues, even accompanying to the hospital if needed to support translation. You can generally find hospital staff who speak fluent English. Signage is bilingual. All health providers are located under the roof of the “hospital“”

Osaka International School

“We currently have international insurance through Clements. I’ve been very happy with them. When my child was in the hospital, all that was required from me was a quick call and then they negotiated the payment with the hospital‘s accounting office. Doctor’s fees are quite reasonable in Japan, so for most charges, I pay cash and then have the reimbursements put through to my USA bank account. I am able to make my claims through an app on my phone and it is wonderful and quick. Reimbursements usually come within 2 weeks or so.”

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Information for Members

Become the ‘Mayor’ of Your School and Get Unlimited Free Premium Membership!

December 5, 2019


Our mission for the International School Community website is to have the most updated information about what it is like to work at the numerous international schools around the world. One way to help us achieve that mission is to have Mayors.

Being a Mayor is super easy, and the best part is that you get unlimited free premium membership to our website!

Mayor responsibilities:

• Submit at least 3-6 new comments on your school every 1-2 months (on the 66 different comment topics). It takes like 5-8 minutes of your time to do this.

• Make sure to check on your school’s Wall and occasionally post updates about their school (any big changes to the school that are happening, good tips to know about, recent events at the schools, etc.)

• Make sure that their school has the most updated and correct information (e.g. basic info, links, Facebook page, Youtube video, etc.) on the Overview and Social Media tabs.

• Submit job vacancies that are currently available at your school.

Here are just a few of the almost 550+ schools that have a Mayor on our website:

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 433 Comments

NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 298 Comments

Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 139 Comments

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 155 Comments

American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico) – 127 Comments

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments

Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 138 Comments

Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 366 Comments

Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 166 Comments

American International School Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh) – 90 Comments

International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 135 Comments

Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 158 Comments

Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 145 Comments

The more Mayors that we have on our website means the more our members will be informed; as there will be more up-to-date information on the schools they want to know about!

Become the Mayor of a school you work at (or have worked at) today!

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Please note that being the Mayor of a school is anonymous, and that all comments and job vacancies submitted on our website are also done so anonymously. Posting on the school profile page wall though is not anonymous.

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Information for Members

Top 40 International Schools with the Most ISC Members (Update)

November 12, 2019


How many times have you applied to a school wishing that you knew somebody that worked there?

Knowing somebody and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on an international school could definitely help you in your quest to set up an interview there.

At International School Community, we made that search for ‘informed people’ even easier with our Top 40 Schools with the Most Members page.

international schools

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are (12 November, 2019):

26 members – American International School in Egypt

international schools

24 members – Copenhagen International School
22 members – Western International School of Shanghai
22 members International School of Kuala Lumpur
21 members – International School Manila
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School
18 members – MEF International School Istanbul
18 members – International School of Tanganyika
17 members – Seoul International School
16 members – International School Bangkok
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
16 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
16 members – American School of Barcelona
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
13 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
16 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
15 members – Brent International School Manila
15 members – Seoul Foreign School
15 members – Fairview International School
15 members – Shanghai Community International School
14 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
14 members – Cairo American College
14 members NIST International School
14 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
14 members – American School of Dubai
14 members – Singapore American School
14 members – Istanbul International Community School
13 members – Anglo-American School of Moscow
13 membersAmerican School of Kuwait
13 membersGood Shepherd International School
13 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)
13 members – Hong Kong International School
13 members – International School Beijing
13 members – American International School of Johannesburg
12 membersAmerican International School Dhaka
12 membersBilkent Laboratory & International School
12 members – Shanghai American School – Puxi
12 membersInternational School Dhaka
12 members – Shanghai American School – Pudong
12 members – Canadian International School (Singapore)

With 100-200 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.

It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (premium member feature).  Then write him/her a message.  When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (so, hopefully he/she will get back to you in a timely manner!). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!

international schools

As far as we know, International School Community is the one of the only websites where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school.  Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from Suzhou Singapore International School in China and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 12 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past.  Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!

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Information for Members

The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

June 18, 2019


So interesting, our top 40 school profiles with the most views page.

It’s like, which school is the most popular amongst our 13K+ members?  Before reading below or checking out the page, which schools do you think show up on this list?

Are the ones at the top those “Tier one” international schools that we all hear about? You might be surprised which schools are really on this list then!

schools

The school that has the most views right now is the Colegio Granadino Manizales (68 total comments), which currently has around 36937 views. Who wouldn’t want to work in South America?!

Here are some of the other top schools on our list (along with a sample comment from its school profile page):

Copenhagen International School (350 total comments) Copenhagen, Denmark (2268 views)

“I feel like we are getting more new students lately and classrooms in the primary are definitely reaching their maximum.”

NIST International School (276 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand (1946 views)

“Most of the large shopping malls have gourmet markets that include Western foods and ingredients, and two or three chains specifically cater to them as well. A huge number of expat-oriented pubs and restaurants can be found, especially along Sukhumvit Road.”

schools

International School of Kuala Lumpur (135 total comments) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2220 views)

“Pay is good, with a great retirement (EPF) program that can go up to 42% of salary (including both employer and employee amounts). Teachers are paid 10 times (August through June) but in June they also get their July salary.”

KIS International School (Bangkok) (306 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand (1766 views)

“KIS has just gone through its five-year accreditation for both the CIS and the IB as well as the one from the Thai Ministry of Education. Obviously the full reports have yet to be made public but the feedback from the team leaders was certainly constructive and said that the school was certainly heading in the right direction.”

Seoul Foreign School (147 total comments) Seoul, South Korea (1818 views)

“I literally think these are the best students to have on the planet. I can’t think of a country where the student caliber is any higher. Wonderful and attentive students who perform well. Require work to get them to think outside of the box and problem solve.”

Hong Kong International School (136 total comments) Hong Kong, China (1725 views)

“The school is a very well established school and has been a part of Hong Kong for nearly 50 years.”

schools

Western International School of Shanghai (415 total comments) Shanghai, China (1871 views)

“Tons of activities if one wants to do something. It’s pretty easy to fund running, cycling, hiking, tennis, basketball, rugby, and so forth. Pretty much anything is on offer here!”

Singapore American School (219 total comments) Singapore, Singapore (1977 views)

“Short term disability benefit. Worldwide health insurance coverage.”

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (175 total comments) Shanghai, China (1507 views)

“The school buildings are quite modern. Many students walk to school as there are many neighbourhoods near the school.”

International School Bangkok (19 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand (1047 views)

“There are scholarships available for staff children to attend the school.”

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (144 total comments) Hong Kong, China (1263 views)

“A fair number of teachers make multiple stops on their way back to “home” in Canada, USA, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand. Since these are long flights (~10-18 hours), it is easy to find extended layovers en route.”

Bangkok Patana School (39 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand (1096 views)

“The school provides free transportation for teachers who live within areas adjacent to the school. Teachers who live outside the defined area and who require transportation are required to enroll in the transportation service offered by the school. The teacher will then be respo…”

American School of Dubai (114 total comments) Dubai, UAE (1245 views)

“The area across the street from the school, Barsha Heights (previously known as Tecom) has a number of highrise buidlings and good number of restaurants and shops in the area. It’s a 10-15 minute walk from there for the teachers that live in that area. On the opposite side a…”

schools

American School of Warsaw (127 total comments) Warsaw, Poland (1199 views)

“In connection to the school’s growing percentage of ELL students, every grade level in the elementary and middle schools now has a dedicated ELL coach/teacher/classroom aide.”

Check out the rest of the schools on our list here.

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Money Diaries

Money Diary: How Much Do You Spend in a Week Living in Bangkok, Thailand?

May 30, 2019


Occupation: PYP Coordinator

Industry: International Education

Age: 50

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Salary: $64,000 USD (includes rental allowance and responsibility stipend)

Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3800 USD (I put 15% of my base pre-tax into a retirement fund)

Monday

I catch the free minibus from the MRT stop near where I live and head to school. Lunch is free and delicious. After school I go to tutor, earning an extra $38 which goes in my jar for weekend trips.  I take a motorbike home for $1.50, buy some street food on the way home for $1:00 and go for a splash in the pool.

Tuesday

I am running late so I catch a motorbike at $1:50, I take the bus home. For dinner I have Tom Kha Goong from our local cafe for $6.39. It is delicious. I go to 7-11 to pay my internet bill, $32.20 a month for unlimited phone data and unlimited streaming at home. I could cut that cost but I like this service. They are also very responsive and have English speaking operators.

Wednesday

I catch the bus to work, and tutor after work, another $38 to the extra trips fund.$1.50 again for the bike home.  Wednesday is a long day, I get home at 6, so I have a glass of wine. I am careful with wine here, the best deals I can get on drinkeable wine is $22.48 a bottle,  Dinner is from the local night market and costs $1.20

Thursday

Bus to work again, after work I have coaching practice down town, so that is $5:30 for the bike to get there in time. I come back on public transport at about $1. The metro stops right at the end of my road so it is really convenient. Sometimes I eat downtown with friends on a Thursday, an Italian with a glass of wine is about $25.00 USD. I am going out tomorrow though so I don’t stay this week. Tonight I decide to fast until lunctime tomorrow, I do intermittent fasting about once a week, it is healthy 🙂

Friday

Bus to work so no cost there. At lunchtime I order 3 books from Book Depository, books are expensive in Thailand so this is the cheapest way of buying them – $20. I go for a massage after work with a friend who drives. My local place gives a 20 percent discount if you buy a card for 10,000 baht, thats $314 Sounds a lot? That makes my 90 minute Thai massage only $12 so it lasts for ages. It’s an up front investment, I save $60 by paying up front. We have a light dinner in a local restaurant appx $6. Then I head off to wine tasting, this is one of the best deals in the city.  Every week a different region is featured, there are 6 to 7 wines on the list. Three hours of wine tasting with tapas for $31.40 is a bargain. Trouble is we tend to go out afterwards so I end up spending another $15-30. I tend to limit these nights to once a month.

Saturday

I am often out of town on a workshop or travelling for fun, so if I am home, I don’t do much on Saturdays unless I have visitors. I swim, clean house (I could get a cleaner for $16 a week but currently I choose not to as my place is really easy to keep). I take a few pieces of ironing to the local laundry, that will cost about $5.  Lunch is salad made at home and some hot smoked salmon. A friend gets me this for $32 a kilo, It stays frozen in pieces until I want it. A coconut is $1.50. If there is an exhibition or other cultural event I might go there which ranges from free to about $30. I book a trip to Phuket, where I go about once a month, total cost of flight, beach accommodation, sailing and food is about $380. But I love it, that is why I tutor.

Sunday

Catch up work day, and grocery shopping. Because lunch is provided, and I travel 2 weekends out of four, I don’t need a lot. My big monthly shop is about 100 USD, my weekly catch ups $ 20 – 40 depending on the week.  I have lunch at the local mall for $1.50, it is delicious freshly made Thai soup with steamed rice and an omlette. Totally delicious.

Monthly Expenses

$940/month rent (my allowance after tax is $630 and I could theoretically find a smaller less convenient place for that, but I love where I live so I bump it up)

$600/month put away for holiday travel

$380/month travel

$200/month groceries

$200/month nice restaurants and socialising

$50/month local streetfood and markets

$560/month retirement fund (comes out of salary pre-tax)

$32/month Internet

$27/month electricity

$6/month building water

$14/month drinking water

$40/month public transport

$10/month ironing

Savings potential on my (mid range for Bangkok) salary, and lifestyle is about $1300 a month, I also have my pension fund which my employer contributes an extra 5% to (appx $185 a month), so that is an additional $745 a month in a growth fund.

This article was submitted by an ISC member. Why not submit your Money Diary article for your area of the world and earn free premium membership to the ISC website? Contact us here if you are interested.

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Information for Members

14742 Total Comments in All the School Profile “School Information” Sections

March 25, 2019


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2081+ school profile pages on our website has four comments sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.


Example School Information page on Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 147 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 14742 (out of a total of 31084+ comments).

There are 24 subtopics in the School Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific sub topic and an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1391 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is set in 3 separate building, one being a 5 minute walk and the other across the road. Crossing the road is quite a safety hazard with the kindergarten class due to taxis over taking them whilst they are on the crossing and the local police not doing anything to monitor this. There is no proper play area and students are taken to local parks for lunch breaks, which is difficult when having to share with babies. No proper gym areas make p.e quite difficult.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan) – 93 Comments

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• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1041 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It is a non-religiously affiliated school owned by a Christian affiliated college and operated on that campus. It is WASC accredited, but is not accredited by the Korean authorities and seems to be a limbo in regards to its local status.” –Global Prodigy Academy (Jeonju, South Korea) – 48 Comments

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• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (628 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is discussing becoming IB and has implemented Teacher’s College Readers and Writer’s Workshop as well as whole language learning in the primary schools. Secondary schools do MAPS-based action plans to show and monitor student improvement and compare them to US students.” – American School of Torreon (Torreon, Mexico) – 51 Comments

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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? (1413 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Last year they were NOT hiring people with non-EU passports. Some positions that they had last year were local hires, even if the candidates weren’t the strongest of the CVs that they received. Most of this though is out of the school’s control and more the new/changing laws regarding hiring foreigners into the country.” – Southbank International School (London, United Kingdom) – 15 Comments

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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? (1312 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is located near one of the hub stations in Tokyo, with easy access by several trains and subways. The school also has two school bus routes. The school will help the teachers find housing if necessary, but it does not itself provide housing. A transportation allowance is provided to cover the transportation cost from home to school and back.” – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan) – 30 Comments

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• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (716 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Expectations are high but the atmosphere is supportive. Staff are expected to undertake duties on a rota bais before and after school, at break times and lunch times. Staff are expected to run one extra curricular activity for one term per year. There is a decent amount of non-contact time at around 20% of timetable.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 75 Comments

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• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (731 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Class sizes are very small. In primary, they are normally a combination of two grade levels (i.e. Grades 1 and 2 together) and about 16 kids with a teaching assistant. In secondary class size is smaller and can range from four to twelve per grade level.” – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan) – 64 Comments

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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? (1106 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The Thao Dien (Primary) campus in the expat area has students from about 20 countries. The TT Campus, Primary, Middle School and Secondary is mainly Vietnamese. Korean is the next largest student group. Very few students from Western Countries. Has a large EAL population.” – Australian International School HCMC (Vietnam) (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 19 Comments

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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. (1154 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Primarily expat teachers, without any one nationality dominating things. When I left in 2011 there were teachers from Australia, Canada, US, UK, South Africa, Belgium, and Tanzania just within my department. Some teachers stay 7 to 10 years or more, while others just 2 to 4 years, as in most international schools.” – International School of Tanganyika  (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

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• What types of budgets to classroom teachers/departments get? (441 Total Comments)

Example comment: “budgets have been steadily dropping. Ownership slyly changed the school from a not for profit school to a for profit school, without notifying parents of the change.” – Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 22 Comments

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• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school (158 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The mastery system is open to the interpretation of each teacher, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments

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• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (615 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school offers a wide variety of after school activities which are run by teachers. There is no extra pay for this. Teachers can choose which activity they would like to lead.” – International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 47 Comments

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• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (623 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school has an excellent music program that frequently presents music and drama to the local community and other schools. Students in the diploma program seek out ways to serve the community needs.” – Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 157 Comments

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• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (531 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The students are generally great, however there are no entrance exams or behavior requirements. The owners Tehmine and Stephan want to make as much money as possible. There definitely are no requirements to enter this school.” – Surabaya European School (Surabaya, Indonesia) – 20 Comments

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• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (286 Total Comments)

Example comment: “I’ve really enjoyed working at the school. I have always been able to approach admin if I needed to.” – The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (St. John, Barbados) – 70 Comments

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• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (339 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school has a health and wellness program where a lot of teachers connect and exercise together. Also, the PTO regularly hosts cocktail events after school. Plus there are scheduled tours and cultural events.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 69 Comments

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• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (405 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher has a PC (windows only. The printer server won’t talk to macs) and a smart board. However, the smart boards are not all hooked up or working so it’s a very expensive video screen. Slow internet. Nothing Google, youtube, or Facebook works in China.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 143 Comments

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• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (252 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Get on your principal’s good side and you are fine. If they do not like you you will immediately get put on a corrective plan and ushered out. Just flatter the admin and you will be fine.” – Abu Dhabi International Private School (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 43 Comments

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• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (382 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The number of students has increased. There is a waitlist for Year 6 now.” – UCSI International School Subang Jaya (Subang Jaya, Malaysia) – 11 Comments

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• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (200 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The one more important thing that changed for the positive, in around 2011-12, was the school initiated an 8000 RMB per year, per teacher, PD allowance. Before that there wasn’t an allowance. There was though PD for the DP teachers before that.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 30 Comments

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• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (147 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Well one thing that my school had in the United States was a coordinator for reading in the Primary school. I feel that CIS would benefit from having one of those. We need somebody to coordinate how the primary school teaches reading and someone to coordinate resources. Also, someone to help us have a clearer stop and sequence across the grade levels.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 350 Comments

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• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (263 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school hires foreign teachers but sometimes it is difficult for the teachers to integrate into the school. It is really a combination of moving to Chile and assimilating as a foreigner as well as the schools lack of support to receive foreign teachers. The administration has recognized this problem and is working to help future hires.” – Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 24 Comments

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• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (373 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Remember state school teachers are paid twice as much for half the work. All the locals are on waiting lists for Govt. schools but they are years (centuries) long.” – International School of Paphos (Paphos, Cyprus) – 123 Comments

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• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.) (235 Total Comments)

Example comment: “A curriculum coordinator offers huge levels of support for this. During the current year, this load is heavy because of where we are in the accreditation cycle. High School has used Rubicon for a while. Lower School is just starting to use Rubicon.” – American School of Marrakesh  (Marrakesh, Morocco) – 29 Comments

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Information for Members

12 Submitted Comments About the “Awesome” Parts of Working at International Schools

March 17, 2019


International School Community is full of tens of thousands of useful, informative comments…31058 comments (17 March 2019) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website and share what they know about what it is like working at a specific international school.

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and useful ones related to the “awesome” parts of working at international schools from across the globe.

12. PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school. How was your child’s education and socialisation at the school?

“The preschool is fantastic. Teachers and assistants were excellent and our child learned a huge amount! One memorable field trip was to the local international airport where students visited the traffic control tower and got to role play…pretty awesome.” – MC School (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) – 49 Comments

11. Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

“The new Middle School is up and running! It’s pretty awesome. Lots of open spaces, a rooftop terrace, an auditorium, big classrooms with whiteboard walls that you can write all over. Amphitheater is also very nice, great during the spring and fall for reading outside.” – American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 165 Comments

10. What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?

“We just had three weeks of mindfulness, with lots of different classes offered, including free massage at school. It was awesome! School year begins with a Karaoke night, where everyone joins in, local expat, support staff, everyone, it is fun. There are staff spirit days, we just had an amazing Christmas party and THEN a Christmas lunch. There is a system for nominating who did a great job and the names are put into the hats for prizes. At the end of this term we all received a blue tooth travel speaker and a portable drink cup, everyone not just teachers, I like that. Plus everyone is just nice to each other at work, its is happy place” – KIS International School (Bangkok) (Bangkok, Thailand) – 296 Comments

9. Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.

“If you want to have some tasty dumplings, I suggest to go to Chao Chao Sanjo Kiyamachi. It is a small restaurant and full of tourists, but still the food is fast and good. There are so many temples/shrines to see here. Many of them are going up the nearby mountain side. There is such beautiful nature there with amazing trees everywhere. In the spring, it is awesome and in the fall it can be very gorgeous.” – Kyoto International School (Kyoto, Japan) – 55 Comments

8.Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.

“It is the beginning of June at the moment and the weather can’t be any better. It is sunny and warm basically every day. It is awesome. You can go out and enjoy the outdoor areas of the city. The high is in the upper 20s during the day with minimal breeze in the air. You can definitely walk around in sandals and shorts/t-shirt. Though once the sun finally goes down (like around 10pm), then it is good to have a light jacket to wear or a long sleeved shirt if you are walking around the city.” – International School of the Gothenburg Region (Gothenburg, Sweden) – 6 Comments

7. In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school?

“Staying because some people find an awesome niche in Berlin’s counterculture, or because they’ve had kids here and they’ve set up a nice suburban life near school. Leaving because some departments have disorganized, antiquated approaches, or because the school can ask for too much at times (learning to set limits is important as an employee here.)” – Berlin Brandenburg International School (Berlin, Germany) – 80 Comments

6. Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.

“Each classroom in grades 4-5 has their own classroom set of ipads and own classroom set of Chromebooks. It is awesome!” – Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria) – 49 Comments

5. Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

“We have moved into our new building/campus. It is truly unbelievable. It is so huge! It can take like 20 minutes or more to walk from one tower to the other tower at the other end of the building. Being on the water is so beautiful. The sunrises and sunsets are just so awesome. With the big windows in every room, there is always a good view to look at. The kids are getting distracted by the huge ships docking and going past, so we’ll see how that continues or stops in the near future.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 345 Comments

4. 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?

“The school has an awesome location in Seoul — 20 minutes from downtown, but there is tons to do in our own neighborhood too. Most teachers live in on-campus housing which is maintained by the school and quite nice. Walking to school from on campus housing takes about 5 minutes or less depending on which building you live in. One of the largest faculty housing units had to be demolished for the construction of the new high school (scheduled to be completed in 2018). Those faculty members have been displaced to the nearby Grand Hilton. The apartment units over there are quite nice and the school runs two shuttles from the hotel to school in the morning and in the afternoon (at different times). The hotel is about a 20-30 minute walk from school and a 5 -10 minute taxi ride. Many teachers also ride bikes or scooters from Hilton to school.” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 147 Comments

3. Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.

“I haven’t been to many restaurants, but I like Rolly’s stake house. The atmosphere is awesome, food is great (they also have salads if you are vegetarian, but meet is main meal there 🙂 Also there is a really nice restaurant on Uetliberg, with the great city view, that is one of my favorite spots in Zurich. Also ride on the lake is really beautiful.” – Inter-community School Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) – 69 Comments

2. Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

“The school building location is awesome. The surrounding area is amidst a row of other like buildings, some residential and some other businesses. The whole area is quite nicely manicured in terms of gardens and the upkeep on the other buildings. It doesn’t necessarily look like an entrance to a school (the door to ICS), and there is just a small sign on the door letting people know.” – International Community School London (London, England) – 49 Comments

1. How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?

“The teachers at the American School of Asuncion are great and work really hard. In general, it appears that the foreign staff work harder and put in longer hours than local teachers, but this is one perception. There are lots of extracurricular activities offered after school for students: chess, sports, photography, newspaper, student council, etc. In the elementary, the workload is awesome! Primary teachers only have about 4 hours of contact teaching time with the students each day. The rest of the time for students is spent in Specials and Spanish class. Middle and high school also have apple time to plan lessons and take a break between classes.” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 145 Comments

If you have an interesting and useful comment to add related to the awesome parts at your school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Information for Members

Top 26 Schools With the Most Comments/Reviews on ISC (UPDATE)

March 3, 2019


Now there are 1084+ international schools that have had comments/reviews submitted on them on our website (up almost 80 schools from one year ago)!

Once schools have over 70 submitted comments, then it is very likely that you will be able to see how a specific comment topic has changed (or not changed) over time; with all the comments being date stamped.

If there is more than one comment in a specific comment topic, the more recent comments either add on, compliment, or amend the previous comments.

A few of our schools that have many submitted comments will sometimes have over 15 comments in one comment topic!

reviews
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Just click on the “Show all” link to see the complete history of comments in this comment topic.

So let’s get to it, which schools are in the top 26 (from February 2019, with some including a sample comment)?

Here we go:

26. Changchun American International School (Changchun, China) – 131 Comments
“There is an age limit for hiring and it is 60 years old. Interviews are via Skype mostly. Candidates should have at least a BA and a teaching qualification. Ideally you would have at least 2 years of int’l school teaching experience. The school does prefer teachers that a…”

25. International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 134 Comments
“There is a clear and structured pay scale. You enter it according to experience and qualifications, up to a maximum experience level. Within the school you receive an annual ‘step’ for every year of experience, plus there are usually small inflationary raises to the salary scale. Additionally stipends are paid for team leader responsibility. There are resigning bonuses after four years of employment.”

24. Bilkent Laboratory & International School (Ankara, Turkey) – 135 Comments

23. Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 136 Comments

22. Fairview International School (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 137 Comments
“Teachers share their unit plans, but write their own lesson plan. All has to be submitted to the subject heads for vetting and approval.”

21. Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Honk Kong, China) – 139 Comments
“Hong Kong is one of the major stops for big name concerts and theatrical productions. Tickets can be expensive, but some large music festivals, such as Clokkenflap and Party in the Park, are more reasonably priced.”

20. Sekolah Victory Plus (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 143 Comments
“Due to new Indonesian regulations, all salaries must be paid in Rupiah. However, the school guarantees a portion of your salary (~30%) in USD calculated at the official rate each month. A sort of best of both worlds scenario.”

19. Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 143 Comments

18. American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 145 Comments

17. Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 147 Comments
“Tutoring through the school is available if it is not your student. The school takes a portion leaving you with about $20 for 30 minutes of tutoring. Coaching stipends from $350-900 and lifeguarding at the school pool can bring in 25-45 dollars an hour.”

16. MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey) – 156 Comments
“Teacher turnover is high. Everything from 1st year teachers, teachers new to being over seas, to very experienced international educators. Living in Istanbul is a big draw.”

15. Cairo American College (Cairo, Egypt) – 157 Comments

14. Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 157 Comments
“Back in the re-accreditation mode again with the self study this year. The visit will be a joint visit next year with IB, ECIS and NEASC.”

13. Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments
“Apartments are furnished by landlords so it can vary – but generally pretty basic. School gave me a metro card and a SIM card and phone til I sorted out my own.”

12. American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 165 Comments
“The turn over rate is getting a bit higher because the cost of living in Spain is getting higher and higher and salaries are staying the same. Economically it is difficult in Spain right now. That being said Barcelona is a fantastic city to live in and no one wants to leave!”

11. Stamford American International School (Singapore, Singapore) – 169 Comments

10. International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 169 Comments

9. International School of Tanganyika (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

8. Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 175 Comments
“The “common language spoken in the hallways” depends on the grade level. Students who are only 3 or 4 might not have a lot of English. As the students get older, they are quite skilled in English.”

7. Ghandi Memorial International School (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 203 Comments

6. Singapore American School (Singapore) – 207 Comments
“Transport options are good. The taxi queue right outside of arrivals can be long at times, but the system works well to get people moving as fast as possible.”

5. NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 252 Comments

4. KIS International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 296 Comments
“Using a mobile is now so cheap that many teachers do not have a landline. The Satellite TV provider is dreadful, neither their offerings nor their boxes have changed in 20 years. If you want to watch sport most teachers just go to the pub.”

3. Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 345 Comments

2. Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 409 Comments
“Airport is okay. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Immigration can take a long time to get through at peek times during the year but it’s okay. They have water fountains, which as a frequent traveller I really appreciate.”

1. Good Shephard International School – (Ooty, India) – 409 Comments
“Presently they are having their Trinity College London Music Examinations. This is an option but they try to maintain high grades although most students only take Initial to Grade 1 due to restrictions of the admin to practice music…”

You can see rest of the Top 40 school profile pages with the most comments here on our website.

Keep the schools that you work at now (or have worked at in the past) updated with new comments. Want to share what you know and get unlimited premium access to our website? Become a Mayor today!

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Comment Topic Highlight

What are some events your international school is planning during New Teacher Orientation?

August 5, 2018


When you start at a new school, it is important to bond with your new colleagues and to also blow off some steam so that you can reduce the stress you might be feeling (being that you are now immersed in a new country and culture and a completely new work environment).
staff outings

Of course, new teachers can try and organize some outings themselves, but it is nice when the school organizes some of it. The returning teachers and administration know the city better, and they can help facilitate some really fun parties and/or outings.

Most new teachers will not know so much of their new city/country, so the school could organize some day trips to nearby nature areas or special towns of interest. If the school doesn’t want to take to you too far away, they can easily host some events in popular local restaurants or fun places of interest.

staff outings

Even if you don’t like the places the school takes you so much, it will definitely be an opportunity for you to bond with the returning staff members as well as the other new teachers.  Bonding with new teachers is important. Typically, new teachers tend to bond most with each other and they become lifelong friends (even after one or both of them moves away). If you are lucky, there will be a number of new teachers that you will able to connect with.

Excellent international schools will definitely have a plan of events for all new teachers at the very beginning of the school year before the students arrive. A carefully planned week full of different events will definitely pay off as the new teachers will start their integration process on the right foot, thus making them enjoy their new surroundings and most likely do their best working at in their new school.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new teacher orientation plans/events. Our members can share what current international schools are doing in this matter. There are a total of 107 comments (August 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 65 comment topics called – “Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“We often hang out around campus or downtown on the weekends, but many people like to use the Arex to go to some of the cool spots in Seoul. Many of us go for picnics in Lake Park or down to the Canal Area for visiting noraebang (singing room) or bars. There really is quite a lot to do in Cheongna and new places are going in all the time. Several faculty members like to go play screen baseball and screen golf.” – Cheongna Dalton School (Incheon, South Korea)60 Total Comments

“Most of the staff parties and gatherings each year, when not on campus, are held at the high-end hotels in the area. There are a few Indian restaurants that also seem to be popular among the teachers, so the parties often end up going back there after a year or two of somewhere else.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)242 Comments

“New faculty were invited to dinner in town one night and to the directors’ home another night, which was intimate and nice. There was another faculty gathering at the director’s house soon after school began, and a holiday party in December.” – International School of Stavanger (Stavanger, Norway)44 Total Comments

“In the first week, we were taken to Taygaytay to Lake Taal for lunch. As well as this we were taken to one of the school’s service partners which is an orphanage. Trips to a cash and carry store and markets are also arranged in the first week. The divisional principals will have a social gathering at their homes for new staff and the superintendent hosts a welcome back BBQ.” – International School Manila (Manila, Philippines)71 Comments

“No city tour. It’s all administrative and logistic arrangements; a meeting with the principal, on campus, where you will be told when you need to submit your Scheme of Work @ curriculum planning. Next, you will be taken on an apartment hunting adventure by a HR personnel.” – Raffles International Christian School (Jakarta, Indonesia)42 Comments

“They had a get to know you party. Old members of staff came and you got to know people. They also took us to Carrefore and Ikea when we first got there with a coach. This is helpful when you’ve just arrived and you’re trying to figure your life out. They also take you to get a bank account set up and take you to the required medical.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)368 Comments

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: American Embassy School New Delhi

March 15, 2018


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 to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the American Embassy School New Delhi (India), described her way to work there as follows:

The road to American Embassy School New Delhi…

I have been working at the American Embassy School (AES) in New Delhi for the past year. My journey to school starts every morning at 7:45am (March 2018) when I leave my apartment. I consider myself pretty lucky because the whole commute takes less than ten minutes and I can walk.

I am currently living at the Embassy of Bulgaria. apparently, Bulgaria had a huge delegation in India in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, but due to some financial issues, the delegation has shrunk considerably in recent years. Thus, many of the apartments at the Embassy that used to be occupied by Bulgarians are now occupied by teachers from my school. Out of twenty-one apartments in the complex, eleven are occupied by AES teachers and ten are occupied by Bulgarian diplomats.

Journey to School

(The gardens on the Bulgarian Embassy grounds.)

The grounds of the apartment complex are quite beautiful. When I leave my apartment, I can hear birds chirping and see the sun shining (at least, I can in the spring and summertime – in the fall and winter there is quite a bit of pollution). But, this time of year, March, the sky is blue and there is bougainvillea blooming everywhere. The bright pink flowers bring a profusion of color to the landscape.

Journey to School

(Bougainvillea along the walls of the Bulgarian Embassy Compound.)

The gardener waves to me as I walk past. He’s busy feeding some of the many cats that live on the compound. There is a mama cat with four kittens who always say hi. They like to hang out in the backyard of the building. Every apartment comes with a terrace and garden, which is quite nice. There is also a pool that we can use, some barbecue grills, and a playground with a trampoline for kids.

Journey to School

(The pool at the Bulgarian Embassy – it’s filled from April to September.)

The apartment complex is a walled compound and there is a guard at the entrance 24/7. On my way out of the complex, I say to the guard “Namaste, Aap kaysayhey?” and he replies “Mayen tikh hoon.” I step out of the quiet of the Bulgarian and on to the street. There is color everywhere and the bees are humming around. It’s warm and breezy, maybe 70 degrees fahrenheit, and the high for the day will be close to 90F.

Journey to School

(The outside of the Bulgarian Embassy.)

I turn right and start walking. Along the way, I pass yellow and green auto-rickshaws (the traditional mode of transport in Delhi, very similar to the tuk-tuks of Bangkok), city taxis, motorbikes, and the ever ubiquitous white Suzukis that are used by Uber drives. Uber has recently become the preferred method of transport in Delhi and the white cars are everywhere. That’s one of the reasons why the traffic in the city is so bad. The proliferation of Uber. Thankfully, I don’t have to drive to get to school.

The walk is lovely. I pass the grounds of the Russian Trade Federation and the Ravi Shankar Foundation. There are bushes and yellow flowers and everything has been newly trimmed and smells like cut grass. I think most people who come to Delhi would be surprised by how green the city is. Although it’s home to twenty-five million people, there are quite a lot of trees.

Journey to School

(The entrance to the Russian Trade Federation.)

A sweet yellow dog comes up to me and says hello. Delhi has lots of street dogs and they are, for the most part, super cute and very friendly. I give yellow dog a pat on the head and continue on my walk. I pass a giant banyan tree, it’s roots all twisted and gnarly. I like the way the sunlight looks when its coming through the leaves. Everything is golden and shimmering.

Journey to School

(Yellow dog outside the British School.)

The traffic on the street in the morning is heavy because the British School is on this street. It’s across the street from my own school and parents and drivers are dropping their kids off for the day. I side step the traffic and continue along the street. Like I said, the whole walk only takes about 10 minutes. But sometimes I dawdle and daydream.

Journey to School

(The banyan tree in front of the British School.)

Journey to School

(The yellow and green auto rickshaw waits for someone who needs a ride. Be ready to barter.)

Across the street from the British School is Vivekanand Camp. The people living in this community have been there for generations. It’s a miracle that the camp hasn’t been torn down yet – it’s the only one still left in the Embassy area, Chanakyapuri. It’s estimated that as many as 2,000 people live in the camp. They don’t have running water. Sometimes, on my way home from school, I see the municipal water truck parked outside the camp entrance. The women come outside with buckets to fill up from the spigot on the side of the truck.

There are always kids from the camp hanging out on the street. In the morning, they are headed to school. They wear the white pants and red sweaters that signal the government school uniform. In the afternoon, the boys play cricket. They harbor dreams of being the next Virat Kohli. He’s the current captain of the Indian national team. The camp is a stark reminder of the wealth inequity that persists in India and other countries in the developing world to this day.

Journey to School

(Boys hanging out outside Vivekanand Camp.)

I cross the street after passing Vivekanand Camp and I am at the entrance to my school. The school is surrounded by high walls and security guards. Men stand patrol at the gates and there are armed soldiers present. The campus is secure and safe. It’s right next to the American Embassy. I go in gate number 4.

Journey to School

(A woman walks past Gate #4, one of the entrances to AES.)

Once inside, it’s a short walk for me to the middle school building. The AES grounds are approximately eleven acres, and it feels a lot like a college campus. There are separate buildings for the elementary, middle, and high schools, athletic fields, a theatre, a cafe, a gymnasium, a pool, and even a climbing wall.

Journey to School

(A campus directory points the way to some of the different buildings that make up AES.)

The campus is known for being home to many different species of butterflies and birds. The biodiversity is incredible. Especially if you are used to living in a grey urban landscape. The number of gardeners who work on campus must number close to fifty. There are so many flowers to water and plants to take care of – they do an amazing job.

Journey to School

(Flowers on campus. They change with the seasons.)

I consider stopping to sit on a bench and enjoy the sunshine, but it’s close to 8am already. Teachers have to be at work at 8:00, although classes don’t start until 8:30. I’ll go to my classroom to do some prep and get ready for my classes.

Journey to School

(Benches and a garden outside the entrance to one of the elementary school buildings.)

I’ve made it to the entrance to my building. I give thanks for the nature that surrounded me on my walk, blink once more in the sunshine, and go inside to greet my day.

Journey to School

(A bulletin board next to the entrance to the middle school. Go AES tigers!)

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author, Megan Vosk. Megan Vosk is a middle school MUN and Humanities teacher at the American Embassy School in New Delhi. She loves helping young people become more compassionate and engaged citizens. When she is not teaching, she likes to spend her time reading, watching movies, practicing yoga, and dining out with her husband.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Asia?  Out of a total of 201 international schools we have listed in Asia, 59 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

American International School Dhaka (53 comments)
American Embassy School New Delhi (39 Comments)
Good Shepherd International School (411 Comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 Comments)
Kodaikanal International School (53 Comments)
Oberoi International School (36 Comments)
SelaQui International School (36 Comments)
Woodstock School (58 Comments)
Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana (53 Comments)
Abraham Lincoln School (Nepal) (36 Comments)
Colombo International School (64 Comments)
The British School in Colombo (41 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.

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Top 10 Lists

11 Member-Submitted Comments Related to Single International School Teachers

November 5, 2017


With the hiring season upon us, there is a divide amongst us international school teachers. Will the international school you are interviewing with prefer to hire a teaching couple or a single teacher?

I guess it could seem like the international school is being a bit discriminatory when they state their preference (sometimes in the job description vacancy itself), but there might be a number of factors that come into play in their decision to be so explicit in what they are looking for.

Single

Sometimes hiring a single teacher can be more expensive than hiring a teaching couple. We all know schools love saving money! Money aside though, the administration at international schools also know the lifestyle that prospective teachers are signing up for. The set up could be good for both singles and teaching couples, but the city and country where the school is located could also lend itself better to a single person OR to a teaching couple.

It is hard to guess which type of teacher would be better for which set up, but the administration can see patterns developing amongst their staff. For example, are the single teachers or the teaching couples staying longer (or shorter) at the school? Are single teachers finding it difficult to save money there?  Are single teachers able to easily meet up with other expats or locals in the city for a date?

The fact is, though, that single teachers get hired all the time during each recruitment season. If you are a quality teacher with a good resume and references (+luck and timing), the school will definitely consider hiring you. However, it might be good to know which international schools have a good record of hiring single teachers.

Single

Additionally, if a school gives an offer of employment to a teacher who is single, what are the exact details about the benefits the school is offering you specifically?  What is the lifestyle like for single teachers that live in different cities around the world?

So many factors and things to consider!

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teaching couples and single teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 92 comments that had the keyword “Singles” in them. Here are 11 of them:

United Arab Emirates
“Dubai is a big city in most ways with very modern nightlife etc. singles should have no trouble meeting other singles, and couples will find the city enjoyable as well. Sex between people who are not married is illegal and people DO go to jail for it/get deported for it, but usually only when it is something very blatant (like having sex on a public beach). Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE and is still prosecuted. UAE is trying very hard to balance between a modern, cosmopolitan city while at the same time being respectful of traditional Arab culture.” – Raffles International School (South) (59 total comments)

Japan
“Kyoto has a pretty balance for all interests. singles may find it difficult here, however, as there isn’t much nightlife in Kyoto (a lot of things close around 8 or 9) and it can be hard to meet people. Osaka is 30 minutes to an hour away, however, and has a lot of options in that department. There are plenty of parks and outdoor spaces in Kyoto, unlike Tokyo or other metropolitan regions of Japan.” – Doshisha International School Kyoto (92 total comments)

Hong Kong
“The housing allowance for singles was increased to 23,000HKD (2900USD) which allows for a bit more choice. Because of the price discrepancy among singles, teaching couples and a teacher with dependent(s), singles were the only ones who received an increase.” – Hong Kong International School (118 total comments)

El Salvador
“The school itself is a very family orientated place, though there are lots of singles in the school. Often group trips are organised renting beach houses and lake houses.” – Academia Britanica Cuscatleca (30 total comments)

Thailand
“Chiang Mai is a great place to live for couples and families. Singles who like the Great Outdoors will also be satisfied. Those seeking a full on nightlife need to save their Bahts for a weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya. Chiang Mai has some great pubs and restaurants, but currently all are forced to close at midnight.” – Varee Chiang Mai International School (62 total comments)

Qatar
“Staff housing is provided. 2 bedroom apartments for singles, just in and around Doha (Al Saad, Al Marqab) or in Education City (mostly families because of the parks and facilities that in and around the compound). You can ask for rent allowance but once you forfeit housing you can’t get back in! QF policy. Think it’s around 8,000 qar a month plus 500 for utilities.You’ll never find anything as nice as the housing provided for that money, without getting a roommate (then you can save money)” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (65 total comments)

Single

Tanzania
“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 (171 total comments)

Zambia
“Lots of activities for singles, but people generally agree Lusaka is great for families, less so for singles wanting to find love. There is a small gay culture, but not vibrant due to the country’s general conservatism.” – American International School of Lusaka (45 total comments)

Colombia
“I am a single parent with a 5-year-old so life is very quiet for us. singles seem to have a very active social life as there are a lot of bars and Manizales is very safe. In terms of gay life, I know there are gay bars here and gay couples but I they feel they need to be discreet in public.” – Colegio Granadino Manizales (44 total comments)

South Korea
“Staff housing differs for singles and married couples. They are both located near the school and are in an area which has plenty to do. Major bills include gas, electricity, internet, etc. The most expensive is the gas in the winter. Teachers are responsible for their utilities.” – Busan Foreign School (5 total comments)

France
“There is a mix of local and expat teachers. The majority of expat teachers come from the UK, but others come from other English-speaking countries as well. There is very low turnover rate at the school- maybe one or two positions open up each year. The staff are mostly married couples- very few singles.” – International School of Lyon (12 total comments)

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Information for Members

12 Submitted Comments About the “Excellent” Parts of Working at International Schools

September 12, 2017


International School Community is full of tens of thousands of useful, informative comments…22211 comments (12 Sept. 2017) to be exact.

excellent

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website and share what they know about what it is like working at a specific international school.

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and useful ones related to the “excellent” parts of working at international schools from across the globe.

12. Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.

“Currently, insurance is through Scholars International. Coverage for medical care in the United States is something like 70% (not great) but outside of the US, coverage is great. Local hospitals are excellent and many teachers have surgeries, medical treatments (including cancer treatments), ect here in Korea. Our school is close to an amazing International Hospital, Severance Hospital at Yonsei University. Many other hospitals in the area are also well-known and provide excellent care!” – Seoul Foreign School (South Korea, Seoul) – 133 Comments

11. Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

“Keystone was built in 2013/14 as a purpose-built school. It looks like a New England or UK boarding school. It’s facilities are excellent. There is a fabulous performing arts centre, lots of meeting areas and tons of classrooms. The sports facilities are also top-notch. The grounds are well-kept. The staff apartments are spacious and well-appointed. There are separate primary and middle/high school buildings as well as the sports hall, residences and the performing arts centre. The management is also upgrading and maintaining facilities as needed. The surrounding area is very suburban. This is not downtown Beijing. There are grocery stores close by as well as a couple of small shopping malls. There are stores catering to expats nearby too.” – Keystone Academy (China, Beijing) – 54 Comments

10. Name some special things about this school that makes it unique.

“Since 2010 there have been 2 Head Teachers, 2 Primary Heads and 2 Deputy Heads due to overarching management cost cutting and general incompetencies. As well as massive staff turnovers. People see out their contracts and don’t renew because money, housing and work life balance are better at other schools. However that being said, the teachers at the school both primary and secondary are excellent teachers. Very social, helpful and happy. They bind together and get along well. The teachers that have left have gone into fantastic things, probably because of the chaos that comes from management, has built these people to make it in the real world. Lasting friendships between the teachers and everyone looks after everyone. I did enjoy the comradary here.” – Jumeira Baccalaureate School (United Arab Emirates, Dubai) – 104 Comments

9. How have certain things improved since you started working there?

“The Academic Registrar for the past two years has done much to review, simplify and streamline processes. She has also maintained – latterly when support has been lacking – almost single-handedly excellent relations with staff, parents, students and the expatriate community when helping to market the school.” – The International School of Sanya (China, Sanya) – 29 Comments

excellent

8.Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus..

“The school has a wonderful multistory building with fully equipped Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science laboratories. There is a gymnasium and multi cuisine food court as well. The auditorium of the school is excellent with a seating capacity of around 800.” – Gandhi Memorial International School (Indonesia, Jakarta) – 6 Comments

7. What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? 

“Football is the main sport and both boys and girls are involved in football. Also basketball is popular, The school has excellent facilities.” – Colegio Los Nogales Bogota (Colombia, Bogota) – 33 Comments

6. In general, describe the demeanor of the students.

“Generally, excellent. 2013’s comment still stands; Wells is fortunate to have students from not the “richest” families of Bangkok, so a degree of humbleness still exists in most.” – Wells International School (Thailand) (Thailand, Bangkok) – 55 Comments

excellent

5. Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.

“Health insurance provided. Taiwan has excellent and affordable national health insurance.” – Ivy Collegiate Academy (Taiwan, Taichung City) – 41 Comments

4. What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?

“This is a good place to be in. The working atmosphere is excellent and as teachers we can do and suggest many things in order to help with the school’s normal development. We have reached to a point were we are stable in terms of foreign staff and locals do everything they can to help foreign teachers to feel as comfortable as possible.” – Changchun American International School (China, Changchun) – 71 Comments

3. Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there.

“Hong Kong has excellent public transport. You can check in at IFC in Central or Kowloon half a day before the flight and then take your time shopping, eating, or sightseeing. The express train to the airport is quick, comfortable, and inexpensive. There are numerous buses and the MTR. As well, taxis are readily available, as are hire cars.” – Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (China, Hong Kong) – 111 Comments

2. Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.

“More local teachers than expat. There are approximately 15-20 American teachers working at the school. Local teachers speak excellent English and are great colleagues.” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Brazil, Belo Horizonte) – 46 Comments

1. How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?

“Compared to teaching in the UK this is a dream, as long as you are prepared for the culture shock of living in a small village of thirteen million. Small classes, good behaviour and a genuine interest in study, excellent resources, great quality of life. Admin is less than in the UK although it is creeping up. Some of it good, some of it of limited value (just like the UK). I enjoy my teaching and the travel opportunities this place offers.” – Wellington College International Tianjin (China, Tianjin) – 54 Comments

If you have an interesting and useful comment to add related to the excellent parts at your school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Comment Topic Highlight

How Is The New Teacher Orientation at Your School?

August 12, 2017


Starting at a new school can be scary and make you quite nervous, but it can also be extremely exciting and life enriching. To help new teachers experience more of the positive side of moving to work at a new international school, the staff and administration need a clear plan to how they will induct these new teachers to their school, routines and educational program.

orientation

The ISC blog has discussed in detail the many “Must-Haves” that international schools should consider when designing their new teacher orientation program.  Pretty easy to remember ones include just getting a thorough tour of the school campus when you first arrive at the school and an on-time pick up from an administrator when you first arrive at the airport with all your bags.

But new teacher orientation actually starts way before your arrive at the airport. One strategy is to set up the new teacher with a resource/contact person that they can ask all their burning questions to from the time they sign their contract. Administrators don’t necessarily have tons of time to be replying back to the sometime long-winded emails from their incoming staff. Having a (sometimes volunteer) contact person for the new teacher to communicate with can be quite helpful and efficient.

orientation

But once the new teachers arrive at the school and in their new country, there are even more things that can help and guide those new teachers into a more positive and exciting experience versus once that is more nerve-wracking and full of endless unknown surprises.  A few other things international schools might choose to do during their plan for new teacher orientation are to give all the new teachers a starter bag of groceries for their new apartment, a dinner outing with all the new teachers and the school administration, and a timely reimbursement of the settling-in money benefit and moving allowances.

It all sounds very easy when you just look at the simple things international schools could do to make a smooth transition for their newly arriving teachers, but we all know that challenges can arise and many things don’t go necessarily as planned. But when a new teacher orientation committee and the school administration are effectively working together and being well-planned in advance, the experience of all the new teachers will most likely be great and much appreciated!

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new teacher orientation, so you can stay the most informed as possible. There are 69 comments (premium access only) that have the word “orientation in them, and a total of 98 comments (August 2017) have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in the comment topic called – “Details about new teacher orientation.”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“There is a native English speaker and a native Turkish speaker who run orientation which takes place one week before returning teachers report. You might have dinner in an administrator’s apartment, have a tour of archaeological sites in Ankara, be driven to IKEA or be taken to a nearby market. You will be taken to visit a nearby hospital and to the bank on campus to set up avbouts, to the phone company to get cell service set up, and to the clinic for a medical exam.” –Bilkent Laboratory & International School (Ankara, Turkey)128 Total Comments

“There is an initial few days for new teachers before all staff return after summer break. It is a decent mix of philosophy and practical things, with a day trip into Beijing thrown in for good measure. It can be long, as all our meetings can be, since it is done in both languages. The school tries to get all new staff to arrive just a few days before the beginning of school so all the bank account, cell phone, etc. details can be handled as a group. If you arrive before this ‘group’ session, you are on your own. Message the mayor (me) if you are in this situation.” – Keystone Academy (Beijing, China)48 Comments

“It is okay. They take you to some good restaurants and you get to bond with the new teachers. They are understanding of the new move and give you time to take care of whatever you need to take care of. They need to do something with the Itau, bank day so that teachers can get set up with online banking that same day instead of having to wait and figure it out on your own.” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay)107 Total Comments

“New teacher orientation is very unorganized. Many times you will be told to work on lesson plans and setting up rooms during the 2 week orientation. If you are given a grade level, you will not be told how many students to prepare for until often the first day of school. On the first day of school you will often receive your list of students names.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand)48 Comments

“There is a week of new teacher orientation before returning teachers commence. During this time, new staff are assisted in setting up bank accounts and doing the mandatory health check as well as more formal aspects of induction into the school. There is usually at least one social activity.” – Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)58 Comments

“Very little help is offered to new teachers, although the primary school seems much more organized that the high school. The school has a very ‘sink or swim’ approach (there was no curriculum or resources in place when I arrived).” – Beijing Huijia Private School (Beijing, China)32 Comments

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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.

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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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Top 10 Lists

13 Insightful International School Interview Experiences Submitted by Our Members

October 21, 2016


International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…18371 comments (21 Oct. 2016) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website. In one of the 65 comment topics, they are encouraged to share their international school interview experiences. How did it go? Was it easy to get? Recruitment fair or Skype? Was the experience positive or less than ideal?

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We scoured our database of comments, and we found 13 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and insightful interview experiences.

13. “The school has improved its hiring practices during the last few years. Now department heads sometimes get involved in hiring decisions. Don’t let the director’s lack of enthusiasm during an interview throw you off – that’s just his personality – and don’t believe anything that he promises you, unless it is writing.” – Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main (Frankfurt, Germany)33 Comments

12. “Speaking from the Director’s office, you need to have a focus on collaborative action toward mission. Knowing our mission and core values is key to interview for our team. While we are happy to train, we are also looking for good experience and foundation that will add to our body of expertise and keep us refreshed in best practice.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Comments

11. “The school has not met any of my expectations in professionalism. Many of the things I was told in my interview turned out to be untrue. The fall of the peso has not been addressed by administration.” – Colegio Anglo Colombiano (Bogota, Colombia)32 Comments

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10. “Singapore age restrictions keep hiring (and renewals) under age 60. First round interview is typically done via Skype, but they want to do second round interviews in person, in Singapore or London.” – United World College South East Asia (Singapore, Singapore)6 Comments

9. “They rely a lot on hiring people who are recommended by current employees. You still go through the interview process, etc. My initial contact to the school was through a connection I had to somebody already working here.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)27 Comments

8. “Please be careful when considering to work at this school! I wasn’t and am in quite a fit now…. On May 5, 2014 I had a telephone interview with the director and the head of secondary. On May 30, 2014 I got a firm job offer for September 2014. We discussed several contract details via mail (school fees, moving allowance etc.) but I did not receive a formal contract. On June 11 I wrote an email asking for a contract copy. On June 13 the job offer was revoked, giving as a reason that “the position no longer exists on the curriculum plan, so we cannot proceed with the appointment”. Draw your own conclusions about the school’s level of commitment and organisation.” – British School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)3 Comments

7.
“Face-to-face. As in most international school in Bangkok, it is much easier to get a job if you know someone on the inside of the school. The pay-scale is shrouded in secrecy (as in many schools here). The interview process is not that difficult, being from a native English-speaking country is a huge plus.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand)38 Comments

6. 
“I was hired via Skype, as well. The interview was very informal but informative about the school and life Venezuela.” – Escuela Las Morochas (Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela)28 Comments

5. “The school does not attend any fairs. Hiring is done via announcements on the school’s website. The hiring process is not quick. Expect to be interviewed, via Skype most likely, four times. Each interview is with a person a bit further up the food chain. At the moment Indonesia has an age cutoff of 60.” – Green School Bali (Denpasar, Indonesia)54 Comments

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4. “They do tend to hire internally a lot. The interview process is a bit intense with multiple interviews being set up for one person. They ask questions from a list. They are usually open to sponsoring visas for non EU candidates.” – International Community School London (London, United Kingdom)49 Comments

3. “I met with Julie Alder at the school campus because I was already in the city. I contacted them before I came and they were more than willing to give me a time and a place to meet and interview with me. The interview lasted 45 to 60 minutes. I also got to walk around and visit some classrooms.” – International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)17 Comments

2. “The school is quite small, so it doesn’t attend job fairs. I was interviewed by phone and got the job from there. I know they have also brought in teachers whom live nearby (within Western Europe) to interview them in person. Hiring restrictions: YES- they will now only hire people who have valid working papers to work in France. The school also now typically only employs expat teachers from the UK or within the EU. Many of the teachers who work at the school have a French spouse.” –International School of Lyon (Lyon, France)12 Comments

1. “I interviewed with the elementary principal this feb at the search associates fair in boston. She was very kind and sweet to me. The interview went very well, she was willing to allow me to lead the interview by showing her my portfolio. She was a very experienced teacher in the international school world. She was kind enough to send a note to me in my folder to let me know that I didn’t get the job, and she also highlighted somethings that I said in the interview. Very professional!” – American International School Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)20 Comments

If you have an interesting and insightful international school interview experience that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Highlighted Articles

International School Recruitment Season: Recruitment Fair or Skype?

October 1, 2016


Recruitment season for international schools and for international schools teachers has definitely changed over recent years.

Getting a teaching position at an international school almost exclusively happened at the various recruitment fairs across the globe (London, Bangkok, Boston, San Francisco, Iowa, etc.). At least 10 years ago that was surely the case.

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Now recruitment fairs still play an important role during the international school recruitment process, but increasingly teachers are getting hired via telephone and/or Skype. In fact, if you were hired at an international school in the past 2-8 years, a high percentage of you were probably hired via Skype which resulted in you and your new school not having a face-to-face meeting in person.

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Recruitment fairs, like Search Associates, still provide great fairs to attend, but more importantly they provide a large database of teaching vacancies. If you are a registered candidate with Search Associates, you have unlimited access to those vacancies. Even though you may be signed up to attend one of their fairs come January/February, they often encourage you to contact schools directly and try to arrange an (online) interview or at least a pre-interview before the fair. If you are lucky, you will get offered a position via this Skype interview which will in turn cancel your trip to the recruitment fair (saving you time and money).

Having access to a constantly updated list of job vacancies is definitely a valuable tool in your search for a teaching position. You can also look at the school’s own website (via their employment page), but it is possible those lists aren’t as updated as much or at worse don’t even exist. One bit of advice for international schools is to create a useful, updated, and informative employment page on their website.

To repeat, we (the teachers) strongly request that international schools make sure their list of vacancies are constantly updated with the latest information (on their website, on a recruitment fair website, etc). There is nothing worse than preparing a unique cover letter, carefully adjusting your CV content, and a writing personal email message all for not. We understand that vacancies can take a long time to fill as some school’s interview processes can take a long time. But if the school indeed has secured somebody for a position, it is their responsibility to update their list of vacancies accordingly.

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There are many reasons why Skype is becoming more and more used during the international school recruitment process. One reason is that it is cheaper for both parties involved. No paying for the recruitment fair fees, no paying for hotel reservations, and no paying for all flights involved. Another reason that Skype is being more used is that it saves time, a lot of time in some cases. When interviewing candidates from all over the world, it is a hassle to take off a long weekend or miss a whole week of work just to attend a fair. A third reason Skype is being used more is that it indeed still gives the school and the candidate a good idea of each other’s personality and demeanor.  The ultimate goal for both parties involved is to find the “best fit”.

In the end, there really isn’t a clear answer though to which is better: going to a recruitment fair or just using Skype. At this point, it is still recommended to use a combination of the two. Utilizing both covers all your bases; giving the candidate the best chances in securing a position.

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Surveys

New Survey: How does your international school compare to other schools in your city?

May 11, 2016


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How does your international school compare to other schools in your city?

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Once you move to a city to work at your new international school, you find out pretty soon how your school compares to the other ones in the same city. Who knows how that happens, but it does.

The teachers at the schools labeled the worst feel embarrassed to even bring up their international school in conversation with other international school educators in the area or even throughout the world. In comparison, the teachers at the school labelled the “top” school in the city can have their heads held up high.

So then the question is what makes a school get the top or the worst ranking in the city? At International School Community, we like to think that all schools have something cool about them that makes them unique; which in turn makes them have a great learning environment for their kids.

See our blog article called “What Makes Your International School Unique?” for a look at this topic and also some related comments about a number of international schools around the world.

But it is not just these unique things that get internationals schools to the top or the bottom of the list, it has to do with a combination of different factors. Factors that come into play are the current state of the school’s building and campus, the quality of teachers and teaching, the benefits package for the teacher (the salary), the professional development opportunities, etc.

Though it is true that some cities in the world only have one international school in them, which in turn, I guess makes them the best international school in the city. But other cities in the world (e.g. Bangkok, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, etc.), there are many international schools to choose from (for both parents and teachers). These cities have international schools that are actively competing for the top spot!

So, how does your international school compare to other schools in your city? Please take a moment and submit your vote!

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We have a comment topic related to this survey, except it is comparing international schools with home country ones. It is called: “How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?

Here are a few sample comments from this comment topic:

“One of the biggest differences between the NIS schools and most other schools around the world is to do with vacations. In many countries, when students are not in school, neither are the teachers, with some exceptions for things like PD Days and report writing, etc.. This is not the case at NIS schools; regardless of whether the students are in school or not, teachers are expected to attend. If a teacher wishes to be absent, she or he must request leave – paid or unpaid. Given that international teachers have a total allowance of 56 days of paid leave (which includes weekend days if they are within the leave period), this can have a serious impact on vacations.” – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana (Astana, Kazakhstan)37 Comments

“It is very much based along English public school lines, but with a strong international flavour and ethos. There are many more nationalities present in the school than you would normally find in an English school.” – St. Julians School (Lisbon, Portugal)9 Comments

“Compared to teaching in the UK this is a dream, as long as you are prepared for the culture shock of living in a small village of thirteen million. Small classes, good behaviour and a genuine interest in study, excellent resources, great quality of life. Admin is less than in the UK although it is creeping up. Some of it good, some of it of limited value (just like the UK). I enjoy my teaching and the travel opportunities this place offers.” – Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)54 Comments

“Different: The teacher’s salaries and the new teacher induction and support program are dismal. Same: Budget and lack of professional development opportunities within the school due to very strict labor laws.” – American School of Bilbao (Bilbao, Spain)26 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

Nine Reasons How International Schools Create a High Morale Amongst its Staff

April 24, 2016


“Morale and attitude are fundamentals to success.”
Bud Wilkinson

A school can be a complicated place. There aren’t many jobs where you surround yourself with hundreds of children every day!

But like any other place of “business”, a school needs to have a think about how they will keep their staff feeling good about where they work and how they are doing their job.  We all know that teaching can, at times, be quite stressful on the teachers.

When you are feeling good about your workplace and job performance, everyone benefits; namely the students, but also your colleagues and bosses. But when teachers are stressed out and with a low morale about working at their school, typically nobody benefits.

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You can, of course, be with high spirits on your own doing. But it is important to feel valued by the whole school community as that plays a factor as well. Feeling like you are part of a team can help you stay positive and optimistic at your school.

What, then, do international schools do to make sure their staff is feeling valued?

International School Community is full of thousands of useful and informative comments…16780 (24 Apr. 2016) to be exact. We scoured our database of comments, and we found nine that stood out to us as being some of the coolest ways to show appreciation and boost staff morale.

9. Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan)65 Total Comments

“The school administration does a lot to make life easy for expats. They have put systems in place that make it very easy to live here and feel looked after. Along with the board they also put on big social events for teachers and staff at least once a semester (start of year / xmas party / end of year etc). There is a social committee as well which has organised coffee afternoons, Nile boat trips, picnics and so on. Truth to say the morale in the Senior Section has dipped in recent years but many of those who were not happy have now left so we are all hoping that things will now improve. Morale across the rest of the school is great.”

8. Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 202 Total Comments
“Welcome back brunch and lots of staff socials. Set up a Social Committee to feedback ideas to Director on all aspects of school. Director regularly thanks and acknowledges staff through e-mail and meetings. There have been 3 cases of surprise bonus’ paid to all staff as a thanks.”

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7. Copenhagen International School
(Copenhagen, Denmark)282 Total Comments 
“One way to create some “social capital” at our school year this was to have a whole-staff scavenger hunt the first day back. It was VERY well received, and everyone had a great time. There were like 30 teams of 5-6 people and we all went around the city to collect items and/or take pictures of certain things, all for various amounts of points. Super fun! It was all organized by teachers actually.”

6. Yew Chung International School (Shanghai)
(Shanghai, China)27 Total Comments

“There is a social committee at this school and they arrange different activities for the teachers. Like one night could be bowling or everyone meet at a bar. The group tries to do something every month. A lot of people participate. There was also a karaoke night and laser tag.”

5. Kampala International School (Kampala, Uganda)50 Total Comments

“At the beginning of each school year, we go to a resort for an overnight training and social. There is a PD during the day, evening there is dinner and a band. The next more there is breakfast and maybe go for a swim in the pool. There has been training in from people abroad. Last year, it was somebody with pivotal education, Darryll.”

4. American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)157 Total Comments

“There was a social committee in place for a couple of years, but it was a volunteer position and the demands of it weren’t worth the time anymore. There is an HR person in place now who has set up a wine tasting and other events for staff. The staff tends to socialize quite a bit outside of school, even with kids! The school puts on holiday parties and festive lunches around holidays, though not extravagant, most of the food-drinks are free.”

3. Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Total Comments

“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.”

2. Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan)64 Total Comments

“Christmas and end of year staff parties. It is also traditional to bring “omiyage” gifts (cookies and other small snacks) from teachers who have attended a conference or tournament elsewhere in Japan.”

1. KIS International School (Bangkok) (Bangkok, Thailand)70 Total Comments

“There are a lot of teacher and admin getaways as well as plenty of room for professional development. The management goes out of its way to answer questions before issues come up, and western holidays are recognized with food and decorations from home.”

If you would like to share what your school does to create a high staff morale, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Dubai

March 8, 2016


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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Dubai

Currently, we have 40 schools listed in Dubai on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:

Al Mizhar American Academy (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)54 Comments
Greenfield Community School (Dubai) (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)79 Comments
Jumeira Baccalaureate School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)54 Comments
Uptown School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)49 Comments
American School of Dubai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)17 Comments
Dubai International Academy (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)18 Comments

Hiring Policy

“HR department is not efficient on giving clear and true information when hiring. Often confusing communication.” – Dubai International Academy

“Check for Taaleem recruitment fairs in UAE plus through Search Associates – Head Teacher has travelled to Australia and UK to recruit in person but lots of appointments are done as a result of Skype interviews.” – Greenfield Community School (Dubai)

“Usually Search Bangkok and London fairs.Occasionally skype. Age limit is 60 in the UAE.” – Uptown School

“Management goes to ISS and Search fairs in the US.” – Al Mizhar American Academy

Housing Benefits

“There is now an option for a cash allowance for housing but it is not very difficult to find a decent apartment on the allowance as rates have gone up.” – Al Mizhar American Academy

“Housing is provided, but is of varying quality and far from the school. Motorway driving of 30 minutes one-way is average. No utility allowance and electricity, water and Internet are very expensive. After the first year, a housing allowance is available but won’t cover costs due to sky- high rental prices. There is a move in allowance, but this will not cover the cost of appliances and furniture.” – Jumeira Baccalaureate School

“Housing allowance increased but still low compared to real estate prices.” – Greenfield Community School (Dubai)

School Location

“The school is close to the airport and a shopping center (Mirdif). Housing is provided by the school (1st year), after that teacher may stay or move elswhere. Everyone drives (rent or mostly owned car.) There is a convenient underground parking for all staff.” – Uptown School

“Most teachers either rent or buy a car. Public transportation is not in the area. The school is about 20 minutes from downtown Dubai.” – Al Mizhar American Academy

“No public or school transportation, everybody must purchase a car, which is a very tricky situation, a lot of hidden expenses involved in that. Dubai is mostly Indian and doing business with them is not pleasent.” – Dubai International Academy

“The school is located in Jumeira 1, ten minutes from the beach and far from all teacher housing. A 30-45 minute commute is average. Teachers must have their own vehicles to get back and forth from school as transport is not provided and public transportation is limited.” – Jumeira Baccalaureate School

Language of Students

“Almost everyone is ESL or EAL. In hallways English is used or Arabic. Given 20 nationalities mostly from Arabic countries, India, etc. English is maybe more often heard.” – Uptown School

“The dominant culture is Emirati with the second culture being other Arabs and Pakistani. Students are 90%+ Islamic. The common language is Arabic.” – Al Mizhar American Academy

“Indian community is ruling from the top to bottom.” – Dubai International Academy

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

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Comment Topic Highlight

Surprise Purchases You Need to Buy/Pay For When You First Arrive at Your New School

January 12, 2016


When you first arrive at your new international school, you don’t necessarily want to be scrambling around your new city looking for many things to buy.  We all know that without the helpful guidance of a veteran international school teacher at your new school, it is very easy to end up making huge financial mistakes buying things left and right for prices a little too high than you should have paid (e.g. not knowing where to go to get the best price or get the “local price”).

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In an ideal scenario: you arrive at the airport, get picked up promptly by someone who works at your new school, and they quickly and politely drop you off at your new home. After you open the door to your new place, there is a fully-furnished house with a recently purchased bag of groceries waiting for you to help you get through the day with minimal hassle and without having to leave your apartment/house too much.

But we all know that it doesn’t always turn out that way. There are always things that you will need to buy, sooner than later. Some things more important than others, of course. If they are small things (like an iron, maybe), then it shouldn’t be such a big deal to take a short walk down the road (to the Carrefour, maybe) and pick up a few things. It is good/fun to take the first plunge into your new neighborhood.

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But if there are a number of small items (plus a few big ones) that you need to buy, then things could get a bit stressful; especially if you need to go somewhere more than just a short walk down the street.

Depending on your chosen living situation, you might end up needing to do some emergency purchases ASAP. A trip to a store like IKEA will definitely be in order for you on your first day. Some schools even will take you there in the school van, if you’re lucky!

And now, let’s not forget our new schools themselves. They might also have some things that you will need to bring or buy for the greater good of the school. If they gave you a head’s up on these items, you can make sure to pack them into your shipping container.  But if you weren’t set up with a great contact at the school beforehand, you might not get the head’s up in time. Then you are left with possibly buying things for your classroom in the local shops. Hopefully, your school will give you a budget for those things, but that is not always the case!

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Living abroad is not like our home countries. International school teachers do need to be open minded and adaptable. It is definitely tempting to want everything to be as perfect as it can be once you arrive, but we must be ready for a few surprises (i.e. surprise purchases) that will come our way the first few months.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out which things you might need to buy once you arrive in your new host country, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn’t know about beforehand?

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 111 comments in this comment topic (Jan. 2016).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Beds are HARD in Thailand – if you rent a furnished place you might need a mattress topper or take the plunge and buy your own mattress/bed (or bring your comfy one with you – cost is irrelevant as it is important to be able to sleep comfortably at night). If you like a hard mattress you will be very happy here…” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)75 Comments

“You will need deposit and first/last months rent to get your condo. No one told me this and I was not prepared with enough cash. When you arrive you don’t have a bank account yet and ATM’s limit how much cash you can withdraw. If you arrive early before new staff orientation, no one may tell you that NIST will loan you the money until your first paycheck. You just need to ask HR for the loan and it won’t be a problem. Or come with lots of cash that you can change to baht.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)109 Comments

“Your kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, dishes, and small appliance needs in the school apartment will vary widely depending on what the last tenant left. You will not receive a TV, iron, ironing board, etc., just furniture and one set of light bedding.” –American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)39 Comments

“Don’t worry if you forgot something here because the school has a relationship with the local embassy and teachers can use the commissary there. Teachers can order things even on amazon.com and have it shipped to Moscow through them, as you can use their “American address.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)61 Comments

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Highlighted Articles

International schools get their voices heard on Listen To Us song

July 3, 2015


Over 33,000 students from schools around the globe have this year shared in one common learning experience – to master one of the vocal parts for a new song called Listen To Us.

Voices Around The World - Music Adviser Kristina Bourner and young girl at St. Christopher's School in Bahrain

Listen To Us is uniting young people around the world as part of the Voices Around The World project. This is the third year of the project which has involved over 1,400 national, independent and international schools, and culminated in the release of the Listen To Us CD in July. The CD features the voices of over 5,000 students from recordings that were made by schools in 48 different countries including Cambodia, Israel, Iceland, Brazil and Turkey.

All proceeds from the sales of the CD plus a DVD will this year go to support schools in Tanzania that are in need of basic learning resources.

The British-Georgian Academy, Tbilis, GeorgiaThe Voices Around The World project, which is in its third year, is spearheaded by former music teacher and international school principal, Laurie Lewin, in collaboration with singer/songwriter Howard Jones. Laurie has travelled to many schools to support them with their rehearsals and recordings of Listen To Us, and to encourage students to think about the words they are singing. “Young people really want to make a difference,” he said. “They want to work together for change. Many who we’ve spoken to, from all around the world, show they’re absolutely passionate about the meaning behind the words of the song. You can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices while they’re singing. Whatever their age, participating in such a project has a huge impact on them.”

Laurie was inspired to find a school in Syria to participate in this year’s project thanks to the suggestion of a student who took part in 2014. “During last year’s project, I visited an international school in Dubai to help the students with their recording,” explained Laurie. “I spoke to a young girl there who’d been practising the song with me. She said ‘I’d like to be singing this with my friends back in Syria.’ She was a Syrian refugee. Thanks to her wish, this year we are thrilled to have children from Al-Shams (The Sun) School, Sweida city, Syria joining us on the recording.”

Al-Shams School, Syria

Over 300 international schools have taken part in Voices Around The World this year including St Andrews International School in Bangkok, Baleares International College in Mallorca, Campion School in Athens, Panaga School in Brunei, Jakarta International School in Indonesia, and the international schools of Genoa, Cambodia and Iceland to name a few.

Laurie Lewin with pupils at Otjikondo School, Outjo, NamibiaOne of the students at St Christopher’s School, a British school in Bahrain said: “I loved singing Listen To Us. It made me think about people singing Listen To Us everywhere around the world. My favourite line from the song is ‘All the leaders round the world – listen to us!’ I think they should!”

Sponsors that have helped to raise awareness of the project this year have included Coins Foundation, Monjasa, Bandzoogle, the International Primary Curriculum, and the Charter for Compassion.

Listen To Us is available to download from iTunes and from the Voices Around The World website where you will also be able to find out how to participate in the 2016 project. You can also see feedback from some of this year’s participating schools on the Voices Around The World Facebook page.

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Bangkok, Thailand

April 16, 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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Bangkok, Thailand

Currently, we have 49 schools listed in Bangkok on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
Bangkok Patana School (Bangkok, Thailand)17 Comments
Concordian International School (Bangkok, Thailand)23 Comments
KIS International School (Bangkok) (Bangkok, Thailand)61 Comments
NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)65 Comments
Ruamrudee International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)21 Comments
Wells International School (Thailand) (Bangkok, Thailand)18 Comments

Recent things they have taken on
“In 2012 the school implemented the Literacy by Design program for K3 – Grade 4, and the IB Diploma Programme in 2013. It also began scheduling more consistent weekly professional development meetings in 2013, including WASC focus and home group sessions, and grade-level meetings. As of 2012, it joined EARCOS and now regularly sends its staff to the annual conferences.” – Wells International School (Thailand)

“The ELD team just attended the ELLSA conference in Bangkok.” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

“In 2014 the school will be launching the Professional Development Hub, which is intended to be a central location for teachers in the Southeast Asian region to receive professional development.” – NIST International School

“The school is well-known for IB standards as quite a few of the teachers are IB Examiners and moderators. The Head of School is also on the Board of the IBO worldwide. Currently they are participating in a pilot study for the MYP.” – KIS International School (Bangkok)

Expectations of staff
“Teachers are assigned a maximum of 25 contact periods (45 minutes each) per week, while department heads have a maximum of 20. Minimum expectations include curriculum mapping on Atlas, and personal daily or weekly lesson plans that are attached to the maps. Weekly professional development is mandatory. Staff are encouraged, though not required, to take on extra-curricular classes or activities.” – Wells International School (Thailand)

“Expectations are high but lots of support.” – Concordian International School

“(Sorry, as admin it’s hard for me to comment, but teachers seem to work hard, but get non-contact time).” – KIS International School (Bangkok)

“High expectations, but with exceptional support and resources. Teachers are expected to participate in 2 extra curricular activities each year, which is quite manageable.” – NIST International School

Kinds of teachers that work there
“Approximately 30% of staff are from the United States, while the rest are a mix of over a dozen nationalities. While the school will hire inexperienced teachers in special circumstances, prospective hires should expect to be turned away if they don’t have a degree in education (or their subject areas at the secondary level) and a few years of experience. Nearly 70% of the teaching staff has master’s degrees.” – Wells International School (Thailand)

“Most teachers are from USA (there around 180 in total). A few are from the UK and Thailand.” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

“All teaching staff are fully qualified. Most are British, with some Australians, South Africans and Filipina. turnover is high. Last year 40% left. Most leave due to the lowish salary rather than because they are unhappy with the school.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School

Housing
“Ruamrudee does have a housing allowance – B20,000, but it is part of the actual salary, so it’s taxed at 30%. So, effectively, the allowance is B14,000 – enough for a small local house/apartment.” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok

“There is a housing allowance which is sufficient to rent a small studio. There is no extra for married teachers.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School

“Around 40000 Baht a month for singles and 60000 Baht for teaching couples.” – NIST International School

“Small housing allowance.” – KIS International School (Bangkok)

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

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Surveys

New Survey: How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

March 8, 2015


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

Screenshot 2015-03-08 21.57.33It is always a mix of emotions when you or your colleagues are leaving the school. Change is good, but change can be hard.  It is not the best feeling in the world to find out one of your closest colleagues is leaving. On the flip side, you might be elated to hear that a certain annoying colleagues is leaving as well!

There are many reasons why teachers leave their current international school. Maybe they have come to the conclusion that the benefits are just too low for the lifestyle that they want to live.  If you are worrying too much about money, it might be time to move on to another international school.

Teachers also might be leaving because the international school that they are at is going in a direction that does not make sense for their career anymore. A new director might have started this year and is making too many changes to the school that you just don’t agree with.

There are many, many more reasons teachers decide to leave.

International schools know that teachers come and go for a variety of reasons, but it’s true that they don’t want too many people leaving at once.  It could give a bad reputation to the school, having so many staff leaving at once.  It could also cost the school a fair amount of money trying to recruit and replace the teachers who are leaving. If you need to recruit for so many people, it is also possible that the school won’t find that many quality candidates.

But, many international schools go through cycles of low and high turnover rates.  It is pretty normal.  The best international schools just know how to deal with those cycles in the best ways.

Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today on How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

You can check out the latest voting results here.

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We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.

Right now there are over 670 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“Spanish teachers are Guatemalan, most other teachers are from North America. Turnover varies with most renewing their contract at least once. Large percentage of teachers have a masters and there are local opportunities to work towards a masters at a reduced cost.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala)– 40 Comments

“All teaching staff are fully qualified. Most are British, with some Australians, South Africans and Filipina. turnover is high. Last year 40% left. Most leave due to the lowish salary rather than because they are unhappy with the school.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 17 Comments

“There seem to be a lot of Australian, Canadian, British and American teachers. A few New Zealanders, too. In all grades up to Grade 2 there are local assistants in each class. From talking to the teachers here, there is a turnover of staff, but it’s not huge. People seem to be pretty happy with the school.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 65 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

Top 10 reasons why attending an international school recruitment fair is super fun!

January 13, 2015


So many teachers that attend international school recruitment fairs say that they are stressful and a pain. Others say that they are like meat markets. With many directors walking around, and potentially sleeping in the next room to you, it is indeed hard to get a good night’s sleep while staying at the hosting hotel of the recruitment fair.  Nervous and sleep-deprived candidates, not fun.

On the other hand, there is a group of international school teachers that enjoy attending the fairs. Yes, that’s right. They look forward to and actually have a great time there.

So, what are the top 10 reasons for why attending an international school recruitment fair is super fun? Maybe you can relate to some of these!

Screenshot 2015-01-13 22.50.19#1 – Getting to network with other international school teachers.

Sometimes it is all who you know at the fairs. It is fun chatting with and getting to know some of the other candidates at the fair. Networking with as many teachers as you can will surely help you to get your foot in the door. Maybe you will meet somebody who has the right connection and can introduce you to some of your top schools.

#2 – Getting inspired by others to move to countries you never even thought you would go to.
A few years back, at the UNI fair, there was a panel of veteran international school teachers telling their stories of working abroad and answering questions from the audience. Almost all of them had worked in a country that they hadn’t really seriously considered during their job search. All of them said that they were so happy to have taken that chance because they all had such wonderful experiences. You might say that being in the international school community is all about taking chances and risks about living in foreign lands. It is exciting hearing from other international school teachers about their experiences in countries you don’t know about and haven’t visited.

#3 – It is like Christmas morning when you go and check your “mailbox” folder in the candidates’ room.

The candidates’ room. So many nerves and so many folders!  It is easy to get butterflies in your stomach as you enter the room. As you get closer and closer to the tables with the ‘mailbox’ folders, you get more and more excited and nervous. You find the row of folders that start with the first letter of your last name. Opening your folder and seeing one note from a school is cool enough, but seeing notes from three, four or even more schools in your folder, now that is a good feeling. Checking your folder becomes an addiction during the fair, as you find yourself checking it multiple times throughout the day.

#4 – Pretending you are interested in a school by going to their informational session.
Even if you know a school does not have a position for you to interview for, it is fun to just go to their informational session anyway. Sure, the other people in the session might be actually interviewing with the school later on at the fair, but do not let that get you down. There might be a position for you down the road at this school, so keep a positive attitude and sit back and enjoy learning about a school that you might work at in the future!  It is fun to fantasize and pretend about these potential future schools for you.

#5 – Getting surprised, in a good way, that a school you are interested in actually has a position for you!
Thinking you know all the available positions at the schools attending the fair is first-timers mistake. Anything can happen at the fair and things change fast. It is guaranteed that there will be last-minute vacancies that come up for many schools. So, make sure you check the master list of vacancies (if that is what your recruitment fair has) or take a close look at the posters behind each school at the round-robin sessions because there might just be a vacancy for you that pops up last-minute.

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#6 – Having intense dreams each night while you sleep, dreaming about what could be.
Yes, it is hard to get a good night’s sleep during the recruitment fair. But, the dreams you have are intense and exciting. Having a dream about your top choice can be just what you need to help you make the best decision. You might even have a great dream about another school you are interested in, moving it closer to the top of your list. It is true though that you cannot choose the schools or countries you dream about when you go to sleep at the fair. So, if you do have a dream about a school/country, it might be your subconscious telling you which school to seriously consider signing a contract with.

#7 – Making pros and cons lists about the schools you are interested in.
You need to know you are making the right choice at the fair; if you are lucky enough to get multiple offers in which you are interested. When you make a pros and cons list of each of the schools you are considering, you get to think about your future life there. Fantasizing about you living with the school’s salary and benefits is what all international school teachers like to think and talk about. Additionally, you will writing down the pros and cons about life working at that school itself, your actually job. The pros in that list could truly be the changes you have been looking for in your next school.

4320245924_b8f945a7f8_z#8 – Getting to wear your dressy interview clothes.
Most teachers only get to wear their interview clothes once every 3-6 years. During the years while working at your current international school, you just do not need to or find an appropriate time to wear them. Well, it is true that at some British international schools you need to wear a suit and tie during parent conferences, etc. Maybe you are lucky enough to live in a country where you can easily and cheaply get some new interview clothes made for you at the local fabric market. How nice to show up at the recruitment fair with a custom-designed suit made specifically just for you. Nice interview clothes that you feel good in are important. You will be at your best (at the fair) when you are wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable and help you be yourself.

#9 – Enjoying the host city of the recruitment fair (who doesn’t want to go for a long weekend to Boston, London, Bangkok, etc.?)
It is true, you do not have that much free time to enjoy the host city of the recruitment fair. Most of your time is spend in your hotel room researching cities, countries, and schools. It is good though to take some time to get away from the fair. Get out of the recruitment fair hotel and explore the city a bit! Each recruitment fair is hosted in a cool city that most people would actually plan vacations at, so get out and have a nice dinner out or take a walk around some cool neighborhood. Maybe you have some family or friends that live there that you can hang out with as well. It is nice to have a good friend or family member there so that you have somebody to talk to about all the happenings at the fair that day.

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#10 – Signing a contract on the first day of the fair and just enjoying the rest of your time at the fair.
Yes, these candidates exist. They have interviewed with a number of schools before the recruitment fair even started. Once at the fair, they have that final interview and sign the contract shortly after, sometimes on the first day of the fair. Signing a contract with a school that you are seriously interested on the first day of the recruitment fair is a dream come true for most candidates. It definitely gets a load of your chest. You can just sit back and enjoy the rest of the fair and your time at the hotel and in the host city. It still good to hang out around the fair though so that you can continue networking. You might just meet some people that have worked at the school you just signed a contract with, and they can give you all the insider information about your new school (hopefully mostly good things!).

This top 10 list was submitted to us by a guest author and International School Community member.

All guest authors to our blog get six months of free premium membership to our website.  Email us if you have a top 10 list idea and would like it to be highlighted on our blog as a guest author.

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Surveys

New Survey: What is/was your most successful strategy for finding vacancies for the 15-16 school year?

January 11, 2015


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  What is/was your most successful strategy for finding vacancies for the 15-16 school year?

Screenshot 2015-01-11 14.59.42It is hard to know what is the best strategy to use when recruiting. Some might say any strategy that gets you the job!

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.

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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 Comments

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #6: Spend tons of money during your trip back home

December 21, 2014


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

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How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #6 – Spend tons of money during your trip back home

Of course you go back to your home country to spend time with your friends and family. It is important to go back at least once a year to see them in person and hang out like before you moved abroad. Even if you are able to Skype a lot with these people throughout the year, you can’t beat getting a hug from them in person!

boots2We all know though that there is something else on our minds when we go back home…and that is shopping!  We all have those go-to-stores that we must visit.  If you are from the United States, then it might be Target. If you are from England, then it might be Boots. Finding time to do a bit of shopping in these stores is a must!

Maybe clothes are cheaper in your home country. Buy them!

Are some toiletries cheaper and are there brands that you can’t get in your host country? Buy them!

Did you bring an extra suitcase in your other suitcase just for putting the stuff you bought from your trip back home? Buy even more!

Now to food.

Food is extremely important when living abroad. One of the best parts of living abroad is trying the local products and food delicacies, but having a bit of the food from your home country around can be quite comforting.

Img00003Everyone has their own food that they want to buy and bring back to their host country. What one teacher might bring back, another teacher might say why. To each their own really.  We all have those things that we want and that is how life goes as an expat.

But, the key is not to let your home country purchases get outta hand!  “Oh, I’ll just buy one of these and two of those” one day. The next day you find yourself saying, “Oh, I better buy one more of each!”  Purchase after purchase, the amount you spend goes up and up.

It is easy to get caught up in the mainframe of “well, I am only here one time a year, so I better stock up.”  Though that is true, saying it over and over in your head can increase your purchases even more than you were expecting (not allowing your save your money as it were!).

How can you then keep your purchases under control? One key rule to keep in mind: only buy things that you for sure can’t already buy in your host country.

Is it true that the longer you live abroad, the less things that you buy when you go back home? Or maybe it is that you get smarter about the things you let yourself purchase. Some might say both of those statements are not true at all and that we are all subject to the temptation of buying products from our homeland when we go back for a visit and putting our savings plan on hold for a bit.

Happy shopping back home and bringing those items back to your home abroad!

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We do have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of what food items you might want/need to bring to your new host country (don’t go overboard though!).  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites.

“There are almost no British/Australian/NZ/Canadian/American food items that can’t be found in Bangkok nowadays. Items from home tend to be expensive though, so you you may wish to pack a couple of jars of Marmite/Vegemite and your favourite tea bags.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 11 Comments

“Sometimes, items are in abundance, and other times they are scarce, such as peanut butter.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 68 Comments

“We can get nearly everything. Rooibos tea is hard to find, but everything basic is easy to get.” – Qatar Academy (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 56 Comments

“There is a very large supermarket 5 minutes walk from the school. It has a wide variety of products. (Greater variety than Danish supermarkets)” – International School of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland) – 30 Comments

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Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools

Comments about Hiring Policies #9: Int’l High School of San Fran, The American School of Kinshasa & British Early Years Centre

November 6, 2014


Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community:

skype-interviewEvery week members are leaving information and comments about the hiring policies at international schools around the world.  Which ones go to the Search Associates Recruitment Fairs?  Which ones hold interviews over Skype?  Which ones have hiring restrictions imposed on them by the host country?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to all of those questions?

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of which international schools go to which recruitment fairs and which interview style and tactic each international school employs.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for information about hiring policies easier for international school teachers. In the school section of each international school profile page on our website, there is a section topic specific to the school’s hiring policies.  The topic is: “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?

Here are three out of the numerous submitted comments, related to the school’s hiring policies, that have been posted on our website:

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International High School of San Francisco (San Francisco, United States) – 15 Total Comments
Comment about their hiring policies: “Since it is French/American, basically they hire via Search Associates and CIS for international staff. For French staff you need to be a certified teacher from France. You can apply via the school\’s website. To be hired here, you don\’t need to be able to speak French FYI.”

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The American School of Kinshasa  (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 11 Total Comments
Comment about their hiring policies: “They will go to some fairs in the US or Johannesburg. They will hire through both, face-to-face and Skype. There are no age restrictions and they will usually prefer couples but will accept single parents very easily.”

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British Early Years Centre
 (Bangkok, Thailand) – 10 Total Comments
Comment about their hiring policies: “The British Early Years Centre generally employs teachers from the UK, however we do interview anyone with relevant experience who has a strong passion for what we do. Interviews are preferably done face to face and we like to see sample lessons, however given that we are in an international community and we employ from the UK, this isn’t always possible, so Skype interviews are the minimal requirement.”

Check out the more than 822 comments and information that have been submitted about the hiring policies on numerous international school profiles at www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.

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Surveys

New Survey: How much Professional Development money do you have to use this school year?

September 14, 2014


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How much Professional Development money do you have to use this school year?

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Working at international schools has its perks, that’s for sure.  One of those perks is getting an annual Professional Development allowance (well at most international schools). Public-school teaching back in your home country does have it moments of getting PD for its teachers, but typically that money is being decided on by somebody other than you!  At international schools, you are (mostly) in charge of your own personal PD monies and how you want to use that money. It is important to note that international schools do dictate some of the PD for their own teachers (e.g. for in-house PD), but the other PD money (the money that hopefully you are getting as part of your contract) is for you to use on your own PD theme and topic.

It is so important for our careers to keep learning new things in the field of education. Luckily there are numerous PD options for international school teachers. There is the annual ECIS conference (who’s going to Nice this year?).  Maybe you live in Asia and are planning on going to the annual EARCOS conference in Kota Kinabalu.  Some international schools are leading the way and hosting their own conferences like NIST International School. They recently have started their annual ELLSA Conference in Bangkok.

905866_320405608135805_7598251834492740465_oIf conferences aren’t looking the best this year, then there are still many other options for international schools teachers on which to use their personal PD allowance. The Creativity Workshop has been very popular this past year as well as the staple Teachers College Summer Institutes (Reading and Writing) in New York.

Wherever you end up going this year, you are bound to learn a few new things and get inspired for your return back to work.  You are also bound to run into some people who you know in the international school community; good times catching up with former colleagues.  Going to these conferences and workshops are also a great place to network and meet others teachers in your field.  It can be quite helpful having some new peers to contact when you want to get some feedback on something or learn more about a new technology that person is using for example.

The main problem though in getting to these workshops and conferences is money. Not only do you have to pay for the conference registration fee, you must also pay for your flight to get there and the hotel. Many times one year of PD money is not enough to get you to a conference every year.  Some teachers can save their PD money from one year and add it one to the next one (up to three years typically).  If you don’t have enough money to attend a certain workshop, then it doesn’t hurt to ask your boss if there might be any PD money around that you can use to help you pay for the rest of costs involved. Your administration might say no to you, but they also might say yes!  It’s worth a try.

All international schools handle their PD allowance differently, so let’s share about the international schools we know about.  Go ahead and vote on How much Professional Development money do you have to use this school year? Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Professional development allowance details.

Right now there are over 180 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“In general, the school has a four-tiered approach: in-house PD, required external PD, goal related PD and personal professional support.
Upon school approval staff have access to a personal professional development sum that can be used annually or accrue for up to three years.” – 
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)28 Comments

“Professional development is a strong focus. Quality of in-house varies wildly as it does in every school. Lots of training for IB available and all IB teachers go on prep courses as soon as possible.” – Nexus International School (Putrajaya, Malaysia)44 Comments

“PDs are usually done in-house therefore there is no structured amount for PD per teacher. Principals are up to date regarding international and local PDs so when there is an appropriate PD some teachers are selected to attend. Teachers, on the other hand, can always search for possible and appropriate local/international PDs.” – Royal Tots Academy (Jakarta, Indonesia)35 Comments

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Surveys

New Survey: Does your school have an official English-only policy on their campus?

July 13, 2014


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  Does your school have an official English-only policy on their campus?

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Many veteran international school teachers have already figured out that there are a nice “handful” of these types of international schools throughout the world.  Some teachers and administrators think this kind of English-only policy is a necessity for the success of their students; others teachers and administrators are quite against it…strongly against it. After teaching at an English-only policy international school, some teachers will choose never to teach in a school like that again because of their negative and painful experience trying to enforce it on their students.

There are many cons to having an English-only policy at an international school.  It’s likely that it is giving the wrong impression of what being an “internationally-minded” person is all about.

downloadInternational schools need to think very smartly about the makeup (language background) of their student body because of course that can affect what the “language of the playground” is. When the makeup is not balanced in a way that hinders the target language level/goal of the majority of the students (that the school wants them to achieve to), then of course many schools resort to a English-only policy to try to counteract that (for example at international schools with a majority of host country nationals)…and it would appear that not-well-thought-out solution fails almost every time. At least that is what was happening at a number of international schools nowadays.

Just because English is the target language of most international school classrooms, doesn’t mean that English is the superior or dominate language of the school; and teachers and administration should let their students and their parents know this in a clear, organized, and meaningful way. One suggestion on how to do this is to encourage an interlingual classroom.  In an interlingual classroom, students are encouraged to use their home languages in the classroom.  This suggestion will most likely not only be a new experience for you as the teacher, but also for your students…as they may not be used to being able to do this. In turn, some modeling and explicit examples on how to do this in a lesson would be necessary.

Another suggestion is to support multiliteracies in your classroom.

Share what your opinion is on this issue, as there are many perspectives and experiences at a variety of international schools that need to be shared with the rest of the community.

Also, go ahead and vote on Does your school have an official English-only policy on their campus? Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group?

Right now there are over 560 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“There is a 30% cap on Thai students in order to maintain an international population. The other largest groups as of 2014 are U.S. (14%), Indian (8%), Japanese (6%), Australian (6%) and British (5%). Approximately 50 nationalities are represented in total. Most of the students are fully fluent in English, and unless with a small group of friends who share similar backgrounds, they tend to use English.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 29 Comments

“The school requires students entering after kinder have been previously educated in English. I would say about 75% of the students are fluent in English, and the rest are in the ELL program. Students almost all speak English, even if they have friends who speak their native languages. I am not sure of the exact number, but I would guess about half of the students are native English speakers.” – Mont’Kiara International School (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 27 Comments

“ASM is truly an international school. The school strives to maintain what is called the “magical mix”, meaning 1/3 is American, 1/3 is Spanish, and 1/3 is from all over the world. For this reason, the English level is extremely high. A mix of predominantly English and Spanish is spoken in non-structured environments around campus.” – American School Madrid (Madrid, Spain) – 27 Comments

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #3: Send money home every month (Mortgage, College Debt, etc.)

May 25, 2014


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #3 – Send money home every month to pay your mortgage, college debt, etc.)

DSC_9710Not all teachers decide to move abroad because they have a sense for adventure. It is because they need to save some money to pay off their debts; which we all know is something hard to accomplish as a teacher back in your home country!

Do you have a similar story?  You just finish getting your Bachelor’s degree and teaching license at a good university (working part-time as well of course). Then you take out one loan (a big one at that) to do your 15-month Master’s degree programme (while continuing to work part-time!).  Finally you receive your license and luckily get a teaching job straight away. You just start getting into the world of the working adult while just starting to pay off your student loans. The payment is so small each month, you hardly see any of your loan amount going down. Then you hear about a programme that states if you work continuously in a school of high poverty for five years, that your government will take some money off of your total loan amount. Finally after working six years and getting a part of your loan paid off by the government, you find it is the right time to finally teach abroad like your friends are doing.  Unfortunately, you DSC_4746still have some of your student loan left to be paid (even after you receive the help from the government).  Also during this time, you bought a house and now have a mortgage payment as well.  Deciding it might be a good idea to rent out your house while you teach abroad, you continue to own it while you set off to your first placement.  To make a long story short, you have two monthly payments that are not going to stop anytime soon.

So the big question is, do you work abroad to save money to pay off your loans or do you work abroad to enjoy the wonderful expat life of traveling and exploring the world?  Can you do both?  Many of us try!

Your original goal of paying off your debt with all this extra money you are making teaching abroad might not happen as quickly as you had originally hoped.  I mean there is always another break coming up and a trip to be planned! And I don’t need to remind you that you might also find your travel money dwindling away as you continue to make those student loan and house payments.  Thus the cycle continues; whatever savings you start to have to help you pay off your loans just gets sucked away into whatever you need to pay for at the time.  There are always things that come up here and there that you need to put your savings towards: deposit for your new apartment, helping a family member in need, etc.

Of course, the easy answer to finally pay off your loans is to just simply stop traveling and going out to eat all the time, but of course that is easier said than IMG_0061done.  Maybe you can earn some extra money by tutoring some kids at your school, but then that takes away from that wonderful expat life as well…causing you to stay late at your school.  I guess there needs to be some give and take somewhere to help you achieve your goal. Where are those international schools again where you can have it all (paying off debts while continue to live the wonderfully exciting life of an expat)?  I’m not for sure they exist.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe after 8-10 years of working abroad you finally have your financial situation under control. You find that you have enough extra savings to make a one-time payment to pay off the rest of your student loan.  Yes, you’d rather use that money to take a trip to the Seychelles, but you know it is something you must do and the time is finally right to do it.

The goal of finally being debt free is a good goal to have. Can you just imagine the life of an expat international school teacher who is debt free?  Now at last you will be saving thousands each month!  {If only it were that easy!}

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10250675_670889319613030_1138008231_nTo save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme.  It is in the benefits section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Average amount of money that is left to be saved.

‘Depending on lifestyle and housing expenses you could save around $10,000US a year.’ – Green School Bali (Denpasar, Indonesia) – 44 Comments

‘The amount that can be saved depends entirely on how teachers choose to spend their money. It’s entirely possible to eat at nice restaurants daily and stay in accommodations that cost 50,000 baht per month or more. However, it’s also possible to stay in a decent condo or apartment for 20,000 – 30,000 baht per month, and spend much less on food and other necessities.’ – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 29 Comments

‘You can save about 1000 USD a month once you are settled and are able to budget yourself. Of course, the less you do, the more you save.’ – Canadian International School Bangalore (Bangalore, India) – 18 Comments

‘A single person, if they choose to live modestly, could easily save $1000-$2,000 a month. The EPF program also is an automatic savings (retirement) which is an additional savings of $1,000 a month through school and self contribution. That money also earns interest while you live in the country.’ – Mont’Kiara International School (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 27 Comments

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs for international school teachers: “Banyan Global Learning” (Provider of educational services to K-12 schools in Asia)

April 12, 2014


Our 36th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Banyan Global Learning”  Check out the blog entries of this organization that currently works with a variety of schools in Asia (e.g. Taiwan).

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

5 Tips for Teachers Abroad

“I would have parents who helped their children with their homework and who were eager to communicate with me – but in a good way! To boot, Taiwan is a country where education and, by extension, teachers are well-respected and highly valued!  I expected this whole thing to be a cakewalk.

I also expected that compared to East Harlem the kids would be angels, whereas what I got, instead, were kids.  And instead of a cakewalk I got an experience that was challenging and rewarding in ways I never expected…”

I think this is a common misconception about working with ‘privileged’ international school students versus working with the kids of generational poverty families that you may have worked with in your home country (many of us I’m sure have had a similar experience teaching in urban settings).

Sure the poor kids you taught in your home country had many needs.  They also might have had many behavior problems because of the poverty they were living in.  Teaching at international schools with mostly rich kids can also be a challenge.  They also have many needs, but just different ones.  And because of the sometimes challenging home lives of these children, there can also be many behavior problems at school. 

Luckily, we have a comment topic in the School Information section of all school profile pages that is about student behavior.  It is called – “In general, describe the demeanor of the students.”  We currently have 128 separate comments (about a number of international schools) in that comment topic on our website.

12 Reasons to Teach Abroad in China and Taiwan

2 – Save money while you travel. Japan, check. Korea, check. Bali, why not? From your base in Asia you can travel to places that would otherwise be economically challenging to reach. And, with the lower cost of living in China and Taiwan, a BGL salary will allow you to bank some cash while you see the world…”

It does play a big factor on your travel plans; the location where you are currently living.  Though it is important to note that it doesn’t mean that all flights will be cheap!  Living in Shanghai, China you are for sure in Asia.  However, you are still a 5 hour flight to Bangkok, 3 hour flight to Japan, etc.  These flights aren’t the cheapest either.  But if you compare the prices and flight times to living in the United States, then for sure the flights will most likely be cheaper with quicker flight times.  Going to Bali for Christmas vacation can be just what the doctor ordered!

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Want to work for an international school in Taiwan?  Currently, we have 12 international schools listed in this city/country on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• Ivy Collegiate Academy (19 Comments)
• Morrison Christian Academy (3 campuses) (13 Comments)
• NanKe International Experimental H.S. (14 Comments)
• Pacific American School (30 Comments)
• Taipei American School (11 Comments)
• Taipei European School (11 Comments)

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #1: Go travel crazy!

November 30, 2013


We all hear about the big possibility of saving while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t. So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

1269203_10151627517416587_2134762640_oHow NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #1 – Go travel crazy! (Take a trip during every break opportunity you get!)

We feel uncomfortable when we don’t have our next trip planned. Some of us even feel uncomfortable when we don’t have 2 or 3 trips planned to look forward to.

It is even worse when your colleagues have their trip planned and you don’t!

And even worse than that is when your colleagues copy the same trips that you are going on.  Ha ha!

So if you have enough money to travel with (because you are not paying for a car, car insurance, cable tv, etc…), then why not take this opportunity in your life and explore the world?  But all these trips can indeed add up and deplete your bank account, and you can’t necessarily be traveling to the Maldives during every break you have.

It depends a lot on where you are living too; how expensive these trips that you may be buying.  You might have to spend a lot of money if you are traveling from a rather small airport or from an airport that is in the middle of nowhere.  Flying out of those cities can really ‘break the bank’ in your feeble attempt to travel and also save money at your international school.

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Some say too that the day of finding cheap trips is over with.  Low cost airlines are not really so low cost anymore with all their extra add on fees *e.g. to check in a bag.  If you are not smart about when you buy the flights and what websites that you use to buy them on, then you will be paying a lot more money for your flights than you could be paying.

How sad when your friend has found a good airfare and then 5 minutes later when you buy the exact same trip, the price has gone up.  Flight prices change all the time and can change rather quickly.  Buying at the right times can help you save at least a little bit of money as you go travel crazy.

So, how many flights a year are international school teachers taking each school year?  It is probably between 15-20.  And to make things

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worse, we feel like any number less than 10 flights a year is hardly traveling at all (‘Groan’…said all your friends in your home country).  Maybe to save a little bit more money, we can try and cut down our number of trips a year, but that seemly is….unlikely!

To save you some money, we do have a comment topic related to this theme.  It is in the travel section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.

‘Just paid $2000 for round trip to U.S. in Dec.’ – Okpo International School (14 Total Comments)

‘It’s not the cheapest destination to fly from. Expect $1000 to fly internationally, and during holiday periods airfares to popular destinations (Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia) can get close to that.’ – Beijing BISS International School (32 Total Comments)

‘Since Bangkok is a major travel hub, airfares to surrounding countries are almost always available at less than US $1000, and deals can be found with just a bit of work.’ – Wells International School (Thailand) (17 Total Comments)

Checking out these comments before taking a job at an international school can give you a better idea of the amount of money that you can expect to pay for flights out of that city.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #26: Usha Iyer (An international school educator/director currently working in India)

July 25, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Usha Iyer:

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 11.05.45 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I hail from Tamil Nadu (India). I am from Chennai but brought up in Dehradun, Uttranchal. The serene valley and the beauty of the hill culture exist here. It’s a small place but known for its best of the residential and day schools. I studied in a residential school but I was a day scholar. Mine was not an international school but we had a multi cultural environment as other nationality kids did study here. We had Anglo Indian teachers who taught us good discipline and grammar. I did my college also in Dehradun as my mother refused to send me to Delhi (Capital Of India) for my studies as she felt the city life could spoil me.

Teaching happened as it had to happen. I was a self made woman and felt that I should stand on my own legs .My father had instructed my mother to enroll me in the hotel management course in PUSA institute in Delhi .As he was working in Indonesia and communication was not that easy those days , I not doing hotel management and opting for teaching was not known to him. I wanted to earn and I felt I must pay for my post graduation. As I was obstinate in pursuing my goal my mother gave in. My father was very upset as there was no need to work; he felt it that way as he was making good money.

There was no look back after that. I got an opportunity to work in the same day and residential school. I was just 19 years and handling the 5th graders very efficiently. I finished my post graduation and procured the teaching degree while still teaching.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I got opportunity to work in a metropolitan city after marriage. It made a big difference in terms of interacting with different people. In fact after a very short span of 4 years of working in the city schools, I left for Saudi Arabia. That was my first opportunity working outside India in the International school of India. I could see a lot of Indian Muslim kids but we did have a lot of Muslim kids from Indonesia and other countries and a lot of kids from Pakistan. It was a wonderful experience as I got to learn Arabic. I lived in an international community where I was interacting with Egyptian, Lebanese and women from Philippines. I did make a few Lebanese friends.

It was a great experience for me as I learnt the prayers from Quran. I coming from a Hindu background I found it a cultural difference as the kids were allowed to do Namaz three times in school hours. There were separate prayer rooms for them to render prayer.

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.

1993-1997 – It was a great experience for me at the International Indian School Jeddah at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia  as I learnt the prayers from Quran. I found them very cooperative and we used to have fun days too where in we cooked our nationality food and have a good get together. What I liked about the school is it was very impartial .Although I was not a Muslim but I was chosen to represent Jeddah, Saudi Arabia along with an Indian colleague of mine to attend the two week workshop at Dubai. There were 52 delegates all over from the Gulf who attended the workshop. It was an icing on the cake for me. I got an opportunity to interact with people from Bahrain, Kuwait, U.A.E, Sharjah, Qatar etc. This kind of exposure opened my vistas for me to evolve a better English teacher as we could exchange notes on best practices. I came back to Saudi Arabia and the principal gave me an opportunity to establish the unique English lab which I dreamt of.

1997-2000 – It was another opportunity which God had given me to work in Nigeria. I was very keen in working in an international school but destiny had decided it differently for me. I was walking on the roads of Ikoyi, Nigeria. I just felt like walking with my resume into a Black school, called Kemsons School. The director seemed to be of a pleasant disposition. I told her that I want to head the school. She just looked at me and said yes, go ahead. It was fun setting up the school. I constructed a classroom made of glass instead of the regular walls for the play group kids and the kids loved it.

The best part for which I was applauded was when I conducted the FUNFEST for the school and raised 7 million Nairas The director was very happy with me. The most interesting thing about Nigeria is when I approached companies for sponsorship ,there was such a good response, especially from Lufthansa, the German airlines. They sponsored air ticket to go to London and back. That was the first prize in the raffle ticket .I was instrumental in telling the fun world Nigeria to bring down the toy train to our school.Oh! everyone enjoyed it.

The parents trusted me so much. My director met with an accident and I had to run the school without her. That’s the phase when I took the decision of sending my students to London on an educational trip and a cultural exchange programme. It was a great success. The best part was when we went to get their visas. The U.K embassy refused to give visa to my teacher as her passport had no stamping as it was totally empty as she has not  travelled to any country. It was a herculean task convincing those officers.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I was back in India in 2000. After having traveled to Malasia, U.K., Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Nigeria, U.S., France either for professional development courses or to work, it was very difficult to compromise with quality and standards. I was very happy when I got an opportunity to set up an International school from scratch in Bangalore, India. It was named India International school. I became the founder principal of that school. I always wanted to have a student cultural exchange programme and wanted to enroll students from different races and community. I established the school in 2002 but it was achieved in 2009 and we had 1000 children. I travelled to Bangkok for several presentations. We had Thai kids enrolled in our school, followed by Chinese, Children from Hong Kong and Korea. It was very satisfying. What really made me happy was the school was created by me. The infrastructure, curriculum, the cross cultural environment everything was created by me.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I have been so far running school for others. Now, I look at establishing an I.B. school. I have started my preschool in 2012. It has been rated as the best 20 preschools in Bangalore. Slowly it will have its elementary and high school wings and what I intend to do is to give the young children very strong roots and the wings to fly so that they can discover far more new horizons.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Beautiful, soul satisfying, enriching, enlightening and delightful.

Thanks Usha!

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 work for an international school in Saudi Arabia like Usha?  Currently, we have 5 international schools listed in Jeddah on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #25: Laura Swash (A veteran int’l school educator currently working at Pajoma Education)

June 24, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Laura Swash:

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 4.18.10 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am originally from England, from Colchester in Essex.  Just under twenty years ago, I was teaching Sociology and History at The Sixth Form College in Colchester. I took my BA and did my doctorate at Essex University and my PGCE at the Institute of Education in London.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

A friend of mine moved in 1994 to Oman, and invited me to visit her. While I was out there I met an international teacher. Before that, I thought you could only teach ESL overseas. I had no idea that international schools even existed. A tiny seed lodged in my brain, and two years later I set out to teach Humanities in Thailand.

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 started at TCIS (Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok) in Bangkok, in 1996.  It had only been open for two years then, and was a very exciting place to work. The students were wonderful, and all of the teachers were thrilled to be in at the start of something big. Since then I have worked at several international schools, the most memorable of which were AIS (the American International School in Cairo) and the International School of Tanganyika, in Dar es Salaam. I now teach IB Diploma Psychology online for Pamoja Education, and write materials for MYP and DP.

What made these schools unique was the nature of the students: in these years I was teaching firstly a mixture of Thai and Taiwanese students – extremely polite and charming and in general very keen to learn, but often afraid to admit to not understanding; then the Egyptian students – much more challenging when it came to classroom management, but very warm and humorous with some great characters in the classes; finally, at IST in Dar es Salaam, there was quite an international mix of students and a huge opportunity to learn about many different cultures in a wonderful location.

In all of the international schools in which I have worked, the teachers have also been sometimes crazy, always interesting and always committed to education in its broadest sense.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I am a little puzzled by the term ‘reverse cultural encounter’ – they are all just cultural encounters, I think. There have been several memorable ones.  The earliest (rather than the latest) is one of the funniest. TCIS In Bangkok supplied a white minibus to take the teachers from the housing compound where most of us lived to the school. It used to pick us up outside the small launderette on the compound.  During our first week, several of us new teachers were waiting for the bus. It came, and the driver popped into the shop with his washing, while we got in. When he came out, he did not seem to know the way to the school, so we assumed he was a new driver, and showed him with a map, as our Thai was as non-existent as his English. On arrival at the school, the security guards would not let him in: it seems he was a driver just dropping off his washing, and nothing to do with the school. He had been startled by the five foreigners sitting in his bus and thought it was best to do what they asked! Poor man…and a real introduction to the warmth of the Thai people.

A more recent example happened at IST in Dar es Salaam. We had a severe water shortage and a message was sent around asking us all to conserve water at school.  The school gardener immediately turned on the hosepipe. When we asked him what he was doing, his reply was that he needed to water the garden before the water ran out.  An example of the different ways of thinking that are possible.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I am past that now, but important things that I used to look for were the educational philosophy and curriculum (preference given to IB); quality of the training given to teachers; the health care package; the location of the school; the teachers’ housing; the attitude of the local community to women; and nature of the social and sporting life outside the school; the profile of the students and teaching staff.

It sounds like a lot, and none of these was a real ‘deal breaker’ but together they make the experience.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Eye-opening, educational, humbling, challenging, fulfilling.

Thanks Laura!

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!

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #11

June 20, 2013


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 1445 schools (updated from 1405 on 10 April 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 #11

Criteria selected:

  1. Region of the world (SE Asia)
  2. Curriculum (All)
  3. School Nature (All)
  4. No. of students (Medium 300-700)
  5. Country (All)
  6. Year founded (0-15)
  7. Kinds of student (Mostly Local)
  8. Metro Population (All)

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Schools Found: 9

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The nine international schools that met the criteria were found in three countries:

Cambodia – Cambodia International Academy, Western International School (Phnom Penh) and Jay Pritzker Academy (18 Comments).

Thailand – Keera-Pat International School, Bangkok, Wells International School (Thailand) and St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments).

Vietnam – APU International School (27 Comments), Singapore International School (Saigon South) (6 Comments) and British Vietnamese International School.

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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 8470 comments and information (updated from 7799 on 10 April 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).

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Highlighted Articles

Teachers International Consultancy: Teach Somewhere Different

May 2, 2013


Thanks to the increasing number of international schools, there have never been so many opportunities in unique and exciting locations for teachers.

Today there are international schools everywhere – over 6,500 schools in 236 countries – and some of the more unusual locations are providing the most stimulating and challenging opportunities for the more seasoned and adventurous international teachers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATeach somewhere different

Corey Johnson is a Geography teacher currently working in Kazakhstan.  He’s been teaching internationally for seven years. “Being an international teacher, I can work and see the world at the same time,” he says. “Each time I move to a new country I am gaining more experience.  Knowing that a grand adventure is waiting for you out there is very enticing. Life in a new country is always challenging but it’s also rewarding. Things are very different here but that’s the adventure of it all.”

Kazakhstan is one of the more unique places for teachers to work right now and it is the international schools, led by the NIS (Nazarbayev Intellectual School Network) schools that are changing the face of education throughout the country. The aim is to develop a new way of educating local Kazakh students and the NIS Network is enlisting the skills of qualified, English-speaking, experienced international teachers such as Corey to spearhead the progress.

From Mauritius to Bangkok

For international teaching couple, Jane and Gerry Young, an extreme location change was their priority when they were ready to move schools.

“We spent three years teaching at the international school in Mauritius,” says Gerry. “There were huge career benefits there and we loved the lifestyle. We spent most of our free time outdoors in the sunshine, on beaches. When our contract ended we decided to find something just as exciting but completely different so we them moved from our sleepy little school of 260 pupils to one of the biggest names in international education – Harrow International School in Bangkok – with almost 1,200 pupils, and traded mellow Mauritius for bustling Bangkok – a different corner of the world and a whole new adventure.”

Many options near and far

With today’s international schools employing over 300,000 English-speaking teachers and all competing for the most skilled and experienced ones, those already with international school experience really can have their pick of the best jobs.  Some of the more unique positions currently available are at the International School in Azerbaijan,  at the International School Moshi in Tanzania which is located in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, and at the International School in Montenegro, as well at the NIS schools in Kazakhstan.

“Don’t limit yourself to the oftentimes ‘cattle market’ frenzy of the recruitment fairs, or restrict yourself to just the jobs featured in the vacancies ads,” says recruitment expert Andrew Wigford. “Many international schools are now using recruitment agencies to handle all their placements and these agencies often know of some of the more unique jobs that aren’t publicised elsewhere. For example, the Harrow International Schools, which have a five year recruitment contract with us, hardly use job fairs at all. That’s why it’s important to register with a recruitment agency, as you’ll find jobs – great jobs – that you don’t hear about anywhere else.  The good recruitment agencies do not charge candidates any fee for this and still allow them the opportunity to look elsewhere, such as at the fairs. It’s an important part of keeping all your options open, especially if you’re looking for a really exciting or challenging next move and some agencies, such as TIC, provide a very personalised service to help you find exactly the right school and position for you.”

Andrew Wigford is Managing Director of Teachers International Consultancy (TIC), one of the leading specialist international school recruitment agencies in the world. TIC works with experienced international teachers and accredited and reputable international schools to provide a personalised placement and advisory service. For more information visit www.ticrecruitment.com

International Schools Community

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1998 (Santo Domingo, Riyadh, Erlangan & more)

April 20, 2013


Random year for international schools around the world: 1998

There is much history in the international teaching community.  We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1854 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century.  The numbers are increasing for sure.

Utilizing the database of the 1410 (20 April, 2013) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 40 international schools that were founded in 1998.  Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)

The Ashton School of Santo Domingo (12 Comments) (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)

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“The Ashton School was founded in 1998, inspired by the ideals, methods and techniques of the New Zealand educator Sylvia Ashton.  The school started as a family project with just a house as its facility, fewer than ten teachers and only 35 students in Kindergarten through third grade.”

Al-Oruba International Schools (8 Comments) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

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“Established in 1998 by Mrs. Tomader Ayad and his Royal Highness, Prince Abdulla Bin Mosaad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Al Oruba International School has built an admirable reputation in the Kingdom with devotion to over 3,000 students, Pre-K through Grade 12.”

BINUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Simprug (13 Comments) (Jakarta, Indonesia)

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“Established in 1998 as a Senior High School, BINUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Simprug was originally located in Kemanggisan and moved to its current location in Simprug, Jakarta Selatan in 2003. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) “World School”, BINUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Simprug offers the IB`s internationally-recognized Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, and Diploma Programme.”

St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)  (Bangkok, Thailand)

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“St Stephen’s International School SIS, founded in 1998, is a private co-educational international school, serving the Thai and international communities. The school is accredited by the Worldwide Education Service WES from the UK, is licensed by the Thai Ministry of Education and is an approved candidate for Accreditation with ECIS and NEASC.

The St Stephen’s International School’s philosophy is based on ‘Leadership in the making’ and is guided by three main concepts: East Meets West – The Best of Both Worlds, Learning by Doing, A Disciplined and Healthy Lifestyle.”

Franconian International School (Erlangen) (13 Comments) (Erlangan, Germany)

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“The Franconian International School (FIS) was founded in 1998 to serve the needs of
a growing international community in the Nürnberg, Erlangen, Fürth and Herzogenaurach areas.

In September 1998 the FIS opened its doors in Haundorf to 25 students in a combined Grade 1-2 class. By September 1999 the FIS had grown to three classes, and moved to the Dassler-Villa in the west of Herzogenaurach. Our growing Middle School classes caused another move, this time in September 2003 to a restored convent, also in Herzogenaurach. Since August 2008 the FIS has occupied its own, purpose-built campus with state-of-the-art facilities in Erlangen. This facility includes modern classrooms, fully equipped science labs, specialist art and music rooms, two PC labs, library, cafeteria and a double gymnasium.”

Wroclaw International School (33 Comments) (Wroclaw, Poland)

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“The Foundation was formed in Autumn 1998. Its aim is to enrich the education of society by supporting activities which shape regional identity, contact with culture and achievements of other nations, and give aid to educational institutions by organizing international contacts, but the most important task is the support of the unique features of each person – his or her abilities.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1410 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: British International School Phuket

March 4, 2013


There are so many international schools to work at in Thailand!  How do these schools stand out from each other?

British International School Phuket

It is not so surprising that an international school celebrates “International Day”, but how great that they have such a grand entrance to their school to display all those national flags.

They even set out a red carpet for the event!

What a great idea to have all visitors, important people, etc. sign their name on a huge map stating where they come from. That map could be a great addition to a front hallway display at an international school.

The school population does look rather diverse, even though around half of them are Thai.

Did you hear when the host mentioned about the Prefects at this school?  That seems to be a Harry Potter reference.  Do all British international schools have prefects?

Cool and colourful presentations!  Those costumes looked great, and so did the Michael Jackson impersonator!

How interesting that the more “important” people at the celebration get to sit in comfortable lounge-like chair in the front of the auditorium?

The student band looked and sounded great too!

It is great when a school has a history that started with a “dream”.  And it appears as if this dream really did come true because when you look at this campus in the video, it basically looks like some amazing castle.  Who wouldn’t want to work at British International School Phuket or attend here as a student??!

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 46 international schools listed in Thailand with 4 of them being in the city of Phuket.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

British International School (BIS) Phuket (8 Comments)
Phuket International Academy (11 Comments)
Concordian International School (15 Comments)
St. Andrews I.S Green Valley (10 Comments)
St. Stephen’s International School (Khao Yai) (12 Comments)
Prem Tinsulanonda International School (18 Comments)
• KIS International School (Bangkok) (39 Comments)
Harrow International School (Bangkok) (16 Comments)
International School Bangkok (16 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Thailand, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  For every 10 comments you submit, you will receive 1 month of premium access to International School Community for free!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1951 (Mexico City, Brussels, Jakarta & more)

February 11, 2013


Random year for international schools around the world: 1951

There is much history in the international teaching community.  We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1854 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century.  The numbers are increasing for sure.

Utilizing the database of the 1351 (11 February, 2013) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 11 international schools that were founded in 1951.  Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)

Greengates School (British International School) (5 Comments) (Mexico City, Mexico)

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“Greengates School is a privately owned, co-educational day school set in the northern part of Mexico City, in an area of over 20,000 sq. meters. For over 60 years the school has been preparing students for university study worldwide and developing caring global citizens.”

International School of Brussels (7 Comments) (Brussels, Belgium)

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“The International School of Brussels first opened its doors in October 1951, with four teachers on hand to welcome twenty-seven students between the ages of 5 and 11.

In the spring of 1953, with a population of more than one hundred students, the school moved to its current home at the Château des Fougères, in the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, and became known as the International School of Brussels.

In its early years, the entire school was housed in the Château: a far cry from the 40 acre campus with four school divisions and a lifelong learning centre that make up the ISB of today!”

Lycee International de Saint Germain-en-Laye (9 Comments)  (Saint Germain-en-Laye, France)

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“The American Section program starts in Pre-Kindergarten and goes through 12th grade. There are approximately 700 students enrolled, evenly divided between boys and girls and ranging in age from 4 to19. Approximately 60 percent of our students are U.S. citizens, and many hold both French and American citizenship. Most of the remaining 40 percent are French citizens who have spent a considerable amount of time in the United States or have had American schooling.”

Jakarta International School (9 Comments)  (Jakarta, Indonesia)

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“With five original students, Jakarta International School was founded by UN workers in 1951. These pioneers introduced relevant schooling in English for children of expats in the newfound Republic of Indonesia. From early days the school’s international identity was clear. It was originally named the Joint Embassy School (J.E.S.) after its British, American, Australian and (then) Yugoslavian embassy partners. Just over a decade later, in 1978, J.E.S. became J.I.S.”

Garden International School (19 Comments) (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

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“Garden School was established by Mrs Sally Watkins, the wife of the then Fire Brigade Chief. Lt. Col. F.F.C. Watkins, in the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur in 1951.”

International School Bangkok (16 Comments) (Bangkok, Thailand)

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“Widely recognized as one of the premier international schools in the world, International School Bangkok (ISB) has been providing quality education since 1951 to expatriates representing more than 60 countries.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1351 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Highlighted Articles

Growing number of international schools introducing Middle Year students to new way of learning

February 5, 2013


Providing 11 to 14 year olds with an enriching and engaging learning experience, one that is relevant for the student and the location of the school, and one that can also be sustained through the oftentimes transitional faculty of many international schools, can be one of most difficult challenges for many schools. However, a growing number of international schools, including the Harrow International Schools, the International School of Bremen in Germany, The School of Research Science in UAE, the British Schools of America, and Beacon Academy in Indonesia think they have found the answer with the International Middle Years Curriculum.

It is a curriculum that is directly addressing the learning requirements of young teenagers says Executive Headmaster and Chief Operations Officer of Harrow International Schools, Mark Hensman. “We all know that learning for students needs to be more relevant and inquiry-based,” he says. “We also know that this applies in particular to the Key Stage 3 curriculum,” he adds. “The recent emergence of the International Middle Years Curriculum has therefore been a breath of fresh air and a relief for those who have been looking for a middle year’s curriculum which builds on the National Curriculum but takes it much further,” he continues. “For us in the Harrow International Schools, the International Middle Years Curriculum has been a great launching pad into ‘big ideas’ while remaining grounded in the National Curriculum.”

The students at The School of Research Science in Dubai are experiencing this first-hand. One recent IMYC unit (with its big idea that: ‘the desire to know more drives exploration and aspiration’) linked students’ learning to space exploration which involved a live web-chat with a member of The Mars Society in the USA (8 hours behind UAE time), who shared expertise and answered students’ questions. “The web-chat was a huge exploration for the school,” says Science learning in action with the IMYC at IS Bremen, Germanyteacher Ryan Ball. “The student’s liked talking with someone on the other side of the world who was a real expert. Anything like this, that is slightly different from the norm and very engaging, stays with them. The IMYC’s encouragement to use technology has really helped us to do exciting learning things like this. This is our second year of learning with the IMYC and we are seeing the students developing skills that we wanted them to have, for example, learning to work on a six week plan with a final outcome; standing up in front of peers to present their own ideas; improved listening skills; and the students making links and actively looking for links with other subject learning.”

At the International School of Bremen, teacher Martyn Robinson-Slater says: “Our students are becoming creative and innovative thinkers, developing an appreciation of others in society. They are also becoming reflective and independent learners, not only willing to take risks but also to manage these risks, so becoming effective communicators of information and knowledge. We can already see that the IMYC is preparing them well for the IB Diploma.”

Supporting a teenager’s learning needs

The International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) is a curriculum that has been designed to meet the very specific learning and developmental needs of 11 to 14 year olds. The work that went in to creating the IMYC involved several years of research with teachers, headteachers, children, parents, neuroscientists, psychologists and other experts of adolescents. It also drew on the experiences of its sister curriculum; the highly successful and rigorous International Primary Learning with the IMYC at Rainbow International SchoolCurriculum (IPC).

A crucial determining factor of the IMYC was one we all know, regardless of whether we’re teachers, parents or scientists; that adolescence is a tricky time for many students and adults to handle. One of the researchers whose work influenced the IMYC was Harry Chugani, a neurologist at Wayne State University in Detroit who sums up the state of many students during their middle years: “Adolescence is a time when brains are absorbing a huge amount, but also undergoing so many alterations that many things can go wrong,” he says. “The teenage years rival the terrible twos as a time of general brain discombobulation.”

It is this ‘fine tuning’ of the brain that influences how 11-14 year olds respond to the way they learn and the way they are taught. The very specific needs caused by this fine tuning are addressed and supported in the IMYC and by meeting these needs, the curriculum creates an enriching learning experience for students. At Rainbow International School in Seoul, South Korea, Principal Emin Huseynov says: “Before [learning with the IMYC], our students were using many resources in different classes but they were not able to link any of their subjects. It was a hard way for them to learn. Now with the IMYC it’s different, they make links to all their subjects so all the learning makes sense to them. Now the students are learning together, working as a team, they are learning to work out their problems together and learning from each other. They are happy, the behaviour is good, they are more engaged. They are getting hungry for more learning.”

The International Middle Years Curriculum is now being used by international schools in 18 different countries including those in Qatar, Oman, China, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Thailand, Netherlands, Qatar and the USA as well as national schools and academies in the UK.

More information about the International Middle Years Curriculum is available at www.greatlearning.com/imyc

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #7 – Does the school feature a curriculum that is consistent with your future plans?

January 16, 2013


What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many different kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  How important is finding out about if the school features a curriculum that is consistent with your future career plans?  It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school to work at.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  In this blog series we will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #7 – Does the school feature a curriculum that is consistent with your future plans?

indexInternational schools teach in many different curricula.  Some of the most common are the UK, USA, Canada, IPC, PYP, MYP, and IB curricula. Which curriculum is one that is consistent with your future plans?  Are you comfortable just continuing teaching in the same one curriculum that you have been teaching in your whole teaching career or do you have aspirations to teach and to gain experience in a different curriculum?

Most of us international school teachers start off in a school that teaches in the same curriculum as your home country.  After all, your home country curriculum is what you have the most experience teaching in, and it is also probably the one in which you are the most comfortable.  Also, if you work at a school that teaches your home country curriculum, then you will most likely be teaching alongside others who are just like you (which could make you feel “more at home” while living abroad).

There are definitely international school teachers out there that seek out new experiences though and would be risk takers and seek out to try and work at an international school that teaches in a curriculum of which they are not familiar.  It definitely broadens your skills in teaching once you start having experiences teaching in different curricula.  You may find that your personal teaching philosophy also starts to get modified or solidified even more.  You definitely have more “tools” in your teaching “toolbox.” Not only does teaching in the new curriculum change you, it is the people that you interact with at that new school (who might be from a different country and teaching background than you) that influence how you teach your lessons as well.

imagesIt is nice to have a couple of different experiences noted on your CV that refer to the different curricula in which you have taught.  It is not only good for you so that you grow professionally, but it is also potentially good when job hunting.  Only a few cities in the world have more than 20 international schools in them (Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, etc…) and can offer many different kinds of curricula.

Most cities though only have a handful of international schools (Paris, Chang Mai, Buenos Aires, etc…), mean limited choices for different curricula.  If you are interested in working in a specific city in the world and there are only three international schools in that city, then you can for sure “better your chances” of getting a job there if you have previous experience teaching the curriculum at two or all three of those schools.  It is not a given though that you will automatically get an interview/the job there of course (if you have experience in that curriculum), but it most definitely might put you on their radar.

With the international schools that teach the IB curriculum, some people say that it is getting increasingly difficult to get a job at these schools if you don’t have previous IB experience.  You might have PYP, MYP, and IB as part of your plans in your future teaching career, but many schools are not even considering candidates without previous experience.  There definitely have been candidates though who “got their break” and landed a job at an IB school without previous experience in the curriculum.  Those candidates say that some directors tell them that if you are a good teacher, then it does not matter one bit if you don’t have previous IB experience.  If you are a good teacher in one curriculum, then typically that would mean you are a good teacher in another one (with proper training and PD of course to help you along the way). So, if you are trying to secure a job at an international school that teaches a curriculum that you have no experience in, don’t just give up and not send them your cover letter and CV.  You never know truly who they are specifically looking for and of course they aren’t just considering candidates that have previous experience in the curriculum.  It might just be that they are not getting enough “ideal” candidates and are already considering candidates without previous curriculum experience.

screenshot-2016-11-19-07-26-54On our website we have a School Profile Search feature that allows you to search for the schools that teach the curriculum that you are looking for in your next job.  You can search by choosing the following curricula: UK, USA, Canada, IPC, PYP, MYP, and IB.  We also have an “other” option to search schools that teach a curriculum that is not one of those eight choices.  When searching our 1340 international schools (updates on 16 January 2013), we have found the following results regarding curricula:

• There are 435 international schools that teach the USA curriculum.
• There are 413 international schools that teach the UK curriculum.
• There are 57 international schools that teach the IPC curriculum.
• There are 306 international schools that teach the PYP curriculum.
• There are 237 international schools that teach the MYP curriculum
• There are 472 international schools that teach the IB curriculum
• There are 29 international schools that teach the Canada curriculum
• There are 647 international schools that teach the “Other/Host Country” curriculum

If you are an International School Community member, log on today and submit your own search for the curriculum that is consistent with your future plans!

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and become a part of our over 1600 members.  Many of our current members have listed that they have worked at over 200 international schools around the world, schools that teach all 8 of the curriculum search criteria. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions and get firsthand information about what it is like teaching in the curriculum at their international school.

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Highlighted Articles

Teachers International Consultancy: This time next year…teachers get planning for international opportunities.

November 6, 2012


It’s not an easy time of year for many teachers. Holidays are still a long way away and for many, winter is just around the corner. Not so for Physics teacher Gerry Young who is enjoying the sunshine in Bangkok and loving his work.

Four years ago, Gerry was in Lanarkshire, Scotland and not so happy. “The rain was battering against the roof of my lab and the wind was rattling the windows. It’s no secret that Scotland isn’t a nice place to be just now if you’re trying to find a [teaching] job.”

It was enough to inspire Gerry and his wife Jane to look further afield and as a result, they discovered the extensive opportunities available to qualified, skilled, English-speaking teachers and school leaders in international schools.

“We never realised the possibilities that were out there to develop our careers as well as to travel and see different countries and cultures – to live them rather than just pass through them,” he says.

Gerry and Jane have since spent three years teaching at an international school in Mauritius; “Where we worked with a staff body pulled from lots of wind-swept and interesting corners of the globe,” he says. “The lifestyle was completely different. We spent most of our free time outdoors, in the sunshine, on beaches and there are huge benefits to be gained from a rich career spent teaching and living overseas…in a word, adventure!”

This summer, Gerry and Jane relocated as a teaching couple to Harrow International School in Bangkok. “We moved from a sleepy little school of 260 pupils to one of the biggest names in international education with almost 1200 pupils, and traded mellow Mauritius for bustling Bangkok – a different corner of the world and a whole new adventure,” says Gerry.

With over 6,000 English-medium international schools to choose from, making their move could have been quite a daunting prospect  for the Youngs. “What is often a traumatic experience was transformed into one where excitement and anticipation were our main emotional states,” explains Gerry who says the recruitment approach that Harrow International took was supportive, informative and reassuring.

Andrew Wigford from Teachers International Consultancy which is the sole recruiter for Harrow International Schools says “The number of international schools is growing at a phenomenal pace. Finding the right school to match a teacher’s specific skills and experiences, that supports their career growth, is a reputable establishment, and offers them the lifestyle and location they choose can be a challenging matching-up process.”

As a specialist recruitment organisation for international schools, Teachers International Consultancy works with many schools throughout the world and places hundreds of teachers each year. “There are currently over 280,000 expatriate teachers working in international schools around the world and there’s still a demand for more who have great skills and teaching experience. Our advice to those considering this as a career move is research the schools as much as you can. Look for accredited schools or those with a very good reputation and get your applications in early. Most international schools start their first round of recruitment in January and February so now is the time to get registered with a recruitment organisation and to find out as much as you can. Agencies that specialise in the international schools market should be able to help you through the whole process; right from preparing your CV appropriately, and reputable agencies do not charge candidates for this service because there is such a demand for quality teachers.”

If you would like to find out more about the opportunities available for working in international schools, Teachers International Consultancy regularly hosts free informational webinars and will also be hosting a free seminar providing advice about teaching in international schools on Saturday 17th November in London. For more information visit www.ticrecruitment.com

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #18: Sheldon Smith (An international teacher currently working at Al Khor International School)

November 2, 2012


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Sheldon Smith:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Currently my family and I reside in Qatar but I got here via Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. I left Vancouver, Canada, June 1998 to meet up with some friends who worked for an international airline and decided to make Kota Kinabalu their base. Previously I founded and was the owner / operator of Woodsmith Hardwood Floors which I sold but still exists today and has become quite a brand in the Vancouver flooring industry. After working in the flooring trade for 17 years I had to give it up. We weren’t aware of the dangers of the industrial components we were using (lacquers, polyurethanes, solvents, etc) and my body literally could not take the toxicity levels anymore. So, I sold ‘lock, stock and barrel’ and began working casually with a friend in a language centre teaching English to Chinese children.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

When I arrived at Kota Kinabalu I wasn’t really looking for work as I had recently sold my business and the rest of my worldly goods before leaving and was quite happy ‘living the life of Riley’. Amongst the people I met was a local lawyer; an Indian man with the loudest voice I ever heard and one of the funniest persons I have ever met. One day, over a coffee, he asked me what I planned on doing since my funds would dry up some day. I told him what I had done and mentioned the brief teaching experience I had before leaving Vancouver. He then sat straight up and asked if I wanted to meet a friend of his, the principal of Kota Kinabalu International School. A phone call and 10 minutes later a very hot and sweaty cyclist pulled up, ordered an ice coffee, declared he was just on his way back from a 10 km ride and introduced himself as the principal in question. Within 15 minutes he had asked me what my plans were and offered me a teaching job at his school. For the next 8 months I spent my Mondays to Fridays with some Taiwanese teens and my international teaching was underway.

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.

After teaching at the International School of Kota Kinabalu, I taught at a language centre at Medan, Indonesia then at another in Nilai, Malaysia then a small prep school in Bangkok called Sabai Jai International School (Sabai Jai means happy heart in Thai) where I taught the graduating class – K3. From there I began my first real international school experience when I was hired to work at Shrewsbury International School, Bangkok; a franchise-type of sorts based on the Shrewsbury School in the UK, where Charles Darwin was a student by the way. Then, after 5 ½ years, I moved my family to Qatar where after 4 years I still work for Al Khor International School.

The various places I have lived at and the different people I have met along the way have given me a broader perspective for language, religious and cultural diversity. There is beauty everywhere on the planet. I never knew other people would be so interested in what a foreign westerner had to offer or say. Previous to leaving Canada I would, as do most people, head to some hot sunny spot for a 3 week holiday and feel I understood the people and customs of that place. How far from the truth that was. Teaching and living in different communities has helped me to really get to know intimately the traditions and cultural beauty of people up close. I have frequently been invited to local families’ homes for dinners and have had wonderful opportunities getting to know local people really well; almost like I was adopted by some. The students in South East Asia are so well behaved and polite; it really is quite a different experience any teacher from a western country would encounter. The schools I have worked at have been very generous in the salaries and accommodation, and have been very supportive for my own professional development. Over the past 14 years I have met and still keep in touch with so many colleagues. I can travel to almost any country and know someone to meet up with.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

My latest cultural encounter entails a recent charity fair we had at our school. To raise money, some of the local Qatari lads brought falcons to school. Students paid money to pet and hold the birds. The lads looked so proud in their local dress holding their beloved falcons. I certainly don’t recall that happening when I went to school.

Qatar, as most know, has been blessed with copious amounts of natural gas; Rasgas and Qatargas are the world’s leading distributors of LNG (liquid natural gas). This has shot this small country up to the top of the GNP scale – now at approximately USD 80,000 per family. Now about 20 years on, the children have adopted a different approach to what many may expect. Recently, during one of my business studies lessons, I explained how the students needed to come up with a project. Before launching their project though, they would have to do the normal due diligence of enterprise – brain storm, mind-map, SWOT, SMART targets, risk assessment, etc – to support the coursework part of the course which would be externally marked. They looked at each other and then looking quite confused and perplexed one lad raised his hand and asked why. “If I like something, I buy it. When I get bored of it, I throw it away. If I want to make a project, I do it. OK, if it fails, I just do something else. Why do all that other stuff?” Money is a disposable concept here and this not only put smile on my face but it put me in my place.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I really can’t stress enough how no matter what international school is advertising, investigating as thoroughly as possible is a must. I would also stress avoiding websites that seem to serve as platforms for disgruntled teachers. No school is perfect for every teacher’s situation – being calm, flexible and keeping my sense of humour have been my weapons for personal success. In searching for new post at a new international school, I am interested in the school’s philosophy, aims and goals. I am interested in who the owners are and how keen they are in branding their school. I am not interested in schools which are content in the mid-stream. Personally, I am really looking for upstart schools and working at the school’s foundation level as I did when Shrewsbury International was just beginning. Being a part of the initial growth, seeing the founding students and staff work through the first couple of years and seeing it all come together is so rewarding – very rigourous but very rewarding.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Open-minded            Professional            Dedicated            Discovery            Fun

Thanks Sheldon!

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 work for  an international school in the Qatar like Sheldon?  Currently, we have 23 international schools listed in the Qatar on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

American School of Doha (13 Comments)
Newton International School (23 Comments)
Al Jazeera Academy (9 Comments)
Qatar Leadership Academy (9 Comments)
Al Hekma International School (Qatar) (15 Comments)
Awsaj Institute of Education (20 Comments)

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Highlighted Articles

TIC (Teachers International Consultancy) article: This time next year….teachers get planning for international opportunities

September 23, 2012


It’s not an easy time of year for teachers. The summer holidays are over, the academic year ahead seems daunting, and bad weather is just around the corner. Not so for Physics teacher Gerry Young who is enjoying the sunshine in Bangkok and loving his work.

Four years ago, Gerry was in Lanarkshire, Scotland and not so happy. “The rain was battering against the roof of my lab and the wind was rattling the windows. It’s no secret that Scotland isn’t a nice place to be just now if you’re trying to find a [teaching] job.”

It was enough to inspire Gerry and his wife Jane to look further afield and as a result, they discovered the extensive opportunities available to qualified, skilled, English-speaking teachers and school leaders in international schools.

“We never realised the possibilities that were out there to develop our careers as well as to travel and see different countries and cultures – to live them rather than just pass through them,” he says.

Gerry and Jane have since spent three years teaching at an international school in Mauritius; “Where we worked with a staff body pulled from lots of wind-swept and interesting corners of the globe,” he says. “The lifestyle was completely different. We spent most of our free time outdoors, in the sunshine, on beaches and there are huge benefits to be gained from a rich career spent teaching and living overseas…in a word, adventure!”

This summer, Gerry and Jane have relocated as a teaching couple to Harrow International School in Bangkok. “We moved from a sleepy little school of 260 pupils to one of the biggest names in international education with almost 1200 pupils, and traded mellow Mauritius for bustling Bangkok – a different corner of the world and a whole new adventure,” says Gerry.

With over 6,000 English-medium international schools to choose from, making their move could have been quite a daunting prospect  for the Youngs. “What is often a traumatic experience was transformed into one where excitement and anticipation were our main emotional states,” explains Gerry who says the recruitment approach that Harrow International took was supportive, informative and reassuring.

Andrew Wigford from Teachers International Consultancy which is the sole recruiter for Harrow International Schools says “The number of international schools is growing at a phenomenal pace. Finding the right school to match a teacher’s specific skills and experiences, that supports their career growth, is a reputable establishment, and offers them the lifestyle and location they choose can be a challenging matching-up process.”

As a specialist recruitment organisation for international schools, Teachers International Consultancy works with many schools throughout the world and places hundreds of teachers each year. “There are currently over 280,000 expatriate teachers working in international schools around the world and there’s still a demand for more who have great skills and teaching experience. Our advice to those considering this as a career move is research the schools as much as you can. Look for accredited schools or those with a very good reputation and get your applications in early. Most international schools start their first round of recruitment in January and February so now is the time to get registered with a recruitment organisation and to find out as much as you can. Agencies that specialise in the international schools market should be able to help you through the whole process; right from preparing your CV appropriately, and reputable agencies do not charge candidates for this service because there is such a demand for quality teachers.”

If you would like to find out more about the opportunities available for working in international schools, Teachers International Consultancy regularly hosts free informational webinars and will also be hosting a free seminar providing advice about teaching in international schools on Saturday 17th November in London. For more information visit www.findteachingjobsoverseas.com.

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: American School of Milan’s Learning Eco-system and “Connect Classroom” (Milan, Italy)

August 28, 2012


There are so many international schools in Italy.  Which ones are good places for international school teachers to work at?  How does the international teaching community view the international schools there?

American School of Milan

What an interesting initiative at this international school. The concept of a learning Eco-system (and the “Connected Classroom”) sounds like a wonderful dream that became a reality for a school.

There have been 13 comments and information submitted on this international school on our website.  Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – American School of Milan

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 28 international schools listed in Italy with 5 of them being in the city of Milan.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

Bilingual European School of Milan (16 Comments)
The Bilingual School of Monza (8 Comments)
Sir James Henderson School (7 Comments)
International School of Trieste (9 Comments)
Ambrit-Rome International School (7 Comments)
International School of Bologna (8 Comments)
The English International School of Padua (12 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Italy, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Art Teach Travel.”

July 25, 2012


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 21st blog that we would like to highlight is called “Art Teach Travel”  Check out the blog entries of this school teacher who has lived and worked in the United States for many years teaching art.  She has aspirations to join the international school community in the very near future.  She has written some great insight related to the different kinds of international school recruitment fairs currently on offer to people looking for a job at an international school.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

ISS (International Schools Services)

“Since 1955, International Schools Services (ISS) has been dedicated to providing international students access to a premier Western education. It is difficult for ISS to give me data regarding how many art positions are available each year because, unlike UNI, they have continual, year-round recruitment fairs at various locations around the world. Currently, ISS has five recruitment conferences scheduled in 2012-13 to include Philadelphia; Nice, France; Atlanta; Bangkok and San Francisco. There will be more posted as dates are confirmed.

In 2010, a variety of schools, in countries such as China, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland, UAE and Vietnam, needed art teachers but each year the represented schools and countries are varied. There is no way to predict how many schools from how many countries will need art teachers each year. When I recently inquired there were 11 positions most recently available…”

I think about this too. For most teachers looking for a job at an international school, in any given year, always must take a gamble.  The gamble is just how this blogger described: you never know what vacancies are going to be available the year you decide to look for a job abroad (and in the city or country you most want to work in).  Some more experienced teachers in the international school community do tend to wait until the right job comes up (usually found out through their extensive network of international educator colleagues) and then they decide to leave their current school.  However, there are a number of teachers that don’t have that luxury and they take a big chance that the perfect job will present itself the year they decide to look. Going to the recruitment fair is fun though really.  If you are luckily, you have many interviews to consider at the fair.  I think I went to about seven interviews at the last recruitment fair that I attended.  They say to even go to the ones that you are pretty sure you are not interested in…because “you never know.”  Also, it is quite interesting to learn more about the many different international schools around the world and what they are doing and have to offer.

It is good to check how many positions are available on the recruitment fair’s website before you get to the fair, but it is also good to know that things can change very quickly.  The vacancies listed on their website can change….a lot, so be prepared as you are walking around during the first round robin session and checking out their vacancies posters. Though on the other hand, if you have contacted a school beforehand and they have shown interest in you about a vacancy, still go up to the table and get the latest update (if you don’t see the vacancy listed on the poster), as you never know what has happened and the position might indeed be available again in a day, a week, etc…

Should I stay or should I go? (Part 1 of 3)

“So now, years later, I’m asking the same question: Should I stay or should I go? This time, I’m talking about my job, the Dallas art scene, my home in Texas and my country. I’ve been exploring how to combine my love of teaching with my love of adventure and travel. Teaching art in an international school may be my way to do that.

Although there are many educational placement companies, I have narrowed my search down to three: UNI (University of Northern Iowa), ISS (International Schools Services) and SA (Search Associates). Although I’ve never taught internationally, I have read many others’  personal accounts through various forum blogs…”

Waiting for the right time to enter the international school community can take awhile for some people.  Taking the risk of leaving your current job in your home country, leaving your friends and family, and then ultimately leaving your home country itself is quite the challenge.  I remember my teacher friends being ready years before me.  I had many things that I had to deal with first, and it took me six years (after I first started teaching with my teaching license) until my life was ready to finally go to a recruitment fair.  I don’t remember thinking that staying (in my current job and home country) really was option anymore…once I had finally made my decision to teach abroad.  Luckily, things worked out well and I got the job of my dreams at the first recruitment fair that I had ever been to, with no prior international school teaching experience.  I think the “power” was definitely in the candidate’s favor back then!

Now I am currently at my third international school, and I still ask the questions to myself “Should I stay or should I go?” Even though most contracts are for two years, it is always good to stay a little bit after that initial contract and sometimes there is a nice financial incentive to stay longer too!  Your school in your home country probably wouldn’t be offering you any bonuses to stay with them!  One of the many perks teaching at international schools versus teaching in your home country.

If you are also interested in starting your career in the international school community, feel free to check out the 1245+ international schools that are listed on International School Community here. Also, don’t forget to check out our latest submitted comments and information about these schools.

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)

July 22, 2012


There are so many international schools in Hong Kong.  Which ones are good places for international school teachers to work at?  How does the international teaching community view the international schools there?

Hong Kong International School

Inspiring speech by the founder of this school – Dr. Mel Kieschnick. What a history this school must have being that it was founded back in 1956!d

There have been 33 comments and information submitted on this international school on our website.  Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – Hong Kong International School

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 23 international schools listed in the city of Hong Kong.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

American International School (Hong Kong) (22 Comments)
Hong Kong Academy Primary School (14 Comments)
Renaissance College Hong Kong (5 Comments)
Singapore International School (Hong Kong) (7 Comments)
Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) (8 Comments)
International Christian School (Hong Kong) (19 Comments)
Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong (11 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Hong Kong, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.04 – 07 April, 2012

April 7, 2012


v2012.04 – 7 April, 2012:

We hope everyone is enjoying their spring break.  The range of different countries being visited during this time of traveling (with the international school teachers that the ISCommunity staff know) is quite intreguing and exciting: Bucharest, Tbilisi, Aruba, Madrid, Amersterdam, Bangkok, Colombo, Almaty, Tenerife, London, Dubai, etc.

In the international schools we have worked at though, it seems quite common that the more veteran teachers (ones that have been at the same international school for 20+ years) don’t seem to travel as much any more.  Is that the future of international school teachers?  Do you “lose interest” in traveling the longer you stay at an international school post?

It is true however that there are some good reasons for deciding not to travel during school breaks: saving money, spending time with family, going to a summer home, high airline ticket prices, etc.

Furthermore, if you travel “too much” sometimes people start seeing trips as being all the same, appearing a bit too similar.  Not that the cities and countries are the same, but the experiences and actions are the same sometimes.  For example: going into an old church, walking through a museum, shopping at the main market, checking into a hotel, going through security at an airport, going out to restaurants every night, not being able to communicate with the locals very well, getting a coffee at the Starbucks, etc.

Some times traveling naturally gets to this point.  Not that you stay at this point and never go back, but it is possible that when you travel as much as international school teachers do, it is bound to happen at some point.

So if you did decide to travel this holiday, what goals did you have for this trip? (e.g. pleasure, adventure, beach, visit old friends, etc.)

With regards to our website, we have had another surge of new members on International School Community this past month taking us over the 400 mark.  Now, ISCommunity members currently work at or have worked at over 141 different international schools in over 50 countries!

Furthermore, we have just reached the 4000 milestone for the number of submitted comments and information!  More information and comments means our members being more informed about the world of international school teaching!

From the staff at International School Community.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 06 Apr  Haileybury Almaty (31 new comments)
Almaty, Kazakhstan
“The common language in the hallways, lunchtime, break time is Russian. The teachers have to constantly remind the students to speak in English…”· 06 Apr  American School of Warsaw (12 new comments)
Warsaw, Poland 

“Average monthly salary for teachers is $3600, paid in United States Dollars. No taxes are taken out…”· 05 Apr  Britannica I.S. (Belgrade) (11 new comments) 
Belgrade, Serbia 

“The school typically prefers to hire single teachers. 60 years old is the age limit…”

· 04 Apr  QSI International School of Tbilisi (8 new comments)
Tbilisi, Georgia

“There is a flea market that is open every day near the highway and river. There are many people selling antiques and also…”

· 03 Apr  Kongsberg International School (7 new comments)
Kongsberg, Norway

“There is a one hour commute from Oslo with direct train links to the city and to the main airport as well…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Teach Internationally – Opportunities the World Over for Qualified Teachers
“With over 6,000 international schools throughout the world, it’s a market much bigger than most people – even those within the education sector – realise…”

· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #10 – Surround yourself with positive people. Do not allow negative comments and attitudes to darken your outlook.
“It is hard to stay positive, but when culture shock is at its worst, it is very easy to slip.  Sure the other new teachers at your school (and the veteran ones) have a lot to say to you about the host country and culture, but…”

· International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #3: Africa
“With the Egyptian elections over, I predict a huge requirement for teachers in Egypt as the country pulls itself up by its bootstraps and with the help of international investment will try to change the face of the country…”

· Survey results are in: Which international school recruitment fair have you had the most success at?
“The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community have had the most success at the Search Associates international school teacher recruitment fairs…”

· International schools that were founded in 1970 (Salalah, Nairobi, Monterrey, San Josa and Brussels)
“Founded in 1970 in response to the need for a top quality co-educational school in Monterrey, Mexico, Colegio Ingles offers international students…”

· The number of children at international schools reaches 3 million!
“The latest figures published by ISC Research show that the number of children attending the world’s international schools has passed three million. This is phenomenal growth in…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 93 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 405 ( 80)
School profiles
: 1167 ( 41)
Blog entries
: 252 ( 26)
Posted comments & info
:
4003 ( 702)
Twitter followers: 323 ( 26)


One month free promotion ending soon:

International School Community will soon be ending its one month free of premium membership promotion for new members.  Make sure to let your colleagues and friends know about this promotion before it expires.  If you are not a member yet yourself, sign-up today!


New members:

· Sonya Terborg
(Riverstone International School)
· Paula Sweetten
(King’s College –
British School of Madrid)
· Jordanka Marceta
(American International School Budapest)
· Orlando Fold
(SRS Dubai)
· Marina
(Atlantic International School)
· A Ranc
(International School of Paris)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Beverley Bibby
“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…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Discussion Topic

While living in foreign country you might periodically ask yourself: What is this thing?“You eyes search around for a purpose. I can‘t see what this is for?! You try and fiddle around with it. Try and turn it on! Is this right?”“I just found this on the bottom of one of my walls, very close to the floor, and just outside my bathroom. When I turn it on, the green light goes on but nothing happens.  So, I guess I will just keep it off.  Thank goodness for the internet.  It turns out it is some sort of thermostat.  I am still not for sure if I will use it though.  For sure people don’t typically have these things on the walls (near the floor) in homes in the United States…”

We invite our readers and members to discuss their list of things that they haven’t done in a year (or more for that matter).

Check out this blog entry
 to leave a comment about the strange things you have found in your home while living in a foreign country.

Highlighted blogs of international teachers:

This international school teacher’s blog is about teaching and living in Japan.
One of her blog entries (One Week After) is describing her experience when the big earthquake hit Japan last year:

“The students broke into groups in all 3 of our classrooms. I wandered around, listening to their conversations. The students were animated, hanging out with friends, sharing their passions and their proud moments from the week. And then 2:47. The classroom started shaking. I was standing near a group of girls who immediately got under a table. Usually, earthquakes stop within seconds, but this didn’t. It was rocking us like babies in a rocker, and it wasn’t stopping…”

Another one of her entries (Teaching and Discoveryis about how teachers feel when they first go back to school after the summer holidays:

We’re back to school again, and it’s almost as if we never left. Great group of kids again. The students always amaze me with their energy and joie de vivre. It would be hard to go back to students who don’t find school so amusing…”

* If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted onInternational School Community contact us here.

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Highlighted Articles

The number of children at international schools reaches 3 million!

March 22, 2012


The latest figures published by ISC Research show that the number of children attending the world’s international schools has passed three million. This is phenomenal growth in just ten years. In 2002 there were one million international school students. It is this increasing demand for places which is driving the rapid expansion of international schools worldwide; a trend that ISC Research predicts will continue for the foreseeable future.

Ten years ago, the typical international school student was from an expatriate family. Today, that student is from a local family. The number of expatriate children attending international schools has not decreased, indeed there are many more . What has changed is the recognition by local families that international schools are a means of advancing to further education at some of the world’s best universities. “Parents of the next generation are looking towards international schools to satisfy the need for critical thinking rather than learning by rote,” says Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications at Taaleem which owns and manages 13 schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “The parents clearly see international schools as a route through for university opportunities.” It is this recognition, coupled with increased income, which is making attendance at an international school a real possibility for the wealthier local families. Today 80% of students at international schools are local children.

In a number of cities, this demand from both expat and local families, is outstripping supply. Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha all have significant problems. So much so, that many relocating expats with families are now demanding security of their school places before accepting new placements. In certain locations, it is the availability of good school places that is driving job decisions by expats rather than salaries and destinations. As a result of this demand, a number of countries are actively encouraging the growth of international schools including China, India, Malaysia, Korea, and the UAE.

International schools are typically fee-paying schools that deliver the curriculum wholly or partly in English (outside an English-speaking country). The good quality of learning at international schools is recognised the world over. Many of these schools follow, to a large extent, the English National Curriculum. Others deliver such highly respected international curricula as the International Baccalaureate and the International Primary Curriculum. Others deliver alternative national curricula such as American or Dutch. The best international schools have extremely good reputations, are accredited, and are used as models by national schools the world over.

ISC Research, the organisation that researches and analyses data on international schools worldwide predicts that the number of students in international schools will reach six million in another ten years and that the number of international schools will increase from 6,000 today to 10,000.

Managing Director of ISC Research, Nicholas Brummitt, says “The international school market has become big business. There are now a number of highly respected, multinational groups of schools driving growth forward. Examples of these are Taaleem with schools throughout the UAE and partnerships in other Middle East countries, WCL with schools in the US and Qatar, Nord Anglia with schools in China and Europe, Cognita with schools in the UK, Europe and Asia, ESOL with schools in a number of Middle East countries, Yew Chung Education Foundation with schools in Hong Kong, China and the US, and GEMS with schools in many parts of the world.  Most of these groups are expanding aggressively, either by buying existing schools, expanding current operations, or building new schools. There are also schools with campuses in several countries. These include a number of UK private schools with international operations such as Harrow (in Beijing, Bangkok with a third school in Hong Kong  opening in September this year) and Dulwich which has schools in China and is opening several more in Asia over the next few years.”

For more information about the international schools market visit www.iscresearch.com. ISC Research is the only organisation that supplies data and market analyses covering all the world’s English-medium international schools; data that it has been tracking for over twenty years. The latest market updates plus individual school information, news, statistical overviews, and country reports are all available from ISC Research.

For more information about what it is like to work at many of these international schools, make sure to visit www.internationschoolcommunity.com

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.03 – 03 March, 2012

March 3, 2012


v2012.03 – 3 March, 2012:

We have had a surge of new members on International School Community this past month taking us over the 300 mark. With 67 new members joining, we are now at a total of 326 members! It is so interesting to look at the range of members that we have so far: veteran international school teachers, teachers new to the international school community, teachers who are thinking about getting into our community, retired international school teachers, international school parents, international school directors, etc.  All premium members are able to send unlimited private messages to other members on our website to contact for information and also to network with if you have questions about what life at a specific international school he/she is currently working at or has worked at in the past.

Go ahead then and send a private message to one of our members that is currently living in one of the many different cities around the world represented on our website. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at over 115 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!

Our 320+ members have now also submitted over 3300+ comments and information on our 1120+ international school profile pages.  To celebrate these recent milestones, you can now get 50% off of your next membership subscription by using this coupon code: MARCH3241. With the discount, you can renew your premium subscription for as little as 5 USD!  Just go to your My Account page and click on “renew your subscription”.  This offer will expire on 17 March, 2012.

Premium members also have unlimited access to our 1126 international school profile pages.  On each school profile page there are 4 separate comment and information submission sections: School information, Benefits information, City information and Travel information.

There are many international schools profile pages getting updated all the time.  In the international school community, it is important we share what we know to help others make better informed decisions when looking for employment at an international school.

Thanks again for everyone’s support! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the beginning of spring!

From the staff at International School Community.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 03 Mar  Vilnius International School (6 new comments)
Vilnius, Lithuania

“Age limit for hiring is 60. Often restrictions for non-EU dependents. This school posts vacancies on the Search website…”· 03 Mar  The American International School – Salzburg (9 new comments)
Salzburg, Austria

“The school is located in the southern part of Salzburg very near the city’s greenbelt in a semi-rural setting but only 10 minutes from the city center…”· 03 Mar  Highlands International School (11 new comments)
La Paz, Bolivia

“Hiring a maid is quite common here in La Paz and very inexpensive. The extra help can be nice, especially if you have a family…”· 01 Mar  Hampton International School (13 new comments)
Bangkok, Thailand

“Because the school is very small, all teachers have more than one additional duty – right now, this tends to be a sore point among teaching staff but as numbers grow…”

· 29 Feb  Escuela International de Sampedrana (6 new comments)
San Pedro Sula, Honduras

“The school pays teachers in USD. With 3.5 percent taxes taken out , the monthly salary is around 1850 US…”(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #9 – Maintain a sense of humor, but most importantly be ready to laugh at yourself.
“When you are living abroad, there are moments when the locals are looking at you strangely. You might be thinking that they are making fun of you, being rude, or just plain staring at you.  Most of the time though they usually don’t have an unkind intention towards you.  The initial reaction is to…”

· Great resource: ISAT – International Schools Association of Thailand
“If your dream is to work at an international school in Thailand, the ISAT website can be a great resource for you…”

· International schools that were founded in 1947 (New York, Cali, Medellin, Rome, and Sao Paolo)
“The United Nations International School (UNIS) was established in 1947 by a group of United Nations Parents to provide an international education for their children, while preserving their diverse cultural heritages. What began as a nursery school for 20 children quickly grew, adding…”

· Overview of an int’l school #4 – Makuhari International School
“At MIS, at present, around 60% of our children are Japanese returnee children, the other 40% are either dual nationality or foreign children…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #6 – “Remember to research.”
“When interviewing at an international school recruitment fair, it is indeed a difficult task to be 100% knowledgeable about each international school you interview with.  You do some final researching the night/morning before the interview, but…”

· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #3
“The school goes through Search Associates. Teachers must have appropriate degree for teaching the subject of major concentration and by under 65 years of age. They are willing to hire interns for certain positions…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 80 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 325 ( 67)
School profiles
: 1126 ( 38)
Blog entries
: 226 ( 21)
Posted comments & info
:
3301 ( 612)
Twitter followers: 297 ( 31)


MORE BIG improvements:

We have updated our Members List pageto include a sorting feature.  Now visitors and members are able to sort our 325 members more effectively now.  It is now possible to sort the list by Newest First, First Name, Last Name, Current School and By Location (also being able to sort these lists by Descending or Ascending order).  Go ahead and try it out and start contacting our members and networking today.  Who knows who you might find?!We have also just completed two more updates to the school profile pages.  Now there is a Youtube video that can be found sometimes on a school’s profile page.  If there is one available, then it will show up under the map feature.

The video shown will be related to the school, typically a review or an overview of the school from the school itself.

The other update on the school profile page is the school’s Facebook feature.  If the school has a Facebook page that they update with the news from their school, it will now show up on the school’s profile page on our website.  The feature can be found under the Members of this School feature.

Check out pictures of the improvements and other details here!


New members:

· Sally Loughborough
(Hampton International School)
· Alissandra Butzbach
(Baku International School)
· Linda Belonje
(KIS International School Bangkok)
· Karen Jones
(Ajial Bilingual School)
· Falustein Shoman
(Al Ittihad National Private School)
· Kiyo Horii
(Nishimachi International School)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Beverley Bibby
“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…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Discussion Topic

Discussion Topic: Things I (an international school teacher) Have Not Done in a Year“After living abroad for so many years, I have forgotten all the things that you don’t do anymore.  We used to have a different life, didn’t we?  But now that you are living abroad, many of your routines have changed. Being that these changes have now become your new routines, you tend to forget about the things you used to do!Inspired by this blog entry by the Kirby Family, Things I Have Not Done in a Year, we invite our readers and members to discuss their list of things that they haven’t done in a year (or more for that matter).
Highlighted blogs of international teachers:
This international school teacher’s insight about moving back to your home country after teaching and living in Hong Kong is something we can all relate to:“I think I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said I was happy to be moving back to Canada. There are many things I am looking forward to about going back, foremost among them, being closer to our family, but there are many things I am going to really miss about Hong Kong, especially my job.  In early June I included an article in one of my posts that I wrote in 2005 about what I will miss about Hong Kong.  I’ve learned there…”* If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
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Great Resource

Great resource: ISAT – International Schools Association of Thailand

February 22, 2012


If you dream is to work at an international school in Thailand, the ISAT website can be a great resource for you.

About ISAT

The International Schools Association of Thailand was established in 1994. Its principal purpose is to act as a link between international schools which are members of ISAT on the one hand and the Ministry of Education, in particular the Office of the Private Education Commission, on the other.

During the past year, ISAT has been extensively involved with the Department of Export Promotion in the joint marketing of international education both in Thailand and overseas.

The issues of new education legislation and educational reforms have also featured high on the agenda over the past year. ISAT has lent its support to this process through assistance in in-service training by arranging placement for Thai teachers and administrators in international schools where they are able to observe modern approaches to teaching and learning first hand.

In addition to disseminating information to its members on educational issues both at home and overseas, its regular meetings provide a forum for discussion, debate and the exchange of views and information. The organization of in-service training courses, particularly in the fields of cross-cultural management and Thai language teaching, also features highly on the list of ISAT’s priorities.

The promotion of Thai language and culture in international schools and support for charitable causes are other major aims of the Association as is support for culture and sporting links between international schools in Thailand and abroad and between international schools and Thai educational institutions.

Laws and Regulations about living in Thailand

List of Schools on their website

Currently on International School Community we have 34 international school listed in Thailand.  Many of those school profile pages have comments and information that have been submitted on them by our members.  Check out some of them here:

International School Eastern Seaboard (ISE) (7 Comments)
St. Stephen’s International School (Khao Yai) (12 Comments)
British International School (BIS) Phuket (8 Comments)
Phuket International Academy (3 Comments)
Chaing Mai International School (5 Comments)
Prem Tinsulanonda International School (9 Comments)
Bangkok Patana School (14 Comments)
Bromsgrove International School (7 Comments)
International School Bangkok (7 Comments)
Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok (7 Comments)
St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)
New Sathorn International School (5 Comments)
KIS International School (Bangkok) (4 Comments)

If you currently work at one of these international schools in Thailand, become a member today and submit some comments and information of your own!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: The Miles Abroad. Chapter 1 Dhaka

February 19, 2012


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 15th blog that we would like to highlight is called “The Miles Abroad. Chapter 1 Dhaka.”  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who has worked at International School Dhaka.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

A few photos
“Here’s a collection of photos we took the other day, on the roof of our apartment block. If you consider the size of our apartment and that there are two like that on each floor, it’ll give a real idea of the size of the space up there. There’s a few ISD families in this block, with young children; we’re figuring it’d be great to meet up for brunch on the roof during weekends.”

Where shall we go?
“I know we’ve only just arrived, but it’s time to start thinking about where to go on holiday.  We’ve a week in October, a month at Christmas, and two weeks at Easter.  So many places are relatively close, so we’re spoilt for choice.  Only problem is it costs about $200 in exit taxes per person.

So, for example, we got an email about a $115 round trip flight to Bangkok before the end of October, but we’re talking more than $1200 for the whole family to visit for a week/9 days.  That’s a hell of a lot of money and we’re trying to save and work on the debt situation.  Bummer.  And it looks like it’s w a a a a a y more expensive at Christmas time, so doesn’t look that feasible either.

What else can we do?  Well, apparently Nepal would be relatively easy to get to, and much cheaper.  Also, Kolkatta, although you fly there, you can also take a bus (11 hours – is this a good idea with two kids?) or the train (also 11 hours, but more doable)  In fact, the train idea looks great, since it costs, apparently, $20 each.  I expect there may well be some exit taxes involved too, but nowhere near as much as flying.

An alternative would be to travel around Bangladesh.  Winter time is the best time to travel here, since the country is much drier then.  One option would be take a boat trip around the Sundarbans for a few days.  Another would be to visit Cox’s Bazar. Here’s a photo, and some info.  Sounds like a fantastic place.”

First impressions
“Speaking of that, that’s the main issue right now.  Not speaking the language means it’s impossible to really argue with someone, and also not knowing the local values.  As foreigners we’ll always pay over the odds for things, that’s fine, but I don’t like being taken advantage of.  However, there’s a rickshaw driver named Jalal who hangs around outside, with another guy Rashed, both of whom speak English.  Jalal’s is great and he’s pretty much adopted this building as it’s mostly ISD people living here.  He’s helped Chris (PE teacher, lives upstairs, has a 2-year old son whose name I can’t spell but it sounds like kie-er) to do some shopping, driven him about, bargained for him.  That’s great, exactly what we need, someone who’ll honestly and sincerely help without taking advantage of us.  He and Rashed took us to the school on Saturday so we could use the pool, he helped us get to our restaurant that evening by getting the motorized rickshaw and arguing with the driver about the price (of course I didn’t understand what he said but it was spattered with English words like ‘schoolteacher’ and I’m guessing he was saying “Come on man, don’t take the p”@” we’re not talking rich foreigner’s here they’re just teachers)  Anyway, he told us how much to pay for the ride (100 taka, which is about 66p) and made sure the driver knew where we were going.”

Check out the International School Dhaka profile page on International School Community.  Currently, there are 5 international schools listed in Bangladesh on our website, with all 5 of them being in Dhaka.

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Great Resource

Great Resource: Want to work at an international school in Hong Kong?

February 7, 2012


The Top Schools website (http://www.topschools.hk/) has some excellent information about the many international schools in Hong Kong.

There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  There are around 29 international schools listed on the Top Schools website.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are: Australian International School, Canadian International School, Kingston International School, German Swiss International School, etc…

Highlighted sections from their website:

DISCOVERY BAY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
“With 940 students, DBIS follows a curriculum based on that of the National Curriculum of England and Wales.  Admissions are non selective and students are drawn from the Discovery Bay community.  Demand for places is high and the school introduced a iPremium School Development Levy of HK$450,000 – s a means for parents to gain a “fast track” entry to the Kindergarten and Primary sections. Presumably, this means those that pay this premium levy get priority in the selection process.”

HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
“A highly reputable school following an American-style curriculum. 58% of its students are American and 56% are Christian.  Debenture holders receive priority.  Lower Primary will be relocated for three academic years.  R2, Grade 1 and Grade 2 classes will relocate to an existing unused school building in Chai Wan. Click for detailed info on the relocation.”

HARROW INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
“Opening September 2012.  The first international day and boarding school in Hong Kong. Operated by the Harrow International Group, Harrow International school is an arm of the 439-year old British school that educated Winston Churchill. The Hong Kong branch is the third in Asia. The others are in Beijing and Bangkok.  This is a full through-train school accepting students as young as 2.  Debentures sold out.  The first batch of individual debentures and individual capital certificates has been fully subscribed. Parents interested in ICCs and IDs, may apply to be put on the waiting list. The price of the second batch is yet to be determined.  Applicants may opt to pay the annual levy at $50,000/year – this is non-interest bearing, non-refundable and non-transferable.”

Currently, there are 17 international schools listed under Hong Kong on International School Community:

American International School (Hong Kong) ( 22 Comments)

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) ( 7 Comments)

Chinese International School
( 0 Comments)

German Swiss International School ( 2 Comments)

Hong Kong Academy Primary School ( 14 Comments)

Hong Kong International School ( 2 Comments)

Independent School Foundation Academy ( 0 Comments)

Kennedy School ( 0 Comments)

Renaissance College Hong Kong ( 5 Comments)

The ISF Acadmey (Hong Kong) ( 0 Comments)

Japanese International School ( 0 Comments)

Singapore International School (Hong Kong) ( 7 Comments)

Diocesan Boys School ( 0 Comments)

Hong Lok Yuen International School ( 4 Comments)

Discovery College (Hong Kong) ( 5 Comments)

Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) ( 8 Comments)

International Christian School (Hong Kong) ( 11 Comments)

Check out the latest comments and information that have been submitted on these schools or submit your own at International School Community.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.02 – 04 February, 2012

February 4, 2012



Recently updated schools:

· 04 Feb  Casablanca American School  (11 new comments)
(Casablanca, Morocco)
“Over 70% of the teachers are from North American countries. With the next highest being from Morocco and then a few from the UK…”

· 04 Feb  Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) (8 new comments)
(Hong Kong, China)
“New teachers are placed in furnished quarters (in China). There is a housing allowance of 1200 USD for teachers in Hong Kong. Management fee for the housing is paid for by school. Teachers in HK will be housed in hotel for 2 months…”

· 04 Feb  St. Andrew’s – International School of the Bahamas (7 new comments)
(Freeport, Bahamas)
“There is a retirement plan offered. The school’s contribution is 7%…”

· 03 Feb  Karachi American School  (5 new comments)
(Karachi, Pakistan)
“Due to visa restrictions, the school prefer hiring teaching couples with US certification. Due to new visa and tax laws US citizenship is a priority when the school is recruiting. Age limit for hiring is 55 years old…”

· 03 Feb  Üsküdar American Academy & Sev Elementary (7 new comments)
(Istanbul, Turkey)
“There is a masters/PHD stipend and a contract extension bonus…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Great resource: Maps of world website and information about international schools
“This website not surprisingly is an excellent resource for finding the map that best fits your needs, but it also oddly enough has some information about international schools.There are at least two sections that we found that highlight the international schools in specific locations around world.  We would like to highlight…”

· Highlighted article: Mumbai’s new genre international schools
“Another issue with a resurgence of international schools is finding highly qualified teachers to work at them.  Hiring international teachers can be a big business as well with sometimes many international schools fighting over to get first pick at finding suitable candidates…”

· Video highlight: A discussion about language learning and the second language learning of children at international schools
“How great to start off each day with the flag ceremony and the Thai National Anthem! Being that the majority of their students are Thai, they have a strong focus on honoring and respecting Thai and Asian cultural values…”

· Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools
“It is challenging to come up though with the perfect second language acquisition environment in international schools.  There are many factors that come into play…”

· Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #3 (Harbin No. 9 School, Int’l School of Helsinki & Cph Int’l School)
“18000RMB per month 2000RMB taken out in taxes each month. No receipt of this transaction is given as would be the regular accounting practice for a well run school. YOu may need a record of this when you leave the country…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


This last month we have had visits from 89 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members:
258 ( 34)
School profiles
: 1088 ( 32)
Blog entries
: 205 ( 26)
Posted comments & info
:
2689 ( 542)
Twitter followers: 266 ( 29)


BIG improvements:

Recently, we have made some changes on our school profile pages. One of the most important sections on this page is where members can read and submit comments and information.  In turn, our comments and information section has been revamped.  Now the four comment categories (School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information) are on tabs. This change was made so that members could go from one section to the other much easier and faster.
The City and Travel Information sections have also changed.  Now they been linked up with other school profile pages that share they same city.  For example, if a members has left comments and information in the City Information section on an international school in Shanghai, those submitted comments will now show up on all the other international schools in Shanghai listed on our website!  Now it will be much easier to access information about the city and travel information on international school profile pages that share the same city!

Another improvement made has been with how our members view, write, submit, and then edit or delete their submitted comments on each school profile page.  For each topic in the four comment sections members will now be able to only view the last 3-4 comments submitted and the dates they were submitted. Then to read all the comments that have actually been submitted, members can now click on the “Show more” link.  In a pop-up screen members will be able to read every submitted comment and information (in full) for that section’s topic.  Members can also submit a new comment on this pop-up screen at the bottom. From this pop-up screen members are now able to edit or delete one of their previously submitted comments.  Only the member that has submitted the comment will see the “Edit” and “Delete” buttons; other members are not able to edit or delete other member’s comments.

Check out pictures of the improvements and other details here!


New members:

· Kim Leus
(American School of Barcelona)
· Julie Bowen
(Santiago College)
· Ceri Thorns
(Systems Little House)
· Jeff Shaw
(International School of the Hague)
· Diamond Ndiamond
(Abraham Lincoln School)
· Paul Grundy
(Taipei European School)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:


Annette Harvey

Shanghai Rego International School: great colleagues who have become friends. Again some wonderful, supportive parents and amazing children. Champagne brunches. My tailor who…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Link

Teachers International Consultancy (TIC)“Have you ever wanted to teach internationally but struggled to know what school and what country would be best? Do you have questions about getting an international job? Well Teachers International Consultancy (TIC) is holding two one-hour webinars on Thursday 9th February to help teachers during their decision-making process. Both webinars will be run by Andrew Wigford, Director of TIC, who has over 20 years of international teaching experience. The first webinar focuses on finding the right international school and the right job. This will include information on the different types of international schools, their locations and the different curriculum options. Plus, there will be a question and answer session where you can ask Andrew any questions you may have. This webinar will take place at 5pm GMT on Thursday 9th February…”
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:

A few photos:
“Here’s a collection of photos we took the other day, on the roof of our apartment block. If you consider the size of our apartment and that there are two like that on each floor, it’ll give a real idea of the size of the space up there. There’s a few ISD families in this block, with young children; we’re figuring it’d be great to meet up for brunch on the roof during weekends…” Where shall we go?:
“I know we’ve only just arrived, but it’s time to start thinking about where to go on holiday.  We’ve a week in October, a month at Christmas, and two weeks at Easter.  So many places are relatively close, so we’re spoilt for choice.  Only problem is it costs about $200 in exit taxes per person….”
*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
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Great Resource

Recruitment Resources for International Teachers: The long list of things to think about! (Part 3 of 3)

January 27, 2012


There are so many things to think about and search for information about when recruiting.  Why not have all the links you need to reference all in one location?

Teacher Recruitment Checklist & Calendar:

Aug/Sept

Obtain registration material from recruitment agencies. Update resume and gather references.

Rethink and rewrite your educational philosophy.

Start mentally saying goodbye to your present school, even though you just started a new school year!

Oct/Nov

Register with one or two recruitment fairs and make travel arrangements, and the sooner the better.  If you want to get into the Bangkok fairs, you need to get your application in VERY early to be considered.

Contact and research schools of interest.  The vacancies are just starting to trickle in on the Search and Tieonline websites.

Dec

Finalize plans for the international job fairs.

Prepare 20 plus copies of your resume and 20 plus photos of yourself to include with it.

Get your suit dry cleaned and bone up on your interviewing skills.

Make a list of questions to ask the recruiters about their school.

Make a list of your priorities and / or what is important to you in a job.

Get ready to spend hours and hours of time on the internet researching during your vacation time, but don’t expect that many schools (if any) to get back to you over the break (they are on break too!)

Jan/Feb/March

Job fairs and lots of interviews. *Some smaller fairs are held as early as Christmas vacation!

Be patient and follow up on all leads.

Some things are negotiable before signing on that dotted line!

Ask if there are any teachers from the school you are interested in attending the fair… then buy them a drink and get the real scoop on the school!

Get Skype on your computer and practice your Skype calling skills so that you are an expert.

These months are also the time when you need to give your word that you are officially leaving your current school. (Some schools like in Europe are more flexible.)

April/May

Prepare for round two “job fairs in June” and follow up on any leads.

Realize that many job contracts are signed during these months, even though most international school teachers would like to know where they are going much earlier!

June/July

Transition, Pack up, and ship out!

Saying goodbye to your old friends and get ready to say hello to your new ones!

The overseas adventure begins (continues).

(Taken from the blog article from wwteach.)

Also check out all the comments and information about 1000s of different international schools around the world on International School Community!

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.01 – 07 January, 2012

January 7, 2012


v2012.01 – 7 January, 2012:

The Wonderful World of International School Recruitment Fairs: Lesson #5 – “Check your ego at the door.”

“Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.” Sigmund Freud.

The greatest sports legends, the inventors of things we rely on today, great actors and actresses, all of these people must seem to have a big ego. Maybe it comes with their achievements or our projections of them? Then there are the great dictators, the generals of war or just some average Joe that just won the biggest-ever on his lottery ticket. Ego comes in many shapes and forms, and albeit some are seemingly more attractive than others. It’s a hard task to know when to enhance or down play your own ego.

We’re constantly told to either just stand in line or be like others, that we don’t really deviate from the mass, that we’re just one in a million, that perhaps we’re not as special as we think. Then we’re told we need to stand out, make a difference, show our true colors, let the ego steer and victory will come our way.  So, how are you to act at the international school recruitment fairs?

Ego is an ambivalent thing, you could say that it’s both our chance and our fall. It’s the chance to express ourselves, to enhance our personality to make it clearer how we stand out from the masses, what makes us special, what we’re capable of; how we’re the best of all of them. But there is a line, and if that line is crossed, our personality becomes too big and a bit desperate, we express ourselves in a way so superior to others that we make them feel small, we become way too special, maybe even too good for our own good; we are the best of all of them, no question there, there’s “me” and no one else.

It’s often in job interviews we’re left with the difficult task of being the best and out-shining the competition, but in such a manner that we don’t let our own ego get the better of us, and suddenly instead of standing out positively in the round-robin session or in the administrator’s hotel room during the interview, we stand out negatively instead. It’s practically a game of ego vs. humble. It’s pointing out the things you are good at and how you are the best for the position, but it’s just as much being humble, being likable, charming, sitting straight, smiling, having eye contact, being interested, letting your ego shine from time to time, but not letting it consume the space.

“There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” James Lee Burke.

And every so often your ego takes a blow during your experience at a recruitment fair. When you venture in life, there’s always the risk of rejection. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t any international school out there that wants to hire you. It’s basically the same whether you open your heart for someone you love or you are at a job interview, getting that “no” is a sour sting to your ego. And that’s when the inventory begins: should I have? or could I have? Would it have? And so on and so on…

Every mountain we climb in this life should probably have two gates: “for exit hurry” or “in risk of rejection”. We can’t go through life (and through international school recruitment fairs) without getting a little hurt sometimes, without bruising our ego. It’s all part of living as they say; the smart and clever ones. So maybe you didn’t have enough experience, maybe the connection just wasn’t there, or maybe, just maybe someone was just better than you. You know, you shouldn’t take it personal. It just means you get a few more rounds through the “in risk of rejection” gate. And who knows, just one week after the fair, where you weren’t offered any contracts to sign, you might receive in your email inbox the offer from the international school you have been dreaming of working at!  Believe us, it is happened many times in our International School Community.

Go ahead and send a private message regarding hiring and fairs to one of our members. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at 92 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!


Recently updated schools:

· 07 Jan  Harbin No. 9 High School International Division (Songbei Campus) (36 new comments)
(Harbin, China)
“Furnished apartments are in a conglomerate of high rises about 15 minutes walking distance from the school. Housing is free and part of the contract. You must pay utilities… We had an apartment which was adequate for our needs. It was well heated and lots of light…”
· 07 Jan  International School of Penang (Uplands) (9 new comments)
(Penang, Malaysia)
“Moving allowance is $920 for a single teacher, additional money for dependents & long-service. Settling-in allowance is $320 in cash for singles and $400 for couples. Annual flight home – Start & end contract for family + mid contract for employee…”
· 06 Jan  Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (9 new comments)
(Quito, Ecuador)
“There are around 127 full time staff (30% North American, 70% Ecuadorian). 47% of the faculty has Master’s degrees. (60% from U.S. Universities)…”

· 06 Jan  Canadian International School Beijing (5 new comments)
(Beijing, China)
“There is an annual flight allowance, return trip to Canada or equivalent…”

·
06 Jan  Berkeley International School (Bangkok) (8 new comments)
(Bangkok, Thailand)
“As for the location, it’s very convenient opposite Bitec, close to BTS, Central City Bangna, and to other International Schools such as St Andrews, Patana, CIS and the Mega Bangna super mall…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #2
“Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you.  The possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria…”

· Survey results are in – How many countries have you traveled to so far this year? (in 2011)
“The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community have been to 1-3 countries in 2011.  We were thinking that people would have traveled to more countries as a typical international school teacher travels many times throughout the year…”

· Video highlight: St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok, Thailand)
“How great to start off each day with the flag ceremony and the Thai National Anthem! Being that the majority of their students are Thai, they have a strong focus on honoring and respecting Thai and Asian cultural values…”

· Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools
“Within the hearts and minds of the uninformed, there is considerable prejudice against India’s small but growing number of new genre international schools. Left intellectuals and fellow travelers who dominate Indian academia and have considerable influence in the media, naively dismiss them as elitist and expensive…”

· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #2 (Beijing, Seoul and Beirut)
“This school went to the Search Fair in Boston in 2011. The interview was 1 on 1 with the principal. It was quite informal, but he also asked some important interview questions. After the first interview, I receive an offer on contract in my mailbox, so they for sure want to hire at the fair. They were able to allow for a few a day to decide as well which I think is important…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 71 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members:
224 ( 29)
School profiles
: 1056 ( 71)
Blog entries
: 179 ( 27)
Posted comments & info
:
2147 ( 460)
Twitter followers: 237 ( 31)


Promotional Coupon Code:

Two BIG milestones for International School Community

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We now have over 2100 submitted comments and information on numerous international schools across the globe!  How many international schools you ask?  We now have over 1050 individual international school profiles listed on our website!

To celebrate, we would like to offer a 50% discount on all our premium membership options.  That means you can get premium membership to our website for as low as US $5!

There are three premium membership options:

1 month (US $5 with discount!)
6 months (US $10 with discount!)
1 year (US $15 with discount!)

Directions: Log-on to your account, click on the tab, next click on “Renew your subscription”, then enter the coupon code HALFOFF1612 to get 50% off!  This offer will expire on 04 February, 2012.

Highlighted Link

Teaching and living in “The World’s Happiest (And Saddest) Countries” – According to ForbesAccording to this Forbes article, the top 10 happiest countries are: “Joining Norway and Australia in the top 10 are their neighbors Denmark, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. Equally small and civilized Switzerland and the Netherlands are also up there. Rounding out the top 10 is the United States at 10th and Canada (sixth).”There are many international schools in most of these countries, offering many opportunities for international school teachers to live very “happy” lives, or so it would appear…
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:

International Teaching Fair 2/2010“International Teaching Fairs are the traditional way to connect prospective schools with teachers.  I believe technology will be changing this practice more each year as it is less costly to interview via Skype than to send a hiring team around the globe.  Skype misses that element of personal connection which can be critical in creating a good fit between staff and school, although some principals with extensive international teacher hiring experience may not see that as a priority.  Online portfolios allow the applicant to upload files, photos, even videos and the administrator can choose what they would like to review.  If different documents are needed, a quick email to request and a few moments to transfer, is all that is required.  In my case, my use of rubrics was of interest and I was able to share specific lessons, rubrics I created and student work samples in several content areas.  The ability to upload immediately demonstrated my ability to respond to requests quickly as well as my organization and technology skills. The job offer that I accepted was the one where the process was all online, except for the one concluding phone call.  At the time of the fair, though, I had only sent this school my CV and resume…”“I woke up later than I anticipated, but really was taking my time, I think, to feel in control.  I didn’t want to be one of the first to arrive and the days schedule was long.  By the time I walked across the parking lot to the conference rooms I was nervous again.  There was so many people!  Going into the candidates “lounge” where the rooms walls were covered in sheets of paper listing the school, country and positions available, I noticed that most people had an intensity that I wanted to resist.  The tables were covered in laptops and I started to regret not bringing Brett’s, but I travel light.  I did end up using the hotels business center at a cost of $5 for fifteen minutes and calling Kelina to go online for me quite a bit…”
*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
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Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #2 (Beijing, Seoul and Beirut)

December 29, 2011


Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community:

Every week members are leaving information and comments about the hiring policies at international schools around the world.  Which ones go to the Search Associates Recruitment Fairs?  Which ones hold interviews over Skype?  Which ones have hiring restrictions imposed on them by the host country?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of which international schools go to which recruitment fairs and which interview style and tactic each international schools employs.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for information about hiring policies easier for international school teachers. In the school section of each international school profile page on our website, there is a section specific to the school’s hiring policies.  The topic is: “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?”

Here are 3 out of the numerous comments and information related to the hiring policies of international schools that have been posted on our website:

American Community School at Beirut

“This school went to the Search Fair in Boston in 2011. The interview was 1 on 1 with the principal. It was quite informal, but he also asked some important interview questions. After the first interview, I receive an offer on contract in my mailbox, so they for sure want to hire at the fair. They were able to allow for a few a day to decide as well which I think is important.”

Seoul International School

“The school is hiring earlier and earlier via Skype, though they still go to the fairs. There is no hiring restrictions in regards to age. They use Search & ISS and do a lot of recruiting in Canada (all of the heads of the school are Canadian). Last year the HS principal did a lot of interviewing via Skype.”

Western Academy of Beijing

“Go to SEARCH fairs in Bangkok, London and Boston. Also other fairs in New York, San Francisco and Toronto Some people hired after SKYPE interviews – often people who have been recommended.”

Check out the more than 80 comments and information about the hiring policies of numerous international schools at www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.

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Discussion Topics

Discussion topic: Is your destiny in the international school community?

December 14, 2011


Are you thinking about starting in the international school community?  Do you know what you are really getting yourself into?  It is hard to know if you don’t have friends already in the International School Community.

We would like to highlight a blog entry from the T Tech Tips’ blog. This international school educator provides some great insight to the real lives of international school teachers and the decisions that we are faced with as we move around the world from school to school.

“It’s that time of year again in the international education world of contracts, decisions, and thinking about your future. Kim Cofino has a great post about finding the right fit…the right school. Whether you are an international educator or not it’s worth a read.  International Teachers are different…we’re weird….we don’t like stability, we like change and challenge. We like travel, culture and to be honest I think we all like just being different. If you’ve met an international educator you’ll know what I’m talking about. Countries, airports, and airlines are just common conversation.

But that’s us…..we live on year by year contracts, don’t try to make us sign a multi-year deal….cause that’s a deal breaker in itself (part of the reason we left Shanghai). We’re renegades, we’re individuals, and nobody is going to tell us where we’re going to live or that we can’t leave….cause we will just to prove you wrong. Yeah….International Educators are different. We expect open bars at conferences. We expect conferences to be in amazing locations. Borneo, Bangkok, Greece, Shanghai, Singapore, Egypt, Nice, etc. Yeah…..international conferences are rough.”

It is true that we (international school educators) are strange.  Most people’s families don’t lead lives like us.  My relatives all either live in the same city as each other or the city next to that city.  He is right in saying that we are living a wonderful live when the expectation is that we are sent to conferences in international locations around the world; that does not happen to teachers teaching in the public school system in the United States.  There was just a PYP conference in Malta and an ECIS conference in Lisbon this past October.  Many teachers from my school were attendees!

“And then there is the friendships you create. Deep meaningful friendships with people who become your family. My best friends little brother, who I’ve known since he was in 6th grade graduated from University as an elementary teacher and decided to try out the international teaching thing. His first posting has been Kuwait where he’s in his second year, meaning that he’s now having to decide whether to stay another year or decide if it’s time to move on. He wrote a blog post, a couple lately actually, talking about his decision and how attached one becomes to friends, a country and these amazing kids we have the honor of teaching. Some very reflective blog posts from a young teacher trying to figure out life, education, and the meaning of it all.”

It is tough to leave friends and your host country of 2-3 years. It is important to note forget the students that you will miss.  Not necessarily the individual students, but the general demeanor of the kids at the school.  One school I have been at had really “active” kids, another school had kids with less “personality.”  International school teachers must keep that in mind as they are thinking about moving on because you can’t just find the same kinds of student just anywhere.

“As I’ve done more consulting and conferences in the past two years people ask me quite often, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

It’s a questions I honestly can’t answer because I don’t know where I see myself in 1 year. But here’s what I do know.

So this year when it came to deciding to sign contracts at ISB for another year we sat down with the administration to see if I could have my cake and eat it too. Could I work in a school with students and continue to consult and present? Three years ago we reached an agreement that allowed me to take days without pay up to 20% to do consulting. Which brought me to ISB in the first place. With a new contract season upon us it was time to see if we could come to an agreement again….and I’m happy to say we did.

Next year I’ll be on a 90% contract at ISB as the High School Technology & Learning Coordinator. So I’ve given up 10% of my contract to focus on following my recent passion of consulting and presenting.”

What a great opportunity to take your career to the next level!  I guess there is much flexibility in our jobs working at international schools.  For die-hard members of our international school community, it truly is hard to decide where you will be in five years.  Most of us plan year to year, maybe 2 years in advance.  Some international schools allow a year to year contract, others make you sign a two-year contract.  Either way, each year international educators always have a mini-plan in the back of their mind about where they would like to go next.  It is what excites us; the endless possibilities of where you can live and work.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2011.08 – 10 December, 2011

December 10, 2011


Site Stats:
Current members: 195 ( 23)
School profiles
: 985 ( 30)
Blog entries
: 152 ( 25)
Posted comments & info
:
1677 ( 250)
Facebook likes: 118 ( 13)
Twitter followers: 206 ( 11)


School Profile Search Result #1:

Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you. Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.
Search Result #1

Criteria chosen:
1. Region of the world (All)
2. Curriculum (USA)
3. School Nature (Non-Profit)
4. No. of students (Medium: 300-700)
5. Country (All)
6. Year founded (16-50 Years Old)
7. Kinds of students (Mostly International)
8. Size of city (Medium: 750K-3 Million)

Check out the results of this example search on our blog!


New members:

·Gary Conomos
(North Pine Christian College)
·jltassie Anderson
(Anglo American School of Sofia)
·Jennifer Kim
(Korea International School)
·Becky Galvan
(A’takamul International School)
·Cory Greenberg
(Copenhagen International School)
·Damir Tejic
(International School of Beijing)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:


Jo Hughson

I worked at SRIS for three years. I taught Grade One and Grade Two in the time that I spent there. SRIS had a fantastic and diverse range of teachers that I felt privileged to work with. I learned a lot from them…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


v2011.08 – 10 December, 2011:

The holiday break is nearly upon us!  Is it cold where you live right now? It is for most people in the northern hemisphere.  There are though however some of us that are working in locations closer to the equator, and their weather must be quite nice right now.  Some of us farther away from the equator have already taken out our winter jacket and even have progressed to the “heavier” winter jacket this past week.

 

So, the big question is: Why did we choose to work here?  And that question is mostly directed towards the weather of your current location.  The local people where you are living probably say to you, “Out of all the places you could have chosen from (In their mind…Barbados, Thailand, Rome, etc.), how is it possible that you have chosen this cold, miserable place?  What they don’t realize is that some of us actually prefer to be in a place that has four distinct seasons.  Some of us like like the snow!

 

There are many reasons to move to another country: Money, Travel, Love, Career, etc.  We must be honest (not usually in an interview though) and admit that moving to another country based on its climate is very important for most international school teachers.  That is why International School Community has included a category under the City Section on the school profile pages about climate: Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.  Here is an example:

 

Right now there are 38 comments and information that have been submitted in this category on a number of international school profile pages on our website.

Feel free to make your own searches (both close to the equator and farther away from the equator, depending on your preference!) for international schools based on your criteria on International School Community.  Members with premium membership are able to do unlimited searches on our website.  If you are already a member, you can easily renew your subscription on your profile page.  If you are not a member, become a member today and get 1 month free of premium membership.

With regards to our current members, International School Community’s members work at or have worked at 84 international schools! Check out which schools here.


Recently updated schools:

· 09 Dec  International School of Ouagadougou  (7 new comments)
(Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
“Settling-in allowance is 600 USD, you get around 2000 USD for a flight home every year. Other benefits are French lessons, a car loan and recruitment leave…”
· 09 Dec  Bahrain Bayan School (6 new comments)
(Isa Town, Bahrain)
“It is important to note that female teachers applying are unable to sponsor their dependent husband and children. The age limit for hiring is 58 years old. The school retirement age is 60, so they usually don’t hire people close to that age…”

· 08 Dec  The American School of Kinshasa  (4 new comments)
(Kinshasa, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the)
“TASOK is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The School was re-accredited in 2008…”

· 08 Dec  Dasman Model School (7 new comments)
(Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“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…”

· 08 Dec  Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok (7 new comments)

(Bangkok, Thailand)
“Tuition for 2 children studying at TCIS is free although there are annual student supply fees of Baht 15,000+ / child to be paid by teacher for education materials, PreK-Gr2 lunch/snacks, insurance upgrades, year books, ID card, and graduation…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Out of the thousands of international schools, people ask me why did I choose to work here?
“One year you are thinking that Asia is the place for you to move to the following school year, but then suddenly you open your eyes and you are actually in South America…”

· Educators Overseas: Helping teachers secure a job teaching abroad.
“There are many ways to secure a teaching job at an international school.  The website Educators Overseas also offers such a service.  Here is what they have to say about their philosophy of helping candidates find the “right fit” in their search to teach abroad…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #4 – “Being yourself is better, come what may, than trying to be someone else.”
“Even worse is when you realize mid-interview that you are indeed not the “best fit” as you had hoped you would be for that international school you have been wanting to work at that in the city you really had been wanting to live in…”

· Great resource: Association of International Schools in Africa
“Curious about what international schools there are in Africa?  The Association of International Schools in Africa website has 100s of international schools listed that are found in many of the African countries…”

· Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #2 (Hangzhou Int’l School, American School of Bcn & Int’l School of KL)
“Our reps are in the process of renegotiation our salaries. It is a difficult time in Spain right now, so it is not likely we will get much of a raise. The board is focusing on…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 73 countries around the world!

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: Which international school job fairs do you recommend and the job fair circus!

November 26, 2011


In these two blog entries by Greg Clinton, he discusses the topic of the international school job fairs.  He is currently working in the international school community at American Embassy School, New Delhi.

Parts of the two entries we’d like to highlight:

Job Fairs: Which One Do You Recommend?

“The international school community is known for relatively high change-over rates in faculty, compared to schools that are rooted in a particular community “back home”.

The most traditional way to get a job overseas is The Job Fair.  ”Are you going to the job fairs?” is a question we will all hear and ask more often as the end of the calendar year approaches.  But job fairs are expensive to attend and some candidates have to travel thousands of miles, without the guarantee that it will net them a new job.  More and more interviews are being conducted over Skype and more connections are being made through online services such as TIE Online’s resume service and databases like the NAIS candidate pools.

Question for administrators:  Is it necessary to meet a candidate face-to-face, or can hiring be done effectively over Skype?  Also, which job fairs do you prefer, and why?”

As we write this blog entry, some of the staff at International School Community have friends that have already informed us that they have received and accepted offers to work at their next international school.  No job fairs were involved, just Skype and over the phone.  Also, in a few of the situations, the power of the people you know in the international school community has helped.  You work with a director at one international school in Europe and then that director moves to a school in South America.  Four years down the road, you find yourself being offered a job at the director’s new school.

It is important to remember not to burn any bridges as you never know what the future may hold in terms of which school you find yourself working at next in your life.  Many international school teachers are indeed getting hired more and more over Skype.  It just might be the way of the future of getting hired at international schools.  Sometimes though it is a bit of fun to go to an international school job fair anyways as you never know what you might find there and who you might interview with at those things.  I remember seeing somebody in the elevator at a Search fair and then nine months later seeing them at the same IB conference.  We remembered each other just in that brief moment in the elevator!

The job fair that most teachers prefer is the one that cost the least money probably.  They all seem to be doing relatively the same format anyways.  One key factor though is knowing which international schools go to which job fairs.  No good going to one fair when the schools you are most looking at are not going to that fair that year.

International Job Circus

“Hiring fairs are where most teachers looking for international teaching jobs line up new positions.  Some schools and administrators have been looking elsewhere for their hiring needs, including websites and online databases of candidate information.  The International Educator, a “newspaper”/resume bank, is one such stalwart company offering an alternative to job fairs.  There are some other upstart websites that charge schools an exorbitant fee to see candidate info, but they won’t last long.  Really, it’s all about being face to face.

There are three main institutions that provide the most complete job search settings: Search Associates, International Schools Services, and the University of Northern Iowa.  They have their strengths and weaknesses, but they offer a comparable experience.

I attended the Search Associates fair in Bangkok not long ago.  It took place in a swank hotel that I couldn’t afford, but I enjoyed wearing my new suit, drinking coffee in the lobby and pretending.  There are two things I love about the fair experience, and two things I think are not so great.

Things I love:

Everybody’s there.  It’s like a gigantic, international school orgy.  The schmooze is thick, and the glad-handing is non-stop, but come on!  It’s exciting, you get to meet new people (I personally know two couples who have met at job fairs and gotten married the next year – perhaps Search and ISS should start a teacher match-making service?  Something to consider!) and you get to play the hunter or the hunted.  Right now, if you’re a decent candidate without a criminal record and no facial tattoos, you are probably one of the hunted.  But there are lean years and fat years for teachers.  Anyway, there you are, in the ballroom, surrounded by potential bosses all trying to be as nice and smart as possible.  You might run into old friends, or you might impress a superintendent and make a contact for later.  It’s an extrovert’s dream.

Note passing.  Not only are we auditioning for roles as school teachers, but we get to re-live our school days by passing secret love letters in the little bins.  What joy when you receive a note saying “I’d LOVE to sit down and chat with you…  I’m in room 275.”  What heartache when your bin is empty!  It’s all so deliciously human.  Composing your own notes is equally fun and tense.  What tone do I use?  Do I want to come across as playful?  Professional?  Smart?  Serious?  Do I just let my feelings flow: I’m in love with your school and want to spend the rest of my life with it?  Your school completes me?  You had me at “2 bedroom apartment”?  Or do I hold back, play hard to get?

Things I don’t love:

Being in a stranger’s bedroom.  I don’t see a logistical way around this problem, but it’s one of the creepiest parts of the hiring process.  Have you ever walked into an interview only to be faced with a pile of dirty clothes or someone’s underwear sticking out of a suitcase, or just a rumpled, used bed?  It’s distracting, unsettling.  Who was in that bed last night?  I don’t really want to be thinking about it, thank you very much.  I suppose the lesson is: administrators beware: your hotel room is a direct reflection of you.  In other words, arrange your most important interviews over coffee at the restaurant or something.

The cost.  This is why more and more candidates are turning to the Interwebs.  Search Associates charges something like $600 just to register as a candidate. [Correction: $200 for fair registration, includes one hiring fair.  Thanks, Jim.]  You’ll have to fly yourself there and back, and the hotels are usually up-scale.  A teacher could easily spend a month’s salary or more to attend a fair, and have no guarantee of landing a new position.  Schools spend tons to jet their administrators around, and then they pay sizable finders fees to the agencies.  Again, I’m not sure I see an easy solution.”

It is a bit weird to be going into a stranger’s bedroom at a hotel.  A person can’t get that comfortable in a hotel room I guess.  One question: have international schools been using their bedrooms for interviews since the inception of the international school job fair?  Seems like there might be a better option.  What other industries hold job fairs at hotels?

Indeed there are many things to love and hate about the fairs.  Thanks to the Wandering Academic for your excellent insight into the international school job fairs!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1991 (Hong Kong, Osaka and Lesotho)

November 22, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1991

Utilizing the database of the 963 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 17 international schools that were founded in 1991 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)

“In 1991, the Canadian International School of Hong Kong first opened its doors to students in small rented facilities in Causeway Bay. Founded upon the recommendation of the Hong Kong Government, who wished to expand the number of international schools offering a North American curriculum, the school was established as a non-profit, charitable organisation and was initially home to only 81 students.”

Osaka International School  (Osaka, Japan)

“The uniqueness of our Two School model sets us apart from every other school in Japan and indeed the world. The faculty and staff who jointly founded OIS and SIS understood this and established an ethos to match it. This continues today with professional educators, administrators and staff who understand why we are here and what it is that give our schools a particularly important role in the world of international education.”

American International School of Lesotho (Maseru, Lesotho)

“The American International School of Lesotho (AISL) is a nonprofit, independent coeducational day school which offers an American educational program to students from preschool (age 3) through grade 9. The School, founded in 1991, serves the needs of the American community and other students seeking an English-language, American-style education. The school year is divided into 3 trimesters extending from late August to November, December to March and March to mid-June.”

Clavis International School (Mapou, Mauritius)

Wesgreen International Private School (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

“Wesgreen International School was founded in 1991, and in the years since it has grown to become one of the most successful schools in the area. Now we offer a first class education, based on the British Curriculum, for all ages from Nursery to Grade 13.”

Emirates International School (Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

“EIS-Jumeirah was established in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates in 1991 as a community service of the Al Habtoor Group (www.habtoor.com) and was the first school in Dubai authorised to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.”

International Community School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)

“In 1981, expatriate families began a cooperative to educate their children from a biblical worldview. The cooperative continued for 12 years, providing first grade to sixth grade education. In 1990 many of these expatriate families and The Network of International Christian Schools met to discuss the feasibility of establishing a Christian school to provide kindergarten through twelfth grade education to the English speaking international community in Bangkok. In 1993 a suitable site was leased and the name International Community School (ICS) was chosen. The school was located on Soi Prong Jai in the Sathon area of Bangkok and welcomed 120 students when it opened in August 1993. The school’s ownership was given to, and remains with the International Community School Educational Foundation, a not-for profit foundation registered in Thailand.”

St. John’s International School (Thailand) (Bangkok, Thailand)

“For over 20 years we have been providing high quality International Education to both Thai and non-Thai students in Bangkok. The focus of this education has always been about learning and growth, academically and socially and as individuals. We are able to achieve this through providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment, alongside qualified, experienced and dedicated teachers and support staff.”

American International School of Kuwait (Hawalii, Kuwait)

“The school opened in 1991 after Kuwait was liberated from occupying Iraqi forces. Dr. Kamil Al Rayes, the founder,sought to create a school of high caliber with a disciplined, yet relaxed atmosphere that would provide opportunities for local and ex-patriot children to gain access to the world’s best universities. During the first year twenty-five teachers and 300 students dealt with shortages of textbooks and classroom supplies, an inadequate library and a skeleton curriculum. The school developed rapidly. In October of 1994 it became fully accredited and in the ensuing years dedicated professionals worked hard to develop what has become an excellent university preparatory school with 1600 students.”

American School Foundation of Chiapas (Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico)

King Faisal School (Riyadh) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

“The King Faisal School emerged after all procedures for launching the Boys’ Elementary Section were completed in 1991. It is a non-profit institution and one of the most important academic projects sponsored and developed by the King Faisal Foundation.  The School lies on a beautiful, aesthetically – designed campus in the Diplomatic Quarter. On its fascinating gardens, fourteen building have been erected, and a variety of athletic playfields. All these facilities and buildings have been put together in full harmony that is consistent with the prestige of the Diplomatic Quarter.”

Skagerak International School (Sandefjord, Norway)

“Skagerak Gymnas was founded in 1991 by a group of enthusiastic individuals and companies from Sandefjord led by Elisabeth Norr. They believed there was a need to offer a non-selective alternative to the Norwegian state education system. The school established itself quickly in the revamped shipbuilding premises on Framnesveien 7 at Framnes. The founders were committed to making the school a centre of educational excellence. When the school introduced the IB Diploma Programme (DP) it phased out the second and third years of the Norwegian national curriculum and changed its name to Skagerak International School. By October 1992 it was an authorised IB World School offering the DP.”

Providence English Private School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Greater Grace International School (Hungary, Budapest)

“Greater Grace International School is a private English-language preperatory – 12th grade school located in Budapest´s beautiful 12th district. Since 1991 GGIS has provided expatriate and Hungarian families with a college preparatory education; equipping the student academically, spiritually and physically; teaching and demonstrating in the context of a Christian biblical world view.”

Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)

“Singapore International School was first established in September 1991 in Kennedy Town with an enrolment of 200 pupils. In 1995, SIS moved to its current premises in Aberdeen. The new purpose-built school was built on land granted by the Hong Kong government, and the cost of the building was borne by the Singapore Government. Presently, the school has an enrolment of approximately 1200 pupils of more than 20 nationalities with Singaporeans and Hong Kong citizens forming the majority.”

Tirana International School (Tirana, Albania)

“In May of 1991 Mr. Gilson traveled to Albania to have a look at a country just emerging from over 45 years of dictatorial rule. During his time there, he met some key people in the Tirana community and made a decision to begin Tirana Int’l School. This expansion has resulted today in an organization offering excellence in education in 25 different countries.”

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Highlighted Articles

An article by the International Primary Curriculum: Leading a change in learning.

October 30, 2011


Leading a change in learning. Vietnam, now Bangkok

An article by the International Primary Curriculum

David Lowder is a Headteacher who is leading change. As Head of An Phu, the largest Primary Campus at the British International School Vietnam, David led the very first international school in Vietnam to introduce the International Primary Curriculum. With it, he adopted a creative and internationally-minded approach to learning relevant for all children within the school; both the locals and the expatriates who were not just from Britain but from all corners of the world. Not only did this establish a new curriculum choice for parents in Ho Chi Minh City, but it put the IPC on the map for other international schools within the FOBISSEA group (Federation of British International Schools in South East Asia and Asia) looking for an up-to-date and more engaging curriculum for their primary age children.

Since moving to St. John’s International School in Bangkok, David has led the field again; becoming the first school in Bangkok to adopt the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and, as Chair of TISAC (the Thailand International Schools Association Committee) in Bangkok, he looks set to drive a curriculum rethink here too.

“It all started because we needed a change,” David says, explaining why he originally introduced the IPC at the British International School Vietnam. “The curriculum had become quite stagnant. Not only that but it was too anglicised. The children were learning about the great fire of London and WWII from a European perspective. For our many non-British children living and learning in Vietnam, this was totally irrelevant. But also there was no consistency of curriculum development and no strong teaching and learning philosophy within the school. We had become too passive in our teaching; there was a lot of wasted time, missed learning opportunities and very little creativity.”

David says that, once introduced to it, he immediately saw the value of the IPC. “I listened to Theresa Forbes (the then Director of the IPC) speak about it at a conference and was inspired. So, fully supported by his Deputy, Ben Dixon who played a key role in its introduction, and with advice from Theresa and the team at IPC, David launched the IPC at BISV and saw immediate success.  “It brings a more exciting, active element to children’s learning.  The IPC is totally relevant for today’s children. It’s helping us to take a more global approach to learning.  A good part of our IPC learning is linked to where we are living now, as well as looking at our learning from the perspective of other countries too.”

As well as making learning relevant for all students, the IPC introduces an active, collaborative and engaging approach to learning that David says made a big difference to the children in Vietnam: “No longer did we have children sitting at desks the whole time being spoon-fed knowledge. The children now learn through enquiring, investigating, collaborating together, as well as through creative approaches to learning such as painting, dancing, music, model-making and role-play; all hands-on, shared, problem-solving experiences that encourage them to lead their own learning and to think for themselves. The IPC is fun but with a clear purpose and direction. It’s making our children adaptable, resourceful and independent in their learning. Children are quite naturally inquisitive learners, and if they’re put in the right environment to do this, they become excited about their learning. Through the IPC, the real learner is allowed to flourish.”

During his three years learning with the IPC in Vietnam, David saw several other FOBISSEA schools follow suit. “As a result of our success with the IPC, we were able to show other schools within the group what a difference it was making to the school and to the children’s learning,” he says. “Our staff was great at speaking about the IPC to other FOBISSEA schools and were eager to talk about the impact it was making on the children. In fact, we were so convinced of the power of the IPC that we hosted a regional IPC conference to show other schools what we were doing.” Not only did David share the IPC with other school leaders, he also shared it with his parents. “During its introduction, we hosted a number of parent workshops and open days to show parents how their children would be learning. It was important for us to know the parents understood what this change was all about.  As a result, we had the full support of the parents who could see that their children were getting a very exciting and rigorous curriculum programme.”

David says that as other schools in the FOBISSEA group adopted it, so the IPC “became an educational currency. Relocating expat families would move from one international school to another and they would start looking for a school using the IPC so that there was a common learning approach that meant the transition was much easier for their child,” he explains.  David expects the same to happen for families moving to Bangkok and it’s not just because of the engaging and creative curriculum. “It’s the standards that the IPC is helping us to achieve too,” says David. “In Vietnam, we received great references from CIS accreditation on the high quality of learning witnessed throughout primary and CIS also paid a lot of attention to our international dimension which the IPC helped us to deliver.”

It is the global perspective within the IPC learning which, David says, has made a significant difference to both BIS Vietnam and is now also doing at St. John’s. “The IPC has helped to lead both schools out of a blind Britishness and in its place has introduced a more refreshing, exciting, far-reaching, up-to-date and international ethos.” Needless to say, knowing that the IPC meets the requirements of the English National Curriculum has still been a very important marketing tool for both schools. “We are still providing an English education but in a more internationally-minded way,” says David. “Our parents relate to Britain’s academic standards and see it as a pathway to a good education, leading to excellent university possibilities. It’s important for them to know that the IPC delivers all the learning of the English National Curriculum but with a relevant and up-to-date approach to the learning. For the children in Vietnam, the IPC enabled and actually encouraged us to explore the Vietnamese culture in a meaningful and learning-focused way, at the same time, helping to develop their understanding of their place in the world.  And for the children here in St. John’s, the same is true for the Thai culture. It’s a significant part of the IPC and it’s a key priority for many parents, particularly of the local children here.”

So does David see himself as a pioneer? “Not at all,” he says. “All I’ve done is tried to make a change to a situation where both children and staff were restricted as far as the learning was concerned.  I think it’s just about having confidence to make that change. Now what I see is so exciting.  It’s taken the British International School Vietnam to another level and I believe it will do the same at St. John’s. There is a real buzz about the place. I just know that what we’re doing with the IPC is the right thing. You can see it in the children and in the teachers. It is a dramatic benefit to the whole school.”

Press enquiries:
Anne Keeling
Media Relations
International Primary Curriculum
Email: anne@greatlearning.com

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Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #1 (Singapore, Kuwait & Beijing)

October 29, 2011


A new blog topic on International School Community: Comments and information about hiring policies

Every week members are leaving information and comments about the hiring policies at international schools around the world.  Which ones go to the Search Associates Recruitment Fairs?  Which ones hold interviews over Skype?  Which ones have hiring restrictions imposed on them by the host country?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of which international schools go to which recruitment fairs and which international schools employ which interview style and tactic.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for information about hiring policies easier for international school teachers. In the school section of each international school profile page on our website, there is a section specific to the school’s hiring policies.  The topic is: “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?”

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to the hiring policies of international schools that have been posted on our website:

Western Academy Beijing

“Go to SEARCH fairs in Bangkok, London and Boston. Also other fairs in New York, San Francisco and Toronto Some people hired after SKYPE interviews – often people who have been recommended.”

American Bilingual School

“If the candidate is not present in Kuwait, the interview will take place via phone. Standard questions related your experience and suitability for the position will be covered. In addition, you will be asked about your age, your marital status, your state of health, and height/weight. Such questions are customary for overseas positions. All successful applicants will be required to email or send a 3 minute DVD of himself/herself delivering a sample lesson within their subject area.”

International School Singapore

“I interviewed with this school last March. It was over Skype with the elementary principal. She was very nice. The interview was professional, but also a bit informal which is what I prefer, a more casual conversation about my teaching experience and the school. I actually was emailed again to have a 2nd interview. After the 2nd interview I was told that they were going to go with a local hire. She told me that they have hired expat in the past that have been surprised (not prepared) to handle the high cost of living in Singapore vs. the salary and benefits of the school.”

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Highlighted Articles

Three Job Fairs, Three Jobs: An International Teacher Hiring Saga

October 13, 2011


Highlighted article from the Matador network: English teacher Amy Villagio shares about getting hired for international school jobs.

She talks about her experiences attending the UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair in Iowa.

Sections of the article that we would like to highlight:

“One of the hallmarks of the international teaching job fair experience is the sign-up period. This is somewhat akin to a cattle stampede. Tables are set up in a huge room arena-style, and candidates head to their top schools, turning in their invitation if they have one and signing up for a time slot, or turning on the sales pitch and angling to get into any remaining interview times. Beforehand you’ve done your country research, noted all available jobs in your subject area, and prioritized according to countries, schools, and assignments. Now it’s down to following your carefully mapped-out plan of which table to go to first.”

The sign-up period at international school recruitment fairs are tough. They are full of excitement and anticipation.  Waiting in lines with your potential competition is nerve-wracking.  The general idea is that the schools with the longer lines are the more desirable and better international schools to work at.  One time at a recruitment fair one of our staff went to the American International School Budapest was the school with the longest line.  Another time at the UNI fair one of our staff members noticed that Shanghai American School – Puxi was the winner of the longest line.  Somehow word gets around about these schools and all the candidates want the opportunity to work there.  These schools get to be really picky.  Just taking resumes at the cattle call and giving the message out: “We’ll call you if we would like to set up an interview.”  Sometimes it is very important to “carefully map-out” your plan of attack during this time of the recruitment fair.  If you are too slow to get to a school, their interview schedule will have already been filled with other candidate interview times.  Sometimes it is good to wait in line if that is the case.  Really though, most candidates goals should be to get as many interviews as possible as they tell you it is good interview practice going to interviews even if the school is not one that may or may not interest you.

“I interviewed with schools from Germany, Kuwait, Syria, and Thailand. Finally, I was down to my interview with the school in Cameroon. Here I got the hard sell – “I’m offering you the position, you’ve got about five minutes to decide, you’re my number one candidate, I’ve got other English teacher interviews after yours and I can’t guarantee this later on…I took it. Later I drove back to Colorado, racking up ridiculous cell phone charges calling friends and family and announcing in gleeful shock: “I’m going to Africa!”

The moment of “you have 5 minutes to decide” is an awesome feeling, even if being really stressful.  We have all been in moments when you future is on the brink of a big chance…all based on your one word answer “yes or no.”  Earlier in the article the woman in the article she stated that she was excited that she had received a request in her box to interview at one of her top schools that she wanted to go to in Eastern Europe.  Then throughout the crazy, up-and-down experience of the recruitment fair, she ended up take a job in Cameroon.  It is amazing how you can go from really wanting to go work at one international school to then accepting at job at a completely different one.  Unbelieveable!

“This time it was different – I was signed up with ISS, International School Services, and had purchased a bank-breaking ticket from Cameroon to Bangkok, plus reserved rooms at the Shangri-La. Administrators had access to my file beforehand, and started contacting me for interviews right away. With the advent of Skype and the often exorbitant expenses (did I mention I had already bought a ticket from Cameroon to Thailand?), fairs are quickly on their way to becoming obsolete.  An administrator from a little school in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, a city I’d never heard of before, and I started talking. Several skype interviews later, he offered me the position, and I took it.”

Thank goodness!  We are so happy to hear that Skype is making its way towards a new way to hire teachers at international schools.  Yes it is more ideal to meet in person with the people that are interviewing you.  Actually, it is more ideal if you can actually interview with the people from the school at their school!  However, Skype is the next best answer to this whole ordeal.  It is good for the environment and good for the pocket book for both parties involved.  Unfortunately, in this woman’s experience, she had already bought a plane ticket to go to the recruitment fair when she got the position after interviewing over Skype.  Oh well, you must always be prepared.  Sometimes there are sacrifices that you must be ready to deal with when you are on the hunt for your next job at an international school.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 2002 (China, Mauritius, Egypt, etc.)

September 25, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 2002

Utilizing the database of the 889 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found schools that were founded in 2002 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

The International School of Macao (Macao, China)

“TIS was established in 2002 to provide a Canadian curriculum and accreditation to local and expatriate students. English is the primary language of instruction.
TIS opened with an initial total enrolment of 58 students on the campus of Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) in 2002. By 2006, the School had grown to over 500 students and had become accredited with the Alberta provincial (Canada) government. Students graduate from TIS with an Alberta High School diploma that is accepted in universities around the world.”

Northfield International High School  (Port Louis, Mauritius)

“Northfields International High School (NIHS) is a privately owned secondary school situated in Mapou, district of Pampelmous in the north. From its small beginnings in 2001 NIHS has now over 280 students.”

Canadian International School of Egypt (Cairo, Egypt)

“The Canadian International School of Egypt (CISE) opened its doors on September 15, 2002.  It is the first Canadian school certified by the Ministry of Education of Ontario in Egypt and the Middle East.  The Egyptian initiators of this project chose the Province of Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, to provide the curriculum and most of the teaching staff for the school.”

Al Jazeera Academy (Doha, Qatar)

“Al Jazeera Academy opened its doors to students in September 2002. It is a modern international educational institution which comprises three separate schools within a single campus to cater for all students from Preschool to Year 13.”

Vale Verde International School (Burgau, Portugal)

“After the acquisition of a property suitable for the conversion of a school in 1997, the De Beer family developed the idea to fruition.  In 2002, Vale Verde International School was founded following years of investment required to bring the buildings in line with Ministry of Education requirements.”

International Montessori School of Prague (Prague, Czech Republic)

“The International Montessori School of Prague (IMSP) was established as a private school in 2002. It was originally located in the Blatenska campus of Prague 4. IMSP started with 16 children in two classes : Toddler (1.5 – 3 years), and Primary (3 – 6 years).  In September 2003 the school was moved to a much larger facility in the Hrudickova campus of Prague 4. That school year we started with three classrooms: one Toddler, one Primary, and one Elementary.  In 2005 a second Primary class was added, so now IMSP had 4 classrooms: Toddler, Primary 1 and Primary 2, and Elementary. In 2006 the Primary program extended its afternoon component with Yoga, Music and Movement, Arts and Crafts, and Czech languge and culture.”

Logos International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

“Logos opened its doors in September 2002 with an enrollment of 58 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to grade seven.  At that time,Logos consisted of a single renovated house and an adjacent empty lot where a basketball court and small swimming pool were soon built.  Since that time,Logos added an additional grade level each year.  In the spring of 2008,Logos held its first graduation ceremony for 13 seniors.  Logos’ brand new campus consists of a basketball/volleyball/hockey court,athletic field,playground,library,cafeteria,2 computer labs,2 science labs,multi-purpose assembly room,and a swimming pool.  All of the classrooms are air-conditioned and equipped with essential teaching tools.  Our new facility is twice the size of our former location. We are very excited about this new provision.”

New Zealand International School (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“On 14 April 2003 Mr. Chris Elder, Ambassador of New Zealand to Indonesia, officially opened the School and the enrolment reached 35 students. The school grew quickly, and in August 2004 space was secured at LPPI, The Banking Institute, on Kemang Raya, to house the Senior Secondary Students. Since that time our enrolment has steadily increased in all aspects. The growth had the effect of moving expansion plans ahead of schedule; the search for additional premises has been an exciting time.”

Bromsgrove International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

“From the vision of the school founders Riza Sripetchvandee and Ian Davison, a new school was opened in 2002 under the name of Windsor International School and ownership of Windsor Education Co. Ltd. The School was constructed at Soi 164 Ramkhamheang Road, Minburi, in Eastern Bangkok. Over the course of the next two years pupil numbers grew steadily.  A new building was opened in September 2004 to meet the demand from Early Years students. In April 2004, the School became affiliated to the prestigious and world famous Bromsgrove School UK and changed its name to Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST). Bromsgrove School UK was founded over 450 years ago and is a leading co-educational independent day and boarding school for some 1,500 pupils and is situated in the English Midlands and provides a first-class education with excellent facilities and resources, as well as enjoying considerable distinction in Sport, Music and the Arts.”

International School of Wuxi (Wuxi, China)

“International School of Wuxi (ISW) is part of the International Schools of China (ISC) – an organization that, for the last 20 years, has offered academically excellent programs to meet the intellectual, physical and emotional needs of students.”

International Community School (Atlanta) (Atlanta, United States)

Kongsberg International School (Kongsberg, Norway)

“Kongsberg International School is a non-profit foundation established in 2002 by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS, Kongsberg Automotive ASA and Kongsberg Nærings- og Handelskammer (Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The school opened its doors in August 2003. The purpose of the school is to serve Kongsberg and its surrounding communities by providing a high quality international education for students, based on the International Baccalaureate Programme (www.ibo.org), using English as the principal medium of instruction. Although many of our students are Norwegian, a growing international community in Kongsberg and Buskerud has provided enrolment of students from over 22 nations.”

Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)

“The AIAN student body is comprised of students from over 20 different nationalities.  Faculty members are predominantly from the United States.   The teacher-pupil ratio is approximately 1:4, which promotes individualized instructional practices.”

Singapore International School (Indonesia) (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“With the help of international consultants, SIS was able to redesign, construct and eventually turn an “abandoned” clubhouse into a school that is the talk of the town, in a housing complex of Bona Vista, South Jakarta. Located in a quiet neighborhood bordering the elite Pondok Indah real estate, the School is only two minutes from the Outer Ring Road making it accessible from many parts of Jakarta. The SIS complex boasts of an open, airy concept amidst lush, contoured gardens. In Bona Vista, SIS is able to enjoy all the amenities in this complex and this includes a competition-sized pool, soccer field, basketball courts and tennis courts. After a busy construction schedule, SIS finally opened its doors in its new complex in January 2002 with bigger classrooms and better facilities. The enrollment today includes a student population coming from at least 25 different nationalities.”

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011

September 10, 2011



v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011:

School is back now in session. Many teachers have been at work and teaching students for a few weeks already.  A teacher just wrote to us talk to share what life was like starting year #2 at their “relatively new” international school.  Things on the teacher’s mind during the first few weeks so far were related to the following topics:
Getting to know the new director starting this year, knowing the school’s curriculum better now, knowing where things are located in their city and not being new to everything like in year #1, feeling more at home now that their apartment is already decorated, getting used to all of the school’s new equipment and materials, working with new teams of teachers at school and also getting to know the new teachers, making a bit more money now that they are moving up the pay schedule a bit, planning new holidays and vacations to explore more of their region of the world, going to the new shops and stores that have opened up in their city which is making shopping for certain things a lot easier and lastly, getting to inherit the old things of departing teachers from the previous school year!


Recently updated schools:

· 10 Sept  American Bilingual School (14 new comments)
(Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“ABS accommodations are single-occupancy only. Staff members are not allowed to invite a roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, driver, maid, etc. to live with them in ABS housing. You must pay…”
· 09 Sept  Dalian Maple Leaf International School (9 new comments)
(Dalian, China)
“There are several modern department stores and shopping malls in Dalian. In addition to Chinese chain stores there are Walmarts from the USA, Carrifours from France, and MyKals from Japan. There is a…”
· 05 Sept  Naseem International School (Bahrain) (20 new comments)
(Riffa, Bahrain)
“Be sure to bring enough cash to get you through to your first pay check at the end of September. There will be a settling in allowance of …”
· 05 Sept  Dhirubhai Ambani International School (5 new comments)
(Mumbai, India)
“The campus is situated at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai, which is a fast emerging business district. Just off Bandra-Kurla Complex Road, it is accessible to students and teachers living in different…”
· 04 Sept  American School of Barcelona (3 new comments)
(Barcelona, Spain)
“I miss the students at ASB. They were so full of energy and character. I have worked at two other international schools now and the students at ASB are definitely the…” 

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Featured article: Moving Overseas with Children by Teachers International Consultancy (part 1)
“Moving abroad with children requires a lot of planning in advance to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. There’s no doubt that you’ll be faced with hitches along the way, but everything…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #1 – Bad interviews are good things
“No matter the reputation of the school, the people sitting across from you in the hotel room asking you questions in that school’s name are a stronger indicator of how it would feel to work at that school …”

· Member Search Feature: What positions do International School Community members have?
“After using the member profile search feature on the main homepage of International School Community, we found the following results…”

· Great link: Want to work at an international school in Thailand?
“We are often asked for ‘foreign schools’ in Bangkok and Thailand. None of the international schools in Bangkok and Thailand is really a ‘foreign school’ since they are all accredited by the Ministry of Education in Thailand…”

· How to Break into International School Teaching
“Some of the applications for recruitment fairs like Search and ISS can take months to complete.  Especially the confidential references that you need to get your references to submit….”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 61 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 135
School profiles: 877
Surveys: 5
Blog entries: 92
Posted comments and information: 939


Posting comments and information:

We encourage you to take some time to fill out some comments and information about this schools you know about.  Remember, posting in done anonymously. The more information we share, the more other members will know and be able to make more informed decisions if they are considering employment at an international school.  Also, the more members we have, the more people there are to leave information and to network with.  Please refer your international school teacher friends to join our community and to share what they know!

Officially, we also have 85 likes on Facebook and on Twitter we have 135 followers!


New members:

·Taylor Smith (Garden International School)
·Todd Bowler (Canadian International School – Singapore)
·Krista Wolfe (International School of Elite Education)
·Annette Harvey (Almaty Haileybury)
·YooKyung Shim (Seoul International School)
·ana De Anda (Monterrey Colegio Ingles Monterrey)


Current Survey Topic:
Vote here!


Member spotlight:

If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Link
TIC website. Highlights from this page: TIC provides a personalised, reliable and responsive recruitment and training service tailored specifically to international schools and teachers worldwide. TIC are experts in international schools having over 25 years experience in international education. They have a huge network of contacts in great international schools all over the world; this enables them to help you find your perfect overseas teaching job. They offer a tailored recruitment service whether you are a teacher looking for a job overseas or a school looking to recruit.
Facebook page:
A great facebook group page for international school teachers.  Check it out here.  It is a community of educators working in international schools across the globe.  TIST is a site dedicated to a number of interests:
– Sharing instructional strategies
– Integrating instructional technology
– Insights on international teaching
– Questions and concerns about IB
– Cross-curricular and cross-continental collaborative projects
– Job fairs and the recruitment process
– Advice about future teaching destinations and cultural adjustment
– Keeping up with old colleagues and making new contacts
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Great Resource

Great resource: Want to work at an international school in Thailand?

September 4, 2011


International Schools for Bangkok and Thailand

Wow!  There are many international schools in Thailand.  Actually, a high number of visits to International School Community each month are from Thailand.  So, it is no surprise that there are many people wanting information about the international schools there.

The website has a great map of all the international schools in Thailand.


It also has all the international schools listed in a table which shows which curriculum each school has, the city it is in, the level of education they provide to students and main language of instruction.

Other highlights from this page:

“We are often asked for ‘foreign schools’ in Bangkok and Thailand. None of the international schools in Bangkok and Thailand is really a ‘foreign school’ since they are all accredited by the Ministry of Education in Thailand, a legal process that eventually makes them Thai schools. International schools use a foreign curriculum, as opposed to the national Thai curriculum, from the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, Australia etc.”

“An international school is loosely defined as a school that promotes international education, either by adopting an international curriculum such as that of the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examinations, or by following a national curriculum different from that of the country the school is located in. These schools cater mainly to students who are not nationals of the host country, such as the children of the staff of international businesses, international organizations, foreign embassies, missions, or missionary programs. Many local students attend these schools to learn the language of the international school and to obtain qualifications for employment or higher education in a foreign country”

So, who wants to work in Thailand???

Check out the international schools listed in Thailand on International School Community.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1983 (China, South Korea, Senegal, etc.)

June 11, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1983

Utilizing the database of the 778 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 schools that were founded in 1983 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Chinese International School (Hong Kong, China)
When CIS opened its doors in 1983, its co-founders Nelly Fung, Kin-Yue Fu and Joyce Tai realized a long-held dream of a school that would offer the best of both Chinese and Western worlds.  Born in Asia and educated in Asia and the West, they saw a need in the late 1970s for an educational institution in Hong Kong that could provide an alternative to local schools teaching mainly an exam-based curriculum and to international schools teaching mainly Western curricula.  Their vision was for a school open to all regardless of nationality, race or creed, where students would achieve fluency in Chinese (Mandarin) and English and an understanding of the dual heritage that makes Hong Kong unique.

International School of Busan (Busan, South Korea)
The International School of Pusan (not Busan as it is now called) opened in September 1983 with seven young pupils in kindergarten and elementary school, and two teachers. Busan was not the expatriate centre that it is today but still the parents wanted their children to have a world-standard international education (rather than a national system education), so that they could transfer around the world. They also wanted a caring, nurturing, family-like ethos which would give the children a high level of self confidence and esteem, and would teach them tolerance and respect for other cultures. The basic education principles of BIFS were formed!

International Bilingual School at Hsinchu Science Park (Taiwan, China)
The school was proposed by the founder of the Science Park Kwoh-Ting Li and administered by Ministry of Education, National Science Council and administration of the Park. IBSH only admits children of employees of private enterprises in the Park, government organizations, Industrial Technology Research Institute, National Chiao Tung University and National Tsing Hua University.

International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal)
It was founded in 1983 in order to provide a non-sectarian alternative for international families who are temporarily based in Dakar. The initial leadership of the school was primarily North American, with strong support, which continues today, from the United States Embassy and U.S. Department of State’s Office of Overseas Schools.

British School Lome (Lome, Togo)
Founded specifically as an international school to meet the needs and interests of expatriate families living in Togo, BSL soon expanded to offer boarding facilities to students from across the region.

Colegio Albania (La Guajira, Colombia)
The school started with only 5 students! (if you can read Spanish, check out their history here)

Tanto International School (Stockholm, Sweden)
The Tanto School was founded in 1983 by Connie Näslund and Anne Haldane. The school expanded over the next few years to a total of five classrooms with an age range from four to twelve years old. The curriculum at this time was a mixture of British and American. After many years of dedicated service to the school both Mrs. Näslund and Miss Haldane retired.

Cempaka International School (Selangor, Malaysia)
Cempakans’ record in National Public Examinations ever since its inception in 1983 has been impeccable : 100% passes each year in all examinations.

American School of Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)
The American School of Bangkok was founded in 1983 as a kindergarten. It was originally called Didyasarin International Kindergarten. “Didyasarin” was the family of Mrs. Lakhana Tavedikul, the founder, owner, and Director of the school.

Ibn Khuldoon National School (Manama, Bahrain)
On the 22nd of September 1983 the concept of a truly bi-lingual system of education took form. It all started as a dream for Bahraini parents who sought an academic institution that would be bi-lingual and cater for the specific needs of Arab children, yet would meet high international educational standards.

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Information for Members

It’s easy to network on ISC!

August 6, 2019


How many times have you applied to a school wishing that you knew somebody that worked there?

Knowing somebody and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on an international school will definitely help you in your quest to set up an interview there.

At International School Community we made that search for ‘informed people’ even easier with our new Top 40 Schools with the Most Members page.

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are:
24 members – American International School in Egypt
23 members – Copenhagen International School
21 members – International School of Kuala Lumpur
21 members – International School Manila
17 members – Seoul International School
17 members – International School of Tanganyika
17 membersJakarta International School
17 membersMEF International School Istanbul
17 membersWestern International School of Shanghai
16 membersFairview International School
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
16 members – American School of Barcelona
15 members
Singapore American School
15 membersInternational School Bangkok
14 membersUnited Nations International School (Vietnam)
14 membersShanghai Community International School
14 membersShanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
14 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
14 members – Istanbul International Community School
14 membersNIST International School
14 membersBrent International School Manila
14 members – Seoul Foreign School
14 membersQatar Academy (Doha)
13 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)
13 membersGraded – The American School of Sao Paulo
13 membersAmerican School of Dubai
13 membersAmerican International School of Johannesburg
13 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
13 membersCairo American College
13 membersGood Shepherd International School
12 members –Suzhou Singapore International School
12 membersChadwick International School – Songdo
12 membersInternational School of Beijing
12 membersWestern Academy of Beijing
12 membersAmerican International School of Kuwait
12 membersAnglo-American School of Moscow
12 membersAmerican School of Kuwait
12 membersCanadian International School (Singapore)
11 membersAmerican Embassy School New Delhi
11 membersBilkent Laboratory & International School

The members of these schools include members that currently work there now or have worked there in the past.

With 100-300 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.

It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (Premium membership access required).  Then write him/her a message.  When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (you don’t need premium membership access to reply to a private message on our website). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!

As far as we know, International School Community is the only website where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school.  Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from the United Nations International School in New York and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 6 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past.  

Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!

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Highlighted Articles

The Big Shift: Advice for Teaching Through a Pandemic

March 29, 2020


Life as an international teacher requires you to be incredibly flexible as you move between countries, cultures, and schools. But nothing has required as much of a willingness to adapt and evolve my practice as being locked in my apartment and having to reinvent my approach to the classroom. Switching it up for my 10th grade Language Acquisition class was one hurdle, figuring out how to co-teach 7th grade Humanities required even more of a leap.

I am in my first year of working in Bangkok after several years in China. Like the rest of the world, I watched this pandemic unfold there with a heavy heart, fear for my former students and anxiety that it was coming soon to Thailand. But then it came, and step-by-step we readied for the change and in the end, it was a swift and easy transition to delivering my classes online and reaching students no matter where they are.

Our administrators warned us weeks in advance that this could happen and had a meeting to show us how to use Zoom. Our librarian made sure many digital resources are available on our library page. But at the end of the day, it was down to each individual teacher to remap their techniques and plans the day the call came to close.

First and foremost, we as educators have to change with the world around us and educate our students to operate in the world that is to come in the years ahead and not just the one we live in today. This challenge is forcing all of us to adapt our practices and approaches to teaching to reach across digital divides and keep learning alive. To be honest, I probably would have never drug all of my lessons into the modern age or ever opened Zoom or a Padlet if this hadn’t happened. No matter what, I am grateful for that. Silver linings!

Advice from Lockdown:

Relax

Take a deep breath and remember that no matter what, you are still the amazing teacher you were before your school closed. You will continue to be that teacher and your stress and worry for how you will keep teaching today is proof that you are dedicated and committed to reaching your students.

Start over

Your students are not only adapting to your new class and ways of digital teaching. They are also adapting to every other teacher they have and their new systems. Treat the first week like the first week of any school year. Teach expectations, set boundaries, get to know your kids in this new way, find a new balance and a new norm.

Slow down

The biggest surprise to me was how little work my students were able to accomplish in the same amount of time. Even if I kept them in Zoom with me to complete something, they fumbled and struggled to get the task done. We take it for granted that they are digital wizards because they live on their devices all day. They don’t have any more experience at this than we do, and they need time.

Stick with what matters

Look at your unit and decide what the most important things are for your students to master in this unit and keep your focus on those critical components. Add in the rest if you have time, but lock a laser focus on the heart of the topics and achieve those goals first.

Walk away

Do not let yourself fall into the trap of confusing down time and work time. Just because you moved your work to your home, doesn’t mean it should dominate your life. You and your students need you at peak mental and emotional health right now. Take breaks, walk away, and don’t let this overtake every part of your life. You are living in this crisis too. You have mental, emotional, and physical needs too. See to them first so you have something left to give to your students when you hit week 3, 6, or 10 of school closures. Locked in your home? Have a Zoom game night or dinner with friends. Take walks. Have a life. You need it to sustain you.

Reach out

Remember you are not alone. There are countless teachers in the same situation you are in and we are all just figuring it out. Join a group where you can find resources and advice from other teachers like Educator Temporary School Closure Community. Don’t just Zoom with your students, have meetings with your co-workers to see what they are doing. Don’t feel as if you are the only one struggling. We are all adapting and coming together like never before.

Lean in

In the end we will all come out of this as better teachers with countless hours of self-study professional development from all the new systems we are adapting to. So find your fellow teachers and learn from them, teach them, and stand strong. Show your students what it really looks like to embrace a life-long love of learning and take them on the journey with you.

This article was submitted to us by guest author and ISC Member Michelle Overman. Check out her website atwww.zestyteacher.com and follow her on Twitter at @ZestyTeacher

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Information for Members

The total comments in all the Benefits Information sections: 10704!

November 25, 2019


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2110+ school profile pages on our website has four comments and information sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments and information 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 new 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 Benefits Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the Benefits Information section is 10704 (out of a total of 34612+ comments); that is up 6082 comments from around 12 months ago (Nov. 2018).

Example Benefits Information page on KIS International School (Bangkok)
(316 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand

There are 20 subtopics in the Benefits Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out out the total number of comments in that specific sub topic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1269 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Salary is paid regularly each month directly into your bank account which the school will help you set up. It is paid in $US…” – Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 59 Comments

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• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1279 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Rent prices went up all over Shanghai in the past 1-2 years and even places near the school cost more now, as landlords start seeing that there’s many expats in the area willing to pay more…” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 433 Comments

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• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. (672 Total Comments)

Example comment: “A teaching couple could easily live and travel on one salary and save 100% of the other.  Savings opportunity is obviously significantly less on one salary, but still possible…” – Singapore American School (Singapore) – 256 Comments

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• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1134 Total Comments)

Example comment: “$4000 per teaching couple moving allowance (once you arrive in cash), optional $10,000 loan from school interest free (to buy car), annual flights home…” – American International School of Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria) – 21 Comments

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• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (980 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers must pay for their own health insurance here as Switzerland doesn’t have a social health care program model. Some of the staff’s partners are actually the local doctors in Leysin, so expect to get seen or have your children get seen by them..” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 72 Comments

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• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (433 Total Comments)

Example comment: “As the April 6, 2016 comment below states, there are many opportunities for increasing your monthly pay. Other than that, it is illegal to work for anyone but your visa provider (the school) in China. Lots of teachers tutor or work otherwise on the side anyway, but it is illegal.” – Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China) – 81 Comments

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• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. (755 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers with dependents need to pay some fees. These vary and are at the discretion of the school so they could conceivably become higher each year. They do not like to hire people with dependents.” – MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey) – 160 Comments

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• Professional development allowance details. (534 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The PD allowance allows you to travel and pay for one IB workshop (or any conference) per year. Or you can do two IB online workshops…” – The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments

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• Pension plan details. (610 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end.” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments

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• Describe your experience bringing pets. (259 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Some teachers bring their pets from the USA (and other countries like UAE and Qatar). Some do it via the airlines or a pet relocation service. You need to make sure you pet has their up-to-date shots and whatnot to avoid certain delays and hassles along the way. The shorter your flight to Egypt the easier it might be to get your pet to Egypt.” – American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments

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• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (542 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher is paid differently. No pay scale. Some teachers with lots of experience paid less than teachers with little experience. Men get paid more than women…” – American School of Durango (Durango, Mexico) – 39 Comments

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• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (332 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The pay is lower than other international schools in the area but the school fees are also lower. It is the mid range between the “posh” international schools and the ones that don’t hire internationally trained teachers.” – Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 74 Comments

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• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (517 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Point of contention. Clearly we are in a Muslim country so we have to abide by the holidays, but as Ramadan keeps pushing up 2 weeks every year, so does Eid (which usually falls in the first term. But we are in one of those awkward times where Eid is falling the first week of school so that means no break from the start of school until December. There is only one week at xmas this year, because we have to make sure to finish school around the start of Ramadan, it will be too hot to come to school while the kids (majority) will be fasting or they just won’t attend school. We will still have a week in Feb and a week in April. No long weekends here. 3 months off for summer.” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar) – 97 Comments

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• What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn’t know about beforehand? (276 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you have a pet you have to pay an extra deposit to the landlord, not covered by school…” – Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments

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• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (139 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Women get 12 weeks at 80% pay. She can take more time off, but without pay and at the business’ discretion. I think men don’t get any time off to be with their newborn.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 46 Comments

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• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (179 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Fill out a simple form, submit the receipt, and the money is deposited into your account after the purchase has been approved. If you are concerned as to whether or not you will be reimbursed, seek out approval first. I have never been turned down.” – Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 25 Comments

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• Details about new teacher orientation. (212 Total Comments)

Example comment: “We were picked up at the airport by a school driver who drove the Superintendent there to meet us. We were taken directly to our house, and someone had purchased some staple foods for the refrigerator. There were new towels, sheets and pillows. Other teachers/admin in the neighborhood came to greet us that evening and brought over hot food for dinner. It was an excellent welcome. We immediately felt very much at home…” –Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 175 Comments

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• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (320 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Everyone leaves because the salary scrap and administration is crap. If you had any moral integrity you would also leave after a week.” – Colombo International School (Colombo, Sri Lanka) – 64 Comments

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• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (209 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Read carefully. 3 page contract is very vague and WILL be used in favor of the administration against you. Expect them to try and keep as much of your money as they can. Hence the 2 month salary withholding which you are assured you will get at back end of contract. This does not usually come to fruition.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 69 Comments

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• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (53 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Trailing spouses can only be sponsored if you are earning a certain amount. It is not very easy to get a job in some professionals; however, this might change soon with the sponsorship system changing often as we near the World Cup 2022.” – The English Modern School (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 64 Comments

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Teachers on the Move

Teachers on the Move – Virtual Interviews

February 26, 2019


In an ever increasing virtual world you are nearly as likely to be hired after an interview on Skype, Facetime, What’s app or other virtual platform.  Even if you attend a fair, there can often be a follow up interview with a member of the team on the ground at the school. Leadership positions in particular, the first and second rounds of recruitment are often done virtually, then finalists are flown in to view the school and be grilled in person. Additionally several recruiters are now running virtual fairs, hopefully this will be posted in time for the ISS/Schrole March Fair for which you can register here.

My first two international positions I took over the phone, indeed one, standing in a very wet and windy Edinburgh phone box outside the school I was working in.  But these days, with the proliferation of hand held devices, you can be literally anywhere when you are asked to interview. I had a Skype interview for my position in the Sudan while volunteering in rural Uganda, a series of interviews for KL which ran over three countries I was travelling through, and more recently Skyped with several schools from a beach hut in Thailand!  

I have been very surprised recently, when working with some of my coachees, of how unaware they are about how they are presenting themselves when interviewing virtually. So I decided to write a post with some tips and considerations for a virtual interview.

With these tips you should be able to conquer the world of virtual interviewing and achieve the international teaching position of your dreams.

Firstly, make sure you have the correct time, have someone double check the time differences with you.  Also ensure that you have added the contacts well in advance and checked them with a quick message.

Secondly, choose your location. You need to ensure:

  • A clean, non-distracting background behind you
  • Good lighting but not lights that gleam on the screen, blinding your interviewer
  • Your devices is physically secure
  • No residual environmental sound or other passing distractions

A headset with inbuilt microphone can be a great and cheap investment, avoiding you having to lean into the computer, and also cutting out any environmental sound.

Next, organise your resources. Do you have everything you might need during the interview?

  • A note pad
  • The questions you want to ask
  • Any information you have from the school, job description, contractual terms and so forth
  • A glass of water (talking can be thirsty work)

One of the benefits of a Skype interview is that you can be well prepared and have resources at your finger tips, it is quite ok to look down occasionally when thinking.

Finally, consider your personal presentation. You need to ensure that:

  • You look neat and tidy (women with long hair should clip it back so that it doesn’t fall forward, your eyes need to be clearly seen)
  • You are comfortable and relaxed (you really do not need a jacket and tie unless for a very formal institution)
  • Your face and shoulders are visible but not more.  Women in particular should be careful about where the screen edge falls.

It seriously does not hurt to practice, fire up your camera and see how you look and sound prior to any virtual interview.

At least 15 minutes before starting, check

  • You have the right time
  • Your device is well charged or attached to mains power
  • Your internet is steady and you have enough data
  • Your sound input and output settings are correct

I always do a Skype test call before any Skyping session.

General interview tips will be covered in another post, but these four are very virtual interview specific.

  1. You may face a panel, it is fine to write down the persons name and position, or even to ask them to reiterate it when they ask you a specific question. Once I faced a panel of 9 people. It was extremely confusing. I asked afterwards to be connected with the Head of Primary, because I wasn’t clear who she was!
  2. You may have difficulties with connection. Always, always state when you are having difficulties, and be proactive in suggesting to retry, put the camera off or to move to a different platform. It demonstrates that you are calm and able to adjust to situations
  3. Speak clearly and confidently, enunciating each word, without overemphasising.
  4. When you move, be sure to move in a controlled and relaxed way

(avoid sudden jerky movements and over expressive gestures).

As ever though, be yourself, and don’t try to sell yourself into a position that you don’t really want. Best of luck with your virtual recruitment!

Kirsten Durward is the PYP Coordinator at KIS International School in Bangkok.  With leadership experience in 5 schools, she has been interviewing candidates and coaching teachers through the application process for many years.  She enjoys supporting educators to make successful transitions in a myriad of ways. You can find her on Linkedin or through the facebook group ‘Teachers on the Move’. Kirsten’s coaching practice supports educational projects in Uganda, a country she holds dear to her heart.

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Teachers on the Move

Teachers on the Move – Writing Applications

January 25, 2019


There are no guarantees in this world, you could be the best teacher, highly qualified and experienced, write an amazing application, and still not achieve an interview.  Here is the deal – there is no simple answer to the question: ‘What do recruiters want to see on your resume?’ But there are some simple truths.

In this day and age, administrators are busy people, school life is demanding on a day to day basis, then there are development plans and wait – recruitment??  The popular schools receive thousands of on spec applications, all year round. Some schools use HR to filter them, others use agents, often even a combination of factors. So, for example, I know for a fact that I didn’t make a short list because I didn’t have a particular qualification, even though I can do that job better than most people with the qualification.  Why? Because a locally employed HR person had a checklist. I would never have been hired by a particular school in Turkey if I hadn’t met the recruiter in person. I had the wrong qualification for Turkey specifically, but they made it work, because they met me and believed in me. So applications can only do so much. I will write another post on networking soon.

Here’s another truth (sadly) – Nationality counts, as does first language.  This is not always up to the school, it is often an immigration restriction by the country and these change all the time, so do your homework, don’t waste their time applying where they can’t hire you anyway.  This also applies to age, many countries do not allow teachers to work over 60. Don’t blame the schools, there is nothing they can do about it.

Third truth: when wading through a pile of applications at the end of a very full day, administrators are hoping for simplicity, clarity, and personality.  That’s where you can gain an edge. I have read thousands of applications, honestly most of them are awful. It is sad to report, based on my coaching experience, that often the best people are presenting themselves badly while others are just really good at presentation.  If you do nothing else; find a friend who gets lots of interviews and compare your paperwork. But the following advice applies across the board:

Avoid repetition – recruiters don’t want to read the same information in your cv, your letter and your philosophy statement.

Resume/CV length Some people say one page, I say that’s really difficult unless you are 25, so two pages are fine, but not more, and no cheating with extending footers and margins, we can tell!

Keep cv statements short and focussed – my pet hate is seeing long straggly sentences in the Experience section. Bullet points people, bullet points!  Not ‘have been instrumental in developing IEP for students’, rather ‘developed IEPs’. Besides anything else. this shows you can synthesise and also have some consideration for a tired administrator!  

Do include Extracurriculars – there are many schools looking for a volleyball coach or a drama enthusiast to help organise shows. It also shows that you’re looking to contribute beyond the classroom.  

Do include recent professional development – we like to know you are a life-long learner and your PD also indicates your professional interest.  But nobody cares about that workshop you took in 2007. Recent!

Letter length – one page, ONE!

Letter content – depends – if the school has asked for a philosophy statement then you don’t need to include your educational beliefs in your letter, if you are applying via a site where you have a detailed profile, you don’t need to include too many background details.  Use common sense.

Always mention where you saw the job. I don’t advocate for on-spec applications, unless you know someone at the school or have met an administrator.

Always mention what interests you about the school, be specific!  Always mention how you can meet the job specification. If you can’t, please don’t apply.

Always synchronise any description of your pedagogy, beliefs, experience with something you know about the school, use their key words. This shows that you have done your research and thought about how you would support the forward movement of the school.

Share a personal passion, the best schools are seeking passionate educators!  Reflect on what you have learned on your journey, or if you are just starting out, what you are hoping for or looking forward to.  The best schools hire teachers who understand the learning journey. More than that, they love people who are real.

Finally,  write a well constructed letter.  If I read another letter where all the sentences start with I or my, I am going to have a blue fit!  I would not accept this from a Grade 4 student and a decent administrator will throw such a letter in the bin,  Sentence diversity shows that you can support language development which, believe me, is highly sought after. So unless you are one of the 103 highly sought after Physics teachers in the world, learn to write a decent letter, or have someone help you. I’ve turned around more applications than I can count with that simple strategy.

One of my coachees told me recently ‘this is hard work’. Yes it is, and it is good that it is, it is a test of your capacity and commitment. Our job is not an easy one, heads want to know that you can measure up to their requirements.  Remember, the best schools are looking for the best people, it is competitive out there, you need to show your best side. But remember you can do all this and there are a myriad reasons why you aren’t selected, team balance, school diversity, someone who is a known quantity. If you want assurance, marry a Physics teacher. Otherwise breathe. Go back, read carefully, edit profusely, and all the best luck with your search. There are more schools than educators, keep calm and positive. Be yourself and you’ll find a match.

Kirsten Durward is the PYP Coordinator at KIS International School in Bangkok.  With leadership experience in 5 schools, she has been reading applications and coaching teachers for many years.  She enjoys supporting educators to make successful transitions in a myriad of ways. You can find her on Linkedin or through the facebook group ‘Teachers on the Move’.

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Information for Members

Which Popular ISC Blog Articles Are in the Top 10 Most Viewed List?

January 20, 2019


Our blog gets hundreds of views every day. One time we had over 2200 views in one day!

ISC writes and publishes many of the articles on our blog, but we also have a growing number of member-submitted articles. These articles are submitted by people new to international teaching, seasoned international school educators, and those people that have retired from international education. Member-submitted articles come from parents, authors, directors, teachers, students, companies, etc.

Since 2011, the ISC blog has been viewed over 250,000 times! But which blog articles were the ones that our readers wanted to check out and read the most? We’ll start with #10 and move down to the most popular article on our blog.

#10 The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

“So interesting, our top 40 school profiles with the most views page. It’s like, which school is the most popular amongst our 13K+ members? Before reading below or checking out the page, which schools do you think show up on this list? Are the ones at the top those “Tier one” international schools that we all hear about? You might be surprised which schools are really on this list then…”

#9 How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #3: Send money home every month (Mortgage, College Debt, etc.)

“Not all teachers decide to move abroad because they have a sense for adventure. It is because they need to save some money to pay off their debts; which we all know is something hard to accomplish as a teacher back in your home country…”

#8 Top 10 reasons why summer vacation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for an international school teacher

“One of the best things about being an international school teacher is that we have the ability to travel, sometimes much more than if we were teaching in our home country.  *Some items in this list are meant to be “tongue-in-cheek” and making fun of our “first world people problems” that we sometimes experience while traveling around the world. Of course we love this ability to travel and appreciate every minute of it…”

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#7 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Shanghai, China

“The full salary is paid in RMB. The school adds an extra 500 RMB towards utility bills. The yearly pay is divided into 12 months. For newcomers, their first pay is in September 20th, although school starts early August. This is clearly stated in the contract but those new teachers coming in need to be aware of this that they won’t see money until September…”

#6 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Bangkok, Thailand

“In 2012 the school implemented the Literacy by Design program for K3 – Grade 4, and the IB Diploma Programme in 2013. It also began scheduling more consistent weekly professional development meetings in 2013, including WASC focus and home group sessions, and grade-level meetings. As of 2012, it joined EARCOS and now regularly sends its staff to the annual conferences…”

#5 Top 10 Things a Recruiting Int’l Teacher is 😟 Worrying About in November

“Yes, it is November and many international school teachers are already thinking about the next school year (18-19). Actually, many of these teachers started recruiting back in September or August! It is necessary to recruit this early because international schools seem to be hiring earlier and earlier every year. Additionally, the international school recruitment fairs are also requiring candidates to have already applied to attend their fairs by now; by November you are most likely too late to apply to attend one (especially the ones in Bangkok)…”

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#4 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Kuala Lumpur

“The school’s workload is average. We certainly hear of neighboring (similar caliber) schools who expect a lot more out of their teaching staff. In addition to a normal teaching day, teachers also are expected to lead 2 after school activities (running 10 weeks long each) per year. Coaching satisfies this requirement. This is standard for international schools in Malaysia, as the government requires schools to offer ASAs. Some teachers work…”

#3 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Singapore

“The 2 campuses are in the west side and east side of the city. The west side, Lakeside, is on the MRT line that will go into the city centre. The east coast campus, Tanjong Katong, you need to take a bus to the MRT which will then go into the city. The bus will also take you into downtown within about half an hour to 40 mins depending on where you live. Most…”

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#2 Top Ten Tips For International School Teachers To Build A Solid Retirement

“Many international school teachers don’t think enough about retirement.  And that’s understandable.  The whole concept can seem confusing.  Andrew Hallam, however, says it isn’t.  He says that those who fail to plan are planning to fail. That could mean eating dog food instead of gourmet, during your golden years…”

#1 Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher

“A seasoned international school teacher (SIST) has worked at 3+ international schools in more than three parts of the world (or more).  They know the ins and outs of international schools.  They now have many old friends (from international schools that they’ve worked at) that have since moved on and now live in all parts of the world.  Many teachers say that they originally meant to be abroad for only 2-3 years, but once you get into the international school community, it is easy to get hooked…”

Keep checking out our blog every week. We typically post a new article every 3-6 days. If you are interested in submitting an article to our blog as a guest author, email us at editor @ internationalschoolcommunity.com . All guest authors receive between 6-12 months of free premium membership to our website!

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Comment Topic Highlight

Favorite Restaurants, Places to Go to and Things to Do in Your Host Country

May 17, 2018


When you live abroad in a foreign country, one of the best parts is enjoying all that your host country has to offer. When you first arrive, you don’t know just yet which things are your favorite to do, which restaurants that you’ll frequent a lot, and which places you’ll want to go all the time to. But as you explore around every weekend or month, you get yourself more familiarized with our your new country and start to create all of your new favorites’ lists.
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Eating out and finding a really tasty restaurant in your host city is the best. Such delicious local food (or ‘expat food’ cuisine) to be had! While not all local restaurants will be the best, there are sure to be some excellent ones. Typically you find these out from the veteran teachers at your school. They’ve been there awhile, so they are the best ones to let you know where to eat out at. And if the cost of living is low where you are, you might just find yourself eating out all the time (see How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2: Go out to eat all the time!)

There are also just your favorite things to do in the city. Maybe it is taking a jog around the corniche if you live in a city in the Middle East. Maybe it is going to a posh bar downtown where a lot of expats frequent, like the Bund in Shanghai, China. Maybe it is just a quiet park that you like in Western Europe where people go to just relax and enjoy the clean air and surrounding nature (and people watch). The best part is you don’t know your favorite things to do in your host city until you arrive. You could say this aspect is one of the more exciting part of living abroad and teaching internationally.

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Another cool thing to do in your host country and traveling around and exploring the different places it offers. If you like the mountains, hopefully you will live not too far away from one that you go to do on the weekend (let’s say if you live in Zurich). If you like the sea, maybe there will be a nice coast that you can take a local bus to (let’s say north of Barcelona). Enjoying your day at the beach can be a great getaway from your sometimes busy life at your international school. In China, they have these really beautiful water towns. Many international school teachers in Shanghai are bound to have a favorite water town that they frequent every so often.

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So many favorite things, so little time. Especially if your plan is to only stay 2-3 years in your current host country, it is good to frequent your favorite places and often!  Soon enough, you’ll be moving away to live in your next location and you’ll certainly miss all of your current favorite things! (see Going back to a place you once lived – I almost cried!)

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of your favorite host country restaurants, places and things to do. There are a total of 394 comments (May 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of 65 comment topics called – “Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“Cheongna it is pretty easy to get to the famous Hongdae area of Seoul. The area has tons of restaurants, cafes, bars, street food vendors, and live performances. In Cheongna itself, there are new places opening all the time. Current favorites are Roy’s (a Mexican place), Wembley’s Bar, Chicken & Beer, Big Grill (a Korean BBQ place), Texas BBQ, and Hans Craft (craft beer pub). For activities, many teachers like to use the boats in Lake Park or go for a picnic. Many teachers enjoy mountain biking and hiking on the nearby trails. Screen golf and screen baseball are fun activities and of course noraebang (singing rooms).” – Cheongna Dalton School (Incheon, South Korea)42 Total Comments

“Oslo has an amazing fjord. Its cheap and plenty of little islands can be got to for the normal cost of your monthly T-Bane card. There are fantastic restaurants – but you will need a mortgage before going out for a good dinner here. Skiing and hiking are cheap or free and we spend our summers picking berries in the forests and winters skiing or skating. Its a paradise in truth.” – Northern Lights International School (Oslo, Norway)28 Comments

“Zurich is definitely a city worth walking through. Ambling through the narrow lanes of the old town is a treat. Pop into either the Fraumunster church to see the stunning Chagall windows or walk to up the tower of the Grossmunster church, or walk into the cript of the Water Church. On a nice day a short boat ride (Kleine rundfahrt) which starts at the main boat docks near Burkliplatz is worth the time.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland)33 Total Comments

“Tianjin is a very beautiful city with lots of canals and urban parks and greenways. It is incredibly flat. There are two lakes next to school and expat teachers live in apartments around the lakes. It is a wonderful location for running and exercise in all seasons of the year.” – HIKSVS International School (Tianjin, China)30 Comments

“One of my personal favorites is a nice place in Paragon called Midtown. They have a large menu with a lot of traditional Thai dishes and a few international options. Some of their spicy dishes are fantastic (if you can handle Thai chili peppers).” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)242 Comments

“We just went to Bait Al Luban near to the Corniche Mutrah. The food there is delicious! It really seems like they use fresh ingredients and things made there are done to a really nice perfection. Another favorite restaurant that we’ve been to is in the Wave area. It is a Lebanese restaurant that’s called Zahr El Laymoun. We got some hot and cold mezza dishes and every single one was so tasty. Will definitely be going back to these places soon.” – American International School of Muscat (Muscat, Oman)34 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

Top 10 Things a Recruiting Int’l Teacher is 😟 Worrying About in November

November 25, 2017


Yes, it is November and many international school teachers are already thinking about the next school year. Actually, many of these teachers started recruiting back in September or August! It is necessary to recruit this early because international schools seem to be hiring earlier and earlier every year. Additionally, the international school recruitment fairs are also requiring candidates to have already applied to attend their fairs by now; by November you are most likely too late to apply to attend one (especially the ones in Bangkok)!

So, what are the top 10 things a recruiting international school teacher is worrying about in November? Maybe you can relate to some of these!

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1. Why aren’t schools writing me back!?

You are trying to be proactive. Sure, it is advisable to contact international schools as soon as you see that they have a vacancy listed. You might even send your CV to schools that don’t even have a vacancy for you at the moment. It is really unfortunate though that many schools just don’t have the time to write everyone back in a timely manner…or at all. Though the truth might be that if the school really wanted to contact you, they would!  If they are not contacting you, it might also mean that they are simply not ready to start short-listing candidates or that you are indeed not the best fit for the position at this moment in time.

2. Should I tell my school that I am FOR SURE leaving at the end of the current school year?

International schools are not making it easy for recruiting teachers.  It appears as if many schools are requiring that their teachers tell them (if they are going to leave or sign another contract) earlier and earlier in the school year.  It makes sense though.  Admin needs to plan ahead.  The earlier international schools start recruiting, the better choice and more selective they can be when hiring for the next school year.  But officially signing the paper stating your intentions, it is something that will raise your heart beat a bit (in a good way and not so good way, depending on your present situation).

3. When will I finally secure a job?

It is so nerve-wracking to quit your job without having another job already lined up.  An international school teacher is lucky to already get a job secured in November for the next school year. Admin positions might get hired around this time, but typically not regular teachers. Many teachers don’t sign a contract for their new job until April or May, so to wait that long…it is torture!  Even if you go to an international school recruitment fair, it is not guaranteed that you will be signing a contract there either. You often need to wait another few weeks as the school wants time to interview some other candidates at the next recruitment fair. They also need time to contact and check all your references.

4. How am I going to stand out at the recruitment fair?

We’ve seen them at the fairs.  The candidates that seem to have everything in order.  They’ve thought of everything!  They have smart, professional, and personalized stationary for thank you notes. They also have extra flash drives with their portfolio presentations on them to give to the schools.  Some teachers  at the recruitment fairs have CVs with unique, eye-catching designs.  Others will have scrapbook-like binders with photos that show highlights from their teaching career; nice to have real photos of your teaching as talking points during your interview.  The truth is you do need to think about your strategy at the fair, well ahead of time, so that you are prepared to represent yourself in the best way possible.

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5. Can’t I just interview with schools on Skype and not have to attend a recruitment fair?

Attending recruitment fairs are great for networking and meeting your potential future boss in person, but they are also quite stressful and expensive. It is sometimes more ideal to just do all your interviewing over Skype.  It is cheaper for your budget and also cheaper for the schools to hire people online.  Some teachers are lucky and they get a school wanting to do a first interview with their shortlisted candidates before the recruitment fair even starts. Of those pre-screened teachers, some will get snatched up because of that pre-recruitment fair Skype interview (more and more candidates are getting hired via Skype and only Skype). Others though, will still have to go to the recruitment fair to do another in-person interview.

6. What if I don’t get another job at an international school and I need to move back to my home country?

It isn’t the end of the world to move back to your home country. But when you want to continue on in the international school community, moving back to your home country is definitely a last resort option.  Come March/April, if you haven’t secured a job, the thought does run through your mind.  Your mind runs through all the possible scenarios. Will you move back to the last place you lived in your home country and work in the same school/district as you did before?  Will you consider a different city in your home country and try to start a new life there?  Some of these scenarios do actually sound enticing to you, but your mind always goes back to the next international school that you are hoping to work at.

7. Will my top school have a vacancy for me and if they do, will the vacancy still be there by the time the recruitment fair starts?

When you see that your top school has posted a vacancy for that fits your skills, it is a time to rejoice!  Screaming out loud in your apartment is not uncommon when this happens; screams of exhilaration, relief and excitement! Once those feelings subside a bit, the realities of the situation start to set in. What if someone who is more qualified than me gets the school’s attention first? What if they end up hiring that position internally, a person already working at the school?  What if someone with a connection to the school gets referred for the position (hiring a good candidate with a connection to somebody who already works at the school is desirable!)? Maybe they will decide to fill the position with some local hire; it is usually cheaper to do that. So many scenarios and possibilities completely out of your control. When recruiting, it is truly all about luck and timing. If it was meant to be, to work at your top school in next school year, then it will happen regardless of all the time and effort you put towards applying for the position. That does not mean you do not try everything in your power though to get the school’s attention, demonstrating you are a good fit for the vacancy. Some teacher might back out a month after they sign the contract (that you were hoping to get) and you might be second in line for the position!

8. Did my current and past supervisors give me a super-positive confidential references or not-so-positive ones?

I guess that is why they are confidential, they are not for you to see or know about. Even if you have a good relationship with your boss, it is hard to know exactly how honest they will be on those confidential references that you might have to do  (if you are attending a recruitment fair for example).  The likelihood that they wrote you a positive reference is far higher than them writing a super negative one for you. When schools are not writing you back though, it is easy to start thinking about what the schools might be reading on your recruitment fair online profile. It is good to remember that most admin are supportive of their teachers, and will do all they can to help you secure your next job.

9. Kidding oneself that you are all cool, calm and collected about everything.

No one wants to be stressed-out for 3-5 months, but that is what your future holds for your when recruiting.  Inevitably, it is going to be a bumpy ride.  Be proactive about this and think of ways that you can get yourself grounded.  When in the middle of the craziness of recruiting to work at an international school, don’t forget about your health and well-being. One idea to keep yourself in the right frame of mind is to continue enjoying what your host country has to offer. It is easy to take for granted the awesome opportunity to live in your current host country when recruiting, since your main focus is currently on moving. Don’t let that distract you too much and get out to continue to enjoy what your host country has to offer.  Additionally, keep going out with your local friends that you’ve made during your time there and to get your mind off recruiting for a few hours.

10. Is there hope just around corner?

The fact is that it typically all works in the end, when recruiting. You WILL find a job. Many times, teachers do find the position at the school and in the city of their dreams. Keep your hopes and dreams alive during these recruitment months. Your positive energy will be apparent to your interviewer and the stars will align as you somehow have just the right answers to their tough questions.  Make your dream school become your reality!

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This top 10 list was submitted to us by a guest author and International School Community member.

All guest authors to our blog get one year of free premium membership to our website.  Email us if you have a top 10 list idea and would like it to be highlighted on our blog as a guest author.

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Information for Members

A Member Spotlights Summary: We have had 35 highlighted members so far!

March 26, 2017


Since we started our website back in February 2011, we have had a total of 35 member spotlight articles highlighted on our blog. Thanks to all 35 members who have participated so far!

Learning more about our fellow international school teachers can be very enlightening, inspiring and also quite interesting!

Who were the 35 members that have been our members spotlights so far you ask?  Well they haven’t all been teachers, some have held other positions either in a school setting or in a field of eduction with also a connection to international schools. Others had prior experience working in international schools. Here is the breakdown of what job titles they have:

International School Teachers: 25
Staff Development Coordinator: 1
International school directors: 4
Curriculum coordinator: 1
Principal: 1
Veteran international school teacher: 1
International School Consultant: 1
Members of an international school board of directors: 1

There are 6 parts to the questionnaire that all member spotlights fill out:

• Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?
• How did you get started in the international teaching community?
• 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.
• Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
• What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
• In exactly five words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

It is pretty amazing the amount of experience and useful information that our member spotlights have provided in their answers to these six parts.

So, how did all of our members answer this part of the questionnaire: In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

• Living life full of energy
• Culturally enriching, questioning true internationalism.
• Beautiful, soul satisfying, enriching, enlightening and delightful.
• Eye-opening, educational, humbling, challenging, fulfilling.
• Successfully making a positive difference!
• truly rewarding challenging and capability enhancing.
• Discovery. Rewarding. Engaging. Relationships. Awesome.
• Opportunity for growth, an eye opener.
• Exciting, inspiring, educating, challenging and fulfilling.
• Adventure, culture, education, difference, satisfaction.
• Open-minded, Professional, Dedicated, Discovery, Fun
• Transforming, Exciting, Challenging, Embracing, Engaging
• Make the best of it.
• Challenging, enriching, frustrating, reflective, confirming
• Exciting adventure of a lifetime!
• Fantastic Educational Humbling Expanding Gratifying
• The job of a lifetime.
• Challenging,  invigorating, demanding, breathtaking , fun!
• Hard work, but immensely rewarding.
• Stimulating,  unpredictable,  addictive,  inspiring, challenging.
• Fascinating, exciting, lucrative, wide-ranging and addictive!
• Eye opening, cultural, well paid, opportunity, life changing.
• Exciting, interesting, enlightening, educational and unique.
• 1. Rewarding 2. Different 3. Adventurous 4. Dynamic 5. Unpredictable
• Full of variety, rewarding, challenging.
• Rewarding, eye-opening, fun, flexible, and ADDICTIVE
• The opportunity of a lifetime.
• Lifelong learning at its finest!
• Rejuvenating, Creative, Innovative, Culturally Rich
• The novelty never wears off!
• Exhilarating, Challenging, Adventurous, Broadening, Inspiring
• Enriching, adventurous, challenging, rewarding, limitless.
• Exciting, fun, new friends, challenges!

These 35 members have a wealth of knowledge about working at a number of international schools. Maybe you have worked at an international school that they have worked at as well?!  Here are just a few of the schools that they either currently work at now or have worked at in the past:

• Cebu International School  – 7 Comments
• Xiamen International School (Xiamen, China) – 25 Comments
• Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 222 Comments
• Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (Barcelona, Spain) – 66 Comments
• Universal American School in Dubai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) – 17 Comments
• Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok – 21 Comments
• American International School in Egypt – 62 Comments
• International School of Tanganyika – 145 Comments
• Mahatma Gandhi International School – 3 Comments
• British Early Years Centre (Bangkok, Thailand) – 10 Comments
• American School Madrid (Madrid, Spain) – 54 Comments
• Frankfurt International School & Wiesbaden (Frankfurt, Germany) – 13 Comments
• Albanian International School (Tirana, Albania)19 Comments
• British International School Moscow (Moscow, Russia)11 Comments
• Stamford American International School (Singapore, Singapore)47 Comments

Thanks again to everyone who has participated in the Member Spotlight feature on our blog so far.

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here at editor @ internationalschoolcommunity.com.  All highlighted members receive 1 free year of premium access to our website!

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Comment Topic Highlight

What is the best part of living in your host city?

September 16, 2016


Living and working in cities around the world can be very tiresome, confusing and stressful. On the other hand, it can also be wonderful, exciting and eventful.

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When you first move to a city there are so many new places to visit and restaurants at which to eat.  Even after a couple of years, there are still new places to check out and restaurants that you haven’t eaten at yet. If you are lucky, a new favorite place pops up every once and awhile.

Even after a short time of living in a city, there are certainly places that become your favorite. When your friends and family visit, you tend to take them on mini tours that go to these places. These places become a huge part of your ‘expat’ experience.

After moving away to a new city, you always think about the good times you had in your old city and the places you frequently visited. These favorite places truly become solidified in your memory of living in that city.

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The best part of moving away from a city you’ve lived in, is going back to visit. When you make a trip to return to a place you’ve once lived, your old favorite places are on the top of your ‘sight-seeing list’ during your visit.  And typically you don’t have as much time to see them all, so you truly find out which places were your really top ones. These really top ones are the must-go places that bring back old memories, and also help make new ones.

Most international school teachers can list off the best parts of living in their city. Some have longer lists than others (depending on their personality and the place in which they live), but there are always new and interesting things to check out and do…if you are getting yourself out to enjoy them.  The more local friends you get too, the more you can check out and hear out the ‘best places’ in the city from the people that truly know it well.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to what life is like in various cities around the world, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “What is the best part of living in this city for you?

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 69 comments in this comment topic (Sept. 2016).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“KK is a very multi-cultural city. There are many different religions and ethnicities represented here. Because of this there is nearly always a festival or celebration going on. It is wonderful to see everyone celebrating them all. Muslims openly welcome Chinese, Tamil and Expats to their homes during Hari Raya. Everyone is welcome to attend the temple during Deepavali. And of course everyone always enjoys Chinese New Year and Christmas celebrations.” – Kinabalu International School (Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia)10 Comments

“Outside of school, there is a very relaxed pace of life. You will see people in the coffee shops, on the beach or just strolling the avenues all hours of the day. The food is excellent, and the wines are cheap and second to none. Forget the expensive Italian and French wines. Stick with the huge variety of portuguese wines and you can’t go wrong.” – Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal)98 Comments

“Seisen is located in Setagaya ward, which is one of the greenest parts of Tokyo. You are never more than a short bike ride or stroll from Kinuta Park, Komazawa Park, Todoroki Gorge or the expanse of green along the Tama River bank.” – Seisen International School (Tokyo, Japan)66 Comments

“It’s hard to put your finger on. Bangkok can be infuriating. Travel can be tough off the Skytrain finding products you need, a real challenge and yet the city has a pleasant, almost relaxed vibe for a place of its size. The Thais are a fun loving people, there are some great bars and restaurants and if you search off the beaten track some architectural and historical gems.” – Rasami British International School (Bangkok, Thailand)75 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

Top 12 Most Controversial Comments Submitted by Our Members

October 26, 2015


International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…14691 comments (25 Oct. 2015) to be exact.

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Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website, and sometimes they need to share how it really is working at their international school.

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most controversial.

12. In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school?
The management is largely ineffective and there is no clear goal for the school overall. There are no lines of communication between administrators and teachers, and not even within departments at the same school. There is very much of an “every man for himself” attitude. The pay is good enough to make some people stay for a while because of that. – Cambridge International School (Cambridge, United Kingdom)9 Comments

11. Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.
“Most of the third tier International Schools (which PAIS is one of) will just pay the bare minimum legal requirement, as a box-ticking exercise to be able to say their teachers are covered. In reality the insurance is little more than a joke, teachers have shared anecdotes of actually getting laughed at when showing their card at a hospital. This is endemic across many, many schools here. With that said, PAIS’s teacher insurance program is not the absolute lowest, there are worse ones, but not by far.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand)16 Comments

10. Pension plan details.
“There is something not at all right about the pension plan. No one understands it. Very little information is given. No other international schools in Germany use this dodgy system. The director used to be a banker and so he knows how to manipulate the system I guess. It’s a very insecure feeling.” – Metropolitan School Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Germany)36 Comments

9. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.
“Hong Kong is no longer the “Golden Goose”, with rent increases and the peg to the US eating away much of the previous savings potential. I worked at the Hong Kong YCIS when the accommodation packages were being negotiated with staff. Previously, the school provided small and basic accommodation but it was conveniently located (Wanchai, Sai Kung, Tai Po). They warned expats at the time about going to cash allowances, since the rents at the time were at a very low point (1999). Now they have almost tripled, and the cash allowance won’t even cover half the cost of the same flats the school used to provide.. Careful what you wish for, I guess.” – Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)17 Comments

8. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance.  If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?
“Housing is a contentious issue. Most housing is either at elementary campus (older apartments, flood-prone), Twiga Apartments near the secondary (nice new apartments, but with a high population density and a LOT of children), Regents Estate (older apartments a bit of a way from both campuses. Used to be nice, but need better maintenance). There is a new building going up at elementary campus, consisting of fairly small 2 bedroom apartments. The school has committed to investing quite a bit of money to improve the older elementary housing and bring it up to standards and flood proof them. However, options are still limited and especially new teachers end up “at the bottom of the barrel”. Dar es Salaam in general has notoriously high rental prices.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)141 Comments

7. Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?
“There is no tax in the UAE so what you earn is yours. It is VERY expensive to enjoy the UAE however, so don’t get too excited about a salary which would be attractive in your own country’s equivalent money. The school pays you each month, but it is often paid late (could be up to a week late!) and there’s nothing you can do about it. The UAE law states that ALL teachers should be paid a minimum of 12,000 dirhams, however Wesgreen pays most teachers way less than this and instead pay the fine to the ministry of labour (which is considerably less than paying staff members the correct wage!). Take my advice and DO NOT ACCEPT LESS THAN 10,000 DIRHAMS! The school will try to pay you as least as they can and you will be upset when you speak to another teacher in the same department doing exactly the same job earning 2 or 3 thousand more dirhams than you! This happens a lot! Men seem to get paid more than the female staff (doing exactly the same job) and passport holders of certain countries seem to get paid more than other also. Even if you think you will be fine earning 8 or 9 thousand, wait until you see the price of a decent food shop, or a normal meal out or a few drinks in a bar etc. etc. it is VERY expensive to enjoy Dubai!!!” – Wesgreen International Private School (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)23 Comments

6. Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details.
“The workload on paper looks amazing…but the lack of organization, the reactive nature, covering classes as a substitute, poor communication, confusing expectations all tend to destroy ones ability to focus on what’s best for the kids like planning and implementing really great lessons k-12.” – Seisen International School (Tokyo, Japan)51 Comments

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5. What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?
“Note: About the male principal–he was sleeping on the job!! While the rest of us teachers were putting in over 40 hrs a week–he would sleep every afternoon. He deserved to be fired! When he and the Head teacher would come into our classrooms to visit–they would yell at us in front of the students–very de-moralizing! I’m so glad those people don’t work at our school anymore! AND–the students and parents were happier after they were fired!!  The female principal took too many “free days” and her husband who was teaching French, had failed to do a good job. They left after a professional French teacher from the University of Tirana came and did an assessment of the student’s learning abilities. The students had ALL failed the test!” – Albanian International School (Tirana, Albania)19 Comments

4. What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?
“Do not join this school if you are expecting to be treated professionally by the upper management (above principal level) Feedback from the Director responsible for Quality Control is non-existent. Do not believe anything you are told as it can bechanged at the last moment on a whim.” – United Private Schools (Muscat, Oman)7 Comments

3. What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective.
“An endless list of controversies. All teachers on different pay scales and contracts (causing division amongst staff). A Managing Director who tried to cut staff holidays and pay, and then allegedly assaulted a staff member. The introduction of teaching some subjects in German, causing teachers to feel demotivated and concerned about their jobs, as well as a great deal of parent dissatisfaction” – Berlin British School (Berlin, Germany)31 Comments

2. Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).
“International schools must comply with new ministerial decree The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | May 23 2014 | 10:38 PM Share The Education and Culture Ministry says that international schools must make adjustments to their curriculum as stipulated by a new ministerial decree issued on April 23. Education and Culture Ministerial Decree No. 31/2014 on the cooperation and management of foreign education institutions with Indonesian education institutions stipulates that educators at international schools must be registered with the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry and the Education and Culture Ministry, Antara news agency reported. Furthermore, the Education and Culture Ministry’s director general of early childhood education programs, Lydia Freyani Hawadi, said that teachers at international schools must also be proficient in Indonesian, as stipulated by Manpower and Transmigration Ministry laws. She explained that they must be proficient in the language because Indonesian students studying at international schools must take four compulsory subjects: religious studies, Indonesian language, history and citizenship studies. “The teacher’s education must be suited to the subject they teach,” Lydia told reporters on Friday. A school’s curriculum must also be adjusted to national standards, and foreign students must be taught cultural studies, she said. Furthermore, Lydia emphasized that international schools could not be fully owned by foreign stakeholders, as the law stipulates that foreigners can only own 49 percent of a school. The school must also be able to prove that it has enough capital to run the school for the next six years. “Most importantly, there will no longer be ‘international schools’. They must change their names,” she explained. Lydia said that the ministry had held talks with 44 schools to discuss the new ministerial decree, adding that a majority of the schools did not have any accreditation. If a school does not comply with the ministry’s demands, the school management could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined Rp 1 billion (US$86,000) under Law No. 20/2003 on the national education system. (fss)” – Surabaya International School (Surabaya, Indonesia)54 Comments

1. Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about?
“Read your contract carefully. do not sign an unsigned contract. contracts signed by the teachers have been changed and then signed by the owner. If you have issues with the owner his first and only reaction is to tell you to take him to court where he will happily drag the case out to cost you a lot of money.” – Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan)22 Comments

If you have an interesting story in your school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Photo Contests

Top three photos for Best Funny Sign in your Host Country: And the winners of this photo contest are…

September 28, 2015


We’re happy to announce the winners of our Sixth Photo Contest (Best Funny Sign in your Host Country).

First Place: Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China.

“This is a sign in the rest room at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China. The Temple of Heaven is the symbol of Beijing. You would think they could find a better translation. My favorite line: ‘Urinating into the pool you are the best’.”

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Congratulations Debby Lyttle (an international teacher working at Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China).

Prize awarded: Premium membership for TWO YEARS on our website!

Second Place: Sign in Bangkok taxi.

“This “No Farting” sign was stuck to the dashboard of my taxi in Bangkok, Thailand.”

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Congratulations Steve Landvatter!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for ONE YEAR on our website!

Third Place: Tank sign in Switzerland

“Careful how fast you drive your tanks on that road. In a small mountain road in Switzerland …such a peaceful country…”

agecibag.

Congratulations Roger Marin!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for SIX MONTHS on our website!

Thanks to everyone who participated!  We have awarded everyone else ONE WEEK of premium membership for participating in this photo contest.

PicMonkey Collage

Stay tuned for our next photo contest which will happen sometime during the next 2-3 months. Check out our previous Photo Contests here.

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Video Highlight

Sell Your Crap. Pay Off Your Debt. Do What You Love.

April 12, 2015


TED talks are pretty awesome. This one caught our attention because it is reminiscent of the life of an international school teacher.

Living in your home country, sometimes you can get caught up in materialism. You want to get your own big house. You want to get your own nice car. You want your own cool, huge television in your living room…along with all the other things in and around your house.

After “buying” all of those things, though, you might find yourself in some debt, like the guy in the TED talk. Living your life in debt, the credit card companies and banks are taking away a bit or most of your freedom.  Not the best way to live your life.

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But as an international school teacher, most of that materialism goes away. Some of us do not want so many possessions anymore in our lives. For the more possessions you have, the more you have to move to the next country! Kidding aside, our priorities seem to change to a different path.

There is a shift from wanting to be materialistic to wanting to get more experiences; the more experiences, the better!  We also want more freedom; more freedom to do what we want with our lives. Additionally, we want to go traveling more, to get more of those experiences; to explore the cultures of the world firsthand.

On a foreign-hired benefits package, we are now allowed to be more in control of our money situation. International school teachers are able to pay off those debts that we had in our home countries.  Furthermore, we can finally start to have some savings that we were not able to do so easily in our home countries. We can now make plans to use our savings to buy those big things without having to be in debt.

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Having the freedom to live our lives without always worrying about the bank and credit card companies is a dream that can actually become a reality in the world of international school teaching.

Of course not all international school teachers have the same result when they decide to teach abroad, but many of us do. It all mostly depends on what school you work at, in which country and what benefits package you have.  You also have to set personal and financial goals for yourself/your family (like the guy in the TED talk).  Once you have made some goals, you can work hard to achieve them.

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We have a comment topic on our school profile pages. It is called – “Average amount of money that is left to be saved.” Knowing this information ahead-of-time will be one of the most important things to know when considering working at an international school.  Here are a few of the hundreds of comments that have been submitted in that comment topic:

“Relative in accordance to lifestyle and discipline with savings. There should be no problem saving 20,000 for those who enjoy their comforts of house cleaners and the weekend visits to Western restaurants. For those a little more attentive to how they spend their money, it is possible to save over $40,000 as a single teacher each year.” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)45 Comments

“They match a certain amount of the retirement funds that you put away. I personally save about $800 a month, though I have a wife and two kids to support.” – KIS International School (Bangkok) (Bangkok, Thailand)61 Comments

“As a family of four on a single salary we managed to save about $20,000 USD in two years. However, it all depends of course on how frugal you are. Traveling in Japan is wonderful but trains and accommodation are expensive.” – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan)64 Comments

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Highlighted Articles

The Freedom of Teaching Overseas

September 18, 2014


What is the best thing about working in the private school sector? For me, it is not having to religiously follow the British curriculum and listen to people with no teaching experience telling me how to run my classroom. Could you imagine walking into surgery and telling the doctor how he could improve on his technique for his latest myocardial infarction patient? It is a ridiculous notion and while a little exaggerated not a million miles away from what teachers in the UK have to deal with everyday.

10628286_367977496688569_8380660437721617922_nI am all for self-improvement and I absolutely welcome criticism from other teachers. I actively seek advice from my peers and despite being apparently classed as an “outstanding” teacher by my previous Head, I don’t consider myself any more than satisfactory.  I doubt myself every single day and look for ways to improve after every lesson. But, if you have not set foot in a classroom before, then please, please, don’t tell me how to do my job.

I have worked in international schools for most of my career and I could not see myself ever returning to the UK to work in a government school. The job isn’t the only reason why I chose to live overseas. I love travelling and seeing new things, however it is the politics of working in UK schools that keeps me from returning. The children that I teach here are from good backgrounds and more often than not have supportive parents. The children at home in the UK often need good quality teachers so much more, but unfortunately the people in charge are driving the best teachers away. More and more people are not just leaving the country to teach elsewhere, but are leaving the teaching profession altogether.

I am lucky enough to be in the private sector overseas and I have always fostered ideas and teaching philosophies that break the norms of how we are taught to teach. I am somewhat of a rebel in this sense, often going against suggested practices for teaching. I like to be provocative and critical of traditional ways. I certainly wouldn’t get on well with the politics involved with teaching in the UK and while I had the respect and trust of my Head teacher in my last school; who allowed me to bend the rules to some extent, I have always wanted to be my own boss and set up a school in my own vision.  I have, for a long time, thought that I could structure a curriculum in a better, more practical way, giving time back to teachers to simply do the job they love doing for the reasons they initially decided to join the profession.

10600472_348618381957814_5372830562639779291_n-1Although Private schools on the whole do offer teaching staff more freedom to teach in the way that they like, slightly removed from the policy makers, they do come with their own pitfalls. I work in Thailand where most of the schools are owned by rich business people rather than educators. Profit making is put above the needs of students and children with special needs don’t exist in the mainstream schools. It is an environment built around a “bums on seats” philosophy. Working abroad can also leave you stuck with Head teachers and other teachers that have become far too accustomed to the easy life and don’t work half as hard as they should. It can become frustrating. Expectations abroad are often not as high as they are in the UK, but at the same time we, as teachers, have a duty to do the best job that we can, helping as many children in our care to achieve their absolute potential in both their academic and social lives. This is obviously not the case in all schools and there are some wonderful teachers around.

Luckily I have a close colleague who is very like-minded. Our teaching philosophies are almost identical and he is a fantastic teacher. I have never seen anyone teach phonics as well as him, even to this day and that is why almost four years ago, I felt confident enough to partner with him to start our own school.  It is a wonderful feeling to be able to follow whatever curriculum we want, to be able to buy whatever resources we want, when we want and to be able to educate young children in the way that we feel is the best way. Our school is only an Early Years institution and we did start on a pretty tight budget, borrowing from our families and scraping together our savings, however being built on the back of our modern and progressive philosophies, it has now blossomed into a school of the very best quality.

10636006_367182820101370_6025925256768325989_n-1Taking children from as young as twelve months in the Nursery and up to six years in Kindergarten 3 (Year 1), by the time children leave our school, they are all able to read and write both in Thai and English and in fact most of the children typically work one year above the national literacy and maths levels set by the UK national curriculum. My highest ability child has just turned five years and has already achieved a 3C in English.

So how did we achieve this? Through pushing the children to their limits? Breaking their personality through gruelling work routines? Surprisingly neither of these methods were used. The key to our success lies in teaching children to love education. We don’t punish children by getting them to read books or practice handwriting, but rather we teach children to love books and reading is a reward for finishing other activities quickly. We learn through playing “party” style games, whereby the children think they are playing when actually they are learning to read and write. As a result of this technique even our lowest ability children finish Reception two terms ahead of the average child in the UK.

Our school is also fully organic; the food as well as the cleaning products. The children will soon be growing their own dinners (part of their dinners) with the aim of encouraging children that do not like certain vegetables. We teach the children about different types of foods; the nutrients; the minerals and the vitamins that are contained within them. They get to juice fruits and vegetables and design their own juice mixes. When asked their favourite foods, the children mostly chose pumpkin or broccoli rather than chocolate and sweets. We also teach the children where their waste ends up and the benefits of recycling. They learn about renewable energy sources. In fact anything that we believe to be of great importance to the children in terms of ethical and healthy living, we educate them about. And we make it fun. This is the key, if you make learning fun enough then children will learn, but it is the fun that has been withdrawn from the curriculum in the UK. Okay some lessons are fun but when teachers have to stay up to 10pm every night marking, how can they be expected to make every lesson a fun interactive one. The emphasis needs to be taken away from the teaching and put firmly onto the learning.

We have recently set up a blog to try to educate others on our methods. I wouldn’t say that our ideas are “ground breaking” but they are a step away from the norm. I am sure there are many teachers and parents that think in the same way, but the problem is that politicians back home like to jump on the latest buzz word or trend, playing it safe to secure the vote at the next election, rather than actually thinking about how to improve education.

I am so happy being able to teach the way I want to teach, knowing that the only people that I am now TRULY answerable to are the only people I would feel remorse in letting down… The children.

This article was written by guest author and International School Community member David Walters. He works at British Early Years Centre in Bangkok (the school’s website can be found here) and also has a very informative blog for both parents and teachers.

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